45 terms

Chapter 1: Political Science 150

adapted from American Government and Politics Today 15th edition
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Terms in this set (...)

politics
the process of resolving conflicts and deciding "who gets what, when, and how." More specifically, the struggle over power or influence within organizations or informal groups that can grant or withhold benefits or privileges
institution
an ongoing organization that performs certain functions for society
government
the preeminent institution within society in which decisions are made that resolve conflicts or allocate benefits and privileges; unique because it has the ultimate authority for making decisions and establishing political values
order
a state of peace and security via the protection of members of society from violence and criminal activity
liberty
the greatest freedom of the individual that is consistent with the freedom of other individuals in the society
authority
the right and power of a government or other entity to enforce its decisions and compel obedience
legitimacy
popular acceptance of the right and power of a government or other entity to exercise authority
totalitarian regime
a form of government that controls all aspects of the political and social life of a nation
authoritarianism
a type of regime in which only the government itself is fully controlled by the ruler; social and economic institutions exist that are not under the government's control
aristocracy
rule by the "best"; in reality, rule by an upper class
theocracy
literally, rule by God or the gods; in practice, rule by religious leaders, typically self-appointed
oligarchy
rule by a few
anarchy
the condition of no government
democracy
a system of government in which political authority is vested in the people
direct democracy
a system of government in which political decisions are made by the people directly, rather than by their elected representatives; probably attained most easily in small political communities
legislature
a governmental body primarily responsible for the making of laws
initiative
a procedure by which voters can propose a law or a constitutional amendment
referendum
an electoral device whereby legislative or constitutional measures are referred by the legislature for approval or disapproval
recall
a procedure allowing the people to vote to dismiss an elected official from state office before his or her term has expired
consent of the people
the idea that governments and laws derive their legitimacy from the consent of the governed
republic
a form of government in which sovereign power rests with the people, rather than with a king or a monarch
popular sovereignty
the concept that ultimate political authority is based on the will of the people
democratic republic
a republic in which representatives elected by the people make and enforce laws and policies
representative democracy
a form of government in which representatives elected by the people make and enforce laws and policies; may retain the monarchy in a ceremonial role
universal suffrage
the right of all adults to vote for their representatives
majority
more than 50 percent
majority rule
a basic principle of democracy asserting that the greatest number of citizens in any political unit should select officials and determine policies
limited government
a government with powers that are limited either through a written document or through widely shared beliefs
majoritarianism
a political theory holding that in a democracy, the government ought to do what the majority of the people want
elite theory
a perspective holding that society is ruled by a small number of people who exercise power to further their self-interest
pluralism
a theory that views politics as a conflict among interest groups; political decision making is characterized by compromised and accommodation
political culture
a patterned set of ideas, values, and ways of thinking about government and politics
political socialization
the process by which political beliefs and values are transmitted to new immigrants and to our children; the family and the educational system are two of the most important forces in the political socialization process
dominant culture
the values, customs, and language established by the group or groups that traditionally have controlled politics and government in a society
civil liberties
those personal freedoms, including freedom of religion and freedom of speech, that are protected for all individuals; the civil liberties set forth in the US Constitution, as amended, restrain the government from taking certain actions against individuals
bill of rights
the first ten amendments to the US Constitution
equality
as a political value, the idea that all people are of equal worth
property
anything that is or may be subject to ownership; as conceived by the political philosopher John Locke, the right to property is a natural right superior to human law (laws made by government)
capitalism
an economic system characterized by the private ownership of wealth-creating assets, free markets, and freedom of contract
ideology
a comprehensive set of beliefs about the nature of people and about the role of an institution or government
conservatism
a set of beliefs that includes a limited role for the national government in helping individuals, support for traditional values and lifestyles, and a cautious response to change
liberalism
a set of beliefs that includes the advocacy of positive government action to improve the welfare of individuals, support for civil rights, and tolerance for political and social change
socialism
a political ideology based on strong support for economic and social equality, in which a society is envisioned where major businesses were taken over by the government or by employee cooperatives
libertarianism
a political ideology based on skepticism or opposition toward most government activities
islamism
a political ideology based on a radical and fundamentalist interpretation of Islam; the rejection of all Western democratic values and often the call for a worldwide Islamist political order; radical Islamists have provided the membership of many recent terrorist groups