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a religious movement of the 16th century that began as an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church and resulted in the creation of Protestant churches

Thomas Hobbes

English materialist and political philosopher who advocated absolute sovereignty as the only kind of government that could resolve problems caused by the selfishness of human beings1588-1679)


Member of the political community to whom certain rights and obligation are attached.


One who favors a free market economy and no governmental interference in personal liberties


a form of government in which power is vested in hereditary kings and queens who govern in the interests of all.


a form of government in which the right to participate is conditioned on the possession of wealth, social status, military position, or achievement.


a system of government that gives power to the people, whether directly or through elected representatives.

political ideology

the coherent set of values and beliefs about the purpose and scope of government held by groups and individuals.


a form of government in which power resides in a leader who rules according to self-interest and without regard for individual rights and liberties

Magna Carta

This document, signed by King John of Endland in 1215, is the cornerstone of English justice and law. It declared that the king and government were bound by the same laws as other citizens of England. It contained the antecedents of the ideas of due process and the right to a fair and speedy trial that are included in the protection offered by the U.S. Bill of Rights

Social Contract

an agreement between the people and their government signifying their consent to be governed.


a movement in the 18th century that advocated the use of reason in the reappraisal of accepted ideas and social institutions

Origins of Government



one thought to believe that a government is best that governs least and that big government can only infringe on individual, personal, and economic rights.

majority rule

The Central premise of direct democracy in which only policies that collectively garner the support of a majority of voters.

natural law

a doctrine that society should be governed y certain ethical principles that are part of nature and, as such, can be understood by reason.


a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictatornot restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition etc.)

personal liberty

a key characteristic of the U.S. democracy. Initially meaning freedom from governmental interference, today it includes demands for freedom to engage in a variety of practices free from governmental discrimination.


the profession devoted to governing and to political affairs

personal liberty

key characteristic of U.S. Democracy. Initially meaning freedom from governmental interference, today it includes demands for freedom to engage in a variety of practices free from governmental discrimination.

presidential system

a system of government in which the legislative and executive branches operate independently of each other

theories of government


Petition of Rights

Limited the power of Charles I of England. a) could not declare martial law; b) could not collect taxes; c) could not imprison people without cause; d) soldiers could not be housed without consent.

John Locke

English philosopher who advocated the idea of a "social contract" in which government powers are derived from the consent of the governed and in which the government serves the people; also said people have natural rights to life, liberty and property.

political spectrum

A political spectrum is a way of visualizing different political positions. It does this by placing them upon one or more geometric axes symbolising political dimensions that it models as being independent of one another.


one considered to favor extensive governmental involvement in the economy and the provision of social services and to take an activist role in protecting the rights of women, the elderly, minorities, and the environment.

popular sovereignty

The notion that the ultimate authority in society rests with the people.


a political unit governed by a deityor by officials thought to be divinely guided)


a government rooted in the consent of the governed; a representative or indirect democracy.

political culture

commonly shared attitudes, beliefs, and core values about how government should operate.

popular consent

The idea that governments must draw their powers from the consent of the goverend

parliamentary system

A system of government in which the legislature selects the prime minister or president.

popular consent

The idea that a just government must derive its powers from the consent of the people it governs

JJ Rousseau

French philosopher from 1712-1778 who believed that people are naturally good, but are corrupted by society

English Bill of Rights

King William and Queen Mary accepted this document in 1689. It guaranteed certain rights to English citizens and declared that elections for Parliament would happen frequently. By accepting this document, they supported a limited monarchy, a system in which they shared their power with Parliament and the people.

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