47 terms

American Government & Politics Today Chapter 1

Vocabulary and important terms or cases from the American Government & Politics Today
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Political Culture
The patterned set of ideas, values, and ways of thinking about government and politics that characterizes a people.
Property
Anything that is, or may be subject to ownership
Recall
Allows the people to vote a politician out of office
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
Socialism
an ecomonmic and potical system based on a collective of goverment ownership and control resorces and ownership
Theocracy
the belief in government by divine guidance
Totalitarian Regime
A form of government that controls all aspects of the political and social life of a nation.
Universal Suffrage
the right of all adults to vote for their representatives
Legislator
someone who makes or enacts laws
Pluralism
A theory of government that holds that open, multiple, and competing groups can check the asserted power by any one group.
Political socialization
Complex process by which people get their sense of political identity, beliefs, and values (family, school, media, religion, national events-all help to socialize)
Republic
a form of government in which the sovereign power rests with the people rather than with a king or monarch
democracy
government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system
Aristocracy
hereditary nobility; privileged class; government by nobility
Authoritarianism
a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition etc.)
Authority
the power or right to give orders or make decisions
Bill of rights
The first ten amendments to the Constitution
Capitalism
An economic system by which production and distribution are privately owned for profits as opposed to the state
Popular Sovereignty
the concept that ultimate political authority is based on the will of the people
Civil Liberties
freedoms to think and act without government interference or fear of unfair legal treatment
Consent of the people
The idea that governments and laws derive their legitimacy from the consent of the governed.
Conservativism
in favor of preserving the status quo, traditional values and customs, and against abrupt change
Democratic Republic
A republic in which representatives elected by the people make and enforce laws and policies.
Direct democracy
A form of government in which citizens rule directly and not through representatives
Dominant Culture
The attitudes, values, beliefs and customs that the majority of people in a society hold in common
elite Theory
A small group of people identified by wealth/ pol. power, who rule in their self-interest
government
the system or form by which a community or other political unit is governed
liberalism
A political ideology that emphasizes the civil rights of citizens, representative government, and the protection of private property. This ideology, derived from the Enlightenment, was especially popular among the property-owning middle classes.
equality
n. the state of having the same right, opportunities, etc. as everyone else
liberty
the greatest freedom of individuals that is consistent with the freedom of other individuals in the society
libertarianism
an ideology that cherishes individual liberties, insists on minimal government, promoting a free market economy, noniterventionist in foreign policy and an absence in moral, economic, and social life
limited government
the government has only the powers that the constitution gives it
majoritarianism
a political theory holding that in a democracy, the government ought to do what the majority of the people want.
majority
more than half
referendum
process by which people vote directly on a bill
initiative
process that permits voters to put legislative measures directly on the ballot
institution
an ongoing organization that performs certain functions for society
majority rule
the doctrine that the numerical majority of an organized group can make decisions binding on the whole group
legitimacy
political authority conferred by law or by a state or national constitution
political ideology
A consistent pattern of beliefs about political values and the role of government.
oligarchy
a system of government in which a small group holds power
politics
The struggle over power or influence within organizations or informal groups that can grant or withhold benefits or privileges.
order
a state of peace and security. Maintaining order by protecting members of society from violence and criminal activity is the oldest purpose of government.
Key Features of Democracy
Universal suffrage, consent of the people, majority rule, limited government.
Free & Competitive Elections (why is it important?)
to guarantee the continued existence of our representative democracy. The opposition always has the opportunity to win. Freedom of Press and Freedom of speech are essential.
Who was NOT allowed to vote (at founding of our Nation?)
Women, slaves, non-property owners
Aspects of Our Dominant Culture
favor of individualism, private property, and judeo-christian ethics. Breakdown of family structure, acceptance of other values like women in the workplace.