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American Government 13th edition

political culture

an overall set of values widely established and shared within a society

gross domestic product

the sum total of the value of all the goods and services provided in a nation


the institutions and processes through which public policies are made for a society.

Public goods

goods, such as clean air and water, that everyone must share


the process by which we select our government leaders and what policies these leaders pursue. Produces authoritative decisions about public issues

political participation

all of the activities used by citizens to influence the selection of political leaders of the policies they pursue. (voting, protest, civil disobedience)

single-issue group

groups that have a narrow interest, tend to dislike compromise, and often draw membership from people new to politics.

policymaking system

the process by which policy comes into being and evolves over time; created by people's interests, problems, and concerns.

Linkage institutions

the political channels through which people's concerns become political issues on the policy agenda: (elections, political parties, interest groups)

policy agenda

The issues that attract the serious attention of public officials and other people actually involved in politics at any given point in time.

political issue

an issue that arises when people disagree about a problem and how to fix it.

policymaking institutions

branches of government charged with taking action on political issues. Includes congress, the presidency, courts, and the bureaucracy.

public policy

a choice that government makes in response to a political issue.


a system of selecting policymakers and of organizing government so that policy represents and responds to teh public's preferences.

majority rule

A fundamental principle of traditional democratic theory: Choosing among alternatives requires that the majority's desire be respected.

minority rights

a principle of traditional democratic theory that guarantees rights to those who do not belong to majorities and allows that they might join majorities through persuasion and reasoned argument


a basic principle of traditional democratic theory that describes the relationship between the few leaders and the many followers.

pluralist theory

a theory of government and politics emphasizing that politics is mainly a competition among groups, each one pressing for its own preferences in politics

Elite and class theory

a theory of government and politics contending that societies are divided along class lines and that an upper-class elite will rile, regardless of the formal niceties of government organization


a theory of government and politics contending that groups are so strong that government is weakened. it is an extreme form of pluralism

policy gridlock

a condition that occurs when no coalition is strong enough to form a majority and establish policy. Nothing gets done


in opposition of the American Constitution at the time when the states were contemplating its adoption

Articles of Confederation

the first constitution in the United States; it was adopted by Congress in 1777 and was enacted in 1781. Established the Continental Congress as a national legislature; however, most of the authority rested with the state legislatures.

Bill of Rights

the first ten amendments to the Constitution; they were drafted in response to some of the Anti-Federalist concerns. These amendments define such basic liberties as freedom of religion, speech, press, and guarantee defendant's rights.

checks and balances

features of the Constitution that limit government's power

Connecticut Compromise

was reached at the Constitutional Convention; it establishes two houses of Congress: House of Representatives based on population and the Senate that has two representatives per state.

Consent of the governed

is the idea that government derives its authority by sanction of the people


the nation's basic law; it created political institutions, assigns or divides powers in government, and often provides certain guarantees to citizens.

Declaration of Independence

the document approved by representatives of the American colonies in 1776 that stated their grievances against the British monarch and declared their independence.


interest groups arising from the unequal distribution of property or wealth that James Madison attacked in Federalist Paper No. 10

Federalist Papers

a collection of 85 articles written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison under the name "Publius" to defend to constitution in detail


supporters of the US constitutions at the time when the states were contemplating its adoption

judicial review

power of the courts to determine whether acts of Congress and, by implication, the executive, are in accord with the U.S. Constitution. If was established by John Marshall and his associates in Marbury v Madison

Limited Government

The idea that certain restrictions should be placed on government to protect the natural rights of citizens

Marbury v Madison

1803 case in which john Marshall asserted the right of the Supreme Court to determine the meaning of the U.S. Constitution, also known as Judicial Review

Natural Rights

rights inherent in himan beings that re not dependent on government; these rights include: life, liberty, and property. This was the key theory of government proposed by John Locke

New Jersey plan

the proposal at the constitutional convention that called for equal representation of each state in Congress regardless of state's population


a form of government in which the people selectpreresentatives to govern them and make laws

Separation of Powers

a feature of the Constitution that requires each of the three branches of government-the executive, legislative, and judicial branches- to be relatively independent of each other so that one cannot overpower the others. Powers must be shared.

U.S. Constitution

Document written in 1787 and ratified in 1788 that sets forth the institutional structure of the U.S. Government and tasks that these institutions perform. Replaced the Articles of Confederation

Virginia Plan

the proposal at the constitutional convention that called for representation on each house in Congress in proportion to that state's share of the U.S Population

Writ of Habeas Corpus

is a court order requiring jailers to explain to a judge why they are holding a prisoner in custody

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