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those institutions that make authoritative public policies for society as a whole

political participation

all the activites that peopleas a whole are engaged in

policymaking system

a set of institutions and activities that link together

linkage institutions

parties, elections, intrest groups, and the media are linkage between the citizens and the government

policy agenda

when people confront government officials with problems they expect them to solve, they are trying to influence the policy agenda

policymaking institutions

congress, the presidency, and the courts

public policy

a choice that government makes in response to some issue on its agenda

policy impacts

effects that policy has on people and society's problems


a means of selecting policymakers and of organizing government so that policy represents and responds to the public's preferences

traditional democratic theory

equality in voting, effective participation, enlightened understanding, citizen control of the government, and inclusion

majority rule

the principle that the greater number should exercise greater power

minority rights

induvidual rights to anyone who is not included in majority decisions.


the action of speaking or acting on behalf of soneone or the state of being si represented

pluralist theory

contends that many centers of influence compete for power overpunlic policy, with no one group or set of groups dominating

elite and class theory

society is divided along class lines and that an upper class elite rules


the existence of too many influential groups actually make it impossible for governments to act

policy gridlock

the large number of and diversity of intrest groups coupled with the decentralized nature of government makes it easy to prevent policy formulation and implementation

political culture

five elements of american political culture support, shape, and define its democracy


one of jeffersons inalienable rights. american are supportive of cuvil liberties and personal freedom


of, relating to, or believing in the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rightsand opportunites


a social theory favoring freedom of action for individuals over collective or state control


an economic doctrine that opposes government regulation of or interference in commerce beyond the minimum necessary for a free-enterprise system to operate according to its own economic laws


the "of the people" in lincolns famous description of democracy

gross domestic products

the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a countries boarders in a specific time period. usually calculated on a annual basis


a nations basic law

declaration of independence

a political polemic, announcing and justifying a revolution. today it is more of a statement of philosophy

the second treatise of civil government

written by john locke, influenced american leaders

natural rights

before governments arise, people exist in a state of nature where they are only governed bythe laws of nature

natural law

brings natural rights, including life liberty, and property

consent of the governed

okay with the people

limited government

not all powerful

constitutional convention

the convention of united states statesmen who drafted the united states constitution in 1787

american revolution

the revolution of the american colonies against great britian 1775-1783

articles of confederation

the nations first governing document

shay's rebellion

spurred the birth of the constitutio
n and reaffirmed the belief of the philadelpia delegates that the new federal government needed to be a strong one

U.S. Constitution

the institutional structure of the U.S. government and the tasks these institutions perform


a small, organized, dissening group within a larger one, in politics


the state if being equal in status, rights, and opportunites

connecticut compromise

a bicameral legislation with equal representation in the senate and representation based on popluation in the house of represenatives

3/5ths compromise

how to count slaves. they are worth 3/5ths of a person

political equality

some delegates wanted all men to vote, others wanted the qualification of owning property. left up to the states

writ of habeas corpus

can be imprisioned without being charged with a crime

seperation of powers

each branch of government was to be independant of the others

checks and balances

keeps the branches in line


a system based on the concent of the governed in which power is exercised by represenatives


supported the constitution


opposed the constitution

federalist papers

a series of essays written by james madison, alexander hamilton, and john jay in defense of the constitution

bill of rights

federalist added the first to amendments to not restrict personal freedom

formal amendments

change the langauge of the constitution based on article 5

informally amended

judicial interpretation, customs, or political practices

unwritten constitution

tradition, practice, and procedure, that when altered may change the spirit of the constitution

equal rights amendment

example of a prosed, not ratified amendment

judicial interpretation

changes political practices


the balance if power between tbe states and feds

unitary governments

all power resides in the central government


the feds are weak, and the states have the most power

intergovernmental relations

set of interactions among national, state, and local governments

supremacy clause

the constitution is supreme law if the land

10th amendment

the national government has only those powers specifically assigned

McCulloch v. Maryland

congress has certain implied powers and that national policies take precedent over state policies

elastic clause

was interpreted to give congress certain implied powers that go beyond its enumerated powers

enumerated powers

specifically listed powers

civil war

struggle between states and national government

brown v. board of education

overturned sperate but equal

full faith and credit


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