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Comparative Politics: Midterm
Terms in this set (67)
the hostile relations that prevailed between the United States and the Soviet Union from the late 1940s until the demise of the USSR in 1991.
an important historical moment when political actors make critical choices, which shape institutions and future outcomes.
The groups with which people identify, including gender, class, race, region, and religion, and which are the "building blocks" for social and political action.
The field within political science that focuses on domestic politics and analyzes patterns of similarity and difference among countries.
the intensification of worldwide interconnected-ness associated with the increased speed and magnitude of cross-border flows of trade, investment and finance, and processes of migration, cultural diffusion, and communication
a term used to describe government policies aiming to promote free competition among business firms within the market, including reduced governmental regulation and social spending
a territory defined by boundaries generally recognized in international law as constituting an independent country.
the most powerful political institutions in a country, including the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, the police, and armed forces.
the agencies of government that implement or execute policy.
the body of officials (e.g., ministers, secretaries) who direct executive departments presides over by the chief executive (e.g., prime minister, president).
an organization structured hierarchically, in which lower-level officials are charged with administering regulations codified in rules that specify impersonal, objective guidelines for making decisions.
one of the primary political institutions in a country, in which elected or appointed members are charged with responsibility for making laws and usually for authorizing expenditure of the financial resources for the state to carry out its functions.
one of the primary political institutions in a country; responsible for the administration of justice and in some countries for determining the constitutionality of state decisions.
a belief by powerful groups and the broad citizenry that a state exercises rightful authority.
the historical development of a state, often marked by major stages, key events, or turning points (critical junctures) that influence the contemporary character of the state.
a country in which the state and national identity coincide
An influential approach in comparative politics that involves trying to explain why "if X happens, then Y is the result."
the variable symbolized by X in the statement that "If X happens, then Y will be the result"; in other words, the independent variable is a cause of Y (the dependent variable).
the variable symbolized by Y in the statement that "If X happens, then Y will be the result"; in other words, the dependent variable is the outcome of X (the independent variable).
Rational choice theory
an approach to analyzing political decision making and behavior that assumes that individual actors rationally pursue their aims in an effort to achieve the most positive net result. Rational choice is often associated with the pursuit of self-interested goals, but the theory permits a wide range of motivations, including altruism.
seeks to explain phenomena in a limited range of cases, in particular, a specific set of countries with particular characteristics, such as parliamentary regimes, or a particular type of political institution (such as political parties) or activity (such as protest).
The process of a state moving from an authoritarian to a democratic political system.
the study of the interaction between the state and the economy, that is, how the state and political processes affect the economy and how the organization of the economy affects political processes.
an approach to promoting economic growth that seeks to minimize environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources.
a type of nation-state in which the communist party attempts to exercise a complete monopoly on political power and controls all important state institutions.
From the Greek demos (the people) and kratos (rule). A political system featuring: selection to public offices through free and fair elections; the right of all adults to vote; political parties that are free to compete in elections; government that operates by fair and relatively open procedures; political rights and civil liberties; an independent judiciary (court system); and civilian control of the military.
large-scale grassroots action that demands reforms of existing social practices and government policies.
a group whose members share common worldviews and aspirations determined largely by occupation, income, and wealth.
the use of power, particularly by the state, to allocate some kind of valued resource among competing groups.
a method of classifying by using criteria that divide a group of cases into smaller groups of cases whose members share common characteristics.
Democratic political systems that have been solidly and stably established for an ample period of time and in which there is relatively consistent adherence to the core democratic principles.
countries whose political systems exhibit some democratic and some authoritarian elements.
a system of rule in which power depends not on popular legitimacy but on the coercive force of the political authorities.
the capacity to dominate the world of states and control the terms of trade and the alliance patterns in the global order.
describes the consensus in politics after World War II, when most Britons and all major political parties agreed that governments should work to narrow the gap between rich and poor.
The Big Society
argues for wide-ranging initiatives to empower ordinary citizens to take control over their lives and shift the balance of power downward from the state to communities and individual citizens.
policies promote free competition, minimize government interference with business, and encourage foreign investment.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
ownership of or investment in cross-border enterprises in which the investor plays a direct managerial role.
The doctrine that grants the legislature the power to make or overturn any law and permits no veto or judicial review.
Crown passes by hereditary succession
quasi-nongovernmental organizations that take responsibility for specific functions and can combine governmental and private sector expertise.
The House of Commons
a limited legislative function. However, it serves a very important democratic role by providing a highly visible arena for policy debate and the partisan collision of political worldviews.
The House of Lords (upper chamber)
serves mainly as a chamber of revision, providing expertise in redrafting legislation, with the power to suggest amendments to legislation in the Commons
members of governing party with no governmental office and opposition
a situation after an election when no single party comprises a majority in the Commons.
North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
a treaty among the United States, Mexico, and Canada implemented on January 1, 1994, that largely eliminates trade barriers among the three nations and establishes procedures to resolve trade disputes.
The public philosophy in the nineteenth century that the United States was not only entitled but also destined to occupy territory from the Atlantic to the Pacific
Declaration of Independence
The document asserting that the British colonies in what is now the United States had declared themselves independent from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.
Articles of Confederation
the first governing document of the United States, agreed to in 1777 and ratified in 1781. The Articles concentrated most powers in the states and made the national government dependent on voluntary contributions of the states.
Bill of Rights
the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution (ratified in 1791), which established limits on the actions of government. Initially, the Bill of Rights limited only the federal government. The Fourteenth Amendment and subsequent judicial rulings extended the provisions of the Bill of Rights to the states.
national system of contributory and noncontributory benefits to provide assistance for the elderly, sick, disabled, unemployed, and others similarly in need of assistance.
Taxes levied by local governments on the assessed value of property. Property taxes are the primary way in which local jurisdictions in the United States pay for the costs of primary and secondary education. Because the value of property varies dramatically from neighborhood to neighborhood, the funding available for schools—and the quality of education—also varies from place to place.
Organizations that seek to represent the interests—usually economic—of their members in dealings with the government. Important examples are associations representing people with specific occupations, business interests, racial and ethnic groups, or age groups in society.
Separation of Powers
An organization of political institutions within the state in which the executive, legislature, and judiciary have autonomous powers and no one branch dominates the others. This is the common pattern in presidential systems, as opposed to parliamentary systems, in which there is a fusion of powers.
Single-member-plurality (SMP) electoral system
an electoral system in which candidates run for a single seat from a specific geographic district. The winner is the person who receives the most votes, whether or not they amount to a majority. SMP systems, unlike systems of proportional representation, increase the likelihood that two national coalition parties will form
Federal Reserve Board
the U.S. central bank established by Congress in 1913 to regulate the banking industry and the money supply. Although the president appoints the chair of the board of governors (with Senate approval), the board operates largely independently.
powers that are traditionally held by the states to regulate public safety and welfare. Police powers are the form of interaction with government that citizens most often experience.
A system in which government regulation of the economy is absent or limited. Relative to other advanced democracies, the United States has traditionally had less market regulation.
Policies that allocate state resources into an area that lawmakers perceive needs to be promoted. For example, leaders today believe that students should have access to the Internet. In order to accomplish this goal, telephone users are being taxed to provide money for schools to establish connections to the Internet.
policies that take resources from one person or group in society and allocate them to a different, usually more disadvantaged, group. The United States has traditionally opposed redistributive policies to the disadvantaged.
the rules that explain the implementation of laws. When the legislature passes a law, it sets broad principles for implementation; how the law is actually implemented is determined by regulations written by executive branch agencies. The regulation-writing process allows interested parties to influence the eventual shape of the law in practice.
iron triangle relationships
A term coined by students of American politics to refer to the relationships of mutual support formed by particular government agencies, members of congressional committees or sub-committees, and interest groups in various policy areas. they can, however, stay in office long after they have lost popular support.
Marbury v. Madison
the 1803 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the federal courts inherently had the authority to review the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress and signed by the president. The ruling, initially used sparingly, placed the courts centrally in the system of checks and balances.
Checks and Balances
A governmental system of divided authority in which coequal branches can restrain each other's actions. For example, the U.S. president must sign legislation passed by Congress for it to become law. If the president vetoes a bill, Congress can override that veto by a two-thirds vote of the Senate and the House of Representatives
A legislative body with two houses, such as the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. Just as the U.S. Constitution divides responsibilities between the branches of the federal government and between the federal government and the states, it divides legislative responsibilities between the Senate and the House.
The 2010 U.S. elections saw the emergence of a new political movement—the Tea Party. Despite its name, it is a social movement not a party, and largely organizes within the Republican Party. It reflects the latest in a long line of U.S. populist movements that appear in eras when the national government is perceived to be distant and out of touch
Political Action Committee (PAC)
A narrow form of interest group that seeks to influence policy by making contributions to candidates and parties in U.S. politics.
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