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Method of maintaining, managing, and gaining control of government (who gets what, when, and how)


A system in which power is divided between the national and state governments

Dual Federalism

An interpretation of federalism in which the states and the national government have separate jurisdictions and responsibilities

Protective democracy

A theory of democracy that places the highest priority on national security.

Developmental democracy

A model of democracy that stresses the development of virtuous citizens

Political Economy

Analyzes patterns of class domination and economic power

Participatory democracy

a system of government where rank-and-file citizens rule themselves rather than electing representatives to govern on their behalf

Pluralist democracy

A theory of democracy that holds that citizen membership in groups is the key to political power.

Social contract

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


A belief that government can and should achieve justice and equality of opportunity.

Federalist #10

An essay composed by James Madison which argues that liberty is safest in a large republic because many interests (factions) exist. Such diversity makes tyranny by the majority more difficult since ruling coalitions will always be unstable.

Federalist #51

Argues that separation of powers within the national government is the best way to prevent the concentration of power in the hands of one person or a single group.

Necessary and proper clause

Clause of the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3) setting forth the implied powers of Congress. It states that Congress, in addition to its express powers, has the right to make all laws necessary and proper to carry out all powers the Constitution vests in the national government

Articles of Confederation

1st Constitution of the U.S. 1781-1788 (weaknesses-no executive, no judicial, no power to tax, no power to regulate trade)

Supremacy clause

Article 6 of the Constitution, which makes the Constitution, national laws, and treaties supreme over state laws when the national government is acting within its constitutional limits.

Unitary system

A government that gives all key powers to the national or central government

Critical election

Sharp changes in the existing patterns of party loyalty due to changing social and economic conditions

Party realignment

The displacement of the majority party by the minority party, usually during a critical election period

McCulloch v. Maryland

1819, Marshall as Chief Justice, Settled issue of whether Congress has power to create a bank even though it is not specifically called for in the constitution. Marshall ruled that the federal government has implied powers, including the power to create national bank. It also said that a state could not tax a federal institution.

Checks and Balances

A system that allows each branch of government to limit the powers of the other branches in order to prevent abuse of power

Judicial review

Allows the court to determine the constitutionality of laws


A group or clique within a larger group, party, or government

Interest groups

Groups of people who work together for similar interests or goals

Political parties

organization that tries to influence gov. policy by promoting its ideas and backing candidates for office

Free rider problem

the problem faced by interest groups when citizens can reap the benefits of interest group action without actually joining, participating in, or contributing money to such groups.

Prisoner's dilemma

A situation in which two (or more) actors cannot agree to cooperate for fear that the other will find its interest best served by reneging on an agreement.

Separation of powers

Constitutional division of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, with the legislative branch making law, the executive applying and enforcing the law, and the judiciary interpreting the law

New Deal

A plan by President Franklin Roosevelt intended to bring economic relief, recovery, and reforms to the country after the Great Depression. (1933-1942)


An economic system based on private ownership of capital

Limited government

Basic principle of American government which states that government is restricted in what it may do, and each individual has rights that government cannot take away


A political ideology that is opposed to all government action except as necessary to protect life and property., An ideology that cherishes individual liberty and insists on minimal government, promoting a free market economy, a noninterventionist foreign policy, and an absence of regulation in moral, economic, and social life.

Parliamentary system

A system of government in which the legislature selects the prime minister or president, a system of government in which both executive and legislative functions reside in an elected assembly. The head of the government must be a current member of the legislature.

Federalist party

A political party created in the 1790s and influenced by Alexander Hamilton that wanted to strengthen the federal government and promote industry and trade.

Jeffersonian party

The party formed by thomas Jefferson that derived its coalition from the argarian party. It is also known as the Democratic Republic

Political Action Committees

A committee set up by a corporation, labor union, or interest group that raises and spends campaign money from voluntary donations

Super PAC

Organization set up after Citizens United to engage in independent electioneering. Can receive unlimited donations but cannot coordinate with a candidate. Causing amount of money spent on elections to skyrocket (SuperPacs have spent $85 million so far in Election 2012)

527 PAC

Non-profit and unregulated interest groups that focus on specific causes or policy positions and attempt to influence voters

501(c) (4)

Nonprofit group that is permitted to lobby and campaign


According to Lester Milbrath, a "communication, by someone other than a citizen acting on his own behalf, directed to a governmental decisionmaker with the hope of influencing his decision."

Public interest group

an organization that seeks a collective good that will not selectively and materially benefit the members of the group.

Direct lobbying

paid professional representatives of the interest group meet privately with government officials to suggest legislation and to present arguments supporting their positions.

Indirect lobbying

attempts to influence government policymakers by encouraging the general public to put pressure on them

Authoritarian government

power to the state rather than the people to decide how they ought to live there lives. (people cannot effectively claim rights against the state)


A consistent set of beliefs by groups/individuals

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