ISOS Honors: What is democracy?

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Direct Democracy
A form of government in which citizens rule directly and not through representatives.
Republic
A political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them.
Representative Democracy
A system of government in which citizens elect representatives, or leaders, to make decisions about the laws for all the people.
Referendum
A legislative act is referred for final approval to a popular vote by the electorate
Recall
The act of removing an official by petition.
Federalism
A system in which power is divided between the national and state governments.
Federal
National.
Decentralized
Governmental power is spread among more than one person or group.
Centralized
A federal union in which the federal government will dominate.
Majority Rule
Governance according to the expressed preferences of the majority.
Majority Tyranny
Situation in which majority uses advantage in numbers to suppress rights of minority.
Supermajority
A majority greater than a simple majority of one over half, e.g., 3/5, 2/3.
Natural Right
Right that belongs to all humans from birth, such as life, liberty, and property.
Separation of Powers
The division of power among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government.
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.
Executive Branch
The branch of the United States government that is responsible for carrying out the laws.
Legislative Branch
The branch of government that makes the laws.
Judicial Branch
The branch of government that interprets laws
Impeach
To charge with a crime or misdemeanor.
Plutocracy
A political system governed by the wealthy people.
Theocracy
A government run by religious leaders.
Oligarchy
A political system governed by a few people.
Autocracy
A political theory favoring unlimited authority by a single individual.
Tyranny
Dominance through threat of punishment and violence.
Atheist
Someone who denies the existence of god.
Monotheist
A believer in one god.
Polytheist
A person who believes in more than one god.
Monogamy
Having only one spouse at a time.
Polygamy
Having more than one spouse at a time.
Veto
A vote that blocks a decision.
Cabinet
Persons appointed by a head of state to head executive departments of government and act as official advisers.
Ambassador
A person sent to a foreign country to represent his or her government.
Civil Court
Court in which lawsuits are heard. In contrast, criminal cases are heard in criminal court.