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A persistent word in our vocabulary that indicates Americans are bound by common values and hopes.

civic competence

The belief that one can affect government policies.

civic duty

That feeling that one ought to do one's share in community affairs, irrespective of concrete rewards.


A kind of church in which members control activities, whether erecting a building, hiring a preacher, or managing its finances.

equal opportunity

The condition in which people, although not guaranteed equal rewards, expect to have comparable chances to compete for those rewards.

external efficacy

The belief that the system will respond to what citizens do.


The inclination to believe that one's efforts and rewards in life are to be conducted and enjoyed by oneself, apart from larger social groupings.

internal efficacy

The confidence in one's own ability to understand and take part in political affairs.


The condition of being relatively free of governmental restraints.

opposition party

A political party that opposes the majority party but within the context of the legal rules of the game.


People who believe that moral rules are derived from God, are unchanging, and are more important than individual choice.

political culture

A distinctive and patterned way of thinking about how political life ought to be carried out.

political efficacy

A citizen's capacity to understand and influence political events.

political ideology

A relatively consistent set of views of the policies government ought to pursue.

political tolerance

The willingness to allow people with whom one disagrees to have the full protection of the laws when they express their opinions.


People who believe that moral rules are derived in part from an individual's beliefs and the circumstances of modern life.


A word used to describe values and actions not consistent with the American way of life.

work ethic (protestant)

A set of values that includes working hard, saving one's money, and obeying the law.

class consciousness

The awareness of belonging to a particular socioeconomic group whose interests are different from those of others.

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