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the ability of one person to get another person to act in accordance with the first person's intentions


the right to use power


political authority conferred by law or by a state or national constitution


the rule of many

direct or participatory democracy

a government in which all or most citizens participate directly

representative democracy

a government in which leaders make decisions by winning a competitive struggle for the popular vote


persons who possess a disproportionate share of some valued resource, like money or power

marxist view

view that the government is dominated by a few top leaders, most of whom are outside of government

bureaucratic view

view that the government is dominated by appointed officials

pluralist view

the belief that competition among all affected interests shapes public policy


a human right based on nature or god

articles of confederation

a weak constitution that governed america during the revolutionary war

constitutional convention

meeting in philadelphia in 1787 that produced a new constitution

shay's rebellion

a 1787 rebellion in which ex-revolutionary war soldiers attempted to prevent foreclosures of farms as a result of high interest rates and taxes

virginia plan

proposal to create a strong national government

new jersey plan

proposal to create a weak national government

great compromise

plan to have a popularly elected house based on state population and a state-selected senate, with two members for each state


a government in which elected representatives make the decision

judicial review

the power of the courts to declare laws unconstitutional


government authority shared by national and state governments

checks and balances

authority shared by three branches of government

enumerated powers

powers given to the national government alone

reserved powers

powers given to the state government alone

concurrent powers

powers shared by the national and state government

separation of powers

constitutional authority is shared by three different branches of government


a group with a distinct political interest


those who favor a stronger national government


those who favor a weaker national government


an alliance of factions

habeas corpus

an order to produce an arrested person before a judge

bill of attainder

a law that declares a person, without a trial, to be guilty of a crime

ex post facto law

a law that makes an act criminal although the act was legal when it was committed

bill of rights

first ten amendments to the constitution


a new provision in the constitution that has been ratified by the states

line-item veto

an executive's ability to block a particular provision in a bill passed by the legislature


the effort to transfer responsibility for many public programs and services from the federal government to the states

block grants

money from the national government that states can spend within broad guidelines determined by washington

necessary and proper clause

section of the constitution allowing congress to pass all laws necessary and proper to its duties, and which has permitted congress to exercise powers not specifically given to it by the constitution


the doctrine that a state can declare null and void a federal law that, in the state's opinion, violated the constitution

dual federalism

doctrine holding that the national government is supreme in its sphere, the states are supreme in theirs, and the two spheres should be kept separate

police power

state power to enact laws promoting health, safety, and morals


process that permits voters to put legislative measures directly on the ballot


procedure enabling voters to reject a measure passed by the legislature


procedure whereby voters can remove an elected official from office


money given by the national government to the states

categorical grants

federal grants for specific purposes, such as building an airport

revenue sharing

federal sharing of a fixed percentage of its revenue with the states

conditions of aid

terms set by the national government that states must meet if they are to receive certain federal funds


terms set by the national government that states must meet whether or not they accept federal grants

political culture

a coherent way of thinking about how politics and government ought to be carried out

civic duty

a belief that one has an obligation to participate in civic and political affairs

civic competence

a belief that one can affect government policies

class consciousness

a belief that you are a member of an economic group whose interests are opposed to people in other such groups


a belief that morality and religion ought to be of decisive importance


a belief that personal freedom and solving social problems are more important than religion

political efficacy

a belief that you can take part in politics or that the government will respond to the citizenry

internal efficacy

the ability to understand and take part in politics

external efficacy

the willingness of the state to respond to the citizenry

public opinion

how people think or feel about particular things


a survey of public opinion

random sample

method of selecting from a population in which each person has an equal probability of being selected

sampling error

the difference between the results of random samples taken at the same time

exit polls

polls based on interviews conducted on election day with randomly selected voters

political socialization

process by which background traits influence one's political views

gender gap

difference in political views between men and women

political ideology

a more or less consistent set of beliefs about what policies government ought to pursue

political elites

persons with a disproportionate share of political power

voting-age population

citizens who are eligible to vote after reaching the minimum age requirement

registered voters

people who are registered to vote

literacy test

a requirement that citizens pass a literacy test in order to register to vote

poll tax

a requirement that citizens pay a tax in order to register to vote

grandfather clause

a clause in registration laws allowing people who do not meet registration requirements to vote if they or their ancestors had voted before 1867

white primary

the practice of keeping blacks from voting in the souther states' primaries through arbitrary use of registration requirements and intimidation

australian ballot

a government-printed ballot of uniform dimensions to be cast in secret that many states adopted around 1890 to reduce voting fraud associated with party-printed ballots cast in public


people who tend to participate in all forms of politics

political party

a group that seeks to elect candidates to public office

mugwumps or progressives

republican party faction of the 1890 to the 1910s, composed of reformers who opposed patronage

critical or realignment period

periods when a major, lasting shift occurs in the popular coalition supporting one or both parties

split ticket

voting for candidates of different parties for various offices in the same election

straight ticket

voting for candidates who are all of the same party

office-bloc ballot

a ballot listing all candidates of a given office under the name of that office; also called a massachusetts ballot

party-column ballot

a ballot listing all candidates of a given party together under the name of that part; also called an indiana ballot

national convention

a meeting of party delegates held every four years

national committee

delegates who run party affairs between national conventions

congressional campaign committee

a party committee in congress that provides funds to members and would-be members

national chairman

day-to-day party manager elected by the national committee


party leaders and elected officials who become delegates to the national convention without having to run in primaries or caucuses

political machine

a party organization that recruits members by dispensing patronage

ideological party

a party that value principled stands on issues above all else

solidary incentives

the social rewards that lead people to join political organizations

sponsored party

a local or state political party that is largely supported by another organization in the community

personal following

the political support provided to a candidate on the basis of personal popularity and networks

two-party system

an electoral system with two dominant parties that compete in national elections

plurality system

an electoral system in which the winner is the person who gets the most votes, even if he or she does not receive a majority


a meeting of party members to select delegates backing one or another primary candidate


the person already holding an elective office


the alleged tendency of candidates to win more votes in an election because of the presence at the top of the ticket of a better-known candidates, such as the president

political action committee

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


drawing the boundaries of legislative districts so that they are unequal in population


drawing the boundaries of legislative districts in bizarre or unusual shapes to favor one party

sophomore surge

an increase in the votes congressional candidates usually get when they first run for reelection

position issues

an issue about which the public is divided and rival candidates or political parties adopt different policy positions

valence issue

an issue about which the public is united and rival candidates or political parties adopt similar positions in hopes that each will be thought to best represent those widely shared beliefs

general election

an election held to choose which candidate will hold office

primary election

an election held to choose candidates for office

closed primary

a primary election in which voting is limited to already registered party members

open primary

a primary election in which voters may choose in which party to vote as they enter the polling place

blanket primary

a primary election in which each voter may vote for candidates from both parties

runoff primary

a second primary election held when no candidate wins a majority of the votes in the first primary

independent expenditures

spending by political action committees, corporations, or labor unions that is done to help a party or candidate but is done independently of them

soft money

funds obtained by political parties that are spent on party activities, such as get out the vote drives, but not on behalf of a specific candidate

527 organizations

organizations that, under section 527 of the internal revenue code, raise and spend money to advance political causes

prospective voting

voting for a candidate because you favor his or her ideas for handling issues

retrospective voting

voting for a candidate because you like his or her past actions in office

bicameral legislature

a lawmaking body made up of two chambers of parts


an attempt to defeat a bill in the senate by talking indefinitely, thus preventing the senate from taking action to the bill

marginal districts

political districts in which candidates elected to the house of representatives win in close elections, typically by less than 55 percent

safe districts

districts in which incumbents win by margins of 55 percent or more

conservative coalition

an alliance between republican and conservative democrats

majority leader

the legislative leader elected by party members holding the majority of seats in the house or the senate

minority leader

the legislative leader elected by party members holding a minority of seats in the house or the senate


a senator or representative who helps the party leader stay informed about what party members are thinking

party polarization

a vote in which a majority of democratic legislators oppose a majority of republican legislators


an association of congress members created to advancer a political ideology or a regional, ethnic, or economic interest

standing committees

permanently established legislative committees that consider and are responsible for legislation within a certain subject ares

select committees

congressional committees appointed for a limited time and purpose

joint committees

committees on which both senators and representatives serve

conference committees

a joint committee appointed to resolve differences in the senate and house versions of the same bill

public bill

a legislative bill that deals with matters of general concern

private bill

a legislative bill that deals only with specific, private, personal, or local matters

simple resolution

an expression of opinion either in the house or senate to settle procedural matters in either body

concurrent resolution

an expression of opinion without the force of law that requires the approval of both the house and the senate, but not the president

joint resolution

a formal expression of congressional opinion that must be approved by both houses of congress and by the president; constitutional amendments need not be signed by the president

multiple referral

a congressional process whereby a bill may be referred to several committees

sequential referral

a congressional process by which a speaker may send a bill to a second committee after the first is finished acting

discharge petition

a device by which any member of the house, after a committee has had the bill for thirty days, may petition to have it brought to the floor

closed rule

an order form the house rules committee that sets a time limit on debate; forbids a bill from being amened on the floor

open rule

an order from the house rules committee that permits a bill to be amended on the floor

restrictive rule

an order from the house rules committee that permits certain kinds of amendments but not others to be made into a bill on the floor


the minimum number of members who must be present for business to be conducted in congress

quorum call

a roll call in either house of congress to see whether the minimum number of representatives required to conduct business is present

cloture rule

a rule used by the senate to end or limit debate

christmas tree bill

a bill that has lots of riders


a provision added to a piece of legislation that is not germane to the bill's purpose


a procedure to keep the senate going during a filibuster in which the disputed bill is shelved temporarily so that the senate can get on with other business

voice vote

a congressional voting procedure in which members shout "yea" in approval or "nay" in disapproval, permitting members to vote quickly or anonymously on bills

division vote

a congressional voting procedure in which members stand and are counted

teller vote

a congressional voting procedure in which members pass between two tellers, the yeas first and the nays second

roll-call vote

a congressional voting procedure that consists of members answering year or nay to their names

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