The discrepancy between what citizens would like their agents to do and how the agents actually behave.
Someone who makes and implements decisions on behalf of someone else.
The right to make and implement a decision.
A game where each player prefers not to yield to the other and the worst possible outcome occurs when both players do not yield.
An action taken by a group of like-minded individuals to achieve a common goal.
Public (Collective) Goods
Goods that are collectively produced and freely available for anyone's consumption.
Settlement in which each side concedes some of its preferences in order to secure others.
The difference between what a person ideally would prefer and what the group with which that person makes collective decisions actually does. Individuals pay conformity costs whenever collective decisions produce policy outcomes that do not best serve their interests.
A document outlining the formal rules and institutions of government and the limits placed on its powers.
A system of government in which citizens make policy decisions by voting on legislation themselves rather than by delegating that authority to their representatives.
Free Rider Problem
A situation in which the individuals can receive the benefits from a collective activity whether or not they helped to pay for it, leaving them with no incentive to contribute.
The principle that decisions should reflect the preferences of more than half of those voting. Decision making by majority rule is one of the fundamental procedures of democracy.
A vote in which the winning candidate receives the greatest number of votes (but not necessarily a majority; 50%+).
The process by which individuals and groups reach agreement on a common course of action even as they continue to disagree on the goals that action ins intended to achieve.
An officeholder's actual influence with other officeholders, and, as a consequence, over the government's actions.
Individuals' choices, reflecting economic situation, religious values, ethnic identity, or other valued interests.
An individual with the authority to make some decision. This authority may be delegated to an agent who is supposed to act on the principal's behalf.
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.
Benefits and services over which the owner has full control of their use.
To prevent a common resource from being over-exploited by tying the benefit of its consumption to its cost.
A political system in which citizens select the government officials who, acting as their agents, deliberate and commit the citizenry to a course of collective action.
A form of democracy in which power is vested in the elected representatives.
Separation of Powers
The distribution of government powers among several political institutions. i.e. 3 branches of gov't in the U.S.
A majority larger than a simple 51% majority, which is required for extraordinary legislative actions such as amending the Constitutions or certain congressional procedures. i.e. Senate requires at least 60 votes to stop a filibuster.
Tragedy of the Commons
A situation in which group members over-exploit a common resource, causing its destruction.
Transaction (Decision) Costs
The costs of doing political business reflected in the time and effort required to compare preferences and negotiate compromises in making collective decisions.
Articles of Confederation
The compact among the thirteen original states that formed the bases of the first national government of the United States from 1777 to 1789, when it was supplanted by the Constitution.
Legislature composed of two houses.
Bill of Rights
First 10 amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution that grants Congress the authority to regulate commerce with other nations and among the states.
Declaration of Independence
Document drafted by Thomas Jefferson and Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, declaring the independence of the U.S. against Great Britain.
Body of electors in each state, chosen by voters, who formally elect the president and vice president of the United States. Each state's number of electors equals the number of members that state has in the House. An absolute majority of the total electoral vote is required to elect a president and vice president.
Full Faith/Credit Clause
Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution that states, "Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public acts, records and judicial proceedings of every other state".
Agreement of the Virginia and New Jersey plans, created at the Constitutional Convention (1787). Lower chamber of Congress (House of Representatives) members are elected by the people and the upper house (Senate) are chosen by members of the House.
Necessary and Proper Clause
Last clause of Article I, Section 8 of Constitution that grants Congress the authority to make all laws that are "necessary and proper" and to execute those laws.
New Jersey Plan
Proposed government where each state had equal representation in Congress. William Patterson, New Jersey delegate.
A theory describing a political system in which all significant social interests freely compete with one another for influence over the government's policy decisions.
Privileges and Immunities Clause
Clause in Section I of the 14th amendment, stating that "no State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States."
Article VI. National laws are "supreme" law of the land and take procedure over any laws adopted by states or localities.
Government legislature ruled under one house.
Drafted by James Madison at the Constituional Convention (1787). Proposed a tripartite national government, provided for a popularly elected legislature that would dominate national policy-making.
A broad grant of money given by the federal government to a state government. The grant specifies the general area in which the funds may be spent but leaves it to the state to determine the specific allocations.
A system of government in which the federal government and state governments each have mutually exclusive spheres of actions.
Allows Congress to "make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers."
The explicit powers given to Congress by the Constitution in Article I, Section 8. These include powers of taxation, coinage of money, regulation of commerce, and provision of the national defense.
System of government where power is divided between a central government and several regional governments.
Funds given by Congress to state or local governments for a specific purpose.
Shifting to the national government repsonsabilities traditionally exercised by the states.
Lawes passed by Congress that override or preempt state or local policies. The power derives from the supremacy clause (Aritcle VI).
Race to the Bottom
When states "race", or compete, to provide a minimum level or services or regulation. There remains much debate over whether or not states do indeed race toward the bottom.
Shared (Cooperative) Federalism
A system in which the national and state governments share in providing citizens with a set of goods.
Amendment that offers explicit endorsement of federalism to be found in the Constitution.
A system of government in which a single government unit holds the power to govern the nation.
Policies or programs designed to expand opportunities for minorities and women and usually requiring that an organization take measures to increase the number or proportion of minorities and women in its membership or employment.
Laws enacted by southern legislatures after the Civil War that prevented former slaves from voting and holding certain jobs, among other prohibitions.
Constituional and legal protections FROM government interference. i.e. Freedom of assembly, speech, religion.
Constitutional and legal protections BY the government. Protect individuals from arbitrary or discriminatory treatment at the hands of the government. i.e. Due Process Clause
Due Process Clause
5th and 14th amendment. Protects citizens from arbitrary action by the national and state governments.
Equal Protection Clause
A 14th amendment clause guaranteeing all citizens equal protection of the laws. The courts have interpreted the clause to bar discrimination against minorities and women.
Statues stating that only those people whose grandfather had votes before Reconstruction could voted, unless they passed a literacy or wealth test. Used to disenfranchise African Americans.
Jim Crow Laws
A series of laws enacted in the late 19th century by southern states to institute segregation. Created "whites only" public accommodations.
Legal barrier used to exclude African Americans from voting. Registrars would require African Americans to read and interpret arcane passages of the state's constitution.
Tax imposed on people when they register to vote. Used to disenfranchise black voters. 24th amendment passage in 1964 made it unconstitutional.
Specific shares of college admissions, government contracts, and jobs set aside for population groups that have suffered from pas discrimination. Supreme Court has rejected the use of these whenever it has encountered them.
Identifying the suspects of a crime solely on the basis of their race or ethnicity.
Political and social practice of separating whites and blacks into dual and highly unequal public accommodations.
Separate but Equal Doctrine
Supreme Court initiated this doctrine that separate but equal facilities for blacks and whites are constitutional under the protection clause of the 14th amendment.
Women who campaigned in the early 20th century for the right of women to vote.
Practice that permitted political parties to exclude African Americans from voting in primary elections. Disenfranchised black voters in the southern states because Democrats usually won the elections in the south in those days.
Officially abolished and continues to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime.
Citizenship Clause- blacks could not be citizens of the United States. (Dred Scott vs. Sanford)
Due Process Clause prohibits state and local governments from depriving persons of life, liberty, or property without certain steps being taken to ensure fairness
Its Equal Protection Clause requires each state to provide equal protection under the law to all people within its jurisdiction. Basis for Brown v. Board of Education (1954).
Prohibits each government in the United States from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen's "race, color, or previous condition of servitude".
Prohibits any United States citizen to be denied the right to vote based on sex.