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Terms to Know


the system or form by which a community or other political unit is governed

public policies

things government decides to do, example: taxation, crime control, national defense, education, etc.

legislative power

the power to make a law and to frame public policies

executive power

the power to execute, enforce, and administer law

judicial power

the power to interpret laws, to determine their meaning, and to settle disputes that arise within the society


the body of fundamental laws setting out the principles, structures, and processes of a government


a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition etc.)


a form of government in which the supreme authority rests with the people


a politically organized body of people under a single government


having supreme power within its own territory; neither subordinate nor responsible to any other authority


a political theory favoring unlimited authority by a single individual


A system of government in which a small group holds power

unitary government

a centralized government in which all government powers belong to a single central agency

federal government

The powers of government are divided between a central government and several local governments.

division of powers

how the power is distributed within a government


a union of political organizations

presidential government

a form of government in which the executive and legislative branches of the government are separate, independent, and coequal

parliamentary government

A form of government in which the executive branch is made up of the prime minister, or premier, and that official's cabinet

majority rule

the doctrine that the numerical majority of an organized group can make decisions binding on the whole group


an accommodation in which both sides make concessions


A person with certain rights and responsibilities in his or her country or community

free enterprise system

An economic system in which individuals depend on supply and demand and the profit margin to determine what to produce, how to produce, how much to produce, and for whom to produce. The quest for improvement financially and materially motivates consumers and producers.

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