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Terms in this set (49)
public policya choice that the government makes in response to a political issue. a policy is a course of action taken with regard to some problempolicy impactsthe effects a policy has on people and problems. impacts are analyzed to see how well a policy has met its goal and at what cost.democracyA system of selecting policymakers and of organizing government so that policy represents and responds to the public's preferences.majority rulea fundamental principle of traditional democratic theory. in a democracy, choosing among alternatives requires that the majority's desire be respectedminority rightsa principle of traditional democratic theory that guarantees rights to those who do not belong to majoritiesrepresentationa basic principle of traditional democratic theory that describes the relationship between the few leaders and the many followerspluralisma theory of american democracy emphasizing that the policymaking process is very open to the participation of all groups with shared interests, with no single group usually dominating. pluralists tend to believe that as a result, public interests generally prevailselitisma theory of american democracy contending that an upper-class elite holds the power and makes policy, regardless of the formal governmental organizationhyperpluralisma theory of american democracy contending that groups are so strong that government, which gives in to the many different groups, is thereby weakened.policy gridlocka condition that occurs when interests conflict and no coalition is strong enough to form a majority and establish policy, so nothing gets done.political culturean overall set of values widely shared within a societyegalitarianismthe belief that all people should have equal political, economic, social, and civil rightsindividualismthe belief that people can and should get ahead on their ownlaissez-faireIdea that the government should play as small a role as possible in economic affairs. (free markets, limited government)populismpolitical philosophy supporting the rights of average citizens in their struggle against privileged elites.gross domestic productthe sum total of the value of all the goods and services produced in a year in a nationconstitutionA nation's basic law. It creates political institutions, assigns or divides powers in government, and often provides certain guarantees to citizens. Constitutions can be either written or unwritten.declaration of independencethe document approved by representatives of the American colonies in 1776 that stated their grievances against the british monarch and declared their independencenatural rightsrights inherent in human beings, not dependent on governments, which include life, liberty, and property. the concept of natural rights was central to English philosopher john locke's theories about government and was widely accepted among America's Foundersarticles of confederationthe first constitution of the united states, adopted by congress in 1777 and enacted in 1781. the articles established a national legislature, the continental congress, but most authority rested with the state legislatures.U.S. ConstitutionThe document written in 1787 and ratified in 1788 that sets forth the institutional structure of the U.S. government and the tasks these institutions perform. It replaced the Articles of Confederation.factionsGroups such as parties or interest groups, which according to James Madison arose from the unequal distribution of property or wealth and had the potential to cause instability in government.new jersey planThe proposal at the Constitutional Convention that called for equal representation of each state in Congress regardless of the state's population.virginia planThe proposal at the Constitutional Convention that called for representation of each state in Congress in proportion to that state's share of the U.S. population.connecticut compromiseThe compromise reached at the Constitutional Convention that established two houses of Congress: the House of Representatives, in which representation is based on a state's share of the U.S. population, and the Senate, in which each state has two representatives.writ of habeus corpusa court order requiring jailers to explain to a judge why they are holding a prisoner in custodyseparation of powersA feature of the Constitution that requires each of the three branches of government—executive, legislative, and judicial—to be relatively independent of the others so that one cannot control the others. Power is shared among these three institutions.checks and balancesFeatures of the Constitution that limit government's power by requiring each branch to obtain the consent of the others for its actions, limiting and balancing power among the branches.republica form of government in which the people select representatives to govern them and make lawsfederalistssupporters of the u.s. constitution at the time the states were contemplating its adoption.anti-federalistsopponents of the u.s. constitution at the time when the states were contemplating its adoption.federalists papersa collection of 85 essays written by alexander hamilton, john jay, and james madison under the name "Publius" to defend the constitution in detailbill of rightsthe first ten amendments to the u.s. constitution, drafted in response to some of the anti-federalist concerns. these amendments define such basic liberties such as freedom of religion, speech, and press and guarantee defendants' rights.Equal Rights AmendmentA constitutional amendment passed by Congress in 1972 stating that "equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." The amendment failed to acquire the necessary support from three-fourths of the state legislatures.Marbry v. Madisonthe 1803 case in which the supreme court asserted its right to determine the meaning of the u.s. constitution. the decision established the court's power of judicial review over acts of congressjudicial reviewThe power of the courts to determine whether acts of Congress, and by implication the executive, are in accord with the U.S. Constitution.federalisma way of organizing a nation so that two or more levels of government have formal authority over the same land and people. It is a system of shared power between units of government.unitary governmentsa way of organizing a nation so that all power resides in the central government. most national governments today are unitary.intergovernmental relationsThe workings of the federal system- the entire set of interactions among national, state, and local governments