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Chapter 1 & 2 American Government

articles of confederation

plan of government adopted by the Continental Congressafter the American Revolution


a form of government in which a single person holds unlimited political power


an adjustment of opposing principles or systems by modifying some aspect of each

confederate government

an alliance of independent states with a centralized government that has only the power the states assigned to it


a joining of several people for a common purpose


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


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


a form of government in which the leader has absolute power and authority

direct democracy

the will of the people is translated into public policy by the people, themselves, in mass meetings

division of powers

basic principle of federalism: the constitutional provisions by which governmental powers are divided on a geographic basis

executive power

the power to execute, enforce, and administer law

federal government

a form of government in which powers are divided between a central government and several local governments

free enterprise system

an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods


the institution through which a society makes and enforces its public policies

indirect (representative) democracy

a small group of people, chosen by the population, act as representatives, expressing the popular will

judicial power

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

law of supply and demand

a law which states when supplies of goods become plentiful, prices tend to drop. When supplies become scarcer prices tend to rise

legislative power

the power to make law and frame pubic policies

limited government

government that does not have absolute power over it's people

mixed economy

an economy in which private enterprise exists in combination with a considerable amount of government regulation and promotion


a form of government in which the power to rule is held by a small, usually self-appointed elite

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

popular sovereignty

basic principle of American government; asserts that the people are the source of any and all government power

presidential government

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

public policy

all of the many goals that a government pursues in all of the many areas of human affairs in which it is involved


having supreme power within its own territory; neither subordinate or responsible to any other territory


a body of people (population) living in a defined territory who have a government with the power to make and enforce law without the consent of any higher authority (sovereignty)

unitary government

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

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