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1

The system for implementing decisions made through the political process.

government

2

Groups of like-minded people who try to influence the government. American government is set up to avoid domination by any one of these groups

factions

3

The division of government power across the judicial, executive, and legislative branches

separation of powers

4

A system in which each branch of government has some power over the others

checks and balances

5

The division of power across the local, state, and national levels of government

federalism

6

Services or actions (such as protecting the environment) that, once provided to one person, become available to everyone. Government is typically needed to provide public goods because they will be under-provided by the free market

public goods

7

Situations in which the members of a group would benefit by working together to produce some outcome, but each individual is better off refusing to cooperate and reaping benefits from those who do the work

collective action problems

8

The incentive to benefit from others' work without making a contribution, which leads individuals in a collective action situation to refuse to work together

free rider problem

9

The process that determines what government does

politics

10

An economic system based on competition among businesses without government interference

free market

11

Policies, generally favored by Democratic politicians, that use taxation to attempt to create social equality (for example, higher taxation of the rich to provide programs for the poor)

redistributive tax policies

12

Political conflict in the United States between "red-state" Americans, who tend to have strong religious beliefs, and "blue-state" Americans, who tend to be more secular

culture wars

13

A cohesive set of ideas and beliefs used to organize and evaluate the political world

ideology

14

The side of the ideological spectrum defined by support for lower taxes, a free market, and a more limited government; generally associated with Republicans

conservative

15

The side of the ideological spectrum defined by support for stronger government programs and more market regulation; generally associated with Democrats

Liberal

16

Those who prefer very limited government and therefore tend to be conservative on issues such as social welfare policy, environmental policy, and government funding for education but liberal on issues involving personal liberty such as free speech, abortion, and the legalization of drugs

libertarians

17

Unwritten rules and informal agreements among citizens and elected officials about how government and society should operate.

norms

18

Government by the people. In most contexts, this means representative democracy in which the people elect leaders to enact policies. Democracies must have fair elections with at least two options

democracy

19

Political freedom, such as the freedom of speech, press, assembly, and religion. These and other legal and due process rights protecting individuals from government control are outlined in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution

liberty

20

In the context of American politics, "equality" means equality before the law, political equality (one person, one vote), and equality of opportunity (the equal chance for everyone to realize his or her potential), but not material equality (equal income or wealth)

equality

21

Sent to the states for ratification in 1777, these were the first attempt at a new American government. It was later decided that the Articles restricted national government too much, and they were replaced by the Constitution.

Articles of confederation

22

A political system in which the powers of the government are restricted to prevent tyranny by protecting property and individual rights

limited government

23

A form of government in which power is held by a single person, or monarch, who comes to power through inheritance rather than election

monarchy

24

An uprising of about 1,500 men in Massachusetts in 1786 and 1787 to protest oppressive laws and gain payment of war debts. The unrest prompted calls for a new constitution.

shays rebellion

25

As understood by James Madison and the framers, the belief that a form of government in which the interests of the people are represented through elected leaders is the best form of government. Our form of government is known as a republican democracy.

republicanism

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The idea that government gains its legitimacy through regular elections in which the people living under that government participate to elect their leaders

consent of the goverened

27

Also known as "unalienable rights," these rights are defined in the Declaration of Independence as "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." The Founders believed that upholding these rights should be the government's central purpose

natural rights

28

Those at the Constitutional Convention who favored a strong national government and a system of separated powers

federalists

29

Those at the Constitutional Convention who favored strong state governments and feared that a strong national government would be a threat to individual rights

anti-federalists

30

The idea that having a variety of parties and interests within a government will strengthen the system, ensuring that no group possesses total control

pluarlism