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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Key Terms AP Government

TermsDefinitions
government The institutions and processes through which public policies are made for a society
public goods Goods, such as clean air and clean water, that everyone must share
politics Who gets what, when, and how. Politics produces authoritative decisions about public issues
political particiapation All the activities used by citizens to influence the selections of political leaders or the policies they pursue. The most common, but not the only, means of political participation in a democracy is voting. Others include protest and civil disobedience
single issue groups Groups that have a narrow interest, tend to dislike compromise, and often draw membership from people new to politics. These features distinguish them from traditional interest groups
policymaking system The process by which political problems are communicated by the voters and acted upon by government policymakers.
linkage institutions The channels or access points through which issues and people's policy preferences get on the government's policy agenda. In the United States, elections, political parties, interest groups, and the mass media are the three main linkage institutions
policy agenda The list of subjects or problems to which government officials, and peoople outside of government closely associated with those officals, are paying some serious attention at any given time.
political issue An issue that arises when people disagree about a problem and a public policy choice
policymaking institutions The branches of gov't charged with taking action political issues. the U.S. Constitution established three policymaking institutions (Congress, the presidency, and the courts). The power of the bureaucracy is often considered a fourth.
public policy A choice that government makes in response to a political issue. A policy is a course of action taken with regard to some problem.
democracy A system of selecting policymakers and of organizing government so that policy represents and responds to the public's preferences.
majority rule A fundamental principle of traditional democratic theory. In a democracy, choosing among alternatives requires that the majority's desire be respected.
minority rights A principle of traditional democratice theory that guarentees rights to those who do not belong to majorities and allows that they might join majorities through persuasion and reasoned argument
representation A basic principle of traditional democratic theory that describes the relationship between the few leaders and many followers
pluralist theory A theory of government and politics emphasizing that politics is mainly a competition among groups, each one pressing for its own perferred policies.
elite and class theory A theory of government and politics contending that societies are divided along class lines and that an upper-class elite will rule, reguardless of the formal niceties of governmental orgainization
hyperpluralism A theory of government and politics contending that groups are so strong that government is weakened. Hyperpluralism is an extreme, exaggerated, or perverted form of pluralism.
policy gridlock A condition that occurs when no coalistion is strong enough to form a majority and establish policy. The result is that nothing may get done.
gross domestic product The sum total of the value of all the goods and services produced in a nation
individualism The belief that individual should be left on their own by the government. ONe of the primary reasons for the comparatively small scope of American government is the prominence of the belief in American political thought and practice.
Created by: twakalos on 2007-01-03



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