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Chapter 1

The Political Landscape

TermDefinition
government the formal vehicle through which policies are made and affairs of state are conducted (7)
social contract an agreement between the people and their government signifying their consent to be governed (7)
Social Contract Theory the belief that people are free and equal by natural right, and that this in turn requires that all people give their consent to be governed; espoused by Thomas Hobbes and John Locke and influential in the writing of the Declaration of Independence (8)
direct democracy a system of government in which members of the polity meet to discuss all policy decisions and then agree to abide by the majority rule (10)
indirect democracy a system of government that gives citizens the opportunity to vote for representatives who work on their behalf (10)
totalitarianism a form of government in which power resides in a leader who rules according to self interest and without regard for individual rights and liberties (11)
oligarchy a form of government in which the right to participate is conditioned on the possession of wealth, social status, military position, or achievement (11)
democracy a system of government that gives power to the people, whether directly or through elected representatives (11)
political culture commonly shared attitudes, beliefs, and core values about how government should operate (11)
personal liberty a key characteristic of the US democracy. Initially meaning freedom from governmental interference, today it includes demands for freedom to engage in a variety of practices without governmental interference or discrimination (11)
Thomas Hobbes --Proposed Social Contract Theory --Wrote Leviathon (1651) with views on humanity, citizenship, religion, and moral philosophy --Wanted a single ruler to put rights of weak over strong --Believed in equality, distribution of power and democracy
popular consent the principle that governments must draw their powers from the consent of the governed (12)
majority rule the central premise of direct democracy in which only policies that collectively garner the support of a majority of voters will be made into law (12)
popular sovereignity the notion that the ultimate authority in society rests with the people (12)
Five Functions of American Government 1. Establishing Justice 2. Insuring Domestic Tranquility 3. Providing for Common Defense 4. Promoting the General Welfare 5. Securing the Blessings of Liberty
political ideology the coherent set of values and beliefs about the purpose and scope of government that is helf by groups and individuals (20)
conservative one who believes that a government is best that governs least and that big government should not infringe on individual, personal and economic rights (21)
liberal one who favors governmental involvement in the economy and in the provision and social services and who takes an activist role in protecting the rights of women, the elderly, minorities, and the environment (21)
moderate a person who takes a relatively centrist of middle-of-the-road view on most political issues (22)
libertarian one who believes in limited government and no governmental interference in personal liberties (22)
John Locke --Proposed Social Contract Theory --Preservation of private property --Government must fit the people --Strong religious views
Created by: jesisarahsteph