Glossary of American Government Unit 1, chapture 1 (TCN)
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- compare and contrast direct democracy and representitive democracy.
- Both direct democracy and representative democracy are systems of government characterized by the rule of the people. In a direct democracy, the people govern themselves directly. In a representative democracy, the people rule indirectly through elected representatives.
- Is democracy the only form of government that possesses political legitimacy?
- No. A legitimate government is any government recognized by its citizens as having the legal and rightful authority to compel obedience to its rules. Even in authoritarian system, people may believe the government has the rightful authority to compel obedience. For example, the charismatic leader of an authoritarian government may generate loyalty and thereby contribute to the legitimacy of that government. Thus, even though some scholars believe that democracy is indeed the most legitimate form of government, the definition of legitimacy does not specifically identify democracy as the only form of government that possesses this political characteristic.
- What is the relationship between politics and power?
- Politics is the process through which various actors determine how a society or nation-state will be governed. Power is defined as the ability to influence other actors and institutions. People use power to try to shape how their society or nation-state will be governed. Thus, power is the means by which people (as individuals and in groups) shape the political process.
- Compare and contrast democracy and totalitarianism.
- Democracy is a form of government characterized by the rule of the people. Totalitarianism is a system of government characterized by the exclusive rule of an individual or group of elites who control all aspects of society and do not allow opposition or dissent. In a democracy, the ultimate authority for government is derived from the consent of the governed. Under a totalitarian system, governmental authority is derived primarily from the power of the ruling elites as well as their willingness to use extreme measures to repress their political opponents.
- Explain the meaning of Lasswell's definition of politics as "who gets what, when, and how."
- Lasswell's quotation describes politics as a competitive process through which various groups pursue their own interests. They do so by attempting to use power to shape governmental institutions and policy.
- What are the basic criteria for democracy in modern nation-states?
- The basic criteria are free and fair elections, universal suffrage, broad access to citizenship, and majority rule tempered by basic protections for fundamental minority rights.
- The ability of a leader or institution to compel obedience.
- Exclusive rule by an individual or group of elites with the passive acquiescence of the public based on loyalty and/or fear.
- A status that confers protection on persons and demands their allegiance by virtue of their inclusion as members of a nation-state or territorial unit.
- a system of government characterized by rule by the people.
- direct democracy
- A system of government in which people govern themselves directly.
- The formal institutions thatcreate and implement a society's rules.
- The status of a government that is recognized by the people as having the legal and rightful authority to compel obedience to its rules.
- majority rule
- A fundamental democratic principle based upon the idea that decision making should be guided by the preferences of the greatest number of citizens.
- minority rights
- The principle that minorities have certain basic privileges that cannot be violated despite the preferences of the majority.
- political science
- The study of political phenomena and government
- The process by which a society defines its values and confers benefits to its members. Also, the process which various actors determine how a society or nation-state will be governed.
- The ability to influence other actors and institutions.
- representative democracy
- A system of government in which people rule indirectly through elected representatives.
- The right to vote.
- Exclusive rule by an individual or group of elites who control all aspects of society and do not allow opposition or dissent.
- universal suffrage
- The extension of the right to vote to all citizens without arbitrary exceptions.
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