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AP Government Vocabs Chapter 1


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The institutions and processes through which public policies are made for a society.
Goods, such as clean air and clean water, that everyone must shair.
Public Goods
According to Harold Lasswell, "who gets what, when, and how."
All the activities used by citizens to influence the selection of political leaders or the policies they pursue.
Political Participation
Groups that have a narrow interest, tend to dislike compromise, and often draw membership from people new to politics.
Single-Issue Group
The process by which policy comes into being and evolves over time. People's interests, problems, and concerns create political issues for government policymakers.
Policymaking system
The political channels through which people's concerns become political issues on the policy agenda.
Linkage Institutions
The issues that attract the serious attention of public officials and other people actually involved in politics at any given point in time.
Policy Agenda
An issue that arises when people disagree about a problem and how to fix it.
Political Issue
The branches of government charged with taking action on political issues.
Policymaking Institutions
A choice that government makes in response to a political issue.
Public Policy
A system of selecting policymakers and of organizing government so that policy represents and responds to the public's preferences.
A fundamental principle of traditional democratic theory. In a democracy, choosing among alternatives requires that the majority's desire be respected.
Majority Rule
A principle of traditional democratic theory that guarantees rights to those who do not belong to majorities and allows that they might join majorities through persuasion and reasoned argument.
Minority Rights
A basic principle of traditional democratic theory that describes the relationship between the few leaders and the many followers.
A theory of government and politics emphasizing that politics is mainly a competition among groups, each one pressing for its own preferred policies.
Pluralist Theory
A theory of government and politics contending that societies are divided along class lines and that an upperclass elite will rule, regardless of the formal niceties of governmental organization.
Elite and Class Theory
A theory of government and politics contending that groups are so strong that government is weakened.
A condition that occurs when no coalition is strong enough to form a majority and establish policy. The result is that nothing may get done.
Policy Gridlock
The sum total of the value of all the goods and services produced in a nation.
Gross Domestic Product
The belief that individuals should be left on their own by the government.

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