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Representative Democracy
A form of government in which representatives elected by the people make and enforce laws and policies; may retain the monarchy in a ceremonial role.
A form of government in which sovereign power rests with the people, rather than with a king or monarch.
Lasswell’s definition of politics
“Who gets what when and how”
A preeminent institution within society in which decisions are made that resolve conflicts or allocate benefits and privileges. It is unique because it has the ultimate authority for making decisions and establishing political values.
A set of beliefs that includes a limited role for the national government in helping individuals, support for traditional values and lifestyles, and a cautious response to change.
A set of beliefs that includes the advocacy of positive government action to improve the welfare of individuals, support for civil rights, and tolerance for political and social change.
Elite System
Society is ruled by a small number of people who exercise power to further their self-interest.
A comprehensive set of beliefs about the nature of people and about the role of an institution or government.
Means protecting information and information systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction.
A state of peace and security. Maintaining order by protecting members of society from violence and criminal activity is the oldest purpose of government.
The right and power of a government or other entity to enforce its decisions and compel obedience.
An economic system characterized by the private ownership of wealth-creating assets, free markets, and freedom of contract.
An economic system characterized by the private ownership of wealth-creating assets, free markets, and freedom of contract.
Universal Suffrage
The right of all adults to vote for their representatives.
Political Culture
A patterned set of ideas, values, and ways of thinking about government and politics.
The greatest freedom of the individual that is consistent with the freedom of other individuals in the society.
Popular acceptance of the right and power of a government or other entity to exercise authority.
Mayflower Compact
Agreement among the Pilgrims to create a representative from of government in their new colony.
Stamp Act
British law imposing a tax, in the form of stamps, on all legal and printed documents used in the English colonies.
First Continental Congress
Was a convention of delegates from twelve British North American colonies that met in 1774, early in the American Revolution. Called in response to the passage of the Intolerable Acts by the British Parliament, the Congress was held in Philadelphia, attended by 55 members appointed by the legislatures of the Thirteen Colonies, except for the Province of Georgia, which did not send delegates. The Congress met briefly to consider options, organize an economic boycott of British trade, publish a list of rights and grievances, and petition King George for redress of those grievances. The Congress also called for another Continental Congress in the event that their petition was unsuccessful in halting enforcement of the Intolerable Acts. Their appeal to the Crown had no effect, and so the Second Continental Congress was convened the following year to organize the defense of the colonies at the outset of the American Revolutionary War.
Second Constitutional Congress
Was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that met beginning in May 10, 1775, soon after shooting in the American Revolutionary War had begun. It succeeded the First Continental Congress, which met briefly during 1774. The second Congress managed the colonial war effort, and moved slowly towards independence, adopting the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. By raising armies, directing strategy, appointing diplomats, and making formal treaties, the Congress acted as the de facto national government of what became the United States.[1] With the ratification of the Articles of Confederation in 1781, the Congress became known as the Congress of the Confederation.
Natural Rights
Rights held to be inherent in natural law, not dependent on governments. John Locke stated that natural law, being superior to human law, specifies certain rights of “life, liberty, and property.” These rights, altered to become “life, liberty, and that pursuit of happiness,” are asserted in the Declaration of Independence.
Inalienable Rights
(or unalienable rights) refers to a theoretical set of individual human rights that by their nature cannot be taken away, violated, or transferred from one person to another. They are considered more fundamental than alienable rights, such as rights in a specific piece of property. Inalienable (Individual) Rights are: natural rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They are the most fundamental set of human rights, natural means not-granted nor conditional. They are applicable only to humans, as the basic necessity of their survival.
Unicameral Legislature
A legislature with only one legislative chamber, as opposed to a bicameral (two-chamber) legislature, such as the U.S. Congress. Today, Nebraska is the only state in the Union with a unicameral legislature.
Bicameral Legislature
A legislature made up of two parts, called chambers. The U.S. Congress, composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate, is a bicameral legislature.
The Great Compromise
The compromise between the New Jersey and Virginia plans that created one chamber of the Congress based on population and one chamber representing each state equally; also called the Connecticut Compromise.
The name given to one who was in favor of the adoption of the U.S. Constitution and the creation of a federal union with a strong central government.
An individual who opposed the ratification of the new Constitution in 1787. The Anti-Federalist were opposed to a strong central government.
Social Contract
A voluntary agreement among individuals to secure their rights and welfare by creating a government and abiding by its rules.
Articles of Confederation
Was the governing constitution of the alliance of thirteen independent and sovereign states styled "United States of America." The Article's ratification (proposed in 1777) was completed in 1781, legally uniting the states by compact into the "United States of America" as a union with a confederation government. Under the Articles (and the succeeding Constitution) the states retained sovereignty over all governmental functions not specifically deputed to the central government.
Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Declaration of Independence
Document written by Thomas Jefferson declaring the United States as an independent nation, and stating that all men have the basic rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Unitary system of government
A centralized governmental system in which ultimate governmental authority rests in the hands of the national, or central, government.
Confederal political system
A system consisting of a league of independent states, each having essentially sovereign powers. The central government created by such a league has only limited powers over the states.
Our Federal System
A system of government in which power is divided between a central government and regional, or subdivisional, governments. Each level must have some domain in which its policies are dominant and some genuine political or constitutional guarantee of its authority.
Concurrent Powers
Powers held jointly by the national and state governments.
Enumerated powers
A power specifically granted to the national government by the Constitution. The first seventeen clauses of Article I, Section 8, specify most of the enumerated powers of the national government.
Implied Powers
Powers claimed by Congress which are not specifically enumerated in the Constitution, but are implied in its necessary and proper clause (Article I, Section 8).
Inherent Powers
A power of the president derived from the statements in the Constitution that “the executive Power shall be vested in a President” and that the president should “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”; defined through practice rather than through law.
States Powers
The capacity of a state to regulate behaviours and enforce order within its territory.
Supremacy Clause
The constitutional provision that makes the Constitution and federal laws superior to all conflicting state and local laws.
Interstate Compact
An agreement between two or more states. Agreements on minor matters are made without congressional consent, but any compact that tends to increase the power of the contracting states relative to other states or relative to the national government generally requires the consent of Congress.
McCulloch v. Maryland
The state of Maryland had attempted to impede operation of a branch of the Second Bank of the United States by imposing a tax on all notes of banks not chartered in Maryland. Though the law, by its language, was generally applicable, the U.S. Bank was the only out-ot-state bank then existing in Maryland, and the law is generally recognized as specifically targeting the U.S. Bank. The Court invoked the necessary-and-proper clause in the Constitution, which allowed the Federal government to pass laws not expressly provided for in the Constitution’s list of express powers as long as those laws are in useful furtherance of the express powers.
Checks and Balances
A major principle of the American system of government whereby each branch of the government can check the actions of the others.
Dual Federalism
A model of federalism in which the states and the national government each remain supreme within their own spheres. The doctrine looks on nation and state as co-equal sovereign powers. Neither the state government nor the national government should interfere in the other’s sphere.
Federal Mandates
A requirement in federal legislation that forces states and municipalities to comply with certain rules.
Politics- The process of resolving conflicts and deciding “who gets what when, and how.” The struggle over power or influence within organizations or informal groups that can grant or withhold benefits or privileges.
Federalism- the division of power among a central government and several regional governments. It came to the Constitution out of both experience and necessity. American government system is federal in form because the powers held by government are distributed on a territorial basis. The National Government holds some of those powers and others belong to the 50 states.
Conditions leading to the Civil War
o Economic and social differences between the North and the South. o States versus federal rights. o The fight between Slave and Non-Slave State Proponents. o Growth of the Abolition Movement. o The election of Abraham Lincoln.

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