1: american government and politics in a racially divided world. Reparations: a concept or tool for providing monetary payments to members of aggrieved groups based on past wrongful actions against them or their ancestors. Government: a social institution that controls the behavior of people; the political and administrative hierarchy of an organized state. Public good: a government policy or action that benefits society as a whole rather than a specific individual. Politics: the conflict, competition, and compromise that occur within a political system. Democracy: a system of government in which political power is exercised by the people. Direct democracy: a democracy in which the people are able to participate directly in decision making. Indirect (or representative) democracy: a democracy in which people do not participate directly in decision making and instead elect individuals to represent their interests. Constitution: a set of formal written rules and principles governing a state. Constitutional democracy: a government that derives its authority from a constitution.