chapter 1 vocab.docx

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Political Science
PSC 113

Chapter 1 Vocabulary with Definitions Autocracy: system of government in which the power to govern is concentrated in the hands of an individual ruler Capitalism: economic system in which business and key industries are privately owned and in which individuals, acting on their own or with others, are free to create business Checks and balances: government structure that authorizes each branch of government (executive, legislative, and judicial) to share powers with the other branches, thereby holding some scrutiny of and control over the other branches Civic interest: concern for the well-being of society and the nation as a whole Conservatives: individuals who distrust government, believing that free markets offer better ways than government involvement to improve people’s livelihood. In the social sphere, conservatives have little faith in government’s ability to enforce traditional values Democracy: system of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them either directly or indirectly through elected representatives Direct democracy: form of democracy in which political power is exercise directly by citizens Egalitarianism: belief in human equality that disdains inherited titles of nobility and inherited wealth Equality of opportunity: expectation that citizens may not be discriminated against on account of race, gender, or national background and that every citizen should have an equal chance to succeed in life Equality of outcome: expectation that equality is achieved if results are comparable for all citizens regardless of race, gender, or national background or that such groups are proportionally represented in measures of success in life Faction: defined by Madison as any group that places its own interests above the aggregate interests of society Federalism: system of government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between national and state governments Founders: the people who were involved in establishing the United States, whether at the time of the Declaration of Independence or the writing of the Constitution Framers: the people who were involved in writing the Constitution Liberals: individuals who have faith in government to improve people’s lives, believing that private efforts are insufficient. In the social sphere, liberals usually support diverse lifestyles and tend to oppose and government action that seeks to shape personal choice Libertarians: those who generally believe that the government should refrain from acting to regulate either the economy or moral values Majority rule: idea that a numerical majority of a group should hold the power to make decisions binding on the whole group; a simple majority Minority rights: idea that majority should not be able to take certain fundamental rights away from those in the minority Moderates: individuals who are in the middle of the ideological spectrum and do not hold consistently strong views about whether government should be involved in people’s lives Monarchy: system of government that assigns power to a single person who inherits that position and rules until death Natural (unalienable) rights: rights that every individual has and that government cannot legitimately take away Oligarchy: system of governm
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