Government chapter 1


the government is headed by one person, such as a king or queen, who exercises supreme authority. Monarchs inherit their position and their power by virtue being born into a royal family. In an absolute monarchy, their powers are unlimited and unchecked


a government that is run by a religious and political leader


an indirect form of democracy that places a political decision making at least one step away from the people


a system of rule in which one person, a dictator, or a small group of people can hold unlimited power over government

confederal system

independent states join forces by forming a central government, called a confederation

Parliamentary System

the executive and legislative branches of government are combined. has a Prime Minister

unitary system

sovereignty, or ultimate authority, rests in a single, national government. the United Kingdom, France, and Japan are leading examples of unitary governments

federal system

divides power over people and territory between a national government and smaller, regional levels of government


ruled by a few

presidential government

is distinguished by having a president that is elected by the people for a limited term of office. the president is in charge of the executive branch of government

republican government



A political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them

Direct Democracy

citizens meet regularly in a popular assembly to discuss issues and vote for leaders


a system of government by one person with absolute power.


rulers are seen as right and proper by important segments of a nation's population

majority rule

a basic principle of democracy is that decisions are made by majority rule

minority rights

the political rights held by groups who make up less than half of the population

free enterprise

allows for people and businesses to make their own economic choices about how best to produce, distribute, and exchange goods and services with limited interference from government


The supreme power to act within its territory and to control its external affairs


any decision made by government in pursuit of a particular goal

divine right

makes the king answerable only to god, not to the people he rules

absolute power

Power without limits

characteristics of a state

must have population, territory, sovereignty, and government

natural rights

a system of rules derived from the natural world. all people, by virtue of their being human, possess natural rights

natural law

God's or nature's law that defines right from wrong and is higher than human law

social contract theory

holds that the first government formed as a result of people agreeing among themselves to submit to the authority of a state

Executive Branch

the branch of government that carries out laws

Judicial Branch

Branch of government that decides if laws are carried out fairly.

Legislative Branch

the branch of government that makes the laws

another name for general welfare

public good


the belief that ordinary people could aspire to rule themselves and do so as political equals

worth of an individual

the deep respect that Americans hold for the individual is strongly tied to the belief that, if left free to pursue their own path, people can reach their highest potential

rule of law

the U.S. government and its officials are subject to recognized and enforced limits on their powers


the ability of two opposing groups to give up some of their demands and come to an agreement

they believed it was key to preserving other freedoms

why did our founding fathers believe deeply in safeguarding economic freedom

freedom from government control

in early America, what did people think liberty was

the people

In self-government, ultimate authority comes from what

protecting minority rights

Balance should be struck between majority rule and what

citizen participation

What is principle exemplified when people vote, obey law, serve on juries, etc.


the principle that all people possess a fundamental, moral worth that entitles them to fair treatment under the law and equal opportunity in all aspects of life -- political, social, and economic


a person who refuses to obey orders or the law

liberal democracy

the individual rights and liberties of all people, including those in the minority, are protected


the process by which government makes and carries out decisions


the ability of people to act and think as they choose, so long as their choices do no harm to the liberty or well-being of others

public good

another name for general welfare


two chambers of government