CH 1 vocab


The institution through which a society makes and enforces its public policies


Political groups that agree on objectives and policies; the origins of political parties.

Separation of Powers

Constitutional division of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, with the legislative branch making law, the executive applying and enforcing the law, and the judiciary interpreting the law

Checks and Balances

A system that allows each branch of government to limit the powers of the other branches in order to prevent abuse of power


a form of government in which power is divided between the federal, or national, government and the states

public goods

Goods, such as clean air and clean water, that everyone must share.


holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion.


the arrangement or disposition of people or things in relation to each other according to a particular sequence, pattern, or method.


Method of maintaining, managing, and gaining control of government (who gets what, when, and how)

free market

An economic system in which prices and wages are determined by unrestricted competition between businesses, without government regulation or fear of monopolies.

redistributive tax policies

Politics, generally favored by Democratic politicians, that use taxation to attempt to create social equality (for example, higher taxation of the rich to provide programs for the poor).

culture wars

political conflict in the US between "red-state" Americans, who tend to have strong religious beliefs, and "blue-state" Americans, who tend to be more secular


A consistent set of beliefs by groups/individuals


open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values.


those who favor a minimal government role in any sphere

Representative Democracy

A system of government in which citizens elect representatives, or leaders, to make decisions about the laws for all the people.

participatory democracy

a theory of democracy that holds that citizens should actively and directly control all aspects of their lives

pluralist democracy

a theory of democracy that holds that citizen membership in groups is the key to political power

elitist democracy

A democratic government in which some citizens (such as wealthy, better educated, or certain social groups) have disproportionate influence over government policy.


freedom of choice


the property of distributing economic prosperity uniformly among the members of society