Chapter 1: American Government and Civic Engagement

What goods are available to all without direct payment?

public goods

In which form of government does a small group of elite people hold political power?


What is the difference between a representative democracy and a direct democracy?

In a representative democracy, people elect representatives to make political decisions and pass laws for them. In a direct democracy, people make all political decisions and pass laws themselves.

Define democracy

a form of government where political power rests in the hands of the people

Define direct democracy

a form of government where people participate directly in making government decisions instead of choosing representatives to do this for them

Define monarchy

a form of government where one ruler, usually a heredity one, holds political power

Define oligarchy

a form of government where a handful of elite society members hold political power

Define toll good

a good that is available to many people but is used only by those who can pay the price to do so

Define totalitarianism

a form of government where government is all-powerful and citizens have no rights

The elite theory of government maintains that...

wealthy, politically powerful people control government, and government has no interest in meeting the needs of ordinary people

What is a good example of a tradeoff?

he government pleases environmental activists by preserving public lands but also pleases ranchers by allowing them to rent public lands for grazing purposes.

Define elite theory

claims political power rests in the hands of a small, elite group of people

Define pluralist theory

claims political power rests in the hands of groups of people

When a person is asked a question about a political issue that he or she has little interest in and has not thought much about, that person's answer will likely reflect...

latent preferences

What political activities can people engage in other than running for office?

-- People can pay attention to the news and be aware-- Contribute money to a campaign -- Write letters to members of Congress -- They can vote

Define intense preferences

believes and preferences based on strong feelings regarding an issue that someone adheres to over time

Define latent preferences

beliefs and preferences people are not deeply committed to and that change over time

Define partisanship

strong support, or even blind allegiance, for a particular political party