Chapter 1 Introduction to Government Key Terms Essay

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Chapter 1: Introduction to Government- Key Terms

Government- the institutions and processes through which public policies are made for a society.
Public Goods- Goods, such as clean air and clean water, that everyone must share.
Politics- the process by which we select our governmental leaders and what policies these leaders pursue. Politics produces authoritative decisions about public issues.
Political Participation- all the activities used by citizens to influence the selection of political leaders or the policies they pursue. The most common, but not the only one, means of political participation in a democracy is voting. Other means include protest and civil disobedience.
Single Issue Groups- groups that have a narrow interest, tend to dislike compromise, and often draw membership from people new to politics. These features distinguish them from traditional interest groups.
Policymaking system- the process by which political problems are communicated by the voters and acted upon by government policymakers. . The policymaking system begins with people’s needs and expectations for governmental action. When people confront government officials with problems that they want solved, they are trying to influence the government’s policy agenda.
Linkage Institutions- the channels or access points through which issues and people’s policy preferences get on the government’s policy agenda. In the United States, elections, political parties, interest groups, and the mass media are the three main linkage institutions.
Policy Agenda- the issues that attract serious attention public officials and other people actually involved in politics at any given point in time.
Political Issues- an issue that arises when people disagree about a problem and a public policy choice.
Policymaking Institutions- the branches of government charged with taking action on political issues. The U.S. constitution established three policymaking institutions- the Congress, the presidency, and the courts. Today, the power of the bureaucracy is so great that most political scientists consider it a fourth policymaking institution.
Public Policy- a choice that government makes in response to a political issue. A policy is a course of action taken with regard to some problem.
Democracy- a system of selecting policymakers and of organizing government so that policy represents and responds to the public’s preferences.
Majority Rule- a fundamental principle of traditional democratic theory. In a democracy, choosing among alternatives requires that the majority’s desire be respected.
Minority Rights- a principle of traditional democratic theory that guarantees rights to those who do not belong to majorities and allows that…