AP GOPO Vocab 1

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The system for implementing decisions made through the political process.
Groups of like-minded people who try to influence the government. American government is set up to avoid domination by any one of these groups.
separation of powers
The division of government power across the judicial, executive, and legislative branches.
checks and balances
A system in which each branch of government has some power over the others.
The division of power across the local, state, and national levels of government.
public goods
Services or actions (such as protecting the environment) that, once provided to one person, become available to everyone. Government is typically needed to provide public goods because they will be under-provided by the free market.
collective action problems
Situations in which the members of a group would benefit by working together to produce some outcome, but each individual is better off refusing to cooperate and reaping benefits from those who do the work.
free rider problem
The incentive to benefit from others's work without making a contribution, which leads individuals in a collective action situation to refuse to work together.
The process that determines what government does.
free market
An economic system based on competition among businesses without government interference.
economic individualism
The autonomy of individuals to manage their own financial decisions without government interference.
redistribution of tax policies
Policies, generally favored by Democratic politicians, that use taxation to attempt to create greater social equality (for example, higher taxation of the rich to provide programs for the poor).
culture wars
Political conflict in the United States between "red-state" Americans, who tend to have strong religious beliefs, and "blue-state" Americans, who tend to be more secular.
A cohesive set of ideas and beliefs used to organize and evaluate the political world.
One side of the ideological spectrum defined by support for lower taxes, a free market, and a more-limited government; generally associated with Republicans.
One side of the ideological spectrum defined by support for stronger government programs and more market regulation; generally associated with Democrats.
Those who prefer very limited government and therefore tend to be conservative on issues such as welfare policy, environmental policy, and public support for education, but liberal on issues of personal liberty such as free speech, abortion, and the legalization of drugs.
Political freedom, such as the freedom of speech, press, assembly, and religion. These and other legal and due process rights protecting individuals from government control are outlined in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.
Government by the people. In most contexts, this means representative democracy which the people elect leaders to enact policies. Democracies must have fair elections with at least two alternatives.
In the context of American politics, equality means equality before the law, political equality (one person, one vote), and equality of opportunity (the equal chance for everyone to realize their potential), but not material equality (equal income or wealth).