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Glossary of Terms in U.S. Government & Politics

❶Geographical areas used as a criterion for political representation. An economic system based on the recognition of private property rights, where prices are dictated by supply and demand, and where the means of production and distribution of goods and services derive from privately owned resources, or capital, operating within an unregulated market.

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A form of federalism where the individual regions that make up the sovereign state exercise a larger degree of autonomy. Often the right to secede and the sole right to raise taxes, the funding of the central government coming from the regions. The set of basic rules by which a country or state is governed. Sometimes includes a Bill of Rights. The ultimate set of laws to which all other laws made by contemporary governments are subservient to. The strength and integrity of a constitution is often reflected by the difficulty it is to be changed.

A proposal to alter the Constitution being put to the public vote. In Australia at a referendum the proposed alteration must be approved by a 'double majority': A measurement of inflation by comparing, at regular intervals, the price taking weighting into account of a set of basic consumer goods and services purchased by households. A tax on the spending of income rather than the earning of it, so as to include people who might otherwise evade income tax such as those in the black economy or successful with tax avoidance schemes.

Originally used to identify a geographical area sealed off to isolate infectious diseases, but now also used to identify the isolation of extremist political parties by other parties not dealing with them in regards to coalitions, voting preferences or any other communications or benefits.

A free market economic system abused to the degree where some business people have become successful due to their relationships with government. An act rarely forgiven in Commonwealth countries but common in the USA. A type of block voting but where the voter can choose, from the list of for example ten candidates running for four seats, his preferred four, or just two or even one. In such decisions, the selected candidates would get one quarter of a vote each, or half a vote, or where only one candidate received the vote, the whole vote.

An unexpected, somewhat unknown candidate with little public exposure who has potential to win an election against established candidates. Term originated by British politician and author, Benjamin Disraeli. State within a state. A situation in a country when a government agency, such as a branch of the armed forces, an intelligence agency, police, or a bureaucratic department, acts conspiratorially or overtly independently of civilian democratic leadership.

Whereas all parliamentary legislation is final and cannot be challenged in court apart from constitutional inconsistencies delegated legislation can be challenged in court if it is shown to violate the purpose of the original act. A leader who gains popularity by appealing to prejudice and basic instincts.

Considered manipulative and dangerous. The concept of moral obligation and binding duty. As compared to consequentialism, where an act is judged by its consequences the ends justify the means , D. A relaxing or easing of tensions between powers. Transfer of powers from the national or central government to state or local government. A procedure in non-STV pro-rep elections to evenly distribute seats where insufficient parties have won the normal quota of votes to claim the full number of seats available.

Government by the people in fact rather than merely in principle. The citizenry themselves voting on all issues affecting them. Practised in ancient Greece and to some degree in some cantons of Switzerland and the New England states of America. Considered by most to be a highly impractical form of government. Direct government control of a country's economic and social institutions. Information that is false or misleading deliberately disseminated for strategic gain.

Like how only dogs can hear the dog whistle, only the target political audience can comprehend the real meaning of the innocuous words spoken by the politician. Otherwise known as the unthinking vote. An Australian federal election with two exceptions to the normal general election. Rather than the usual 40 Senate seats being up for election a so called half-Senate election , the full complement of 76 seats are vacated and thus the state quota to win a seat drops from Secondly, both houses of Parliament are dissolved at the time of the election, rather than normal situation where the Senate only dissolves at the end of its set term, which can mean that it can be as much as eleven months after a normal election before the new Senators take their seats.

The government can only call a DD election in specific situations as laid out by the Constitution. Using language to distort or even reverse the meaning of unpalatable information that has to be given. Dorothy Dix was an American newspaper advice columnist who prefered questions she made up herself. To follow and support a no-chance-of-winning campaign or cause because of peer pressure. A reference to the tragic mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana where cult followers of Rev.

Jim Jones drank grape flavoured, but poison laced, Kool-Aid. In pro-rep electoral systems the realistic quota to win a seat versus the theoretical quota. If there are three seats to be won in an election then in theory a quota of Theory attributed to French political scientist Maurice Duverger, which asserts a nexus in the number of political parties in a democratic state with the electoral system used.

Nightmare vision of society beyond that of even a failed, dysfunctional state, where the system is actually planned by those in power, creating, most often, a totalitarian society. In practice the name often given by governments to voters in normal elections, or to those who have been appointed to a certain level so as to vote their choice to a higher office.

Technically, a voter who is successful in helping to get his preferred candidate elected. Term possibly used to disguise the fact that approximately half of all voters in SMV systems end up electing nobody. Geographical areas used as a criterion for political representation. Australia is divided into federal voting districts or divisions which are known as electorates. One member is elected from each electorate to the House of Representatives.

In Parliament the electorate of Menzies will be represented by the Member for Menzies who will have the Seat of Menzies. Aka the Age of Reason. Originating in the UK but developing fully in continental countries such as France with thinkers such as Spinoza, Voltaire and Rousseau. The pre-requisite to voting. Australian citizens of at least 18 yrs are allowed and compelled to enrol.

In the USA those who choose to vote must repeatedly enrol for every election. A suggested electoral system where votes are somehow weighted according to the degree of knowledge of the voter.

In Ireland university graduates get to elect six university seats as well as exercising a normal vote shared by all other citizens. In optional preferential voting systems, a vote that was not fully completed and, in being counted, has reached its last candidate, still not made up a quota, and thus becomes worthless. The power to do something or hold an office by virtue of the fact that one holds an earlier office. A covert operation, military or otherwise, which attempts to present a different identity of the perpetrators, for propaganda, diplomatic or strategic reasons.

Term derives from pirate ships who would fly flags of friendly countries so as to entice target ships. An authoritarian and nationalist political ideology that embraces strong leadership, singular collective identity and the will to commit violence or wage war to further the interests of the state. Averse to concepts such as individualism, pluralism, multiculturalism or egalitarianism.

The name derives from the collective identity, the league connotation of the Italian fascio, or English faggot, for a bound collection of sticks.

A system under which governmental powers are divided between the central government and the states or provinces all within the same geographical territory. Mid-twentieth century term to describe someone who sympathised with communism but would not go so far as to declare themselves a communist or join the party.

A politician returning to his electorate hoping to restore his reputation with the voters. In a military or political environment, a person who surreptitiously undermines a group or entity from within.

Term derived from a Nationalist General during the Spanish Civil War who boasted he had four columns of troops attacking Madrid, together with a fifth column of sympathises inside the city.

The practice of the F. The Alec Guinness character in the film Dr Zhivago was a war-time fifth columnist. A form of legislative obstruction by an MP by continuing a parliamentary speech for the mere sake of preventing a vote. As the clerk of parliament will set an agenda calendar allocating certain bills for certain days, if the business of reading, debating and voting on one bill is not completed on its allotted day it may be a considerable period of time before it again comes before the house.

Electoral system where the winning candidate needs only the most votes, even if well below a majority. Concept to describe the set term of office of representatives eg US House of Reps is a strict two years as compared to other democracies like Spain where the legislature the Congress of Deputies and Senate is a maximum of four years but can be shorter at the discretion of the Prime Minister.

The unofficial political institution and authority comprising the press and other forms of the media. Term comes from the first three estates of the French States-General which were the church, the nobility and the townsmen. Aka a conscience vote. The rare instance where an M. Someone who unintentionally is able to receive the benefits of government policy without incurring the costs.

The practice of governments releasing their unpopular news stories just before the weekend as it is believed few people follow the news on a Saturday.

Not only the timing is effective for what the government wants to hide but also the act of lumping together as many stories as possible so as to minimise the effect of each one. Slogan not created, but made popular by Karl Marx in a publication, to highlight a fundamental aspect of communism. Allegedly a response to the capitalist concept of private property. Left wing caviar eater. French derogatory term for a socialist in theory who still maintains a luxurious lifestyle.

Champagne socialist, Bollinger Bolshevik; American: Either an election that is not local but is for the state or national governments or an election that is the final arbiter after the preliminary ones have been dispensed with. Can be contrasted to council, primary or by-elections. Nineteenth century philosophy created by American economist Henry George which advocated that things found in nature, such as land, always remains property of the state.

Government revenue is thus raised by rents on land at an unimproved rate , minerals and fishing licences etc to the degree that hopefully no other taxes might need to be enforced. How a significant number of equally sized single member electorates become populated with both party voters but to different degrees, to have a partisan and unfair effect on the total vote.

A highly active or galvanizing group within a political party or movement. Like a chef who adds ginger to spice up a meal, a number of people who ginger up and motivate the organisation to act in a certain direction on one or a number of issues. A policy that commits government to greater accountability and visibility, such as freedom of information laws. Gross National Product is the total output of goods and services annually produced by a country, whether on or off shore.

Gross Domestic Product is the total amount produced on shore, whether by local or foreign entities. Sometimes a legitimate action if the opponent has serious character or competency issues, but otherwise often used to cover up the fact the candidate has little to offer the electorate in experience, vision or concrete plans.

An exemption to a new law which accommodates already existing entities metaphoric grandfathers not having to comply. A law increasing the drinking age from 18 to 21 but exempting those under 21 who were already entitled to consume alcohol. However he exempted already serving MPs, allowing them to remain on the higher rate. Sobriquet for the American Republican party. The ordinary and common people, often agrarian. Short speeches allowed by any MP on any subject but only granted at a specific time per week for a few hours.

An attitude often existing in academia or the media where there is found to be unanimity in approaches to certain issues, either due to laziness in research, or fear of the consequences of going against the prevailing wisdom. The voter simply indicates for one of the many parties listed on the ballot paper. Derogatory term for a writer or journalist of very ordinary, unexceptional talents employed to do routine work.

Derived from the term for an old saddle horse still performing basic duties. The common people, as compared to the wealthy, higher educated or elite. Quintessential populist, corrupt, demagogue of modern times who served as governor of the US state of Louisiana from to , then Senator until Eventually assassinated by a relative of one of his victims.

Involved in political campaigning, especially making speeches. The husting was originally a place of assembly at which to speak. Conviction free, consensus driven politicians who live by the polls and whose only goal appears to be self aggrandizement by achieving and maintaining political power. Found in major parties on both sides of the political divide but generally more prevalent with conservative parties. Term derived from the T.

The largest and most influential house of Parliament. Appoints the cabinet and from which the Prime Minister usually comes. Each of the members represents approximately , people or 80, voters. Cultural movement during the Renaissance emphasising secularism and classical learning from ancient Greece and Rome; the doctrine that emphasises the human capacity for self-fulfilment without religion.

The legislative equivalent of a criminal prosecution, where a high government official is subject, by a house of Parliament or Congress, to an investigation, indictment and subsequent trial. The current holder of a seat in the legislature or of an office of authority. Political theories or advocacy which, rather than proposing better ways to fight crime, improve the economy or save the environment etc, orientate towards the victimhood, or alleged victimhood, of certain people because of their demographics, ie age, religion, gender, race etc.

An invalid vote on the ballot paper. Translation of government for Spanish speakers Britannica English: Translation of government for Arabic speakers Britannica. Encyclopedia article about government. What made you want to look up government?

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Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way. You might've seen this one before. Paraphrasing in a cut-and-paste world. Some of our favourite British words. The story of an imaginary word that managed to sneak past our editors and enter the dictionary.

How we chose 'feminism'. How to use a word that literally drives some people nuts. The awkward case of 'his or her'. Test your vocabulary with our question quiz! Explore the year a word first appeared. Definition of government 1: See government defined for English-language learners See government defined for kids. Examples of government in a Sentence The government has been slow to react to the crisis.

She works for the federal government. In the Sun interview, Trump cast his lot with the Brexiteers, the conservative faction that wants a complete split with the European government in Brussels. Is Unlike Any Other Alliance. Puerto Ricans have complained that the U.

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cooperative federalism - A term used to describe federalism for most of the twentieth century (and into the twenty-first), where the federal government and the states work closely together and are intertwined; also known as marble-cake federalism.

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Other Government and Politics Terms agent provocateur, agitprop, autarky, cabal, egalitarianism, federalism, hegemony, plenipotentiary, popular sovereignty, socialism GOVERNMENT Defined for English Language Learners.

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Term derived from the T.S. Eliot poem of that name in reference to the ‘men of straw’ described. honeymoon period The first few months of a new government during which the incumbent/s are granted a non-belligerent grace period . Students who are taking the AP U.S. Government Exam should memorize the following vocabulary terms. These important AP U.S. Government concepts are essential to your success on the AP U.S. Government (AP Gov) exam. Every important vocabulary word from Government By the People, broken down chapter-by-chapter for quick review.

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the branch of the United States government that makes laws The legislative branch of government; elected by the people, also know as Congress responsible for proposing and passing laws. executive branch. Start studying AP US Government and Politics Terms. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools.