A policy in educational admissions or job hiring that gives special attention or compensatory treatment to traditionally disadvantaged groups in an effort to overcome present effects of past discrimination.
    In the context of civil rights, the transportation of public school students from areas where they live to schools in other areas to eliminate school segregation based on residential patterns.
    A nonviolent, public refusal to obey allegedly unjust laws.
    The law regulating conduct between private persons over noncriminal matters. Under civil law, the government provides the forum for the settlement of disputes between private parties in such matters as contracts,domestic relations, and business interactions.
    Generally, all rights rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the law.
    Judge-made law that originated in England from decisions shaped according to prevailing customs. Decisions were applied to similar situations and thus gradually became common to the nation.
    The law that defines crimes and provides punishment for violations. In criminal cases,the government is the prosecutor because crimes are violations of the public order.
    Racial segregation that occurs because of past social and economic conditions and residential racial patterns.
    Racial segregation that occurs because of laws or administrative decisions by public agencies.
    The movement that supports political, economic, and social equality for women.
    A statistic that measures the average number of children that women in a given group are expected to have over the course of a lifetime.
    Any practice, policy, or procedure that denies equality of treatment to an individual or to a group because of gender.
    A device used by southern states to disenfranchise African Americans. It restricted voting to those whose grandfathers had voted before 1867
    A test administered as a precondition for voting, often used to prevent African Americans from exercising their right to vote.
    Full age; the age at which a person is entitled by law to the right to manage her or his own affairs and to the full enjoyment of civil rights.
    In contract law, necessaries include whatever is reasonably necessary for suitable subsistence as measured by age, state, condition in life, and so on.
  17. POLL TAX
    A special tax that must be paid as a qualification for voting. The Twenty-fourth Amendment to the Constitution outlawed the poll tax in national elections, and in 1966 the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in all elections.
    The charge that an affirmative action program discriminates against those who do not have minority status.
    The doctrine holding that separate-but-equal facilities do not violate the equal protection clause.
    Unwanted physical or verbal conduct or abuse of a sexual nature that interferes with a recipient's job performance, creates a hostile work environment, or carries with it an implicit or explicit threat of adverse employment consequences.
    The right to vote; the franchise.
    A state primary election that restricts voting to whites only; outlawed by the Supreme Court in 1944.
  23. Actual Malice
    Either knowledge of a defamatory statement's falsity or a reckless disregard for the truth.
  24. Arraignment
    The first act in a criminal proceeding, in which the defendant is brought before a court to hear the charges against him or her and enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.
  25. Clear and Present Danger Test
    The test proposed by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes for determining when government may restrict free speech. Restrictions are permissible, he argued, only when speech creates a clear and present danger to the public order.

  26. Commercial Speech

    Advertising statements, which increasingly have been given First Amendment protection
  27. Defamation of Character
    Wrongfully hurting a person's good reputation. The law imposes a general duty on all persons to refrain from making false, defamatory statements about others.
  28. Establishment Clause
    The part of the First Amendment prohibiting the establishment of a church officially supported by the national government. It is applied to questions of the legality of giving state and local government aid to religious organizations and schools, allowing or requiring school prayers, and teaching evolution versus intelligent design.
  29. Exclusionary Rule
    A judicial policy prohibiting the admission at trial of illegally seized evidence
  30. Free Exercise Clause
    The provision of the First Amendment guaranteeing the free exercise of religion. The provision constrains the national government from prohibiting individuals from practicing the religion of their choice.
  31. Gag Order
    An order issued by a judge restricting the publication of news about a trial or a pretrial hearing to protect the accused's right to a fair trial.
  32. Incorporation Theory
    The view that most of the protections of the Bill of Rights apply to state governments through the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause.
  33. Libel
    A written defamation of a person's character, reputation, business, or property rights.
  34. Obscenity
    Sexually offensive material that can be illegal if it is found to violate a four-part test established by the United States Supreme Court
  35. Prior Restraint
    Restraining an activity before it has actually occurred. When expression is involved, this means censorship.
  36. Public Figure
    A public official, a public employee who exercises substantial governmental power, or any other person, such as a movie star, known to the public because of his or her position or activities.
  37. Slander
  38. The public uttering of a false statement that harms the good reputation of another. The statement must be made to, or within the hearing of, persons other than the defamed party.
  39. Symbolic Speech
    Expression made through articles of clothing, gestures, movements, and other forms of nonverbal conduct. Symbolic speech is given substantial protection by the courts.
  40. Writ of Habeas Corpus
    Habeas corpus means, literally, you have the body. A writ of habeas corpus is an order that requires jailers to bring a prisoner before a court or a judge and explain why the person is being held.
  41. Block Grants
    Federal programs that provide funds to state and local governments for broad functional areas, such as criminal justice or mental health programs.
  42. Categorical Grants
    Federal grants to states or local governments that are for specific programs or projects.
  43. Commerce Clause
    The section of the Constitution in which Congress is given the power to regulate trade among the states and with foreign countries.
  44. Concurrent Powers
    Powers held jointly by the national and state governments.
  45. Confederal System
    A system consisting of a league of independent states, each having essentially sovereign powers. The central government created by such a league has only limited powers over the states.
  46. Cooperative Federalism
    A model of federalism in which the states and the national government cooperate in solving problems.
  47. Devolution
    The transfer of powers from a national or central government to a state or local government.
  48. Dual Federalism
    A model of federalism in which the states and the national government each remain supreme within their own spheres. The doctrine looks on nation and state as coequal sovereign powers. Neither the state government nor the national government should interfere in the other's sphere
  49. Elastic Clause, or Necessary and Proper Clause
    The clause in Article I, Section 8, that grants Congress the power to do whatever is necessary to execute its specifically delegated powers
  50. Enumerated Powers
    Powers specifically granted to the national government by the Constitution. The first seventeen 
  51. Anti-Federalist
    An individual who opposed the ratification of the new Constitution in 1787. The Anti-Federalists were opposed to a strong central government.
  52. Bicameral Legislature
    A legislature made up of two parts, called chambers. The U.S. Congress, composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate, is a bicameral legislature.
  53. Checks and Balances
    A major principle of the American system of government whereby each branch of the government can check the actions of the others.
  54. Electoral College
    A group of persons called electors selected by the voters in each state and the District of Columbia (D.C.); this group officially elects the president and vice president of the United States. The number of electors in each state is equal to the number of each state's representatives in both chambers of Congress. The Twenty-third Amendment to the Constitution grants D.C. as many electors as the state with the smallest population.
  55. Executive Agreement
    An international agreement between chiefs of state that does not require legislative approval.
  56. Executive Order
    A rule or regulation issued by the president that has the effect of law. Executive orders can implement and give administrative effect to provisions in the U.S. Constitution, treaties, or statutes.
  57. Federal System
    A system of government in which power is divided between a central government and regional, or subdivisional, governments. Each level must have some domain in which its policies are dominant and some genuine political or constitutional guarantee of its authority.
  58. Federalist
    The name given to one who was in favor of the adoption of the U.S. Constitution and the creation of a federal union with a strong central government.
  59. Great Compromise
    The compromise between the New Jersey and Virginia plans that created one chamber of the Congress based on population and one chamber representing each state equally; also called the Connecticut Compromise.
  60. Judicial Review
    The power of the Supreme Court and other courts to declare unconstitutional federal or state laws and other acts of government.
  61. Madisonian Model
    A structure of government proposed by James Madison in which the powers of the government are separated into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.
  62. Natural Rights
    Rights held to be inherent in natural law, not dependent on governments. John Locke stated that natural law, being superior to human law, specifies certain rights of life, liberty, and property. These rights, altered to become life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, are asserted in the Declaration of Independence.
  63. Ratification
    Formal approval.
  64. Representative Assembly
    A legislature composed of individuals who represent the population.
  65. Separation of Powers
    The principle of dividing governmental powers among different branches of government.
  66. Social Contract
    A voluntary agreement among individuals to secure their rights and welfare by creating a government and abiding by its rules.
  67. State
    A group of people occupying a specific area and organized under one government; may be either a nation or a subunit of a nation.
  68. Supremacy Doctrine
    A doctrine that asserts the priority of national law over state laws. This principle is rooted in Article VI of the Constitution, which provides that the Constitution, the laws passed by the national government under its constitutional powers, and all treaties constitute the supreme law of the land.
  69. Unicameral Legislature
    A legislature with only one legislative chamber, as opposed to a bicameral (two-chamber) legislature, such as the U.S. Congress. Today, Nebraska is the only state in the Union with a unicameral legislature.
  70. Anarchy
    The condition of no government.
  71. Aristocracy
    Rule by the best; in reality, rule by an upper class.
  72. Authoritarianism
    A type of regime in which only the government itself is fully controlled by the ruler. Social and economic institutions exist that are not under the government's control.
  73. Authority
    The right and power of a government or other entity to enforce its decisions and compel obedience.
  74. Bill of Rights
    The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution
  75. Capitalism
    An economic system characterized by the private ownership of wealth-creating assets, free markets, and freedom of contract.
  76. Civil Liberties
    Those personal freedoms, including freedom of religion and freedom of speech, that are protected for all individuals. The civil liberties set forth in the U.S. Constitution, as amended, restrain the government from taking certain actions against individuals.
  77. Consent of the People
    The idea that governments and laws derive their legitimacy from the consent of the governed.
  78. Conservatism
    A set of beliefs that includes a limited role for the national government in helping individuals, support for traditional values and lifestyles, and a cautious response to change
  79. Democracy
    A system of government in which political authority is vested in the people. Derived from the Greek words demos (the people) and kratos (authority).
  80. Democratic Republic
    A republic in which representatives elected by the people make and enforce laws and policies.
  81. Direct Democracy
    A system of government in which political decisions are made by the people directly, rather than by their elected representatives; probably attained most easily in small political communities.
  82. Elite Theory
    A perspective holding that society is ruled by a small number of people who exercise power to further their self-interest.
  83. Equality
    As a political value, the idea that all people are of equal worth.
  84. Government
    A preeminent institution within society in which decisions are made that resolve conflicts or allocate benefits and privileges. It is unique because it has the ultimate authority for making decisions and establishing political values.

  85. Ideology

    A comprehensive set of beliefs about the nature of people and about the role of an institution or government.
  86. Initiative
    A procedure by which voters can propose a law or a constitutional amendment.
  87. Institution
    An ongoing organization that performs certain functions for society.
  88. Legislature
    A governmental body primarily responsible for the making of laws.
  89. Legitimacy
    Popular acceptance of the right and power of a government or other entity to exercise authority.
  90. Liberalism
    A set of beliefs that includes the advocacy of positive government action to improve the welfare of individuals, support for civil rights, and tolerance for political and social change.
  91. Libertarianism
    A political ideology based on strong support for economic and social equality. Socialists traditionally envisioned a society in which major businesses were taken over by the government or by employee cooperatives.
  92. Liberty
    The greatest freedom of the individual that is consistent with the freedom of other individuals in the society.
  93. Limited Government
    A government in which governmental powers are limited either through a written document or through widely shared beliefs
  94. Majoritarianism
    A political theory holding that in a democracy, the government ought to do what the majority of the people want.
  95. Majority
    More than 50 percent.
  96. Majority Rule
    A basic principle of democracy asserting that the greatest number of citizens in any political unit should select officials and determine policies.
  97. Oligarchy
    Rule by a few
  98. Order
    A state of peace and security. Maintaining order by protecting members of society from violence and criminal activity is the oldest purpose of government.
  99. Pluralism
    A theory that views politics as a conflict among interest groups. Political decision making is characterized by bargaining and compromise.
  100. Political Culture
    A patterned set of ideas, values, and ways of thinking about government and politics.
  101. Political Socialization
    The process by which political beliefs and values are transmitted to new immigrants and to our children. The family and the educational system are two of the most important forces in the political socialization process.
  102. Politics
    The process of resolving conflicts and deciding who gets what, when, and how. The struggle over power or influence within organizations or informal groups that can grant or withhold benefits or privileges.
  103. Popular Sovereignty
    The concept that ultimate political authority is based on the will of the people.
  104. Property
    Anything that is or may be subject to ownership. As conceived by the political philosopher John Locke, the right to property is a natural right superior to human law (laws made by government).
  105. Recall
    A procedure allowing the people to vote to dismiss an elected official from state office before his or her term has expired.
  106. Referendum
    An electoral device whereby legislative or constitutional measures are referred by the legislature to the voters for approval or disapproval.
  107. Representative Democracy
    A form of government in which representatives elected by the people make and enforce laws and policies; may retain the monarchy in a ceremonial role.
  108. Republic
    A form of government in which sovereign power rests with the people, rather than with a king or a monarch.
  109. Socialism
    A political ideology based on strong support for economic and social equality. Socialists traditionally envisioned a society in which major businesses were taken over by the government or by employee cooperatives.
  110. Theocracy
    Literally, rule by God or the gods; in practice, rule by religious leaders, typically self-appointed.
  111. Totalitarian Regime
    A form of government that controls all aspects of the political and social life of a nation.
  112. Universal Suffrage
    The right of all adults to vote for their representatives.
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