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Social Sci LibreTexts

3.5: Glossary

  • Page ID
    23530
  • What Is Government?

    common goods goods that all people may use but that are of limited supply

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

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

    government the means by which a society organizes itself and allocates authority in order to accomplish collective goals

    majority rule a fundamental principle of democracy; the majority should have the power to make decisions binding upon the whole

    minority rights protections for those who are not part of the majority

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

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

    political power influence over a government’s institutions, leadership, or policies

    politics the process by which we decide how resources will be allocated and which policies government will pursue

    private goods goods provided by private businesses that can be used only by those who pay for them

    public goods goods provided by government that anyone can use and that are available to all without charge

    representative democracy a form of government where voters elect representatives to make decisions and pass laws on behalf of all the people instead of allowing people to vote directly on laws

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

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

    Who Governs? Elitism, Pluralism, and Tradeoffs

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

    pluralist theory claims political power rests in the hands of groups of people

    Engagement in a Democracy

    ideology the beliefs and ideals that help to shape political opinion and eventually policy

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

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

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

    social capital connections with others and the willingness to interact and aid them

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