Purposes and Origins of Government

Vocabulary

authoritarianism

type of government in which decisions are made by a centralized authority or leader who does not answer to the people

dictatorship

type of government characterized by one-person or one-party authoritarian rule

direct democracy

form of government in which laws and policy decisions are made directly by the people

divine right theory

idea that government originates with power vested in an individual by God or gods

evolutionary theory

idea that government originates from a family or clan-bound structure

force theory

idea that government originates from taking control of the state by force, often found in a dictatorship

general welfare

state of happiness and well-being within a society

ideology

philosophy concerning the design, functions, and goals of government

initiative

process by which citizens can directly propose new legislation or amend a constitution

liberal democracy

type of government in which state power is limited in order to protect the rights of the minority

libertarianism

political ideology that places individual liberty above all else and favors very limited government

populism

movement that opposes elites and big business by championing the common person

public good

that which benefits all people in a society

referendum

measure created by a legislative body that the people either approve or reject through popular vote

republic

political system in which citizens elect representatives to govern for them

rule of law

idea that all people and institutions within a state are subject to the same laws

social contract theory

idea that government originates as an agreement between the governed and those who govern

sovereignty

ultimate authority of a state to govern itself without interference from outside governments or powers

state

organized and independent body of people constituting a distinct political entity