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Glossary
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A prioriFrom cause to effect; from a general law to a particular instance; valid independently of observation.
AbolitionistOne who favors doing away with slavery.
AbsolutismThe principle or the exercise of complete and unrestricted power in government.
Acid rainA theory that pollution rises into the atmosphere and chemicals are? returned to earth in the rain.
ACLUAmerican civil liberties union. Nonprofit, nonpartisan litigation and lobbying organization which, among other activities, defends "freedom of expression, privacy, due process, and equal protection on behalf of anyone, no matter how unpopular the issue.
Ad hominemAppealing to a prejudice or emotion, to discredit what someone believes. Instead of addressing the opposing side's argument or position, you make a personal attack on their character.
AdministrationThe organized apparatus of the state for the preparation and implementation of legislation and policies, also called bureaucracy.
Affirmative Actionan active effort to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of minority groups and women; also: a similar effort to promote the rights or progress of other disadvantaged persons
Agenda-settingControlling the focus of attention by establishing the issues for public discussion.
AltruismSacrifice of the self for the welfare of others.
AmendmentAn alteration of or addition to a bill, constitution, etc.
AnarchismA stateless society that allows total individual freedom.
AnarchistOne who seeks to overturn, by violence, society and government, with no intention of establishing another orderly system.
Anomic groupSpontaneously formed interest group with concern over a specific issue.
AntifederalistA person who opposed the adoption of the proposed u.s. constitution.
Anti-SemitearbitraryOne who discriminates against or who is hostile toward or prejudiced against jews. Sometimes used as a label for those who criticize israel or its policies, in order to intimidate and stifle disagreement.
AristocracyA form of government in which a minority rules under the law. The most common example of this is when people of significant influence and advantage rule the majority.
Articles of ConfederationThe constitution of the 13 american colonies, adopted in 1781 and replaced in 1789 by the u.s. constitution.
Associational groupFormally organized group which articulates the interests of its members over long periods of time.
Asymmetrical federalismA federal system of government in which powers are unevenly divided between provinces, i.e. Some provinces have greater responsibilities or more autonomy than others.
AtheismThe doctrine or belief that there is no god or gods.
Attorney generalThe chief law officer of a country or state and head of its legal department.
Auction politicsA danger in democratic politics in which state power may be "sold" to the highest bidding groups.
AutarkyNational economic self-sufficiency.
AuthoritarianismA system of government in which leaders are not subjected to the test of free elections.
AuthorityA form of power based on consensus regarding the right to issue commands and make decisions.
AutocracyA government where uncontrolled or unlimited authority is in the hands of one person.
Axis-of-evilCountries to be attacked; bush administration hit list (currently includes iran, north korea, and possibly now syria -threatening moves against cuba and venezuela also made by this regime)
AbortionInduced termination of a pregnancy with destruction of the embryo or fetus