cabinet: The President, the Vice President, and the officials who run the executive departments of the government. (At times, other officials are included in the cabinet.)

capitalism: An economic system of free enterprise with private ownership of the means of production.

caucus: A group or meeting of a group of a political party or organization in which such matters as selection of candidates, leaders, or positions on issues are decided.

certiorari, writ of: A writ which, if granted by the Supreme Court, means that it agrees to hear a case.

charter colonies: Colonies in which freely elected legislatures chose the governors, and laws could not be vetoed by the king.

checks and balances: The provisions of the Constitution that divide power among three constitutionally equal and independent branches of government - legislative, executive, and judicial - in the hope of preventing any single branch from becoming too powerful.

civil cases: Court cases that concern relations between individuals and organizations, such as a divorce action or a suit for damages arising from an automobile accident or for violation of a business contract.

civil disobedience: The conscious refusal to obey laws that are believed to be unjust, unconstitutional, or immoral.

civil liberties: The fundamental rights of a free society that are protected by the Bill of Rights against the power of the government, such as freedom of speech, religion, press, and assembly.

civil rights: The constitutional rights of all individuals and especially of blacks and other minorities, to enjoy full equality and equal protection of the laws.

civil service: The civilian employees of the government and the administrative system in which they work.

clear and present danger test: A test established by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1919 to define the point at which speech loses the protection of the First Amendment.

closed primary: A form of primary election in which only registered members of a political party or persons declaring their affiliation with a party can vote.

closed shop: A place of work in which only union members may be hired.

cloture: A Senate procedure to cut off a filibuster by a vote of three-fifths (sixty members) of the entire Senate.

cluster sampling: A technique used by polling organizations in which several people from the same neighborhood are interviewed.

coalitions: Alliances of segments of the electorate, interest groups, and unorganized masses of voters who coalesce behind a political candidate or party.

coattail effect: The ability of a major candidate, such as a presidential or gubernatorial candidate, to help carry into office lesser candidates from the same party who are also on the ballot.

COINTELPRO: The �counterintelligence program� of the FBI that harassed American citizens and disrupted their organizations through a wide variety of clandestine techniques.

collective security: A principle embraced by the United States during the Truman and Eisenhower administrations, under which the nation attempted to �contain� communism and entered into a series of military alliances with other countries for this purpose.

commission plan: A form of city government under which a board of city commissioners is popularly elected (often on a nonpartisan ballot). The commissioners make policy as a city council, but they also run city departments as administrators.

Committee of the Whole: A device used by the House of representatives when it considers legislation sent to it by the Rules Committee. When the House sits as a Committee of the Whole, it is able to conduct business with less formality, and with a quorum of only 100 members.

Committees of Correspondence: A political communications network established in 1772 by Samuel Adams to unite the colonists in their fight against British rule.

common law: The cumulative body of law as expressed in judicial decisions and custom rather than by statute.

concurrent powers: Powers of government exercised independently by both the federal and state governments, such as the power to tax.

conference committee: A committee composed of senior members of the House and Senate that tries to reconcile disagreements between the two branches of Congress over differing versions of a bill.

conglomerates: Multi-interest and often multinational corporations that, under one corporate roof, may manufacture a wide variety of products.

Connecticut Compromise: The plan adopted during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 providing for a House of Representatives based on population and a Senate with two members from each state. (Also known as the Great Compromise.)

constituencies: Voters in a political district; interest groups or client groups either directly regulated by the bureaucracy or vitally affected by its decisions.

Constitution: The written framework for the United States government that established a strong national government of three branches - legislative, executive, and judicial - and provided for the control and operation of that government.

constitutional amendment: A change to the Constitution proposed by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress or a constitutional convention, and ratified by legislatures or ratifying conventions in three-fourths of the states.

containment: The foreign policy of the United States during the Cold War, designed to contain the expansion of Soviet power.

cooperative federalism: A view that the various levels of government in America are related parts of a single governmental system, characterized by cooperation and shared functions.

council-manager plan: A form of city government under which a council, usually elected on a nonpartisan ticket, hires a professional city manager, who runs the city government and has power to hire and fire officials.

court-packing plan: A plan proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937, which Congress rejected, to add younger justices to the Supreme Court who would be more sympathetic to the New Deal.

covert operations: Secret political action within other countries.

creative federalism: A term coined by President Lyndon B. Johnson to describe his own view of the relationship between Washington and the states.

credentials committee: The body of a political convention that decides which delegates should be seated, subject to approval of the entire convention.

criminal cases: Court cases that concern crimes committed against the public order.


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