Political Science Concepts
The concepts listed below are an integral component of the global history and
geography core curriculum:
• Justice means the fair, equal, proportional, or appropriate treatment
rendered to individuals in interpersonal, societal, or government
• Nation-state means a geographic/political organization uniting
people by a common government. Citizenship means membership in a
community (neighborhood, school, region, state, nation, world) with its
accompanying rights, responsibilities, and dispositions.
• Political Systems such as monarchies, dictatorships, and
democracies address certain basic questions of government such as: What
should a government have the power to do? What should a government not
have the power to do? A political system also provides for ways that parts of
that system interrelate and combine to perform specific functions of
• Power refers to the ability of people to compel or influence the
actions of others. “Legitimate power is called authority.”
• Government means the “formal institutions and processes of a
politically organized society with authority to make, enforce, and interpret
laws and other binding rules about matters of common interest and
concern. Government also refers to the group of people, acting in formal
political institutions at national, state, and local levels, who exercise
decision making power or enforce laws and regulations.” (Taken from:
Civics Framework for the 1998 National Assessment of Educational Progress,
NAEP Civics Consensus Project, The National Assessment Governing Board,
United States Department of Education, p. 19).
• Decision Making means the processes used to “monitor and influence
public and civic life by working with others, clearly articulating ideals and
interests, building coalitions, seeking consensus, negotiating compromise,
and managing conflict.” (Taken from: Civics Framework, p. 18).
• Civic Values refer to those important principles that serve as the
foundation for our democratic form of government. These values include
justice, honesty, self-discipline, due process, equality, majority rule with
respect for minority rights, and respect for self, others, and property.
• Human Rights are those basic political, economic, and social rights
that all human beings are entitled to, such as the right to life, liberty, and
the security of person, and a standard of living adequate for the health and
well-being of himself and of his family. Human rights are inalienable and
expressed by various United Nations documents including the United Nations
Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.