AP Comparative Government Unit 1
is based on political concepts necessary to understand political systems, political institutions, political culture, the electoral system, and political development. This unit is an introduction to the foundations of politics, and it includes comparative concepts that are used throughout the study of all six required countries. So, it is important that you get familiar with all of these terms to advance your studies for each one of the countries.
AP Comparative Government Unit 1 Key Terms:
📝 Normative Statement: A statement that requires a value judgment. It is the opposite of empirical data, which is based on facts rather than reasoning.
🌐 Supranational Organization: Term used to define large-scale, international government institutions. Some examples of supranational organizations include the United Nations (UN), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Union (EU), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). There are common, shared advantages of being part of these organizations, but they can also be seen as a threat to sovereignty, a primary concern in the BREXIT case.
Sovereignty: The ability of a state to rule independently without internal or external interference from the international community (single ladies, who? 👀).
Devolution: Term used for the process in which a state gives increasing power to regional and local bodies ⚖️
Civil Society: Used to evaluate the capability of citizens to form independent voluntary organizations that represent people’s interests in a state. Some examples are activist groups, charities, clubs, NGOs, political parties, and special interest groups. Civil society can be analyzed to identify the level of democracy of a country. It is important to keep in mind that in a highly democratic country, civil society is very active.
Coup d’Etat: A sudden seizure of power in a government which often leads to revolution or a new government.
The first country studied in the AP Comp course is Great Britain 🇬🇧 It is the only nation in the course that demonstrates a high level of democracy, and it is important to understand specific aspects of Great Britain due to its unique characteristics.
AP Comparative Government Unit 2 Key Terms:
👭 Coalition Government: A phenomenon very common in parliamentary systems. It happens when two or more parties join together 🤝to form a majority in a national legislature and consequently have a Prime Minister (PM) chosen from their party coalition.
English Bill of Rights: A document 📜 that lists the rights retained by Parliament, not by individual citizens. William and Mary signed this document in 1688, giving important policymaking power to Parliament, including the power of the purse.
🕐 Gradualism: A policy that requires taking slow actions toward change. The British government, throughout history, has been known for adopting changes gradually.
💂 Limited Government: In this type of government, the laws are binding for everyone, including government officials. Constitutions, statements of rights, or other laws define the limits of those in power so they cannot take advantage of the elected, appointed, or inherited positions.
Parliamentary Government: A type of government in which the executive branch is fused with the legislative branch. In the case of the Parliamentary system, the Prime Minister and their cabinet are the leaders of Parliament, and the PM is the Head of Government in the nation.
👉For more unit 2 resources, check out this page
Russia 🇷🇺 and China 🇨🇳 are the two countries in the course that have communist backgrounds. You must understand the complexities of these two countries due to their more authoritarian nature.
AP Comparative Government Unit 3 Key Terms:
Glasnost: Gorbachev's policy of "openness," which involved an easing of controls on the media, arts, and public discussion in Russia in the 1980s.
Nomenklatura: The process of filling influential jobs, especially in government, with people approved and chosen by the communist party.
💸 Oligarchs: Extremely wealthy people that took advantage of the movement of privatization of Russia in the 1990s. They make fortunes out of the production of gas, construction, and TV stations through large companies.
Totalitarianism: Totally repressive regimes. These regimes have a strong ideological perspective and may even resort to violence to reach their goals.
Guanxi: The uses of personal connections for the rise of individuals’ careers in bureaucracy and other political structures. It often results in the creation of factions within the Chinese government.
🏡 Four Modernizations: A program created by the Chinese politician Deng Xiaoping. It's goals were to advance in areas of industry, science, agriculture, and military.
👉For more unit 3 resources, check out this page
Mexico 🇲🇽 represents the example of a presidential system in the course. Besides that, it is the only nation presented by AP CompGov that is located in the Americas! You must understand Mexico’s political system as it presents a lot of similarities with other systems in Central and South America.
AP Comparative Government Unit 4 Key Terms:
Sexenio: The six-year administration of Mexican presidents.
% Proportional Representation: A system of political representation in which seats are allocated to parties within multi-member constituencies, roughly in proportion to the votes each party receives. PR usually encourages the election to parliament of more political parties than single-member-district winner-take-all systems.
Para-Statal: State-owned agencies, created to undertake a broad range of activities. They produce goods that are usually carried out by private individuals in other countries.
Patron-Client System: An informal way that citizens have used to participate in politics throughout history.
Corporatist State: A country with authoritarian rule that allows some input from interest groups.
👉For more unit 4 resources, check out this page
Iran 🇮🇷 is the only theocratic government in the course and in the world (at the moment). The study of Iran explores the emergence of Islamic religion and it is helpful to understand the economic dependency on oil, as it is a crucial resource worldwide today.
AP Comparative Government Unit 5 Key Terms:
Supreme Leader: The symbol of the whole community and the Head of State of the country. This leader has the power to interpret the law, and it is a position filled for life.
🙏 Theocracy: A government that has religion as a basis. It is a political system that does not separate religion and state.
Shiism: The branch of Islam that distinguishes Iran. It is a great source of Iranians’ sense of nationalism.
Jurists Guardianship: The power exercised by the Guardian Council and the Supreme Leader from Iran. A principle that consists of the authority of these two bodies and on the adherence of Islamic beliefs.
💱 Rentier State: A state that is heavily supported by state expenditure. In the case of Iran, the nation receives increasing revenue from exporting oil and leasing oil fields to other countries.
Majles: The Unicameral Legislature that exists in Iran since the Constitution of 1906. The chamber has had its powers weakened through the constitution of 1979. It has 290 seats, all directly elected through single-member district citizens.
👉For more unit 5 resources, check out this page
Nigeria 🇳🇬 is brought to center stage in this unit. Understanding the instability of a democracy that is constantly weakened by coups is deeply important while studying Nigeria. The increasing corruption and factionalism within the country are alarming problems that compromise the rise of a stable political system. Nigeria is the only African country in the course, and several aspects of its politics, such as patron-clientelism, can be easily compared to other countries in AP CompGov.
AP Comparative Government Unit 6 Key Terms:
Patrimonialism: aAnother form of “patron-clientelism.” In Nigeria, this system is very common when politicians offer oil revenues in exchange for votes.
📜 Sharia Law: It consists of the use of Islamic law. It is binding to the north of Nigeria since 1999, and it is used as a form of legitimacy to the terrorist group Boko Haram and the northerners.
**Igbo: ****One of the largest ethnic groups in Nigeria. They are mostly located in the southeast of the country and are mostly Catholic.
📢 Biafran Civil War: The event sparked by the Igbo people in Nigeria during the years 1967-1970. They advocated for independence, however, it was a failed attempt that led to even more ethnic-based violence in Nigeria.
CPC: The Congress for Progressive Change. A significantly large and liberal political party in Nigeria.
❓National Question: The common dilemma in Nigeria, which is a result of a lack of national unity and a sense of nationalism due to high political instability in the country. The question consists of doubts about the best way to rule Nigeria.
Use these Quizlet decks to review for the AP exam and to study the most important terms in each unit! Learning all about comparisons, democracies, communist and post-communist Regimes, and a bunch of different kinds of newly industrialized and developing countries is going to be a breeze with these decks.