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POLS 1000: American & Wyoming Government: Dictionary Examples


Here are three great examples of political science definitions created by POLS 1000/1100 students. You can use these as you work to complete your own definition.

There are many ways to complete this assignment so be creative!

Example 1

Term: Popular Sovereignty

Definition: Popular Sovereignty refers to the idea that the government obtains its right to rule and ability to exert authority from the consent of the people themselves. Thoughts: I feel this is a very important concept when analyzing both the history of Wyoming, the development of its Constitution, and the attitudes of Wyomingites today. The unique Article 1, Section 1 of the Wyoming Constitution reflects these attitudes: "an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform, or abolish the government". This insinuates the real power within the state belonging to that of the people of Wyoming, and as such Popular Sovereignty is an important term to understand when analyzing the socio-political culture of the state. It is also important to note the Populist attitudes of 19th-century Wyoming Constitution writers from Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio and their approach of panning toward the everyday citizens that still draws many parallels to the political strategies of Wyoming campaigns today.

Examples in media: In "Disaster for the Constitution: Flawed Assertions of State Sovereignty" David Adler of Wyoming Humanities writes an argumentative piece and is critical of the consequences of Popular Sovereignty on Wyoming politics. Ludvig Beckman, a political theorist at Uppsala University, takes a similar approach in analyzing popular sovereignty, arguing that it often undermines many of the democratic principles, and the idea itself can lead to an unequal representation in the political systems.

Citations: “Disaster for the Constitution: Flawed Assertions of State Sovereignty.” RSS, (Links to an external site.).

Ludvig Beckman (2021) Popular sovereignty facing the deep state. The rule of recognition and the powers of the people, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 24:7, 954-976, DOI: 10.1080/13698230.2019.1644583

Definition by Bret Swedlund

Example 2

Term: Gridlock

Definition: Gridlock, sometimes also referred to as deadlock, is a term used in political circles when legislature is not being passed, despite there being a political agenda. This is often caused by a divided congress or government, such as when the Democratic party controls the House of Representatives, while the Republican party controls the Senate. Alternatively, Congress can be controlled by one political party while the Executive branch is controlled by the opposing party. In all of these scenarios, when one section of the government vetoes or blocks another while the blocked section does not have enough influence to override the first, it can create gridlock where nothing happens until the two institutions come to an agreement. This can significantly slow down the legislative process, as well as governmental responses to current change.

Examples in media: "When the partisan disputes run into legislative deadlock, Americans recoil." (Kane, 2020) "About half of those that say the government is the most important problem -- 18% of U.S. adults -- blame both parties or cite "gridlock"" (McCarthy & Jones, 2019)

Citations: Kane, P. (2020, August 1). Congress deeply unpopular again as gridlock on coronavirus relief has real-life consequences. 𝘞𝘒𝘴𝘩π˜ͺ𝘯𝘨𝘡𝘰𝘯 π˜—π˜°π˜΄π˜΅. McCarthy, J., & Jones, J.M. (2019, February 18). Record High Name Government as Most Important Problem. 𝘎𝘒𝘭𝘭𝘢𝘱.

Definition by Madison Manning

Example 3

Term: Priming

Definition: The usage of media persuades people to believe what they believe about an event or a public figure is the correct belief influencing someone.

Examples in media: Over the last couple of years, priming has played a significant factor in America's Culture. An example of the word priming was when Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States of America. The article goes into depth about how Joe Biden is too old to become the president of the United States. The Trentonian tried to convince American Citizens that he is in fact too old to become the president. The media went into further details on how Biden demonstrates that he is too old to be president by the way he talks and walks. To be able to become president a person must be thirty-five years of age but there is no limit on how old a person must be. The article primed Joe Biden by stating that he is too old to be the president of the United States and that there needs to be a cap on how a president can be. Since Joe Biden has become president of the United States many Americans are facing higher prices at the pump. The article, Biden Blames Putin for Gasoline Prices, Thoughts Higher-Ethanol Plan, states that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is to blame for the high gasoline prices. Biden states the high gas prices are due to Putin invading Ukraine. Many Americans are paying at the pump more than they have ever in the past. According to the article, Biden says 70% of March record inflation was driven ‘By Putin’s Price hike’ in gasoline states that in March the gasoline prices were 18.3 % up. However, in reality, Joe Biden is using an example of priming by making the American people into thinking that is the primary reason the gas prices are high. There are actually many ways the high gas prices could be fixed. One of the ways that it could be fixed is to start drilling more in the United States. In the United States today there are 9,000 unused drilling permits. Drilling in the United States won’t make a dramatic change in the pump right away but it’s a step closer. Joe Biden is priming American citizens into believing it’s other countries causing a higher price at the pump when in reality the United States citizens could be saving at the pump if we started drilling on our own soil. Another example of a public figure being primed was Johnny Depp. Depp was being primed by Amber Heard by making accusations of abuse. Since Heard made the accusations Depp lost many sponsorships. According to Lifestyle, it states that Depp lost 40 million due to Heard making false accusations. If Amber heard never made false statements about Johnny Depp abusing her he would tell have sponsors. Even if don’t notice priming occurs every single day rather it’s on the news, on the radio, or just talking to someone.

Citation: Ansolabehere, Ginsberg, Lowi, & Shepsle. “American Government” 3, June 2021,!/4

Duffy, K. (2022, April 13). Biden says 70% of March's record inflation was driven by 'Putin's price hike' in gasoline. Business Insider. Retrieved June 17, 2022, from

Edelstein, Jeff. “Joe Biden Is Clearly Too Old to Be President, Don't You Agree? (Jeff Edelstein Column).” Trentonian, 5 Oct. 2021,

Lw, Sam, Smm, & SAM, A. by. (2022, June 18). Celebrities news - latest celebrities and famous people news. MARCA in English. Retrieved June 17, 2022, from

Sink , J. (2022). Retrieved June 17, 2022, from

Stunson, M. (2022, March 11). Should the US drill more oil for cheaper gas? what to know - miami herald. Will drilling more oil in the US help gas prices go down? Not exactly, experts say. Retrieved June 18, 2022, from