Political Dictionary – Chapter 9 Interest Groups

Prepared by Sara Darga


1) Public Policy- Public policy is all of the goals a government sets and the various courses of action it pursues as it attempts to realize these goals. Importance- Some key examples of public policy are laws governing speed limits and seat belt use, and also a President’s decision to send military aid to another country.


2) Public Affairs- Public Affairs are those issues and events that concern the entire people of the United States at large.  Importance- Interest groups raise awareness of public affairs by developing and promoting those policies they favor and by opposing those policies they see as threats to their interests.


3) Trade Associations- Trade associations are interest groups belonging to segments of the business community.  Importance- Today the number of trade associations is in the hundreds and includes; the American Trucking Association, Association of American Railroads, the American Bankers Association and many more.


4) Labor Union- A labor union is an organization of workers who share the same type of job or who work in the same industry.  Importance- Labor unions press for government policies that will benefit their members.


5) Public-Interest Group- A Public-Interest Group is an interest group that seeks to institute certain public policies of benefit to all or most people in this country, whether or not they belong to or support that organization.  Importance- Unlike most interest groups, public-interest groups focus on the roles that all Americans share.


6) Propaganda- Propaganda is a technique of persuasion aimed at influencing individual or group behaviors. Importance- Propaganda’s goal is to create a particular belief, whether it be true or false, or in between.


7) Single-Interest Groups- Single-Interest Groups are PAC’s that concentrate their efforts on one specific issue.  Importance- Single-Interest Groups work for, or against, a candidate solely on the basis of that candidate’s position on that one issue.


8) Lobbying- Lobbing is the activities by which group pressures are brought to bear on legislators and the legislative process. Importance- Nearly all of the more important organized interests in the country; business groups, labor unions, farm organizations, veterans, churches, and many more­, maintain lobbyists in Washington.


9)  Grass Roots- Grass roots means of or from the people, the average voters.  Importance- The groups that lobbyists speak for can mount campaigns by e-mail, letter, postcard, and phone from “the folks back home”, and often on a short notice.