New Vocabulary


Look here for words you need to know to read the study guides.



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Susan WB

Susan Wetenkamp-Brandt

adopt

to accept or choose.

Example:  The Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776.

amendment

A change or addition, especially to the Constitution.

There are 27 amendments to the Constitution.

Britain

A short name for the country with the official name The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  It is made up of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Also called the United Kingdom or the U.K.

The 13 original states of the U.S. were colonies of Britain before they declared independence in 1776.

candidate

a person who is competing to be elected to a government office.

Example:  There are two major candidates for President:  Barack Obama and John McCain.

colonist

a person who goes to live in a colony.

Example:  Many colonists came to America for religious freedom.

colony

a country or region that is controlled by a more powerful, and often far away, country.

Example:  Virginia was the first British colony in America.

Constitution

The supreme (or highest) law of the land.  The Constitution sets up the government of the United States and protects the basic rights of the American people.

convention

a large formal meeting of people.

Example:  The Republican National Convention was held in St. Paul in September, 2008.

current

at the present time (now), or the most recent.

Example:  The current Governor of Minnesota is Tim Pawlenty.  (He is Governor now.)

debate

to discuss (talk about) a subject in a formal way; to argue about something by giving different opinions about it.

Example:  The presidential candidates will debate their plans for improving the economy.

district

1) an area of land, as in the District of Columbia, where the capital city of Washington is located. 

2) an area of a state.  Each district has one representative in the House of Representatives.

Example:  The Representative from Minnesota's 4th district is Betty McCollum.

document

A paper (or collection of papers) with written or printed information.  They are often official papers. a document

elect

to choose (a candidate) by voting.

Example:  In November of 2008, we will elect a new President.

Europe

a part of the world (a continent).  Europe is east of North America, across the Atlantic Ocean.  It is north of Africa, and west of Asia.  There are many countries in Europe such as England, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, and many others.

federal

having to do with the national government, rather than the government of a specific state.

governor

the leader of a state government's executive branch.  Just as the country has one President, each state has one Governor.

liberty

The freedom to live as you wish and go where you want.

oath

a promise or vow.

Example:  On January 20, the new president takes the oath of office and begins his term.

population

how many people live in a place.

Example:  The population of Minnesota is about 5 million.

ratify

to approve; to make an agreement official.

Example:  Amendments to the Constitution must be ratified by state legislatures.

Representative

a member of the House of Representatives (one of two parts of the U.S. Congress).  There are 435 Representatives in the House.

or

More generally, someone who speaks for a group of people.

Responsibility

something that we should do; something that is our job or duty to do.

Example:  All people who live in the U.S. have the responsibility to pay taxes.

Revolutionary War

The war that made the United States a free and independent country.  In this war, the United States fought England (Britain) for its freedom.

Rights

1)  basic things that people can freely do; freedoms and privileges

Example:  Susan B. Anthony worked hard for women to have the right to vote.

2)  the claim a person has to be treated in a fair or legal way, or to have the things that are necessary for life

Example:  Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for civil rights and the equality of all Americans.

Senator

a member of the Senate (one of the two parts of the U.S. Congress).

There are 100 Senators.

term

a period of time.

In government, a term is how long an elected official keeps his or her job before the next election.

Example:  The President is elected to a 4-year term.  Each President can only serve two terms.

tribe

a group of people who live in the same area and whose families are often related.  They share the same language, culture, and history.

Example:  The Sioux are an American Indian tribe who live in Minnesota and speak the Dakota language.


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