GED Social Studies Vocabulary

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Social Studies Vocabulary
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1

Abolitionist

a person who wanted to do away with slavery

2

Absolute monarchy

authoritarian government in which all authority is held by a king or queen

3

Acid Rain

type of precipitation made acidic by air pollutants as a result of burning fossils fuels.

4

Age Of Exploration

the period during which Europeans nations sponsored expeditions by sea to unknown parts of the world (1400s to 1600s)

5

Amendment

addition or change to a constitution

6

Appropriate Information

information that supports an idea, generalization, or conclusion

7

Aristocracy

the highest social class, usually of noble birth; means "rule by the best"

8

Arms Race

the competition (1950s through the 1980s) between the United States and the Soviet Union to develop nuclear weapons

9

Articles Of Confederation

the first U.S. constitution (1781-1789), which established a confederation of sovereign states.

10

Assumption

an idea, theory, or principle that a person believes to be true; something taken for granted and not explained

11

Authoritarian

advocating obedience; not allowing personal liberty

12

Authority

power to give orders, take action, and command obedience; party having this power

13

Balance Of Trade

the difference between the total value of goods and services exported and the total value of goods and services imported

14

Barter System

economic system in which goods and services are exchanged between two parties, rather than being paid for with money

15

Bias

a strong opinion held by a person about a topic, often unfairly or without good reason

16

Bicameral

consisting of two legislative states

17

Bill Of Rights

first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, listing the rights of individuals

18

Boycott

a form of protest in which a group refuses to buy the products of a country or company until it makes some demanded change

19

Breakwater

a wall built in a lake or sea to protect a shoreline from the force of waves

20

Business Cycle

the increasing and decreasing of business activity through four phases; expansion, peak, contraction, and trough

21

Cabinet

a group of advisors to a chief executive

22

Cause

what makes something happen or produces a result or consequence

23

Centralized Government

a type of government in which political power is held at one point

24

Charter

a document that establishes an organization, such as a city or a corporation, and defines organization type and purpose

25

City-State

an early form of organization and government; town or city and land it controls

26

Civil Rights

the rights and freedoms democratic governments guarantee to all citizens

27

Civil War

a sectional conflict between the Northern and Southern states (1861-1865)

28

Civilization

an advanced and highly organized society; the culture, society, and way of life in a particular place during a particular time

29

Clan

group of people with a common ancestor

30

Climate

the general weather conditions of an area over a long period of time

31

Cold War

struggle for world power between the United States and the Soviet Union (1945 until the Soviet Union's collapse in 1989)

32

Collective Bargaining

a negotiation between employers and labor and the labor union leaders regarding working conditions, pay and other issues

33

Colonial

relating to a colony or area controlled and settled by people from another country

34

Colonists

persons who leave their native country to settle in a colony

35

Colonization

sending people to establish political, cultural, and economic control over another area

36

Communism

an economic system in which the government owns the means of production and plans the economy of the nation

37

Communist Bloc

a group of nations allied with the Soviet Union during the Cold War

38

Compare

to look for similarities in things

39

Compass Route

map tool indicating the four principal directions - North, South, East, West

40

Concept

an idea or principle that applies to a variety of separate situations or circumstances

41

Conclusion

a judgment or decision based on facts and details

42

Conservation

the careful use and protection of natural resources

43

Constitution

a plan that provides the basic organization and rules for a government

44

Context

the circumstances or setting in which an event occurs

45

Continents

seven large landmasses on Earth

46

Contraction

a reduction in business activity

47

Contrast

to look for differences in things

48

Cost-Push Inflation

higher prices caused by a push for higher wages (wage-price spiral)

49

Crusades

expeditions from Europe to the Middle East (11th and 14th centuries) to impose Christian rule on Muslim areas

50

Culture

the knowledge, beliefs, arts, morals, laws, and customs of a society

51

Currency

a country's system of money

52

Daimyo

a feudal lord in Japan from the 9th to 16th centuries whose power came from the samurai warriors loyal to him

53

Data

facts, measurements, or statistics used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation

54

Demand

the amount of a good or service consumers are willing to buy at a certain price

55

Demand-Pull Inflation

a condition of higher prices due to demand for goods in short supply

56

Democracy

rule by the people

57

Democratic Government

system of government in which the people rule, either directly or through elected representaives

58

Depression

the condition that results from a severe reduction of business activity

59

Desert

a large area of land that receives little yearly precipitation

60

Developing Nation

Country with few manufacturing industries in which most people make a living mainly through agriculture

61

Dictatorship

system of government in which one person (not a king or queen) or a small group rules, usually through fear and force; usually not responsive to the will of the people

62

Discount Rate

the rate of interest a Federal Reserve Bank charges other banks

63

Discrimination

the unequal treatment of individuals based on race, gender, ethnicity, age, religion, disability, or sexual orientation

64

Dynasty

ruling family whose members govern one after another over a long period of time

65

Effect

something brought about by a cause; a result or consequence

66

Empire

a group of countries or territories that are united under one ruler or government

67

Environment

all the things that make up our existence on Earth, including land, air, water, plants, animals, cities, and towns

68

Equilibrium

condition existing when supply of a product or service and demand for it are equal

69

Erosion

the wearing away of land, usually by the action of water, wind or ice

70

Ethnic

relating to a nation or race that has a common cultural tradition

71

Excise Tax

tax on production, transportation, sale, or consumption of a certain good or service

72

Executive

administering and enforcing laws and putting other government or organization plans and decisions into effect; the person in charge

73

Expansion

the phase of the business cycle characterized by an increase in business activity

74

Exports

goods produced in one country and sent to another country for sale

75

Facts

a real occurrence or event

76

Fall Line

border between upland region and lowland region marked by waterfalls and rapids resulting from the elevation change

77

Federal

system of government in which several states unite but keep vast control over their own affairs; the national government of the U.S.

78

Federal Reserve System (The Fed)

the central banking authority in the United States, which supervises commercial banks by monitoring accounts and controlling interest rates

79

Feudalism

system of government based on the granting of land in return for military assistance

80

Force

the means by which a ruler, government, or other party uses power, often through fear, to shape the behavior of other against their will

81

Fossil Fuel

class of combustible materials (coal, natural gas, and petroleum) formed from the remains of prehistoric plants and animals

82

Generalization

a broad statement applied to an entire class of things or people

83

Global Economy

the increased economic interdependence of the world's nations

84

Goods

physical things people produce and use

85

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

the total monetary value of goods and services produced in a nation during a year

86

Groundwater

water coming from underground sources such as a well, spring, or aquifer

87

Hostile Takeover

a process in which one company purchases or otherwise gains control of another against the wishes of those who operate it

88

House Of Representatives

the U.S. Congress chamber or house in which each state in assigned seats according to its population

89

Humanism

a movement that began in Italy in the 1100s focused on the study of ancient Greek and Romans literature and emphasizing the dignity of human values

90

Ideology

a set of basic beliefs about life, culture, government, and society

91

Immigration

the process by which people leave one country to settle in another country

92

Imperialism

practice in which a nation uses power to control the territory, politics, or economic or cultural affairs of another nation

93

Implication

something that is not openly stated but is hinted at or suggested

94

Implied Cause

a reason for something that is not directly stated, but is only suggested or hinted at

95

Imports

goods brought into a country that are produced in another country

96

Incorporate

to form a city government, legal community, or company that has the legal organization and protections of a corporation

97

Industrial Revolution

the period when machines replaced most production by hand

98

Inflation

a general increase in the prices due largely to a decline in the value of money

99

Influence

the power to affect actions or beliefs without the use or threat of force

100

Inorganic Waste

discarded items made from materials that were never alive

101

Jetty

a structure extending from land into a body of water that influences the water's flow in order to protect the land

102

Jim Crow Laws

laws in many Southern states enforcing the segregation of the African-American and white populations

103

Judicial Review

power of courts to declare legislative and executive actions to be in violation of the Constitution

104

Kingdom

area ruled by a king or queen

105

Knights

under feudalism, mounted warriors in Europe who were the lowest level of persons who held land in return for military service

106

Labor Union

a group of workers organized to improve the working conditions of its members

107

Landmass

the part of Earth above the water

108

Legal Authority

authority based on and permitted by law

109

Legend

the map tool that explains the meaning of the map's symbols

110

Legislature

a group of persons that makes the laws of a nation or state

111

Legitimate Power

the power exercised by a leader who has the authority to make decisions that the people will follow

112

Levy

to place and collect a legal assessment; tax

113

Literacy Test

a test limiting voting to those who could read; used mainly to deny voting rights to Southern African Americans after the Civil War

114

Lobbyist

a person who tries to influence the voting of those in government

115

Longshore Current

a current that flows parallel to the coastline of a large body of water

116

Lord

a person of noble birth

117

Main Idea

what a paragraph or article is about; the broadcast, most important idea

118

Manifest Destiny

the 19th-century belief that the United States would be expanded from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts

119

Mass Participation

political or social activism by a large diverse group rather than a small or elite group

120

Merger

the uniting of two or more companies to form a single business, usually accomplished when one company takes over antoher

121

Middle Ages

period in European history that began with the collapse of the Roman Empire and ended with the Renaissance in the 1300s

122

Minimum Wage

the lowest legal wage that may be paid to a worker

123

Missionary

a person sent to teach the Christian religion to people who are not Christians

124

Money Economy

a system by which goods and services are paid for with money

125

Monopoly

a condition in which one company has sole control over a good or service

126

Multiparty System

a political system in which three or more major political parties exercise power in government

127

Nation

large community of people with a common culture, language, and history, living in a particular area under the same government

128

National Debt

the total amount of money that a nation's government owes

129

Natural Resources

the materials people use that are supplied by nature

130

Noble

a person who has a high social rank, usually because of his or her birth

131

Nominate

to choose a political party's candidate to run for elective office

132

Nonaligned Nations

the nations that did not side with either the United States or the Soviet Union during the Cold War

133

Nonrenewable Resources

natural resources that cannot be replaced by natural processes, or that are replaced very slowly

134

Opinion

beliefs or feelings about something

135

Oversimplification

a description that makes a concept seem less complex that it really is

136

Parliamentary System

a form of government in which the lawmaking and executive functions are held by an elected legislature, or parliament

137

Pharaoh

title given the ruler of ancient Egypt

138

Piecework

a wage system in which a worker is paid for each unit that he or she produces

139

Place

a specific location on Earth described by its position in degrees of longitude and latitude

140

Plantation

a large farm on which the work is performed by laborers who live on the property

141

Platform

a statement of a political party's basic beliefs and positions

142

Political Party

a group organized to nominate candidates for elective office, win elections, and conduct government

143

Poll Tax

a tax people had to pay in order to vote, banned by the 24th Amendment in 1964

144

Polllute

to make something less pure by adding harmful substances to it

145

Power

ability to take action or exercise control; possession of authority, influence, or control over other; a legal or official authority or right

146

Precinct

the smallest voting district

147

Precipitation

droplets of water that fall as rain, snow, sleet, or hail

148

Presidential System

form of government in which executive and legislative functions as separate and held by independent and equal branches of government, with the chief executive chosen by the people, not the legislature

149

Prime Minister

the leader of executive branch in a parliamentary system of government

150

Prime Rate

the lowest interest rate the banks charge their best customers

151

Public Land

land owned directly by a government and therefore belonging to the entire nation, state, or community

152

Radical

a person who supports extreme changes in traditional policies and practices

153

Ratify

to formally approve something, such as a constitutional amendment or a treaty

154

Real GDP

the value of a nation's production of goods and services during a year, corrected for the effects of inflation

155

Recession

a period when production declines and people have less money

156

Reconstruction

period of rebuilding the society and economy of the South after the Civil War

157

Recycle

to reuse solid and non-solid waste for the same or a new purpose

158

Referendum

an election that allows citizens to accept or reject a law that has been proposed or passed by state or local government

159

Region

an area with common characteristics making it different from other areas

160

Renaissance

a revival of interest in art and learning in Europe that began in Italy in the 1300s and lasted until the 1500s

161

Renewable Resource

something that can be replenished by Earth's natural processes

162

Repeal

to revoke or do away with a law

163

Republic

a government in which citizens hold the power and exercise it through elected representatives

164

Reservation

tract of federal land set aside for use by a specific group or for a specific purpose; federal land set aside for Native Americans

165

Reserve Requirements

the percentage of their deposits that member banks must keep available in a Federal Reserve Bank

166

Resources

something available for use, may be natural or financial

167

Restate

present information in another way

168

Samurai

a warrior in feudal Japan, similar to a knight in feudal Europe

169

Sandbar

a ridge of sand built above water level by currents in a river or near a costline

170

Satellite Nation

a communist nation of Eastern Europe whose government was controlled by the Soviet Union during the Cold War

171

Seawall

a wall or embarkment built on land to protect a shoreline from being eroded by waves

172

Secede

to withdraw from an organization or a federal

173

Segregation

separation of a group from the rest of society due to religious, cultural, or racial differences

174

Self-Government

political system in which a society conducts functions of governments itself or elects leaders to carry out those functions

175

Senate

"upper" chamber or house; in the U.S. Congress each state is represented equally and has two seats

176

Serf

a person in feudal society who has bound to the land and who served whomever owned it

177

Service Sector

the part of the economy that does not produce physical good but instead performs functions that meet human needs

178

Services

nonmaterial or nonphysical things that are produced and used by people

179

Sharecropping

a system in which a landowner provides farmers with land, housing, tools, seed, and supplies in return for a share of the crop

180

Shogun

the chief military and governmental officer in feudal Japan

181

Shortage

a situation in which the demand for a service or goods exceeds the available supply

182

Slavery

a practice in which a person is owned by and forced to work for another person

183

Social Welfare

organized public or private services to assist disadvantaged persons or groups

184

Special Interest Group

an organization that carries out programs to influence government policies in order to benefit its members

185

Sphere Of Influence

area over which a nation exerts political or economic control

186

Standard Of Living

quality of life, determined by necessities and luxuries possessed

187

State

territory with defined borders within which a government functions

188

Stereotype

a fixed idea or image of a particular type of person or thing that is often not true

189

Strike

a withholding of labor services to pressure employer to agree to workers' demands

190

Subsidy

Government financial incentive granted to encourage activity benefiting the public

191

Summary

a brief account of the main idea of a piece of writing or a graphic

192

Supply

amount of a good or service sellers are willing to offer for sale at a certain price

193

Supporting Details

the evidence or facts that lead to a conclusion

194

Surface Water

water present on Earth's surface - rivers, streams, oceans, seas, lakes and ponds

195

Surplus

an excess in supply of a good or service

196

Sweatshop

a factory or company in which workers are employed for long hours at low wages and under unhealthy conditions

197

Takeover

act of assuming control or possession, such as a military seizure of a government or the acquisition of one company by another

198

Tariff

tax on imported goods as a source of income and a means by which a government regulates trade and reduces foreign competition

199

Tenement

overcrowded city apartment building with minimum standards of sanitation and safety

200

Term Limits

provisions in a constitution or charters limiting elected officials to a specific number of terms in office

201

Third Party

any political party in the United States other than the two major parties

202

Topic Sentence

a sentence that tells the reader what the paragraph is about

203

Totalitarian

of a centralized government that does not tolerate opposing political opinions

204

Transcontinental

crossing an entire continent, such as a transportation system

205

Tribe

a group of numerous families and clans with common ethnic or cultural bonds

206

Two-Party System

a political system dominated by major parties, such as the Republican and Democratic parties in the United States

207

Unemployment Rate

the percentage of people in the labor force who are not working but who are looking for work

208

Unicameral

consisting of a single legislative chamber or house

209

Urban

relating to a city or cities

210

Values

goals and ideals; what people consider important, good, beautiful, worthwhile, sacred

211

Vassal

a person in a feudal society who is granted land from a lord in return for services