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Glossary

 

The vocabulary words in this glossary are mentioned on various pages of this site. The links for the words refer to the place where the word is discussed most often.

 

WORD

DEFINITION

Amendment A change or addition to the Constitution.
Appointed When a person is chosen rather than elected to public office.
Bill An idea for a law.
Bill of Rights The first ten amendments to the Constitution
Cabinet A group of advisors to the President in key areas such as defense, commerce, education,etc..
Candidate A person who is running for office.
Checks and Balances The ways in which each branch of government limits the powers of the other branches of government.
Citizen A person who is the member of a state or nation.
Colony A place that is ruled by another country.
Compromise When a disagreement is settled, each side gets part of what they wanted and give up part of what they wanted.
Congress The lawmaking or legislative body of our nation.
Constitution A plan of government or the rules of our country.
Constitutional Means that a law follows or is in line with the Constitution.
Convention A big, official meeting of people.
Declaration of Independence A document that states the reasons the thirteen American colonies wanted to be free of Great Britain's government.
Delegate A person who represents others at a convention.
Democracy A form of government in which the citizens share the power.
Document An official printed paper.
Executive The branch of government that carries out the laws.
Electoral College The group of people who directly elect the President and Vice-President.
Federal A type of government where the some of the power is at the national level and some of the power is at the state level.
Governor The head of the executive branch for a state.
House of Representatives The part of the Congress that has representatives elected every two years. The number of representatives from each state is determined by the state's population.
Judicial The branch of government that interprets the laws or says what the laws mean.
Jury A group of twelve people who hear evidence and arguments by the prosecution and defense in a case. They decide if the accused is guilty or innocent.
Law A rule made and carried out by a government.
Legislative The branch of government that makes the laws.
Majority Means more than half.
Minority Means less than half.
Political party A group of people who have similar ideas about how our country should be run.
Population The number of people who live in a place.
Preamble The opening of the Constitution that states its purpose.
Representative A person who is chosen or elected to speak for others.
Republic A form of government in which there is an elected president rather than a king.
Senate The part of the Congress that has two senators from each state.
Speaker of the House The leader of the House of Representatives selected by the majority party.
State A part of a nation that has some powers of its own.
Supreme Court The top or highest court in our land. It is located in Washington DC.
Unconstitutional Does not follow the Constitution.
Verdict The decision by a jury after it hears the evidence and arguments in a court case.