Civics and Economics Vocabulary

The study of the rights and duties of citizens
rights and duties of members of a state dating back to 2,500 years to Greece and Rome
community member who owes loyalty to the government and is entitled to protection from it
service economy
Where the majority of people earn their living by providing a service rather than manufacturing a product.
general principles or beliefs people use to make their judgements/decisions
popular sovereignty
the notion that power lies with the people
sets of ideas that people have about relationships, obligations, roles, and functions of society
a legal process to obtain citizenship
a noncitizen
a person who moves permanently to a new country
To send an alien or immigrant back to his or her own country
the ruling authority for a community
public policy
the course of action the government takes in response to an issue or problem.
a plan for making and spending money
a government in which citizens hold the power to rule
direct democracy
a form of democracy in which the people vote firsthand
representative democracy
a government in which citizens choose a smaller group to govern on their behalf
a representative democracy where citizens choose their lawmakers
broad ideas about what is good or desirable shared by people in a society
a government with a hereditary, single leader
majority rule
political principle providing that a majority of the members of a community has the power to make laws binding upon all the people
a government in which one leader or group of people holds absolute power
a system in which government control extends to almost all aspects of peoples lives
movement that spread the idea that reason and science could improve society
King or queen
a group of people chosen to make laws
A ruling that is used as the basis for a judicial decision in a later, similar case
common law
a system of law based on precedent and customs
natural rights
freedoms people possess relating to life, liberty, and property
social contract
an agreement among people in a society with a government
a group of people in one place who are ruled by a parent country elsewhere
joint-stock company
investors provide partial ownership in a company organized for profit
a written document granting land and the authority to set up colonial governments
an agreement or contract among a group of people
proprietary colony
area with owner-controlled land and government
royal colony
a colonial area of land controlled directly by a king or other monarch
religious dissenter
those who followed a religious faith other than the official religion of England
religious dissenters who came to the colonies to purify, or reform, the Anglican church
colonial puritans who considered themselves people on a religious journey
acceptance of other groups, such as religious groups
indentured servants
workers who contracted with American colonists for food and shelter in return for their labor
a large estate
triangular trade
pattern of trade that developed in colonial times among the Americas, Africa, and Europe
to change or alter in order to fit or conform
to aid; to help
the theory that a country should sell more goods to other countries than it buys.
the refusal to purchase certain goods
to cancel an act or law
a representative to a meeting
self-reliance and freedom from outside control
Areas of low, flat plains near the seacoast of Virginia and North Carolina
the philosophy or spirit of equality
a detailed, written plan for government
a legislature consisting of two parts, or houses
a group of individuals or state governments
to vote approval of
Constitutional Convention
meeting of state delegates in 1787 leading to adoption of new Constitution
Great Compromise
agreement providing a dual system of congressional representation
Three-Fifths Compromise
agreement providing that enslaved persons would count as three-fifths of other persons in determining representation in congress
Electoral College
a group of people named by each state legislature to select the president and vice president
Supporters of the Constitution.
a form of government in which power is divided between the federal, or national, government and the states
those who opposed ratification of the Constitution
The opening section of the Constitution
legislative branch
the lawmaking branch of government
executive branch
the branch of government that carries out laws
judicial branch
The branch of government that interprets laws
A change to the Constitution
rule of law
principle that the law applies to everyone, even those who govern
separation of powers
The split of authority among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.
checks and balances
a system in which each branch of government is able to check, or restrain, the power of the others
expressed powers
Powers that Congress has that are specifically listed in the Constitution.
reserved powers
powers that the Constitution does not give to the national government that are kept by the states
concurrent powers
powers shared by the state and federal governments
civil liberties
the freedoms we have to think and act without government interference or fear of unfair treatment
the banning of printed materials or films due to alarming or offensive ideas
a formal request for government action
spoken untruths that are harmful to someone’s reputation
written untruths that are harmful to someone’s reputation
search warrant
A court order allowing law enforcement officers to search a suspect’s home or business and take specific items as evidence
a formal charge by a grand jury
grand jury
a group of citizens that decides whether there is sufficient evidence to accuse someone of a crime
double jeopardy
putting someone on trial for a crime of which he or she was previously acquitted
due process
following established legal procedures
eminent domain
the right of government to take private property for public use
a sum of money used as a security deposit to ensure that an accused person returns for his or her trial
right to vote
poll tax
a sum of money required of voters before they are permitted to cast a ballot
unfair treatment based on prejudice against a certain group
the social separation of the races
civil rights
the rights of full citizenship and equality under the law
affirmative action
programs intended to make up for past discrimination by helping minority groups and women gain access to jobs and opportunities
racial profiling
singling out an individual as a suspect due to appearance of ethnicity
an obligation that we fulfill voluntarily
things we are required to do
to call up; to create and outline
respecting and accepting others, regardless of their beliefs, practices, or differences
complex systems with many departments, many rules, and many people in the chain of command
the health, prosperity, and happiness of the members of a community
the practice of offering your time and services to others without payment.
a population count taken by the census bureau
a person from a legislator’s district
an oddly shaped district designed to increase the voting strength of a particular group
majority party
in both The House Of Representatives and the Senate, the political party to which more than half the members belong
minority party
in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the political party to which fewer than half the members belong
standing committee
permanent committee that continues its work from session to session in Congress
years of service, which is used as a consideration for assigning committee members
expressed powers
powers that congress has that are specifically listed in the constitution
implied powers
powers that congress has that are not stated explicitly in the constitution
elastic clause
clause in Article I, section 8 of the Constitution that gives Congress the right to make all laws “necessary and proper” to carry out its expressed powers
to accuse government officials of misconduct in office
writ of habeas corpus
a court order that requires police to bring a prisoner to court to explain why they are holding the person
bill of attainder
a law that punishes a person accused of a crime without a trial or a fair hearing in court
ex post facto law
a law that would allow a person to be punished for an action that was not against the law when it was committed
franking privilege
The right of senators and representatives to send job-related mail without paying postage
representative of an interest group who contacts lawmakers or other government officials directly to influence their policy making
the work that a lawmaker does to help constituents with a problem
pork-barrel project
Government projects and grants that primarily benefit the home district or state
joint resolution
a resolution that is passed by both houses of congress
special-interest group
An organization of people with some common interests who try to influence government decisions
a tactic for defeating a bill in the Senate by talking until the bill’s sponsor withdraws it
a procedure used in the senate to limit debate on a bill
voice vote
a voting method in which those in favor say “Yea” and those against say “No”
standing vote
in congress, when members stand to be counted for a vote on a bill
roll-call vote
a voting method in the Senate in which members voice their votes in turn
refusal to sign a bill or resolution
pocket veto
President’s power to kill a bill, if Congress is not in session, by not signing it for 10 days
person appointed to vote in presidential elections for the major candidates
executive order
a rule or command that has the force of law
a declaration of forgiveness and freedom from punishment
an order to delay a person’s punishment until a higher court can hear the case
A pardon to a group of people
foreign policy
a nations overall plan for dealing with other nations
national security
ability to keep the country safe from attack or harm
a formal agreement between the governments of two or more countries
executive agreement
An agreement between the President and the leader of another country.
an official representative of a country’s government
trade sanction
An effort to punish another nation by imposing trade barriers.
an agreement among a group of nations that prohibits them all from trading with a target nation
a group of advisers to the president that includes the heads of 15 top-level executive departments
federal bureaucracy
the collective agencies and employees of the Executive Branch
independent agency
federal board or commission that is not part of any cabinet department
government corporation
a business owned and operated by the federal government
political appointee
person appointed to a federal position by the president
civil service worker
a person hired into a government position
spoils system
rewarding people with government jobs on the basis of their political support
merit system
hiring people into government jobs on the basis of their qualifications
the area of jurisdiction of a federal court of appeals
a court’s authority to hear and decide cases
exclusive jurisdiction
authority of only federal courts to hear and decide cases
concurrent jurisdiction
authority for both state and federal courts to hear and decide cases
district court
federal court where trials are held and lawsuits are begun
original jurisdiction
Power to hear the case in full for the first time
appeals court
a court that reviews decisions made in lower district courts
appellate jurisdiction
authority held by a court to hear a case that is appealed from lower court
to send a case back to a lower court to be tried again
a detailed explanation of the legal thinking behind a court’s decision in a case
A ruling that is used as the basis for a judicial decision in a later, similar case
judicial review
the power of the Supreme Court to say whether any federal, state, or local law or government action goes against the Constitution
in accordance with the constitution
a court’s calendar, showing the schedule of cases it is to hear
a written document explaining the position of one side or the other in a case
majority opinion
a statement that expresses the views of the majority
unanimous opinion
the Supreme Court rules on a case in which all justices agree on the ruling
concurring opinion
a statement written by a justice who votes with the majority, but for different reasons
dissenting opinion
a statement written by a justice who disagrees with the majority opinion, presenting his or her opinion
stare decisis
the practice of using earlier judicial rulings as a basis for deciding cases
political party
an association of voters with broad common interests who want to influence or control decision making in government by electing the party’s candidates to public office
two-party system
a system of government in which two parties compete for power
third party
a party that challenges the two major parties
a series of statements expressing the party’s principles, beliefs, and positions on election issues.
each individual part of a political party’s platform
national committee
representatives from the 50 state party organizations who run a political party
a meeting of political party members to conduct party business
a geographic area that contains a specific number of voters
several adjoining precincts making up a larger election unit
political machine
a strong party organization that can control political appointments and deliver votes
direct primary
an election in which party members select people to run in the general election
closed primary
an election in which only the declared members of a party are allowed to vote for that party’s nominees
open primary
An election in which voters need not declare their party preference to vote for the party’s nominees.
the most votes among all those running for a political office
a number that is more than 50% of the total
A process by which candidates who are not affiliated with one of the two major parties can get on the ballot for the general election in most states
polling place
the location where voting is carried out
The list of candidates on which you cast your vote on.
absentee ballot
One that allows a person to vote without going to the polls on election day
ballots and results of an election
exit poll
A survey taken at polling places of how people voted
all the people who are eligible to vote
lack of interest
a procedure by which voters can propose a law or a constitutional amendment
a petition asking for a new law
a way for citizens to vote on state or local laws
a special election in which citizens can vote to remove a public official from office
winner-take-all system
a system in which the candidate who wins the popular vote in a state usually receives all of the state’s electoral votes
certain ideas that may involve misleading messages designed to manipulate people
political action committee
political organization established by a corporation, labor union, or other special interest group designed to support candidates by contributing money
soft money
donations given to political parties and not designated for a particular candidate’s election campaign
a politician who has already been elected to office
a law written by a legislative branch
a person or party filing a lawsuit
an individual or group being sued or charged with a crime
a serious crime such as murder, rape, kidnapping, or robbery
a relatively minor offense such as vandalism or stealing inexpensive items
the unlawful taking away of another person’s property with the intent never to return it
the taking of property from a person’s possession by using force or threats
unlawful entry into any dwelling or structure
a legal action in which a person or group sues to collect damages for some harm that is done
a wrongful act, other than breach of contract, for which an injured party has the right to sue
constitutional law
branch of law dealing with formation, construction, and interpretation of constitutions
plea bargaining
Negotiation between the defense attorney and the prosecutor
a formal notice that a lawsuit is being brought
process by which attorneys have opportunity to check facts and gather evidence
a formal notice directing someone to appear in court to answer a complaint or a charge
in a legal case, the amount of money the defendant agrees to pay the plaintiff
party who starts the legal proceedings against another party for a violation of the law
an act that breaks a law and causes harm to people or society in general
penal code
a state’s written criminal laws
to grant a prisoner an early release from prison, with certain restrictions
mandatory sentencing
punishment that judges must impose according to what the law directs
a hearing in which a suspect is charged and pleads guilty or not guilty
the statement a witness makes under oath
to question a witness at a trial or a hearing to check or discredit the testimony
a vote of not guilty
hung jury
a jury that cannot reach a verdict
a person not yet legally an adult
juvenile delinquent
a child or teenager who commits a serious crime or repeatedly breaks the law
To correct a person’s behavior
To reduce a criminal’s sentence
civil case
person or group taking legal action against another person or group
an individual or group being sued or charged with a crime
normally the largest territorial and political subdivision of a state
county seat
a town where the county courthouse is located
A law, usually of a city or county
to receive a state charter, officially recognizing the government of a locality
home rule
allow cities to write their own charters, choose their own type of government, and manage their own affairs
at-large election
an election for an area as a whole; for example, statewide
special district
A unit of local government that deals with a specific function, such as education, water supply, or transportation
balanced budget
Annual budget in which expenditures equal revenues
requirement for survival, such as food, clothing, and shelter
a thing we would like to have, such as entertainment, vacation, or an item, that makes life comfortable and enjoyable
the study of how individuals and nations make choices about ways to use scarce resources to fulfill their needs and wants
the economic behavior and decision-making by individuals and small businesses
economic behavior and decision-making by government or whole industries or societies
economic model
simplified representation of the real world that economists develop to describe how the economy behaves and is expected to perform in the future
economic system
nations way of producing things its people want and need
not having enough resources to produce all of the things we would like to have
the alternative you face if you decide to do one thing rather than another
opportunity cost
Cost of the next best alternative use of money, time, or resources when one choice is made rather than another
marginal cost
the additional or extra opportunity cost associated with an action
marginal benefit
the additional or extra benefit associated with an action.
cost-benefit analysis
Economic model that compares the marginal costs and marginal benefits of a decision.
tangible products that we use to satisfy our wants and needs
work performed by a person for someone else
factors of production
resources necessary to produce goods and services
natural resources
gifts of nature that make production possible
human effort directed toward producing goods and services
previously manufactured goods used to make other goods and services
individual who starts a new business, introduces a new product, and improves a management technique
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
total dollar value of all final goods and services produced in a country during a single year
standard of living
the material well-being of an individual, group, or nation measured by how well their necessities and luxuries are satisfied
free and willing exchange of goods and services between buyers and sellers
factor market
a market where productive resources are bought and sold
product market
a market where producers offer goods and services for sale
the degree to which resources are being used efficiently to produce goods and services
when people, businesses, regions, and/or nations concentrate on goods and services that they can produce better than anyone else
division of labor
the breaking down of a job into separate, smaller tasks to be performed individually
economic interdependence
A reliance on others, as they rely on you, to provide goods and services to be consumed.
a system in which private citizens own most, if not all, of the means of production and decide how to use them within legislated limits
free enterprise
economic system in which individuals and businesses are allowed to compete for profit with a minimum of government interference
consumer sovereignty
the role of consumer as the ruler of the market, determining what products will be produced
private property rights
the freedom to own and use our own property as we choose as long as we do not interfere with the rights of others
the struggle that goes on between buyers and sellers to get the best products at the lowest prices
the money a business receives for its products or services over and above its costs
profit motive
the driving force that encourages individuals and organizations to improve their material well-being
voluntary exchange
the act of buyers and sellers freely and willingly engaging in market transactions.
laissez-faire economics
economic system in which government should not interfere in the marketplace
someone who buys goods and services
disposable income
money income left after all taxes on it have been paid
discretionary income
money income left after necessities have been bought and paid for
A movement to educate buyers about the purchases they make and to demand better and safer products from manufacturers
comparison shopping
buying strategy to get best buy for the money
promise made by a manufacturer or a seller to repair or replace a product within a certain time period if it is found to be faulty
money received from labor, business, or property
Money spent on goods and services
money borrowed to pay for a good or service
annual percentage rate (APR)
annual cost of credit expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed
Property or valuable item serving as security for a loan
inability to pay a debt
to set aside income for a period of time so that it can be used later
The payment people receive when they lend money or allow someone else to use their money
the amount of money initially deposited in a bank account
Profit earned through investing
ownership share of a corporation
Payment of a portion of a company’s earnings
Contract to repay borrowed money with interest at a specific time in the future
mutual funds
pools od money from many people who are invested in a selection of individual stocks and bonds chosen by financial experts
impulse buying
purchasing an item on the spot because of an emotional rather than planned decision
the desire, willingness, and ability to buy a good or service
demand schedule
table showing quantities demanded at different possible prices
demand curve
Downward sloping line that shows in graph form the quantities demanded at each possible price
law of demand
the concept that people are normally willing to buy less of a product if the price is high and more of it if the price is low
market demand
the total demand of all consumers for a product or service
the amount of satisfaction one gets from a good or service
marginal utility
additional use that is derived from each unit acquired
a competing product that consumers can use in place of another
product often used with another product
demand elasticity
measure of responsiveness relating change in quantity demanded to a change in price
the amount of goods and services that producers are able and willing to sell at various prices during a specified time period
law of supply
the principle that suppliers will normally offer more for sale at higher prices and less at lower prices
supply schedule
table showing quantities supplied at different possible prices
supply curve
Upward sloping line that shows in graph form the quantities supplied at each possible price.
the money a business receives for its products or services over and above its costs
market supply
the total of all the supply schedules of all the businesses that provide the same good or service
the degree to which resources are being used efficiently to produce goods and services.
the methods or processes used to make goods and services
a government payment to an individual, business, or group in exchange for certain actions
supply elasticity
responsiveness of quantity supplied to a change in price.
a situation in which quantity supplied is greater than quantity demanded; situation in which government spends less than it collects in revenues
situation in which quantity not quality demanded is greater than the quantity supplied
equilibrium price
the price at which the amount producers are willing to supply is equal to the amount consumers are willing to buy
price ceiling
Maximum price that can be charged for goods and services, set by the government
price floor
minimum price that can be charged for goods and services, set by the government
minimum wage
the lowest legal wage that can be paid to most U.S. workers
sole proprietorship
a business owned and operated by a single person
financial capital
money used to buy the tools and equipment used in production
a business owned by two or more people
articles of partnership
formal legal papers specifying the arrangement between partners
Type of business organization owned by many people but treated by law as though it were a person; it can own property, pay taxes, make contracts, etc.
a government document that gives permission to create a corporation
an individual who has invested in a corporation and owns some of its stock
board of directors
people elected by the shareholders of a corporation to act on their behalf
A voluntary association of people formed to carry on some kind of economic activity that will benefit its members
labor union
association of workers organized to improve wages and working conditions for its members
right-to-work laws
state laws forbidding unions from forcing workers to join.
collective bargaining
process by which unions and employers negotiate the conditions of employment
situation in which union and company officials bring in a third party to try to help them reach an agreement
situation in which union and company officials submit the issues they cannot agree on to a third party for a final decision
when worker deliberately stop working in order to force an employer to give in to their demands
the refusal to purchase certain goods
Process of making business deals more visible to everyone
an act of unfair treatment directed against an individual or a group
social responsibility
The obligation a business has to pursue goals that benefit society as well as themselves
private goods
Goods that, when consumed by one individual, cannot be consumed by another
the unintended side effect of an action that affects someone not involved in the action
public goods
economics goods that are consumed collectively, such as highways and national defense
When the market creates a sole provider for a good or service
antitrust laws
Legislation to prevent new monopolies from forming and police those that already exist
a combination of two or more companies to form a single business
natural monopoly
a market situation in which the costs of production are minimized by having a single firm produce the product
situation in which a company pulls a product off the market or agrees to change it to make it safe
real GDP
GDP after adjustments for inflation
business cycle
alternating periods of growth and decline that the economy goes through
civilian labor force
All civilians 16 years old or older who are either working or looking for work
unemployment rate
The percentage of people in the civilian labor force who are not working but are looking for jobs
fiscal policy
the federal government’s use of spending and taxation policies to affect overall business activity
sustained increase in the general level of prices
consumer price index
Measure of change in price over time of specific group of goods and services
food stamps
government coupons that can be used to purchase food
Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
a program that provides help for nutrition and health care to low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5
programs that require welfare recipients to exchange some of their labor in return for benefits
progressive income tax
a tax that takes a larger percentage of higher incomes than lower incomes
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
a program that gives tax credits and even cash payments to qualified workers

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