GED Social Studies Vocabulary

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hemisphere
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half of the world: northern or southern hemisphere
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longitude
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parallel lines that measure the distance east and west of the Prime Meridian
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latitude
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parallel lines marking off the distance north and south of the equator
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International Date Line
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the longitudinal line where the date begins, located in the Pacific Ocean
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Prime Meridian
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imaginary line running through Great Britain
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demographics
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the study of population patterns
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federal system
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a government made up of representatives from states or provinces
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referendum
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voters approve or cancel a law (only in some states)
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import
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bringing goods into a country
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export
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sending goods out; selling to other countries
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tariff
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a tax on imported goods, duty
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entrepreneur
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a person who starts his or her own business
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inflation
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when money loses value and prices become higher
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recession
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a period of reduced economic activity with rising unemployment
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depression
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a severe decline in the economy with high unemployment
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per capita income
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average income per person in a country
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Federal Reserve
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regulates banks and sets interest rates for money loaned to banks
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monetary policy
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the Federal Reserve increases the supply of money to stimulate the economy
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fiscal policy
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Congress raises or lowers taxes to influence the economy
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deficit spending
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the government spends more money than it collects in taxes; this means the government has to borrow
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affluent
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wealthy
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imperialism
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one nation conquers other, weaker nations to control their resources
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capital
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money or machinery used to create more wealth
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capitalism
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an economic system based on private ownership of property and businesses
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communism
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an economic system based on government ownership of property, industries, and businesses
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socialism
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an economic system where major industries are owned by the government
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democracy
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a government system in which citizens elect government officials in free elections
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monarchy
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a government system in which a king or emperor rules
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oligarchy
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a government system in which a small group of people rule; these people are not elected and are usually rich
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judicial review
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courts review laws to decide if they follow the Constitution
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impeachment
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bringing charges against a public official to remove him from office
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nationalism
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pride in one’s country; a feeling that one’s country is better than others, which can lead to war
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Electoral College
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delegates elected from each state to choose the president
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sovereignty
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independence; a nation not controlled by others
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isolationism
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avoiding relations with other nations
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free enterprise
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private businesses can organize and compete with little government interference
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law of supply and demand
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When many people want an item, and the supply is not large enough, the price will go up. If the supply is large, the price will go down.
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surplus
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when the supply of a product exceeds the demand for it
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urbanization
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population moves into cities
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laissez-faire
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A French term that means \”leave it alone\”; government does not interfere with businesses
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proliferation
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an increase or spread; example: proliferation of nuclear weapons
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secession; to secede
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withdrawal from an organization or union
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electorate
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all the people in a country or area who are entitled to vote in an election
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bureaucracy
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government offices and departments whose routines involve a lot of paperwork
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executive branch
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administers the government and carries out the laws
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legislature
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writes laws and decides how tax money will be spent
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status quo
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the way things are now
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conservatives
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believe the status quo should be preserved and that any changes should be very slow
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mortality
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death rate
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political stability
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when group or government is able to provide a sense of stability to its residents
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economic
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having to do with business and jobs
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precipitation
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rain or snow
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rural
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in the country
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urban
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in the city
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ethic
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a rule or principle; example: \”He has a strong work ethic\” means he is a hard worker
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ethnic
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a certain race or population group; \”Chicago has many ethnic sections\”
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private corporation
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a business owned by stock holders
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ecological
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having to do with the environment
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ratification
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approving a law or change in the Constitution
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consumer
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a person who buys goods
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producer
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a person or company that makes or produces goods
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per capita
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per person; example: \”In the U.S. there are around 0.66 computers per capita.\”

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