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absolute monarch: a hereditary leader who has all the power to make decisions.

adjournment: suspension of a meeting.

allegiance: the loyalty a person gives to their country.

amendment: a change to a legal document or constitution.

appellate courts: a court that ensures a trial process occurred correctly.

appropriation: an amount of money assigned to a specific use.

attorney general: the top legal officer for a government in the US. There are attorneys general at both the state and federal levels.

authoritarian: a type of government in which government officials, not the people, have the power.

bands: smaller groupings of a tribal nation.

bicameral: having two separate branches.

Bill of Rights: the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution.

bills: proposed laws.

birthright citizenship: a rule that grants citizenship if one is born within the borders of a country.

budget: a plan for how to spend a sum of money.

capital gains: profits from an investment.

census: a count of people.

ceremonial monarch: a hereditary leader who serves as an important symbol for a nation but has no real political power.

charter: a plan for government at the municipal level.

citizen: a person who has the rights and responsibilities of membership in a country.

city council: a group of individuals elected from different parts of a town or city who work together to create policies for the whole municipality.

city manager: a person who manages a city or town government on a day-to-day basis.

common good: the idea that governments can try to make decisions that help most of the people.

Congress: the title of the legislative body of the United States’ federal government.

constituent: the people within a voting district an elected official represents in a government body.

constitution: the basic rules of a government.

Constitution: the written instrument that describes the function of the government in the United States.

constitutional monarch: a hereditary leader whose power is limited by a set of rules.

corporate tax: a tax placed on a type of business known as a corporation.

corrupt: using one’s official power to enrich oneself or one’s allies.

county: a subdivision of state government that has a set of responsibilities for a smaller geographic region.

county seat: the place in the county where the government offices are located.

defendant: the person in a court proceeding who is accused of wrongdoing.

delegates: a person who represents a larger group of people.

dictatorship: rule by a group of people selected by one person with all the power.

direct democracy: a kind of democracy in which all the citizens of a place participate in the day-to-day operations of government.

disenfranchise: to take away the right to vote.

Electoral College: the constitutional body that contains the delegates who elect the president of the United States every four years.

enact: to make a law active.

equality: the idea that people deserve the same treatment and rights.

eviction: a legal proceeding that results in the forced removal of someone from a living space, usually for inability to pay rent.

executive: the branch of government that enforces the law.

expenditure: money spent for a specific purpose.

fee: a sum of money charged for a government service.

felony: a category of crime that requires a year or longer incarceration as punishment.

fine: a sum of money charged for a violation of a law or code.

government: the people who make decisions and set rules for a group of people.

impeach: a process to remove an individual from a government office.

incarceration: serving a sentence in jail or prison.

income tax: a tax placed on the money a person earns.

injury: a harm suffered by the action or inaction or another.

judicial: the branch of government that reviews laws and manages complaints between individuals and groups.

judicial review: the ability of the US Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of a law or policy.

jurisdiction: the area over which a government official may act.

jury: a group of people called to determine the outcome of a court case.

lawsuits: a claim brought to a court against another person, group, or government.

legislative: the branch of government that creates laws.

liberty: freedom to act without restraint.

lieutenant governor: the second-highest executive official who can assume the office of governor if the governor is removed, resigns, or dies.

limited government: the idea that government should have only specific areas in which it can act.

litigate: taking a matter to court.

majority: the greater number.

Marbury v. Madison: the US Supreme Court case that established the principle of judicial review.

mayor: the elected leader of a town or city.

Medicaid: a government-run health program for some Americans with low income.

Medicare: a government-run health program for elderly Americans.

minority: the smaller number.

misdemeanor: a category of crime that requires one year or less imprisonment.

monarchy: a system of government that is built around a hereditary ruler.

natural rights: the rights a person has simply by reason of being a human.

naturalize: the process of gaining citizenship in a country.

Oath of Allegiance: an oath in which a citizen states their loyalty to a country.

oligarchy: a system of government where a small group runs the government.

ordinances: rules of a municipality that are enforced with fines and incarceration.

pardons: being allowed to avoid the consequences of a criminal conviction.

parliament: a type of legislative body.

parliamentary democracy: a kind of democracy in which the executive is chosen from the legislative body.

participatory democracy: a kind of democracy in which citizens do more than occasionally vote.

payroll tax: taxes an employer takes out of a person’s earned wages.

plutocracy: a system of government that is run by, and serves, the wealthy.

preamble: the beginning of a legal document.

presidential democracy: a kind of democracy in which citizens elect the president and their legislative body separately.

prohibit: to forbid by law.

prohibition: the period in American history in which the sale and distribution of alcohol was illegal.

property tax: tax paid on property owned.

prosecutor: an official that represents the government in criminal cases.

quasi: being partly or almost.

ratify: to give consent to make something valid.

redistricting: the process of shifting districts to represent changes in population.

refund: to return or give back.

republic: a kind of democracy that uses elected representatives to make decisions.

revenue: a government’s annual income.

rights: something a person should have access to because they are human.

rule of law: the idea that governments should follow clear, known rules for decision making.

rural: the countryside.

sales tax: a tax placed on a purchase.

secretary: the leader of a department of the US federal government, serving in the president’s cabinet.

separation of power: the placement of different kinds of authority across branches of government so that one branch does not get too much power.

Social Security Administration: the agency in charge of managing payments to the elderly, individuals with disabilities, and the unemployed.

sovereignty: the right to make decisions for a group or place.

special session: an official meeting outside of the standard meeting times of a legislature.

statutes: laws.

stratocracy: a system of government in which the military runs the government.

suffrage: the right to vote.

Supremacy Clause: the section in the US Constitution that states that the federal government has supremacy over the states.

tax: the money people pay to governments.

theocracy: a system of government in which a religious group controls the government.

treaties: agreements between two sovereign groups.

urban: a city or town.

verdict: the decision of a court.

veto: the blocking of legislation by the executive branch.

ward: an individual who has had a guardian appointed to make decisions for them.

warrant: an order for arrest.