Glossary

14th AmendmentFundamental Principles and Values of American Political and Civic Life
The 14th Amendment (1868) guaranteed citizenship and due process and equal protection under the law to anyone born or naturalized in the United States (except certain indigenous Americans).
AmendmentAmendments to the Constitution
Approved or proposed change (either by addition, subtraction, or substitution) to the United States or state constitution.
Bill of Rights14th AmendmentArticles of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights
First ten amendments to the United States Constitution, including the rights of Americans in relation to their government.
CensorshipFreedom of the Press
Suppression by governments or political groups of words, images or ideas that are deemed offensive
CivicsRights and Responsibilities of Citizens and Non-Citizens
From the French word “civique,” meaning citizen, the study of what people need to know and do (their rights, roles, and responsibilities) as members of a democratic society.
Civil Rights Act of 1964Fundamental Principles and Values of American Political and Civic Life
Landmark legislation prohibiting discrimination in voting, employment or education based on race, religion, sex, or national origin.
ConstitutionDemocratic GovernmentUnited States and Massachusetts Constitutions
A document that sets forth the basic principles of a nation or state, the structures and processes of government and the fundamental rights of citizens; the "law of the land."
Critical media literacyMedia LiteracyFreedom of the Press and News/Media Literacy
Knowledge, skills, and competencies to access and analyze the content of multiple media (print and digital) while also analyzing who produces media, why they do so, and what impacts that media has on people and society.
DemocracyThe Government of Ancient Athens
Government of the people, by the people and for the people.
Democratic Government
System of government where people chose their leaders through free and open elections.
Democratic schools
Educational organizations where teachers, students, administrators and community members make decisions openly and collectively.
Digital Choice Board
An online visual display that gives students multiple ways to learn about a topic featuring hyperlinks to digital resources and tools as well as higher order, creative learning activities.
Digital government
Widespread use of technology for government functions.
eBook
An abbreviation for electronic books; refers to material that is delivered digitally to readers using laptops, smartphones, or other mobile devices.
ElectionDemocratic GovernmentElections and Nominations
Process by which voters choose individuals to represent them in federal, state, or local government.
Electoral CollegeElections and Nominations
System used in U.S. Presidential elections where people vote for a slate of electors who represent a candidate; the candidate receiving 270 or more electoral votes wins the Presidency.
Employee owned businessComponents of Local Government
An organization where the workers, not outside shareholders, own all or most of the business and make decisions about its operation; also known as worker owned business.
Enumerated powersEnumerated and Implied Powers
Specific powers granted to the Congress by Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.
Executive branchBranches of the Government and the Separation of Powers
Individuals, agencies and organizations in a government that carry out a nation or state's laws and policies.
Executive privilegeChecks and Balances Between the Branches of Government
Policy that allows a President and his close advisors to refuse to turn over to Congress or the court documents and discussions they had about national and international policies.
Federalism
A system of government in the United States (and most other democracies) that divides and shares power between a national (or federal) government and the various states in the country.
First AmendmentArticles of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights
Freedoms of speech, press, petition, religion, and peaceful protest established by the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution.
GerontocracyThe Roles of the Congress, the President, and the Courts
Government run by older people.
GerrymanderingThe Role of Political Parties
Practice of redrawing legislative district lines in order to help one political party win elections and maintain political control.
Heraean GamesThe Government of Ancient Athens
Athletic competitions for women and girls in Ancient Greece.
Instant Runoff/Ranked Choice VotingElections and Nominations
A election system that allows voters to vote for candidates in order of preference. If no candidate gets a majority of votes, the one with the fewest votes is eliminated and those who ranked that candidate first have their votes transferred to the second preference and so on until one candidate gets more than 50% of the vote.
Inverted pyramidWriting the News: Different Formats and Their Functions
Journalism format where the lead, or main points of a news article—the who, what, when, where, why and how of a story—are placed at the top or beginning followed by additional and less important, but still relevant information.
Judicial branchArticles of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights
The part of a government that decides the meaning of laws and administers justice through trials and other court proceedings. The Supreme Court has the power of judicial review of court decisions.
Legislative branchThe Roles of the Congress, the President, and the Courts
The part of a government that makes or changes laws. The U.S. Congress has also the power to declare war, regulate interstate commerce and control taxing and spending.
Local governmentFunctions of State and National Government
An organization that provides public services to people in cities, towns, boroughs, villages, and townships within states in the United States.
Media LiteracyEvaluating Print and Online Media
Knowledge, skills, and competencies to access, analyze, and produce multiple forms of media.
Monarchy
Rule by one individual who inherited the position by birth.
Oligarchy
Rule by a small group or elite.
Political Action Committee (PAC)Public and Private Interest Groups, PACs, and Labor Unions
Organizations that collect and donate funds to political candidates.
Political partyThe Role of Political Parties
Group of people who share ideas about government and seek to elect candidates and enact policies that support those ideas.
Recommendation AlgorithmsAnalyzing Editorials, Editorial Cartoons, or Op-Ed Commentaries
Computer programs on social media sites that direct content to users based on what they have viewed, bought, or done before.
Shadow docketThe Roles of the Congress, the President, and the Courts
One of the types of cases decided by the Supreme Court, usually unsigned with one or two sentence opinions and without public access to the arguments or which justices voted one way or the other.
Spectator stateSwing stateElections and Nominations
States that consistently award their electoral votes to either the Democratic (e.g., Massachusetts, California, New York) or the Republican (e.g., Texas, Oklahoma, Montana) candidate in Presidential elections.
Swing stateElections and Nominations
A state (also known as a battleground state) that may chose either the Democratic or the Republican Presidential candidate depending on the election.
Tenth Amendment10th Amendment to the Constitution
Part of the Bill of Rights guaranteeing any powers not granted to the federal government “are reserved to the states, or to the people.”
The PressFreedom of the Press and News/Media Literacy
The people (reporters, photographers, commentators, editorial writers and behind-the-scenes workers) and media organizations (online and in print) that bring us the news.
TyrannyChecks and Balances Between the Branches of Government
Rule by an authoritarian leader who suppresses dissent, often through violent means. See also dictatorship.
WhistleblowerCompeting Information in a Free Press
A person who exposes illegal or unsafe actions by government, corporations or private individuals.
Worker cooperativesComponents of Local Government
Organizations where workers make decisions democratically; see also, worker/employee owned businesses.