7th Grade Vocabulary
Below are all of the vocabulary words and their definitions for Seventh Grade Social Studies. As you can see, it is divided according to Chapter or section, making it easy to fill in Vocabulary/Identification sheets. The definitions have come from a variety of sources. Students who do not have Internet access at home may request a print-out of these definitions but only one time during the school year. Remember that you will be responsible for knowing each Chapter's Vocabulary & Identification that we are covering and that it makes up a good portion of all Social Studies tests. Also, remember that if you do not have your Vocabulary/Identification done and in class the day it is due, you will receive a zero (0 out of 10 possible points) for that chapter's vocabulary grade.
Click on any of the buttons below to access the Vocabulary on this page.
Illinois State Constitution - Glossary of Terms:
Adjourn: to conclude business and postpone remaining business for another day.
Amendment: an alteration or addition to the Constitution.
Ballot: device used by voters to cast their votes in an election.
Bill: a form or draft of a proposed law presented to a legislature.
Committee: group of legislators who hold meetings and discuss bills.
District: area of land whose inhabitants are served by an elected member of the General Assembly.
Executive Branch: section of the government that is responsible for enforcing and carrying out the laws.
General Assembly: the main body of the Legislative Branch in Illinois Government it consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
General Election: process by which people choose the candidate they want to become a public official. It is held every two years in even-numbered years.
Governor: top executive officer has many responsibilities (see Constitution handbook).
House of Representatives: the lower level of the General Assembly.
Impeachment: formal charges of "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors" brought against any executive and judicial official.
Judicial Branch: section of the government that interprets the laws and administers justice.
Justice: term meaning judge.
Legislative Branch: section of government that makes laws.
Lobby: a group that seeks to influence lawmakers to vote a certain way on a particular bill or bills.
Majority: vote of more than half.
Minority: vote of less than half.
Municipality: a city, village or incorporated town.
Override: ability of the General Assembly to re-vote with a 3/5ths vote on a bill that the Governor has vetoed.
President of the Senate: the presiding officer of the Senate responsible for the daily running of things.
Primary Election: process by which members of a party elect candidates to run for office as the representative of the party.
Referendum: a direct vote by the people on an issue of public policy.
Representative: member of the House districts are smaller in size and term (2 years) is shortest in the General Assembly.
Senate: the upper level of the General Assembly.
Senator: member of the Senate districts are larger in size and term (4 years) is longest in the General Assembly.
Speaker of the House: the presiding officer of the House of Representatives responsible for the daily running of things.
Veto: power of the Governor to reject a bill that has been passed by the General Assembly.
Chapter 1 - Early American History - Way, Way Back to 1732:
domesticate: to tame (an animal), especially by generations of breeding, to live in close association with human beings as a pet or work animal.
crusades: any of the military expeditions undertaken by the Christians of Europe in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries for the recovery of the Holy Land from the Muslims.
missionary: member of a religious group who tries to persuade others to adopt his or her religion.
circumnavigate: to sail or fly around the earth.
armada: any fleet of warships.
coureurs de bois: a French or French-Indian trapper of North America, especially of Canada.
debtor: a person who owes money to pay bills or under financial obligation to another.
Chapter 2 - The Coming of Independence - 1754-1774:
assembly: Meeting of people united for a common purpose.
Parliament: a legislature (lawmaking body of Great Britain).
tax: money that citizens and businesses are required to contribute to pay for the cost of government and the services it provides.
boycott: to refuse to deal with a nation, company, or organization in order to show disapproval or force a change.
propaganda: Spreading ideas or rumors to influence public opinion.
Committees of Correspondence: A group of American Patriots who worked to unite the colonies against Britain.
monopoly: complete control of an industry, product, or service by a single company.
merchants: people who buy and sell goods.
militia: army made up of people who are not professional soldiers.
First Continental Congress: The meeting of colonial leaders held in Philadelphia in 1774.
United States Constitution - Glossary of Terms:
(please note that several of the terms for the Illinois State Constitution also apply here and that some have been changed in accordance to how they apply to the U.S. Constitution).
Articles of Confederation: First constitution of the United States government under this document was too weak to act effectively.
of Attainder: legislative act declaring that a person is guilty
of a crime and setting punishment without the benefit of a formal trial
DENIED by the Constitution.
Bill of Rights: another name for the first ten amendments to the US Constitution.
Cabinet: board of advisors to the President, composed of the heads of the executive Cabinet departments and any other officials whom the President chooses.
Capitol: building in Washington, D.C. where Congress meets to make laws.
Checks & Balances: principle used in the Constitution and developed through precedent that allows the three branches of government to share some responsibilities, and allows each branch some authority over the activities of the other branches.
Congress: the main body of the Legislative Branch it consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Electoral College: a body of individuals that elect the President and Vice President of the United States.
Ex Post Facto: "after the fact." An ex post facto law is one that makes a particular act illegal, and punishes people who committed that crime before the law was passed, i.e., when the act was legal.
Tax: a tax on
goods sent out of the country DENIED by the
powers of Congress directly listed in the Constitution.
Federal, Central or National Government: terms that refer to the government that controls all of the states and people in the United States.
Federalism: the division of power between the Federal government and the state government.
Foreign Policy: relationship of the United States toward other nations of the world.
Full Faith and Credit: first words of Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution, which requires states to respect the "public acts, records, and judicial proceedings" of all the other states.
Corpus: A writ issued to bring a party before a court to prevent unlawful restraint.
The basic premise behind habeas corpus is that you cannot be held
against your will without just cause. To put it another way, you cannot be
jailed if there are no charges against you. If you are being held, and you
demand it, the courts must issue a writ or habeas corpus, which forces those
holding you to answer as to why. If there is no good or compelling reason,
the court must set you free.
House of Representatives: the lower level of Congress.
Implied Powers: powers claimed by Congress which are not specifically enumerated in the Constitution, but are implied in its elastic clause.
Judicial Review: power of a court to refuse to enforce a law or government regulation that it believes to be unconstitutional.
Preamble: the introduction of the Constitution.
President of the Senate: the presiding officer of the Senate (also known as the Vice President in the executive branch) responsible for the daily running of things.
President Pro Tempore: senator who serves as the presiding officer of the Senate when the Vice President is not there.
President: Chief Executive of the United States, Head of State and Commander and Chief of the US Armed Forces.
Quorum: minimum number of people needed a meeting for the business at hand to take place.
Ratification: process by which people or legislatures express their official approval of a proposed document or plan.
Representative: member of the House districts determined by population and term (2 years) is the shortest in Congress.
Revenue: the income (money) of a government due to taxes, etc.
Senate: the upper level of Congress.
Senator: member of the Senate represents an entire state and term (6 years) is the longest in Congress.
Speaker of the House: the presiding officer of the House of Representatives responsible for the daily running of things.
Vacancy: an opening in an office due to death or resignation.
Veto: power of the President to reject a bill that has been passed by Congress.
Vice President: the person who takes over the Presidency in case of illness or death of the President. The Vice President also acts as president of the Senate, over which he presides.
Chapter 4 - Federal American - 1787-1800:
precedent: act or decision that is used as a model in later cases.
republic: system in which people elect representatives to govern them according to law.
monarchy: Government headed by a single ruler, especially a king or queen.
cabinet: officially chosen group of advisers to the President.
political party: a group of people who share similar political ideas and try to elect candidates to public office.
bond: a certificate of debt issued by a government guaranteeing payment of the original investment plus interest by a specified future date.
investor: a person who funds a business hoping to make a profit.
speculator: a person who takes financial risks in order to make a large profit.
interchangeable parts: identical parts of a tool or instrument that are made by machine - such parts can be easily assembled or replaced.
neutrality: policy of not choosing sides in a war between two or more countries.
impressment: act of seizing men from a ship or village and forcing them to serve in the navy.
sectionalism: a strong sense of loyalty to a state or section instead of to the whole country.
alien: person who lives in a country but is not a citizen of that country.
sedition: stirring up of rebellion against the government.
Chapter 5 - Jeffersonian American - 1801-1810:
protective tariff: tax on imported goods designed to help U.S. manufacturers compete with foreign industry.
Judicial Review: the power of the U.S. Supreme Court to decide if laws are constitutional.
tribute: payment by one nation for protection by another.
infrastructure: the basic facilities needed for the functioning of a community, such as transportation and communications systems. This also includes water and power lines, and public institutions including schools, post offices, and prisons.
turnpike: road built by a private company that charges tolls to those using it.
embargo: ban on trade with another country.
Chapter 6 - Growing Pains - 1811-1827:
hawk: someone who advocates war or the use of force against other nations.
nationalism: pride in or devotion to one's country.
dove: someone who takes an anti-war position.
morale: the spirit of a group that makes the members want the group to succeed.
assimilation: process of becoming part of another culture.
secede: formally withdraw from a political organization.
charter: written set of rules or principles established by a new organization.
specie: coined money - usually from a precious metal such as gold or silver.
banknote: a piece of paper money (especially one issued by a central bank).
inflation: economic cycle where the value of money falls and the prices of goods go up.
plurality: in a contest of more than two choices, the number of votes cast for the winning choice if this number is not more than one half of the total votes cast.
Chapter 7 - Jacksonian American - 1828-1839:
spoils system: The post election practice of rewarding loyal supporters of the winning candidates and party with appointive public offices.
civil service: The nonmilitary personnel who work for a government, applying its laws and regulations.
abolitionists: People who believed slavery was wrong and tried to stop it in the United States.
patent: The exclusive right granted by a government to an inventor to manufacture, use, or sell an invention for a certain number of years.
credit: The ability to obtain goods, money, or services in return for a promise to pay at some later date.
guerrilla: A soldier who fights by using surprise tactics to bring down the enemy.
nullify: To make or declare legally void or inoperative - to cancel.
civil war: A war between political factions or regions within the same country.
depression: Time of economic decline, including high unemployment and falling prices.
Chapter 8 - Manifest Destiny - 1840-1849:
dark horse: a candidate who is unexpectedly nominated at a political convention.
annexation: the formal act of acquiring something (especially territory) by conquest or occupation.
expatriated: having taken up residence in a foreign country.
missionary: member of a religious group who tires to persuade others to adopt his or her religion.
exile: The condition or a period of living away from one's native country.
Chapter 9 - American Movements - Mid-19th Century:
utopian: given to impractical or unrealistic schemes of such perfection.
polygamy: the practice or condition of having more than one spouse, esp. wife, at one time.
treason: acting to overthrow one's government or to harm or kill its leaders.
temperance: moderation in the indulgence of a natural appetite or passion, esp. in the use of alcoholic liquors.
abstinence: going without something that one is accustomed to having - esp. alcohol.
prohibition: the forbidding by law of the manufacture, transportation, sale, and possession of alcoholic beverages.
racism: the belief that some races are inherently superior to others and therefore have a right to dominate them.
suffrage: the right to vote.
rehabilitation: the process of restoring an individual (as a convict or drug addict) to a useful and constructive place in society.
civil disobedience: the refusal to obey a law out of a belief that the law is morally wrong.
Chapter 10 - Cracks in the Union - 1850-1859:
Popular Sovereignty: belief that people can and should govern themselves - (in this case: decide by voting if they want slavery in their territory or state).
fugitive: a person who is fleeing, from prosecution, intolerable circumstances, etc.; a runaway.
orator: an eloquent and skilled public speaker.
squadron: a portion of a naval fleet or a detachment of warships; a subdivision of a fleet.
modernization: to make up to date; give a new or current character or appearance .
transcontinental: passing or extending across a continent.
migration: the movement of persons from one country or locality to another.
xenophobic: an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange.
arsenal: a government establishment where military equipment or munitions are manufactured.
Chapter 11 - The American Civil War - 1860-1865:
Union: The United States of America as a political unit, especially during the Civil War; the North and its forces in the Civil War.
platform: a formal declaration of the principles on which a group, such as a political party, makes its appeal to the public
moderate: a person who takes a position in the political center.
blockade: obstacles set up to prevent normal traffic from entering or leaving an area - during the Civil War the focus was on Southern ports.
flank: the side of military or naval formation; "they attacked the enemy's right flank".
Rebels: name for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.
casualty: one injured, killed, captured, or missing in action through engagement with an enemy.
typhoid: an infectious, often fatal, disease, characterized by intestinal inflammation and ulceration, caused by the typhoid bacillus, which is usually introduced with food or drink.
emancipation: freeing someone from the control of another.
cavalry: soldiers mounted on horseback - used for quick attacks.
Miniι ball: a conical bullet with a hollow base that expanded when fired, used in the 19th century.
siege: the surrounding and blockading of a city, town, or fortress by an army attempting to capture it.
conscription: compulsory enrollment, especially for the armed forces; draft.
segregation: the practice of separating one racial, ethnic, or religious group from another, especially in public places.
attrition: a wearing down or weakening of resistance, esp. as a result of continuous pressure or harassment.