8th Grade Vocabulary
Below are all of the vocabulary words and their definitions for Eighth Grade Social Studies. As you can see, it is divided according to chapter, 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 section's Vocabulary & Identification that we are covering and 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.
Chapter 12 - Reconstruction - 1865 to 1877:
pardon: a warrant granting release from punishment for an offense.
radical: a person who holds or follows strong convictions or extreme principles; extremist.
moderate: a person who takes a position in the political center.
Black Codes: laws passed by Southern states after the Civil War to limit the rights of former slaves.
freedmen: people who have been freed from slavery.
martial law: Temporary rule by military authorities, imposed on a civilian population especially in time of war or when civil authority has broken down.
lynching: kidnapping and execution of a person by a mob.
carpetbaggers: derogatory name used by Southerners to label people from the North who went to the South during Reconstruction.
scalawags: Southerners who cooperated with the North during Reconstruction.
poll tax: tax that has been found to be unconstitutional that people in some states used to have to pay before they were allowed to vote.
literacy test: examination to see if a person can read and write.
grandfather clause: law passed by southern states after the Civil War. Excused a voter from a poll tax or literacy test if his father or grandfather had voted before 1867. Kept most blacks from voting.
sharecropper: a person who lives and raises crops on land that belongs to other people.
Chapter 13 - Native American Conflicts - 1851 to 1890:
reservation: public land set aside for special use, especially land set aside for Indian peoples after European Americans took over Indian land.
subsidy: a grant of money, land or something else of value.
military tribunal: a kind of military court designed to try members of enemy forces during wartime, operating outside the scope of conventional criminal and civil matters.
commute: to change (a prison sentence or other penalty) to a less severe one.
bounty: payment or reward (especially from a government) for acts such as catching criminals or killing predatory animals or enlisting in the military.
tipi: a portable Native American dwelling, especially on the Great Plains, consisting of a conical framework of poles covered with skins or bark.
mutilate: to cut off or permanently destroy a limb or essential part of the body.
Chapter 14 - Captains of Industry - Late 19th Century:
patent: The exclusive right granted by a government to an inventor to manufacture, use, or sell an invention for a certain number of years.
capital: Wealth in the form of money or property, used or accumulated in a business by a person, partnership, or corporation.
corporation: Business owned by stockholders who hold shares in it - goal is to earn capital to expand business.
stock: The shares of ownership of a particular company or corporation.
dividend: A sum of money paid to shareholders of a corporation out of earnings.
rebate: A return of part of the original payment for some service or merchandise; partial refund.
trust: Form of monopoly where many different companies in one industry are all owned and run by the same people.
monopoly: Complete control of an industry, product, or service by a single company.
philanthropy: The act of working to help others, often by giving money to charitable causes.
Chapter 15 - The Gilded Age - 1878 to 1889:
deflation: A decrease in prices, often stated as an increase in the value of money, related to a decline in spending by consumers.
bimetallism: The use of a monetary standard consisting of two metals, especially gold and silver, in a fixed rate of value.
immigrant: A person who leaves one country to settle permanently in another.
laissez faire: Noninterference in the affairs of others. Laissez faire is French for "leave alone."
labor union: An organization of wage earners formed for the purpose of serving the members' interests with respect to wages and working conditions.
strike: to engage in a work stoppage until an employer grants certain demands, such as pay increases, an improved pension plan, etc.
quota: A limitation on the number or percentage of people who can enter the country.
civil service: Any government job.
scab: A person hired to replace a striking worker.
anarchist: A person who believes that governments are unnecessary or undesirable.
trade union: A labor union organized by shared skills, not by industry.
collective bargaining: The process by which a union negotiates with an employer for the workers it represents.
assimilate: to adjust to the customs, attitudes, etc., of another culture - to become part of a different culture.
Chapter 16 - End of the Century - 1890 to 1897:
consumers: People who use goods or services
tenement: A run-down, overcrowded, low-rent apartment.
mercenaries: Professional soldiers hired to serve in a foreign army
direct primary: The members of a political party vote for their candidates for office for the general election, instead of having the candidate chosen by party bosses.
initiative: The people propose laws (through petition) to be voted on by their state legislatures or directly by the voters.
referendum: An issue that is voted on directly by the people.
recall: The people could remove an elected official by a direct vote.
currency: Any form of money in actual use as a medium of exchange.
bankruptcy: The state of a person or firm unable to repay debts.
lockout: The temporary closing of a business or the refusal by an employer to allow employees to come to work until they accept the employer's terms.
injunction: A court order prohibiting a party from a specific course of action.
socialist: A person who believes in the political theory advocating state ownership of industry.
campaign: To run, stand, or compete for an elected office or a position.
Chapter 17 - American Empire - 1898 to 1900:
imperialism: The policy of expanding a nation by claiming foreign lands.
yellow journalism: Sensational but generally untrue stories published in newspapers to attract readers.
commonwealth: A self-governing territory associated with the U.S.
Chapter 18 - The New Century - 1901 to 1910:
arbitrator: someone who settles a dispute - chosen to hear both sides and then make a decision.
settlement house: Institution offering social and educational services to immigrants and poor people.
muckraker: journalist who wrote articles exposing injustice and corruption.
assembly line: Row of factory workers and machines along which work is passed.
Chapter 19 - World at War - 1911 to 1919:
propaganda: Spreading ideas or rumors to influence public opinion.
civilian: Anyone who is not an active member of the military.
torpedo: A cigar-shaped, self-propelled underwater projectile launched from a submarine and designed to detonate on contact with target.
contraband: Goods that may be seized by a combatant if shipped to another combatant by a neutral.
decipher: To read or interpret or to convert from a code or cipher to plain text; decode.
Bolsheviks: Russian political group that formed the Communist Party
armistice: temporary peace agreement
Fourteen Points: President Wilson's plan for world peace after World War I.
self-determination: The right of citizens to choose the form of government under which they will live.
reparations: payments made for damages suffered.
pandemic: Epidemic over a wide geographic area and affecting a large proportion of the population
Chapter 20 - The Roaring Twenties - 1920 to 1928:
bootlegger: person who illegally made, transported, or sold liquor during prohibition.
speakeasy: illegal saloon that flourished during prohibition.
communism: government where the state owns most of the land and property and shares them with the citizens.
flappers: young women of the 1920s who dressed in a bold new style.
Chapter 21 - The Great Depression - 1929 to 1938:
capital: money for funding a business or other venture.
dividend: a share of profits received by a stockholder.
margin: the amount of collateral a customer deposits with a broker when borrowing money to buy stock.
interest: a charge for a loan, usually a percentage of the amount loaned.
collateral: property pledged by a borrower to protect the interests of the lender in the event of the borrower's default.
speculators: people who take financial risks in order to make a large profit.
relief: public assistance because of need or poverty.
capitalism: the economic system in which individuals or companies, rather than government, own most factories and businesses, and in which laborers produce products for a wage. (a capitalist is a person who supports this system).
bonus: a sum of money paid by a government to a war veteran.
migrant: a worker who travels from one area to another in search of work.
pension: retirement pay or old-age insurance.
mandate: a command or an authorization given by voters to their representative.
Chapter 22 - World War II - 1938 to 1945:
Anti-Semitic: hatred and prejudice against Jews.
dictator: ruler with complete authority and no accountability; an autocrat.
fascism: a system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, strict economic controls, & suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship.
totalitarian: form of dictatorship that has total control over all aspects of life and that suppresses all political or cultural opposition.
collectivization: to organize (an economy, industry, or agriculture) on the basis of the government supervising and controlling production.
appeasement: act of giving in to keep the peace.
blitzkrieg: German word (Lightning War) used to describe sudden warfare intended to surprise the enemy and win a quick victory.
internment: confinement, especially in wartime.
morale: the state of the spirits of a person or group.
atomic: (weapons) deriving destructive energy from the release of nuclear energy.
genocide: deliberate murder of an entire nation or group of the destruction of its culture.
Chapter 23 - The Cold War Begins - 1945 to 1959:
cold war: a state of political tension between nations without actual warfare.
containment: U.S. policy to stop the spread of communism.
satellite: nation closely tied to a more powerful country.
closed shop: business that agrees to hire only union members.
Gross National Product: the total value of final goods and services produced in a year by a country.
baby boom: increased birth rate in the U.S. during the late 1940s and 1950s.
nuclear: deriving destructive energy from the release of atomic energy.
government in exile: political group that claims to be a country's legitimate government, but for various reasons is unable to exercise its legal power, and instead resides in a foreign country.
demilitarized zone: area where no troops are allowed.
subvert: to undermine the character, morals, or allegiance of; corrupt.
blacklist: a list of persons or organizations that have incurred disapproval or suspicion or are to be boycotted or otherwise penalized.
censure: an expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism.
guerilla: fighter who uses hit-and-run attacks.
Chapter 24 - The Turbulent Sixties - 1960 to 1969:
Superpower: A powerful and influential nation, especially a nuclear power that dominates its allies or client states in an international power bloc.
Peace Corps: President Kennedy's organization dedicated to bring aid to the neediest undeveloped countries of the world.
diplomacy: the art or practice of conducting international relations, as in negotiating alliances, treaties, and agreements.
quarantine: a term during which a ship arriving in port and suspected of carrying contagious disease is held in isolation from the shore - (in this case substitute missiles for disease).
bigotry: intolerance, prejudice
segregationists: people who believes the races should be kept apart.
welfare: financial or other aid provided, especially by the government, to people in need.
poverty line: minimum income the government says that people need in order to live.
unprecedented: having no previous example.
concessions: something granted esp. as an inducement (as to enter into an agreement).
hippies: young people of the 1960s who rebelled against traditional values.
Chapter 25 - That Seventies Decade - 1970 to 1979:
terrorist: a person, usually a member of a group, who uses or advocates the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.
warhead: the forward section of a self-propelled missile, bomb, torpedo, or the like, containing the explosive, chemical, or atomic charge.
abortion: any of various surgical methods for terminating a pregnancy.
conspiracy: a secret agreement between two or more people to perform an unlawful act.
Subpoena: a writ issued by court authority to compel the attendance of a witness at a judicial proceeding.
détente: A relaxing or easing, as of tension between rivals.
incumbent: the official who holds an office.
prime rate: the minimum interest rate charged by a commercial bank on short-term business loans to large, best-rated customers or corporations. (The prime rate is usually the lowest prevailing interest rate; if it rises, rates available towill soon rise.)