||(can be defined in both physical and a political context)
As a physical structure, an acequia or ditch is typically a man-made
earthen channel that conveys water to individual tracts of land. As
a political organization, a community ditch or acequia is a public
entity that functions to allocate and distribute irrigation water to
the landowners who are its members.
||(Constitutional) Changes in, or additions to, a constitution. Proposed
by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress or by a convention
called by Congress at the request of two-thirds of the state legislatures.
Ratified by approval of three-fourths of the states.
|Articles of Confederation
||The first constitution of the United States (1781). Created a weak
national government; replaced in 1789 by the Constitution of the United
|Balance of Trade
||The difference between the total amount of exports and imports for
a country in one year.
||The direct exchange of one good or service for another without the
use of money.
|B.C.E. and C.E.
||Before the Common Era (formerly known as B.C.) and Common Era (formerly
known as A.D.).
||A legislative body composed of two houses.
|Bill of Rights
||The first ten amendments to the Constitution. Ratified in 1791, these
amendments limit governmental power and protect basic rights and liberties
||The periods of recession and expansion that an economy goes through
because production does not increase continuously over time.
||Secretaries, or chief administrators, of the major departments of
the federal government. Cabinet secretaries are appointed by the president
with the consent of the Senate.
||Manufactured resources such as tools, machinery, and buildings that
are used in the production of other goods and services (e.g., school
buildings, books, tables, and chairs are some examples of capital used
to produce education). This is sometimes called real capital.
|Checks and Balances
||The Constitutional mechanisms that authorize each branch of government
to share powers with the other branches and thereby check their activities.
For example, the president may veto legislation passed by Congress;
the Senate must confirm major executive appointments; and the courts
may declare acts of Congress unconstitutional.
||A member of a political society who owes allegiance to the government
and is entitled to its protection.
||The protections and privileges of personal liberty given to all U.S.
citizens by the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
||A type of economic system where the resources are state owned and
their allocation and use is determined by the centralized decisions
of a planning authority (e.g., the former Soviet Union).
|Common or Public Good
||To the benefit, or in the interest, of a politically organized society
as a whole.
||The idea that countries gain when they produce those items that they
are most efficient at producing.
||Powers that may be exercised by both the federal and state governments
(e.g., levying taxes, borrowing money and spending for the general
||A person or organization that purchases or uses a product or service.
||The adoption of an aspect (or aspects) of another group's culture,
such as the spread of the English language.
||The visual outcome of humans living in a place.
||The learned behavior of people, such as belief systems and languages,
social relations, institutions, organizations, and material goods such
as food, clothing, buildings, technology.
||How much a consumer is willing and able to buy at each possible price.
||The practice of the principle of equality of rights, opportunity,
||The statistical data of a population (e.g., average age, income,
||The arrangement of items over an area (e.g., geographical, demographical).
|Due Process of Law
||The right of every citizen to be protected against arbitrary action
||An increase in an economy's ability to produce goods and services
which brings about a rise in standards of living.
||The interaction of all living organisms with each other and with
the physical environment.
|English Bill of Rights
||An act passed by Parliament in 1689 which limited the power of the
monarch. This document established Parliament as the most powerful
branch of the English government.
||A person who organizes, operates, and assumes the risk for a business
||Everything near and on the Earth's surface. Natural or physical environment
refers to climate, biosphere, hydrosphere, soil, and geology. Human
or cultural environment refers to aspects of the environment produced
||The lowering of the land surface by physical processes such as flowing
water, landslides, glacial ice, waves, and wind.
||The price of one currency in terms of another (e.g., pesos per dollar).
|Ex Post Facto Law
||A law that makes criminal an act that was legal when it was committed.
(Latin: "after the fact").
|Federal Reserve System
||A system of 12 district banks and a Board of Governors that regulates
the activities of financial institutions and controls the money supply.
||A form of political organization in which governmental power is divided
between a central government and territorial subdivisions--in the United
States, among the national, state, and local governments.
||A series of essays written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James
Madison that were published to support the adoption of the proposed
United States Constitution.
||Advocates of a stronger national government and supporters of the
adoption of the U.S. Constitution.
||Political and economic system in which a king or queen shared power
with the nobility, who required services from the common people in
return for allowing them to use the noble's land.
||How the government uses taxes and/or government expenditures to change
the level of output, employment, or prices.
||Policies of the federal government directed to matters beyond U.S.
borders, especially relations with other countries.
||The freedom of private businesses to operate competitively, for profit,
and without government controls.
||A device used to compile, organize, manipulate, store, report, or
display geographic information, including maps, gazetteers, globes,
graphs, diagrams, aerial photographs, satellite images, geographic
information systems, and other computer databases and software.
||The pattern that people make on the surface of the Earth, such as
cities, roads, canals, farms, and other ways people change the Earth.
||The act of accusing a public official of misconduct in office by
presenting formal charges against him or her by the lower house, with
a trial to be held before the upper house.
||A benefit offered to encourage people to act in certain ways.
||A general rise in the level of prices.
||A form of direct democracy in which the voters of a state can propose
a law by gathering signatures and having the proposition placed on
||Reliance on people in other places for information, resources, goods,
||The belief that the United States should not be involved in world
affairs and should avoid involvement in foreign wars.
||The doctrine that permits the federal courts to declare unconstitutional,
and thus null and void, acts of the Congress, the executive, and the
states. The precedent for judicial review was established in the 1803
case of Marbury v. Madison.
||How people use the Earth's surface (e.g., urban, rural, agricultural,
range, forest); often subdivided into specific uses (e.g., retail,
low-density housing, industrial).
||A description of the Earth's shape at a place (e.g., mountain range,
plateau, flood plain).
||The angular distance north or south of the equator, measured in degrees
along a line of longitude.
||The map key that explains the meaning of map symbols.
||Angular distance east or west, almost always measured with respect
to the prime meridian that runs north and south through Greenwich,
||The branch of economics which considers the overall aspects and workings
of a national economy such as national output, price levels, employment
rates, and economic growth.
||Document signed by King John of England in 1215 A.D. that limited
the king's power and guaranteed certain basic rights. Considered the
beginning of constitutional government in England.
|Market Economy System
||A system in which most resources are owned by individuals and the
interaction between buyers and sellers determines what is made, how
it is made, and how much of it is made.
||The price at which the quantity of goods and services demanded by
consumers and the quantity supplied by producers are the same. This
is sometimes called the equilibrium (a condition in which things are
in balance) price.
||Any setting in which exchange occurs between buyers and sellers.
||The document drawn up by the Pilgrims in 1620, while on the Mayflower,
before landing at Plymouth Rock. The Compact provided a legal basis
||The branch of economics concerned with the decisions made by individuals,
households, and firms and how these decisions interact to form the
prices of goods and services and the factors of production.
||Condition of a nation's safety from threats, especially threats from
||A process taking place in the natural environment that destroys human
life, property, or both (e.g., hurricane, flooding).
||The value of the next best alternative that must be given up when
a choice is made (e.g., the opportunity cost of studying on a Saturday
night is the fun you are missing by not going to the dance).
||A basic rule that guides or influences thought or action.
||People who change resources into an output that tends to be more
desirable than the resources were in their previous form (e.g., when
people produce french fries, consumers are more inclined to buy them
than the oil, salt, and potatoes individually).
||The rights of an individual to own property and keep the income earned
||A form of direct democracy in which citizens of a state, through
gathering signatures, can require that a legislative act come before
the people as a whole for a vote. The process also allows the legislature
to send any proposal for law to the people for a vote.
||A larger-sized territory that includes many smaller places, all or
most of which share similar attributes, such as climate, landforms,
plants, soils, language, religion, economy, government or other natural
or cultural attributes.
||A form of government in which power is held by the people and exercised
indirectly through elected representatives who make decisions.
||A system of government in which power is held by the voters and is
exercised by elected representatives responsible for promoting the
||Land, labor, capital, and entrepreneurship used in the production
of goods and services. A part of the natural environment that people
value, such as soil, oil, iron or water.
||How well you do by investing in one asset as opposed to another (e.g.,
if you buy a house in an up-and-coming neighborhood, you expect a better
return when you sell it than if you buy a house next to where a new
freeway is going to be built).
||A complete or drastic change of government and the rules by which
government is conducted.
||How much uncertainty accompanies your choice of investment (e.g.,
if you lend money to someone who has just escaped from prison, you
are taking more of a risk than if you lend money to your mother).
|Rule of Law
||The principle that every member of a society, even a ruler, must
follow the law.
||The relationship between a distance on the ground and the distance
on the map. For example, the scale 1:100,000 means that one unit of
distance (e.g. an inch or millimeter) on the map equals 100,000 of
these units on the Earth's surface.
||A good or service that is insufficient in quantity to satisfy the
demand or need for it.
|Separation of Powers
||The division of governmental power among several institutions that
must cooperate in decision making.
||The ultimate, supreme power in a state (e.g., in the United States,
sovereignty rests with the people).
||Pertaining to distribution, distance, direction, areas and other
aspects of space on the Earth's surface.
||When a business focuses on producing a limited number of goods and
leaves the production of other goods to other businesses. Specialization
also describes how each person working to produce a good might work
on one part of the production instead of producing the whole good (e.g.,
in a shoe factory one person cuts the leather, another person sews
it, another glues it to the sole).
|Standard of Living
||The overall quality of life that people enjoy.
||The right to vote.
||The quantity of a product or service a producer is willing and able
to offer for sale at each possible price.
||Compulsory payment of a percentage of income, property value, etc.,
for the support of a government. Included within this definition are: Progressive
Tax A tax structure where people who earn more are charged a higher
percentage of their income (e.g., the federal income tax). Proportional
Tax A tax structure where all people pay about the same percentage
of their incomes in taxes (e.g., a flat rate tax). Regressive Tax A
tax structure where people who earn more pay a smaller percentage of
their income in taxes (e.g., sales taxes).
||Any government in which the leaders of the government are also the
leaders of the religion and they rule as representatives of the deity.
||A centralized government that does not tolerate parties of differing
opinion and that exercises dictatorial control over many aspects of
||A formal agreement between sovereign nations to create or restrict
rights and responsibilities. In the U.S., all treaties must be approved
by a two-thirds vote in the Senate.
||A government system in which all governmental authority is vested
in a central government from which regional and local governments derive
their powers (e.g., Great Britain and France, as well as the American
states within their spheres of authority).
||An international organization comprising most of the nations of the
world, formed in 1945, to promote peace, security, and economic development.
||The process whereby more people live and work in cities.
||Trade between people when each one feels he or she is better off
after the trade (e.g., if you sell your old exercise bike for cash,
you gain because you would rather have the cash than the bike, but
the other person gains because he or she would rather have the bike
than the cash).