4th Grade Social Studies: Our New Nation Vocabulary List starting a new nation

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4th Grade Social Studies: Our New Nation

Vocabulary List


(Conflict and Change/Beliefs and Ideals)
1. Articles of Confederation: the first constitution created to explain the powers of a new national government; the Articles of Confederation had many weak points and was eventually revised (changed)
2. Federal System of Government : During the Constitutional Convention it was decided to create a federal system where states would share control with the national government; this would provide the balance our government needed
3. Great Compromise: small states and large states had to come to a compromise on how they would be represented in Congress; the Great Compromise split Congress into 2 houses –

A. in the SENATE states would have equal representation (2 per state)

B. in the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES each state would be represented according to their population (larger states would have more representatives)
4. Three-Fifths Compromise: this compromise dealt with the issue of slavery; many people were unsure if slaves should be counted as part of the population (which could affect the House of Representatives); it was decided that -

A. representation would be based on the FREE population but 3/5ths of the slave population would be added to that.


(Beliefs and Ideals/ Civic Understanding)
5. Three Branches of Government: the U.S. Constitution outlined 3 separate branches of government – legislative, executive, and judicial branches – this is known as separation of power
6. Legislative Branch: controlled by the two houses of Congress (Senate and House of Representatives); creates and passes laws
7. Executive Branch: controlled by the president and his cabinet (vice president and heads of federal agencies); carries out and enforces laws made by Congress
8. Judicial Branch: controlled by the U.S. Supreme Court plus district courts and appellate courts; understands and applies the law
9. Checks and Balances: the concept that each branch of government can “check” the actions of the other two and make sure one branch does not have too much power; this keeps our government balanced
10. Bill of Rights: the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution; the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution in 1791 to guarantee basic freedoms that all citizens should have; James Madison wrote the Bill of Rights

(Conflict and Change)
11. War of 1812: the second war that America fought with England; during this war, England invaded Washington, D.C. and set fire to the White House, the Capitol Building, and other buildings; a peace treaty was signed on Christmas Eve 1914, ending the war. Both sides claimed victory!

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