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Civics Terms

Civics refers to the area of political science that deals with the rights and duties of citizens. Some of the terms that are used in civics classes have multiple meanings. These terms are defined here as they relate specifically to the study of civics.

Ratification
Ratification: Confirmation of a proposed constitutional amendment; approval from the legislative branch that is reached by a majority approval.

ratify
To approve, often by a vote. To affirm.

Naturalization
Naturalization - The process of earning citizenship; to grant new citizenship to a foreign-born person.

Inaugurate
Inaugurate - to induct into office with formal ceremonies; in U.S. government the president goes through inauguration.

Federal
Federal - pertaining to a national government as opposed to local or state governments.

Domestic
Domestic - as it pertains to government, refers to things that happen inside a country. Domestic affairs are issues that affect citizens within a nation, as opposed to international affairs which affect citizens of many nations or of a particular foreign country.

Democratic
Democratic - Relating to government by the people. The notion in government that the majority of the people will have a say in a particular decision.

Constituent
Constituent - Person who is represented in a specific district. An elected government official normally serves as representative.

Compact
Compact - An official agreement based upon a written document.

Colony
Colony - A group that leaves one country to settle in a new land.

Civil Rights
Civil Rights - Political fairness and equal treatment for all Americans. Civil rights were promoted in a movement that took place during the 1960s in the United States. The movement was prompted by unfair laws and practices that targeted citizens of African descent.

Civil Liberties
Civil Liberties - Freedoms for individual citizens that preserve their rights against the encroachments or offenses of the government. In the United States citizens can look to the Bill of Rights for proof of civil liberties.

Census
Census - An official count of the population living within a country. Among other functions, the census provides data for funding and provides a comprehensive list of potential tax payers.

Branches of Government
Branch - A section or division of the government that carries out a specific role. The U.S. government has branches that serve to provide checks and balances.

bill
Bill - Legislation that is proposed in Congress; a form or draft of a proposed statute not yet enacted, voted upon, and/or passed and made law.

ambassador
Ambassador - An official or authorized representative of a nation who serves somewhere outside the country he or she represents.

Ally
Ally - To join formally in common cause. To unite by treaty or league. Two or more countries can become allies in the effort to address a problem such as war, hunger, or natural disaster.

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