A Glossary of US Politics and Government

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Great Migration A term used to describe two mass movements during the twentieth century. One movement occurred during the s through s as African Americans, in pursuit of economic, social, and political opportunities, moved from the rural, segregated South to the urban North and West. Great Society A wave of social reform legislation championed by President Lyndon Johnson in the mids and passed in the wake of a Democratic sweep in the presidential and congressional elections.

House Rules The rules and precedents that govern the conduct of business in the House. These rules address duties of officers, the order of business, admission to the floor, parliamentary procedures on handling amendments and voting, and jurisdictions of committees. Whereas the House re-adopts its rules, usually with some changes, at the beginning of each Congress, Senate rules carry over from one Congress to the next.

These rules address duties of officers, the order of business, admission to the floor, parliamentary procedures on handling amendment and voting, and jurisdictions of committees. Many ilustrados fought against the Spanish during the revolution and against the United States during the Philippine-American War — Others cooperated with U.

Vocabulary: Political Words

After both wars, ilustrados sought professional careers in business, education, and politics, including service as Resident Commissioners to the U. Imperialism The policy of extending the authority of an empire or nation over foreign countries or territories; acquiring and maintaining political control over colonies and dependencies. Incumbency The holding of an office or the term of an office usually political.

Insular Territory A commonwealth, freely associated state, possession, or territory that falls under the jurisdiction of the U. Internment An umbrella term used by the federal government and generally accepted by the American public to describe the systematic removal, relocation, and detainment of nearly , Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants primarily from the West Coast during World War II.

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The majority of internees were American citizens who—in addition to being denied due process and other constitutional rights—lost their possessions, homes, property, and businesses when they were forcibly moved to relocation centers in remote locations in the interior West. Issei A Japanese term that identifies the generation of emigrants who left Japan to settle in the United States.

Jim Crow The term used to describe the segregation, social control, and political and economic subjugation of African Americans in the South and Hispanic Americans in the Southwest from the late s to the s. Joint Meeting A meeting of both the House and the Senate which occurs upon the adoption of a unanimous consent agreement to recess and meet with the other legislative body. Joint Meetings are typically reserved for addresses by visiting dignitaries and other U.

Joint Session A meeting of both the House and the Senate which occurs upon the adoption of a concurrent resolution. Joint Sessions are typically reserved for the purpose of hearing a presidential address or to count electoral votes.

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  8. Kibei A Japanese term that identifies nisei children who were born in the United States, educated in Japan, and returned to the United States. Lame Duck Session Refers to a session of Congress that transpires after congressional elections but before the start of a new Congress. In the 19th century, new Congresses commenced on March 4 though both chambers often convened for business at later dates.

    Thus, after biennial fall elections, a new Congress was not seated for four months. Congress often convened for an additional, or lame duck, session in the intervening weeks in a hurried effort to complete legislative business. Ratification of the 20th Amendment in set the start date for new Congresses to January 3, drastically reducing the time period in which a lame duck session could transpire. As a result, modern Congresses have rarely held lame duck sessions. Lynching Execution without due process of law; the mob execution, usually by hanging and often accompanied by torture, of alleged criminals, especially African Americans, during the Jim Crow Era.

    Manifest Destiny A term used in the s to justify U. Model Minority A journalistic description of Asian Americans that stresses their economic success and compliance towards general societal norms.

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    The term has been used to denigrate other ethnic and racial groups while penalizing more recent Asian immigrants. Naturalization The action of admitting an alien to the position and privileges of a native-born citizen or subject. Nikkei A Japanese term used to identify any person of Japanese descent who emigrated abroad or is the descendant of such individuals. Nisei A Japanese term that identifies the generation of Japanese Americans who were born in the United States from their issei immigrant parents.

    Working with Congress, the Roosevelt administration provided an unprecedented level of emergency legislative intervention in response to the Great Depression that was designed to revive the economy and to provide basic welfare to citizens. Nominating Convention A meeting of local party officials to select the delegates who eventually designated party nominees for elective office or represented the locality at state or national conventions.

    Developed in the s and s, the system ensured that only one member would run for an elective position while providing structure and publicity for the party. In the early 20th century the modern primary election replaced nominating conventions as the principal method for selecting congressional candidates. Oath of Office An affirmation taken by Members of Congress acknowledging the duty to uphold their office and to defend the Constitution.

    In the House, the oath is administered during the opening day of each Congress. Until the s, the Speaker administered the oath to each separate House delegation. In modern practice, the dean of the House usually swears-in the Speaker, who then administers the oath to the Members en masse. Representatives elected thereafter by special election, are administered the oath by the presiding officer in the House Chamber. The oath is prescribed by the Constitution, but its language is set by law. Omnibus Bill A term used to refer to a package of numerous, often unrelated, bills that are bundled together and considered in Congress as a single measure.

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    Plantation An estate or farm, especially in a tropical or subtropical country, on which crops such as coffee, tobacco, or sugarcane were cultivated often by enslaved or contract laborers; also used to denote a company of settlers or colonists. Plebiscite A vote by which the people of an entire country or district express an opinion for or against a proposal especially on a choice of government or ruler following the call for a referendum. Political Action Committee PAC In existence since the mids, PACs are non-party, political committees organized by a special interest to receive and spend money either to support or to defeat candidates seeking elective office.

    Poll Tax A tax required as a qualification for voting used by some southern states to circumvent the 15th Amendment. Many poor African Americans could not afford to pay the tax and thus were unable to vote, but poor whites were exempt from the tax. Populism A political philosophy and movement that emerged in the agrarian West and South during the late 19th century. Populists advocated greater public participation in government and business to protect individuals from impersonal bureaucracies and financial conglomerates.

    Postbellum The period after a war, especially the American Civil War, — Pro Forma An official legislative day that fulfills the Constitutional mandate for Congress to assemble; however, no votes are cast and little floor business is conducted. Progressive Era A social movement roughly beginning in the s and ending shortly after U. Marked by a desire to reform society in the wake of the dramatic changes brought on by rapid American industrialization.

    Activists of the era—many of whom were women—pursued a broad range of democratic reforms within political, social, and cultural contexts.


    Prohibition Refers to the federal ban on alcohol implemented after passage of the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act. Prohibition laws made the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol—as well as its importation into the United States—illegal. The term also is used to describe the era when than alcohol ban was in effect, from its passage in January to its repeal in December Quorum The minimum number of Members needed to be present for the House or Senate to conduct business. The Constitution requires simple majorities of Members to achieve a quorum; in the modern chambers, given no vacancies, the numbers are for the House and 51 in the Senate.

    In practice, however, both bodies act on the assumption that a quorum is present unless a Member suggests the absence of one or requests a quorum call. Additionally, according to a House rule, only Members are required to achieve a quorum to conduct business in the Committee of the Whole.

    Ranking Member This term refers to the minority party member with the highest rank on a committee or a subcommittee. In some usages it can also apply to the majority party member next in rank to the chairman or chairwoman. Ranking minority members have a leadership role in that they often serve as floor managers to debate legislation on the floor and they also oversee the budget and administrative duties allotted to minority committee staff.

    From their initial assignment to a committee, Members generally work their way up from the bottom of the list as vacancies open above them. Realignment A new or unique merging of disparate political parties, philosophies, or organizations. Redistricting The redrawing of U. House districts within states following the constitutionally mandated decennial census and the apportionment of seats. State legislatures draw new districts based on population declines or increases that result in the subtraction or addition of House seats apportioned to the state. Please enable scripts and reload this page.

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    Glossary of 18th and 19th Political Terms | American Battlefield Trust

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    Technically two parties coming together. A bird dog is a retriever who runs into the bushes and flushes birds out into the open. Term has also been used in US presidential campaign by some players to go well further by inciting violence at opposition campaign rallies. A law where there may have been conjecture as to its meaning, but where appellate courts have subsequently settled the issue. In multi-member electorates, each voter having the same number of votes as the number of vacant seats must tick off [say] three names.

    This has the effect of minimising the chances of minority candidates winning seats. The standardized, non-specific parts of editorials, presentations, contracts or emails traditionally made and expected, in addition to the specific. A speech on a particular policy issue would be described as B.

    Derived from original American Press Association offices which happened to be housed next to a sheet-iron processing plant, and third rate, filler, news articles issued became known as B.