Constitution and Government: Vocabulary

Social Studies American History Constitution and Government Constitution and Government: Vocabulary
Students interact with vocabulary words that they will encounter throughout Unit 4: Constitution and Government.

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Here are the teacher pack items for Constitution and Government: Vocabulary:

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In this experience, students interact with vocabulary words that they will encounter throughout Unit 4: Constitution and Government.

Estimated duration: 30–40 minutes

Vocabulary words:

  • amendment
  • citizenship
  • checks and balances
  • compromise
  • constitutional republic
  • federal system
  • ratification
  • statehood
  • veto


  • Learn vocabulary related to the U.S. Constitution and government.

Unit Vocabulary

Once the American colonists won their independence, they needed to build a new nation. In this unit, you will learn about the U.S. Constitution and the federal government that were the foundation for this new republic.


  • Learn vocabulary related to the U.S. Constitution and government.

a US stamp celebrating the centennial of the US Constitution; shows a hand holding a pen quill against a background of the Constitution

Stamp Celebrating 100 Years of the U.S. Constitution

This lesson builds your vocabulary of words you will use in this unit. The words are:

  • amendment: an official change made to a legal document, such as a contract or a constitution
  • citizenship: membership in a nation that comes with rights and duties
  • checks and balances: a system in which limits are placed on the branches of government, and each branch oversees the others
  • compromise: an agreement between two sides where each side gives up something
  • constitutional republic: a type of government in which representatives are chosen by the people and whose power is limited by a constitution
  • federal system: a government where power is shared between a national, centralized government and smaller state governments
  • ratification: the act of giving formal approval to a treaty or agreement
  • statehood: having the status of being a state, especially within the United States
  • veto: the right to stop a law passed by a legislature

Let’s start with the word citizenship. It comes from the Latin word for city. In ancient times, government was usually at the city level and people identified most with the city where they lived. Today, your citizenship is at the national level. You are a citizen of a country.

In which of the following things can you have citizenship?

A) a service organization that does volunteer work
B) your hometown
C) a country, such as the United States or Italy
D) the state in which you reside

Be cautious when discussing citizenship, because some students may have issues with their immigration status.

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