5th grade Social Studies answers
Check yourself on the meanings of these words. Click on "5th grade Social Studies answers" and/or "Chapters" to go back to the Social Studies page.
artifact: an object left behind by people who live long ago.
drought: a long period with very little rain.
irrigation: a method of supplying dry land with water through a series of ditches or pipes.
technology: the design an use of tools, ideas, and methods to solve problems.
totem pole: a tall carved log used by Native Americans of the Northwest Coast to honor an important person or to mark a special event.
potlatch: a special feast given by Native Americans of the Northwest Coast, in which the guests receive gifts.
pueblo: a Spanish word meaning "village" used to refer to the apartment-style homes of the Native Americans of the Southwest.
adobe: a type of clay traditionally used as a building material by Native Americans and later Spanish colonists in the Southwest.
kachina: in Pueblo religion, the living spirit of an ancestor who helps bring rains and make crops grow.
lodge: a type of home made of logs, grasses, sticks, and soil which the Native Americans of the Plains used when living in their villages.
prairie: flat or gently rolling land covered mostly with grasses and wildflowers.
teepee: a cone-shaped tent made of animal skins used by Native Americans of the Plains.
travois: a sled-like device constructed by Native Americans of the Plains.
coup stick: a special weapon used by a Lakota Sioux soldier to show his bravery by touching, but not killing, his enemy.
jerky: this strips of sun-dried meat.
longhouse: a home shared by several related Iroquois families.
wampum: polished beads used in gift-giving and trading by the Iroquois and other Native Americans.
clan: a group of families who share the same ancestors.
Iroquois Confederacy: the union of the 5 major Iroquois peoples beginning about 1570.
compromise: the settling of a dispute by each side agreeing to give up part of its demands.
magnetic compass: an instrument invented by the Chinese about AD. 100 to help sailors find north and south.
caravan: a group of people traveling together for safety, especially through desert areas.
malaria: a disease caused by the bite of a certain mosquito.
Renaissance: a period of cultural and artistic growth in Europe that began in Italy in the 1300's.
navigation: the science of determining a ship's location and direction.
caravel: a fast sailing ship that could be steered easily and hold large amount of cargo.
expedition: a journey made for a special purpose.
colony: a settlement far away from the country that rules it.
Columbian exchange: the movement of people, plants, animals, and germs in either direction across the Atlantic Ocean following the voyages of Columbus.
conquistador: a name for the Spanish conquerors who first came to the Americas in the 1500's.
encomienda: a very large piece of land in New Spain given by the Spanish government to certain Spanish colonists during the 1500's.
missionary: a person who teaches his or her religion to others who have different beliefs.
charter: an official document giving a person permission to do something, such as settle in an area.
armada: a large fleet of ships, especially warships.
Northwest Passage: a water route believed to flow through North America to Asia that European explores searched for from the 1500's to the 1700's.
profit: the money remaining after the costs of a business have been paid for.
stock: shares of ownership in a company.
cash crop: a crop that is grown to be sold for profit.
indentured servant: a person who agreed to work for someone in colonial America for a fixed amount of time in order to pay for the ocean voyage.
House of Burgesses: the law-making body of colonial Virginia, established in Jamestown in 1619.
Mayflower Compact: an agreement the Pilgrims made before landing in New England to make and obey "just and equal laws".
sachem: the leader or chief of nay group of Native Americans in the Eastern Woodland and Great Lakes regions.
covenant: a special agreement; in colonial New England, a contract signed by each free man that bound his family to live by Puritan rules.
tolerate: allowing people to have different beliefs from your own.
Conestoga: a study wagon used by colonists and pioneers to carry people and goods.
proprietor: a person who owns a property or a business.
debtor: a person who owes money.
indigo: a plant that is used to produce a blue dye.
autobiography: the story of a person's own life written by himself or herself.
slave trade: the business of buying and selling people for profit.
export: to send goods to other countries for sale or use.
import: to bring goods from another country for sale or use.
agriculture: the business of farming.
free enterprise: an economic system in which people can own property and businesses and are free to decide what to make, how much to produce, and what price to charge.
industry: all the businesses that make one kind of product or provide one kind of service.
triangular trade: the three-sided trade route between Africa, the West Indies, and colonial New England which involved the slave trade as well as the trading of goods.
Middle Passage: the middle leg of the triangular trade route in colonial times in which captive Africans were shipped to the West Indies to be sold into slavery.
plantation: a large farm that often grows one crop.
slave codes: rules made by colonial planters that controlled the lives of enslaved Africans.
overseer: a person hired to e the boss of a plantation.
frontier: a word used by colonists and pioneers to describe land on the edge of their settlements.
almanac: a reference book containing facts and figures.
backcountry: in colonial times, the name given to the eastern foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
mission: a settlement where missionaries lived and worked.
portage: a land route from one body of water to another.
voyageur: a trader who transports furs by canoe in New France.
coureur de bois: in New France, a person who trapped furs without permission from the French government.
French and Indian War: a conflict between Great Britain and France in North America from 1756 to 1763; British colonists used this name to describe those they were fighting--the French and Native American allies.
Treaty of Paris: an agreement signed by Great Britain and France that brought an end to the French and Indian War.
Proclamation of 1763: an official announcement by King George III of Great Britain outlawing colonial settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains.
assembly: a lawmaking body.
town meeting: gathering of a town's citizens to discuss and solve local problems.
militia: a group of volunteers who fought in times of emergency during the colonial period and the American Revolution.
delegate: a member of an elected assembly
rebel: to oppose those in charge, even to the point of fighting them with weapons, because of different ideas about what is right.
Stamp Act: a law passed by the British Parliament in 1765 requiring colonists to pay a tax on newspapers, pamphlets, legal documents, and even playing cards.
treason: the betrayal of one's country by giving help to an enemy.
Sons of Liberty: groups of colonists who organized themselves to protest against the British government.
repeal: to withdraw or cancel.
Townshend Acts: taxes passed by Parliament in 1767 for goods brought into the colonies.
boycott: to refuse to do business or have contact with a person, group, country, or product.
Committees of Correspondence: groups organized in the 1770s to keep colonists informed of important events.
Boston Tea Party: a 1773 protest against British taxes in which Boston colonists disguised as Mohawks dumped valuable tea into Boston Harbor.
Intolerable Acts: the laws passed by the British Parliament in 1774 that closed Boston Harbor, dissolved the Massachusetts assembly, and forced Boston colonists to house British soldiers.
First Continental Congress: the assembly of colonial delegates from every colony except Georgia that met in 1774 in Philadelphia to oppose the Intolerable Acts.
petition: a written request signed by many people.
minutemen: well-trained volunteer soldiers who defended the American colonies against the British at a minute's notice.
American Revolution: the war between Great Britain and its thirteen American colonies from 1775 to 1783 that led to the founding of the USA.
Battle of Bunker Hill: costly British "victory" in 1775 over Colonial forces at a site near Charlestown, Massachusetts.
Second Continental Congress: a meeting in Philadelphia in 1775 of delegates from all 13 colonies which established a colonial army and declared American Independence.
Continental Army: the army created by the Second Continental Congress in May 1775 with George Washington as commander-in-chief.
traitor: someone who turns against his or her country.
Declaration of Independence: the official document issued by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, explaining why the American colonies were breaking away from Great Britain.
mercenary: a soldier paid to fight for another country.
Loyalist: a colonist who supported Great Britain in the American Revolution.
Patriot: an American colonist who supported the fight for independence.
Treaty of Paris of 1783: the peace treaty in which great Britain recognized the United States as an independent country.
Articles of Confederation: the first plan of government of the United States; in effect from 1781 to 1789, it gave more power to the states than the central government.
Shay's Rebellion: a revolt in 1786 of Massachusetts farmers, led by Daniel Shays, who opposed tax decision of the state courts.
Northwest Ordinance: a law passed by Congress in 1787 organizing the Northwest Territory for settlement and eventual statehood.
territory: an area of land that belongs to a government.
statehood: becoming a state in the United States.
Constitutional Convention: the meeting of twelve states' delegates in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that replaced the Articles of Confederation with a new Constitution.
Virginia Plan: the plan drawn up by James Madison and adopted by the Constitutionals Convention in 1787, that established three branches of the federal government.
legislative branch: the law-making part of government, with the power toraise the money needed to run the government.
executive branch: the part of government, headed by the President, that carries out the laws.
judicial branch: the part of government that decides the meaning of the laws.
Supreme Court: the head of the judicial branch of the federal government; highest court in the country.
New Jersey Plan: the plan offered by the small states at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 that would have given all states and equal number of representatives in Congress.
Great Compromise: the plan drawn up by roger Sherman at the Constitutional Convention in 1787; proposed the establishment of 2 houses of Congress.
House of Representatives: the house of Congress in which each state's number of representatives is determined according to its population.
Senate: the house of Congress in which each state has an equal number of representatives, or Senators, regardless of population.
amendment: an addition to the Constitution.
Preamble: the introduction to the Constitution.
federal system: a system of government in which power is shared between the central government and the state governments--US has this type.
checks and balances: the system in which the power of each branch of government is balanced by the powers of the others branches.
veto: to refuse to approve.
ratify: to give official approval; to the Constitution or amendments.
Federalist: a supporter of a strong federal system of government in the late 1700's.
Anitfederalist: an opponent of a strong central government in the late 1700's.
Bill of Rights: the first ten amendments to the Constitution, ratified in 1791.
secretary: the head of each department in the executive branch of government; as a group they are called the President's Cabinet.
Cabinet: the officials appointed by the President to be advisers and to head each department in the executive branch.
political party: a group of people who share similar ideas about government.
pioneer: a person who leads the way, usually to make a new home and become a settler there.
Louisiana Purchase: the territory purchased by the United States from France in 180, reaching from the Mississippi River tot the Rocky Mountains and from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada.
neutral: not taking sides.
War Hawks: Members of Congress from the South the and the West in the early 1800's who wanted the United States to go to war against Great Britain.
War of 1812: war between Great Britain and the United States from 1812-1815.
national anthem: a country's official song, such as "The Star-Spangled Banner".
Battle of New Orleans: a United States victory over British forces in the last battle of the War of 1812.
Era of Good Feelings: the name given to the period of peace and prosperity that followed the War of 1812.
Monroe Doctrine: a declaration of United States foreign policy made by President James Monroe in 1823 that opposed European colonization or interference in the Western Hemisphere.
Indian Removal Act: a law passed by Congress in 1830 forcing Native Americans of the Southeast to move to what is now Oklahoma.
Trail of Tears: the name given to the 800-mile forced march of 15,000 Cherokee in 1838 from their homes in Georgia to the Indian Territory.
Industrial Revolution: the dramatic changed from making goods by hand at home to making them by machine in factories.
cotton gin: a machine that separates cotton from its seeds, invented by Eli Whitney in 1793.
interchangeable parts: parts of a product built to a standard size so that hey can be easily replaced.
reaper: a machine that used sharp blades to harvest grain.
stagecoach: a large, horse-drawn carriage in the 1800's that transported passengers, baggage, and mail on a regular schedule.
steam engine: an engine powered by the energy produced from steam.
canal: a human-built waterway.
investor: a person who uses money to buy or make something in order to produce a profit.
lock: a kind of water elevator that moves boats within a canal to higher or lower levels.
Mexican War: a war between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848.
Battle of Buena Vista: the battle during the Mexican War in which heavily outnumbered Unite States forces led by General Zachary Taylor defeated Santa Anna's army in 1847.
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo: the treaty signed in 1848 that ended the Mexican War.
gold rush: the sudden rush of people to an area where gold has been discovered, as in California in 1849.
Forty-Niners: people who came to California in 1849 in search of gold.
abolitionist: a person who wanted to end slavery in the United States.
Underground Railroad: a system of secret routes used by escaping slave to reach freedom in the North or in Canada.
Seneca Falls Convention: the country's first women's rights meeting, held in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848.
Missouri Compromise: a law passed by Congress in 1820 that divided the Louisiana Territory into areas allowing slavery and areas outlawing slavery.
Fugitive Slave Law of 1850: a law passed by Congress that required police in free states to help capture escaping slaves.
Compromise of 1850: a law passed by Congress admitting California to the Union; allowing people in the territories to decide slavery for themselves, and obtaining the North's agreement to obey the Fugitive Slave Law.
Kansas-Nebraska Act: an 1854 law passed by Congress that allowed the Kansas and Nebraska territories to decide whether to become free states or slave states.
Dred Scott Decision: an 1857 Supreme Court decision that said slaves were private property.
states' rights: the belief that each state should be allowed t make its own decisions about issues affecting it.
secede: to break away from a group, such as the Southern states seceding from the Union in 1861.
Confederate States of America: the name adopted by the 11 Southern states that seceded from the Union during the Civil War.
Civil War: in the United States, the war between the Union (North) and Confederacy (South) from 1861 to 1865.
Anaconda Plan: the Union's three-part plan for defeating the Confederacy in the Civil War.
blockade: the closing of an area, especially during wartime, to keep people or supplies from moving in or out.
Emancipation Proclamation: an official announcement issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862 that led to the end of slavery in the United States.
Gettysburg Address: the speech made by President Lincoln at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, explaining the purpose of the Civil War.
total war: al all-out war to destroy people's ability and will to fight.
Reconstruction: the period following the Civil War in which Congress passed laws designed to rebuild the country and bring the Southern states back into the Union.
Thirteenth Amendment: an amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1865, that abolished slavery.
black codes: laws passed by the Southern states after the Civil War that severely limited the rights of the newly freed African Americans.
Freedmen's Bureau: a government agency created in 1865 that provided food, schools, and medical care for freed slaves and others in the South.
sharecropping: a system common in the South in the late 1800's and early 1900's in which farmers rented land fro a landowner by promising to pay the owner with a share of heir crop.
Fourteenth Amendment: an amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1868, that officially established blacks as citizens with the same legal rights as whites.
Fifteenth Amendment: an amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1870, that made it illegal to withhold voting rights "on account of race or color".
impeach: to charge a government official with wrongdoing.
Ku Klux Klan: a secret society formed by white Southerners to terrorize blacks following the Civil War.
Jim Crow laws: laws passed by Southern states after Reconstruction that established segregation, or separation of the races.
segregation: the separation of people, usually based on race or religion.
transcontinental railroad: a railroad that crosses an entire continent.
Pacific Railroad Act: a law passed by Congress in 1862 offering government loans and free land to the two companies building the transcontinental railroad.
cattle drive: a long journey in which cowboys brought cattle from the ranch to the railroad, from about the 1860's to 1880's.
railhead: any town where a railroad begins or ends, especially on the Great Plains in the late 1800's.