SOCIAL STUDIES TOP 100 FACTS
1. The legislative branch, headed by Congress, is the part of government that makes and passes laws.
2. The executive branch, headed by the President, is the part of government that carries out and enforces the laws.
3. The judicial branch, headed by the Supreme Court, is the part of government that interprets and applies the laws.
4. A democracy is a system of government in which political control is exercised by all the people either directly or through their elected representatives.
5. The Declaration of Independence, signed on July 4, 1776, was written to proclaim the reasons for breaking away from England.
6. The U.S. Constitution is the main law of our country. It is divided into a Preamble, seven articles, and 27 amendments.
7. The Bill of Rights are the first 10 amendments to the Constitution.
8. The First Amendment entitles people to freedom of religion, speech, press, and right to petition and assemble peacefully.
9. A person can become a U.S. citizen either by birth or by naturalization (person not born in the U.S. but has met the requirements to become a citizen).
10. A citizen’s responsibilities are to uphold the U.S. Constitution by obeying the laws, paying taxes, serving on juries, and registering for Selective Service.
11. A citizen’s rights are freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution (example: right to worship freely, vote, etc.).
12. The essential characteristics of American democracy:
· People are the source of the government’s authority.
· All citizens have the right and responsibility to vote.
· The powers of government are limited by law.
· Basic individual rights are guaranteed by the Constitution.
13. Latitude lines are parallel lines that run east to west around the Earth.
14. The Equator divides the Earth into the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. It is the 0° latitude line.
15. Longitude lines run north and south and meet at the poles.
16. The Prime Meridian divides the Earth into the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. It is the 0° longitude line.
17. North America is one of the seven continents. It is located in both the Northern and Western Hemispheres.
18. The three largest countries located in North America are Canada, the United States of America, and Mexico.
19. The two major mountain ranges in the United States are the Rocky Mountains (west of the Mississippi River) and the Appalachian Mountains (east of the Mississippi River).
20. The Mississippi River runs north and south through the U.S. The source is in Minnesota and the mouth is located in Louisiana (Gulf of Mexico).
21. The Rio Grande River forms part of the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
22. The St. Lawrence River forms part of the border between the U.S. and Canada. It provides a route for ships to enter into the Great Lakes.
23. The five Great Lakes help to form the border between the U.S. and Canada. They are: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior (HOMES).
24. A compass rose is a small drawing on a map that shows cardinal and intermediate directions.
25. Cardinal directions are the four main directions: north, south, east, and west.
26. Intermediate directions are the points between the cardinal directions: northeast, northwest, southeast, and southwest.
27. A scale is a way of showing distance on a map (Ex: - 1 inch = 10 miles).
28. A map key/legend shows the meaning of various symbols on a map. (Ex: ? = city).
29. A map locator is a small map set inside a larger map to show the specific area being represented.
30. Physical maps show landforms such as mountains, plains, and valleys.
31. Political maps show cities, countries, and states.
32. Thematic maps can show different topics such as migration routes, population, and climate.
33. Distribution maps show the location of resources such as oil, forests, and coal.
34. A renewable resource is a natural resource that can be regenerated if used carefully (Ex: air, water, fish, and timber).
35. A nonrenewable resource is a natural resource that is limited and cannot be replaced once it is used.
36. Changes to the environment can have positive and negative consequences (Ex: Building a dam would prevent flooding and produce electricity, but it could force people to relocate their homes and would change ecosystems).
37. The United States is divided into five regions: Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, and West.
38. A region is an area with one or more common characteristics or features that makes it different from surrounding regions.
39. Some of the characteristics that define regions include: population, climate, landforms, culture, and economic characteristics.
40.Cooperation and conflicts: Countries can have agreements or disagreements over trade, environmental issues, and immigration.
41. Population is the number of people living in a certain area.
42. Climate is the long term weather patterns for an area (Ex: Northeast – cold winters, warm to hot summers). It is influenced by the earth-sun relationship, landforms, and vegetation.
43. Landforms are physical features of an area (Ex: mountains, valleys, lakes, rivers, plateau).
44.Economic characteristics are goods and services that are special to a specific area (Ex: fishing, chocolate, lumber, and tourism in the Northeast region).
45. Culture is the practice and beliefs of a group of people from a particular region of a country or the world (Ex: religion, language, food, clothing, shelter, music, art, and dance).
People in Societies
46.An immigrant is someone who comes to a new country to live.
47. First wave of immigration (1492-1776): Immigrants from Europe (England, Germany, etc.) and Africans brought as slaves.
48.Second wave of immigration (1820-1890): Western Europeans, British, and Irish immigrated to the Northeast region.
49.Third wave of immigration (1890-1929): Southern and Eastern Europeans and Asians began arriving in the United States and many settled on the West Coast.
50. Fourth wave of immigration (1950-Now): Cuban, Haitian, Latin American, and Eastern European immigrants.
51. The native people of North America, called Indians, came to the Americas over 10,000 years ago from Asia.
52. Immigrants come to America for a variety of reasons, such as religious and political freedom, economic opportunities, and education.
53. Allocation methods are ways of distributing scarce goods and services.
· First-come first-serve
· Sharing equally
54. The price is the cost of something (Ex: High prices will limit the total number of individuals able to afford to buy the goods/services.).
55. An example of first-come first-serve is lining up at 3:00 AM to be the first in line to buy an X-Box 360.
56. Rationing is to limit how many goods/services someone can purchase.
57. Lottery distributes goods/services by chance (Ex: 100 tickets available for a concert, names drawn out of a hat).
58. Command is a method of deciding who gets the goods/services and where they go (Ex: government decides who gets the goods/services).
59. Barter is trading goods and services for other goods and services without the use of money (Ex: I’ll wash your car if you help me with my homework).
60.A need is what is necessary to keep you alive (Ex: food, water, air, and shelter).
61. A want is the emotional or physical desire to have or consume goods/services (Ex: IPod, designer shoes).
62. Objects that are capable of satisfying people’s wants are called goods (Ex: bananas, coats, etc.).
63. Services are actions that are capable of satisfying people’s wants (Ex: restaurants, landscaper, teacher).
64.A consumer is a person whose wants are satisfied by using goods/services.
65. A producer is a person who makes goods/services.
66.Consumption is the purchase and/or of goods and services.
67. Economics is the system of how society produces enough goods/services to meet the needs of its people.
68.A competitive market is the effort made to win new businesses by making the best offer.
69.Interdependence is when people depend upon one another (for goods or services).
70. A market place is the exchange of goods and services for money between buyers and sellers.
71. Supply is the quantity of a good/service that producers are willing and able to provide at various places during a given time period.
72. Demand is what the consumers are willing to pay to have a certain good/service during a given time period.
73. Law of Supply and Demand is the idea that when there is too large of a supply of a given good/service, the price usually decreases, OR when there is a high demand for a limited supply of goods/services, the price usually increases (Ex: In the winter, there is a high demand for snow plowing).
74. Productive resources are the combination of natural resources, human resources, capital goods, and entrepreneurship.
75. Natural resources are materials found in nature (Ex: trees, water, and land).
76. Human resources are the talents and skills of people that contribute to the production of goods/services.
77. Capital goods are manmade materials needed to produce goods/services (Ex: machinery, equipment, and tools).
78. An entrepreneur is a person who organizes the use of productive resources to make goods/services (Ex: Levi Strauss and Bill Gates).
79. Opportunity cost (trade-off) is the value of the next best alternative given up when a choice is made (Ex: Give up a vacation for a new furnace).
80.Scarcity is the lack of sufficient resources to produce all the goods and services that people desire (Ex: In winter, there is a shortage of peaches).
81. Specialization means to concentrate production resources to produce only one kind of good (Ex: make candy canes only for the holiday season).
82. Division of labor is the separation of the total work required to produce a good/service into individual tasks (Ex: In an ice cream store, there is a scooper, cashier, etc.).
83. Disparity of resources means that not all regions have the same quality and quantity of resources (Ex: Louisiana does not have many apples, but they have an abundance of shrimp).
84.A time line is a diagram that identifies events in history. It is in chronological order, which is the order that the events happened.
85. A colony is a place that is ruled by a distant country. Jamestown colony was the first permanent English settlement in 1607.
86.Expansion means to increase the amount of land owned by a country (Ex: in the 1800’s, the Westward Expansion was a result of purchasing land, Louisiana Purchase, or acquiring it through war with other countries).
87. Exploration is to travel across water or land to discover new places.
88.Independence means to no longer be under the control of someone else (Ex: America wanted its independence from Great Britain so they would be free to govern themselves).
89.The Underground Railroad is a group of people who helped slaves escape to freedom along secret routes before and during the Civil War.
90.Slavery is the practice of making one person the property of another (Ex: African-Americans were brought to America against their will in slavery).
91. Industrialization is the use of machinery to increase the production of goods in a cheaper, faster way (Ex: The Industrial Revolution started during the 1800’s).
92. Transportation is how people or goods are moved from one place to another (Ex: trucks, trains, planes, boats).
93. The author’s perspective (point of view) shares with the reader the way the author thinks or views an issue/event.
94.The primary source is an account of an event by a person who saw or experienced something (Ex: diary or journal).
95. The secondary source is written by someone who was not present at the event he/she described (Ex: writer of a textbook).
96.Credentials of the source: In order to believe someone’s account of an event, you must find their version of the event to be trustworthy and truthful.
97. Relevant information is facts that are related or important to the topic being researched (Ex: Knowing Harriet Tubman’s background as a slave will help to better understand her work with the Underground Railroad).
98.Irrelevant information is facts not connected to the subject or issue (Ex: talking about what you want for your birthday during a discussion about the Civil War).
99.A fact is something that you can prove.
100. An opinion is a person’s belief not backed by factual evidence/proof.