social science terms

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social science terms
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  1. Amortization
    Simultaneous payment of both the principal and interest of a loan
  2. Annual improvement factor
    Automatic yearly wage raise built into labor contracts
  3. Assembly line
    Technique devised by Henry Ford involving the division of labor; each assembly line member specialized in one part of the process of manufacturing a good
  4. Bank holiday
    Time period in which banks do not pay out money in any form
  5. Bank panic
    Phenomenon that begins with the failure of one bank; mass panic then prompts the failure of an increasing amount of banks
  6. Bernstein thesis
    Academic belief that the development of new technology vital for economic recovery took a long time to occur because they brought about a new kind of economy
  7. Buying on margin
    System that involves paying a small portion of the total price of a product, borrowing money to pay the rest
  8. Call loan
    Type of loan that lacks a maturity date at which the lender can mandate full payment whenever he wants
  9. Cost-of-living adjustments
    Automatic increases in wages built into labor contracts; linked to the price index
  10. Creative destruction
    Deterioration of older industries as newer ones emerge, rendering the older ones obsolete
  11. Deflation
    Continuously falling price levels
  12. Dow Jones Industrial Average
    Stock market index; reached its lowest point in July 1932
  13. Gold standard
    Connection of paper currency to a gold value
  14. Index of Industrial Production
    Measurement of manufacturing output; began decreasing in mid-1929 due to the slump in the homebuilding industry
  15. Inheritance tax
    Tax on the estate of a deceased person
  16. Investment trust
    Business that sells portfolios of stock market shares managed by professional brokers
  17. Keynesian economics
    School of economic thought that pinpointed underconsumption as the cause of the Great Depression; recommends federal spending to make up for a slump in aggregate demand
  18. Liberty and Victory bonds
    Government bonds used to finance World War I from 1917 to 1919; gave 22 million Americans their first experience in the securities market
  19. Liquidity trap
    Situation in which nominal interest rates are low and the rate of saving is high; discourages investment
  20. Maldistribution thesis
    Idea that the increasingly unequal distribution of wealth caused the Great Depression; contributed to by Simon Kuznets
  21. Mature capitalism
    1930s idea that the economy had already reached its peak and gross domestic product could not grow anymore
  22. Monetarist
    School of economic thought that argued that the drop in the money stock caused deflation during the Great Depression
  23. Neo-Austrian
    School of economic thought that trusts market forces and supports a free market system; believes that the Federal Reserve’s interference in the economy caused the Great Depression
  24. Open market
    Market in which the Federal Reserve conducts monetary policy through the sale or purchase of United States Treasury savings bonds
  25. Ponzi scheme
    Financial scheme that promises higher returns of investment than it pays out
  26. Pool
    Plans designed by Wall Street traders to inflate prices artificially; involved selling shares back and forth
  27. Privatization
    Transfer of public services to the private sector; began during Ronald Reagan’s administration, affecting numerous institutions, including hospitals, schools, and prisons
  28. Reaganomics
    Reagan’s economic belief system, which depended on supply-side economics; involved lowering taxes for the rich in order to promote investment
  29. Rush
    Term used to describe a prosperous season in industry
  30. S&Ls
    Savings and loan institutions that specializes in investment
  31. Securities market
    Market sector that specializes in the sale of debt or equity
  32. Slack
    Term used to describe a slow season in industry
  33. Soak-the-rich
    Term that refers to taxes that take more money from the wealthy
  34. Stagflation
    Simultaneous economic stagnation and inflation; demonstrated the shortcomings of Keynesian economics
  35. Standard and Poor’s Composite Stock Index
    Measurement of the stock market’s health; peaked on September 7, 1929
  36. Supply-side economics
    Economic theory favored by Ronald Reagan; emphasized that supply creates its own demand
  37. Underconsumption
    Concept that focuses on low aggregate demand as the source of economic problems rather than overproduction
  38. Yellow-dog contracts
    Contracts in which employees promised not to join a union
  39. 3R’s
    One of a variety of ways to classify different parts of the New Deal; acronym for relief, reform, and recovery
  40. AFDC
    See Assistance for Families with Dependent Children
  41. All-American Canal
    Channel that irrigates the Imperial and Coachella Valleys using the Colorado River
  42. Anti-monopoly campaign
    New Deal movement against monopolies, which were suspected to be the root of economic problems
  43. Appeasement
    Term that refers to the efforts of Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier to prevent further conflict by allowing Germany to seize the Czech Republic’s Sudetenland region
  44. Assistance for Families with Dependent Children
    Part of the Social Security system that helped widows, orphans, and poor southern African Americans, whose families were frequently torn apart by economic difficulties
  45. Associationalism
    Willing collaboration between the federal government and businesses in shaping economic policy
  46. Atlantic Charter
    Agreement between the United States and Great Britain; freed British and French colonies and established the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
  47. Baby boom
    Increase in the birth rate after World War II; caused by post-World War II conservatism that encouraged women to raise families rather than pursue careers
  48. Black Monday
    October 28, 1929; on this day, much panic concerning the stock market occurred
  49. Black Tuesday
    October 29, 1929, the date on which the stock market collapsed
  50. Brain trust
    Group of academic experts employed by Roosevelt to design New Deal policies
  51. Bretton Woods Conference
    1944 economic forum held in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire by the Allies of World War II; decided to fix all exchange rates to the dollar, which would be on the gold standard
  52. Cash and carry
    Idea that allowed the United States to provide weapons to Great Britain on the grounds that Great Britain would pay cash and provide its own ships for transportation of the weapons
  53. Central Valley Project
    Irrigation plan completed in 1947; provided water to two million acres in California
  54. Corporate liberalism
    Ideology that favored competition in the marketplace
  55. Cradle to grave
    Term used by Roosevelt to describe the security that Social Security provided Americans
  56. Dearborn demonstration
    Protest in which Ford employees participated; police killed four people
  57. Dixiecrat
    Southern Democrats
  58. Dr. New Deal
    Term referring to Franklin D. Roosevelt prior to American involvement in World War II
  59. Dr. Win-the-War
    Term referring to Franklin D. Roosevelt after American involvement in World War II
  60. Dual welfare state
    Term used by historians to refer to the United States due to the system that provided white male citizens with benefits to which they were entitled while giving charity to minorities and women who were second-class citizens
  61. Dust Bowl
    Area that suffered severe soil erosion; Southeastern Colorado, southwestern Kansas, northeastern New Mexico, and the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles
  62. End Poverty In California
    Upton Sinclair’s gubernatorial campaign platform, which involved giving industrial plants to jobless workers for them to use to make clothing, food, and shelters
  63. European Recovery Program
    Original name of the Marshall Plan
  64. Fair Deal
    Harry Truman’s legislative program, which Republican legislators opposed; demonstrated the president’s dedication to civil rights
  65. Federal Arts Project
    Part of Federal Project One; began the careers of many writers and artists, creating 2,500 murals and 18,000 sculptures
  66. Federal Project One
    Part of the Works Progress Administration; provided artists, writers, and actors with jobs
  67. Federal Theatre Project
    Part of Federal Project One; ended due to suspicion of it being the source of communist propaganda
  68. Federal Writers’ Project
    Part of Federal Project One; employed 40,000 artists
  69. Fireside chats
    Franklin D. Roosevelt’s radio broadcasts during which the president casually explained his policies, endearing himself to the American public
  70. First hundred days
    Measure of political ability for governors and presidents; born out of the sheer amount of legislation that Roosevelt and his supporters pushed through Congress during his first 100 days as president
  71. Four Freedoms
    Term used by Roosevelt to describe the goal of World War II
  72. Four horsemen of the apocalypse
    Supreme Court Justices Sutherland, Butler, McReynolds, and Van Devanter; known for staunchly defending economic freedom, even at the cost of civil rights
  73. Freedom from fear
    One of the Four Freedoms
  74. Freedom from want
    One of the Four Freedoms
  75. Freedom of religion
    Constitutional right; one of the Four Freedoms
  76. Freedom of speech
    Constitutional right; one of the Four Freedoms
  77. General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
    Economic agreement created as part of a new international economic system
  78. General welfare clause
    Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution; can be interpreted to give Congress the power to set up a federal Social Security program
  79. Geneva Disarmament Conference
    Forum dedicated to disarmament; asked the United States to cooperate in a ban of arms shipments to aggressor nations
  80. Golden age of agriculture
    Term used by historians to refer to the 1920s because of the demand for American agricultural products that World War I generated
  81. Good neighbor policy
    Hoover and Roosevelt’s policy of not intervening in Latin American affairs
  82. Government Men
    Federal Bureau of Investigation agents; restored the government’s role as the maintainer of order
  83. Grange movement
    Farm interest movement that wanted inflation, price parity, and agricultural mortgage relief
  84. Great Society
    Lyndon Johnson’s legislative program; relevant initiatives included Medicare and Medicaid
  85. Hoover blankets
    Newspapers that homeless Americans used to cover themselves when sleeping in doorways and on benches
  86. Hoover flags
    Bare pockets pulled out of an individual’s pants
  87. Hooverville
    Communities of basic shelters created from packing crates and scraps
  88. The Internationale
    Communist hymn sung by 6,000 Detroit protesters
  89. Interstate commerce clause
    Section of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce
  90. Isolationism
    Belief that the United States should not involve itself in foreign affairs
  91. Jingoism
    Aggressive patriotism that leads to imperialistic foreign policy
  92. Judicial restraint
    Belief of Supreme Court Justices Brandeis, Stone, and Cardozo that the Supreme Court should not interfere with federal economic reforms
  93. Labor Party
    Third party that ironically lost strength as labor unions gained strength
  94. Liberty of contract
    19th-century economic idea that prioritized economic freedom from government intervention
  95. Localist
    Individual who believed that state and local authorities should maintain a significant degree of control over the distribution of welfare
  96. London Economic Conference
    Forum held in 1933 and attended by the United States and major European nations; had the goals of lowering trade barriers and stabilizing exchange rates
  97. March on Washington
    Form of protest with which Asa Philip Randolph threatened Franklin D. Roosevelt until the president established the Fair Employment Practices Commission
  98. Marshall Plan
    First known as the European Recovery Program; distributed over $13 billion to Western and Southern European countries, fostering loyalty to the United States rather than to socialism
  99. Medicaid
    Medical care program for the poor; paid for by general tax revenues
  100. Medicare
    Medical care program for Americans that were 65 years old or older; paid for by a specific Medicare tax
  101. Memorial Day Massacre
    Incident in which Chicago police killed 10 union members and injured more than 80 during a Memorial Day picnic
  102. Me-tooism
    Term used to refer to Alfred Landon’s 1936 presidential campaign platform; implied that his ideas were just a watered-down version of the New Deal
  103. Mississippi Flood of 1927
    Natural disaster in which the Mississippi River flowed over levees and flooded thousands of square miles; infamous for national guardsmen’s poor treatment of African Americans during relief efforts
  104. Most favored nation provision
    Provision introduced by the Reciprocal Trade Agreement Act of 1933; provided for a decrease in import duties for any country that reduced trade barriers for American products
  105. National security state
    Country with a ready army; concept on which the freedom from fear depended
  106. Nationalist
    Individual who favored the establishment nationwide standards and procedures for the distribution of welfare
  107. New Deal
    Franklin D. Roosevelt’s legislative program; established the precedence of federal involvement in the economy, making the government a pervasive part of ordinary Americans’ everyday lives
  108. New Era
    Term referring to the optimistic 1920s belief that the United States had entered a time period of everlasting prosperity
  109. Okies
    Migrants from Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas
  110. Panay
    American gunboat attacked by Japanese planes on December 12, 1937; indicated hostility toward American involvement in the Sino-Japanese War
  111. Popular Front
    Campaign in which the Communist Party tried to recruit members by reaching out to labor and civil rights advocates; encouraged many Communist Party members to join the Congress of Industrial Organizations
  112. Quarantine doctrine
    Concept that compared belligerent nations to diseased patients that should be isolated from the rest of the world; argued for American involvement in foreign affairs
  113. Rape of Nanking
    Organized rape of Chinese women by Japanese troops in May 1937
  114. Reading Formula
    Declaration by the National Labor Board that mandated the rehiring of strikers and use of secret ballots for determining labor representatives; went unenforced
  115. Recovery
    One of the 3Rs; focused on long-term economic restoration
  116. Red Scare
    Fear of communists during the Cold War in the 1950s
  117. Red-baiter
    Individual who accuses someone else of being a communist
  118. Reform
    One of the 3Rs; focused on legislation to prevent future problems
  119. Relief
    One of the 3Rs; focused on short-term aid and welfare
  120. Roaring Twenties
    Term for the 1920s in the United States; refers to economic prosperity
  121. Roosevelt recession
    Economic downturn that began on October 19, 1937; primarily caused by Roosevelt’s effort to balance the budget after it appeared to him that the economy had recovered
  122. Russian Revolution of 1917
    Series of revolutions in 1917, including the Bolshevik Revolution led by Vladimir Lenin
  123. Rustbelt
    Northeastern industrial states
  124. S.S. St. Louis
    Hamburg America Line ship, the Jewish passengers of which were denied asylum in the United States
  125. San Francisco General Strike
    1934 mass strike started by Harry Bridges and the International Longshoremen’s Association; paralyzed San Francisco
  126. Savings & Loans Crisis
    Catastrophe that lasted from 1986 to 1989; caused by a decrease in regulation of S&Ls
  127. Savior of capitalism
    Term used by Huey Long, Charles Coughlin, and Upton Sinclair to accuse Franklin D. Roosevelt of favoring big business
  128. Scab
    Strikebreaker; an individual who works during a strike
  129. Scottsboro boys
    Nine young African Americans who boarded a train in March 1931; fought with white vagrants and were blamed entirely for the dispute
  130. Section 7(a)
    Part of the National Industrial Recovery Act; provided for labor representation and collective bargaining
  131. Seventh International Conference of American States
    Forum held in Montevideo, Uruguay and attended by the United States and Latin American countries
  132. Share Our Wealth
    Society created by Huey Long in February 1934; promised each family a $5,000 allowance and minimum yearly income of $2,500
  133. Shareholder nation
    Term referring to the involvement of many Americans in various investment opportunities
  134. Silent Majority
    Nixon’s term for the majority of Americans, who believed that special interest groups were stealing their educational and vocational opportunities
  135. Sino-Japanese War
    War between China and Japan in the late 1930s; Roosevelt refused to identify it as a war, allowing the United States to continue arms shipments to China
  136. Social security state
    Country with a welfare system; concept on which the freedom from want depended
  137. Socialized medicine
    American Medical Association’s term for national healthcare
  138. Southern Conference for Human Welfare
    Forum at which Eleanor Roosevelt insisted on sitting in the African American section
  139. Spanish Civil War
    Conflict between Francisco Franco and the Spanish republican government; ended in April 1939 with 500,000 war casualties and 200,000 post-war executions
  140. Stock market crash
    Economic disaster in October 1929 that involved the mass sale of stock market shares at continuously dropping prices
  141. Stream of commerce
    Concept that identified industries organized on a national scale as subject to congressional regulation
  142. Third American Revolution
    Term used by some historians to describe the New Deal
  143. Treaty of Detroit
    1950 agreement between the United Automobile Workers and General Motors; included a company pension
  144. Union Party
    Third party in the 1936 presidential election; its candidate was William Lemke, a radical populist
  145. Voluntarism
    Willingness of an individual to work diligently
  146. War on Poverty
    Lyndon Johnson’s welfare program established by the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964
  147. Yom Kippur War
    Conflict that prompted the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to raise prices
  148. 401(k) retirement investment plan
    Program that allows for each worker to choose from varying levels of investment risk
  149. American standard of living
    High standard of living that represented middle class status
  150. Auto bandits
    Criminals who specialized in stealing cars, carrying out other crimes, and then fleeing via the highway
  151. Bank robbers
    Criminals who specialized in stealing from banks
  152. Blue
    Second best rank in the Home Owners Loan Corporation’s system to rate neighborhoods
  153. Buy now, pay later
    System of consumer credit in which buyers could make a small down payment and complete the rest of the payment later
  154. Caveat emptor
    Rule of “buyer beware” that dominated the economy prior to the establishment of the Securities and Exchange Commission
  155. Consumer protection
    Concept of regulating low quality or potentially harmful goods and services for the good of the buyer
  156. Contour plowing
    Technique used by the Soil Conservation Service to reduce erosion; involves forming grooves perpendicular to a slope rather than parallel, making water run more slowly
  157. Crop rotation
    Technique used by the Soil Conservation Service to reduce erosion; rotations benefit soil by changing the type of crop planted in one area during different seasons
  158. Discrimination by design
    Term used by a political scientist to refer to the Social Security system’s discrimination against agricultural and domestic workers, who were frequently African Americans
  159. Family wage
    Concept of every man earning enough money to support his family so that women did not have to work for wages
  160. The Golden Hour of the Little Flower
    Name of Charles Coughlin’s nationally syndicated radio show; broadcasted on Sunday evenings and listened to by 30 to 40 million Americans weekly
  161. Green
    Best rank in the Home Owners Loan Corporation’s system to rate neighborhoods
  162. Injunction
    Court ruling that forbade boycotts and picket-lines
  163. Kingfish
    Nickname given to Huey Long because of his intense control of Louisiana
  164. Lebensraum
    German idea of “living space”; argued for the eradication of natives and resettlement of their land by Germans
  165. Mafia
    Organized crime organization
  166. Means test
    Evaluation of an individual’s need for welfare and whether he is being too dependent on aid
  167. Moral suasion
    Technique that employs political influence to dissuade margin buying
  168. Mr. Deeds Goes to a Town
    Movie directed by Frank Capra in which wholesome protagonists square off against the corrupt political and economic elite
  169. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
    Movie directed by Frank Capra in which wholesome protagonists square off against the corrupt political and economic elite
  170. National Archives
    Collection of federal documents; holds thousands of letters written to Franklin D. Roosevelt
  171. National autarky
    State of self-sufficiency, in which a country does not rely on international trade
  172. Noblesse oblige
    Idea that the upper class should use their fortune and power to assist the community
  173. “Own your own share of America”
    Merrill Lynch’s slogan for the promotion of people’s capitalism
  174. Pin money
    Income that was unnecessary and an extra that families did not need to survive
  175. Polio
    Viral nervous system disease that causes different amounts of paralysis; disabled Franklin D. Roosevelt’s legs
  176. Privileged princes
    Term used by Roosevelt to describe members of the Republican Party during his 1936 presidential nomination acceptance speech
  177. Rain preservation plan
    Technique used by the Soil Conservation Service to reduce erosion; involve preparing in advance for rainfall in order to conserve the water
  178. Red
    Worst rank in the Home Owners Loan Corporation’s system to rate neighborhoods
  179. Red-lined neighborhood
    Area marked by the Home Owners Loan Corporation as the least desirable living space; given expensive loans or no loans at all
  180. Rent party
    Social gatherings during which musicians performed in apartments, guests contributed donations, and tenants shared the money with the band
  181. Scientific racism
    Theory that focused on the inborn differences between races, justifying discrimination and inequality; related to the concept of social Darwinism
  182. Sharecropper
    Tenant who pays for the land that he farms with a portion of the grown crop
  183. Sisters of the road
    Female hobos
  184. Sit-down strike
    Type of protest in which employees stop working but stay in the manufacturing plant
  185. Snow-shoe rabbits
    Cute, furry animals; lived happily on the Kodiak Islands after the Civil Works Administration hired 94 Native Americans to place them there
  186. Speakeasy
    Business that illegally sold alcohol during the Prohibition Era
  187. “Stop Buying Meat until Prices Come Down”
    Slogan used by councils of urban housewives to protest high prices in butcher shops
  188. “Sweet Land of Liberty”
    Song performed by Marian Anderson at the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday in 1939
  189. Thalidomide
    Drug that caused an increase in birth defects; prompted the Kefauver-Harris Amendment to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1962
  190. Women’s press corps
    Group established by Eleanor Roosevelt, holding women-only press conferences; forced publishers to hire female reporters
  191. Yellow
    Third best rank in the Home Owners Loan Corporation’s system to rate neighborhoods

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