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Glossary

Chapter 23: Political Paralysis in the Gilded Age, 1869-1896

Censure

an official statement of condemnation passed by a legislative body against one of its members or some other official of government. While severe, a censure itself stops short of penalties or expulsion, which is removal from office.

civil service

referring to regular employment by government according to a standardized system of job descriptions, merit qualifications, pay, and promotion, as distinct from political appointees who receive positions based on affiliation and party loyalty.

Coalition

a temporary alliance of political factions or parties for some specific purpose.

Consensus

common or unanimous opinion.

Contraction

in finance, reducing the available supply of money, thus tending to raise interest rates and lower prices.

Deflation

an increase in the value of money in relation to available goods, causing prices to fall.

fraternal organization

a society of men drawn together for social purposes and sometimes to pursue other common goals.

Kickback

the return of a portion of the money received in a sale or contract, often secretly or illegally, in exchange for favors.

laissez-faire

the doctrine of noninterference, especially by the government, in matters of economics or business (literally, "leave alone.")

lien

a legal claim by a lender or another party on a borrower's property as a guarantee against repayment, and prohibiting any sale of the property.

pork barrel

in American politics, government appropriations for political purposes, especially projects designed to please a legislator's local constituency.

unsecured loans

money loaned without identification of collateral (existing assets) to be forfeited in case the borrower defaults on the loan.


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