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Glossary

Chapter 26: The Great West and the Agricultural Revolution, 1865-1896

Citadel

a fortress occupying a commanding height.

Contiguous

joined together by common borders.

Folklore

the common traditions and stories of a people.

Immunity

freedom or exemption from some imposition.

Irrigation

watering land artificially, through canals, pipes, or other means.

loan shark

a person who lends money at an exorbitant or illegal rate of interest.

Nomadic

a way of life characterized by frequent movement from place to place for economic sustenance.

Probationary

concerning a period of testing or trial, after which a decision is made based on performance.

Prophet

a person believed to speak with divine power or special gifts, sometimes including predicting the future.

Reservation

public lands designated for use by Indians.

safety valve

anything, such as the American frontier, that allegedly serves as a necessary outlet for built-up pressure, energy, and so on.

Serfdom

the feudal condition of being permanently bound to land owned by someone else.

Ward

someone considered incompetent to manage his or her own affairs and therefore placed under the legal guardianship of another person or group.

war of attrition

form of warfare based on deprivation of food, shelter, and other necessities; if successful, it drives opponents to surrender out of hunger or exposure.


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