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in politics, a small territory or state between two larger, antagonistic powers and intended to minimize the possibility of conflict between them.


an official count of population, often also including other information about the population.


a legal document granted by a government to some group or agency to implement a stated purpose, and spelling out the attending rights and obligations.


concerning the decentralized medieval social system of personal obligations between rulers and ruled.

indentured servant

a poor person obligated to a fixed term of unpaid labor, often in exchange for a benefit such as transportation, protection, or training.

joint-stock companies

an economic arrangement by which a number of investors pool their capital for investment.


civil officer charged with administering the law.

melting pot

popular American term for an ethnically diverse population that is presumed to be "melting" toward some eventual commonality.


fervent belief and loyalty given to the political unit of the nation-state.


the legal principle that the oldest son inherits all family property or land.


a frontier farmer who illegally occupied land owned by others or not yet officially opened for settlement.


originally, religious freedom granted by an established church to a religious minority.


independent landowner entitled to suffrage.

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