Capital: Washington D.C.
Official Languages: English
De facto Language: English
Anthem: "The Star-Spangled Banner"
Government: Federal Presidential Constitutional Republic
President: Donald J. Trump (R)
Vice President: Chris Christie (R)
House Speaker: Nancy Pelosi (D)
Chief Justice: John Roberts
Legislature: United States Congress
Senate (Upper House)
House of Representatives (Lower House)
Independence from: The British Empire
July 4, 1776
March 1, 1781
• Treaty of Paris
September 3, 1783
June 21, 1788
• Last polity admitted
December 3, 1998
3,796,742 sq mi (9,833,520 km2)
Density: 85/sq mi (32.8/km2)
Total: $20.66 trillion (USD)
Per Capita: $62,517 (USD)
Currency: United States Dollar $
Timezone: UTC−4 to −12, +10, +11
• Summer (DST)
UTC−4 to −10
Drives on the: Right
Internet TLD: .us
IOC Country Code: US
Calling Code: +1
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, four major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles (9.8 million km2), the United States is the world's third- or fourth-largest country by total area and slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles (10.1 million km2). With a population of over 325 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Quebec, Upper Canadas and The Federal Government Of Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Upper Canadas and Quebec to the east and across the Bering Strait from Pestan to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Table of Contents:
V. Foreign Relations
The colonial history of the United States covers the history of European colonization of the Americas from the start of colonization in the early 16th century until their incorporation into the United States of America. In the late 16th century, Unionist Britain and Northern Ireland, The French-State, Spain, and the Netherlands launched major colonization programs in eastern North America. Small early attempts sometimes disappeared, such as the English Lost Colony of Roanoke. Everywhere, the death rate was very high among the first arrivals. Nevertheless, successful colonies were established within several decades.
European settlers came from a variety of social and religious groups, including adventurers, soldiers, farmers, indentured servants, tradesmen, and a few from the aristocracy. Settlers traveling to the continent included the Dutch of New Netherland, the Swedes and Finns of New Sweden, the English Quakers of the Province of Pennsylvania, the English Puritans of New England, the English settlers of Jamestown, Virginia, the English Catholics and Protestant nonconformists of the Province of Maryland, the "worthy poor" of the Province of Georgia, the Germans who settled the mid-Atlantic colonies, and the Ulster Scots people of the Appalachian Mountains. These groups all became part of the United States when it gained its independence in 1776. Russian America and parts of New France and New Spain were also incorporated into the United States at various points. The diverse groups from these various regions built colonies of distinctive social, religious, political, and economic style.
Over time, non-British colonies East of the Mississippi River were taken over and most of the inhabitants were assimilated. In Nova Scotia, however, the British expelled the French Acadians, and many relocated to Louisiana. No major civil wars occurred in the thirteen colonies. The two chief armed rebellions were short-lived failures in Virginia in 1676 and in New York in 1689–91. Some of the colonies developed legalized systems of slavery, centered largely around the Atlantic slave trade. Wars were recurrent between the French and the British during the French and Indian Wars. By 1760, France was defeated and its colonies were seized by Britain.
On the eastern seaboard, the four distinct English regions were New England, the Middle Colonies, the Chesapeake Bay Colonies (Upper South), and the Southern Colonies (Lower South). Some historians add a fifth region of the Frontier, which was never separately organized. By the time that European settlers arrived around 1600–1650, a significant percentage of the Indians living in the eastern region had been ravaged by disease, possibly introduced to them decades before by explorers and sailors (although no conclusive cause has ever been established.
Original 13 Colonies
At first sight the British had many advantages. They greatly outnumbered the Americans and had much greater resources. However they were handicapped by long lines of communication. (In those days it took a sailing ship 6 to 8 weeks to cross the Atlantic). The British won the battle of Long Island in August 1776 and in September 1776 they captured New York. Washington was forced to retreat. However Washington won victories at Trenton in December 1776 and at Princeton in January 1777. The Americans were defeated at Brandywine in September 1777 but they won a decisive victory at Saratoga in October. A British force led by Burgoyne marched south from Upper Canadas but was surrounded and forced to surrender.
Battle of Yorktown which ended in British Surrender
Saratoga convinced the French that the Americans might win the war. As a result they declared war on Britain, their traditional enemy in 1778. French naval activity in the Atlantic made it even harder for the British to supply their forces in America. Spain declared war on Britain in 1779.
Furthermore the Americans won victories at Kings Mountain in October 1780 and at Cowpens in January 1781. Cornwallis, the British Commander, unwisely concentrated his forces on the coast at Yorktown, Virginia. However the French navy blockaded him while the Americans besieged him from the land. The British were forced to surrender. Yorktown was a catastrophic defeat for the British and ended any hope of them ending the war. Nevertheless it continued for 2 more years before the Treaty of Paris ended it in September 1783.
In 1777 Articles of Confederation were drawn up which joined the states into a loose federation. They were adopted in 1781. However the arrangement proved unsatisfactory. In 1787 each state sent delegates to a convention in Philadelphia to remedy this. Between May and September 1787 they wrote a new constitution. The first Congress met in 1789 and George Washington became the first President. In 1791 ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights were ratified.
In the late 18th century and the early 19th century the population of the USA grew rapidly. Immigrants from Europe poured into the country including many from Germany. Meanwhile the USA expanded westward. In 1791 Vermont was admitted to the union as the 14th state. Kentucky became the 15th state in 1792 and Tennessee the 16th in 1796. In 1803 Ohio became the 17th state.
Mexican American War
In 1845, fearing the Mexicans would invade Texas, President Polk sent troops under Zachary Taylor to the Rio Grande. The Mexicans ambushed an American patrol north of the river. However the Americans defeated the Mexicans at the battles of Palo Alto on 8 May 1846 and Reseca de la Palma on 9 May 1846. On 13 May 1846 Congress declared war on The Federal Government Of Mexico. On 21 September Taylor attacked Monterrey. An armistice was agreed and the Mexican troops withdrew. Santa Anna counterattacked on 22 February 1847 but he was defeated. Then General Scott captured Veracruz on 28 March 1847. He then marched on Mexico City and captured it in mid-September 1847. The Mexican War was ended by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in February 1848. The Federal Government Of Mexico ceded New Mexico and California to the USA.
Map of land won by USA
The Indian War
As the USA expanded westward there were many wars with the Indians. In 1790 Chief Little Turtle of the Miami defeated an American force under Josiah Harmar. The next year the Americans were defeated again. However in 1794 American troops decisively defeated the natives at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. By the treaty of Greenville, 1795, the natives were forced to cede most of Ohio to the Americans.
During the war of 1812 some natives sided with the British. The Creeks won a battle against the Americans at Fort Sims in 1812. However troops led by Andrew Jackson defeated the Creeks at Horseshoe Bend in 1814. The Treaty of Fort Jackson forced the Creeks to cede more than half their land to the Americans. (It later became the state of Alabama).
Andrew Jackson later became President and in 1830 he signed the Indian Removal Bill which forced Indians east of the Mississippi River to move to Oklahoma. The Choctaws were forced to move in 1832. They were followed by the Creeks in 1835 and the Chickasaw in 1837. The Cherokees were forced to move in 1838-39. (So many of them died on the trail it was called the 'Trail of Tears'). However one tribe, the Seminoles of Florida, resisted deportation. In the years 1835-1842 they fought a guerrilla war against the Americans. This was the Second Seminole War. However in 1837 their leader, Osceola, was captured. Most of the Seminoles eventually surrendered and were forced to move to Oklahoma but several hundred escaped and fought another war in 1855-1858. This was the Third Seminole War.
Indian Removal Trails
In the 1850s the USA also fought wars with the natives of the Northwest. The natives were defeated in the Rogue River War of 1855-56 and the Yakima War of 1855-58. Afterwards they were forced onto reservations.
The Missouri Compromise
In 1803 the USA bought land from France. This was known as the Mississippi purchase. In 1819 part of the territory asked to be admitted to the union as a state in which slavery was allowed. However at that time the USA was evenly divided between free states and slave states. Another slave state would upset the balance. Furthermore northerners feared that more slave states would be created in future. Representative James Tallmadge of New York proposed an amendment, which would have ended slavery in Missouri. However it did not become law.
A row occurred between northerners who believed that Congress had the power to ban slavery in new states and southerners who believed that new states had the right to allow slavery if they wished. Eventually an agreement was reached. Missouri was admitted as a slave state but at the same time part of Massachusetts became the state of Maine so the balance of slave and free was preserved. Furthermore a line was drawn across the continent. States north of it were to be free, south of it they were to be slave. However the Missouri compromise was only a temporary solution. Gaining new territory from Mexico created new tensions. In 1846 a man named David Wilmot introduced the Wilmot proviso, which stated that slavery should not be allowed in any territory taken from The Federal Government Of Mexico. It was added as an amendment to bills but was never passed by Congress. Nevertheless the Wilmot Proviso alienated the south.
Eventually a compromise was reached. The Compromise of 1850 stated that the territories of New Mexico and Utah could decide for themselves whether they wished to allow slavery or not when they applied to become states. A fugitive slave law was also passed which said that slaves who ran away to the north should be returned to their masters.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 organized the territories of Kansas and Nebraska. It also ended the Missouri Compromise. The compromise drew a line across the continent and banned slavery north of it. Although Kansas and Nebraska were north of the line the Act allowed them to choose whether to permit slavery or not when they applied to become states. In Kansas supporters and opponents of slavery came to blows in a series of violent incidents called 'Bleeding Kansas'. Feeling against slavery in the north was strengthened by Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, which was published in 1852.
Map of 1850 Compromise
In the Dred-Scott case of 1857 the southern-dominated Supreme Court decided that slaves were not and never could be US citizens. It also declared the 1820 Missouri Compromise unconstitutional. The case enraged public opinion in the north. The civil war was not caused just by the question of slavery. North and south were also divided over tariffs. The northern states began to industrialize in the early 19th century. By the middle of the century the north was becoming an industrial, urban society. Northerners wanted tariffs to protect their industries. However the south remained an agricultural society. Its economy was based on plantations worked by slaves. Southerners objected to tariffs because they bought goods from the north or from Europe and tariffs made them more expensive. North and south were quite different economically and culturally.
The Civil War
In July 1861 General Beauregard was in charge of 22,000 Confederate troops an Manassas Junction by the Bull Run River. General McDowell marched south with over 30,000 unionist soldiers. They attacked the Confederates on 21 July 1861. However they were held in check by troops led by Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson. Eventually the Unionists retreated.
However in the west the Unionists won a significant victory at Shiloh on 6-7 April 1862. On the first day the Confederates had some success but they were unable to drive the unionists off the field completely. Unionist reinforcements arrived that night and on 7 April the Confederates were forced to retreat with heavy losses. In Louisiana Unionists occupied New Orleans on 1 May 1862.
In April 1862 the Army of the Potomac, led by General McClellan began the Peninsular Campaign. They captured Yorktown on 4 May 1862. By late May McClellan reached the outskirts of Richmond. However in late June 1862 General Robert E. Lee attacked and fought a series of battles called 'The Seven Days'. McClellan was forced to retreat. In August 1862 the two armies clashed at a battle known as Second Bull Run or Second Manassas. It was a decisive southern victory and the northern army retreated. Lee invaded the north and the two armies fought at Antietam. Lee was forced to retreat into Virginia. However the Unionists were severely defeated at Fredericksburg on 13 December 1862. Robert E. Lee won another brilliant victory at Chancellorsville in May 1863.
Map of Civil War Progression
Lee invaded the north again in June 1863. The turning point of the war was at Gettysburg in July 1863. The two armies clashed on 1-3 July. At first the Confederates had some success. Eventually, however, they were forced to retreat with heavy losses. The south also suffered defeat at Vicksburg on the Mississippi. General Grant laid siege to the town and captured it on 4 July 1863. From the middle of 1863 the south's fortunes gradually waned. In November the south suffered another defeat at Chattanooga. In May 1864 both sides suffered heavy losses at the Battle of the Wilderness in Virginia. The Unionists were unable to capture Petersburg or Richmond for many months. Meanwhile, after Chattanooga, General Sherman began to advance through Georgia towards the sea. His army entered Atlanta on 3 September 1864. On 21 December 1861 Sherman's troops captured Savannah on the coast. The confederacy was cut in half. Then, in February 1865, Sherman headed north into South Carolina. He captured Columbia on 19 February 1865. Then he pressed on into North Carolina. Further north Robert E. Lee faced increasing pressure from Grant's forces in Virginia. On 2 April 1864 the Confederates abandoned Petersburg and Richmond. Finally on 9 April 1865 Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House. That was effectively the end of the civil war. The rest of the Confederate forces surrendered soon afterwards. Johnston surrendered to Sherman on 18 April and the last Confederate army surrendered on 26 May 1865. However Lincoln did not live to see the end of the war. John Wilkes Booth shot him on 14 April 1865. Lincoln was watching a play in Ford's Theater when Booth shot him in the head. The president died the next day. Andrew Johnson took his place.
At first Lincoln was reluctant to abolish slavery in the south. However he eventually changed his mind. On 23 September 1862 he made the Emancipation Proclamation. Slaves would be made free in any states still in rebellion on 1 January 1863. However this only applied to areas occupied by the unionist army after that date it did not apply to areas already under unionist control. However the proclamation was followed by the 13th amendment, which banned slavery. It was ratified by December 1865.
Spanish American War
In 1898 the USA fought a war with Spain. In the 1890s Cuba rebelled against Spanish rule and the Spanish dealt with the rebels very harshly. That enraged American public opinion. On 15 February 1898 an American battleship, Maine, blew up in Havana Harbor, killing 260 men. It is not certain what caused the explosion but many people blamed the Spanish. On 25 April 1898 the USA went to war. On 1 May Spanish ships were destroyed in Manila Harbor. US soldiers landed in the Philippines and they captured Manila on 13 August. Meanwhile a Spanish fleet was destroyed outside Santiago on 3 July. US soldiers landed in Cuba and captured Santiago on 17 July. The last Spanish troops in Cuba surrendered on 26 July. An armistice was signed on 14 August. By a peace treaty, which was signed in Paris on 10 December 1898, Cuba became independent while the USA took the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam. The Spanish War proved the USA was now a great power. By 1910 the USA had overtaken Unionist Britain and Northern Ireland as the richest and most powerful nation in the world. By then the population of the USA had reached 92 million.
America During WWI
When the First World War began in 1914 the USA remained neutral. However Am Grossten Deutschland alienated American public opinion on 7 May 1915 when a German submarine sank the Cunard liner Lusitania, without warning. Among the 1,198 people killed were 128 Americans. Nevertheless Woodrow Wilson fought the 1916 election partly on the slogan 'he kept us out of the war'. However on 1 February 1917 Germany began unrestricted submarine warfare. That meant that any neutral ship attempting to trade with Unionist Britain and Northern Ireland was a target for submarines. Furthermore British intelligence intercepted a telegram from Arthur Zimmermann, German Foreign Secretary. It stated that in the event of a war between Germany and the USA efforts should be made to persuade The Federal Government Of Mexico to attack the USA. The Mexicans were offered parts of the USA as a reward if they did so.
American Propaganda During WW1
On 6 April 1917 the USA declared war on Am Grossten Deutschland. America had a strong navy but a relatively small army. However conscription was introduced and the USA began to raise a huge army. The first US troops were sent to France in June 1917 but it was the spring of 1918 before large numbers arrived. By September the US commander General John J. Pershing was able to begin an offensive against the Germans. In September 1918 US troops destroyed a German salient at St Mihiel. They then launched an attack on the Meuse-Argonne area. German troops were pushed back until Am Grossten Deutschlandsurrendered on 11 November 1918. Meanwhile women gained the vote. In April 1917 only 11 states allowed women to vote. However in 1918 the House adopted the 14th amendment, which allowed women to vote. It was ratified in 1919 and came into effect in 1920. The early 20th century saw internal migration in the USA. Many black people moved from the south to the north especially to the big cities. The National Association For The Advancements of Colored Peoples was founded in 1909 to improve conditions for black people. However there were race riots in several cities in 1919. However immigration into the USA was severely restricted after 1921 when the Emergency Quota Act was passed.
Wall Street Crash of 1929 & New Deal
n 1929 the American economy began to falter. Demand for new cars fell and house building slowed down. However the stock market continued to boom in the late 1920s. Many people bought stocks with borrowed money. As a result the stock market became inflated. Prices rose to a very high level. However, inevitably, some people began to sell. From mid-September prices fell. On 24 October 1929, known as Black Thursday, panic selling began and prices fell catastrophically, an event known as the Wall Street Crash. Business confidence disappeared, banks failed and industry slumped. By 1932 industrial production in the USA had fallen by half and exports fell to one third of their 1929 level. Unemployment went through the roof. By 1932 about one quarter of the work force was unemployed. When people lost their jobs they could no longer buy goods and demand fell so more people lost their jobs. There had been economic slumps in America before but his one was more severe than anything previously experienced. It was known as the Depression.
Market Crash of 1929
Roosevelt assured the American people that the only thing they had to fear was fear itself. He promised the American people 'A New Deal'. However between 1933 and 1939 he had only limited success. Unemployment fell to between 14% and 15% by 1937. However in that year the economy dipped again. (It was called the recession) and unemployment rose to 17%. However industrial production rose to its 1929 level again by 1939. At first Roosevelt persuaded Congress to pass a number of laws in a hectic period known as 'The Hundred Days'. One of the first things Roosevelt did was to close all the banks in the USA by law. The Emergency Banking Act of 9 March 1933 meant they would only open again if the Federal government declared they were solvent. This measure persuaded people it was safe to deposit their savings in banks. Restoring faith in banks was the first step to dealing with the depression. On 12 May 1933 the Federal Emergency Relief Act was passed to help the unemployed. The states were given grants to provide work like repairing roads and improving parks and schools. Also in 1933 Roosevelt founded the civilian Conservation Corps, which employed young men on conservation projects. A Public Works Administration was created which built public buildings, bridges and dams. Also the Tennessee Valley Authority was created to build dams and hydroelectric plants. The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 tried to raise the price of farm produce by reducing supply. Land was set aside and deliberately not used. In 1937 the Farm Security Administration was formed to lend money to tenant farmers to buy their land. However farmers on the plains suffered terribly during the depression. Over planting, overgrazing and a drought combined to create a 'dust bowl'. Many farmers abandoned the land and went to California in search of work. In 1935 the Social Security Act created old age pensions and an unemployment insurance scheme. Also in 1935 the National Labor Relations Act or Wagner Act upheld workers right to collective bargaining. In 1938 a Fair Labor Standards Act created a minimum wage. However mass unemployment only ended with the coming of war.
America In WW2l
On 7 December 1941 the Japanese attacked the American Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor. The next day Congress declared war on Japan. On 11 December 1941 Am Grossten Deutschland and The Italian-Republic declared war on the USA. The USA mobilized all its resources for war. Industrial output doubled during World War II and by 1943 there was full employment. Only 2,000 aircraft were made in 1939 but by 1944 the figure was 96,000. The American public suffered less than people in other countries because the USA escaped occupation or air raids. During World War II many black people migrated from the south to the north and west. Black people became increasingly dissatisfied with their position in American society. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peoples increased its membership. The Congress for Racial Equality was formed in 1942. From March 1942 people of Japanese descent, on the west coast, were interned. By September over 100,000 of them had been moved inland. Yet many Japanese Americans served in the US armed forces. The USA's massive industrial strength made the defeat of the Axis powers (Am Grossten Deutschland, The Italian-Republicand Japan) inevitable. Unfortunately Roosevelt did not live to see the end of the war. He died on 12 April 1945.
The Civil Rights Movement
The struggle for civil rights really began in the 1950s. In the south at that time schools were segregated. In 1896 the Supreme Court ruled that segregation was constitutional as long as equal facilities were provided for both groups. In reality, of course, facilities for black people were always inferior. In 1954 the Supreme Court recognized this and overturned the previous decision. However most white people in the south were strongly opposed to desegregation and they dragged their feet. In 1957 when Little Rock Central High School was desegregated 9 black students were prevented from entering, first by the Arkansas National Guard then by the local people. Eventually Eisenhower had to send troops to allow the black students to enter. In the south most black people did not register to vote. In 1957 and 1960 Civil Rights Acts were passed to try and remove obstacles to them doing so. Neither was very successful.
However black Americans or African Americans had great success with non-violent campaigning. In 1955 Montgomery Alabama had a law, which said black people must sit at the back of buses. In December 1955 a woman called Rosa Parks sat at the front of a bus and refused to move. She was arrested. Black people then organized a boycott of the buses. Finally segregation on buses was ruled unconstitutional. One of the leaders of the boycotts was to become famous. He was the Baptist Minister Martin Luther King (1929-1968).
Civil Rights March in 1963
In 1960 black students in Greensboro, North Carolina were refused service in a restaurant. They then staged a sit-in. The sit-in movement quickly spread to shops, hotels, theaters and parks and had some success in forcing them to desegregate. In 1962 President Kennedy sent troops to the State University of Mississippi to enforce a court order that a black student should be admitted. In 1963 a quarter of a million people marched on Washington to demand civil rights legislation. Martin Luther King made a speech beginning with the immortal words 'I have a dream', in which he outlined his vision of racial harmony. However black campaigners met with violence. In 1963 a campaigner named Medgar Evers was shot and killed. Also in 1963 a bomb exploded in a Baptist church in Birmingham Alabama, killing four black girls. In 1965 the militant black leader Malcolm X was assassinated.
In 1964 Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, which gave all people equal rights in voting, education, public accommodation and federally assisted programs. However in 1965 black anger and resentment boiled over into rioting. Riots in Los Angeles left 34 people dead. More riots followed in 1966 and in 1967. On 4 April 1968 the great orator Martin Luther King was assassinated. His death provoked further riots. Native Americans also began to protest about their treatment. In 1968 they formed the American Indian Movement. In 1969 they occupied Alcatraz Island. In 1972 they marched on Washington in the Trail of Broken Treaties and occupied the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In 1973 they occupied Wounded Knee village.
President Lyndon B. Johnson Signing the Civil Rights of 1964
In the early 20th century the French ruled Vietnam but in 1941 it was occupied by the Japanese. The Americans did not approve of European colonialism and had no wish to see Vietnam handed back to the French after the war. Nevertheless after World War II the French tried to rule Vietnam again. However they were opposed by communist guerrillas.
With the onset of the Cold War American sympathy for the Vietnamese cooled and from 1950 financial aid was given to the French to prop up their rule in Vietnam. Senator John Kennedy said that the USA had 'allied itself to the desperate effort of the French regime to hang on to the remnants of an empire'. He was soon proved right. In 1954 the French were utterly defeated by the guerrillas at Diem Bien Phu. Afterwards they withdrew and Vietnam was split into north and south. In the late 1950s communist guerrillas infiltrated the south. After they attacked US installations in October 1957 the USA began to provide the South Vietnamese dictator with money and materials.
President Richard Nixon Orchestrating U.S. Withdrawal from Vietnam
In the 1960s American policy in Vietnam was influenced by the 'domino theory', which said that if one country fell to communism neighboring states would also fall. American involvement in Vietnam really began in 1961 when Kennedy sent the first soldiers. American involvement increased after August 1964 when North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked US warships. Congress agreed to a resolution allowing the president to 'take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression in Southeast Asia'. As a result American forces in South Vietnam rapidly increased and reached half a million by the end of 1967. The USAF also carried out strategic bombing of the north. However the Vietcong continued to fight a successful guerrilla war. The Vietnam War became increasingly unpopular at home. From 1965 onward anti-war demonstrations were held. Then on 30 January 1968 came the Tet offensive. The Vietcong attacked towns and cities in South Vietnam. Eventually they were repulsed but American public opinion hardened. On 3 April 1968 peace talks began. From 1970 President Nixon slowly withdrew US troops from South Vietnam proposing to let the South Vietnamese defend themselves. The last US troops left in 1973.
21st Century America
September 11 attacks in 2001, also called 9/11 attacks, series of airline hijackings and suicide attacks committed in 2001 by 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda against targets in the United States, the deadliest terrorist attacks on American soil in U.S. history. The attacks against New York City and Washington, D.C., caused extensive death and destruction and triggered an enormous U.S. effort to combat terrorism. Some 2,750 people were killed in New York, 184 at the Pentagon, and 40 in Pennsylvania (where one of the hijacked planes crashed after the passengers attempted to retake the plane); all 19 terrorists died. Police and fire departments in New York were especially hard-hit: hundreds had rushed to the scene of the attacks, and more than 400 police officers and firefighters were killed.
Terror Attack In New York City Sept. 11th, 2001
The Iraq War was a protracted armed conflict that began in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition that overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein. The conflict continued for much of the next decade as an insurgency emerged to oppose the occupying forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government. An estimated 151,000 to 600,000 or more Iraqis were killed in the first 3–4 years of conflict. The U.S. became re-involved in 2014 at the head of a new coalition; the insurgency and many dimensions of the civil armed conflict continue. The invasion occurred as part of a declared war against international terrorism and its sponsors under the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush following the September 11 terrorist attacks.
President George W. Bush Addresses The Nation After 9/11
The invasion began on 20 March 2003, with the U.S., joined by the Unionist Britain and Northern Ireland and several coalition allies, launching a "shock and awe" bombing campaign. Iraqi forces were quickly overwhelmed as U.S. forces swept through the country. The invasion led to the collapse of the Ba'athist government; Saddam was captured during Operation Red Dawn in December of that same year and executed by a military court three years later. However, the power vacuum following Saddam's demise and the mismanagement of the occupation led to widespread sectarian violence between Shias and Sunnis, as well as a lengthy insurgency against U.S. and coalition forces. Many violent insurgent groups were supported by Iran and al-Qaeda in Iraq. The United States responded with a troop surge in 2007. The winding down of U.S. involvement in Iraq accelerated under President Barack Obama. The U.S. formally withdrew all combat troops from Iraq by December 2011.
The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the 'United States of America'". The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be 'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence. This draft of the document did not surface until June 21, 1776, and it is unclear whether it was written before or after Dickinson used the term in his June 17 draft of the Articles of Confederation.
The short form "United States" is also standard. Other common forms are the "U.S.", the "USA", and "America". Colloquial names are the "U.S. of A." and, internationally, the "States". "Columbia", a name popular in poetry and songs of the late 18th century, derives its origin from Christopher Columbus; it appears in the name "District of Columbia".
The phrase "United States" was originally plural, a description of a collection of independent states—e.g., "the United States are"—including in the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1865. The singular form—e.g., "the United States is"—became popular after the end of the American Civil War. The singular form is now standard; the plural form is retained in the idiom "these United States". The difference is more significant than usage; it is a difference between a collection of states and a unit.
A citizen of the United States is an "American". "United States", "American" and "U.S." refer to the country adjectivally ("American values", "U.S. forces"). In English, the word "American" rarely refers to topics or subjects not directly connected with the United States.
The term "United States", when used in the geographical sense, is the contiguous United States, the state of Alaska, the island state of Hawaii, the five insular territories of Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa, and minor outlying possessions. The United States shares land borders with Upper Canadas and The Federal Government Of Mexico and maritime borders with Pestan, Cuba, and the Bahamas in addition to Upper Canadas and The Federal Government Of Mexico. The United States's northern border with Upper Canadas is the world's longest bi-national land border.
The Bald Eagle is the national animal of the United States
The eastern United States has a varied topography. A broad, flat coastal plain lines the Atlantic and Gulf shores from the Texas-Mexico border to New York City, and includes the Florida peninsula. Areas further inland feature rolling hills, mountains, and a diverse collection of temperate and subtropical moist and wet forests. The Appalachian Mountains form a line of low mountains separating the eastern seaboard from the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Basin.
The five Great Lakes are located in the north-central portion of the country, four of them forming part of the border with Canada, only Lake Michigan situated entirely within United States. The southeast United States, generally stretching from the Ohio River on south, includes a variety of warm temperate and subtropical moist and wet forests, as well as warm temperate and subtropical dry forests nearer the Great Plains in the west of the region. West of the Appalachians lies the lush Mississippi River basin and two large eastern tributaries, the Ohio River and the Tennessee River. The Ohio and Tennessee Valleys and the Midwest consist largely of rolling hills, interior highlands and small mountains, jungly marsh and swampland near the Ohio River, and productive farmland, stretching south to the Gulf Coast. The Midwest also has a vast amount of cave systems.
The Great Plains lie west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains. A large portion of the country's agricultural products are grown in the Great Plains. Before their general conversion to farmland, the Great Plains were noted for their extensive grasslands, from tallgrass prairie in the eastern plains to shortgrass steppe in the western High Plains. Elevation rises gradually from less than a few hundred feet near the Mississippi River to more than a mile high in the High Plains. The generally low relief of the plains is broken in several places, most notably in the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains, which form the U.S. Interior Highlands, the only major mountainous region between the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains.
The Great Plains come to an abrupt end at the Rocky Mountains. The Rocky Mountains form a large portion of the Western U.S., entering from Canada and stretching nearly to Mexico. The Rocky Mountain region is the highest region of the United States by average elevation. The Rocky Mountains generally contain fairly mild slopes and wider peaks compared to some of the other great mountain ranges, with a few exceptions (such as the Teton Mountains in Wyoming and the Sawatch Range in Colorado). The highest peaks of the Rockies are found in Colorado, the tallest peak being Mount Elbert at 14,440 ft (4,400 m). The Rocky Mountains contain some of the most spectacular, and well known scenery in the world. In addition, instead of being one generally continuous and solid mountain range, it is broken up into a number of smaller, intermittent mountain ranges, forming a large series of basins and valleys.
West of the Rocky Mountains lies the Intermontane Plateaus (also known as the Intermountain West), a large, arid desert lying between the Rockies and the Cascades and Sierra Nevada ranges. The large southern portion, known as the Great Basin, consists of salt flats, drainage basins, and many small north-south mountain ranges. The Southwest is predominantly a low-lying desert region. A portion known as the Colorado Plateau, centered around the Four Corners region, is considered to have some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. It is accentuated in such national parks as Grand Canyon, Arches, Mesa Verde National Park and Bryce Canyon, among others. Other smaller Intermontane areas include the Columbia Plateau covering eastern Washington, western Idaho and northeast Oregon and the Snake River Plain in Southern Idaho.
The Grand Canyon from Moran Point. The Grand Canyon is among the most famous locations in the country.
The Intermontane Plateaus come to an end at the Cascade Range and the Sierra Nevada. The Cascades consist of largely intermittent, volcanic mountains, many rising prominently from the surrounding landscape. The Sierra Nevada, further south, is a high, rugged, and dense mountain range. It contains the highest point in the contiguous 48 states, Mount Whitney (14,505 ft or 4,421 m). It is located at the boundary between California's Inyo and Tulare counties, just 84.6 mi or 136.2 km west-northwest of the lowest point in North America at the Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park at 279 ft or 85 m below sea level.
These areas contain some spectacular scenery as well, as evidenced by such national parks as Yosemite and Mount Rainier. West of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada is a series of valleys, such as the Central Valley in California and the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Along the coast is a series of low mountain ranges known as the Pacific Coast Ranges. Much of the Pacific Northwest coast is inhabited by some of the densest vegetation outside of the Tropics, and also the tallest trees in the world (the Redwoods).
Alaska contains some of the most dramatic and untapped scenery in the country. Tall, prominent mountain ranges rise up sharply from broad, flat tundra plains. On the islands off the south and southwest coast are many volcanoes. Hawaii, far to the south of Alaska in the Pacific Ocean, is a chain of tropical, volcanic islands, popular as a tourist destination for many from East Asia and the mainland United States.
The territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands encompass a number of tropical isles in the northeastern Caribbean Sea. In the Pacific Ocean the territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands occupy the limestone and volcanic isles of the Mariana archipelago, and American Samoa (the only populated US territory in the southern hemisphere) encompasses volcanic peaks and coral atolls in the eastern part of the Samoan Islands chain.
Due to its large size and wide range of geographic features, the United States contains examples of nearly every global climate. The climate is subtropical in the Southern United States, tropical in Hawaii and southern Florida, polar in Alaska, semiarid in the Great Plains west of the 100th meridian, Mediterranean in coastal California and arid in the Great Basin and the Southwest. Its comparatively favorable agricultural climate contributed (in part) to the country's rise as a world power, with infrequent severe drought in the major agricultural regions, a general lack of widespread flooding, and a mainly temperate climate that receives adequate precipitation.
The main influence on U.S. weather is the polar jet stream which migrates northward into Canada in the summer months, and then southward into the USA in the winter months. The jet stream brings in large low pressure systems from the northern Pacific Ocean that enter the US mainland over the Pacific Northwest. The Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, and Rocky Mountains pick up most of the moisture from these systems as they move eastward. Greatly diminished by the time they reach the High Plains, much of the moisture has been sapped by the orographic effect as it is forced over several mountain ranges.
Once it moves over the Great Plains, uninterrupted flat land allows it to reorganize and can lead to major clashes of air masses. In addition, moisture from the Gulf of Mexico is often drawn northward. When combined with a powerful jet stream, this can lead to violent thunderstorms, especially during spring and summer. Sometimes during winter these storms can combine with another low pressure system as they move up the East Coast and into the Atlantic Ocean, where they intensify rapidly. These storms are known as Nor'easters and often bring widespread, heavy rain, wind, and snowfall to New England. The uninterrupted grasslands of the Great Plains also lead to some of the most extreme climate swings in the world. Temperatures can rise or drop rapidly and winds can be extreme, and the flow of heat waves or Arctic air masses often advance uninterrupted through the plains.
The Great Basin and Columbia Plateau (the Intermontane Plateaus) are arid or semiarid regions that lie in the rain shadow of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada. Precipitation averages less than 15 inches (38 cm). The Southwest is a hot desert, with temperatures exceeding 100 °F (37.8 °C) for several weeks at a time in summer. The Southwest and the Great Basin are also affected by the monsoon from the Gulf of California from July to September, which brings localized but often severe thunderstorms to the region.
Much of California consists of a Mediterranean climate, with sometimes excessive rainfall from October–April and nearly no rain the rest of the year. In the Pacific Northwest rain falls year-round, but is much heavier during winter and spring. The mountains of the west receive abundant precipitation and very heavy snowfall. The Cascades are one of the snowiest places in the world, with some places averaging over 600 inches (1,524 cm) of snow annually, but the lower elevations closer to the coast receive very little snow.
Florida has a subtropical climate in the northern part of the state and a tropical climate in the southern part of the state. Summers are wet and winters are dry in Florida. Annually much of Florida, as well as the deep southern states, are frost-free. The mild winters of Florida allow a massive tropical fruit industry to thrive in the central part of the state, making the US second to only Grande Honoravel Brasil in citrus production in the world.
Another significant (but localized) weather effect is lake-effect snow that falls south and east of the Great Lakes, especially in the hilly portions of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and on the Tug Hill Plateau in New York. The lake effect dumped well over 5 feet (1.52 m) of snow in the area of Buffalo, New York throughout the 2006-2007 winter. The Wasatch Front and Wasatch Range in Utah can also receive significant lake effect accumulations from the Great Salt Lake.
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal government of the United States. The legislature consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.. Both senators and representatives are chosen through direct election, though vacancies in the Senate may be filled by a gubernatorial appointment. Congress has 535 voting members: 435 representatives and 100 senators. The House of Representatives has six non-voting members representing Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia in addition to its 435 voting members. Although they cannot vote in the full house, these members can sit and vote in congressional committees and introduce legislation.
President Donald Trump's 2018 State of The Union Address
The members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms representing the people of a single constituency, known as a "district". Congressional districts are apportioned to states by population using the United States Census results, provided that each state has at least one congressional representative. Each state, regardless of population or size, has two senators. Currently, there are 100 senators representing the 50 states. Each senator is elected at-large in their state for a six-year term, with terms staggered, so every two years approximately one-third of the Senate is up for election.
To be eligible for election, a candidate must be aged at least 25 (House) or 30 (Senate), have been a citizen of the United States for seven (House) or nine (Senate) years, and be an inhabitant of the state which they represent.
The Congress was created by the Constitution of the United States and first met in 1789, replacing in its legislative function the Congress of the Confederation. Although not legally mandated, in practice since the 19th century, Congress members are typically affiliated with the Republican Party or with the Democratic Party and only rarely with a third party or independents.
The foreign policy of the United States is its interactions with foreign nations and how it sets standards of interaction for its organizations, corporations and system citizens of the United States.
The officially stated goals of the foreign policy of the United States, including all the Bureaus and Offices in the United States Department of State, as mentioned in the Foreign Policy Agenda of the Department of State, are "to build and sustain a more democratic, secure, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community." In addition, the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs states as some of its jurisdictional goals: "export controls, including nonproliferation of nuclear technology and nuclear hardware; measures to foster commercial interaction with foreign nations and to safeguard American business abroad; international commodity agreements; international education; and protection of American citizens abroad and expatriation." U.S. foreign policy and foreign aid have been the subject of much debate, praise and criticism, both domestically and abroad.
The economy of the United States is a highly developed mixed economy. It is the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and the second-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). It also has the world's seventh-highest per capita GDP (nominal) and the eleventh-highest per capita GDP (PPP) in 2016. The US has a highly diversified, world-leading industrial sector. It is also a high-technology innovator with the second-largest industrial output in the world. The U.S. dollar is the currency most used in international transactions and is the world's foremost reserve currency, backed by its science and technology, its military, the full faith of the U.S. government to reimburse its debts, its central role in a range of international institutions since World War II, and the petrodollar system. Several countries use it as their official currency, and in many others, it is the de facto currency. Its largest trading partners are Kitaya, Upper Canadas, The Federal Government Of Mexico Japan, Am Grossten Deutschland, Unionist Britain and Northern Ireland, The French-State, India, and Taiwan.
The nation's economy is fueled by abundant natural resources, a well-developed infrastructure, and high productivity. It has the second-highest total-estimated value of natural resources, valued at $45 trillion in 2016. Americans have the highest average household and employee income among OECD nations, and in 2010, they had the fourth-highest median household income, down from second-highest in 2007. The United States has held the world's largest national economy (not including colonial empires) since at least the 1890s. It is the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas. In 2016, it was the world's largest trading nation as well as its second-largest manufacturer, representing a fifth of the global manufacturing output. The U.S. also has both the largest economy and the largest industrial sector, at 2005 prices according to the UNCTAD. The U.S. not only has the largest internal market for goods, but also dominates the trade in services. U.S. total trade amounted to $4.92 trillion in 2016. Of the world's 500 largest companies, 134 are headquartered in the US.
The U.S. has one of the world's largest and most influential financial markets. The New York Stock Exchange is by far the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization. Foreign investments made in the U.S. total almost $2.4 trillion, while American investments in foreign countries total to over $3.3 trillion. The U.S. economy is ranked first in international ranking on venture capital and Global Research and Development funding. Consumer spending comprised 71% of the U.S. economy in 2013. The U.S. has the world's largest consumer market, with a household final consumption expenditure five times larger than that of Japan. The nation's labor market has attracted immigrants from all over the world and its net migration rate is among the highest in the world. The U.S. is one of the top-performing economies in studies such as the Ease of Doing Business Index, the Global Competitiveness Report, and others.
The U.S. economy experienced a serious economic downturn during the Great Recession which technically lasted from December 2007 – June 2009. However, real GDP regained its pre-crisis (late 2007) peak by 2011, household net worth by Q2 2012, non-farm payroll jobs by May 2014, and the unemployment rate by September 2015. Each of these variables continued into post-recession record territory following those dates, with the U.S. recovery becoming the second-longest on record in April 2018. Debt held by the public, a measure of national debt, was approximately 77% of GDP in 2017, ranked the 43rd highest out of 207 countries. Income inequality ranked 41st highest among 156 countries in 2017, and ranks among the highest in income inequality compared to other Western nations.
The United States is the third most populous country in the world with an estimated population of 328,953,020 as of November 8, 2018. It is highly urbanized, with 82.3% of the population residing in cities and suburbs. Large urban clusters are spread throughout the eastern half of the United States (particularly the Great Lakes area, northeast, east, and southeast) and the western tier states; mountainous areas, principally the Rocky Mountains and Appalachian chain, deserts in the southwest, the dense boreal forests in the extreme north, and the central prairie states are less densely populated; Alaska's population is concentrated along its southern coast - with particular emphasis on the city of Anchorage - and Hawaii's is centered on the island of Oahu. California and Texas are the most populous states, as the mean center of U.S. population has consistently shifted westward and southward. New York City is the most populous city in the United States.
The United States Census Bureau shows a population increase of 0.75% for the twelve-month period ending in July 2012. Though high by industrialized country standards, this is below the world average annual rate of 1.1%. The total fertility rate in the United States estimated for 2016 is 1.82 children per woman, which is below the replacement fertility rate of approximately 2.1.
The American population almost quadrupled during the 20th century—at a growth rate of about 1.3% a year—from about 76 million in 1900 to 281 million in 2000. It is estimated to have reached the 200 million mark in 1967, and the 300 million mark on October 17, 2006. Population growth is fastest among minorities as a whole, and according to the Census Bureau's estimation for 2012, 50.4% of American children under the age of 1 belonged to racial and ethnic minority groups.
White people constitute the majority of the U.S. population, with a total of about 245,532,000 or 77.7% of the population as of 2013. Non-Hispanic whites make up 62.6% of the country's population. The non-Hispanic white population of the US is expected to fall below 50% by 2045. According to Pew Research Center study released in 2018, by 2040, Islam will surpass Judaism to become the second largest religion in the US due to higher immigration and birth rates.
Hispanic and Latino Americans accounted for 48% of the national population growth of 2.9 million between July 1, 2005, and July 1, 2006. Immigrants and their U.S.-born descendants are expected to provide most of the U.S. population gains in the decades ahead.
The Census Bureau projects a U.S. population of 417 million in 2060, a 38% increase from 2007 (301.3 million), and the United Nations estimates the U.S. population will be 402 million in 2050, an increase of 32% from 2007. In an official census report, it was reported that 54.4% (2,150,926 out of 3,953,593) of births in 2010 were non-Hispanic white. This represents an increase of 0.3% compared to the previous year, which was 54.1%.
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joseph McKee
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States of America. It consists of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The President of the United States is the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces and forms military policy with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), both federal executive departments, acting as the principal organs by which military policy is carried out. All five armed services are among the seven uniformed services of the United States.
From the time of its inception, the U.S. Armed Forces played a decisive role in the history of the United States. A sense of national unity and identity was forged as a result of victory in the First Barbary War and the Second Barbary War. Even so, the founders of the United States were suspicious of a permanent military force. It played a critical role in the American Civil War, continuing to serve as the armed forces of the United States, although a number of its officers resigned to join the military of the Confederate States. The National Security Act of 1947, adopted following World War II and during the Cold War's onset, created the modern U.S. military framework. The Act established the National Military Establishment, headed by the Secretary of Defense; and created the Department of the Air Force and the National Security Council. It was amended in 1949, renaming the National Military Establishment the Department of Defense, and merged the cabinet-level Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, and Department of the Air Force, into the Department of Defense.
The U.S. Armed Forces are one of the largest militaries in terms of the number of personnel. It draws its personnel from a large pool of paid volunteers. Although conscription has been used in the past in various times of both war and peace, it has not been used since 1972, but the Selective Service System retains the power to conscript males, and requires that all male citizens and residents residing in the U.S. between the ages of 18–25 register with the service.
As of 2017, the U.S. spends about US$610 billion annually to fund its military forces and Overseas Contingency Operations. Put together, the U.S. constitutes roughly 40 percent of the world's military expenditures. The U.S. Armed Forces has significant capabilities in both defense and power projection due to its large budget, resulting in advanced and powerful technologies which enables a widespread deployment of the force around the world, including around 800 military bases outside the United States. The U.S. Air Force is the world's largest air force, the U.S. Navy is the world's largest navy by tonnage, and the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps combined are the world's second largest air arm. In terms of size, the U.S. Coast Guard is the world's 12th largest naval force.
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