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United States of America
Timeline: Differently
US flag 35 stars.svg Great Seal of the United States (obverse).svg
Flag Great Seal
Motto: 
E pluribus unum (Latin)
"Out of many, one"
Anthem: 
"The Star-Spangled Banner"
Star Spangled Banner instrumental

USA Differently.png
Location of the USA in North America
CapitalWashington, D.C.
Largest city New York City
Government Federal presidential republic
 -  President Bill Richardson
Establishment
 -  Declaration of independence from the United Kingdom July 4, 1776 
 -  Constitution June 21, 1788 
 -  Treaty of Alexandria March 5, 1863 
 -  Last state admitted January 4, 1986 
Area
 -  Total 5,712,598 km2 
2,205,646 sq mi 
Population
 -   estimate 203,106,775 
Currency Dollar

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or simply America, is an English-speaking North American country. Composed of thirty-five states, the federation is bordered by Canada and Quebec to the north, Mexico and the Confederate States to the south and is bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Atlantic Ocean on the northeast.

At 22,05,646 sq mi (or 5,712,598 km²), it is the third-largest country in the Americas and the seventh-largest in the world. It is also the world's seventh-most populous country with over 200 million inhabitants, ranking second in the Americas. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Other large urban areas include Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Diego, and San Francisco.

The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's megadiverse countries.

A highly developed country, the United States is one of the world's largest economies both by nominal GDP and by purchasing power parity. Despite income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank very high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, median income, median wealth, human development, per capita GDP, and worker productivity.

History

Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century. The United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Following the French and Indian War, numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, and the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776. The war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties. The United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, and gradually admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848.

During the second half of the 19th century, internal tension relating to the potential abolition of slavery led to the War for Southern Independence, in which the US was defeated, losing twelve southern states to the newly formed Confederacy. This caused a costly economical loss and lessened the country's influence. Nonetheless, urbanization and an unprecedented influx of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe supplied a surplus of labor for the country's industrialization and transformed its culture. Rapid economic development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries fostered the rise of many prominent industrialists. Tycoons like Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, and Andrew Carnegie led the nation's progress in railroad, petroleum, and steel industries. Banking became a major part of the economy, with J. P. Morgan playing a notable role. Thomas Edison undertook the widespread distribution of electricity to industry, homes, and for street lighting. Henry Ford revolutionized the automotive industry. The economy boomed and the United States achieved great power status.

Politics and administration

US map Differently color

Subdivision of the US: 35 states and the District of Columbia

The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation. It is a representative democracy, "in which majority rule is tempered by minority rights protected by law". The government is regulated by a system of checks and balances defined by the U.S. Constitution, which serves as the country's supreme legal document.

In the American federalist system, citizens are usually subject to three levels of government: federal, state, and local. The local government's duties are commonly split between county and. Executive and legislative officials are elected by a plurality vote of citizens by district.

The federal government comprises three branches:

  • Executive: The president is the commander-in-chief of the military, can veto legislative bills before they become law (subject to Congressional override), and appoints the members of the Cabinet (subject to Senate approval) and other officers, who administer and enforce federal laws and policies.
  • Legislative: The bicameral Congress, made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives, makes federal law, declares war, approves treaties, has the power of the purse, and has the power of impeachment, by which it can remove sitting members of the government.
  • Judicial: The Supreme Court and lower federal courts, whose judges are appointed by the president with Senate approval, interpret laws and overturn those they find unconstitutional.

The House of Representatives has 375 voting members, each representing a congressional district for a two-year term. House seats are apportioned among the states by population every tenth year.

The Senate has 70 members with each state having two senators, elected at-large to six-year terms; one-third of Senate seats are up for election every other year. The president serves a four-year term and since 1928 may be elected to the office no more than twice. The president is not elected by direct vote, but by an indirect electoral college system in which the determining votes are apportioned to the states and the District of Columbia. The Supreme Court, led by the chief justice of the United States, has nine members, who serve for life.

The state governments are structured in a roughly similar fashion; Nebraska uniquely has a unicameral legislature. The governor (chief executive) of each state is directly elected. Some state judges and cabinet officers are appointed by the governors of the respective states, while others are elected by popular vote.

Political parties

The United States has operated under a two-party system for most of its history. For elective offices at most levels, state-administered primary elections choose the major party nominees for subsequent general elections. Since the general election of 1924, the major parties have been the Progressive Party, founded in 1912, and the Unionist Party, founded in 1852.

Progressive Bill Richardson, was the winner of the 2012 presidential election, is serving as the 43th president of the United States.Leadership in the Senate includes Unionist vice president Lincoln Chafee, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Minority Leader John Thune. Leadership in the House includes Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

In the 116th both the houses of the United States Congress, are controlled by the Unionist Party. The Senate consists of 40 Unionist, and 30 Progressives. The House of Representatives consists of 213 Unionist and 162 Progressives.

Subdivision

The United States is divided into thirty-five states (which are subsequently divided into counties) and the capital Washington, the District of Columbia.

State Population Area (sq mi) Area (km²) Capital Largest city
Flag of California.svg California (CA) 39,536,653 163,696 423,970 Sacramento Los Angeles
Flag of Colorado.svg Colorado (CO) 5,607,154 2,164,934 269,837 Denver
Flag of Connecticut.svg Connecticut (CT) 3,588,184 1,385,406 14,357 Harthford Bridgeport
Flag of Delaware.svg Delaware (DE) 961,939 371,407 6,446 Dover Wilmington
Flag of Idaho.svg Idaho (ID) 1,716,943 662,915 216,632 Boise
Flag of Illinois.svg Illinois (IL) 12,802,023 4,942,889 149,998 Springfield Chicago
Flag of Indiana.svg Indiana (IN) 6,666,818 2,574,073 94,322 Indianapolis
Flag of Iowa.svg Iowa (IA) 3,145,711 1,214,566 150,926 Des Moines
Flag of Kansas.svg Kansas (KS) 2,913,123 1,124,763 213,099 Topeka Wichita
Flag of Kentucky.svg Kentucky (KY) 4,454,189 1,719,772 104,659 Frankfort Louisville
Flag of Maine.svg Maine (ME) 1,335,907 515,797 91,646 Augusta Portland
Flag of Maryland.svg Maryland (MD) 6,052,177 2,336,759 32,134 Annapolis Baltimore
Flag of Massachusetts.svg Massachusetts (MA) 6,859,819 2,648,591 27,363 Boston
Flag of Michigan.svg Michigan (MI) 9,962,311 3,846,470 250,493 Lansing Detroit
Flag of Minnesota.svg Minnesota (MN) 5,576,606 2,153,140 225,181 St. Paul Minneapolis
Flag of Missouri.svg Missouri (MO) 6,113,532 2,360,448 180,561 Jefferson City Kansas City
Flag of Montana.svg Montana (MT) 1,050,493 405,598 380,832 Helena Billings
Flag of Nebraska.svg Nebraska (NE) 1,920,076 741,345 200,356 Lincoln Omaha
Flag of Nevada.svg Nevada (NV) 2,998,039 1,157,549 286,367 Carson City Las Vegas
Flag of New Hampshire.svg New Hampshire (NH) 1,342,795 518,456 24,216 Concord Manchester
Flag of New Jersey.svg New Jersey (NJ) 9,005,644 3,477,099 22,591 Trenton Newark
Flag of New Mexico.svg New Mexico (NM) 9,104,340 235,695 610,448 Santa Fe Phoenix
Flag of New York.svg New York (NY) 19,849,399 7,663,896 141,300 Albany New York City
Flag of North Dakota.svg North Dakota (ND) 755,393 291,659 183,270 Bismarck Fargo
Flag of Ohio.svg Ohio (OH) 11,689,442 4,513,319 116,096 Columbus
Flag of Oregon.svg Oregon (OR) 4,142,776 1,599,535 255,026 Salem Portland
Flag of Pennsylvania.svg Pennsylvania (PA) 12,805,537 4,944,245 119,283 Harrisburg Philadelphia
Flag of Rhode Island.svg Rhode Island (RI) 1,059,639 409,129 3,140 Providence
Flag of South Dakota.svg South Dakota (SD) 869,666 77,116 199,730 Pierre Sioux Falls
Flag of Utah.svg Utah (UT) 3,101,833 1,197,624 219,887 Salt Lake City
Flag of Vermont.svg Vermont (VT) 623,657 240,795 24,905 Montpelier Burlington
Flag of Washington.svg Washington (WA) 7,405,743 2,859,373 184,827 Olympia Seattle
Flag of West Virginia.svg West Virginia 1,805,832 697,236 62,259 Charleston
Flag of Wisconsin.svg Wisconsin (WI) 5,795,483 2,237,648 169,639 Madison Milwaukee
Flag of Wyoming.svg Wyoming (WY) 579,315 223,675 253,348 Cheyenne
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