United States of America
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district. The country is situated mostly in central North America, where its forty-eight contiguous states and Washington, D.C., the capital district, lie between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, bordered by Canada to the north and Mexico to the south.
Map of United States:
Geography of the United States
The land area of the contiguous United States is approximately 1,900 million acres (7,700,000 km2). Alaska, separated from the contiguous United States by Canada, is the largest state at 365 million acres (1,480,000 km2). Hawaii, occupying an archipelago in the central Pacific, southwest of North America, has just over 4 million acres (16,000 km2). The United States is the world’s third or fourth largest nation by total area, ranking behind Russia and Canada and just above or below China.
America State Map:
History of the United States
The indigenous peoples of the U.S. mainland, including Alaska Natives, are believed to have migrated from Asia, beginning between 12,000 and 40,000 years ago. Some, such as the pre-Columbian Mississippian culture, developed advanced agriculture, grand architecture, and state-level societies. After Europeans began settling the Americas, many millions of indigenous Americans died from epidemics of imported diseases such as smallpox.
Federal government of the United States
The United States is the world’s oldest surviving federation. It is a constitutional republic and 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 municipal governments. In almost all cases, executive and legislative officials are elected by a plurality vote of citizens by district. There is no proportional representation at the federal level, and it is very rare at lower levels.
United States Armed Forces
he president holds the title of commander-in-chief of the nation’s armed forces and appoints its leaders, the secretary of defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The United States Department of Defense administers the armed forces, including the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. The Coast Guard is run by the Department of Homeland Security in peacetime and the Department of the Navy in time of war. In 2008, the armed forces had 1.4 million personnel on active duty. The Reserves and National Guard brought the total number of troops to 2.3 million. The Department of Defense also employed about 700,000 civilians, not including contractors.
Military service is voluntary, though conscription may occur in wartime through the Selective Service System. American forces can be rapidly deployed by the Air Force’s large fleet of transport aircraft, the Navy’s eleven active aircraft carriers, and Marine Expeditionary Units at sea with the Navy’s Atlantic and Pacific fleets. The military operates 865 bases and facilities abroad, and maintains deployments greater than 100 active duty personnel in 25 foreign countries. The extent of this global military presence has prompted some scholars to describe the United States as maintaining an “empire of bases”.
Economy of the United States
The United States has a capitalist mixed economy, which is fueled by abundant natural resources, a well-developed infrastructure, and high productivity. According to the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. GDP of $14.780 trillion constitutes 23% of the gross world product at market exchange rates and over 20% of the gross world product at purchasing power parity. Though larger than any other nation’s, its national GDP is about 5% smaller than the GDP of the European Union at PPP in 2008. The country ranks ninth in the world in nominal GDP per capita and sixth in GDP per capita at PPP. The U.S. dollar is the world’s primary reserve currency.
Science and technology in the United States
The United States has been a leader in scientific research and technological innovation since the late 19th century. In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell was awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone. Thomas Edison’s laboratory developed the phonograph, the first long-lasting light bulb, and the first viable movie camera. Nikola Tesla pioneered alternating current, the AC motor, and radio. In the early 20th century, the automobile companies of Ransom E. Olds and Henry Ford popularized the assembly line.
Education in the United States
American public education is operated by state and local governments, regulated by the United States Department of Education through restrictions on federal grants.
Religion in the United States
The United States is officially a secular nation; the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion and forbids the establishment of any religious governance. In a 2002 study, 59% of Americans said that religion played a “very important role in their lives”, a far higher figure than that of any other wealthy nation. According to a 2007 survey, 78.4% of adults identified themselves as Christian, down from 86.4% in 1990. Protestant denominations accounted for 51.3%, while Roman Catholicism, at 23.9%, was the largest individual denomination. The study categorizes white evangelicals, 26.3% of the population, as the country’s largest religious cohort; another study estimates evangelicals of all races at 30–35%. The total reporting non-Christian religions in 2007 was 4.7%, up from 3.3% in 1990. The leading non-Christian faiths were Judaism (1.7%), Buddhism (0.7%), Islam (0.6%), Hinduism (0.4%), and Unitarian Universalism (0.3%). The survey also reported that 16.1% of Americans described themselves as agnostic, atheist, or simply having no religion, up from 8.2% in 1990.
Culture of the United States
The United States is a multicultural nation, home to a wide variety of ethnic groups, traditions, and values. Aside from the now small Native American and Native Hawaiian populations, nearly all Americans or their ancestors immigrated within the past five centuries.
Cinema of the United States
The world’s first commercial motion picture exhibition was given in New York City in 1894, using Thomas Edison’s Kinetoscope. The next year saw the first commercial screening of a projected film, also in New York, and the United States was in the forefront of sound film’s development in the following decades. Since the early 20th century, the U.S. film industry has largely been based in and around Hollywood, California. Director D. W. Griffith was central to the development of film grammar and Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane (1941) is frequently cited as the greatest film of all time. American screen actors like John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe have become iconic figures, while producer/entrepreneur Walt Disney was a leader in both animated film and movie merchandising. The major film studios of Hollywood have produced the most commercially successful movies in history, such as Star Wars (1977) and Titanic (1997), and the products of Hollywood today dominate the global film industry.