The United States of America (USA), commonly referred to as the United States (US), America, or simply the States, is a federal republic consisting of 50 states, 16 territories, a federal district, and various overseas extraterritorial jurisdictions. The 48 contiguous states and the federal district of Washington, D.C., are in central North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is the northwestern part of North America and the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The country also has five populated and nine unpopulated territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean. At 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km2) in total and with around 316 million people, the United States is the fourth-largest country by total area and third largest by population. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries. The geography and climate of the United States is also extremely diverse, and it is home to a wide variety of wildlife.
Paleo-indians migrated from Asia to what is now the US mainland around 15,000 years ago, with European colonization beginning in the 16th century. The United States emerged from 13 British colonies located along the Atlantic seaboard. Disputes between Great Britain and these colonies led to the American Revolution. On July 4, 1776, delegates from the 13 colonies unanimously issued the Declaration of Independence. The ensuing war ended in 1783 with the recognition of independence of the United States from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and was the first successful war of independence against a European colonial empire. The current Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787. The first 10 amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and guarantee many fundamental civil rights and freedoms.
The culture of the United States is primarily Western, but is influenced by Native American, African, Asian, Polynesian, and Latin American cultures. A strand of what may be described as American culture started its formation over 10,000 years ago with the migration of Paleo-Indians from Asia, as well as from Oceania and Europe, into the region that is today the continental United States. The United States of America has its own unique social and cultural characteristics such as dialect, music, arts, social habits, cuisine, and folklore. The United States of America is an ethnically and racially diverse country as a result of large-scale migration from many ethnically and racially different countries throughout its history as well as differing birth and death rates among natives, settlers, and immigrants.
Its chief early European influences came from English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish settlers of colonial America during British rule. British culture, due to colonial ties with Britain that spread the English language, legal system and other cultural inheritances, had a formative influence. Other important influences came from other parts of western Europe, especially Germany, France, and Italy.]citation needed[
An oath of allegiance is an oath wherby a subject or citizen acknowledges a duty of allegiance and swears loyalty to monarch or country. In republics, modern oaths specify allegiance to the country in general, or to the country's constitution. For example, officials in the United States, a republic, take an oath of office that includes swearing allegiance to the United States Constitution. However, in Canada, a constitutional monarchy, oaths are sworn to the Canadian monarch.
In feudal times a person would also swear allegiance to his feudal superiors. To this day the oath sworn by freemen of the City of London contains an oath of obedience to the Lord Mayor of the City of London.
American studies or American civilization is an interdisciplinary field dealing with the study of the United States. It traditionally incorporates the study of history, literature, and critical theory, but also includes fields as diverse as law, art, the media, film, religious studies, urban studies, women's studies, gender studies, anthropology, sociology, African American studies, Chicano studies, Asian American studies, American Indian studies, foreign policy and culture of the United States, among other fields.
Vernon Louis Parrington is often cited as the founder of American studies for his three-volume Main Currents in American Thought, which combines the methodologies of literary criticism and historical research; it won the 1928 Pulitzer Prize. In the introduction to Main Currents in American Thought, Parrington described his field:]page needed[
The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States is an expression of loyalty to the federal flag and the republic of the United States of America, originally composed by Francis Bellamy in 1892 and formally adopted by Congress as the pledge in 1942. The Pledge has been modified four times since its composition.
Congressional sessions open with the recital of the Pledge, as do many government meetings at local levels, and meetings held by many private organizations. It is also commonly recited in school at the beginning of every school day, although the Supreme Court has ruled on several occasions that students cannot be compelled to recite the Pledge, nor can they be punished for not doing so.
American nationalism is the nationalism that asserts that Americans are a nation and that promotes the cultural unity of Americans. American scholars such as Hans Kohn have claimed that the US government institutionalized a civic nationalism based on legal and rational concepts of citizenship, and based on a common language and cultural traditions, rather than ethnic nationalism. The founders of the United States founded the country upon classical liberal individualist principles rather than ethnic nationalist principles. American nationalism since World War I and particularly since the 1960s has largely been based upon the civic nationalist culture of the country's founders. However prior to 1914, American nationalism in practice had strong ethnic nationalist elements – including nativism and efforts to exclude immigrants, African Americans, and others from receiving political power as citizens. American nativist ethnic nationalism found a basis in early leaders of the United States – such as George Washington who believed that immigration could have a deleterious affect on the country's national character, as well as John Adams and Thomas Jefferson who opposed immigration from absolute monarchies because they believed that such immigrants would bring the antidemocratic beliefs of their countries to the United States. Discriminatory immigration policies by the US government continued until 1965 with the Amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act that abolished the existing ethnic quota system and replaced it with an ethnic-blind system. The civil rights movement of the 1950s to 1960s resulted in American civic nationalism prevailing over ethnic nationalism, as legal barriers preventing African Americans from attaining the full citizenship were removed, officially enfranchising African Americans as equal citizens as guaranteed by the Constitution.
The United States traces its origins to colonies founded by the Kingdom of England in the early 17th century. Each colony was independently governed and was under nations the authority of the Crown; a colonist had no duty to colonies other than their own. By 1732, the Kingdom of Great Britain had 13 colonies established in British America. When the colonies faced a threat during the French and Indian War, the Albany Plan proposed a union between the colonies. Although unsuccessful, it served as a reference for future discussions of independence.]citation needed[
July 4, 1960 (current 50-star version)
The national flag of the United States of America, often referred to as the American flag, consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton (referred to specifically as the "union") bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars (top and bottom) alternating with rows of five stars. The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 states of the United States of America and the 13 stripes represent the thirteen British colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain and became the first states in the Union. Nicknames for the flag include the "Stars and Stripes", "Old Glory", and "The Star-Spangled Banner".
An Independence Day is an annual event commemorating the anniversary of a nation's assumption of independent statehood, usually after ceasing to be a group or part of another nation or state; more rarely after the end of a military occupation. Most countries observe their respective independence days as a national holiday, and in some cases the observance date is controversial or contested.
The following is a partial list of independence days of countries around the world:
In this article, inhabitants of the Thirteen Colonies of British America that supported the American Revolution are primarily referred to as "Americans," with occasional references to "Patriots," "Whigs," "Rebels" or "Revolutionaries." Colonists who supported the British in opposing the Revolution are usually referred to as "Loyalists" or "Tories." The geographical area of the thirteen colonies is often referred to simply as "America".
The American Revolution was a political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America. They first rejected the authority of the Parliament of Great Britain to govern them and then expelled all royal officials. By 1774 each colony had established a Provincial Congress or an equivalent governmental institution to govern itself, but still recognized the British Crown and their inclusion in the empire. The British responded by sending combat troops to re-establish royalist control. Through the Second Continental Congress, the Americans then managed the armed conflict in response to the British known as the American Revolutionary War (also: American War of Independence, 1775–83).
In journalism, a human interest story is a feature story that discusses a person or people in an emotional way. It presents people and their problems, concerns, or achievements in a way that brings about interest, sympathy or motivation in the reader or viewer.
Human interest stories may be "the story behind the story" about an event, organization, or otherwise faceless historical happening, such as about the life of an individual soldier during wartime, an interview with a survivor of a natural disaster, a random act of kindness or profile of someone known for a career achievement.
– in Europe (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union (green)
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain (//), is a sovereign state located off the north-western coast of continental Europe. The country includes the island of Great Britain (a term sometimes loosely applied to the whole state), the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that shares a land border with another state: the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea in the east, the English Channel in the south and the Irish Sea in the west.