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, and a federal district. 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. The largest of these territories are Puerto Rico and the American Virgin Islands which are an official part of the United States. 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 U.S. 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 Evangelical Reformed Presbyterian Church is a Christian denomination of the Reformed tradition founded in late 2004. The first member churches were received in 2005. According to information on its website, the ERPC's formation was in response to a perceived acceptance by churches such as the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Presbyterian Church in America of departures from Biblical doctrine in a number of areas, including:
The ERPC is governed by a General Synod, presbyteries, and elders (sessions) elected by the local congregations. Under the denomination's Form of Government, local congregations delegate specific and limited powers to presbyteries and synods, designed to promote orthodoxy, evangelism, and the spiritual well-being of the membership while strongly limiting denominational bureaucracy.
Modern history, also referred to as the modern period or the modern era, is the historiographical approach to the timeframe after the post-classical era (known as the Middle Ages). Modern history can be further broken down into the early modern period and the late modern period after the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution. Contemporary history is the span of historic events that are immediately relevant to the present time. The modern era began approximately in the 16th century.
Some events, while not without precedent, show a new way of perceiving the world. The concept of modernity interprets the general meaning of these events and seeks explanations for major developments.
Street v. New York, 394 U.S. 576 (1969), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that a New York state law making it a crime "publicly [to] mutilate, deface, defile, or defy, trample upon, or cast contempt upon either by words or act [any flag of the United States]" was, in part, unconstitutional because it prohibited speech against the flag. The Court left for a later day the question of whether it is constitutional or unconstitutional to prohibit, without reference to the utterance of words, the burning of the flag (see Texas v. Johnson and United States v. Eichman).