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The United States of America is a country in the western hemisphere covering almost all of North America and several islands in the Caribbean. It is the world's largest country in terms of area.
Foundation, Expansion, and Tensions
The United States began as 16 British colonies on the Eastern Seaboard of North America. British taxation policies, combined with the oppression of the Francophone Quebecois in the colony of Quebec, led the colonies to revolt against Britain in 1775. The new nation's independence from Britain was finalized in 1783, after an eight-year war. The Americans had to prove themselves against France in 1798, when the Quasi-War turned into the French-American War, in which the United States gained Guiana from the French before concluding peace. In 1803, the nation expanded its borders for the first time when President Thomas Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase, purchased from France. The British continued border raids, harassed American ships, and impressed Americans into service, forcing the British-American War in 1812, which resulted in Britain being thrown from Rupert's Land. Spain sold Florida and Cuba to the Americans in 1819. America continued similarly to OTL until the Mexican-American War. It was not only Texas, but also the Republic of the Rio Grande, that secured independence from Mexico. Mexico sent a garrison to the new Republic, and clearly shot visitng American soldiers and civilians, inciding the Mexican-American War. This war forced Mexico to lose 2/3 of its land to the United States, including Yucatan. When choosing whether to become free or slaves states, the new states all voted free, due to the due anti-slavery sentiments that were a part of Mexican culture. This horrified the slave-owning southern states. In the late 1850s, lawmakers from the free states used their new political advantage to attack the "wretched institution" (one Baja California congressman's description of slavery) of the South.
The tensions came to a head in 1859. That year, militant abolitionist John Brown attempted to start an armed slave insurrection in Virginia. The state of Virginia sentenced Brown to death for treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia. Public opinion was on Brown's side, however, and President James Buchanan issued him a pardon. Buchanan's decision enraged the plantation-owning oligarchy of the South, and many begin to consider abandoning the Union.
Civil War and Reconstruction
The straw that broke the Camel's back came in 1860. That year, Abraham Lincoln was elected as President of the United States. Lincoln's Republican Party was built on an abolitionist platform. In addition, the slave states found their voice in Washington D.C. increasingly drowned out by the free states. In December of 1860, South Carolina seceded from the Union. Within six months, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina had followed, forming the Confederate States of America. However, the South's vision for "a more perfect union" proved to be very autocratic. Many Southerners who hoped for a looser Union were disappointed. When native Virginian Robert E, Lee was offered to command the Union Army, he accepted. As Lee himself said: "Though my loyalty to my home state is strong, I feel it has made a terrible mistake by joining that union of fools calling themselves the Confederate States of America."
The Civil War proved to be a bloody affair. The Union and Confederate armies clashed all over the CSA. However, General Lee's military prowess eventually won the day. The Confederacy surrendered in 1865. President Lincoln narrowly escaped an assassination attempt by a Confederate sympathizer.
With the Civil War over, Reconstruction began. Despite the voices of Radical Republicans who cawed for punishing the South, Lincoln emphasized a theme of reconciliation. Without the harsher measures of OTL, the racial animus that plagued OTL South never developed, allowing the integration of blacks into society to happen much sooner. By the end of Reconstruction in 1877, the United States has rebuilt itself.
In 1867, the US purchased Russian Alaska. This paved the path for the unification of the the Americas under Washington D.C.
While the Americans were prospering in the mid-late 19th century, the people of Latin America were suffering under dictatorships and oligarchies. Many of these people looked to the United States with envy, wishing they could partake in a such an enlightened system. Beginning in the early 1880s, the US government recognizes these sentiments, and provides aid to those working to overthrow their old regimes in return for incorporation into the United States. By the beginning of the twentieth century. all of Latin America was under the control of the United States.
World War I
When World War I broke out in Europe, the United States under President Theodore Roosevelt (who had won the 1912 election on the Progressive ticket after serving office as a Republican from 1901-1909) had little interest at first. However, the French harassment of American ships bound for Britain slowly pushed America towards war. Finally, the United States entered the war on the side of Britain and Germany. American prescence in the war helped the Anglo-German alliance win.
After the war, America experienced unprecendented prosperity in the decade commonly known as the "Roaring Twenties." The good times came to an end, however, when the stock market crashed in 1929. The Great Depression had begun.
In 1932, with the economy still in a crippled state, New York Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President with his nephew Theodore Roosevelt Jr. as his Vice President. FDR promised to get the economy back on its feet. For the next six years, massive government programs were started in an attempt to kickstart economic activity. Despite the claims of many on the political left, it is generally agreed by most historians that FDR's programs only served to perpetuate America's economic troubles.
World War II
In 1939, on the eve of FDR's campaign for re-election, it was revealed that the president had been colluding with the militaristic Fascist regime in France. In response, FDR was dropped from the Democratic ticket and his VP Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was elected President in 1940.
For the first few months of his term, Theodore Jr. tried to keep America neutral. In December 1941, however the fascist Empire of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. The US declared war on Japan. France, Poland, Italy, and Spain in turn declared war on America. The first priority of America was ending the fascist threat in Europe. Spain was taken down first, and Italy was brought to the Allied side after its fascist regime was toppled. France and Poland finally gave out in 1945, and their campaign against European Jewry was revealed. Japan surrenderred after being struck by American atomic bombs.
Not all was well after the end of the war. The USSR, having fought alongside the Allies, now held sway over a sizeable portion of eastern Europe. Although the Soviets initially promised to allow democratic governments to take power in the region, they instead installed communist regimes in East Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. For the next four and a half decades, the American and Soviet blocs competed for supremacy, with the American tradition of liberty facing off against Soviet communism.
In 1962, the Bering Straits crisis erupted when the Soviets were caught placing missile fields in the part of Siberia closest to North America. President William Schonfeld managed to defuse the crisis.
In 1963, President Schonfeld was shot by Maurice Pierre Cartier, an American communist from the state of Louisiana. Some suspected Soviet involvement in the assassination, with his Communist Manifesto and Earth in the Balance books he had in his jacket, though these suspicions remain unproven.
In 1980, on the heels of President Jimmy Carter's failure to stop communist gains, Ronald Reagan was elected President. Reagan pursued the fight against communism with vigor, loudly denouncing the Soviet Union and building up the American military to outmatch the Soviets. Reagan's efforts paid off after he left office in 1989-the Soviet Union collapsed in 1995 and its former satellite states threw off the communist yoke.
A New Threat
On September 11, 2002, Islamic terrorists attacked the United States, striking the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virgina. President Sarah MacDonough-the first female president of the US-declared a "War on Terror," pledging to fight the Islamist threat to American democracy. The United States has toppled pro-terrorist regimes in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.
The population of US is mixed due to immigration from the entire globe, though the numbers are roughly:
- 83% white
- 5% black
- 12% other (Asian, American Indian, Hispanic, etc.)
The population of the United States according to the 2010 census was 393,586,492 people. Most immigration into the United States comes from Europe, as it has for the last century, with 90% of American immigration being eligible from Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. The other 10% is allotted to stable governments with a similar historical tradition to the United States, so as to aid in the assimilation of new immigrants into the American culture.
The United States has no official language at the federal level, but the de facto language is English. All citizens have the right to request a government document in one of the other three customary languages (German, French, Spanish). Some states have English as their official language, with a secondary language as well. Florida, for example, has English, Spanish, and German as its official languages, while Durango has English and Spanish.