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The United States of America (commonly referred to as the United States, the U.S., the Colonies, or America) is a federal constitutional republic comprising 72 states, a federal district, and 19 territories as of 1841. The country spans both American continents, where its thirty-eight contiguous states and Washington, D.C., the capital district, lie between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, bordered by the Arctic to the north and the South Sea to the south. The Greenland Territory is in the north-east of the continent.
At 42.5 million sq km and with about 56 million people, the United States is the largest country by total area. The United States is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries, and the cession of European colonies. The U.S. economy is the largest national economy in the world, by both nominal and per capita GDP.
The nation was founded by thirteen colonies of Great Britain located along the Atlantic seaboard. On July 4, 1776, they issued the Declaration of Independence, which proclaimed their independence from Great Britain and their formation of a cooperative union. The rebellious states defeated Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War, the first successful colonial war of independence. The Philadelphia Convention adopted the current United States Constitution on September 17, 1787; its ratification the following year made the states part of a single republic with a strong central government. The Bill of Rights, comprising ten constitutional amendments guaranteeing many fundamental civil rights and freedoms, was ratified in 1791.
In 1803, the United States acquired land from France through the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the nation's size. Disputes between Great Britain over impressment of American sailors and continued undermining of American Sovereignty ultimately culminated in the Great American War of 1812. The American's victory prevented the dissolution of the republic and led to the end of European Colonialism in the Americas. By the 1840s, the national economy was the largest in the world.
Government and Politics
The United States is a relatively young 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. Representation is proportional at most levels of government, with the the US Senate, as well as State Senates, being restricted to a standard system of representation.
We, the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Article One: Legislative power
Article One establishes the Legislative branch as a bicameral Legislative body with the lower House of Representatives, and the upper house the Senate. Senators still must be elected every six years and Congressmen every two, but now they each have term limits for which they can serve. Senators have a limit of four terms, and Congressmen have twelve. The argument, presented by Theo, is to ensure that no member of Congress will stay in power for more than a generation and therefore stay in touch with the American People.
Article Two: Executive Power
Article Two also is very similar to its version in OTL, except that Presidents have a limit of five terms. Theo attempted to lower it to two, but could not convince Madison or Hamilton that the Presidency would be powerful enough to make such a limit necessary.
Article Three: Judicial Power
This article is drastically different because it directly establishes the concept of Judicial Review, but includes a provision that Judges must be confirmed by the entire Congress, not just the Senate. Judges are not given term limits, but can only serve until age 80.
- Amendment 1: Freedoms of Speech, Religion, Press, Assembly, and Protest are Protected
- Amendment 2: Right to bear arms.
- Amendment 3: Slavery is made illegal.
- Amendment 4: Right to privacy: No unwarranted search and seizures, and no quartering of soldiers in private homes.
- Amendment 5: Right to a speedy public trial with legal counsel, with no double jeopardy, and ensures a trial by a jury, and rights of the accused.
- Amendment 6: No cruel or unusual punishment, or excessive bail.
- Amendment 7: Trial by jury for civil cases.
- Amendment 8: Reserved Rights to the States.
- Amendment 9: Any rights not mentioned are rights of the people.
- Amendment 10: All rights expressed in this bill extend to every American Citizen. (defines US citizen as anyone born in United States or immigrates legally).
- Amendment 11: Authorizes unapportioned federal taxes on income.
- Amendment 12: Establishes direct election of senators.
- Amendment 13: Limits president to two terms.
- Amendment 14: Prohibits the federal government and the states from requiring the payment of a tax as a qualification for voting for federal officials.
- Amendment 15: Provides for the establishment of "Autonomous States." These states are given special status in relationship to the federal government in that they are only required to pay taxes on federal projects in their territory and not for the country as a whole.
- Amendment 16: Requires Supreme Court Justices to be reconfirmed every ten years.
- Amendment 17: Abolishes Autonomous States.
All laws and governmental procedures are subject to judicial review, and any law ruled in violation of the Constitution is voided. The original text of the Constitution establishes the structure and responsibilities of the federal government and its relationship with the individual states. The first ten amendments, which make up the Bill of Rights form the central basis of Americans' individual rights.
Parties, ideology and politics
The United States has operated under a multiparty system for most of its short history. For elective offices at all levels, state-administered primary elections choose the major party nominees for subsequent general elections. Since the general election of 1825, the major parties have been the Democratic Party, founded in 1824, and the Federalist Party, founded in 1792, with non-partisan candidates being common in most elections as well.
Within American political culture, the Democratic Party is considered center-right or "conservative" and the Federalist Party is considered center-left or "liberal". The states of the Northeast and the Great Lakes states, known as "red states", are relatively conservative. The "blue states" of the South, and states only recently admitted to the union, are fairly liberal. The winner of the 1840 presidential election, Henry Clay (no party), is the 9th U.S. president. The 1840 elections also saw the Democratic Party strengthen its control of both the House and the Senate, while the Federalists tried to maintain their gains in under President Harrison. Non-partisan candidates still hold a plurality in the House and the Senate, as well as across much of the country.
The United States is a federal union of thirty-eight states. The original thirteen states were the successors of the thirteen colonies that rebelled against British rule early in the country's history, with Ontario and Quebec gaining statehood shortly after the signing of the constitution. The three new states of were organized on territory separated from the claims of the existing states: Iroquois from New York; Cherokee from North Carolina; and Maine from Massachusetts. Most of the other states have been carved from territories obtained through war or purchase by the U.S. government. One set of exceptions comprises the Indian nations, Iroquois, Navajo, Lakhota, Micmacia and Cherokee: each was an independent republic before joining the union. The most recent state—Columbia—achieved statehood on August 21, 1841. The states do not have the right to secede from the union.
The states compose less than half of the vast bulk of the U.S. land mass; while the nineteen territories make up the majority of the country. Those born in the territories possess U.S. citizenship.
The United States has a democratic mixed economy, which is fueled by abundant natural resources, a well-developed infrastructure, and high productivity. The United States is the exporter importer of goods and third largest importer. China, France, Japan, and Rhineland are its top trading partners. In 1838, motorized vehicles constituted both the leading export commodity. France is the largest foreign holder of U.S. public debt. After a series of finance and infrastructure reforms during the Bell administration, the U.S. economy has been in an economic climb since 1821. The US is the world's largest economy, with France coming in second.
In 1841, the private sector is estimated to constitute 55.3% of the economy, with federal government activity accounting for 24.1% and state and local government activity (including federal transfers) the remaining 20.6%. The economy is industrial, with the manufacturing sector contributing 67.8% of GDP, allowing the United States to be the leading industrial power. Transportation products are the leading manufacturing field, with chemical products in second. The United States is the largest producer of petroleum in the world, as well as its largest exporter. It is the world's number one producer of electricity, as well as liquid natural gas, sulfur, phosphates, sugar, and salt. While agriculture accounts for just under 20% of GDP, the United States is the world's top producer of corn, wheat, sugar, and soybeans. The New York Stock Exchange is the world's largest by dollar volume.
Of those employed, 71% had jobs in the manufacturing sector. With 22.4 million people, government is the leading field of employment. About 42% of workers are unionized, compared to 20% in all of Western Europe. Compared to Europe, U.S. property and top 10% wage earner income tax rates are generally higher, while labor and, particularly, consumption tax rates are lower.
Income and human development
According to the United States Census Bureau, the pretax median household income in 1837 was $10,233. The median ranged from $18,080 in Virginia to $6,338 in Lakota. Using purchasing power parity exchange rates, the overall median is the most affluent cluster of developed nations. After declining sharply during the early 19th century, poverty rates disappeared after the welfare reforms of the Bell and Jackson administrations.
The U.S. welfare state is now among the most progressive in the developed world, reducing both relative poverty and absolute poverty by considerably more than the mean for other rich nations. The US was the first country to create a government run health insurance program, as well as a modern welfare state.
Science and technology
The United States has been a leader in scientific research and technological innovation since the late 18th century. In 1788, Robert Grandon was awarded the first U.S. patent for the automobile. Timothy Pasco's laboratory developed the phonograph, the first long-lasting light bulb, and the first viable telegraph. Theo Bell pioneered the aircraft, the cyclone engine, and the steel smelter. In the early 19th century, the automobile companies of Robert Grandon and Eli Whitney promoted the assembly line. In 1791 in Kitty Hawk, Ohio a group of engineers led by the Bells and Robert Grandon made the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight.
The rise of Byronism in the 1820s led many European scientists, including Charles Darwin and Charles Babbage, to immigrate to the United States. Today, the bulk of research and development funding, 64%, comes from the private sector. The United States leads the world in scientific research papers and impact factor. Americans possess high levels of technological consumer goods, and almost half of U.S. households have telephone landline access.
Everyday personal transportation in America is dominated by the automobile and the railroad. As of 1897, there were 229 automobiles per 1000 Americans, compared to 42 per 1000 inhabitants of Western Europe the following year. The majority of autos are sedans and light trucks. The average American adult (accounting for all drivers and non-drivers) spends 55 minutes driving every day, traveling 47 km.
The civil airline industry is entirely privatized, while major airports are publicly owned. The four largest airlines in the world by passengers carried are American; Atlantic Skylines is number one. Of the world's thirty busiest passenger airports, twenty are in the United States, including the busiest. Transport of goods by rail is extensive, and many people use rail to travel, within or between cities. Only 29% of total U.S. work trips use personal transit, compared to 88.8% in Europe. Bicycle usage is high within cities, but below European levels.