“”You can always count on Americans to do the right thing — after they've tried everything else.
|— said Winston Churchill, the guy dragging them into a war they were trying to avoid.|
The United States of America (U.S., U.S.A., Unitum Civitas, Imperium Americana,[note 1] or simply "America"[note 2]) is a secular federal
plutocratic democratic republic consisting of so-called states, located in North America and the Pacific Ocean, plus unincorporated territories, which are not yet either set free or taken into the Union because of politics. There are currently 50 states in the Union, of which Montana and seven other states have names that begin with M.
It is currently the world's only superpower, though China and India are catching up fast. As of 2016, the US ranks tenth on the human development index, alongside its Northern neighbor, Canada. When adjusted for (wealth) inequality, however, the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave plummets to nineteenth place (while the Great White North slips to eleventh).
Alongside the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea, the U.S. is an official nuclear power. Unlike any of them, however, it so far remains the only one to have used nuclear weapons in war, in particular to compel the Empire of Japan to surrender at the end of World War II in 1945.
- 1 History
- 2 Religious fundamentalism, racism and conspiracy theories
- 3 Political parties
- 4 Civil rights: Justice for some more than others
- 5 Mathematics, science and technology
- 6 See also
- 7 External links
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
Following Columbus's successful voyage to
India the Asian-continent-which-was-colloquially-known-as-India-at-the-time across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492, Europeans began migrating to North America. The continent was named for the mapmaker who pointed out that he was not quite right, though similar care was not taken when naming the native inhabitants.
The first permanent English settlement founded was Jamestown on the coast of present-day Virginia, in 1607. In a stroke of irony, the Puritans who fled Europe in the name of freedom of religion ended up persecuting other people for their religious beliefs.
The French and Spanish also founded many colonies in what was to become the United States (and Mexico) in the 16th and 17th centuries, most of which were later sold (by France) or lost in wars (by Spain and her successors) to the U.S. (American) English became the de facto official language of the United States, despite its multilingual origins.
Founding and expansion
“”Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust.'
|—The Star-Spangled Banner, second verse (with no irony intended)|
A century and a half later the richest East Coast colonists disliked having to pay stamp taxes, while drinking inexpensive East India Company tea. So they started a revolution, and refused to pay for it. "No taxation without representation" was their motto. They did avoid conscription, as in the Seven Years' War, given the risk of provoking the peasants. But they felt it was safe to impose higher taxes on the peasantry and create a hyperinflation spiral through deficit spending. Unsurprisingly, initial recruitment was poor given the nature of the cause and the attendant risks and rewards. So in the most populous colony, Virginia, they offered any man willing to fight for Freedom a free slave.
With valuable assistance from France, Spain and the Netherlands, the revolutionaries won a war against one of the greatest empires the world had ever seen then disbanded their army, giving them no pensions or social assistance. Imposing taxes three to four times higher than they had been before the war, and issuing more currency to pay off the loans that they had given to the states' governments, they effectively forced many veterans to sell their land and slave bounties to survive. In 1786, this caused a lower-class uprising. Shay's rebellion of disgruntled veterans and ordinary people marched on the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts with the intention of overthrowing the government and, it seems, implementing a democracy. It was crushed by other veterans hired as mercenaries out of the plutocrats' own pockets. Afterwards the plutocrats reimbursed themselves for the expense, out of the public purse.
After taking the Indian lands immediately to their west — into which London had forbidden them to expand during the colonial period[note 3] — and a failed attempt to establish a confederation, the Americans succeeded in 1789 on their second attempt. A few years later the U.S. bought "Louisiana" — at that time stretching from the current state of that name to Minnesota and Montana — from Napoleon, who needed money to fight Britain, thereby doubling the size of new republic. After beating Mexico in a war over the U.S. annexation of the Republic of Texas, a breakaway territory still claimed by Mexico, the U.S. extended its territory through what had been New Spain to the Pacific. Thus, with acquisitions and purchases, the Americans fulfilled their "manifest destiny" of Westward expansion.
While some U.S. states wanted to maintain the institution of slavery, others opposed it. For both moral and economic reasons, the tension between these two factions continued to grow worse. When a large portion of the Southern states attempted to secede from the Union, they discovered that while they might have had a better army, the North had all the factories and railroads and most of the population. President Abraham Lincoln managed to preserve the Union, albeit with heavy loss of life on both sides. It is worth noting that there was an international element to the American Civil War. Both Great Britain and Canada (as British North America) sympathized with the Confederacy, as did France.
But the fight against systemic racism was not yet over. In the aftermath of the Civil War, laws were introduced in order to prevent Blacks from voting and many Southern states were racially segregated. Despite the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, almost a century after the end of the bloodiest conflict in American history, while black people theoretically enjoy all the same liberties as whites, they continue to form a socioeconomic underclass in many areas. State-mandated efforts to ameliorate this, affirmative action, are despised by some conservatives and libertarians, who call such measures "reverse discrimination."
“”“Mother, I don’t want to go into that dark hole. I’m afraid to go in there. I’ll do [sic] anything if I didn’t have to work there.”
|—Child miner to mother|
Given its rulers refusal to compromise on basic social provisions, as under the State Capitalism of contemporary Prussia-Germany, the USA had some of the most lethal Labor Wars of any industrializing country of the late 19th-early 20th centuries. It has also made one of the most extensive uses of slave labor in a modern economy, presently continued through the Drug War and Prison-Industrial Complex (see below). At the time and subsequently the upper class asserted that immigrants were merely attracted to the great economic opportunity available in the country in the 1870s-1920s ('The American Dream'). Though it did have roots in adverts sponsored by the class, in reality this immigration was partly the product of employers importing people so they could charge their workers more money for the necessities of life and pay them less in wages, and partly the product of even greater poverty for these landless and unemployed peoples within Austria-Hungary and Russia - where industrialization was making entire professions semi- or fully obsolete, such as weavers and blacksmiths. Crowding into urban and mining-town ghettos allowed employers, landlords, and store-owners - often the same person - to justify charging more money for rent, lighting, heating, medical care, and food. 
Consequently there was a large increase in women and children in work from the 1870s onward, with a particularly acute increase in the employment of children (those under 14) in mining work during the 1878-82 economic boom. Employers desired children because they required smaller shafts and could, like women but more so, be paid less on the grounds that they were not considered the primary wage earner for their families. On the other hand, people were more likely to murder supervisors, riot, or strike when children died in accidents - as they did on a daily basis. The final spark, as it were, which ignited several spates of assassination and direct shootouts between mercenaries and unionists was often the death of women and/or children. The 1914 Ludlow Massacre of some two dozen miners' wives and progeny, and three strikers who had surrendered, sparked an uprising which resulted in the shutdown of the Colorado rail network and sealing of the region's principle mines using seized dynamite. Order was only restored by federal troops, who allowed Rockefeller and other business owners to deny any compensation or liability and continue to maintain preexisting wages and working conditions. Rockefeller sponsored an 'information campaign' to explain that there had been no 'massacre' and the miners had in fact accidentally killed their own women and children through their negligence, just as the children who had died and continued to do so in the mines also did so because of their (culturally Celtic-Italian-Slavic) laziness and carelessness.
The continuation of slavery was assured by the passage of numerous diverse laws to imprison the African population and rent out its labor. Contrary to the assertions of Thomas Sowell, who has argued that violence and poor education were the result of cultural contamination by degenerate Irish-Scottish 'Celtic' culture, the much-diminished but continued prevalence of these things was directly attributable to the material conditions in which these people lived. The low wages offered to black men, worse to women, and worse still to children left very little or no money and time for leisure or schooling. What schooling there was was of a deliberately lower quality due to expectations in the private sector, and upon the establishment of the public sector was likewise set lower on the grounds of self-affirming race-and-intelligence tests which 'proved' that their race was too simple-minded to benefit from adequate schooling. It was also much cheaper for employers to kill or intimidate labor activists, bust unions, and break strikes in the south because of the supply of upper- and working-class whites willing to kill black people for no or merely nominal fees. These individuals could make contact with employers independently, but more often were organized into organizations such as the KKK. This helped Southern oligarchs maintain their status within the upper crust of society, since employer overheads in the form of routine suppression and extraordinary ones such as calling in The Pinkertons to machine-gun strikers ate into Northeastern and Midwestern oligarchs' profits. 
At the end of World War II, the U.S., unlike the rest of the industrialized world which was in ruins, rapidly became an unrivaled economic powerhouse. The creation of the Interstate Highway System back in the 1950s under President Dwight D. Eisenhower made the US a leader in public infrastructure, a status it could regain today provided it is willing to spend the money.
In a 2016 poll 25% of Americans identified as having no religion. 58% of those, (14%-15% of Americans) actively reject religion. Young Americans under thirty are much more inclined to be non-religious than older Americans. The proportion of Americans who are not religious is increasing steadily and likely to increase further in future, as is expected of a developed country. Indeed, statistical projection suggests that by 2030, as many as one in three Americans will become religiously unaffiliated. Becoming a true welfare state could accelerate the trend.
Religious fundamentalism, racism and conspiracy theories
“”I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time... when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.
|—Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World|
The United States as God’s chosen nation
“”How dismal it is to see present day Americans yearning for the very orthodoxy that their country was founded to escape.
Some Americans think they are God's own nation or God’s chosen nation, and those who hold to that most strongly are Bible Belt Protestant fundamentalists, grabbing at straws in some effort to feel special. It is very difficult to find any Biblical support for this view, being that the people who wrote the Bible, living in the Old World of the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, and classical antiquity, didn't know the North American continent even existed; the closest such fundamentalists have come so far is by combining the Puritan Pilgrims' mythology with British Israelism. Under President George W. Bush, all this fitted together nicely for them: a Christian fundamentalist like themselves was leading God’s chosen nation. A few religions and
cults sects were founded in the US, including Eckankar, Mormonism, Satanism and Scientology.
Those who are openly white-supremacist carried on much as usual, repeating Confederate or Nazi conspiracy theories for the millionth time as they stockpile more machine guns. But the well-documented latent racism of the more extreme elements in the Republican Party manifested itself in different ways; some became Birthers, for example. But it would be no surprise if they had even more trouble coming to grips with Obama than with Bill Clinton, who to their mind was equally left-wing.
Some religious fundamentalists feel the need to make documentaries on the origins of every single thing found throughout America, and its "Babylonian/Roman/Egyptian/Satanic origins", completely forgetting that meaning for symbols can change. For example they throw a fit about how the Statue of Liberty is a Roman goddess, and how cities which are laid out (6 by 6 blocks) are "sun blocks". (Some even say the pattern of city blocks adds up to 666, which it does, but it's inevitable when you're working on a 6x6 area on a city.) Some of these videos you can't even figure out what they are talking about. There isn't a single thing on US soil that wasn't accused of being "idol worship" (not even George Washington himself) or "Satanic". Even the US flag is of "Babylonian origin". America's even accused of being founded on Islam!
Of course even if all of it were true, and the genetic fallacy weren't a fallacy, then so what? The fact that Jesusland worships your bogeyman isn't proof that God exists. The "masonic origins" of a bunch of things in the US is to be expected as many of the founding fathers were Freemasons.
American conspiracy theorists in a nutshell
Just think of them as the exhaust of a democracy or the side effects of the freedom of speech and expression.
“”Every political revolution in America consists now of one party just trying to undo all the shit the other political party did. No actual law has been preserved in this country since, like, 1968.
|—Drew Magary, Make It Stop|
Civil rights: Justice for some more than others
In 1997 the American Indian, Eskimo and Aleut population was 2.3 million, or 0.9 percent of the total population.  However to be eligible for Bureau of Indian Affairs services, an Indian must be a member of a Tribe recognized by the Federal Government, have one-half or more Indian blood of tribes indigenous to the United States or must, for some purposes, be of one-fourth or more Indian ancestry. In 1993 the Bureau of Indian Affairs estimated that 1.2 million of the Indian population lived on or adjacent to Federal Indian reservations and were eligible for Bureau of Indian Affairs services. By legislative and administrative decision, all indigenous people of Alaska are eligible for Bureau of Indian Affairs services and programs. 
The gap in life expectancy between Native Americans and whites narrowed from 11 years in men and 15 years in women in 1940 to four years and three years respectively in 1980.  In 1990, 9% of the Indian population were tertiary graduates compared to 20% of the total population.  Labor force participation rates are lower and median family incomes are on average US$14,000 per year below other American families. In 1989, 31%t of Native Americans lived below the poverty line.  In the 1995 fiscal year US$6 billion (0.08% of GDP) was allocated to 140 programs administered by 40 federal agencies. 
The 1998 Fiscal Year budget of the Bureau of Indian Affairs was US$1.73 billion. Approximately 50 per cent of the operating budget is administered by tribes and is used for tribal courts, law enforcement, housing, social services and education. In 1924 the United States Congress extended American citizenship to all Indians born in the territorial limits of the United States. Indians are also members of their respective Tribes and these are legally regarded as 'sovereign domestic nations'. Indians thus have dual citizenship. Indians have the same right to vote as other United States citizens. 
S.J.Resolution 19, 103rd Congress United States of America, 5 January 1993.In Hawaii, where native Hawaiians comprise approximately 20 per cent of the state's population, the Hawaiian Sovereignty Elections Council is investigating the possibility of restoring Hawaiian Sovereignty.
Between 1778, when the first treaty was made with the Delawares, and 1871, when Congress ended the treaty-making period, the United States Senate ratified 370 Indian treaties. Since 1871 relations with Indian groups are by Congressional acts, Executive Orders, and Executive Agreements. There are 287 Indian reservations, the largest is the Navajo Reservation of 16m acres (65,000 km2) in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Many of the smaller reservations are less than 1000 acres (400 ha) with the smallest less than 100 acres (40 ha). On each reservation, the local governing authority is the tribal government, but its power in law enforcement, education, taxation and water rights varies from tribe to tribe. Approximately 22.6m ha of land are held in trust by the United States for various Indian Tribes and individuals. Both the Indian tribes in the lower 48 States and the regional corporations in Alaska hold the rights to subsurface minerals and have a veto over mining on their land. 
In 1993 the United States Congress, in a joint Senate and House resolution to mark the centenary of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii resolved:
“”... it is proper and timely for the Congress on the occasion of the impending one hundredth anniversary of the event, to acknowledge the historic significance of the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, to express its deep regret to the Native Hawaiian people, and to support the reconciliation efforts of the State of Hawaii and the United Church of Christ with Native Hawaiians. ... [Congress] apologizes to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the people of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii on January 17, 1893 with the participation of agents and citizens of the United States, and the deprivation of the rights of Native Hawaiians to self-determination ... Nothing in this Joint Resolution is intended to serve as a settlement of any claims against the United States.
Mathematics, science and technology
Since the end of World War II, the United States has been the largest powerhouse of mathematics, science, and technology. Although the sudden influx of gray matter from Europe certainly helped propelled the nation to the forefront, its potential for intellectual achievement was already manifest early on in its history, limited only by an obsession with practicality. Today, the U.S. leads the world in the total number of Nobel laureates in all fields, followed by the United Kingdom and Germany. The only field where the U.S. does not lead in the number of Nobel laureate is literature; France has this distinction.
The Department of Energy's Office of Science oversees national laboratories located across the contiguous United States: the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, CA, the Argonne National Laboratory, IL, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, TN, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, NM, the Brookhaven National Laboratory, NY, the Idaho National Laboratory, among others. These engage in both fundamental as well as applied research. The ones listed, with the exception of Brookhaven, all participated in the Manhattan Project, though Los Alamos, whose first scientific director was J. Robert Oppenheimer, is the most well known, not least because it saw the very first nuclear weapon test.
Argonne, named after the a forest in France where U.S. troops fought in World War I, was then known as the Metallurgical Laboratory, or Met Lab,[note 5] located on the campus on the University of Chicago. It was here that Enrico Fermi and his team assembled the first artificial nuclear reactor, Chicago Pile-1, in 1942. It then moved to the location just outside Chicago. The Fermi Accelerator National Laboratory (Fermilab), also located just outside the Second City, is named in his honor. Argonne designed the Chicago Pile 3, the world's first nuclear powered generator, and the reactor that was fitted aboard the U.S.S. Nautilus, the world's first nuclear submarine. These reactors were built in Idaho. Livermore started out as the Radiation Laboratory of Ernst Lawrence, who built the cyclotron, the world's first particle accelerator. Brookhaven is currently home to the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS II).[note 6][note 7] As one of the most powerful X-ray sources in operation, it enables scientists to study in detail the structure of complex molecules, such as those associated with life. Brookhaven also houses the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), the second most powerful of its kind.[note 8] Currently the only operational collider in the country, RHIC recreates conditions that existed shortly after the Big Bang, when matter manifested as a "quark-gluon plasma", before protons and neutrons came to be. Alas, RHIC, like its European counterpart at CERN, receives an abundance of criticism based more on pseudoscience, fear, uncertainty, and doubt rather than rational thought. As a major example, a 2005 paper claimed that certain phenomena observed at the RHIC resembled a black hole. This naturally fueled the ill-founded controversy on whether or not the accelerator was some sort of doomsday device. Even if a black hole was really created, the time scales and energies involved were simply too small for it to cause an apocalyptic catastrophe.
The National Institutes of Health, headquartered in Bethesda, MD,[note 9] has 27 campuses and centers conducting biomedical and healthcare research. Next stop: Universal healthcare. Please fasten your seat belts.
Americans were also the first to detect gravitational waves, predicted by Albert Einstein using his general theory of relativity in the early twentieth century. After numerous ingenious attempts since the 1960s, they finally succeeded in 2015 and publicly announced the breakthrough in 2016. This project, the Advanced Laser Interferometer Observatory (aLIGO), has two L-shaped arms, one in Livingston, Louisiana, and another at Hanford Site, Washington State. Three physicists who were instrumental to this project earned the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2017.
In the 1950s, President Eisenhower created the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA), which, at the instigation of President John F. Kennedy, landed the first people on the Moon in 1969. NASA owns multiple facilities and centers throughout the country, such as the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory managed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Despite popular misconception, there is much more to NASA than space exploration. For instance, it also monitors global levels of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas driving anthropogenic climate change. Since NASA's mandate, which has not changed since its creation, is to "reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind," helping the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) do its job is totally appropriate.
Like the City of Paris, France, the town of Princeton, New Jersey,[note 10] has one of the largest population of mathematicians in the world. Perhaps not surprisingly, the U.S. is home to the greatest number of Fields Medalists, followed by France and the USSR/Russia.
Despite all these impressive achievements, a poll of 2,455 U.S. adults taken from Nov 7 to 13, 2007, found that 62 percent believed in a literal Hell. Only 42 percent, of those surveyed said that they accepted Darwin's theory of evolution, which is lower than expected in a developed country. It is clear that the Department of Education has some work to do.
- States of the Union
- American Dream
- Howard Zinn
- 110 People Who Are Screwing Up America
- Trans-Pacific Partnership
- North American Free Trade Agreement
- Obama Drastically Scales Back Goals For America After Visiting Denny's
- Common Dreams: God's Own Party
- The Community of the Word: Toward an Evangelical Ecclesiology by Mark Husbands, Daniel J. Treier
- Yankee Doodle was written by the British to mock the Patriots, except the latter won and the joke reversed itself.
- Comrade Stalin approves!
- There is some controversy in whether the U.S. should be called America, since many Spanish-speaking countries and several parts of Europe are, inexplicably and incorrectly, taught that "America" is one continent when in reality, there are two continents with this name, North and South. For our purposes here, "America" means the United States of America.
- Take that! Who is running the show now?
- The Supreme Court recently added corporations to the personhood ranks. See Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
- Get your mind out of the gutter!
- It replaces the first one, also operated by Brookhaven.
- A synchrotron is yet another kind of particle accelerator.
- The most powerful is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), operated by the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) headquartered in Switzerland. However, the LHC specializes in smaller particles, such as protons, rather than "heavy ions", such as gold nuclei.
- Get the pun?
- Home to many beautiful minds.
- National Churchill Museum
- 2016 Human Development Report. United Nations.
- See the Wikipedia article on The Star-Spangled Banner.
- Isenberg, Nancy, White Trash - The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America (London, 2016) pp. 88-89
- Isenberg, Nancy, White Trash - The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America (London, 2016) pp. 96-97
- Child miner, cited in Andrews, Thomas G., Killing for Coal: America’s Deadliest Labor War (USA, 2008) p.142
- Mongtgomery, David, The fall of the house of labor - The workplace, the state, and American labor activism, 1865-1925 (New York, 1987) pp.48-49
- Yellen, Samuel, American Labor Struggles (USA, 1956) pp.234-238; Zinn, Howard, A People's History of the United States, 1492-Present, fifth edition (New York, 2003) pp.355-357
- Isenberg, Nancy, White Trash - The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America (London, 2016) p.100; Zinn, Howard, A People's History of the United States, 1492-Present, fifth edition (New York, 2003) pp.203-210
- The Six Biggest Takeaways from a New Study Documenting the Amazing Rise of Non-Religious Americans
- The US Is Retreating From Religion. Scientific American Blog. October 20, 2017.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTj7nD_h0iI&list=UUOKGMQaJ9Gw9qaomGoNjPZw Something about… Land being separated on 36 blocks with D.C. on the "Devil's Block"?
- Quote-Mining warning: Stephen Schroeder. "Part 1 The REAL Secret America- Great Seal of Lucifer". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syD5f7cIDCc&index=49&list=UUOKGMQaJ9Gw9qaomGoNjPZw.
- according to a quote-mine in this video.
- It doesn't stop people from quote-mining Discovery Channel to pick apart every monument in D.C.
- Indigenous Affairs in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States of America, Norway and Sweden
- United States Census Bureau. Census facts for Native American Month. October 1997 census.gov
- Who is an Indian? Answers to Frequently asked questions on: doi.gov (March 1998).
- Woollard, Keith et al. op.cit., pp. 5-6.
- United States. Bureau of the Census. We the first Americans. Washington: Dept of Commerce, 1993, p. 4
- United States. Bureau of the Census. Statistical abstract of the United States 1996. Washington: Dept of Commerce, 1996, Table 52.
- Indians in Canada and the United States. Information Sheet published by Dept of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and available on: inac.gc.ca (March 1998).
- Are Indians U.S. Citizens? Answers to Frequently asked questions on: doi.gov (March 1998).
- What is a reservation? and Do Indians have the right to own land? Answers to Frequently asked questions on: doi.gov (March 1998).
- S.J.Resolution 19, 103rd Congress United States of America, 5 January 1993.
- Nobel Prize Winners By Country. World Atlas. November 1, 2017.
- History of Argonne Argonne National Laboratory. U.S. Department of Energy. Office of Science.
- QCD Matter. Our Science. Brookhaven National Laboratory.
- Lab "Fireball" May Be Black Hole. BBC News. March 17, 2005.
- Photo in the News: Lab Creates "Black Hole". National Geographic. March 18, 2005.
- Einstein's waves win Nobel Prize in physics. BBC News. October 3, 2017.
- About NASA
- Fields Medal. Wolfram Math World.
- Poll Finds More Americans Believe in Devil Than Darwin. Reuters. November 29, 2007.