The United States of America (1776- ) – or United States or USA or US or America or the States or, simply, the Great Satan – is the country in the middle of North America. It has good roads, good music and the largest military in history. It is the world’s oldest living democracy and the largest Western country.
Although the word “America” can mean both North and South America, in English it is almost always short for the “United States of America”.
It is the land of the white star. Its war machines each have a white star. Its flag has 50 white stars for each of the 50 states, like Florida, Texas and California. Each state is an America in the small.
America was built on the red man’s land with black slave labour using ideas from white Enlightenment philosophers. The racism from those days lives on, in weakened form, still screwing up the country.
America is an English-speaking, largely Christian country. But unlike many other countries, it is less a creature of language and religion and more a system of laws and political beliefs based on the philosophy of John Locke and Adam Smith.
As The Economist once put it, America could become completely Mexican and it would still be America, not Mexico.
There are only two countries larger than America: India and China. They are much poorer, so America remains on top. For now. India and China each turn out far more engineers every year than America, so America’s days on top are numbered.
America grew out of the British Empire. When America finally won its war against the British, with some French help, they came to General George Washington, or so the story goes, and asked him if he wanted to be king. He said no. Latin America reached the same crossroads in the early 1800s after their war against Spain, but took a different turn.
The government is divided into three branches, each with limited, separate and balanced powers:
- The President rules America, not a king. The country votes for a new president every four years. He (not yet a she) has the power of the state, but he does not have the right to change laws, break them or even interpret them. He commands the military but cannot declare war.
- Congress is made up of two houses, Senate and the House of Representatives. It makes the laws, declares war, raises and spends taxes.
- The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. It interprets the law but cannot make it. Some of its rulings, however, have the effect of making new laws and so some say it is becoming too powerful.
Other countries are like this on paper (such as the Philippines), but in America it has turned out to be much more than just something on paper.
The other distinguishing mark is that the government keeps out of the way of private business, much more so than in other countries. This is called free market capitalism.
- British Empire
- white people
- How White America got rich
- American Empire
- Where most Americans come from:
- The ideas that shape it:
- Jennifer Smith – the completely average American