United States of America

Noun1.United States of AmericaUnited States of America - North American republic containing 50 states - 48 conterminous states in North America plus Alaska in northwest North America and the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean; achieved independence in 1776

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The name of this country. The United States, now thirty-one in number, are Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and California.
     2. The territory of which these states are composed was at one time dependent generally on the crown of Great Britain, though governed by the local legislatures of the country. It is not within the plan of this work to give a history of the colonies; on this subject the reader is referred to Kent's Com. sect. 10; Story on the Constitution, Book 1; 8 Wheat. Rep. 543; Marshall, Hist. Colon.
     3. The neglect of the British government to redress grievances which had been felt by the people, induced the colonies to form a closer connexion than their former isolated state, in the hopes that by a union they might procure what they had separately endeavored in vain, to obtain. In 1774, Massachusetts recommended that a congress of the colonies should be assembled to deliberate upon the state of public affairs; and on the fourth of September of the following year, the delegates to such a congress assembled in Philadelphia. Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia, were represented by their delegates; Georgia alone was not represented. This congress, thus organized, exercised de facto and de jure, a sovereign authority, not as the delegated agents of the governments de facto of the colonies, but in virtue of the original powers derived from the people. This, which was called the revolutionary government, terminated only when superseded by the confederated government under the articles of confederation, ratified in 1781. Serg. on the Const. Intr. 7, 8.
     4. The state of alarm and danger in which the colonies then stood induced the formation of a second congress. The delegates, representing all the states, met in May, 1775. This congress put the country in a state of defence, and made provisions for carrying on the war with the mother country; and for the internal regulations of which they were then in need; and on the fourth day of July, 1776, adopted and issued the Declaration of Independence. (q.v.) The articles of confederation, (q.v.) adopted on the first day of March, 1781, 1 Story on the Const. Sec. 225; 1 Kent's Comm. 211, continued in force until the first Wednesday in March, 1789, when the present constitution was adopted. 5 Wheat. 420.
     5. The United States of America are a corporation endowed with the capacity to sue and be sued, to convey and receive property. 1 Marsh. Dec. 177, 181. But it is proper to observe that no suit can be brought against the United States without authority of law.
     6. The states, individually, retain all the powers which they possessed at the formation of the constitution, and which have not been given to congress. (q.v.)
     7. Besides the states which are above enumerated, there are various territories, (q.v.) which are a species of dependencies of the United States. New states may be admitted by congress into this union; but no new state shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state, nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned, as well as of congress. Const. art. 4, s. 3. And the United States shall guaranty to every state in this union, a republican form of government. Id. art. 4, s. 4. See the names of the several states; and Constitution of the United States.

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