%% Art by David Dees
[[caption-width-right:349:[[BlatantLies The land of the free and the home of the brave]], [[SarcasmMode ladies and gentlemen.]]]]

->'''Snake Plissken:''' Got a smoke?\\
'''Sergeant Malloy:''' The United States is a no-smoking nation. No smoking, no drinking, no drugs. No women -- unless of course you're married. No guns, no foul language... no red meat.\\
'''Snake Plissken:''' Land of the free.
-->-- ''Film/EscapeFromLA''

TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture, or perhaps an AlternateHistory gone wrong, the United States is [[BrokenPedestal no longer the shining beacon of democracy that it once was]]. Perhaps {{civil|war}} [[DividedStatesOfAmerica war]] and/or an [[InvadedStatesOfAmerica invasion]] has put the country into a dictatorship out of necessity, [[MegaCorp corporate influence has undermined]] the democratic ideals the nation once held, a [[CorruptChurch theocratic religious movement]] has taken control of the government, or democracy has been [[EmergencyAuthority suspended in order to fight off]] external or internal threats, real and/or imagined. Whatever the reason, the nation is only a democracy in name, or sometimes, not even that if the regime is painfully honest.

Expect to see FEMA, DHS agents, cops that are always clad in riot gear, or even the [[UsefulNotes/YanksWithTanks military]] patrolling the streets, [[PoliceBrutality harassing innocent citizens for arbitrary crimes or by virtue of simply "being there."]] Civil rights have been suspended for the "greater good," and political dissidents are [[ReleasedToElsewhere shipped off to concentration camps or made to "quietly disappear", never to be seen again]].

A LaResistance of sorts will be featured usually, made up of fed-up citizens, and sometimes [[DefectorFromDecadence former]] or [[HeelFaceTurn dissenting]] military or police personnel that are following their oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign '''and domestic'''. Regardless, they'll be dismissed as terrorists by the American government, and will usually be used to justify the oppression.

How they are portrayed depends on the work. Some may have them as [[TheRevolutionWillNotBeVilified plucky heroes that still believe in idealistic American beliefs]] and are willing to die to restore them, whereas if the scale goes further towards cynicism, may have them portrayed as [[WellIntentionedExtremist well meaning rebels that commit some atrocities to fight against the system]], or even {{Right Wing Militia Fanatic}}s (who turned out to be ProperlyParanoid after all) who [[TheRevolutionWillNotBeCivilized are little better than the system they are fighting]].

In a political work that is left-leaning, expect to see this trope overlap with The Boorish version of {{Eagleland}}, an America where [[TheTheocracy separation of church and state no longer exists]] and in which the [[EveryManHasHisPrice government is in the pockets]] of [[CorruptCorporateExecutive crooked businessmen]] and [[GeneralRipper warmongers]] - or a [[WarForFunAndProfit combination of both]]. Right-leaning works will favor a CommieLand America, with shades of either old-style Stalinism or '60s radicalism depending on the period the work came from; or since the end of the ColdWar, [[WarOnTerror radical Islamists imposing Sharia law]]. Libertarian works will often take elements of both of these portrayals.

Can overlap with FallenStatesOfAmerica, if the nation has become a dictatorship as a result of the fallen status, or is one of the reasons behind it, although it is possible for the US to still be a superpower, or at least still be a "first-world nation". DividedStatesOfAmerica is also a possible trope as well, as the remaining US government may be trying to keep what is left of the nation together by any means possible. InvadedStatesOfAmerica can count too when the nation goes dictatorial to protect against the enemy, or if the invaded sections are under a restrictive foreign government.

Basically DayOfTheJackboot with a specifically American focus.

SubTrope of DifferentStatesOfAmerica.

'''No Real Life Examples past the UsefulNotes/CivilRightsMovement of the 1960s.''' Needless to say, many ideologues and {{conspiracy theorist}}s on all extremes of the political spectrum believe this trope to be TruthInTelevision, and let's just leave it at that.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''LightNovel/BlackBullet'', the light novels mentioned many countries that treat cursed children much worse than Tokyo. United States happens to be one of them, as cursed children are hunted down and captured like wild animals, forced into slavery (usually either sold into sex slavery or to civil security companies), and used as experiments to unlock their superhuman abilities and implanting Varanium parts in their bodies.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/{{Transmetropolitan}}'' the police are pretty corrupt and oppressive to begin with, carrying riot shields with SUBMIT printed on them and stomping of protestors' faces. When the Smiler takes over it gets worse, culminating in the City getting put under martial law.
* In ''ComicBook/WhatIf'' #44, the USA became an increasingly fascistic police state ([[ANaziByAnyOtherName complete with rounding up of blacks and Jews]]) because of the influence of a jingoistic impostor Comicbook/CaptainAmerica… until the real one awakens [[ComicbookTime in 1983.]].
* ''ComicBook/SupermanRedSon'' involves virtually the whole world becoming Communist thanks to Superman solving various economic problems. The US in an exception: its economy is on the verge of collapse and there is a mention of tanks in the streets of New York to suppress food riots. There's also a mention of a [[TakeThat President Friedman]].
* In ''ComicBook/{{DMZ}}'', the US is in the midst of second civil war, and while the lines of territory aren't very clear, (as the rebellious "Free States of America" is much closer to an insurgency than a nation state) the territory that is firmly controlled by the original US Government is kept under martial law, the government has essentially taken over the media and turned it all into propaganda, and it has few if any qualms about murdering or ruining the lives of innocent civilians, especially if it somehow gives them an edge against the Free States.
* ''Comicbook/LiberalityForAll'' is set in a United States that has become a left-wing dictatorship under the UN thanks to [[AlternateHistory Al Gore winning in 2000]].
* ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'': Richard Nixon is closing in on his fifth term, crime is rampant all over the country and ZeppelinsFromAnotherWorld are shown to be watching over all the streets. Also in ''Before Watchmen'', it is revealed that because of the Red Scare, the Costume Vigilantes were made to show their identities and prove they were not involved with the Russians. This example is not quite as extreme as some others, though - a free press of sorts still exists, and at the end of the comic it looks like Nixon is going to lose the election to Creator/RobertRedford.
* Quite a few of the ''ComicBook/ChickTracts'' are set in these sorts of futures.
* ''Comicbook/JudgeDredd'':
** America has been [[BalkanizeMe split]] into three independent mega-cities, each of which is a fascist police state. Somewhat atypical in that the main characters are the Judges, i.e. the ones who are ''enforcing'' the police state, yet they mostly aren't portrayed negatively. Primarily because the Dreddverse is an extreme CrapsackWorld that has been on the brink of total destruction each time the Judges weren't there to hold the line.
** The AlternateUniverse that the [[EvilCounterpart Dark Judges]] hailed from was at first depicted ambiguously, but more recent stories have set it in a clear analogue of the United States. Somehow the fascist police state created there was even WORSE than in Judge Dredd's world, with the judges ultimately deciding to just wipe out their whole population in the name of law.
* Creator/FrankMiller's ''ComicBook/GiveMeLiberty'' intersected this with DividedStatesOfAmerica.
* ''ComicBook/SquadronSupreme:'' In the backstory, America was one of these, with civilians being dragged off to camps to be brainwashed into obeying the Overmind, a telepathic villain who'd taken control of President Kyle Richmond, and through him his fellow members of the Squadron Supreme. The team's efforts to undo the damage done ultimately result in an even more oppressive government taking over when the Squadron gets trapped in another universe.

[[folder:Eastern Animation]]
* ''Animation/SquirrelAndHedgehog'', a cartoon from North Korea has this in ''spades''. Yet what drives the point home is that the show has a huge fan following of [[MexicansLoveSpeedyGonzales Americans who think the wolves are awesome.]]

* ''Film/ConquestOfThePlanetOfTheApes'': The United States has become this in 1991, with the Governors now holding very powerful authority. Since the movie was released around the time of the Vietnam protests, it's probably taking a real life situation and turning it up to eleven.
* ''Film/CSATheConfederateStatesOfAmerica''. In the Confederacy (which now includes even the Northern states and most of the Americas after their conquests) the entire black population is enslaved, gender equality is non-existent, deviation of sexual orientation is not tolerated, Hispanics and Asians are subjected to apartheid, and there is not much political freedom even for white people.
* ''Film/DemolitionMan'': Set in a future where the US has gone totalitarian, banning virtually anything that could possibly be [[PoliticalCorrectnessGoneMad considered unhealthy or offensive.]] Heavily implied to have come about after a period of [[MegaCorp mass privatization]] and civil unrest.
* ''Film/TheRunningMan''. The U.S. has become intensely repressive, including (among other things) slaughtering people who are protesting not having enough food.
* ''Film/EscapeFromLA'', the sequel to ''Film/EscapeFromNewYork'', has the U.S. going fascist when the Big One hits Los Angeles, and a religious nut uses this as a platform to get himself promoted to PresidentForLife, even relocating the Capitol a little ways south to his hometown of Lynchburg, VA (a TakeThat to Jerry Falwell, the founder of the "Moral Majority", whose Thomas Road Baptist Church is in the town). Anything he considers to be against his new "Moral America" laws (read: anything he doesn't like -- tobacco, alcohol, red meat, guns, profanity, non-Christian religions, atheism, non-marital sex and more) is banned, with those who break the laws having to choose between getting deported to Los Angeles Island, which is every bit the hellhole that Manhattan Island Penitentiary was, or being executed in the electric chair. Snake lampshades it when he sarcastically calls the new states "the land of the free". At the same time, the country's military has degraded to the point where a ragtag force of Latin American countries has a legitimate chance of invading the US.
* Similarly, in ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartII'' an alternate timeline is created where Richard Nixon is still President in the 1980s following the repeal of the 22nd amendment, the Vietnam War rages on and crime and corruption are at endemic levels as Casinos spread nation wide.
* The corporation-as-government or MegaCorp in ''Franchise/RoboCop''.
* ''[[http://www.graystatemovie.com/ The Gray State]]'' is a controversial film about an America in the grip of martial law.
* In ''Film/BarbWire'' (a thinly-veiled remake of ''Film/{{Casablanca}}''), the US has become a Third World country under martial law. The government forces do whatever they want, and their officers walk around like Gestapo (wearing {{Commissar Cap}}s). The economy is so bad that people prefer to be paid in ''Canadian'' dollars, and Canada is seen as the place to go for anyone who doesn't want to live in this hellhole. Strangely, prostitution is legal, and prostitutes are required to undergo frequent medical exams and display their med-cards upon request.

* In Creator/SinclairLewis' ''Literature/ItCantHappenHere'' a fascist government gets voted into office and proceeds to turn the country into an oppressive dictatorship.
* In Creator/RobertAHeinlein's novella "Literature/IfThisGoesOn", the U.S. has become a theocratic police state.
* ''Literature/TheHandmaidsTale'': The fascist, theocratic Republic of Gilead is (one of?) the [[FallenStatesOfAmerica USA's successor states.]]
* In Allen Steele's ''Literature/{{Coyote}}'', the United States has degenerated into the fascist and theocratic "United Republic of America" where intellectual dissidents are rounded up with their families and carted off to forced re-education camps. After the Republic collapses, it is [[InvadedStatesOfAmerica effectively taken over by a united South and Central America]] to form the Western Hemisphere Union, a socialist/communist society. While it's quite a bit better than the Republic, they are ''very'' imperialist and seek to control the former U.R.A. colony of Coyote.
* Strongly implied in ''Literature/{{Illuminatus}}'', and would naturally come up in any work of fiction where TheIlluminati (or a similar AncientConspiracy) are the ones REALLY running the country.
** The country isn't actually depicted as any more oppressive than the real life United States during the Vietnam war, but it ''is'' depicted as incompetent and monomaniac, and easily manipulated by TheIlluminati towards the total loss of personal privacy and permanent state of martial law. [[spoiler:Supposedly. But even that is just another case of misdirection, since the conspiracy's true goal is the near-extinction of all humanity.]]
* In the first book of Creator/JamesBlish's ''Literature/CitiesInFlight'' series, America is rapidly becoming a totalitarian state ruled by the hereditary head of the FBI, Francis X. [[PunnyName MacHinery]].
* In ''Literature/TheHungerGames'', after an unspecified collapse of civilization (possibly involving some major geographic changes) the U.S. has become a tyrannical autocracy renamed "Panem" and is split into twelve districts. This name is derived from [[GratuitousLatin the Latin phrase "panem et cicenses"]] or "BreadAndCircuses," hence Peeta being the son of a baker and the eponymous "Games" serving as circuses to entertain the masses and keep them in check.
* In ''Literature/ParableOfTheTalents'' by Creator/OctaviaButler, the U.S. has become this. The United States is ruled by Jarrett, an Evangelical Christian who uses all non-Christians as a scapegoat and puts them in concentration camps. The country is in shambles and Alaska has seceded from the union and is at war with Canada.
* In ''Literature/TheMoonIsAHarshMistress'', all of Earth is an oppressive state to the lunar colony, but "North America" is the most vocal and aggressive.
* In the 2060s storyline of ''Literature/StarTrekFederation'' the [[ANaziByAnyOtherName Optimum Movement]] takes over much of the world, including the United States. There the Constitution has been suspended and only the fifteen states with Optimum majorities are allowed to send representatives to Congress.
* The Creator/HarryTurtledove {{short story}} ''Literature/JoeSteele'' has Joe Steel - an AlternateHistory version of UsefulNotes/JosefStalin whose parents immigrated to the United States - turn America into a Communist dictatorship after being elected President.
** The Literature/Timeline191 series by the same author features a US that, having lost two wars to a Confederate/Britain/France alliance, has allied closely with Imperial Germany. The nation is increasingly regimented and militarized, everything is strictly rationed, and conscription is universal. A series of Mormon uprisings causes the government to simply ban the Mormon church, and the administration of occupied Canada, Texas, and Kentucky is extremely brutal, with suspected criminals executed without trial, hostages taken in retaliation for guerilla activity, and (oddly given that the main political divide in the setting is the Democrats and the Socialist Party) virtually no safety or labor rights laws. The Confederacy is much worse.
* In ''Literature/{{Animorphs}},'' the fourth Megamorphs book suddenly opens here with no initial explanation; it quickly comes out that Visser Four managed to find the [[TimeMachine Time Matrix]] and rewrite history. As a result the United States is an empire trying to wipe out "primitives" in South America, slavery is legal (though based on disability rather than race), [[TheLeader Jake]] is a SociopathicHero and [[DarkActionGirl Rachel]] is in a reeducation camp to "[[StayInTheKitchen learn her place]]." Fortunately this circumstance is inconvenient for both of the series' {{Sufficiently Advanced Alien}}s, who restore the Animorphs' memories and send them through time to fix things.
* In ''Literature/ChristianNation'', the United States becomes an oppressive Christian theocracy.
* Fyodor Berezin's ''Red Stars'' series describes a parallel world with a point of divergence being a British warship providing fire support to pockets of resistance to the Nazi war machine in the Balkans, forcing Hitler to delay Operation Barbarossa by a month. As a result, Stalin manages to successfully plan and execute an invasion of Germany, beating the Nazis in under 2 years and proceeding to move on to "liberate" the rest of Europe. Fast-forward to modern times, the Alt!USSR dominates the world, with only North America remaining free, although "free" is a relative term, since the economic and social pressure (not to mention a state of semi-open war and liberal use of tactical nukes) has forced the US into this trope.
* The first half of ''Literature/{{Victoria}}'' has the United States [[FallenStatesOfAmerica turn into]] an [[PoliticalCorrectnessGoneMad overly politically correct]] and repressive state (in part due to Cultural Marxists spreading things like rap, feminism, and neopaganism) where people are sued heavily for something as simple as smoking and other people being nearby. This leads to riots in the streets, militia uprisings, and roving gangs in big cities and ends with a very suspicious-looking terrorist attack that blows Washington D.C. off the map and kills off a majority of the Presidential line of succession. The second half is about the aftermath, following the (''very'' debatably) heroic successor state of Victoria as it conquers rival successor states with its militia forces and sheer unpredictability.
* ''Literature/TheLongWalk'': The United States has become a dictatorship under the control of the Major and his SecretPolice after the country lost World War II (note that the U.S. is still independent, since it appears the Axis Powers only performed skirmish campaigns in the Americas). The regime keeps the population docile with the annual [[DeadlyGame Long Walk]], where 100 teenage boys are forced on a grueling marathon and killed one by one.

[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]
* ''Series/{{Charmed}}'''s 6th season has [[KidFromTheFuture Chris]] who comes back in time to help [[SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong prevent an accident]] that causes [[spoiler:Wyatt]] to lose all sense of morality and take control via magic - it's not clear whether this is actually just America or [[CrapsackWorld the whole world]].
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'': A smaller example featured The Sanctuary Districts, sections of cities walled off that housed the poor and unemployed. While their intent was to aid them, they later degraded into internment camps.
* This happened in an alternate universe on ''Series/StargateSG1'', after the Stargate program went public. [[TheWorldIsNotReady The world was not ready]], and a scramble for control over the Stargates led to civil unrest and geopolitical power-mongering.
* The Series/{{Sliders}} visited several examples of this, such as an alternate-history America in which [[RichardNixonTheUsedCarSalesman J Edgar Hoover had become president]], leading within a few decades to a totalitarian US in which the government was woefully underfunded, organised criminals ran the economy, and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking the police wore kilts]].
** Those are skirts, thank you very much.
** And the worst part is, there's no rock 'n' roll.
** Another version of the US has this almost happen to it, with a popular Presidential candidate spouting slogans like "America for Americans" and advocating for the removal of all those who don't fit the American "genetic standard" (ironically, ''Native'' Americans would probably be kicked out too). Basically, anyone non-white might as well move to Mexico. He has already managed to do this to California (being the state's governor). His company is also supplying so-called robotic servants to do medial tasks. The dark secret of his campaign is that those servants are, in fact, US citizens who don't fit the "standard" and are forced to undergo UnwillingRoboticisation.
* Likewise, an alternate universe in ''Series/LoisAndClark'' brought us President Charlton Heston. One person, one vote, one semi-automatic rifle! It's implied that the reason America has degraded into a wild west nightmare is because Alt-Clark married Lana Lang, who [[HenpeckedHusband forbids him from fighting crime]].
* ''Series/DarkAngel'' is set in a world where the US was devastated by a terrorist EMP attack in 2009. Little more than 10 years later, the US has degenerated into a 3rd world banana republic kept in check by periodic martial law.
* ''Series/PersonOfInterest'' The fourth season's plot is basically the story of how [[spoiler:The Samaritan artificial intelligence system]] begins constructing one before moving onto the world. Building a large network of politicians to do its bidding, creating the means to brainwash the next generation of American children and manipulating the intel given to counter-terrorist operatives are just the tip of the iceberg of the steps it takes to achieve its goal.
* ''Series/TheHandmaidsTale'', like the novel before it. It keeps the same setting as the book (Boston and Cambridge, MA), but ''seeing'' those liberal bastions transformed under an oppressive theocracy gives the series extra shock value.
** In the flashbacks of the time leading up to the "official" founding of Gilead, things were not much better. Riot police respond to a march of people protesting the law stripping women of their property rights by firing on them with heavy machine guns.

* In [[Music/JeffersonAirplane Paul Kantner]]'s 1970 science-fiction concept album, ''Music/BlowsAgainstTheEmpire'', the increasingly oppressive and fascistic government of the US, which has outright declared rock-and-roll illegal, inspires a rag-tag band of hippies to hijack a starship and set off on their own.
* The setting of Music/{{Styx}}'s 1983 concept album, ''Music/KilroyWasHere'', was of a futuristic America where a theocratic dictatorship has banned rock music.
* The Music/NineInchNails album ''Year Zero'' from 2007 is set in an America that has become a Christian Fundamentalist theocracy, maintaining control of the populace through the Bureau of Morality and the First Evangelical Church of Piano, as well as through seeding the water with a drug called Parepin.

[[folder: Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Trinity}}'', the United States of America will socially collapse due to conflicts with the super-powered aberrants. The military and key corporations take control from the broken civilian government and establish the Federated States of America, a fascist nation where the voting system is rigged to give the wealthy and corporations the lion's share of votes in all elections. All media is censored and civil rights are purely at government discretion. The FSA also annexed large chunks of Canada and Mexico as part of a resource grab.
* The 80s action movie-inspired free game ''TabletopGame/TheHardWay'' features an America much like the one from ''Film/EscapeFromNewYork'', with MICOM ('''M'''ilitary-'''I'''ndustrial '''COM'''plex) and the Yuppies controlling everything, Manhattan being turned into a state penitentiary, political dissent being considered treason under the "[[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything Freedom Act]]," HOMSEC goons blackbagging people at night and sending them to FEMA camps, Chinese-Americans being interned because of the current war against China, survivalists, death cults and racial supremacists thriving outside the big cities; and everyone with slave wages, potato chips and TV sets -- basically a corporate-fascist America nightmare. All this in the backdrop of a three-way conflict between the US, the Chinese and the Soviet Union for the last remaining natural resources, with the [[CrapsackWorld rest of the world not being much better than America]].
* Prior to 2056, in the ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'' game-setting, elections in the [=UCAS=] had been conducted via a "remote-vote" system. That year, it was revealed that this voting system had been rigged to ensure a reelection; the incumbent administration was ousted, followed by an immediate Special Presidential Election in 2057 to restore legitimate democracy and avert this trope.
* The [=US=] is well into this trope in ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}} Cyberworld'' ... '''before''' the government gets around to formally suspending the Constitution. The Provisional President makes regular speeches about the upcoming end to the Permanent Emergency and a return to democracy, but no one with a working brain believes those speeches.
* The [=US=], as well as most of the world, have become this in the RPG ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_New_World_%28role-playing_game%29 Brave New World]]'' (no relation to the novel) after a super-villain Delta nearly killed President Kennedy.

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* ''VideoGame/DeusEx'': Freedoms have been curbed to fight off "excessive terrorism." After the Northwest war before the game starts, parts of the nation are still under martial law. [[spoiler:As the world continues to go to shit, the nation goes under full-fledged martial law in order to control rising civil unrest.]]
* The Creator/{{Infocom}} game ''VideoGame/AMindForeverVoyaging'' shows the decline of the US from a democracy to a theocratic dictatorship over three decades. The player character is an AI who can see the future and must prevent the death of democracy.
* ''VideoGame/LiberalCrimeSquad'' begins with US either heading this way or already there (if you begin with nightmare mode on). [[BigBad The Conservatives]] are to blame, of course.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' series. Before the [[WorldWarIII Great War]], the United States government had become increasingly paranoid and militaristic in the face of the resource shortages and the Sino-American War. Going so far as to censor speech and secretly nationalizing companies. The Enclave (the éminence grise of the federal government) exacerbated geopolitical relations and ignored the Constitution of the United States, put into motion a series of unconstitutional, inhumane, and war criminal projects; (For example; the robobrain manufacturing process -- where factories were set up to extract the brains ''from living people'' to be used for expendable robot processors, the various Vault experiments, the Forced Evolutionary Virus experiments, the various bio weapons programs, et cetera). While [[AfterTheEnd after the war]], they were willing to cause global genocide to achieve its goals of wiping out communism and becoming the sole heirs of the planet.
* {{Implied|Trope}} in ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri''. One of Pravin Lal's quotes references a painful lesson about the importance of [[HarsherInHindsight free flow of information]] learned by Americans in Earth's [[AfterTheEnd final century]]. Additionally, Miriam Godwinson's file lists her as hailing from the Christian States of America, either implying a takeover by fundamentalists or a DividedStatesOfAmerica situation. The fact that Ulrik Svensgaard is listed as coming from the ''United'' States of America indicates the latter case.
* ''VideoGame/{{Homefront}}'': Overlaps with InvadedStatesOfAmerica. Any area controlled by Korea is under military rule, where US citizens are killed left and right. Even before the war, the US wasn't doing so hot in terms of freedom, as it slipped into FallenStatesOfAmerica territory. Out in the boonies, the militia fighters are just as bad as the Koreans.
* ''VideoGame/MetalWolfChaos'' has the United States turned into a dictatorship after a takeover by the Vice President.
* The US in ''VideoGame/ShatteredUnion'' became this way under the Presidency of [[PresidentEvil David Jefferson Adams]], who put the West Coast under martial law and sailed to a second term through a blatantly rigged election (because [[ZeroPercentApprovalRating there's no way he could've been re-elected]] under any other circumstances). The nuclear terrorist attack on UsefulNotes/WashingtonDC during his inauguration, and the ensuing decapitation of the federal government and the line of succession triggers the [[DividedStatesOfAmerica Second American Civil War]]. Whether the player creates one of these or returns the nation to her glory days depends on how he or she conducts the war (sparing cities and avoiding the use of [=WMDs=] tends to avoid this trope).
* ''Franchise/{{Civilization}}'': America is a mainstay Civ and can be played with any level of Government Opression. In fact, the starting government is almost always a chiefdom/despotism, meaning for much of the early game play, America is this. Notably in Civ V, America's AI was highly expansive and sought big empires, which almost demands that they pick the Communist inspired late game government.
* In ''VideoGame/WolfensteinTheNewOrder'', the Allies lost World War II because the Nazis came up with super-science weapons that allowed them to devastate Britain and America, which surrendered after Washington was nuked. Overlaps with FallenStatesOfAmerica.
** Sequel game ''VideoGame/WolfensteinIITheNewColossus'' takes place in the conquered America, and shows this side of the trope. Nazi rule is absolute, forcing people to assimilate Germanic culture and adhere to Nazi standards (such as reducing Afro-Americans to slavery). It's also implied that the UsefulNotes/KuKluxKlan is not only actively out and in force, but may be legitimized or at least supported by the Nazis.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', Uncle Sam often appears in strips depicting this. Men In Black also show up.
* This is the entire premise of ''Webcomic/{{Remus}}''.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The AlternateHistory story ''Literature/DecadesOfDarkness'' is about the transformation of the United States into an authoritarian, slave-holding empire, with the author describing the intention as creating a more realistic version of Literature/TheDraka.
** The PointOfDivergence is the UsefulNotes/WarOf1812 spilling into [[DividedStatesOfAmerica a much earlier civil war]] that sees every state north/east of UsefulNotes/{{Pennsylvania}} seceding and forming the Republic of New England, which aligns with Britain and helps hand them a [[CurbStompBattle resounding victory]] in the war. The remnant, revanchist US, dominated by the [[DeepSouth southern states]] and their slave-holding elite, becomes an imperial power built upon white supremacy, [[ExpandedStatesOfAmerica expanding across Latin America]] and co-opting the local white elites while keeping the black, indio, and mestizo masses in slavery and peonage. While still maintaining democratic forms, the franchise has been tightly restricted to the white population[[note]]Albeit with some finagling over the definition of 'white' in order to placate to the large numbers of rich Latino collaborators; money does very much whiten here. Some readers have noted, with some {{irony}}, that this white supremacist alt-US would have a rather swarthy-looking ruling class by our standards, especially in the southern states carved out of the former Mexico and Latin America.[[/note]], and the major parties merely promote variations on the oppressive structure that the nation is built upon. By the 20th century, they've even started forcing their fellow white people (specifically, [[spoiler:Canadian rebels in the conquered British Columbia]]) into slavery.
** New England also goes through a period of fascism (known here as "vitalism") from the mid 1920s through the early '30s due to an economic crisis, fear of socialism spreading in Canada and Newfoundland, and a badly lost war with the US, though fortunately, the vitalists' [[FascistButInefficient bumbling leadership]] eventually gets them thrown out in a bloodless coup and replaced with a comparatively benign, democratic socialist government. Notably, the general who led the coup [[{{Cincinnatus}} chooses to go into exile in Iceland]] rather than remain in New England, lest he run the risk of [[HereWeGoAgain becoming a dictator himself]].
* The AlternateHistory ''Literature/AWorldOfLaughterAWorldOfTears'' explores a world where Eisenhower had a heart attack in 1952 and Creator/WaltDisney became President instead. Under him the United States maintains segregation and goes in an increasingly paranoid and authoritarian direction. Many celebrities flee to Europe as The Mickey Mouse Club and its eager children and parents use patriotism and accusations of Un-American activity to browbeat (or just beat down) 1950s counterculture. Much better than it sounds.
* Another AlternateHistory story, ''Literature/FearLoathingAndGumboOnTheCampaignTrailSeventyTwo'', features this in its SequelSeries. [[spoiler:Donald Rumsfeld]] gets elected President in 1980 despite losing the popular vote by a decisive margin, chiefly due to the vagaries of the Electoral College system and left-wing voters being divided between two candidates. Under his watch, political dissidents (including [[spoiler:Creator/GeorgeCarlin, Barry Goldwater, James Gavin, and Creator/RogerEbert]]) are "disappeared", {{Hollywood}} becomes a far-right PropagandaMachine pushing the US government line, rapacious yuppie capitalism and religious fundamentalism rule the land, the civilian internet is strangled in its cradle in the interest of "national security", the military-industrial complex grows increasingly bloated and overstretched, and interstate travel is restricted. The 1984 election saw blatant vote fraud (and even then, [[spoiler:Rumsfeld]] once more lost the popular vote and had to rely on the Electoral College), and it's implied that there will be a FalseFlagOperation to justify support for [[UsefulNotes/TheApartheidEra apartheid South Africa]].
** [[spoiler:After Rumsfeld is thrown out of office, his successor, the conservative Jeremiah Denton, decides to serve out the remainder of his term and restore human rights after [[HeelRealization being horrified by what Rumsfeld did]]. Unfortunately, his own fundamentalist allies swept him from power. By 1990, they've create a totalitarian theocracy under the rule of Douglas Coe, and have unleashed nuclear weapons in a civil war against breakaway states]].
* ''Roleplay/CaptoIugulum'': Scottist America was definitely this, with the military controlling all aspects of society, the practice of slavery expanding into industry and lasting into the 20th century, even harsher Indian Wars, and much of the west ruled by generals via "Military Districts."
* In ''Literature/{{Reds}}'', due to UsefulNotes/WilliamMckinley not being assassinated by Leon Czolgosz (the rewrite re-imagines the point of divergence being a more unified Socialist movement by the end of the 1890s) a socialist regime takes control of America by revolution in 1933, and becomes the Union of American Socialist Republics (UASR). Not surprisingly, it was the attempt of previous administrations to suppress radical socialism [[SelfFulfillingProphecy that caused this revolution.]] This trope varies in its severity throughout this timeline:
** The suppression of dissidents that occurred during our World War I is slightly worse, resulting in the arrest of socialist politicians, and even respected statesmen like ''Robert La Follette.''
** When a Worker's Party wins the 1932 election in a landslide, Douglas [=MacArthur=] successfully pressures Herbert Hoover to suspend the Constitution, and to arrest the Worker's Party members. The so-called [[NonIndicativename Freedom Corps]] attempt to put down any opposition, notably massacring Huey Long and disloyal members of the Louisiana State Legislature. This is the final straw sets the stage for the UASR.
** The remnants of the US government and their supporters flee to Cuba and establish a new government, with [=Douglas MacArthur=] as PresidentEvil. He proceeds to oppress the Cuban population. It's implied that this will be subverted in the later years of the Cuban-US nation.
** The early years of the UASR are a downplayed version of this trope. Many people are dealt with by KangarooCourt and firing squads, but it is nowhere near the scale of the Soviet Union, and many of the sentenced were responsible for suppressing American democracy. These actions are still seen in-universe as a black spot on the history of the UASR, but none of the UASR leaders are portrayed as evil for them.
* In ''Literature/TheFalconCannotHear'', where the assassination of UsefulNotes/FranklinDRoosevelt in 1933 leads to a [[DividedStatesOfAmerica Second American Civil War]] by 1937, many of the factions involved in the fighting are some flavor of authoritarian. The American Soviet Republic is a Moscow-backed Stalinist state, the Civilian Government (aka the Whites) is a coalition of fascists and corporate interests backed by UsefulNotes/NaziGermany, and UsefulNotes/DouglasMacArthur's military government (aka the Khakis) is the heir to the military coup that started the civil war in the first place. Only the Red Oak Pact, a coalition between the democratic socialist Provisional Government (aka the Blues) and the agrarian populist Continental Congress (aka the Greens), can be considered benign; while they get their share of WhatTheHellHero moments as well, they're very much ALighterShadeOfGrey compared to the competition. [[spoiler:Fortunately, the Red Oak Pact eventually prevails, with the Khakis collapsing after a hurricane hits UsefulNotes/WashingtonDC and kills [=MacArthur=], disgruntled leaders and factions in the Whites and Reds defecting to the Red Oak Pact, and the Canadians eventually sending troops to support them.]]
* In ''Literature/NoW'', America quickly becomes this under President [[spoiler:Rick Santorum]], who starts turning it into a theocratic dictatorship. Political opponents and public figures who criticize him tend to either die in [[MakeItLookLikeAnAccident plane crashes]], get arrested on trumped up charges, or outright disappear. Laws are passed that discriminate against the LGBT community as sacrilegious, and ban video games or television shows that have even the slightest adult content. And eventually, the Muslim population is rounded up in "protection centers", supposedly to protect them from bigotry, but it is implied they're a precursor for extermination camps.
* ''Literature/AnExaminationOfExtraUniversalSystemsOfGovernment'' has a couple of examples:
** The United States under the reign of [[PresidentEvil Edward Butler]] indiscriminately bombed Islamic countries (including nuking Mecca and Medina), tried to persecute Islam in America, and placed the country under martial law in an attempt to prevent anyone from opposing or impeaching the Butler regime. Fortunately, Butler's regime didn't last long, and America fell into rebellion, utterly dissolving the United States, with nearly all the former states joining the North American Union, while Butler set up a GovernmentInExile in Guantanamo.
** The United States in the world of "The Eagle in Exile" is described as a "right-wing Soviet Union" after a revolution turned the country into an autocratic state dominated by the military and the "Tea Party Coalition." This caused Americans living overseas and in exile to form the American Overseas Republic.
** The US in the "Liberty Now Has A Country" timeline underwent a massive surge in the RedScare, in which the government fell under the sway of Joe [=McCarthy=] (who eventually became President) and became fervently totalitarian in the 1960s and 1970s. This resulted in a massive revolt against a J. Edgar Hoover-ruled regime in 1977, and leading to the birth of the Federated States of America.

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' episode "A Better World" takes place in an AlternateUniverse where the Justice League has become the tyrannical Justice Lords after the death of Franchise/TheFlash, and the subsequent murder of Lex Luthor. The Justice Lords appear to have an iron grip on everything, even going so far as to lobotomize their enemies, and keeping them in a place that is decidedly ''not'' a CardboardPrison.

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* The Alien and Sedition Acts passed by President UsefulNotes/JohnAdams during the "Quasi-War" with Britain and France, which were a major factor in destroying Adams' presidency and getting UsefulNotes/ThomasJefferson elected President in 1800.
** President UsefulNotes/WoodrowWilson would later pass similar laws as justification for the imprisonment of anti-war activists, socialists and other dissidents during WWI. This continued after the war with the First Red Scare, 1919-20.
* Sadly true for the Native Americans, who saw their rights undermined from the beginning of the US and were forced to migrate westwards. [[UsefulNotes/ManifestDestiny It got worse for them]].
* Both sides during UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar engaged in oppressive actions. On the Union side, Maryland was put under martial law to prevent it from seceding, and suspected sympathizers to the Confederacy could be arrested without warrant or trial. In the Confederacy, meanwhile, Union sympathizers (especially in Appalachia) found themselves terrorized by the secessionist governments, to the point where northwestern Virginia (a solidly pro-Union area in a Confederate state) [[RebelliousRebel counter-seceded]] and formed the pro-Union state of West Virginia. The Confederacy also continued the rather oppressive practice that caused the Civil War.
** For as much as Confederate apologists use "state's rights" as a cause of the war today, the Confederate central government put any attempts to increase local autonomy down HARD. A good example is shown in ''Film/FreeStateOfJones'', when some Mississipi farmers seceded because of the army confiscation so much they hardly could survive.
** Let's not miss the forest for the trees here: slavery itself was awful, and went practically unchallenged for the country's first 90 years. During that time, African-Americans were treated the same as animals, and those who managed to gain their freedom lived in constant fear of being mistaken for a fugitive slave and sold back into slavery, as none of the authorities would have cared. Even for white people, democracy was kind of a sham, as speaking out against slavery in the wrong place could get you lynched, and poor people of any race couldn't vote until the 1830s (the Founding Fathers originally didn't even ''want'' a democracy, only a republic run by the wealthy).
* If you were black during the [[Administrivia/CivilRightsMovement era of segregation]] in the US, you were in for a bad time. In certain parts of America, a black person who did or said the wrong thing (or was even accused or suspected of doing the wrong thing), especially to a white person, was pretty much doomed -- even if he or she was proclaimed innocent by the court, he or she was in very real danger of being [[VigilanteExecution lynched]] by an [[TorchesAndPitchforks angry white mob]], with the police either [[PoliceAreUseless standing by and doing nothing]] or, worse, [[PoliceBrutality actively egging them on]]. And across the country, black people and other minorities were [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundown_town not even allowed to live in certain towns]].
** The most notorious cases were in the Southern United States. After [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar the Civil War]] and the end of the Reconstruction period, many states passed so-called "Jim Crow" laws that restricted where their newly-freed black populations could go, what jobs they could have, where they could live, what government services they could use, etc. The Jim Crow system, particularly the increasingly extreme effort taken to uphold it in the 1950s and '60s (look up [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bull_Connor Bull Connor]] and [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orval_Faubus Orval Faubus]] if you need a downer), is ''still'' regarded as the collective OldShame of the South.
** In the North, meanwhile, segregation was carried out through means that were less blatant, yet arguably more insidious and harder to root out through government action. Most often, it was economic segregation, with black people being forced into ghettoes through discriminatory housing and real estate policies, and a thick glass ceiling preventing them from getting decent educations or careers. Affirmative action policies were created in TheSeventies in order to mitigate the effects of this 'soft' discrimination, but [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgment they haven't been without controversy]].
* In the Southwest, Mexicans and Mexican-Americans were [[http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/civil-rights-act/images/cr0024_enlarge.jpg collectively excluded from white establishments along with African-Americans]] and [[InsultToRocks dogs.]] Any Mexican accused of wrongdoing against a white person also faced [[http://latinousa.org/2016/03/11/the-history-of-anti-mexican-violence-and-lynching/ the same fate of an African-American under]] [[TorchesAndPitchforks similar]] [[VigilanteExecution circumstances.]]
** In California, the only reason the education department did not adopt draconian policies similar to those in [[TheDeepSouth Southern states]] was because beginning with the the ruling of the [[http://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/1986/april/lemongrove/ ''Lemon Grove'' case]] and culminating with [[https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2014/05/16/312555636/before-brown-v-board-mendez-fought-californias-segregated-schools "Mendez vs. Westminster",]] the California supreme court stated that racially segregating schools was illegal under state law.
* During the two {{Red Scare}}s during the early to middle part of the 20th century, holding differing opinions from the American mainstream could land you in a lot of trouble. The most notable was [=McCarthyism=] during the '50s, which was effectively witch hunts for suspected Communists. Those caught in the hunts, even if they weren't Communists, could and frequently did have their lives and careers destroyed.
* Leading up to the First Red Scare, the US' entrance into WWI was marked by a sharp increase in repressive measures towards pacifists, organized labor, socialists, Communists, German-Americans, immigrants, and other perceived subversive or disloyal elements. The Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918 led to raids and prosecutions. The German language was excised from public life, with German classes stopped and German books burned. Some states even outlawed speaking German on the phone (ostensibly to stop spies from doing so). The "Committee on Public Information" (Creel Committee) fed the public propaganda and helped direct repression and harassment towards perceived enemy sympathizers or pacifists.
* The Japanese Internment during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, in which 120,000 people, about two-thirds of whom were American citizens, were relocated to camps with little warning, and some were only able to take the clothes on their backs. Conditions in the camps varied greatly, from perfectly livable to downright horrific, due to the varied legal status of the camps (some were governed by the Geneva Convention and other international treaties, where conditions were the best, and others were governed by different areas of American law, which ran the gamut). In some camps, the internees were strictly confined to what amounted to barbed-wire enclosures, and internees were even shot on occasion. In other locations, the internees were allowed to wander outside the camps, engaged in agriculture, and even simply moved away to areas outside the West Coast "exclusion zone." Some especially fortunate internees were permitted to move back into the exclusion zone, though under "supervision."
** Italian- and German-Americans were interned as well, although in much smaller numbers. However, they were free to leave the camps as long as they proved their loyalty to the U.S. and were able to get a job or go to school outside the defense zones, and many joined the military to prove their loyalty. [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Unfortunately, these camps pushed many Germans who were not previously sympathetic to the Nazis into the arms of what would eventually become the core of the modern neo-Nazi and White Power movements.]]
** The great irony of the Japanese Internment is the case of ''Korematsu v. United States'', in which the Supreme Court [[ValuesDissonance held the internment program to be constitutional]]. It's a widely and rightly reviled decision, along with other infamous decisions like ''Dred Scott v. Sanford'', but it was also the birth of the Supreme Court's most rigorous and most important level of scrutiny: strict scrutiny. Most laws treating people differently based on their race or national origin are subject to strict scrutiny. Under a strict scrutiny analysis, a law is essentially presumed unconstitutional, and it requires an enormous showing from the government in order to survive. The government has only been able to meet this burden a handful of times. Through this standard, American courts demolished much of the racism inherent in governance, including segregation, Jim Crow, forced sterilizations, immigration quotas and court enforcement of racially restrictive covenants.
* Before the ruling of ''Loving vs. Virginia'' in 1967, numerous states [[MalignedMixedMarriage had laws that banned whites from marrying non whites,]] and breaking these laws often resulted in the guilty parties serving time behind bars.