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Useful Notes / The United States
aka: United States Of America

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"Oh, there it is. Notice Alaska? Yeah, it really is that big."

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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.
Preamble to the United States Constitution

Useful information on American life and the United States for those who are not American.

The United States of America — commonly referred to as the United States, the US, America, the USA, the Union (especially when discussing the Civil War), or just the States — is a Northern American constitutional federal democratic republic occupying a large part of the continent of North America. It borders Canada from the north and Mexico from the south in its main territorial area. It also contains the states of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean and Alaska between the northwest of Canada and North Asia, which shares a sea border with Russia, both located outside of its mainland. In all, the country consists of fifty states,note  the state-neutral capital of Washington, D.C. (for "District of Columbia"), and assorted commonwealths and protectorates. It is the fourth largest country in the world and so huge (it claims more territory than all other countries but #1 Russia, #2 Canada, and #3 China), in fact, that it would take three to four days on end to drive from one opposite end to the other and a flight from London to Moscow is almost 900 miles shorter than one from Los Angeles to New York. One state of the fifty, Texas, the largest state in the mainland and second largest overall, is almost three times as large as the entire United Kingdom, or (for another European comparison) only slightly smaller than France (the largest country in Western Europe). Alaska, the largest overall, is about the same size as The United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan combined. So if you're planning to come here, don't expect to hit all the widespread landmarks in one trip unless you have a lot of time to spend and don't mind paying for many flights or sitting through long car drives (there aren't all that many passenger trains anymore, aside from more local, smaller train lines that work within a city or across a fairly small set of towns).


Colonized by Europeans from the 16th century onwards, thirteen of the British-ruled colonies on the eastern coast declared independence in 1776 and combined to form their own country under the protection of the kingdoms of France and Spain. The new country then cleansed the natives from their lands as it expanded westwards (albeit only killing them when they resisted and indirectly by forcing them into places where they couldn't get enough food or shelter), also buying land from France, Britain (not Canada), Russia, and Denmark, annexing the Kingdom of Hawaii, and conquering territory during wars with Mexico, Spain, and (much later) Japan.

From the end of World War II, if not before, the United States became a superpower and is now one of the most powerful countries on the planet — it is currently the only remaining superpower on Earth (with the United Kingdom losing its superpower status after the Suez Crisis of 1956 and the Soviet Union collapsing in 1991. China is catching up fast with the United States, however, and many of its competitors in Europe and Asia have also recovered from World War II), is technologically advanced and possesses a large industrial base, a large military, and great financial wealth. It is also one of the largest exporters of modern media, with its products being seen the world over.


The country's government consists of three branches, the legislative branch, the judicial branch, and the executive branch. The leader of the executive branch has commonly been viewed as the country's main political leader and (supposed) role model for the American people: The President of the United States.

The Parts of the United States of America

American Culture and People

American Sports

American Government and Politics

American History

American Media and Communications

See Media Classifications for American (and other) video game and movie rating systems.

The American flag
The blue field represents freedom and independence, the white stripes represent peace, and the red stripes represent the blood shed to earn and keep both. The flag's thirteen alternating red and white stripes symbolize the original thirteen colonies that declared independence from Britain on July 4, 1776 — Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, South Carolina and Virginia — and the fifty white stars on the blue canton reflect the Union's current composition of fifty states. In the case of a fifty-first state joining the Union (most likely Puerto Rico), there is a 51-star flag on standby.

Great Seal of the United States
Click here to see the reverse version 

It was adopted in 1782 (6 years after the United States declared independence on July 4, 1776).

The American National Anthem
O say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): United States, United States Of America


The Star-Spangled Banner

The Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem of the United States of America.

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Main / NationalAnthem

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Main / NationalAnthem