USA-Most Powerful Nation, the United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S.) or America, is a federal republic composed of 50 states,
a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions.
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At 3.8 million square miles (9.8 million km 2) and with over 325 million people, the United States is the world’s third- or fourth-largest country by total area and the third-most populous. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City.
Forty-eight states and the capital’s federal district are contiguous and located in North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west.
The state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries.
The United States is the world’s greatest economic power, measured in terms of gross domestic product (GDP). The nation’s wealth is partly a reflection of its rich natural resources and its enormous agricultural output, but it owes more to the country’s highly developed industry.
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Despite its relative economic self-sufficiency in many areas, the United States is the most important single factor in world trade by virtue of the sheer size of its economy.
Its exports and imports represent major proportions of the world total. The United States also impinges on the global economy as a source of and as a destination for investment capital.
The country continues to sustain an economic life that is more diversified than any other on Earth, providing the majority of its people with one of the world’s highest standards of living.
In the early 20th century, the United States became a world power, fighting in World War I and World War II. Between the wars, there was an economic boom called the Roaring Twenties when people became richer and a bust called the Great Depression when most were poorer.
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The Great Depression ended with World War II. The United States and the Soviet Union entered the Cold War. This included wars in Korea and Vietnam. During this time, African-Americans, Chicanos, and women sought more rights. In the 1970s and 1980s, the United States started to make fewer things in factories.
The country then went through the worst recession it had since the Great Depression. At the end of the 1980s the Cold War ended, helping the United States out of recession. The Middle East became more important in American foreign policy, especially after the September 11 attacks in 2001.
Christianity is by far the most common religion practiced in the U.S., but other religions are followed, too. In a 2013 survey, 56% of Americans said that religion played a “very important role in their lives”, a far higher figure than that of any other wealthy nation.
In a 2009 Gallup poll, 42% of Americans said that they attended church weekly or almost weekly; the figures ranged from a low of 23% in Vermont to a high of 63% in Mississippi.
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The foundation of the American Government, its purpose, form, and structure, are in the Constitution of the United States. The Constitutional Convention adopted the Constitution on September 17, 1787.
The Bill of Rights is the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. It guarantees greater constitutional protection for individual liberties and lists specific prohibitions on government power.
There are 27 Constitutional Amendments in all. The 27th Amendment, which was originally proposed in 1789, was not ratified until 1992.
The United States has an established structure of foreign relations. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, and New York City is home to the United Nations Headquarters. It is a member of the G7, G20, and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Almost all countries have embassies in Washington, D.C., and many have consulates around the country. Likewise, nearly all nations host American diplomatic missions.
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However, Iran, North Korea, Bhutan, and the Republic of China (Taiwan) do not have formal diplomatic relations with the United States (although the U.S. still maintains relations with Taiwan and supplies it with military equipment).
Whether to oppose persecution or to preserve their religious identity, many groups moved to the New World. The English Pilgrims, Quakers and Protestant sects, wanting to preserve the purity of their views, each set up their own religious settlements.
With no state religion or external intervention, these communities were free to lead their lives the way they wanted. The numerous faiths found in the United States today are testament to the religious freedom early immigrants enjoyed.