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United States

United States

United States of America

CAPITAL: Washington, D.C. (District of Columbia).

FLAG: The flag consists of 13 alternate stripes, 7 red and 6 white; these represent the 13 original colonies. Fifty 5-pointed white stars, representing the present number of states in the Union, are placed in 9 horizontal rows alternately of 6 and 5 against a blue field in the upper left corner of the flag.

OFFICIAL SEAL: Obverse: An American eagle with outstretched wings bears a shield consisting of 13 alternating white and red stripes with a broad blue band across the top. The right talon clutches an olive branch, representing peace; in the left are 13 arrows, symbolizing military strength. The eagle's beak holds a banner with the motto "E pluribus unum" (From many, one); overhead is a constellation of 13 five-pointed stars in a glory. Reverse: Above a truncated pyramid is an all-seeing eye within a triangle; at the bottom of this triangle appear the roman numerals MDCCLXXVI (1776). The pyramid stands on a grassy ground, against a backdrop of mountains. The words "Annuit Coeptis" (He has favored our undertakings) and, on a banner, "Novus Ordo Seclorum" (A new order of the ages) surround the whole.

ANTHEM: The Star-Spangled Banner.

MOTTO: In God We Trust.

MONETARY UNIT: The dollar ($) of 100 cents is a paper currency with a floating rate. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents and 1 dollar, and notes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollars. Although issuance of higher notes ceased in 1969, a limited number of notes of 500, 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 dollars remain in circulation. A gold-colored 1 dollar coin featuring Sacagawea was introduced in 2000.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The imperial system is in common use; however, the use of metrics in industry is increasing, and the metric system is taught in public schools throughout the United States. Common avoirdupois units in use are the avoirdupois pound of 16 oz or 453.5924277 gm; the long ton of 2,240 lb or 35,840 oz; and the short ton, more commonly used, of 2,000 lb or 32,000 oz. (Unless otherwise indicated, all measures given in tons are in short tons.) Liquid measures: 1 gallon = 231 cu in = 4 quarts = 8 pints. Dry measures: 1 bushel = 4 pecks = 32 dry quarts = 64 dry pints. Linear measures: 1 ft = 12 in; 1 statute mi = 1,760 yd = 5,280 ft. Metric equivalent: 1 m = 39.37 in.

FEDERAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Lincoln's Birthday, 12 February (only in the northern and western states); Washington's Birthday, 3rd Monday in February; Memorial or Decoration Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Columbus Day, 2nd Monday in October; Election Day, 1st Tuesday after the 1st Monday in November; Veterans or Armistice Day, 11 November; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November; Christmas, 25 December.

TIME: Eastern, 7 am = noon GMT; Central, 6 am = noon GMT; Mountain, 5 am = noon GMT; Pacific (includes the Alaska panhandle), 4 am = noon GMT; Yukon, 3 am = noon GMT; Alaska and Hawaii, 2 am = noon GMT; western Alaska, 1 am = noon GMT.

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT

Located in the Western Hemisphere on the continent of North America, the United States is the fourth-largest country in the world. Its total area, including Alaska and Hawaii, is 9,629,091 sq km (3,717,813 sq mi). The conterminous United States extends 4,662 km (2,897 mi) enewsw and 4,583 km (2,848 mi) sse-nnw. It is bordered on the n by Canada, on the e by the Atlantic Ocean, on the s by the Gulf of Mexico and Mexico, and on the w by the Pacific Ocean, with a total boundary length of 17,563 km (10,913 mi). Alaska, the 49th state, extends 3,639 km (2,261 mi) e-w and 2,185 km (1,358 mi) n-s. It is bounded on the n by the Arctic Ocean and Beaufort Sea, on the e by Canada, on the s by the Gulf of Alaska, Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea, and on the w by the Bering Sea, Bering Strait, Chukchi Sea, and Arctic Ocean, with a total land boundary of 12,034 km (7,593 mi) and a coastline of 19,924 km (12,380 mi). The 50th state, Hawaii, consists of islands in the Pacific Ocean extending 2,536 km (1,576 mi) n-s and 2,293 km (1,425 mi) e-w, with a general coastline of 1,207 km (750 mi).

The nation's capital, Washington, D.C., is located on the mid-Atlantic coast.

TOPOGRAPHY

Although the northern New England coast is rocky, along the rest of the eastern seaboard the Atlantic Coastal Plain rises gradually from the shoreline. Narrow in the north, the plain widens to about 320 km (200 mi) in the south and in Georgia merges with the Gulf Coastal Plain that borders the Gulf of Mexico and extends through Mexico as far as the Yucatán. West of the Atlantic Coastal Plain is the Piedmont Plateau, bounded by the Appalachian Mountains. The Appalachians, which extend from southwest Maine into central Alabamawith special names in some areasare old mountains, largely eroded away, with rounded contours and forested, as a rule, to the top. Few of their summits rise much above 1,100 m (3,500 ft), although the highest, Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina, reaches 2,037 m (6,684 ft).

Between the Appalachians and the Rocky Mountains, more than 1,600 km (1,000 mi) to the west, lies the vast interior plain of the United States. Running south through the center of this plain and draining almost two-thirds of the area of the continental United States is the Mississippi River. Waters starting from the source of the Missouri, the longest of its tributaries, travel almost 6,450 km (4,000 mi) to the Gulf of Mexico.

The eastern reaches of the great interior plain are bounded on the north by the Great Lakes, which are thought to contain about half the world's total supply of fresh water. Under US jurisdiction are 57,441 sq km (22,178 sq mi) of Lake Michigan, 54,696 sq km (21,118 sq mi) of Lake Superior, 23,245 sq km (8,975 sq mi) of Lake Huron, 12,955 sq km (5,002 sq mi) of Lake Erie, and 7,855 sq km (3,033 sq mi) of Lake Ontario. The five lakes are now accessible to oceangoing vessels from the Atlantic via the St. Lawrence Seaway. The basins of the Great Lakes were formed by the glacial ice cap that moved down over large parts of North America some 25,000 years ago. The glaciers also determined the direction of flow of the Missouri River and, it is believed, were responsible for carrying soil from what is now Canada down into the central agricultural basin of the United States.

The great interior plain consists of two major subregions: the fertile Central Plains, extending from the Appalachian highlands to a line drawn approximately 480 km (300 mi) west of the Mississippi, broken by the Ozark Plateau; and the more arid Great Plains, extending from that line to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Although they appear flat, the Great Plains rise gradually from about 460 m (1,500 ft) to more than 1,500 m (5,000 ft) at their western extremity.

The Continental Divide, the Atlantic-Pacific watershed, runs along the crest of the Rocky Mountains. The Rockies and the ranges to the west are parts of the great system of young, rugged mountains, shaped like a gigantic spinal column, that runs along western North, Central, and South America from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Chile. In the continental United States, the series of western ranges, most of them paralleling the Pacific coast, are the Sierra Nevada, the Coast Ranges, the Cascade Range, and the Tehachapi and San Bernardino mountains. Between the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada-Cascade mountain barrier to the west lies the Great Basin, a group of vast arid plateaus containing most of the desert areas of the United States, in the south eroded by deep canyons.

The coastal plains along the Pacific are narrow, and in many places the mountains plunge directly into the sea. The most extensive lowland near the west coast is the Great Valley of California, lying between the Sierra Nevada and the Coast Ranges. There are 71 peaks in these western ranges of the continental United States that rise to an altitude of 4,267 m (14,000 ft) or more, Mt. Whitney in California at 4,418 m (14,494 ft) being the highest. The greatest rivers of the Far West are the Colorado in the south, flowing into the Gulf of California, and the Columbia in the northwest, flowing to the Pacific. Each is more than 1,900 km (1,200 mi) long; both have been intensively developed to generate electric power, and both are important sources of irrigation.

Separated from the continental United States by Canadian territory, the state of Alaska occupies the extreme northwest portion of the North American continent. A series of precipitous mountain ranges separates the heavily indented Pacific coast on the south from Alaska's broad central basin, through which the Yukon River flows from Canada in the east to the Bering Sea in the west. The central basin is bounded on the north by the Brooks Range, which slopes down gradually to the Arctic Ocean. The Alaskan Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands, sweeping west far out to sea, consist of a chain of volcanoes, many still active.

The state of Hawaii consists of a group of Pacific islands formed by volcanoes rising sharply from the ocean floor. The highest of these volcanoes, Mauna Loa, at 4,168 m (13,675 ft), is located on the largest of the islands, Hawaii, and is still active.

The lowest point in the United States is Death Valley in California, 86 m (282 ft) below sea level. At 6,194 m (20,320 ft), Mt. McKinley in Alaska is the highest peak in North America. These topographic extremes suggest the geological instability of the Pacific Coast region, which is part of the "Ring of Fire," a seismically active band surrounding the Pacific Ocean. Major earthquakes destroyed San Francisco in 1906 and Anchorage, Alaska, in 1964, and the San Andreas Fault in California still causes frequent earth tremors. In 2004, there was a total of 3550 U.S. earthquakes documented by the United States Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center. Washington State's Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980, spewing volcanic ash over much of the Northwest.

CLIMATE

The eastern continental region is well watered, with annual rainfall generally in excess of 100 cm (40 in). It includes all of the Atlantic seaboard and southeastern states and extends west to cover Indiana, southern Illinois, most of Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, and easternmost Texas. The eastern seaboard is affected primarily by the masses of air moving from west to east across the continent rather than by air moving in from the Atlantic. Hence its climate is basically continental rather than maritime. The midwestern and Atlantic seaboard states experience hot summers and cold winters; spring and autumn are clearly defined periods of climatic transition. Only Florida, with the Gulf of Mexico lying to its west, experiences moderate differences between summer and winter temperatures. Mean annual temperatures vary considerably between north and south: Boston, 11°c (51°f); New York City, 13°c (55°f); Charlotte, N.C., 16°c (61°f); Miami, Fla., 24°c (76°f).

The Gulf and South Atlantic states are often hit by severe tropical storms originating in the Caribbean in late summer and early autumn. In the past few years, the number of hurricanes and their severity have measurably increased. From 197094, there were about three hurricanes per year. From 1995 to 2003, there were a total of 32 major hurricanes with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.

In 2005 there were a record-breaking 23 named Atlantic hurricanes, three of which caused severe damage to the Gulf Coast region. On 25 August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit Florida as a category 1 hurricane. By 29 August, the storm developed into a category 4 hurricane that made landfall in southern Louisiana. Several levees protecting the low-lying city of New Orleans broke, flooding the entire region under waters that rose over the rooftops of homes. Over 1,000 were killed by the storm. Over 500,000 people were left homeless and without jobs.

One month later, Hurricane Rita swept first into Florida and continued to make landfall between Sabine Pass, Texas, and Johnson's Bayou, Louisiana, on 24 September 2005 as a category 3 hurricane. Before reaching land, however, the storm had peaked as a category 5 hurricane that was placed on record as the strongest measured hurricane to ever have entered the Gulf of Mexico and the fourth most intense hurricane ever in the Atlantic Basin. Over 100 people were killed.

Hurricane Wilma followed on 24 October when it made landfall north of Everglades City in Florida as a category 3 hurricane. There were about 22 deaths in the United States from Wilma; however, the storm also hit Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, and Mexico, reaching a death toll of at least 25 people from those countries combined.

The prairie lands lying to the west constitute a subhumid region. Precipitation usually exceeds evaporation by only a small amount; hence the region experiences drought more often than excessive rainfall. Dryness generally increases from east to west. The average midwinter temperature in the extreme northMinnesota and North Dakotais about 13°c (9°f) or less, while the average July temperature is 18°c (65 °f). In the Texas prairie region to the south, January temperatures average 10-13°c (50-55 °f) and July temperatures 27-29°c (80-85 °f). Rainfall along the western border of the prairie region is as low as 46 cm (18 in) per year in the north and 64 cm (25 in) in the south. Precipitation is greatest in the early summera matter of great importance to agriculture, particularly in the growing of grain crops. In dry years, the prevailing winds may carry the topsoil eastward (particularly from the southern region) for hundreds of miles in clouds that obscure the sun.

The Great Plains constitute a semiarid climatic region. Rainfall in the southern plains averages about 50 cm (20 in) per year and in the northern plains about 25 cm (10 in), but extreme year-to-year variations are common. The tropical air masses that move northward across the plains originate on the fairly high plateaus of Mexico and contain little water vapor. Periods as long as 120 days without rain have been experienced in this region. The rains that do occur are often violent, and a third of the total annual rainfall may be recorded in a single day at certain weather stations. The contrast between summer and winter temperatures is extreme throughout the Great Plains. Maximum summer temperatures of over 43°c (110°f) have been recorded in the northern as well as in the southern plains. From the Texas panhandle north, blizzards are common in the winter, and tornadoes at other seasons. The average minimum temperature for January in Duluth, Minn., is 19°c (3 °f).

The higher reaches of the Rockies and the mountains paralleling the Pacific coast to the west are characterized by a typical alpine climate. Precipitation as a rule is heavier on the western slopes of the ranges. The great intermontane arid region of the West shows

United StatesOutlying Areas of the United States1
NAME AREA SQ MI SQ KM CAPITAL YEAR OF ACQUISITION POPULATION 1980 POPULATION 1999
1Excludes minor and uninhabited islands.
2Although governed under separate constitutional arrangements by the mid-1980s, these territories formally remained part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands pending action by the US Congress, the US president, and the UN Security Council.
3Centers of constitutional government. The entire Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands is administered from Saipan.
Puerto Rico 3,515 9,104 San Juan 1898 3,196,520 3,887,652
Virgin Islands of the United States 136 352 Charlotte Amalie 1917 96,569 119,827
Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, of which: 713 1,847 Saipan 1947 132,929 87,865
  Northern Marianas2 182 471 Saipan3 - 16,780 69,398
  Republic of Palau2 191 495 Koror3 - 12,116 18,467
Other Pacific territories:
  American Samoa 77 199 Pago Pago 1899 32,297 63,786
  Guam 209 541 Agaña 1898 105,979 151,716
  Midway Islands 2 5 - 1867 468 n.a.
  Wake Island 3 8 - 1899 302 n.a.

considerable climatic variation between its northern and southern portions. In New Mexico, Arizona, and southeastern California, the greatest precipitation occurs in July, August, and September, mean annual rainfall ranging from 8 cm (3 in) in Yuma, Ariz., to 76 cm (30 in) in the mountains of northern Arizona and New Mexico. Phoenix has a mean annual temperature of 22°c (71°f), rising to 33°c (92°f) in July and falling to 11°c (52°f) in January. North of the Utah-Arizona line, the summer months usually are very dry; maximum precipitation occurs in the winter and early spring. In the desert valleys west of Great Salt Lake, mean annual precipitation adds up to only 10 cm (4 in). Although the northern plateaus are generally arid, some of the mountainous areas of central Washington and Idaho receive at least 152 cm (60 in) of rain per year. Throughout the intermontane region, the uneven availability of water is the principal factor shaping the habitat.

The Pacific coast, separated by tall mountain barriers from the severe continental climate to the east, is a region of mild winters and moderately warm, dry summers. Its climate is basically maritime, the westerly winds from the Pacific Ocean moderating the extremes of both winter and summer temperatures. Los Angeles in the south has an average temperature of 13°c (56 °f) in January and 21°c (69°f) in July; Seattle in the north has an average temperature of 4°c (39°f) in January and 18°c (65°f) in July. Precipitation in general increases along the coast from south to north, extremes ranging from an annual average of 4.52 cm (1.78 in) at Death Valley in California (the lowest in the United States) to more than 356 cm (140 in) in Washington's Olympic Mountains.

Climatic conditions vary considerably in the vastness of Alaska. In the fogbound Aleutians and in the coastal panhandle strip that extends southeastward along the Gulf of Alaska and includes the capital, Juneau, a relatively moderate maritime climate prevails. The interior is characterized by short, hot summers and long, bitterly cold winters, and in the region bordering the Arctic Ocean a polar climate prevails, the soil hundreds of feet below the surface remaining frozen the year round. Although snowy in winter, continental Alaska is relatively dry.

Hawaii has a remarkably mild and stable climate with only slight seasonal variations in temperature, as a result of northeast ocean winds. The mean January temperature in Honolulu is 23°c (73 °f); the mean July temperature 27°c (80°f). Rainfall is moderateabout 71 cm (28 in) per yearbut much greater in the mountains; Mt. Waialeale on Kauai has a mean annual rainfall of 1,168 cm (460 in), highest in the world.

The lowest temperature recorded in the United States was 62°c (79.8°f) at Prospect Creek Camp, Alaska, on 23 January 1971; the highest, 57°c (134°f) at Greenland Ranch, in Death Valley, Calif., on 10 July 1913. The record annual rainfall is 1,878 cm (739 in) recorded at Kukui, Maui in 1982; the previous record for a one-year period was 1,468 cm (578 in) recorded at Fuu Kukui, Maui, in 1950; in 1 hour, 30 cm (12 in), at Holt, Mo., on 22 June 1947, and on Kauai, Hawaii, on 24-25 January 1956.

FLORA AND FAUNA

At least 7,000 species and subspecies of indigenous US flora have been categorized. The eastern forests contain a mixture of softwoods and hardwoods that includes pine, oak, maple, spruce, beech, birch, hemlock, walnut, gum, and hickory. The central hardwood forest, which originally stretched unbroken from Cape Cod to Texas and northwest to Minnesotastill an important timber sourcesupports oak, hickory, ash, maple, and walnut. Pine, hickory, tupelo, pecan, gum, birch, and sycamore are found in the southern forest that stretches along the Gulf coast into the eastern half of Texas. The Pacific forest is the most spectacular of all because of its enormous redwoods and Douglas firs. In the southwest are saguaro (giant cactus), yucca, candlewood, and the Joshua tree.

The central grasslands lie in the interior of the continent, where the moisture is not sufficient to support the growth of large forests. The tall grassland or prairie (now almost entirely under cultivation) lies to the east of the 100th meridian. To the west of this line, where rainfall is frequently less than 50 cm (20 in) per year, is the short grassland. Mesquite grass covers parts of west Texas, southern New Mexico, and Arizona. Short grass may be found in the highlands of the latter two states, while tall grass covers large portions of the coastal regions of Texas and Louisiana and occurs in some parts of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The Pacific grassland includes northern Idaho, the higher plateaus of eastern Washington and Oregon, and the mountain valleys of California.

The intermontane region of the Western Cordillera is for the most part covered with desert shrubs. Sagebrush predominates in the northern part of this area, creosote in the southern, with salt-brush near the Great Salt Lake and in Death Valley.

The lower slopes of the mountains running up to the coastline of Alaska are covered with coniferous forests as far north as the Seward Peninsula. The central part of the Yukon Basin is also a region of softwood forests. The rest of Alaska is heath or tundra. Hawaii has extensive forests of bamboo and ferns. Sugarcane and pineapple, although not native to the islands, now cover a large portion of the cultivated land.

Small trees and shrubs common to most of the United States include hackberry, hawthorn, serviceberry, blackberry, wild cherry, dogwood, and snowberry. Wildflowers bloom in all areas, from the seldom-seen blossoms of rare desert cacti to the hardiest alpine species. Wildflowers include forget-me-not, fringed and closed gentians, jack-in-the-pulpit, black-eyed Susan, columbine, and common dandelion, along with numerous varieties of aster, orchid, lady's slipper, and wild rose.

An estimated 428 species of mammals characterize the animal life of the continental United States. Among the larger game animals are the white-tailed deer, moose, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, black bear, and grizzly bear. The Alaskan brown bear often reaches a weight of 1,200-1,400 lbs. Some 25 important furbearers are common, including the muskrat, red and gray foxes, mink, raccoon, beaver, opossum, striped skunk, wood-chuck, common cottontail, snowshoe hare, and various squirrels. Human encroachment has transformed the mammalian habitat over the last two centuries. The American buffalo (bison), millions of which once roamed the plains, is now found only on select reserves. Other mammals, such as the elk and gray wolf, have been restricted to much smaller ranges.

Year-round and migratory birds abound. Loons, wild ducks, and wild geese are found in lake country; terns, gulls, sandpipers, herons, and other seabirds live along the coasts. Wrens, thrushes, owls, hummingbirds, sparrows, woodpeckers, swallows, chickadees, vireos, warblers, and finches appear in profusion, along with the robin, common crow, cardinal, Baltimore oriole, eastern and western meadowlarks, and various blackbirds. Wild turkey, ruffed grouse, and ring-necked pheasant (introduced from Europe) are popular game birds. There are at least 508 species of birds found throughout the country.

Lakes, rivers, and streams teem with trout, bass, perch, muskellunge, carp, catfish, and pike; sea bass, cod, snapper, and flounder are abundant along the coasts, along with such shellfish as lobster, shrimp, clams, oysters, and mussels. Garter, pine, and milk snakes are found in most regions. Four poisonous snakes survive, of which the rattlesnake is the most common. Alligators appear in southern waterways and the Gila monster makes its home in the Southwest.

Laws and lists designed to protect threatened and endangered flora and fauna have been adopted throughout the United States. Generally, each species listed as protected by the federal government is also protected by the states, but some states may list species not included on federal lists or on the lists of neighboring states. (Conversely, a species threatened throughout most of the United States may be abundant in one or two states.) As of November 2005, the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed 997 endangered US species (up from 751 listed in 1996), including 68 species of mammals, 77 birds, 74 fish, and 599 plants; and 275 threatened species (209 in 1996), including 11 species of mammals, 13 birds, 42 fish, and 146 plants. The agency listed another 520 endangered and 46 threatened foreign species by international agreement.

Threatened species, likely to become endangered if recent trends continue, include such plants as Lee pincushion cactus. Among the endangered floral species (in imminent danger of extinction in the wild) are the Virginia round-leaf birch, San Clemente Island broom, Texas wildrice, Furbish lousewort, Truckee barberry, Sneed pincushion cactus, spineless hedgehog cactus, Knowlton cactus, persistent trillium, dwarf bear-poppy, and small whorled pogonia.

Endangered mammals included the red wolf, black-footed ferret, jaguar, key deer, northern swift fox, San Joaquin kit fox, jaguar, jaguarundi, Florida manatee, ocelot, Florida panther, Utah prairie dog, Sonoran pronghorn, and numerous whale species. Endangered species of rodents included the Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel, beach mouse, salt-marsh harvest mouse, 7 species of bat (Virginia and Ozark big-eared Sanborn's and Mexican long-nosed, Hawaiian hoary, Indiana, and gray), and the Morro Ba, Fresno, Stephens', and Tipton Kangaroo rats and rice rat.

Endangered species of birds included the California condor, bald eagle, three species of falcon (American peregrine, tundra peregrine, and northern aplomado), Eskimo curlew, two species of crane (whooping and Mississippi sandhill), three species of warbler (Kirtland's, Bachman's, and golden-cheeked), dusky seaside sparrow, light-footed clapper rail, least tern, San Clemente loggerhead shrike, bald eagle (endangered in most states, but only threatened in the Northwest and the Great Lakes region), Hawaii creeper, Everglade kite, California clapper rail, and red-cockaded woodpecker. Endangered amphibians included four species of salamander (Santa Cruz long-toed, Shenandoah, desert slender, and Texas blind), Houston and Wyoming toad, and six species of turtle (green sea, hawksbill, Kemp's ridley, Plymouth and Alabama redbellied, and leatherback). Endangered reptiles included the American crocodile, (blunt nosed leopard and island night), and San Francisco garter snake.

Aquatic species included the shortnose sturgeon, Gila trout, eight species of chub (humpback, Pahranagat, Yaqui, Mohave tui, Owens tui, bonytail, Virgin River, and Borax lake), Colorado River squawfish, five species of dace (Kendall Warm Springs, and Clover Valley, Independence Valley, Moapa and Ash Meadows speckled), Modoc sucker, cui-ui, Smoky and Scioto madtom, seven species of pupfish (Leon Springs, Gila Desert, Ash Meadows Amargosa, Warm Springs, Owens, Devil's Hole, and Comanche Springs), Pahrump killifish, four species of gambusia (San Marcos, Pecos, Amistad, Big Bend, and Clear Creek), six species of darter (fountain, watercress, Okaloosa, boulder, Maryland, and amber), totoaba, and 32 species of mussel and pearly mussel. Also classified as endangered were two species of earthworm (Washington giant and Oregon giant), the Socorro isopod, San Francisco forktail damselfly, Ohio emerald dragonfly, three species of beetle (Kretschmarr Cave, Tooth Cave, and giant carrion), Belkin's dune tabanid fly, and 10 species of butterfly (Schaus' swallowtail, lotis, mission, El Segundo, and Palos Verde blue, Mitchell's satyr, Uncompahgre fritillary, Lange's metalmark, San Bruno elfin, and Smith's blue).

Endangered plants in the United States include: aster, cactus, pea, mustard, mint, mallow, bellflower and pink family, snapdragon, and buckwheat. Several species on the federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants are found only in Hawaii. Endangered bird species in Hawaii included the Hawaiian dark-rumped petrel, Hawaiian gallinule, Hawaiian crow, three species of thrush (Kauai, Molokai, and puaiohi), Kauai 'o'o, Kauai nukupu'u, Kauai 'alialoa, 'akiapola'au, Maui'akepa, Molokai creeper, Oahu creeper, palila, and 'o'u.

Species formerly listed as threatened or endangered that have been removed from the list include (with delisting year and reason) American alligator (1987, recovered); coastal cutthroat trout (2000, taxonomic revision); Bahama swallowtail butterfly (1984, amendment); gray whale (1994, recovered); brown pelican (1984, recovered); Rydberg milk-vetch (1987, new information); Lloyd's hedgehog cactus (1999, taxonomic revision), and Columbian white-tailed Douglas County Deer (2003, recovered).

There are at least 250 species of plants and animals that have become extinct, including the Wyoming toad, the Central Valley grasshopper, Labrador duck, Carolina parakeet, Hawaiian crow, chestnut moth, and the Franklin tree.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

The Council on Environmental Quality, an advisory body contained within the Executive Office of the President, was established by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, which mandated an assessment of environmental impact for every federally funded project. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), created in 1970, is an independent body with primary regulatory responsibility in the fields of air and noise pollution, water and waste management, and control of toxic substances. Other federal agencies with environmental responsibilities are the Forest Service and Soil Conservation Service within the Department of Agriculture, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service within the Department of the Interior, the Department of Energy, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In addition to the 1969 legislation, landmark federal laws protecting the environment include the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970 and 1990, controlling automobile and electric utility emissions; the Water Pollution Act of 1972, setting clean-water criteria for fishing and swimming; and the Endangered Species Act of 1973, protecting wildlife near extinction.

A measure enacted in December 1980 established a $1.6-billion "Superfund," financed largely by excise taxes on chemical companies, to clean up toxic waste dumps such as the one in the Love Canal district of Niagara Falls, N.Y. In 2005, there were 1,238 hazardous waste sites on the Superfund's national priority list.

The most influential environmental lobbies include the Sierra Club (founded in 1892; 700,000 members in 2003) and its legal arm, the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund. Large conservation groups include the National Wildlife Federation (1936; over 4,000,000), the National Audubon Society (1905; 600,000), and the Nature Conservancy (1917; 1,000,000). Greenpeace USA (founded in 1979) has gained international attention by seeking to disrupt hunts for whales and seals.

Among the environmental movement's most notable successes have been the inauguration (and mandating in some states) of recycling programs; the banning in the United States of the insecticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT); the successful fight against construction of a supersonic transport (SST); and the protection of more than 40 million hectares (100 million acres) of Alaska lands (after a fruitless fight to halt construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline); and the gradual elimination of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) production by 2000. In March 2003, the US Senate narrowly voted to reject a Bush administration plan to begin oil exploration in the 19 million acre (7.7 million hectare) Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). In 2003, about 25.9% of the total land area was protected. The United States has 12 natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 22 Ramsar wetland sites. Yellowstone National Park, founded in 1872, was the first national park established worldwide.

Outstanding problems include acid rain (precipitation contaminated by fossil fuel wastes); inadequate facilities for solid waste disposal; air pollution from industrial emissions (the United States leads the world in carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels); the contamination of homes by radon, a radio

United StatesState Areas, Entry Dates, and Populations
TOTAL AREA POPULATION
STATE SQ MILE SQ KM RANK CAPITAL ENTRY ORDER DATE OF ENTRY AT ENTRY CENSUS 1990 CENSUS 2000
Census closest to entry date.
Date fixed in 1953 by congressional resolution.
*One of original 13 colonies.
Alabama 51,705 133,916 19 Montgomery 22 14 December 1819 127,901 4,040,587 4,447,100
Alaska 591,004 1,530,699 1 Juneau 49 3 January 1959 226,167 550,043 626,932
Arizona 114,000 295,260 6 Phoenix 48 14 February 1912 204,354 3,665,228 5,130,632
Arkansas 53,187 137,754 27 Little Rock 25 15 June 1836 57,574 2,350,725 2,673,400
California 158,706 411,048 3 Sacramento 31 9 September 1850 92,597 29,760,021 33,871,648
Colorado 104,091 269,595 8 Denver 38 1 August 1876 39,864 3,294,394 4,301,261
Connecticut* 5,018 12,997 48 Hartford 5 9 January 1788 237,946 3,287,116 3,405,565
Delaware* 2,044 5,294 49 Dover 1 7 December 1787 59,096 666,168 783,600
Florida 58,664 151,940 22 Tallahassee 27 3 March 1845 87,445 12,937,926 15,982,378
Georgia* 58,910 152,577 21 Atlanta 4 2 January 1788 82,548 6,478,316 8,186,453
Hawaii 6,471 16,760 47 Honolulu 50 21 August 1959 632,772 1,108,229 1,211,537
Idaho 83,564 216,431 13 Boise 43 3 July 1890 88,548 1,006,749 1,293,953
Illinois 56,345 145,933 24 Springfield 21 3 December 1818 55,211 11,430,602 12,419,293
Indiana 36,185 93,719 38 Indianapolis 19 11 December 1816 147,178 5,544,159 6,080,485
Iowa 56,275 145,752 25 Des Moines 29 28 December 1846 192,214 2,776,755 2,926,324
Kansas 82,277 213,097 14 Topeka 34 29 January 1861 107,206 2,477,574 2,688,418
Kentucky 40,409 104,659 37 Frankfort 15 1 June 1792 73,677 3,685,296 4,041,769
Louisiana 47,752 123,678 31 Baton Rouge 18 30 April 1812 76,556 4,219,973 4,468,976
Maine 33,265 86,156 39 Augusta 23 15 March 1820 298,335 1,227,928 1,274,923
Maryland* 10,460 27,091 42 Annapolis 7 28 April 1788 319,728 4,781,468 5,296,486
Massachusetts* 8,284 21,456 45 Boston 6 6 February 1788 378,787 6,016,425 6,349,097
Michigan 58,527 151,585 23 Lansing 26 26 January 1837 212,267 9,295,297 9,938,444
Minnesota 84,402 218,601 12 St. Paul 32 11 May 1858 172,023 4,375,099 4,919,497
Mississippi 47,689 123,514 32 Jackson 20 10 December 1817 75,448 2,573,216 2,844,658
Missouri 69,697 180,515 19 Jefferson City 24 10 August 1821 66,586 5,117,073 5,595,211
Montana 147,046 380,849 4 Helena 41 8 November 1889 142,924 799,065 902,195
Nebraska 77,355 200,349 15 Lincoln 37 1 March 1867 122,993 1,578,385 1,711,263
Nevada 110,561 286,353 7 Carson City 36 31 October 1864 42,491 1,201,833 1,998,257
New Hampshire* 9,279 24,033 44 Concord 9 21 June 1788 141,885 1,109,252 1,235,786
New Jersey* 7,787 20,168 46 Trenton 3 18 December 1787 184,139 7,730,188 8,414,350
New Mexico 121,593 314,926 5 Santa Fe 47 6 January 1912 327,301 1,515,069 1,819,046
New York* 49,108 127,190 30 Albany 11 26 July 1788 340,120 17,990,455 18,976,457
North Carolina* 52,669 136,413 28 Raleigh 12 21 November 1789 393,751 6,628,637 8,049,313
North Dakota 70,702 183,118 17 Bismarck 39 2 November 1889 190,983 638,800 642,200
Ohio 41,330 107,045 35 Columbus 17 1 March 1803 43,365 10,847,115 11,353,140
Oklahoma 69,956 181,186 18 Oklahoma City 46 16 November 1907 657,155 3,145,585 3,450,654
Oregon 97,073 251,419 10 Salem 33 14 February 1859 52,465 2,842,321 3,421,399
Pennsylvania* 45,308 117,348 33 Harrisburg 2 12 December 1787 434,373 11,003,464 12,281,054
Rhode Island* 1,212 3,139 50 Providence 13 29 May 1790 68,825 1,003,464 1,048,319
South Carolina* 31,113 80,583 40 Columbia 8 23 May 1788 393,751 3,486,703 4,012,012
South Dakota 77,116 199,730 16 Pierre 40 2 November 1889 348,600 696,004 754,844
Tennessee 42,144 109,153 34 Nashville 16 1 June 1796 35,691 4,877,185 5,689,283
Texas 266,807 691,030 2 Austin 28 29 December 1845 212,592 16,986,510 20,851,820
Utah 84,899 219,888 11 Salt Lake City 45 4 January 1896 276,749 1,722,850 2,233,169
Vermont 9,614 24,900 43 Montpelier 14 4 March 1791 85,425 562,758 608,827
Virginia* 40,767 105,586 36 Richmond 10 25 June 1788 747,610 6,187,358 7,078,515
Washington 68,139 176,480 20 Olympia 42 11 November 1889 357,232 4,866,692 5,894,121
West Virginia 24,231 62,758 41 Charleston 35 20 June 1863 442,014 1,793,477 1,808,344
Wisconsin 56,153 145,436 26 Madison 30 29 May 1848 305,391 4,891,769 5,363,675
Wyoming 97,809 253,325 9 Cheyenne 44 10 July 1890 62,555 453,588 493,782

active gas that is produced by the decay of underground deposits of radium and can cause cancer; runoffs of agricultural pesticides, pollutants deadly to fishing streams and very difficult to regulate; continued dumping of raw or partially treated sewage from major cities into US waterways; falling water tables in many western states; the decrease in arable land because of depletion, erosion, and urbanization; the need for reclamation of strip-mined lands and for regulation of present and future strip mining; and the expansion of the US nuclear industry in the absence of a fully satisfactory technique for the handling and permanent disposal of radioactive wastes.

POPULATION

The population of United States in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 296,483,000, which placed it at number 3 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 12% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 21% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 97 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 20052010 was expected to be 0.6%, a rate the government viewed as satisfactory. The projected population for the year 2025 was 349,419,000. The population density was 207 per sq km (80 per sq mi), with major population concentrations are along the northeast Atlantic coast and the southwest Pacific coast. The population is most dense between New York City and Washington, D.C.

At the time of the first federal census, in 1790, the population of the United States was 3,929,214. Between 1800 and 1850, the population almost quadrupled; between 1850 and 1900, it tripled; and between 1900 and 1950, it almost doubled. During the 1960s and 1970s, however, the growth rate slowed steadily, declining from 2.9% annually in 1960 to 2% in 1969 and to less than 1% from the 1980s through 2000. The population has aged: the median age of the population increased from 16.7 years in 1820 to 22.9 years in 1900 and to 34.3 years in 1995.

Suburbs have absorbed most of the shift in population distribution since 1950. The UN estimated that 79% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 1.33%. The capital city, Washington, D.C. (District of Columbia), had a population of 4,098,000 in that year. Other major metropolitan areas and their estimated populations include: New York, 18,498,000; Los Angeles, 12,146,000; Chicago, 8,711,000; Dallas, 4,612,000; Houston, 4,283,000; Philadelphia, 5,325,000; San Diego, 2,818,000; and Phoenix, 3,393,000. Major cities can be found throughout the United States.

ETHNIC GROUPS

The majority of the population of the United States is of European origin, with the largest groups having primary ancestry traceable to the United Kingdom, Germany, and Ireland; many Americans report multiple ancestries. According to 2004 American Community Survey estimates, about 75.6% of the total population are white, 12.1% are blacks and African Americans, and 4.2% are Asian. Native Americans (including Alaskan Natives) account for about 0.8% of the total population. About 1.8% of the population claim a mixed ancestry of two or more races. About 11.9% of all US citizens are foreign-born, with the largest numbers of people coming from Latin America (17,973,287) and Asia (9,254,705).

Some Native American societies survived the initial warfare with land-hungry white settlers and retained their tribal cultures. Their survival, however, has been on the fringes of North American society, especially as a result of the implementation of a national policy of resettling Native American tribes on reservations. In 2004, estimates place the number of Native Americans (including Alaska Natives) at 2,151,322. The number of those who claim mixed Native American and white racial backgrounds is estimated at 1,370,675; the 2004 estimate for mixed Native American and African American ancestry was 204,832. The largest single tribal grouping is the Cherokee, with about 331,491 people. The Navajo account for about 230,401 people, the Chippewa fro 92,041 people, and the Sioux for 67,666 people. Groups of Native Americans are found most numerously in the southwestern states of Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, and California. The 1960s and 1970s saw successful court fights by Native Americans in Alaska, Maine, South Dakota, and other states to regain tribal lands or to receive cash settlements for lands taken from them in violation of treaties during the 1800s.

The black and African American population in 2004 was estimated at 34,772,381, with the majority still residing in the South, the region that absorbed most of the slaves brought from Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries. About 1,141,232 people claimed mixed black and white ethnicity. Two important regional migrations of blacks have taken place: (1) a "Great Migration" to the North, commencing in 1915, and (2) a small but then unprecedented westward movement beginning about 1940. Both migrations were fostered by wartime demands for labor and by postwar job opportunities in northern and western urban centers. More than three out of four black Americans live in metropolitan areas, notably in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, Newark, Baltimore, and New York City, which had the largest number of black residents. Large-scale federal programs to ensure equality for African Americans in voting rights, public education, employment, and housing were initiated after the historic 1954 Supreme Court ruling that barred racial segregation in public schools. By 1966, however, in the midst of growing and increasingly violent expressions of dissatisfaction by black residents of northern cities and southern rural areas, the federal Civil Rights Commission reported that integration programs were lagging. Throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, the unemployment rate among nonwhites in the United States was at least double that for whites, and school integration proceeded slowly, especially outside the South.

Also included in the US population are a substantial number of persons whose lineage can be traced to Asian and Pacific nationalities, chiefly Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Indian, Korean, and Vietnamese. The Chinese population is highly urbanized and concentrated particularly in cities of over 100,000 population, mostly on the West Coast and in New York City. According to 2004 estimates, there are over 2.8 million Chinese in the United States. Asian Indians are the next largest group of Asians with over 2.2 million people in 2004. About 2.1 million people are Filipino. The Japanese population has risen steadily from a level of 72,157 in 1910 to about 832,039 in 2004. Hawaii has been the most popular magnet of Japanese emigration. Most Japanese in California were farmers until the outbreak of World War II, when they were interned and deprived of their landholdings; after the war, most entered the professions and other urban occupations.

Hispanics or Latinos make up about 14% of the population according to 2004 estimates. It is important to note, however, that the designation of Hispanic or Latino applies to those who are of Latin American descent; these individuals may also belong to white, Asian, or black racial groups. Although Mexicans in the 21st century were still concentrated in the Southwest, they have settled throughout the United States; there are over 25 million Mexicans in the country. Spanish-speaking Puerto Ricans, who often represent an amalgam of racial strains, have largely settled in the New York metropolitan area, where they partake in considerable measure of the hardships and problems experienced by other immigrant groups in the process of settling in the United States; there are about 3.8 million Puerto Ricans in the country. Since 1959, many Cubans have settled in Florida and other eastern states. As of 2004, there are about 1.4 mullion Cubans in the Untied States.

LANGUAGES

The primary language of the United States is English, enriched by words borrowed from the languages of Indians and immigrants, predominantly European. Very early English borrowed from neighboring French speakers such words as shivaree, butte, levee, and prairie; from German, sauerkraut, smearcase, and cranberry; from Dutch, stoop, spook, and cookie; and from Spanish, tornado, corral, ranch, and canyon. From various West African languages, blacks have given English jazz, voodoo, and okra. According to 2004 estimates of primary languages spoken at home, about 81% of the population speak English only.

When European settlement began, Indians living north of Mexico spoke about 300 different languages now held to belong to 58 different language families. Only 2 such families have contributed noticeably to the American vocabulary: Algonkian in the Northeast and Aztec-Tanoan in the Southwest. From Algonkian languages, directly or sometimes through Canadian French, English has taken such words as moose, skunk, caribou, opossum, wood-chuck, and raccoon for New World animals; hickory, squash, and tamarack for New World flora; and succotash, hominy, mackinaw, moccasin, tomahawk, toboggan, and totem for various cultural items. From Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, terms such as tomato, mesquite, coyote, chili, tamale, chocolate, and ocelot have entered English, largely by way of Spanish. A bare handful of words come from other Indian language groups, such as tepee from Dakota Siouan, catalpa from Creek, sequoia from Cherokee, hogan from Navaho, and sockeye from Salish, as well as cayuse from Chinook.

Professional dialect research, initiated in Germany in 1878 and in France in 1902, did not begin in the United States until 1931, in connection with the Linguistic Atlas of New England (193943). This kind of research, requiring trained field-workers to interview representative informants in their homes, subsequently was extended to the entire Atlantic Coast, the north-central states, the upper Midwest, the Pacific Coast, the Gulf states, and Oklahoma. The New England atlas, the Linguistic Atlas of the Upper Midwest (197376), and the first two fascicles of the Linguistic Atlas of the Middle and South Atlantic States (1980) have been published, along with three volumes based on Atlantic Coast field materials. Also published or nearing publication are atlases of the north-central states, the Gulf states, and Oklahoma. In other areas, individual dialect researchers have produced more specialized studies. The definitive work on dialect speech, the American Dialect Society's monumental Dictionary of American Regional English, began publication in 1985.

Dialect studies confirm that standard English is not uniform throughout the country. Major regional variations reflect patterns of colonial settlement, dialect features from England having dominated particular areas along the Atlantic Coast and then spread westward along the three main migration routes through the Appalachian system. Dialectologists recognize three main dialectsNorthern, Midland, and Southerneach with subdivisions related to the effect of mountain ranges and rivers and railroads on population movement.

The Northern dialect is that of New England and its derivative settlements in New York; the northern parts of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa; and Michigan, Wisconsin, northeastern South Dakota, and North Dakota. A major subdivision is that of New England east of the Connecticut River, an area noted typically by the loss of /r/ after a vowel, and by the pronunciation of can't, dance, half, and bath with a vowel more like that in father than that in fat. Generally, however, Northern speech has a strong /r/ after a vowel, the same vowel in can't and cat, a conspicuous contrast between cot and caught, the /s/ sound in greasy, creek rhyming with pick, and with ending with the same consonant sound as at the end of breath.

Midland speech extends in a wide band across the United States: there are two main subdivisions, North Midland and South Midland. North Midland speech extends westward from New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania into Ohio, Illinois, southern Iowa, and northern Missouri. Its speakers generally end with with the consonant sound that begins the word thin, pronounce cot and caught alike, and say cow and down as /caow/ and /daown/. South Midland speech was carried by the Scotch-Irish from Pennsylvania down the Shenandoah Valley into the southern Appalachians, where it acquired many Southern speech features before it spread westward into Kentucky, Tennessee, southern Missouri, Arkansas, and northeast Texas. Its speakers are likely to say plum peach rather than clingstone peach and snake doctor rather than dragonfly.

Southern speech typically, though not always, lacks the consonant /r/ after a vowel, lengthens the first part of the diphthong in write so that to Northern ears it sounds almost like rat, and diphthongizes the vowels in bed and hit so that they sound like /beuhd/ and /hiuht/. Horse and hoarse do not sound alike, and creek rhymes with meek. Corn bread is corn pone, and you-all is standard for the plural.

In the western part of the United States, migration routes so crossed and intermingled that no neat dialect boundaries can be drawn, although there are a few rather clear population pockets.

Spanish is spoken by a sizable minority in the United States; according to 2004 estimates, about 11.4% of the population speak Spanish as the primary language of their household. The majority of Spanish speakers live in the Southwest, Florida, and eastern urban centers. Refugee immigration since the 1950s has greatly increased the number of foreign-language speakers from Latin America and Asia.

Educational problems raised by the presence of large blocs of non-English speakers led to the passage in 1976 of the Bilingual Educational Act, enabling children to study basic courses in their first language while they learn English. A related school problem is that of black English, a Southern dialect variant that is the vernacular of many black students now in northern schools.

RELIGIONS

US religious traditions are predominantly Judeo-Christian and most Americans identify themselves as Protestants (of various denominations), Roman Catholics, or Jews. As of 2000, over 141 million Americans reported affiliation with a religious group. The single largest Christian denomination is the Roman Catholic Church, with membership in 2004 estimated at 66.4 million. Immigration from Ireland, Italy, Eastern Europe, French Canada, and the Caribbean accounts for the predominance of Roman Catholicism in the Northeast, Northwest, and some parts of the Great Lakes region, while Hispanic traditions and more recent immigration from Mexico and other Latin American countries account for the historical importance of Roman Catholicism in California and throughout most of the sunbelt. More than any other US religious body, the Roman Catholic Church maintains an extensive network of parochial schools.

Jewish immigrants settled first in the Northeast, where the largest Jewish population remains; at last estimates, about 6.1 million Jews live in the United States. According to data from 1995, there are about 3.7 million Muslims in the country. About 1.8 million people are Buddhist and 795,000 are Hindu. Approximately 874,000 people are proclaimed atheists.

Over 94 million persons in the United States report affiliation with a Protestant denomination. Baptists predominate below the Mason-Dixon line and west to Texas. By far the nation's largest Protestant group is the Southern Baptist Convention, which has about 16.2 million members; the American Baptist Churches in the USA claim some 1.4 million members. A concentration of Methodist groups extends westward in a band from Delaware to eastern Colorado; the largest of these groups, the United Methodist Church has about 8.2 million members. A related group, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, has about 2.5 million members. Lutheran denominations, reflecting in part the patterns of German and Scandinavian settlement, are most highly concentrated in the north-central states, especially Minnesota and the Dakotas. Two Lutheran synods, the Lutheran Church in America and the American Lutheran Church, merged in 1987 to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, with more than 5 million adherents in 2004. In June 1983, the two major Presbyterian churches, the northern-based United Presbyterian Church in the USA and the southern-based Presbyterian Church in the United States, formally merged as the Presbyterian Church (USA), ending a division that began with the Civil War. This group claimed 3.4 adherents in 2004. Other prominent Protestant denominations and their estimated adherents (2004) include the Episcopal Church 2,334,000, and the United Church of Christ 1,331,000.

A number of Orthodox Christian denominations are represented in the United States, established by immigrants hoping to maintain their language and culture in a new world. The largest group of Orthodox belong to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, which has about 1.5 million members.

A number of religious groups, which now have a worldwide presence, originated in the United States. One such group, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), was organized in New York in 1830 by Joseph Smith, Jr., who claimed to receive a revelation concerning an ancient American prophet named Mormon. The group migrated westward, in part to escape persecution, and has played a leading role in the political, economic, and religious life of Utah; Salt Lake City is the headquarters for the church. As of 2004, there are about 5.4 million members of the, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Jehovah's Witnesses were established by Charles Taze Russell in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1872. They believe that Biblical prophecies are being fulfilled through world events and that the kingdom of God will be established on earth at the end of the great war described in the Bible. In 2004, there were about 1 million members in the Untied States.

The Church of Christ Scientist was established by Mary Baker Eddy (18211910) and her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. A primary belief of the group is that physical injury and illness might be healed through the power of prayer and the correction of false beliefs. The Mother Church is located in Boston, Massachusetts. Christian Scientists have over 1,000 congregations in the nation. The Seventh-Day Adventists were also established in the Untied States by William Miller, a preacher who believed that the second coming of Christ would occur between 1843 and 1844. Though his prediction did not come true, many of his followers continued to embrace other practices such as worship on Saturday, vegetarianism, and a focus on preparation for the second coming. In 2004, the Seventh-Day Adventist Church had 919,000 members in the United States.

TRANSPORTATION

Railroads have lost not only the largest share of intercity freight traffic, their chief source of revenue, but passenger traffic as well. Despite an attempt to revive passenger transport through the development of a national network (Amtrak) in the 1970s, the rail sector has continued to experience heavy losses and declining revenues. In 1998 there were nine Class I rail companies in the United States, down from 13 in 1994, with a total of 178,222 employees and operating revenues of $32.2 billion. In 2003 there were 227,736 km (141,424 mi) of railway, all standard gauge. In 2000, Amtrak carried 84.1 million passengers.

The most conspicuous form of transportation is the automobile, and the extent and quality of the United States road-transport system are without parallel in the world. Over 226.06 million vehiclesa record numberwere registered in 2003, including more than 130.8 million passenger cars and over 95.3. commercial vehicles. In 2000, there were some 4,346,068 motorcycles registered.

The United States has a vast network of public roads, whose total length as of 2003 was 6,393,603 km (3,976,821 mi), of which, 4,180,053 km (2,599,993 mi) were paved, including 74,406 km (46,281 mi) of expressways. The United States also has 41,009 km (25,483 mi) of navigable inland channels, exclusive of the Great Lakes. Of that total, 19,312 km (12,012 mi) are still in commercial use, as of 2004.

Major ocean ports or port areas are New York, the Delaware River areas (Philadelphia), the Chesapeake Bay area (Baltimore, Norfolk, Newport News), New Orleans, Houston, and the San Francisco Bay area. The inland port of Duluth on Lake Superior handles more freight than all but the top-ranking ocean ports. The importance of this port, along with those of Chicago and Detroit, was enhanced with the opening in 1959 of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Waterborne freight consists primarily of bulk commodities such as petroleum and its products, coal and coke, iron ore and steel, sand, gravel and stone, grains, and lumber. The US merchant marine industry has been decreasing gradually since the 1950s. In 2005, the United States had a merchant shipping fleet of 486 vessels of 1,000 GRT or more, with a combined GRT of 12,436,658.

In 2004, the United States had an estimated 14,857 airports. In 2005 a total of 5,120 had paved runways, and there were also 153 heliports. Principal airports include Hartsfield at Atlanta; Logan International at Boston; O'Hare International at Chicago; Dallas-Fort Worth at Dallas; Detroit Metropolitan; Honolulu International; Houston Intercontinental; Los Angeles International; John F. Kennedy, La Guardia, and Newark International at or near New York; Philadelphia International; Orlando International; Miami International; San Francisco International; L. Munoz Marin at San Juan, Seattle-Tacoma at Seattle, and Dulles International at Wash-ington. Revenue passengers carried by the airlines in 1940 totaled 2.7 million. By 2003, the figure was estimated at 588.997 million for US domestic and international carriers, along with freight traffic estimated at 34,206 million freight ton-km.

HISTORY

The first Americansdistant ancestors of the Native Americansprobably crossed the Bering Strait from Asia at least 12,000 years ago. By the time Christopher Columbus came to the New World in 1492 there were probably no more than 2 million Native Americans living in the land that was to become the United States.

Following exploration of the American coasts by English, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, and French sea captains from the late 15th century onward, European settlements sprang up in the latter part of the 16th century. The Spanish established the first permanent settlement at St. Augustine in the future state of Florida in 1565, and another in New Mexico in 1599. During the early 17th century, the English founded Jamestown in Virginia Colony (1607) and Plymouth Colony in present-day Massachusetts (1620). The Dutch established settlements at Ft. Orange (now Albany, N.Y.) in 1624, New Amsterdam (now New York City) in 1626, and at Bergen (now part of Jersey City, N.J.) in 1660; they conquered New Swedenthe Swedish colony in Delaware and New Jerseyin 1655. Nine years later, however, the English seized this New Netherland Colony and subsequently monopolized settlement of the East Coast except for Florida, where Spanish rule prevailed until 1821. In the Southwest, California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas also were part of the Spanish empire until the 19th century. Meanwhile, in the Great Lakes area south of present-day Canada, France set up a few trading posts and settlements but never established effective control; New Orleans was one of the few areas of the United States where France pursued an active colonial policy.

From the founding of Jamestown to the outbreak of the American Revolution more than 150 years later, the British government administered its American colonies within the context of mercantilism: the colonies existed primarily for the economic benefit of the empire. Great Britain valued its American colonies especially for their tobacco, lumber, indigo, rice, furs, fish, grain, and naval stores, relying particularly in the southern colonies on black slave labor.

The colonies enjoyed a large measure of internal self-government until the end of the French and Indian War (174563), which resulted in the loss of French Canada to the British. To prevent further troubles with the Indians, the British government in 1763 prohibited the American colonists from settling beyond the Appalachian Mountains. Heavy debts forced London to decree that the colonists should assume the costs of their own defense, and the British government enacted a series of revenue measures to provide funds for that purpose. But soon, the colonists began to insist that they could be taxed only with their consent and the struggle grew to become one of local versus imperial authority.

Widening cultural and intellectual differences also served to divide the colonies and the mother country. Life on the edge of the civilized world had brought about changes in the colonists' attitudes and outlook, emphasizing their remoteness from English life. In view of the long tradition of virtual self-government in the colonies, strict enforcement of imperial regulations and British efforts to curtail the power of colonial legislatures presaged inevitable conflict between the colonies and the mother country. When citizens of Massachusetts, protesting the tax on tea, dumped a shipload of tea belonging to the East India Company into Boston harbor in 1773, the British felt compelled to act in defense of their authority as well as in defense of private property. Punitive measuresreferred to as the Intolerable Acts by the colonistsstruck at the foundations of self-government.

In response, the First Continental Congress, composed of delegates from 12 of the 13 coloniesGeorgia was not representedmet in Philadelphia in September 1774, and proposed a general boycott of English goods, together with the organizing of a militia. British troops marched to Concord, Mass., on 19 April 1775 and destroyed the supplies that the colonists had assembled there. American "minutemen" assembled on the nearby Lexington green and fired "the shot heard round the world," although no one knows who actually fired the first shot that morning. The British soldiers withdrew and fought their way back to Boston.

Voices in favor of conciliation were raised in the Second Continental Congress that assembled in Philadelphia on 10 May 1775, this time including Georgia; but with news of the Restraining Act (30 March 1775), which denied the colonies the right to trade with countries outside the British Empire, all hopes for peace vanished. George Washington was appointed commander in chief of the new American army, and on 4 July 1776, the 13 American colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, justifying the right of revolution by the theory of natural rights.

British and American forces met in their first organized encounter near Boston on 17 June 1775. Numerous battles up and down the coast followed. The British seized and held the principal cities but were unable to inflict a decisive defeat on Washington's troops. The entry of France into the war on the American side eventually tipped the balance. On 19 October 1781, the British commander, Cornwallis, cut off from reinforcements by the French fleet on one side and besieged by French and American forces on the other, surrendered his army at Yorktown, Va. American independence was acknowledged by the British in a treaty of peace signed in Paris on 3 September 1783.

The first constitution uniting the 13 original statesthe Articles of Confederationreflected all the suspicions that Americans entertained about a strong central government. Congress was denied power to raise taxes or regulate commerce, and many of the powers it was authorized to exercise required the approval of a minimum of nine states. Dissatisfaction with the Articles of Confederation was aggravated by the hardships of a postwar depression, and in 1787the same year that Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance, providing for the organization of new territories and states on the frontiera convention assembled in Philadelphia to revise the articles. The convention adopted an altogether new constitution, the present Constitution of the United States, which greatly increased the powers of the central government at the expense of the states. This document was ratified by the states with the understanding that it would be amended to include a bill of rights guaranteeing certain fundamental freedoms. These freedomsincluding the rights of free speech, press, and assembly, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial juryare assured by the first 10 amendments to the constitution, adopted on 5 December 1791; the constitution did however recognize slavery, and did not provide for universal suffrage. On 30 April 1789 George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the United States.

During Washington's administration, the credit of the new nation was bolstered by acts providing for a revenue tariff and an excise tax; opposition to the excise on whiskey sparked the Whiskey Rebellion, suppressed on Washington's orders in 1794. Alexander Hamilton's proposals for funding the domestic and foreign debt and permitting the national government to assume the debts of the states were also implemented. Hamilton, the secretary of the treasury, also created the first national bank, and was the founder of the Federalist Party. Opposition to the bank as well as to the rest of the Hamiltonian program, which tended to favor northeastern commercial and business interests, led to the formation of an anti-Federalist party, the Democratic-Republicans, led by Thomas Jefferson.

The Federalist Party, to which Washington belonged, regarded the French Revolution as a threat to security and property; the Democratic-Republicans, while condemning the violence of the revolutionists, hailed the overthrow of the French monarchy as a blow to tyranny. The split of the nation's leadership into rival camps was the first manifestation of the two-party system, which has since been the dominant characteristic of the US political scene (Jefferson's party should not be confused with the modern Republican Party, formed in 1854.)

The 1800 election brought the defeat of Federalist President John Adams, Washington's successor, by Jefferson; a key factor in Adam's loss was the unpopularity of the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798), Federalist-sponsored measures that had abridged certain freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. In 1803, Jefferson achieved the purchase from France of the Louisiana Territory, including all the present territory of the United States west of the Mississippi drained by that river and its tributaries; exploration and mapping of the new territory, notably through the expeditions of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, began almost immediately. Under Chief Justice John Marshall, the US Supreme Court, in the landmark case of Marbury v. Madison, established the principle of federal supremacy in conflicts with the states and enunciated the doctrine of judicial review.

During Jefferson's second term in office, the United States became involved in a protracted struggle between Britain and Napoleonic France. Seizures of US ships and the impressment of US seamen by the British navy led the administration to pass the Embargo Act of 1807, under which no US ships were to put out to sea. After the act was repealed in 1809, ship seizures and impressment of seamen by the British continued, and were the ostensible reasons for the declaration of war on Britain in 1812 during the administration of James Madison. An underlying cause of the War of 1812, however, was land-hungry Westerners' coveting of southern Canada as potential US territory.

The war was largely a standoff. A few surprising US naval victories countered British successes on land. The Treaty of Ghent (24 December 1814), which ended the war, made no mention of impressment and provided for no territorial changes. The occasion for further maritime conflict with Britain, however, disappeared with the defeat of Napoleon in 1815.

Now the nation became occupied primarily with domestic problems and westward expansion. Because the United States had been cut off from its normal sources of manufactured goods in Great Britain during the war, textiles and other industries developed and prospered in New England. To protect these infant industries, Congress adopted a high-tariff policy in 1816.

Three events of the late 1810s and the 1820s were of considerable importance for the future of the country. The federal government in 1817 began a policy of forcibly resettling the Indians, already decimated by war and disease, in what later became known as Indian Territory (now Oklahoma); those Indians not forced to move were restricted to reservations. The Missouri Compromise (1820) was an attempt to find a nationally acceptable solution to the volatile dispute over the extension of black slavery to new territories. It provided for admission of Missouri into the Union as a slave state but banned slavery in territories to the west that lay north of 36°30. As a result of the establishment of independent Latin American republics and threats by France and Spain to reestablish colonial rule, President James Monroe in 1823 asserted that the Western Hemisphere was closed to further colonization by European powers. The Monroe Doctrine declared that any effort by such powers to recover territories whose independence the United States had recognized would be regarded as an unfriendly act.

From the 1820s to the outbreak of the Civil War, the growth of manufacturing continued, mainly in the North, and was accelerated by inventions and technological advances. Farming expanded with westward migration. The South discovered that its future lay in the cultivation of cotton. The cotton gin, invented by Eli Whitney in 1793, greatly simplified the problems of production; the growth of the textile industry in New England and Great Britain assured a firm market for cotton. Hence, during the first half of the 19th century, the South remained a fundamentally agrarian society based increasingly on a one-crop economy. Large numbers of field hands were required for cotton cultivation, and black slavery became solidly entrenched in the southern economy.

The construction of roads and canals paralleled the country's growth and economic expansion. The successful completion of the Erie Canal (1825), linking the Great Lakes with the Atlantic, ushered in a canal-building boom. Railroad building began in earnest in the 1830s, and by 1840, about 3,300 mi (5,300 km) of track had been laid. The development of the telegraph a few years later gave the nation the beginnings of a modern telecommunications network. As a result of the establishment of the factory system, a laboring class appeared in the North by the 1830s, bringing with it the earliest unionization efforts.

Western states admitted into the Union following the War of 1812 provided for free white male suffrage without property qualifications and helped spark a democratic revolution. As eastern states began to broaden the franchise, mass appeal became an important requisite for political candidates. The election to the presidency in 1928 of Andrew Jackson, a military hero and Indian fighter from Tennessee, was no doubt a result of this widening of the democratic process. By this time, the United States consisted of 24 states and had a population of nearly 13 million.

The relentless westward thrust of the United States population ultimately involved the United States in foreign conflict. In 1836, US settlers in Texas revolted against Mexican rule and established an independent republic. Texas was admitted to the Union as a state in 1845, and relations between Mexico and the United States steadily worsened. A dispute arose over the southern boundary of Texas, and a Mexican attack on a US patrol in May 1846 gave President James K. Polk a pretext to declare war. After a rapid advance, US forces captured Mexico City, and on 2 February 1848, Mexico formally gave up the unequal fight by signing the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, providing for the cession of California and the territory of New Mexico to the United States. With the Gadsden Purchase of 1853, the United States acquired from Mexico for $10 million large strips of land forming the balance of southern Arizona and New Mexico. A dispute with Britain over the Oregon Territory was settled in 1846 by a treaty that established the 49th parallel as the boundary with Canada. Thenceforth the United States was to be a Pacific as well as an Atlantic power.

Westward expansion exacerbated the issue of slavery in the territories. By 1840, abolition of slavery constituted a fundamental aspect of a movement for moral reform, which also encompassed women's rights, universal education, alleviation of working class hardships, and temperance. In 1849, a year after the discovery of gold had precipitated a rush of new settlers to California, that territory (whose constitution prohibited slavery) demanded admission to the Union. A compromise engineered in Congress by Senator Henry Clay in 1850 provided for California's admission as a free state in return for various concessions to the South. But enmities dividing North and South could not be silenced. The issue of slavery in the territories came to a head with the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which repealed the Missouri Compromise and left the question of slavery in those territories to be decided by the settlers themselves. The ensuing conflicts in Kansas between northern and southern settlers earned the territory the name "bleeding Kansas."

In 1860, the Democratic Party, split along northern and southern lines, offered two presidential candidates. The new Republican Party, organized in 1854 and opposed to the expansion of slavery, nominated Abraham Lincoln. Owing to the defection in Democratic ranks, Lincoln was able to carry the election in the electoral college, although he did not obtain a majority of the popular vote. To ardent supporters of slavery, Lincoln's election provided a reason for immediate secession. Between December 1860 and February 1861, the seven states of the Deep SouthSouth Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texaswithdrew from the Union and formed a separate government, known as the Confederate States of America, under the presidency of Jefferson Davis. The secessionists soon began to confiscate federal property in the South. On 12 April 1861, the Confederates opened fire on Ft. Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, S.C., and thus precipitated the US Civil War. Following the outbreak of hostilities, Arkansas, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee joined the Confederacy.

For the next four years, war raged between the Confederate and Union forces, largely in southern territories. An estimated 360,000 men in the Union forces died of various causes, including 110,000 killed in battle. Confederate dead were estimated at 250,000, including 94,000 killed in battle. The North, with great superiority in manpower and resources, finally prevailed. A Confederate invasion of the North was repulsed at the battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in July 1863; a Union army took Atlanta in September 1864; and Confederate forces evacuated Richmond, the Confederate capital, in early April 1865. With much of the South in Union hands, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia on 9 April.

The outcome of the war brought great changes in US life. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 was the initial step in freeing some 4 million black slaves; their liberation was completed soon after the war's end by amendments to the Constitution. Lincoln's plan for the reconstruction of the rebellious states was compassionate, but only five days after Lee's surrender, Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth as part of a conspiracy in which US Secretary of State William H. Seward was seriously wounded.

During the Reconstruction era (186577), the defeated South was governed by Union Army commanders, and the resultant bitterness of southerners toward northern Republican rule, which enfranchised blacks, persisted for years afterward. Vice President Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln as president, tried to carry out Lincoln's conciliatory policies but was opposed by radical Republican leaders in Congress who demanded harsher treatment of the South. On the pretext that he had failed to carry out an act of Congress, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Johnson in 1868, but the Senate failed by one vote to convict him and remove him from office. It was during Johnson's presidency that Secretary of State Seward negotiated the purchase of Alaska (which attained statehood in 1959) from Russia for $7.2 million.

The efforts of southern whites to regain political control of their states led to the formation of terrorist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan, which employed violence to prevent blacks from voting. By the end of the Reconstruction era, whites had reestablished their political domination over blacks in the southern states and had begun to enforce patterns of segregation in education and social organization that were to last for nearly a century.

In many southern states, the decades following the Civil War were ones of economic devastation, in which rural whites as well as blacks were reduced to sharecropper status. Outside the South, however, a great period of economic expansion began. Transcontinental railroads were constructed, corporate enterprise spurted ahead, and the remaining western frontier lands were rapidly occupied and settled. The age of big business tycoons dawned. As heavy manufacturing developed, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and New York emerged as the nation's great industrial centers. The Knights of Labor, founded in 1869, engaged in numerous strikes, and violent conflicts between strikers and strikebreakers were common. The American Federation of Labor, founded in 1886, established a nationwide system of craft unionism that remained dominant for many decades. During this period, too, the woman's rights movement organized actively to secure the vote (although woman's suffrage was not enacted nationally until 1920), and groups outraged by the depletion of forests and wildlife in the West pressed for the conservation of natural resources.

During the latter half of the 19th century, the acceleration of westward expansion made room for millions of immigrants from Europe. The country's population grew to more than 76 million by 1900. As homesteaders, prospectors, and other settlers tamed the frontier, the federal government forced Indians west of the Mississippi to cede vast tracts of land to the whites, precipitating a series of wars with various tribes. By 1890, only 250,000 Indians remained in the United States, virtually all of them residing on reservations.

The 1890s marked the closing of the United States frontier for settlement and the beginning of US overseas expansion. By 1892, Hawaiian sugar planters of US origin had become strong enough to bring about the downfall of the native queen and to establish a republic, which in 1898, at its own request, was annexed as a territory by the United States. The sympathies of the United States with the Cuban nationalists who were battling for independence from Spain were aroused by a lurid press and by expansionist elements. A series of events climaxed by the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana harbor finally forced a reluctant President William McKinley to declare war on Spain on 25 April 1898. US forces overwhelmed those of Spain in Cuba, and as a result of the Spanish-American War, the United States added to its territories the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico. A newly independent Cuba was drawn into the United States orbit as a virtual protectorate through the 1950s. Many eminent citizens saw these new departures into imperialism as a betrayal of the time-honored US doctrine of government by the consent of the governed.

With the marked expansion of big business came increasing protests against the oppressive policies of large corporations and their dominant role in the public life of the nation. A demand emerged for strict control of monopolistic business practice through the enforcement of antitrust laws. Two US presidents, Theodore Roosevelt (190109), a Republican and Woodrow Wilson (191321), a Democrat, approved of the general movement for reform, which came to be called progressivism. Roosevelt developed a considerable reputation as a trustbuster, while Wilson's program, known as the New Freedom, called for reform of tariffs, business procedures, and banking. During Roosevelt's first term, the United States leased the Panama Canal Zone and started construction of a 42-mi (68-km) canal, completed in 1914.

US involvement in World War I marked the country's active emergence as one of the great powers of the world. When war broke out in 1914 between Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey on one side and Britain, France, and Russia on the other, sentiment in the United States was strongly opposed to participation in the conflict, although a large segment of the American people sympathized with the British and the French. While both sides violated US maritime rights on the high seas, the Germans, enmeshed in a British blockade, resorted to unrestricted submarine warfare. On 6 April 1917, Congress declared war on Germany. Through a national draft of all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 45, some 4 million US soldiers were trained, of whom more than 2 million were sent overseas to France. By late 1917, when US troops began to take part in the fighting on the western front, the European armies were approaching exhaustion, and US intervention may well have been decisive in ensuring the eventual victory of the Allies. In a series of great battles in which US soldiers took an increasingly major part, the German forces were rolled back in the west, and in the autumn of 1918 were compelled to sue for peace. Fighting ended with the armistice of 11 November 1918. President Wilson played an active role in drawing up the 1919 Versailles peace treaty, which embodied his dream of establishing a League of Nations to preserve the peace, but the isolationist bloc in the Senate was able to prevent US ratification of the treaty.

In the 1920s, the United States had little enthusiasm left for crusades, either for democracy abroad or for reform at home; a rare instance of idealism in action was the Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928), an antiwar accord negotiated on behalf of the United States by Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg. In general, however, the philosophy of the Republican administrations from 1921 to 1933 was expressed in the aphorism "The business of America is business," and the 1920s saw a great business boom. The years 192324 also witnessed the unraveling of the Teapot Dome scandal: the revelation that President Warren G. Harding's secretary of the interior, Albert B. Fall, had secretly leased federal oil reserves in California and Wyoming to private oil companies in return for gifts and loans.

The great stock market crash of October 1929 ushered in the most serious and most prolonged economic depression the country had ever known. By 1933, an estimated 12 million men and women were out of work; personal savings were wiped out on a vast scale through a disastrous series of corporate bankruptcies and bank failures. Relief for the unemployed was left to private charities and local governments, which were incapable of handling the enormous task.

The inauguration of the successful Democratic presidential candidate, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in March 1933 ushered in a new era of US history, in which the federal government was to assume a much more prominent role in the nation's economic affairs. Proposing to give the country a "New Deal," Roosevelt accepted national responsibility for alleviating the hardships of unemployment; relief measures were instituted, work projects were established, the deficit spending was accepted in preference to ignoring public distress. The federal Social Security program was inaugurated, as were various measures designed to stimulate and develop the economy through federal intervention. Unions were strengthened through the National Labor Relations Act, which established the right of employees' organizations to bargain collectively with employers. Union membership increased rapidly, and the dominance of the American Federation of Labor was challenged by the newly formed Congress of Industrial Organizations, which organized workers along industrial lines.

The depression of the 1930s was worldwide, and certain nations attempted to counter economic stagnation by building large military establishments and embarking on foreign adventures. Following German, Italian, and Japanese aggression, World War II broke out in Europe during September 1939. In 1940, Roosevelt, disregarding a tradition dating back to Washington that no president should serve more than two terms, ran again for reelection. He easily defeated his Republican opponent, Wendell Willkie, who, along with Roosevelt, advocated increased rearmament and all possible aid to victims of aggression. The United States was brought actively into the war by the Japanese attack on the Pearl Harbor naval base in Hawaii on 7 December 1941. The forces of Germany, Italy, and Japan were now arrayed over a vast theater of war against those of the United States and the British Commonwealth; in Europe, Germany was locked in a bloody struggle with the Soviet Union. US forces waged war across the vast expanses of the Pacific, in Africa, in Asia, and in Europe. Italy surrendered in 1943; Germany was successfully invaded in 1944 and conquered in May 1945; and after the United States dropped the world's first atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese capitulated in August. The Philippines became an independent republic soon after the war, but the United States retained most of its other Pacific possessions, with Hawaii becoming the 50th state in 1959.

Roosevelt, who had been elected to a fourth term in 1944, died in April 1945 and was succeeded by Harry S Truman, his vice president. Under the Truman administration, the United States became an active member of the new world organization, the United Nations. The Truman administration embarked on large-scale programs of military aid and economic support to check the expansion of communism. Aid to Greece and Turkey in 1948 and the Marshall Plan, a program designed to accelerate the economic recovery of Western Europe, were outstanding features of US postwar foreign policy. The North Atlantic Treaty (1949) established a defensive alliance among a number of West European nations and the United States. Truman's Point Four program gave technical and scientific aid to developing nations. When, following the North Korean attack on South Korea on 25 June 1950, the UN Security Council resolved that members of the UN should proceed to the aid of South Korea. US naval, air, and ground forces were immediately dispatched by President Truman. An undeclared war ensued, which eventually was brought to a halt by an armistice signed on 27 June 1953.

In 1952, Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe during World War II, was elected president on the Republican ticket, thereby bringing to an end 20 years of Democratic presidential leadership. In foreign affairs, the Eisenhower administration continued the Truman policy of containing the USSR and threatened "massive retaliation" in the event of Soviet aggression, thus heightening the Cold War between the world's two great nuclear powers. Although Republican domestic policies were more conservative than those of the Democrats, the Eisenhower administration extended certain major social and economic programs of the Roosevelt and Truman administrations, notably Social Security and public housing. The early years of the Eisenhower administration were marked by agitation (arising in 1950) over charges of Communist and other allegedly subversive activities in the United Statesa phenomenon known as McCarthyism, after Republican Senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin, who aroused much controversy with unsubstantiated allegations that Communists had penetrated the US government, especially the Army and the Department of State. Even those who personally opposed McCarthy lent their support to the imposition of loyalty oaths and the blacklisting of persons with left-wing backgrounds.

A major event of the Eisenhower years was the US Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) outlawing segregation of whites and blacks in public schools. In the aftermath of this ruling, desegregation proceeded slowly and painfully. In the early 1960s, sit-ins, "freedom rides," and similar expressions of nonviolent resistance by blacks and their sympathizers led to a lessening of segregation practices in public facilities. Under Chief Justice Earl Warren, the high court in 1962 mandated the reapportionment of state and federal legislative districts according to a "one person, one vote" formula. It also broadly extended the rights of defendants in criminal trials to include the provision of a defense lawyer at public expense for an accused person unable to afford one, and established the duty of police to advise an accused person of his or her legal rights immediately upon arrest.

In the early 1960s, during the administration of Eisenhower's Democratic successor, John F. Kennedy, the Cold War heated up as Cuba, under the regime of Fidel Castro, aligned itself with the Soviet Union. Attempts by anti-Communist Cuban exiles to invade their homeland in the spring of 1961 failed despite US aid. In October 1962, President Kennedy successfully forced a showdown with the Soviet Union over Cuba in demanding the withdrawal of Soviet-supplied "offensive weapons"missilesfrom the nearby island. On 22 November 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a motorcade through Dallas, Texas; hours later, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was inaugurated president. In the November 1964 elections, Johnson overwhelmingly defeated his Republican opponent, Barry M. Goldwater, and embarked on a vigorous program of social legislation unprecedented since Roosevelt's New Deal. His "Great Society" program sought to ensure black Americans' rights in voting and public housing, to give the underprivileged job training, and to provide persons 65 and over with hospitalization and other medical benefits (Medicare). Measures ensuring equal opportunity for minority groups may have contributed to the growth of the woman's rights movement in the late 1960s. This same period also saw the growth of a powerful environmental protection movement.

US military and economic aid to anti-Communist forces in Vietnam, which had its beginnings during the Truman administration (while Vietnam was still part of French Indochina) and was increased gradually by presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, escalated in 1965. In that year, President Johnson sent US combat troops to South Vietnam and ordered US bombing raids on North Vietnam, after Congress (in the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution of 1964) had given him practically carte blanche authority to wage war in that region. By the end of 1968, American forces in Vietnam numbered 536,100 men, but US military might was unable to defeat the Vietnamese guerrillas, and the American people were badly split over continuing the undeclared (and, some thought, ill-advised or even immoral) war, with its high price in casualties and materiel. Reacting to widespread dissatisfaction with his Vietnam policies, Johnson withdrew in March 1968 from the upcoming presidential race, and in November, Republican Richard M. Nixon, who had been the vice president under Eisenhower, was elected president. Thus, the Johnson yearswhich had begun with the new hopes of a Great Society but had soured with a rising tide of racial violence in US cities and the assassinations of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., and US senator Robert F. Kennedy, among othersdrew to a close.

President Nixon gradually withdrew US ground troops from Vietnam but expanded aerial bombardment throughout Indochina, and the increasingly unpopular and costly war continued for four more years before a cease-firenegotiated by Nixon's national security adviser, Henry Kissingerwas finally signed on 27 January 1973 and the last US soldiers were withdrawn. The most protracted conflict in American history had resulted in 46,163 US combat deaths and 303,654 wounded soldiers, and had cost the US government $112 billion in military allocations. Two years later, the South Vietnamese army collapsed, and the North Vietnamese Communist regime united the country.

In 1972, during the last year of his first administration, Nixon initiated the normalization of relationsruptured in 1949with the People's Republic of China and signed a strategic arms limita-tion agreement with the Soviet Union as part of a Nixon-Kissinger policy of pursuing détente with both major Communist powers. (Earlier, in July 1969, American technology had achieved a national triumph by landing the first astronaut on the moon.) The Nixon administration sought to muster a "silent majority" in support of its Indochina policies and its conservative social outlook in domestic affairs. The most momentous domestic development, however, was the Watergate scandal, which began on 17 June 1972 with the arrest of five men associated with Nixon's reelection campaign, during a break-in at Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate office building in Washington, D.C. Although Nixon was reelected in 1972, subsequent disclosures by the press and by a Senate investigating committee revealed a complex pattern of political "dirty tricks" and illegal domestic surveillance throughout his first term. The president's apparent attempts to obstruct justice by helping his aides cover up the scandal were confirmed by tape recordings (made by Nixon himself) of his private conversations, which the Supreme Court ordered him to release for use as evidence in criminal proceedings. The House voted to begin impeachment proceedings, and in late July 1974, its Judiciary Committee approved three articles of impeachment. On 9 August, Nixon became the first president to resign the office. The following year, Nixon's top aides and former attorney general, John N. Mitchell, were convicted of obstruction and were subsequently sentenced to prison.

Nixon's successor was Gerald R. Ford, who in October 1973 had been appointed to succeed Vice President Spiro T. Agnew when Agnew resigned following his plea of nolo contendere to charges that he had evaded paying income tax on moneys he had received from contractors while governor of Maryland. Less than a month after taking office, President Ford granted a full pardon to Nixon for any crimes he may have committed as president. In August 1974, Ford nominated Nelson A. Rockefeller as vice president (he was not confirmed until December), thus giving the country the first instance of a nonelected president and an appointed vice president serving simultaneously. Ford's pardon of Nixon, as well as continued inflation and unemployment, probably contributed to his narrow defeat by a Georgia Democrat, Jimmy Carter, in 1976.

President Carter's forthright championing of human rightsthough consistent with the Helsinki accords, the "final act" of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, signed by the United States and 34 other nations in July 1974contributed to strained relations with the USSR and with some US allies. During 197879, the president concluded and secured Senate passage of treaties ending US sovereignty over the Panama Canal Zone. His major accomplishment in foreign affairs, however, was his role in mediating a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, signed at the camp David, Md., retreat in September 1978. Domestically, the Carter administration initiated a national energy program to reduce US dependence on foreign oil by cutting gasoline and oil consumption and by encouraging the development of alternative energy resources. But the continuing decline of the economy because of double-digit inflation and high unemployment caused his popularity to wane, and confusing shifts in economic policy (coupled with a lack of clear goals in foreign affairs) characterized his administration during 1979 and 1980; a prolonged quarrel with Iran over more than 50 US hostages seized in Tehrān on 4 November 1979 contributed to public doubts about his presidency. Exactly a year after the hostages were taken, former California Governor Ronald Reagan defeated Carter in an election that saw the Republican Party score major gains throughout the United States. The hostages were released on 20 January 1981, the day of Reagan's inauguration.

Reagan, who survived a chest wound from an assassination attempt in Washington, D.C., in 1981, used his popularity to push through significant policy changes. He succeeded in enacting income tax cuts of 25%, reducing the maximum tax rate on unearned income from 70% to 50%, and accelerating depreciation allowances for businesses. At the same time, he more than doubled the military budget, in constant 1985 dollars, between 1980 and 1989. Vowing to reduce domestic spending, Reagan cut benefits for the working poor, reduced allocations for food stamps and Aid to Families With Dependent Children by 13%, and decreased grants for the education of disadvantaged children. He slashed the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency and instituted a flat rate reimbursement system for the treatment of Medicare patients with particular illnesses, replacing a more flexible arrangement in which hospitals had been reimbursed for "reasonable charges."

Reagan's appointment of Sandra Day O'Connor as the first woman justice of the Supreme Court was widely praised and won unanimous confirmation from the Senate. However, some of his other high-level choices were extremely controversialnone more so than that of his secretary of the interior, James G. Watt, who finally resigned on October 1983. To direct foreign affairs, Reagan named Alexander M. Haig, Jr., former NATO supreme commander for Europe, to the post of secretary of state; Haig, who clashed frequently with other administration officials, resigned in June 1982 and was replaced by George P. Shultz. In framing his foreign and defense policy, Reagan insisted on a military buildup as a precondition for arms-control talks with the USSR. His administration sent money and advisers to help the government of El Salvador in its war against leftist rebels, and US advisers were also sent to Honduras, reportedly to aid groups of Nicaraguans trying to overthrow the Sandinista government in their country. Troops were also dispatched to Lebanon in September 1982, as part of a multinational peacekeeping force in Beirut, and to Grenada in October 1983 to oust a leftist government there.

Reelected in 1984, President Reagan embarked on his second term with a legislative agenda that included reduction of federal budget deficits (which had mounted rapidly during his first term in office), further cuts in domestic spending, and reform of the federal tax code. In military affairs, Reagan persuaded Congress to fund on a modest scale his Strategic Defense Initiative, commonly known as Star Wars, a highly complex and extremely costly space-based antimissile system. In 1987, the downing of an aircraft carrying arms to Nicaragua led to the disclosure that a group of National Security Council members had secretly diverted $48 million that the federal government had received in payment from Iran for American arms to rebel forces in Nicaragua. The disclosure prompted the resignation of two of the leaders of the group, Vice Admiral John Poindexter and Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, as well as investigations by House and Senate committees and a special prosecutor, Lawrence Walsh. The congressional investigations found no conclusive evidence that Reagan had authorized or known of the diversion. Yet they noted that because Reagan had approved of the sale of arms to Iran and had encouraged his staff to assist Nicaraguan rebels despite the prohibition of such assistance by Congress, "the President created or at least tolerated an environment where those who did know of the diversion believed with certainty that they were carrying out the President's policies."

Reagan was succeeded in 1988 by his vice president, George H.W. Bush. Benefiting from a prolonged economic expansion, Bush handily defeated Michael Dukakis, governor of Massachusetts and a liberal Democrat. On domestic issues, Bush sought to maintain policies introduced by the Reagan administration. His few legislative initiatives included the passage of legislation establishing strict regulations of air pollution, providing subsidies for child care, and protecting the rights of the disabled. Abroad, Bush showed more confidence and energy. While he responded cautiously to revolutions in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, he used his personal relationships with foreign leaders to bring about comprehensive peace talks between Israel and its Arab neighbors, to encourage a peaceful unification of Germany, and to negotiate broad and substantial arms cuts with the Russians. Bush reacted to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 by sending 400,000 soldiers to form the basis of a multinational coalition, which he assembled and which destroyed Iraq's main force within seven months. This conflict became known as the Gulf War.

One of the biggest crises that the Bush administration encountered was the collapse of the savings and loan industry in the late eighties. Thrift institutions were required by law to pay low interest rates for deposits and long-term loans. The creation of money market funds for the small investor in the eighties which paid higher rates of return than savings accounts prompted depositors to withdraw their money from banks and invest it in the higher yielding mutual funds. To finance the withdrawals, banks began selling assets at a loss. The deregulation of the savings and loan industry, combined with the increase in federal deposit insurance from $40,000 to $100,000 per account, encouraged many desperate savings institutions to invest in high-risk real-estate ventures, for which no state supervision or regulation existed. When the majority of such ventures predictably failed, the federal government found itself compelled by law to rescue the thrifts. It is estimated that this will cost to taxpayers $345 billion, in settlements that will continue through 2029.

In his bid for reelection in 1992, Bush faced not only Democratic nominee Bill Clinton, Governor of Arkansas, but also third-party candidate Ross Perot, a Dallas billionaire who had made his fortune in the computer industry. In contrast to Bush's first run for the presidency, when the nation had enjoyed an unusually long period of economic expansion, the economy in 1992 was just beginning to recover from a recession. Although data released the following year indicated that a healthy rebound had already begun in 1992, the public perceived the economy during election year as weak. Clinton took advantage of this perception in his campaign, focusing on the financial concerns of what he called "the forgotten middle class." He also took a more centrist position on many issues than more traditional Democrats, promising fiscal responsibility and economic growth. Clinton defeated Bush, winning 43% of the vote to Bush's 38%. Perot garnered 18% of the vote.

At its outset, Clinton's presidency was plagued by numerous setbacks, most notably the failure of his controversial health care reform plan, drawn up under the leadership of first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Major accomplishments included the passage, by a narrow margin, of a deficit-reduction bill calling for tax increases and spending cuts and Congressional approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which removed or reduced tariffs on most goods moving across the borders of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Although supporters and critics agreed that the treaty would create or eliminate relatively few jobstwo hundred thousandthe accord prompted heated debate. Labor strenuously opposed the agreement, seeing it as accelerating the flight of factory jobs to countries with low labor costs such as Mexico, the third largest trading partner of the United States. Business, on the other hand, lobbied heavily for the treaty, arguing that it would create new markets for American goods and insisting that competition from Mexico would benefit the American economy.

By the fall of 1994, many American workers, still confronting stagnating wages, benefits, and living standards, had yet to feel the effects of the nation's recovery from the recession of 199091. The resulting disillusionment with the actions of the Clinton administration and the Democrat-controlled Congress, combined with the widespread climate of social conservatism resulting from a perceived erosion of traditional moral values led to an overwhelming upset by the Republican party in the 1994 midterm elections. The GOP gained control of both houses of Congress for the first time in over 40 years, also winning 11 gubernatorial races, for control of a total of 30 governorships nationwide. The Republican agendaincreased defense spending and cuts in taxes, social programs, and farm subsidieshad been popularized under the label "Contract with America," the title of a manifesto circulated during the campaign.

The ensuing confrontation between the nation's Democratic president and Republican-controlled Congress came to a head at the end of 1995, when Congress responded to presidential vetoes of appropriations and budget bills by refusing to pass stop gap spending measures, resulting in major shutdowns of the federal government in November and December. The following summer, however, the president and Congress joined forces to reform the welfare system through a bill replacing Aid to Families with Dependent Children with block grants through which welfare funding would largely become the province of the states.

The nation's economic recovery gained strength as the decade advanced, with healthy growth, falling unemployment, and moderate interest and inflation levels. Public confidence in the economy was reflected in a bull market on the stock exchange, which gained 60% between 1995 and 1997. Bolstered by a favorable economy at home and peace abroad, Clinton's faltering popularity rebounded and in 1996 he became the first Democratic president elected to a second term since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936, defeating the Republican candidate, former Senate majority leader Robert Dole, and Independent Ross Perot, whose electoral support was greatly reduced from its 1992 level. The Republicans retained control of both houses of Congress. In 1997, President Clinton signed into law a bipartisan budget plan designed to balance the federal budget by 2002 for the first time since 1969, through a combination of tax and spending cuts. In 199899, the federal government experienced two straight years of budget surpluses.

In 1998, special prosecutor Kenneth Starr submitted a report to Congress that resulted in the House of Representatives pass-ing four articles of impeachment against President Clinton. In the subsequent trial in the Senate, the articles were defeated.

Regulation of the three large financial industries underwent significant change in late 1999. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (also known as the Financial Modernization Act) was passed by Congress in November 1999. It cleared the way for banks, insurance companies, and securities companies to sell each other's services and to engage in merger and acquisition activity. Prior to the Act's passage, activities of the banking, insurance and securities industries were strictly limited by the Glass Steagall Act of 1933, which Gramm-Leach-Bliley repealed.

Health care issues received significant attention in 2000. On 23 November 1998, 46 states and the District of Columbia together reached a settlement with the large US tobacco companies over compensation for smoking-related health-care costs incurred by the states. Payments to the states, totaling $206 billion, were scheduled to be made over 25 years beginning in 1999. Most states passed Patients' Rights legislation, and all 50 states and the District of Columbia passed Children's Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) legislation to provide health care to children in low-income families.

The ongoing strong economy continued through the late 1990s and into 2000. Economic expansion set a record for longevity, andexcept for higher gasoline prices during summer 2000, stemming from higher crude oil pricesinflation continued to be relatively low. By 2000, there was additional evidence that productivity growth had improved substantially since the mid-1990s, boosting living standards while helping to hold down increases in costs and prices despite very tight labor markets.

In 2000, Hispanics replaced African Americans as the largest minority group in the United States. (Hispanics numbered 35.3 million in 2000, or 12.5% of the population, compared with 34.7 million blacks, or 12.3% of the population.)

The 2000 presidential election was one of the closest in US history, pitting Democratic Vice President Al Gore against Republican Party candidate George W. Bush, son of former President George H. W. Bush. The vote count in Florida became the determining factor in the 7 November election, as each candidate needed to obtain the state's 25 electoral college votes in order to capture the 270 needed to win the presidency. When in the early hours of 8 November Bush appeared to have won the state's 25 votes, Gore called Bush to concede the election. He soon retracted the concession, however, after the extremely thin margin of victory triggered an automatic recount of the vote in Florida. The Democrats subsequently mounted a series of legal challenges to the vote count in Florida, which favored Bush. Eventually, the US Supreme Court, in Bush v. Gore, was summoned to rule on the election. On 12 December 2000, the Court, divided 5-4, reversed the Florida state supreme court decision that had ordered new recounts called for by Al Gore. George W. Bush was declared president. Gore had won the popular vote, however, capturing 48.4% of votes cast to Bush's 47.9%.

Once inaugurated, Bush called education his top priority, stating that "no child should be left behind" in America. He affirmed support for Medicare and Social Security, and called for pay and benefit increases for the military. He called upon charities and faith-based community groups to aid the disadvantaged. Bush announced a $1.6 trillion tax cut plan (subsequently reduced to $1.35 trillion) in his first State of the Union Address as an economic stimulus package designed to respond to an economy that had begun to falter. He called for research and development of a missile-defense program, and warned of the threat of international terrorism.

The threat of international terrorism was made all too real on 11 September 2001, when 19 hijackers crashed 4 passenger aircraft into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Stony Creek Township in Pennsylvania. The World Trade Center towers were destroyed. Approximately 3,000 people were confirmed or reported dead as a result of all four 11 September 2001 attacks. The terrorist organization al-Qaeda, led by Saudi-born Osama bin Laden, was believed to be responsible for the attacks, and a manhunt for bin Laden began.

On 7 October 2001, the United States and Britain launched air strikes against known terrorist training camps and military installations within Afghanistan, ruled by the Taliban regime that supported the al-Qaeda organization. The air strikes were supported by leaders of the European Union and Russia, as well as other nations. By December 2001, the Taliban were defeated, and Afghan leader Hamid Karzai was chosen to lead an interim administration for the country. Remnants of al-Qaeda still remained in Afghanistan and the surrounding region, and a year after the 2001 offensive more than 10,000 US soldiers remained in Afghanistan to suppress efforts by either the Taliban or al-Qaeda to regroup. As of 2005, Allied soldiers continued to come under periodic attack in Afghanistan.

As a response to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, the US Congress that October approved the USA Patriot Act, proposed by the Bush administration. The act gave the government greater powers to detain suspected terrorists (or also immigrants), to counter money-laundering, and increase surveillance by domestic law enforcement and international intelligence agencies. Critics claimed the law did not provide for the system of checks and balances that safeguard civil liberties in the United States.

Beginning in late 2001, corporate America suffered a crisis of confidence. In December 2001, the energy giant Enron Corporation declared bankruptcy after massive false accounting practices came to light. Eclipsing the Enron scandal, telecommunications giant WorldCom in June 2002 disclosed that it had hid $3.8 billion in expenses over 15 months. The fraud led to WorldCom's bankruptcy, the largest in US history (the company had $107 billion in assets).

In his January 2002 State of the Union Address, President Bush announced that Iran, Iraq, and North Korea constituted an "axis of evil," sponsoring terrorism and threatening the United States and its allies with weapons of mass destruction. Throughout 2002, the United States pressed its case against Iraq, stating that the Iraqi regime had to disarm itself of weapons of mass destruction. In November 2002, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1441, calling upon Iraq to disarm itself of any chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons it might possess and to allow for the immediate return of weapons inspectors (they had been expelled in 1998). UN and IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) weapons inspectors returned to the country, but the United States and the United Kingdom expressed dissatisfaction with their progress, and indicated military force might be necessary to remove the Iraqi regime, led by Saddam Hussein. France and Russia, per-manent members of the UN Security Council, and Germany, a nonpermanent member, in particular, opposed the use of military force. The disagreement caused a diplomatic rift in the West that was slow to repair.

After diplomatic efforts at conflict resolution failed by March 2003, the United States, on 19 March, launched air strikes against targets in Baghdād and war began. On 9 April, Baghdād fell to US forces, and work began on restoring basic services to the Iraqi population, including providing safe drinking water, electricity, and sanitation. On 1 May, President Bush declared major combat operations had been completed. Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was captured by US forces on 13 December 2003 and placed in custody.

In May 2004, the Abu Ghraib scandal erupted. Photographs of US soldiers engaged in acts of abuseincluding physical, sexual, and psychologicalagainst Iraqi prisoners being held at the Abu Ghraib military prison outside Baghdād were made public. The fact that the prison had been a place of torture and execution under Saddam Hussein's rule made the abuse seem even more degrading. Seven US suspects were named for carrying out the abuse; most were given prison sentences on charges ranging from conspiracy to assault, but some thought higher-ranking officials, including Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, should resign as well.

US forces increasingly became the targets of attacks in Iraq as an insurgency against the US military presence began. By late 2005, nearly 1,900 US soldiers had been killed since major combat operations were declared over on 1 May 2003. Some 138,000 US troops remained in Iraq in late 2005, and that number was expected to increase as a referendum on a new Iraqi constitution in October 2005 and national elections in December 2005 were to be held.

The 2004 presidential election was held on 2 November. President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney defeated Democratic challengers John F. Kerry and John R. Edwards. Bush received approximately 3 million more popular votes than Kerry, and won the electoral vote 286 to 251 (One electoral vote went to John Edwards when an elector pledged to Kerry voted for "John Edwards" instead.) The vote in Ohio was the deciding factor, and upon conceding Ohio, Kerry conceded the election. The campaign was run on such issues as terrorism, the War in Iraq, the economy, and to a lesser extent issues of morality and values (Anti-gay marriage measures were on the ballots in 11 states, and all passed.)

In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina landed on the Gulf Coast of the United States, in what was one of the worst natural disasters in US history. The city of New Orleans, Louisiana, was evacuated, but some 150,000 people were unable to leave before the storm hit. A day after the storm appeared to have bypassed the city's center, levees were breached by the storm surge and water submerged the metropolis. Rescuers initially ignored the bodies of the dead in the search to find the living. Those unable to leave the city were sheltered in the Louisiana Superdome and New Orleans Convention Center; air conditioning, electricity, and running water failed, making for unsanitary and uncomfortable conditions. They were later transferred to other shelters, including the Houston Astrodome. Looting, shootings, and carjackings exacerbated already devastating conditions. The costs of the hurricane and flooding were exceedingly high in terms of both loss of life and economic damage: more than 1,000 people died and damages were estimated to reach $200 billion. Katrina had global economic consequences, as imports, exports, and oil suppliesincluding production, importation, and refiningwere disrupted. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the Department of Homeland Security, and President Bush were criticized in varying degrees for their lack of adequate response to the disaster. FEMA director Michael D. Brown resigned his position amid the furor. Race and class issues also came to the fore, as the majority of New Orleans residents unable to evacuate the city and affected by the catastrophe were poor and African American.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

The Constitution of the United States, signed in 1787, is the nation's governing document. In the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, ratified in 1791 and known as the Bill of Rights, the federal government is denied the power to infringe on rights generally regarded as fundamental to the civil liberties of the people. These amendments prohibit the establishment of a state religion and the abridgment of freedom of speech, press, and the right to assemble. They protect all persons against unreasonable searches and seizures, guarantee trial by jury, and prohibit excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishments. No person may be required to testify against himself, nor may he be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. The 13th Amendment (1865) banned slavery; the 15th (1870) protected the freed slaves' right to vote; and the 19th (1920) guaranteed the franchise to women. In all, there have been 27 amendments, the last of which, proposed in 1789 but ratified in 1992, denied the variation of the compensation of Senators and Representatives until an election intervened. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), approved by Congress in 1972, would have mandated equality between the sexes; only 35 of the required 38 states had ratified the ERA by the time the ratification deadline expired on 30 June 1982.

The United States has a federal form of government, with the distribution of powers between the federal government and the states constitutionally defined. The legislative powers of the federal government are vested in Congress, which consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. There are 435 members of the House of Representatives. Each state is allotted a number of representatives in proportion to its population as determined by the decennial census. Representatives are elected for two-year terms in every even-numbered year. A representative must be at least 25 years old, must be a resident of the state represented, and must have been a citizen of the United States for at least seven years. The Senate consists of two senators from each state, elected for six-year terms. Senators must be at least 30 years old, must be residents of the states from which they are elected, and must have been citizens of the United States for at least nine years. One-third of the Senate is elected in every even-numbered year.

Congress legislates on matters of taxation, borrowing, regulation of international and interstate commerce, formulation of rules of naturalization, bankruptcy, coinage, weights and measures, post offices and post roads, courts inferior to the Supreme Court, provision for the armed forces, among many other matters. A broad interpretation of the "necessary and proper" clause of the Constitution has widened considerably the scope of congressional legislation based on the enumerated powers.

A bill that is passed by both houses of Congress in the same form is submitted to the president, who may sign it or veto it. If the president chooses to veto the bill, it is returned to the house in which it originated with the reasons for the veto. The bill may become law despite the president's veto if it is passed again by a two-thirds vote in both houses. A bill becomes law without the president's signature if retained for 10 days while Congress is in session. After Congress adjourns, if the president does not sign a bill within 10 days, an automatic veto ensues.

The president must be "a natural born citizen" at least 35 years old, and must have been a resident of the United States for 14 years. Under the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, adopted in 1951, a president may not be elected more than twice. Each state is allotted a number of electors based on its combined total of US senators and representatives, and, technically, it is these electors who, constituted as the electoral college, cast their vote for president, with all of the state's electoral votes customarily going to the candidate who won the largest share of the popular vote of the state (the District of Columbia also has three electors, making a total of 538 votes). Thus, the candidate who wins the greatest share of the popular vote throughout the United States may, in rare cases, fail to win a majority of the electoral vote. If no candidate gains a majority in the electoral college, the choice passes to the House of Representatives.

The vice president, elected at the same time and on the same ballot as the president, serves as ex officio president of the Senate. The vice president assumes the power and duties of the presidency on the president's removal from office or as a result of the president's death, resignation, or inability to perform his duties. In the case of a vacancy in the vice presidency, the president nominates a successor, who must be approved by a majority in both houses of Congress. The Congress has the power to determine the line of presidential succession in case of the death or disability of both the president and vice president.

Under the Constitution, the president is enjoined to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." In reality, the president has a considerable amount of leeway in determining to what extent a law is or is not enforced. Congress's only recourse is impeachment, to which it has resorted only three times, in proceedings against presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton. Both the president and the vice president are removable from office after impeachment by the House and conviction at a Senate trial for "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." The president has the power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States except in cases of impeachment.

The president nominates and "by and with the advice and consent of the Senate" appoints ambassadors, public ministers, consuls, and all federal judges, including the justices of the Supreme Court. As commander in chief, the president is ultimately responsible for the disposition of the land, naval, and air forces, but the power to declare war belongs to Congress. The president conducts foreign relations and makes treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate. No treaty is binding unless it wins the approval of two-thirds of the Senate. The president's independence is also limited by the House of Representatives, where all money bills originate.

The president also appoints as his cabinet, subject to Senate confirmation, the secretaries who head the departments of the executive branch. As of 2005, the executive branch included the following cabinet departments: Agriculture (created in 1862), Commerce (1913), Defense (1947), Education (1980), Energy (1977), Health and Human Services (1980), Housing and Urban Development (1965), Interior (1849), Justice (1870), Labor (1913), State (1789), Transportation (1966), Treasury (1789), Veterans' Affairs (1989), and Homeland Security (2002). The Department of Defenseheadquartered in the Pentagon, the world's largest office buildingalso administers the various branches of the military: Air Force, Army, Navy, defense agencies, and joint-service schools. The Department of Justice administers the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which originated in 1908; the Central Intelligence Agency (1947) is under the aegis of the Executive office. Among the several hundred quasi-independent agencies are the Federal Reserve System (1913), serving as the nation's central bank, and the major regulatory bodies, notably the Environmental Protection Agency (1970), Federal Communications Commission (1934), Federal Power Commission (1920), Federal Trade Commission (1914), and Interstate Commerce Commission (1887).

Regulations for voting are determined by the individual states for federal as well as for local offices, and requirements vary from state to state. In the past, various southern states used literacy tests, poll taxes, "grandfather" clauses, and other methods to disfranchise black voters, but Supreme Court decisions and congressional measures, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965, more than doubled the number of black registrants in Deep South states between 1964 and 1992. In 1960, only 29.1% of the black voting-age population was registered to vote; by the mid-1990s, that percentage had risen to over 65%.

As of the November 2004 presidential election, there were over 16 million registered African American voters (64.4% of those African Americans eligible to vote). The number of registered Hispanic voters increased from 2.5 million in 1972 to 9 million in 2004 (34.3% of eligible Hispanic voters). Sixty-four percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the 2004 presidential election, up from 60% in 2000. Voter registration was reported to be 72% nationwide. The next presidential election was to be held November 2008.

POLITICAL PARTIES

Two major parties, Democratic and Republican, have dominated national, state, and local politics since 1860. These parties are made up of clusters of small autonomous local groups primarily concerned with local politics and the election of local candidates to office. Within each party, such groups frequently differ drastically in policies and beliefs on many issues, but once every four years, they successfully bury their differences and rally around a candidate for the presidency. Minority parties have been formed at various periods in US political history, but most have generally allied with one of the two major parties, and none has achieved sustained national prominence. The most successful minority party in recent decadesthat of Texas billionaire Ross Perot in 1992was little more than a protest vote. Various extreme groups on the right and left, including a small US Communist Party, have had little political significance on a national scale; in 1980, the Libertarian Party became the first minor party since 1916 to appear on the ballot in all 50 states. The Green Party increased its showing in the 2000 election, with presidential candidate Ralph Nader winning 2.7% of the vote. Independent candidates have won state and local office, but no candidate has won the presidency without major party backing.

Traditionally, the Republican Party is more solicitous of business interests and gets greater support from business than does the Democratic Party. A majority of blue-collar workers, by contrast, have generally supported the Democratic Party, which favors more lenient labor laws, particularly as they affect labor unions; the Republican Party often (though not always) supports legislation that restricts the power of labor unions. Republicans favor the enhancement of the private sector of the economy, while Democrats generally urge the cause of greater government participation and regulatory authority, especially at the federal level.

Within both parties there are sharp differences on a great many issues; for example, northeastern Democrats in the past almost uniformly favored strong federal civil rights legislation, which was anathema to the Deep South; eastern Republicans in foreign policy are internationalist-minded, while midwesterners of the same party constituted from 1910 through 1940 the hard core of isolationist sentiment in the country. More recently, "conservative" headings have been adopted by members of both parties who emphasize decentralized government power, strengthened private enterprise, and a strong US military posture overseas, while the designation "liberal" has been applied to those favoring an in-

US Popular Vote for President by National Political Parties, 19482004
YEAR WINNER VOTES CAST VOTERS DEMOCRAT REPUBLICAN PROHBITION SOC. LABOR SOC. WORKERS SOCIALIST PROGRESSIVE STATES' RRIGHTS DEMOCRAT CONSTITUTION OTHER1
1Includes votes for state parties, independent candidates and unpledged electors.
2Total includes votes for several candidates in different states under the same party label.
3Includes 756,631 votes for Eugene McCarthy, an independent.
4Includes 5,719,437 votes for John Anderson, an independent.
5Includes 78,807 votes for Lyndon H. LaRouche, an independent.
6Includes 19,742,267 votes for Ross Perot, an independent.
7Includes 8,085,402 votes for Ross Perot, a Reform candidate.
8Includes 7,102 votes for James Harris and 3,689 for Róger Calero
1948 Truman (D) 48,692,442 51 24,105,587 21,970,017 103,489 29,038 13,614 138,973 1,157,057 1,169,134 5,533
1952 Eisenhower (R) 61,551,118 62 27,314,649 33,936,137 73,413 30,250 10,312 20,065 140,416 17,200 8,676
1956 Eisenhower (R) 62,025,372 59 26,030,172 35,585,245 41,937 44,300 7,797 2,044 2,657 108,055 203,165
NATL. STATES' RIGHTS
1960 Kennedy (D) 68,828,960 63 34,221,344 34,106,761 44,087 47,522 40,166 209,314 159,856
UNPLEDGED DEM
1964 Johnson (D) 70,641,104 62 43,126,584 27,177,838 23,266 45,187 32,701 6,953 210,732 17,843
COMMUNIST PEACE AND FREEDOM AMERICAN IND.
1968 Nixon (R) 73,203,370 61 31,274,503 31,785,148 14,915 52,591 41,390 1,076 83,7202 9,901,151 48,876
LIBERTARIAN AMERIAN
1972 Nixon (R) 77,727,590 55 29,171,791 47,170,179 12,818 53,811 94,4152 25,343 3,671 1,090,673 104,889
US LABOR
1976 Carter (D) 81,552,331 54 40,829,046 39,146,006 15,958 40,041 91,310 58,992 173,019 170,531 160,773 866,6553
CITIZENS RESPECT FOR LIFE
1980 Reagan (R) 86,495,678 54 35,481,435 43,899,248 230,377 32,319 40,105 43,871 920,859 41,172 6,539 5,799,7534
POPULIST IND. ALLIANCE
1984 Reagan (R) 92,652,793 53 37,577,137 54,455,074 72,200 66,336 24,706 36,386 228,314 46,852 13,161 132,6275
1988 Bush(R) 91,594,809 50 41,809,074 48,886,097 30,905 47,047 15,604 432,179 217,219 3,475 153,209
US TAX PAYER
1992 Clinton(D) 104,426,659 55 44,909,889 39,104,545 43,398 107,002 23,091 39,163 291,628 73,708 3,875 19,830,3606
US TAX PAYER GREEN LIBERTARIAN NATURAL LAW
1996 Clinton (D) 96,277,223 49 47,402,357 39,198,755 184,658 684,902 8,476 4,765 485,798 113,668 1,847 8,196,7627
REFORM
2000 Bush,GW (R) 105,405,100 48 50,999,897 50,456,002 448,895 2,882,955 7,378 384,431 87,714 98,020 39,808
2004 Bush,GW (R) 122,295,345 57 59,028,444 62,040,610 465,650 119,859 10,7918 397,265 10,837 143,630 78,259

creased federal government role in economic and social affairs, disengagement from foreign military commitments, and safe-guards for civil liberties.

President Nixon's resignation and the accompanying scandal surrounding the Republican Party hierarchy had a telling, if predictable, effect on party morale, as indicated by Republican losses in the 1974 and 1976 elections. The latent consequences of the Vietnam and Watergate years appeared to take their toll on both parties, however, in growing apathy toward politics and mistrust of politicians among the electorate. Ronald Reagan's successful 1980 presidential bid cut into traditional Democratic strongholds throughout the United States, as Republicans won control of the US Senate and eroded state and local Democratic majorities. On the strength of an economic recovery, President Reagan won re-election in November 1984, carrying 49 of 50 states (with a combined total of 525 electoral votes) and 58.8% of the popular vote; the Republicans retained control of the Senate, but the Democrats held on to the House. Benefiting from a six-year expansion of the economy, Republican George H.W. Bush won 54% of the vote in 1988. As Reagan had, Bush successfully penetrated traditionally Democratic regions. He carried every state in the South as well as the industrial states of the North.

Bush's approval rating reached a high of 91% in March of 1991 in the wake of the Persian Gulf War. By July of 1992, however, that rating had plummeted to 25%, in part because Bush appeared to be disengaged from domestic issues, particularly the 1991 recession. Bill Clinton, governor of Arkansas and twenty years younger than Bush, presented himself to the electorate as a "New Democrat." He took more moderate positions than traditional New Deal Democrats, including calling for a middle-class tax cut, welfare reform, national service, and such traditionally Republican goals as getting tough on crime. The presidential race took on an unpredictable dimension with the entrance of Independent Ross Perot, a Texas billionaire. Perot, who attacked the budget deficit and called for shared sacrifice, withdrew from the race in July and then reentered it in October. Clinton won the election with 43% of the vote, Bush received 38%, and Perot captured 18%, more than any third-party presidential candidate since Theodore Roosevelt in 1912. As of 1992, Democrats enjoyed a large advantage over Republicans in voter registration, held both houses of congress, had a majority of state governorships, and controlled most state legislative bodies. In 1996 Bill Clinton became the first Democratic president since Franklin Roosevelt to be elected to a second term, with 49% of the popular vote to 41% for Republican Bob Dole, and 8% for Ross Perot, who once again ran as an Independent. Republicans retained control of the House and Senate.

Aided by a growing climate of conservatism on moral issues and popular discontent with the pace of economic recovery from the recent recession, the Republicans accomplished an historic upset in the 1994 midterm elections, gaining control of both houses of Congress for the first time since 1952. They gained 52 seats in the House, for a majority of 230-204, and 8 seats in the Senate, for a majority that came to 53-47 once Democrat Richard Shelby of Alabama changed parties shortly after the election. The Republicans also increased their power at the state level, winning 11 governorships, for a national total of 30. The number of state legislatures under Republican control increased from 8 to 19, with 18 controlled by the Democrats and 12 under split control. After the 1998 election, the Republican majority had eroded slightly in the House, with the 106th Congress including 223 Republicans, 210 Democrats, and 2 Independents; the Senate included 55 Republicans and 45 Democrats.

The major candidates in the 2000 presidential election were Republican George W. Bush, son of former president George H.W. Bush; his vice presidential running mate was Dick Cheney. The Democratic candidate was Vice President Al Gore, Jr. (Clinton administration 19922000). Gore chose Joseph Lieberman, senator from Connecticut, as his running mate. Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew, became the first Jew to run for national office. Following the contested presidential election of 2000, George W. Bush emerged as president following a ruling by the US Supreme Court. Gore won the popular vote, with 48.4%, to 47.9% for Bush, but Bush won the electoral college vote, 271-266, with one blank vote in the electoral college cast. Sectional and demographic differences were evident in the 2000 election, with the Northeast, parts of the Mid-west, the Pacific states, and most urban areas voting Democratic, and the South, West, and rural communities voting Republican.

Following the November 2002 mid-term elections, Republicans held 229 of 435 seats in the House of Representatives, and there were 205 Democrats and 1 independent in the House. The Republicans held an extremely thin margin in the Senate, of 51 seats, to the Democrats' 48. There was one independent in the Senate, former Republican Jim Jeffords. Following the election, Nancy Pelosi became the Democratic Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, the first woman to head either party in Congress. As a result of the 2002 election, there were 60 women, 37 African Americans, and 22 Hispanics in the House of Representatives, and 14 women in the Senate. There were no African American or Hispanic senators following the 2002 election.

The 2004 presidential election was won by incumbent George W. Bush and his running mate Dick Cheney. They defeated Democrats John F. Kerry and John Edwards. Bush received 286 electoral votes, Kerry 251, and Edwards 1 when an elector wrote the name "John Edwards" in on the electoral ballot. Bush received a majority of the popular vote50.73%, to Kerry's 48.27%or 3 million more votes than Kerry. Voter turnout was the highest since 1968, at 64%. The composition of the 109th Congress after the 2004 election was as follows: 55 Republicans, 44 Democrats, and 1 Independent in the Senate, and 232 Republicans, 202 Democrats, and 1 Independent in the House of Representatives. The next elections for the Senate and House of Representatives were to be held November 2006.

The 1984 election marked a turning point for women in national politics. Geraldine A. Ferraro, a Democrat, became the first female vice presidential nominee of a major US political party; no woman has ever captured a major-party presidential nomination. In the 109th Congress (200506), 14 women served in the US Senate, and 68 women held seats in the US House of Representatives (including delegates).

The 1984 presidential candidacy of Jesse L. Jackson, election, the first African American ever to win a plurality in a statewide presidential preference primary, likewise marked the emergence of African Americans as a political force, especially within the Democratic Party. In 1992 an African American woman, Democrat Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois, won election to the Senate, becoming the first black senator; Moseley Braun lost her reelection bid in 1998. She was a candidate for president in 2004.

There were 42 African Americans in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate in the 109th Congress. Twenty-six Hispanics were serving in the House and two in the Senate, a record number. Eight members of Congress were of Asian/Hawaiian/or other Pacific Islander ethnicity, six in the House of Representatives and two in the Senate. There was one Native American in the House. (These numbers include delegates.)

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Governmental units within each state comprise counties, municipalities, and such special districts as those for water, sanitation, highways, and parks. and recreation. There are more than 3,000 counties in the United States; more than 19,000 municipalities, including cities, villages, towns, and boroughs; nearly 15,000 school districts; and at least 31,000 special districts. Additional town-ships, authorities, commissions, and boards make up the rest of the nearly 85,000 local governmental units.

The 50 states are autonomous within their own spheres of government, and their autonomy is defined in broad terms by the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution, which reserves to the states such powers as are not granted to the federal government and not denied to the states. The states may not, among other restrictions, issue paper money, conduct foreign relations, impair the obligations of contracts, or establish a government that is not republican in form. Subsequent amendments to the Constitution and many Supreme Court decisions added to the restrictions placed on the states. The 13th Amendment prohibited the states from legalizing the ownership of one person by another (slavery); the 14th Amendment deprived the states of their power to determine qualifications for citizenship; the 15th Amendment prohibited the states from denying the right to vote because of race, color, or previous condition of servitude; and the 19th, from denying the vote to women.

Since the Civil War, the functions of the state have expanded. Local businessthat is, business not involved in foreign or inter-state commerceis regulated by the state. The states create subordinate governmental bodies such as counties, cities, towns, villages, and boroughs, whose charters they either issue or, where home rule is permitted, approve. States regulate employment of children and women in industry, and enact safety laws to prevent industrial accidents. Unemployment insurance is a state function, as are education, public health, highway construction and safety, operation of a state highway patrol, and various kinds of personal relief. The state and local governments still are primarily responsible for providing public assistance, despite the large part the federal government plays in financing welfare.

Each state is headed by an elected governor. State legislatures are bicameral except Nebraska's, which has been unicameral since 1934. Generally, the upper house is called the senate, and the lower house the house of representatives or the assembly. Bills must be passed by both houses, and the governor has a suspensive veto, which usually may be overridden by a two-thirds vote.

The number, population, and geographic extent of the more than 3,000 counties in the United Statesincluding the analogous units called boroughs in Alaska and parishes in Louisianashow no uniformity from state to state. The county is the most conspicuous unit of rural local government and has a variety of powers, including location and repair of highways, county poor relief, determination of voting precincts and of polling places, and organization of school and road districts. City governments, usually headed by a mayor or city manager, have the power to levy taxes; to borrow; to pass, amend, and repeal local ordinances; and to grant franchises for public service corporations. Township government through an annual town meeting is an important New England tradition.

From the 1960s into the 21st century, a number of large cities began to suffer severe fiscal crises brought on by a combination of factors. Loss of tax revenues stemmed from the migration of middle-class residents to the suburbs and the flight of many small and large firms seeking to avoid the usually higher costs of doing business in urban areas. Low-income groups, many of them unskilled blacks and Hispanic migrants, came to constitute large segments of city populations, placing added burdens on locally funded welfare, medical, housing, and other services without providing the commensurate tax base for additional revenues.

STATE SERVICES

All state governments provide services in the fields of education, transportation, health and social welfare, public protection (including state police and prison personnel), housing, and labor. The 1970s saw an expansion of state services in four key areas: energy, environment, consumer protection, and governmental ethics. Each state provides some form of consumer advocacy, either through a separate department or agency or through the office of the attorney general. State government in the 1970s and early 1980s also showed the effects of the so-called post-Watergate morality. Laws mandating financial disclosure by public officials, once rare, had become common by 1983. Also notable were "sunshine laws," opening legislative committee meetings and administrative hearings to the public, and the use of an ombudsman either with general jurisdiction or with special powers relating, for example, to the problems of businesses, prisoners, the elderly, or racial minorities. Other trends in state administration, reflected on the federal level, include the separation of education from other services and the consolidation of social welfare programs in departments of human resources.

The distribution of federal funds to state, local, and territorial governments was placed at more than $2.1 trillion in 2004. The largest outlays of aid were for retirement and disability funds, at $666.9 billion; Medicare, $259 billion; Medicaid, $172 billion; and supplemental security income, $36.9 billion.

California received more funds than any other state, $232.3 billion, followed by New York state at $143.9 billion; Texas at $141.8 billion; Florida, at $121.9 billion; Pennsylvania at $94.9 billion, and Virginia at $90.6 billion.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

The Supreme Court, established by the US Constitution, is the nation's highest judicial body, consisting of the chief justice of the United States and eight associate justices. All justices are appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate. Appointments are for life "during good behavior," otherwise terminating only by resignation or impeachment and conviction.

The original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is relatively narrow; as an appellate court, it is open to appeal from decisions of federal district courts, circuit courts of appeals, and the highest courts in the states, although it may dismiss an appeal if it sees fit to do so. The Supreme Court, by means of a writ of certiorari, may call up a case from a district court for review. Regardless of how cases reach it, the Court enforces a kind of unity on the decisions of the lower courts. It also exercises the power of judicial review, determining the constitutionality of state laws, state constitutions, congressional statutes, and federal regulations, but only when these are specifically challenged.

The Constitution empowers Congress to establish all federal courts inferior to the Supreme Court. On the lowest level and handling the greatest proportion of federal cases are the district courtsincluding one each in Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the District of Columbiawhere all offenses against the laws of the United States are tried. Civil actions that involve cases arising under treaties and laws of the United States and under the Constitution, where the amount in dispute is greater than $5,000, also fall within the jurisdiction of the district courts. District courts have no appellate jurisdiction; their decisions may be carried to the courts of appeals, organized into 13 circuits. These courts also hear appeals from decisions made by administrative commissions. For most cases, this is usually the last stage of appeal, except where the court rules that a statute of a state conflicts with the Constitution of the United States, with federal law, or with a treaty. Special federal courts include the Court of Claims, Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, and Tax Court.

State courts operate independently of the federal judiciary. Most states adhere to a court system that begins on the lowest level with a justice of the peace and includes courts of general trial jurisdiction, appellate courts, and, at the apex of the system, a state supreme court. The court of trial jurisdiction, sometimes called the county or superior court, has both original and appellate jurisdiction; all criminal cases (except those of a petty kind) and some civil cases are tried in this court. The state's highest court, like the Supreme Court of the United States, interprets the constitution and the laws of the state.

The grand jury is a body of from 13 to 24 persons that brings indictments against individuals suspected of having violated the law. Initially, evidence is presented to it by either a justice of the peace or a prosecuting county or district attorney. The trial or petit jury of 12 persons is used in trials of common law, both criminal and civil, except where the right to a jury trial is waived by consent of all parties at law. It judges the facts of the case, while the court is concerned exclusively with questions of law. The US accepts the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice with reservations.

ARMED FORCES

The armed forces of the United States of America in 2005 numbered 1.473 million on active duty and 1.29 million in the Ready Reserve, a category of participation that allows regular training with pay and extended active duty periods for training. Membership in all U.S. armed forces is voluntary and has been since 1973 when conscription expired as the Vietnam war was winding down. The active duty force includes 196,100 women, who serve in all grades and all occupational specialties except direct ground combat units and some aviation billets.

In the 1990s, the armed forces reduced their personnel numbers and force structure because of the diminished threat of a nuclear war with the former Soviet Union or a major conflict in central Europe. Despite the interlude of the Gulf War, 199091, the force reductions continued throughout the decade, forcing some restructuring of the active duty forces, with emphasis on rapid deployment to deter or fight major regional conflicts much like the Gulf War, in Korea, elsewhere in the Middle East, or Latin America (e.g. Cuba). The conventional force debate centered on whether the United States could or should maintain forces to fight two regional conflicts simultaneously. In the spring of 1999, the United States took part in the NATO air campaign in response to the crisis in Kosovo, and the ensuing US participation in peacekeeping operations in the region brought with it the prospect of another long-term overseas deployment.

For the purposes of administration, personnel management, logistics, and training, the traditional four military services in the Department of Defense remain central to strategic planning. The US Army numbers 502,000 soldiers on active duty, and are deployed into 10 divisions (two armored, four mechanized infantry, two light infantry, one air assault and one airborne), as well as into various armored cavalry, aviation, artillery, signals, psychological operations, ranger, Special Forces, civil affairs and air defense units. Army missions involving special operations are given to Special Forces groups, an airborne ranger regiment, an aviation group, and a psychological warfare group, with civil affairs and communications support units. The Army had 7,620 main battle tanks, 6,719 infantry fighting vehicles, 14,900 armored personnel carriers, 6,530 towed or self-propelled artillery pieces, some 268 fixed wing aircraft, and 4,431 armed and transport helicopters. The Army National Guard (355,900) emphasizes the preparation of combat units up to division size for major regional conflicts, while the Army Reserve (351,350) prepares individuals to fill active units or provide combat support or service support/technical/medical units upon mobilization. In addition, the National Guard retains a residual state role in suppressing civil disturbances and providing disaster relief.

The US Navy had 376,750 active personnel. The service has seen its role shift from nuclear strategic deterrence and control of sea routes to Europe and Asia, to the projection of naval power from the sea. Naval task forces normally combine three combat elements: air, surface, and subsurface. The Navy had up to 80 nuclear-powered submarines, that consisted of 16 strategic ballistic missile (SSBN) and 64 tactical/attack (SSGN and SSN) submarines. The latter ships can launch cruise missiles at land targets.

As of 2005, naval aviation was centered on 12 carriers (nine nuclear-powered) and 11 carrier aircraft wings, which included armed ASW helicopters and armed long-range ASW patrol aircraft, as well as a large fleet of communications and support aircraft. The Navy controled 983 combat capable fixed wing aircraft and 608 helicopters of all types. Naval aviation reserves provided additional wings for carrier deployment. The surface force included 27 cruisers (22 with advanced anti-air suites), 49 destroyers, 30 frigates, 38 amphibious ships, 26 mine warfare ships, and 21 patrol and coastal combatants. More ships are kept in ready reserve or were manned by surface line reserve units. The fleet support force also included specialized ships for global logistics that are not base-dependent.

The Marine Corps, a separate branch of the Navy, was organized into three active divisions and three aircraft wings of the Fleet Marine Force, which also included three Force Service Support groups and special operations and anti-terrorism units. The Marine Corps (173,350; 11,311 reservists) emphasized amphibious landings but trained for a wide-range of contingency employments. The Marines had 344 combat capable fixed wing aircraft, 304 helicopters of all types, 403 main battle tanks, 1,311 amphibious armored vehicles, and about 1,511 artillery pieces (926 towed).

As of 2005, the US Air Force had 379,500 active personnel, and was focused on becoming rapidly deployable rather than US-based. Almost all its aircraft are now dedicated to nonstrategic roles in support of forward deployed ground and naval forces. The Air Force stressed the missions of air superiority and interdiction with complementary operations in electronic warfare and reconnaissance, but it also included 29 transport squadrons. Air Force personnel manage the US radar and satellite early-warning and intelligence effort. The Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard (roughly 183,200 active reserves) provided a wide range of flying and support units, and its flying squadrons had demonstrated exceptional readiness and combat skills on contingency missions. Air Force reserves, for example, were the backbone of the air refueling and transport fleets.

The armed forces were deployed among a range of functional unified or specified commands for actual missions. Strategic forces were under the US Strategic Command, which was a combined service command that controled the U.S.' strategic nuclear deterrence forces, which as of 2005, was made up of 550 land-based ICBMs, 16 Navy fleet ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), and 85 operational long-range bombers (B-52s and B-1As). Land-based ICBMs are under the Air Force Space Command, while the long-range bomber force was under the Air Force Air Combat Command. The Strategic Command was also responsible for strategic reconnaissance and intelligence collection, and the strategic early warning and air defense forces. In 2002 the Treaty of Moscow was signed between the United States and Russia to reduce deployed nuclear weapons by two-thirds by the year 2012. As of 2002, the United States had more than 10,000 operational nuclear warheads.

The conventional forces were deployed to a mix of geographic and organizational commands, including the Atlantic, European, Central, Southern, Northern and Pacific commands, as well as to specific organizational commands such as the Transportation Command, Special Operations Command and Air Mobility Command. Major operational units are deployed to Germany, Korea, and Japan as part of collective security alliances, in addition to forces stationed throughout other countries in the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, Western and Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Approximately 19,000 US troops are stationed in Afghanistan with Operation Enduring Freedom.

Patterns of defense spending reflected the movement away from Cold War assumptions and confrontation with the former Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. During the 1980s when defense spending hovered around $300 billion a year and increased roughly 30% over the decade, defense spending absorbed roughly 6% of the gross domestic spending, 25% of federal spending, and 16% of net public spending. In the early 1990s, when the defense budget slipped back to the $250-$260 billion level, the respective percentages were 4.5, 18, and 11, the lowest levels of support for defense since the Korean War (1950). In 1999, the defense budget was $276.7 million or 3.2% of GDP. In 2005, US defense budget outlays totaled $465 billion.

MIGRATION

Between 1840 and 1930, some 37 million immigrants, the overwhelming majority of them Europeans, arrived in the United States. Immigration reached its peak in the first decade of the 20th century, when nearly 9 million came. Following the end of World War I, the tradition of almost unlimited immigration was abandoned, and through the National Origins Act of 1924, a quota system was established as the basis of a carefully restricted policy of immigration. Under the McCarran Act of 1952, one-sixth of 1% of the number of inhabitants from each European nation residing in the continental United States as of 1920 could be admitted annually. In practice, this system favored nations of northern and western Europe, with the UK, Germany, and Ireland being the chief beneficiaries. The quota system was radically reformed in 1965, under a new law that established an annual ceiling of 170,000 for Eastern Hemisphere immigrants and 120,000 for entrants from the Western Hemisphere; in October 1978, these limits were replaced by a worldwide limit of 290,000, which was lowered to 270,000 by 1981. A major 1990 overhaul set a total annual ceiling of 700,000 (675,000 beginning in fiscal 1995), of which 480,000 would be family sponsored and 140,000 employment based. The 1996 Immigration Reform Law addressed concerns about illegal immigration and border enforcement. The 1996 Welfare Reform Law revised legal and illegal immigrants' access to different forms of public assistance, and raised the standards for US residents who sponsor immigrants. The 2000 H-1B Visa Legislation increased temporary immigration visas for high-tech workers. In 2004, President Bush proposed a fair and secure immigration reform with a new temporary worker program.

In 2002, 1,063,732 immigrants entered the United States, of whom 416,860 were subject to the numerical limits. Some 342,099 immigrants in 2002 were from Asia; 404,437 were from North America; 74,506 were from South America; 174,209 from Europe; 60,269 from Africa, and 5,557 from Oceania. A direct result of the immigration law revisions has been a sharp rise in the influx of Asians (primarily Chinese, Filipinos, Indians, Japanese, and Koreans), of whom 2,738,157 entered the country during 198190, as compared with 153,249 during the entire decade of the 1950s. Most immigrants in 2002 came from Mexico (219,380).

Since 1961, the federal government supported and financed the Cuban Refugee Program; in 1995, new accords were agreed to by the two countries. More than 500,000 Cubans were living in southern Florida by 1980, when another 125,000 Cuban refugees arrived; by 1990, 4% of Florida's population was of Cuban descent. Some 169,322 Cubans arrived from 19912000, and 27,520 arrived in 2002. Between 1975 and 1978, following the defeat of the US-backed Saigon (Vietnam) government, several hundred thousand Vietnamese refugees came to the United States. Under the Refugee Act of 1980, a ceiling for the number of admissible refugees is set annually; in fiscal 2002, the ceiling for refugees was 70,000. Since Puerto Ricans are American citizens, no special authorization is required for their admission to the continental United States. The population of refugees, resettled refugees, and asylum-seekers with pending claims was estimated at 5,250,954 in June 2003, a 34% increase over June 2002. During the same year, the newly-formed Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCISformerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service or INS) received 66,577 applications for asylum, a decline of 36% from 2002. In 2004, the US hosted 684,564 persons of concern to UNHCR, 420,854 refugees, and 263,710 asylum-seekers. For that year, the US was the fifth largest asylum country. UNHCR reports the United States as the leading destination of refugees, accounting for 63% of all resettlement worldwide.

Large numbers of aliensmainly from Latin America, especially Mexicohave illegally established residence in the United States after entering the country as tourists, students, or temporary visitors engaged in work or business. In November 1986, Congress passed a bill allowing illegal aliens who had lived and worked in the United States since 1982 the opportunity to become permanent residents. By the end of fiscal year 1992, 2,650,000 of a potential 2,760,000 eligible for permanent residence under this bill had attained that status. In 1996 the number of illegal alien residents was estimated at 5 million, of which 2 million were believed to be in California. As of 2002, an estimated 33.1 million immigrants (legal and illegal) lived in the United States. Of this total, the Census Bureau estimated in 2000 that 8-9 million of them were illegal alien residents. In 2004, there were 36 million foreign-born US residents, almost 30% were unauthorized, or some 10.3 million foreigners. Of these 57% are unauthorized Mexicans. Foreign-born persons are 11 % of the US population, and 14 % of US workers.

As of 2006, there are three major immigration-related agencies in the US: the Department of Homeland Security; the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency which apprehends foreigners; and, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which is responsible for enforcement of immigration laws within the US, together with identifying and removing unauthorized foreigners, and those ordered removed.

The major migratory trends within the United States have been a general westward movement during the 19th century; a long-term movement from farms and other rural settlements to metropolitan areas, which showed signs of reversing in some states during the 1970s; an exodus of southern blacks to the cities of the North and Midwest, especially after World War I; a shift of whites from central cities to surrounding suburbs since World War II; and, also during the post-World War II period, a massive shift from the North and East to the Sunbelt region of the South and Southwest.

In 2005, the net migration rate was estimated as 3.31 migrants per 1,000 population.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

The United States is a charter member of the United Nations, having joined on 24 October 1945. The United States participates in ECE, ECLAC, ESCAP, and all the nonregional specialized agencies. The United States is a permanent member of the UN Security Council. The United States participates in numerous intergovernmental organizations, including the Asian Development Bank, the African Development Bank, OECD, APEC, the Colombo Plan, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, G-5, G-7. G-8, the Paris Club (G-10), OSCE, and the WTO. Hemispheric agencies include the Inter-American Development Bank and the OAS. The country is an observer in the Council of Europe and a dialogue partner with ASEAN.

In 1992, the United States, Canada, and Mexico signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), creating a free-trade zone among the three countries. It was ratified by all three governments in 1993 and took effect the following year.

NATO is the principal military alliance to which the United States belongs. The ANZUS alliance was a mutual defense pact between Australia, New Zealand, and the United States; in 1986, following New Zealand's decision to ban US nuclear-armed or nuclear-powered ships from its ports, the United States renounced its ANZUS treaty security commitments to New Zealand. The country is a signatory of the 1947 Rio Treaty, an inter-American security agreement. The Untied States has supported UN missions and operations in Kosovo (est. 1999), Liberia (est. 2003), Georgia (est. 1993), and Haiti (est. 2004). The Untied States belongs to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (London Group), the Zangger Committee, the Nuclear Energy Agency, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. It holds observe status in the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

In environmental cooperation, the United States is part of the Central American-US Joint Declaration (CONCAUSA), the Antarctic Treaty, Conventions on Air Pollution and Whaling, Ramsar, CITES, the London Convention, International Tropical Timber Agreements, the Montréal Protocol, MARPOL, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the UN Conventions on Climate Change and Desertification.

ECONOMY

The US economy is the world's largest. In variety and quantity, the natural resources of the United States probably exceed those of any other nation, with the possible exception of the former Soviet Union. The United States is among the world's leading exporters of coal, wheat, corn, and soybeans. However, because of its vast economic growth, the United States depends increasingly on foreign sources for a long list of raw materials, including oil.

By the middle of the 20th century, the United States was a leading consumer of nearly every important industrial raw material. The industry of the United States produced about 40% of the world's total output of goods, despite the fact that the country's population comprised about 6% of the world total and its land area about 7% of the earth's surface.

In absolute terms the United States far exceeds every other nation in the size of its gross domestic product (GDP), which more than tripled between 1970 and 1983. In 1998 the nation's GDP in purchasing power parity terms (PPP) reached a record $8.5 trillion in current dollars, with per capita GDP reaching $31,500. Per capita GDP (PPP) stood at $40,100 in 2004, and the nation's GDP (PPP) was $11.75 trillion.

Inflation was not as significant a factor in the US economy in the 1990s and early 2000s as it was in the 1970s and 1980s. The US inflation rate tends to be lower than that of the majority of industrialized nations. For the period 197078, for example, consumer prices increased by an annual average of 6.7%, less than in every other Western country except Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and West Germany, and well below the price increase in Japan. The double-digit inflation of 197981 came as a rude shock to most Americans, with economists and politicians variously blaming international oil price rises, federal monetary policies, and US government spending.

The United States entered the post-World War II era with the world's largest, and strongest, economy. Public confidence in both business and government was strong, the nation enjoyed the largest peacetime trade surplus in its history, and the gross national product grew to a record $482.7 billion by the end of the 1950s. In the sixties the country enjoyed the most sustained period of economic expansion it had known, accompanied by rising productivity and low unemployment. Real income rose 50% during the decade, and US investment in foreign countries reached $49 billion in 1965, up from $11.8 billion in 1950. Big business and big government were both powerful forces in the economy during this period, when large industrial corporations accounted for vast portions of the national income, and the federal government expanded its role in such areas as social welfare, scientific research, space technology, and development of the nation's highway system.

After two decades of prosperity, Americans experienced an economic downturn in the 1970s, a period known for the unprecedented combination of lagging economic growth and inflation that gave birth to the term stagflation. Foreign competitors in Japan and Europe challenged the global dominance of American manufacturers, and oil crises in 197374 and 1979 shook public confidence in the institutions of both government and business. The forced bailouts of Chrysler and Lockheed were symbolic of the difficult transition to a new economic era, marked by the growing importance of the service sector and the ascendancy of small businesses.

During Ronald Reagan's first presidential term, from 1980 to 1984, the nation endured two years of severe recession followed by two years of robust recovery. The inflation rate was brought down, and millions of new jobs were created. The economic boom of the early and mid-eighties, however, coincided with a number of alarming developments. Federal budget deficits, caused by dramatic increases in the military budget and by rising costs of entitlement programs such as Medicaid and Medicare, averaged more than $150 billion annually. By 1992, the total deficit reached $290 billion, or $1,150 for every American. In addition, corporate debt rose dramatically, and household borrowing grew twice as fast as personal income. The eighties also witnessed a crisis in the banking industry, caused by a combination of factors, including high inflation and interest rates, problem loans to developing countries, and speculative real estate ventures that caused thousands of banks to fail when the real estate boom of the early eighties collapsed.

The disparity between the affluent and the poor widened at the end of the 20th century. The share of the nation's income received by the richest 5% of American families rose from 18.6% in 1977 to 24.5% in 1990, while the share of the poorest 20% fell from 5.7% to 4.3%. Externally, the nation's trade position deteriorated, as a high level of foreign investment combined with an uncompetitive US dollar to create a ballooning trade deficit. In 1990, the American economy plunged into a recession. Factors contributing to the slump included rising oil prices following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, a sharp increase in interest rates, and declining availability of credit. Output fell 1.6% and 1.7 million jobs were cut. Unemployment rose from 5.2% in 1989 to 7.5% in 1991, but had fallen to 4.5% by 1998.

The recovery that began in March 1991 inaugurated a sustained period of expansion that, as of mid-2000, was the third longest since World War II, characterized by moderation in the key areas of growth, inflation, unemployment, and interest rates. Real GDP growth, which fluctuated between 2% and 3.5% throughout the period, was 3.9% for 1998. After peaking at 7.5%, unemployment declined steadily throughout the early and mid-1990s, falling to 5.6% in 1995, 5.3% at the end of 1996, and in 1998, remaining below 5%. After 1993/94, inflation mostly remained under 3%. One exception to the generally moderate character of the economy was the stock market, which rose 60% between 1995 and 1997, buoyed by the combination of low unemployment and low inflation, as well as strong corporate earnings. Further cause for optimism was the bipartisan balanced-budget legislation enacted and signed into law in 1997. The plan, combining tax and spending cuts over a five-year period, was aimed at balancing the federal budget by 2002 for the first time since 1969. In early 2001, the government projected a budget surplus of $275 billion for the fiscal year ending that September. That surplus would soon be reversed.

At the beginning of the 21st century, significant economic concernsaside from the inevitable worry over how long the boom could last without an eventual downturnincluded the nation's sizable trade deficit, the increasing medical costs of an aging population, and the failure of the strong economy to improve conditions for the poor. Since 1975, gains in household income were experienced almost exclusively by the top 20% of households. However, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, productivity was continuing to grow, inflation was relatively low, and the labor market was tight.

Economic growth came to a standstill in the middle of 2001, largely due to the end of the long investment boom, especially in the information technology sector. The economy was in recession in the second half of 2001, and the service sector was affected as well as manufacturing. The 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States exacerbated the poor economic situation. Average real GDP growth rose by only 0.3% in 2001. The US economy, which had driven global economic growth during the 1990s, became the cause of a worldwide economic downturn, including in the rest of North America, Europe, Japan, and in the developing economies of Latin America and Southeast Asia strongly influenced by trends in the US economy.

The economy began to recover, slowly, in 2002, with GDP growth estimated at 2.45%. Analysts attributed the modest recovery to the ability of business decision-makers to respond to economic imbalances based on real-time information, on deregulation, and on innovation in financial and product markets. Nevertheless, domestic confidence in the economy remained low, and coupled with major corporate failures (including Enron and WorldCom) and additional stock market declines, growth remained sluggish and uneven. Economic growth slowed at the end of 2002 and into 2003, and the unemployment rate rose to 6.3% in July 2003. The CPI inflation rate fell to under 1.5% at the beginning of 2003, which raised concerns over the risk of deflation. As well, there was a substantial rise in military spending as a result of the war in Iraq which began in March 2003.

Following the start of the war in Iraq, consumer spending rebounded, as did stock prices; the housing market remained strong; inflation was low; the dollar depreciated on world markets; additional tax cuts were passed; there was an easing of oil prices; and productivity growth was strong. Nevertheless, in 2003, the federal budget deficit was projected to reach $455 billion, the largest shortfall on record.

The American economy grew at the rate of 4.3% in the third quarter of 2005, despite the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed the port city of New Orleans and closed down a large portion of the energy industry. Unemployment hovered around 5% in 2005. Productivity had grown by 4.7%. But the nation's fast-growing economy had shaky underpinnings. Oil prices were at their highest level in real terms since the early 1980s, at $53.27/barrel. The inflation rate, which ran above 4% in late 2005, was at its highest level since 1991 (although core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food prices, was still relatively modest). Wage growth was sluggish, and the jobs market was lagging the recovery. The current account deficit ballooned to record levels, and consumer spending was increasingly tied to prices in the overinflated housing market. The government ran a deficit of $412 billion in 2004, or 3.6% of GDP, but the deficit was forecast to narrow to $331 billion in 2006. Analysts project US deficits will average about 3.5% of GDP until about 2015.

INCOME

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 the United States's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $12.4 trillion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $41,800. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 3.5%. The average inflation rate in 2002 was 3.2%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 1% of GDP, industry 0.7%, and services 78.3%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $3.031 billion or about $10 per capita.

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in United States totaled $7.385 trillion or about $25,379 per capita based on a GDP of $10.9 trillion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 3.7%. In 2001 it was estimated that approximately 13% of household consumption was spent on food, 9% on fuel, 4% on health care, and 6% on education. It was estimated that in 2004 about 12% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.

LABOR

The US labor force, including those who were unemployed, totaled 149.3 million in 2005. Of that total in that same year, farming, fishing and forestry accounted fo 0.7% of the workforce, with manufacturing, extraction, transportation and crafts at 22.9%, managerial, professional and technical at 34.7%, sales and office at 25.4% and other services at 16.3%. Also that year, the unemployment rate was put at 5.1%. Earnings of workers vary considerably with type of work and section of country. In the first quarter of 2003, the national average wage was $15.27 per hour for nonagricultural workers, with an average workweek of 33.8 hours. Workers in manufacturing had a national average wage of $15.64, (including overtime), with the longest average workweek of all categories of workers at 40.4 hours in the first quarter of 2003.

In 2002, 13.2% of wage and salary workers were union members16.1 million US citizens belonged to a union that year. In 1983, union membership was 20.1%. In 2002, there were 34 national labor unions with over 100,000 members, the largest being the National Educational Association with 2.7 million members as of 2003. The most important federation of organized workers in the United States is the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), whose affiliated unions had 13 million members as of 2003, down from 14.1 million members in 1992. The major independent industrial and labor unions and their estimated 2002 memberships are the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 1,398,412, and the United Automobile Workers, some 710,000 (the majority of whom work for General Motors, Ford, and Daimler-Chrylser). Most of the other unaffiliated unions are confined to a single establishment or locality. US labor unions exercise economic and political influence not only through the power of strikes and slowdowns but also through the human and financial resources they allocate to political campaigns (usually on behalf of Democratic candidates) and through the selective investment of multibillion-dollar pension funds.

The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (the Wagner Act), the basic labor law of the United States, was considerably modified by the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947 (the Taft-Hartley Act) and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (the Landrum-Griffin Act). Closed-shop agreements, which require employers to hire only union members, are banned. The union shop agreement, however, is permitted, if it allows the hiring of nonunion members on the condition that they join the union within a given period of time.

As of 2003, 23 states had right-to-work laws, forbidding the imposition of union membership as a condition of employment. Under the Taft-Hartley Act, the president of the United States may postpone a strike for 90 days in the national interest. The act of 1959 requires all labor organizations to file constitutions, bylaws, and detailed financial reports with the Secretary of Labor, and stipulates methods of union elections. The National Labor Relations Board seeks to remedy or prevent unfair labor practices and supervises union elections, while the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission seeks to prevent discrimination in hiring, firing, and apprenticeship programs.

The number of work stoppages and of workers involved reached a peak in the late 1960s and early 1970s, declining steadily thereafter. In 2002, there were 19 major stoppages involving 46,000 workers resulting in 660,000 workdays idle, compared with 1995, when there were 31 major stoppages involving 191,500 workers resulting in 5,771,000 days idle; a major stoppage was defined as one involving 1,000 workers or more for a minimum of one day or shift.

AGRICULTURE

In 2004, the United States produced a substantial share of the world's agricultural commodities. Agricultural exports reached almost $63.9 billion in 2004.The United States had an agricultural trade surplus of $4 billion in 2004, 14th highest among the nations.

Between 1930 and 2004, the number of farms in the United States declined from 6,546,000 to an estimated 2,110,000. The total amount of farmland increased from 399 million hectares (986 million acres) in 1930 to 479 million hectares (1.18 billion acres) in 1959 but declined to 380 million hectares (938 million acres) in 2002. From 1930 to 2004, the size of the average farm tripled from 61 to 179 hectares (from 151 to 443 acres), a result of the consolidation effected by large-scale mechanized production. The farm population, which comprised 35% of the total US population in 1910, declined to 25% during the Great Depression of the 1930s, and dwindled to less than 2% by 2004.

A remarkable increase in the application of machinery to farms took place during and after World War II (193945). Tractors, trucks, milking machines, grain combines, corn pickers, and pickup bailers became virtual necessities in farming. In 1920 there was less than one tractor in use for every 400 hectares (1,000 acres) of cropland harvested; by 2003 there were five tractors per 400 hectares. Two other elements essential to US farm productivity are chemical fertilizers and irrigation. Fertilizers and lime represent more than 6% of farm operating expenses. Arable land under irrigation amounted to 12% of the total in 2003.

Substantial quantities of corn, the most valuable crop produced in the United States, are grown in almost every state; its yield and price are important factors in the economies of the regions where it is grown. Production of selected US crops in 2004 (in 1,000 metric tons), and their percent of world production were wheat, 58,737 (9.3%); corn, 299,917 (33.2%); rice, 10,469 (1.7%); soybeans, 85,013 (41.6%); cotton, 5,062 (20.5%); and tobacco, 398.8 (6.1%).

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

The livestock population in 2005 included an estimated 95.8 million head of cattle, 60.6 million hogs, and 6.1 million sheep and lambs. That year, there were 1.9 billion chickens, and 88 million turkeys. Milk production totaled 80.1 million metric tons in that year, with Wisconsin, California, and New York together accounting for much of the total. Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California account for more than half of all US butter production, which totaled 608,900 metric tons in 2005; in that year, the United States was the world's largest producer of cheese, with almost 4.5 million metric tons (24% of the world's total). The United States produced an estimated 15% of the world's meat supply in 2005. In 2005, meat animals accounted for $4.97 billion in exports; dairy and eggs, $1.17 billion.

FISHING

The 2003 commercial catch was 5.48 million tons. Food fish make up 80% of the catch, and nonfood fish, processed for fertilizer and oil, 20%. Aquaculture accounts for about 10% of total production.

Alaska pollock, with landings of 1,524,904 tons, was the most important species in quantity among the commercial fishery landings in the United States in 2003. Other leading species by volume included Gulf menhaden, 522,195 tons; Atlantic menhaden, 203,263 tons; Pacific cod, 257,436 tons; North Pacific hake, 140,327 tons; and American cupped oyster, 183,940 tons. In 2003, exports of fish products totaled $3,398 million (fourth after China, Thailand, and Norway).

Aquacultural production consists mostly of catfish, oysters, trout, and crayfish. In 2004, there were 1,147 catfish and 601 trout farms in the United States, with sales of $425 million and $64 million, respectively.

Pollution is a problem of increasing concern to the US fishing industry; dumping of raw sewage, industrial wastes, spillage from oil tankers, and blowouts of offshore wells are the main threats to the fishing grounds. Overfishing is also a threat to the viability of the industry in some areas, especially Alaska.

FORESTRY

US forestland covers about 226 million hectares (558.4 million acres), or 25% of the land area. Major forest regions include the eastern, central hardwood, southern, Rocky Mountain, and Pacific coast areas. The National Forest Service lands account for approximately 19% of the nation's forestland. Extensive tracts of land (4 million acres or more) are under ownership of private lumber companies in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Oregon, and Washington. During 19902000, forested area increased by an annual average of 38,000 hectares (93,900 acres) per year.

Domestic production of roundwood during 2004 amounted to 458.3 million cu m (16.2 billion cu ft), or 1.7% of world production, of which softwoods accounted for roughly 60%. Other forest products in 2004 included 54.3 million metric tons of wood pulp, 83.6 million metric tons of paper and paperboard (excluding newsprint), and 44.2 million cu m (1.56 billion cu ft) of wood-based panels. Rising petroleum prices in the late 1970s sparked a revival in the use of wood as home heating fuel, especially in the Northeast. Fuelwood and charcoal production amounted to 43.6 million cu m (1.5 billion cu ft) in 2004.

Throughout the 19th century, the federal government distributed forestlands lavishly as a means of subsidizing railroads and education. By the turn of the century, the realization that the forests were not inexhaustible led to the growth of a vigorous conservation movement, which was given increased impetus during the 1930s and again in the late 1960s. Federal timberlands are no longer open for private acquisition, although the lands can be leased for timber cutting and for grazing. In recent decades, the states also have moved in the direction of retaining forestlands and adding to their holdings when possible.

MINING

Rich in a variety of mineral resources, the United States was a world leader in the production of many important mineral commodities, such as aluminum, cement, copper, pig iron, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, potash, salt, sulfur, uranium, and zinc. The leading mineral-producing states were Arizona (copper, sand and gravel, portland cement, molybdenum); California (portland cement, sand and gravel, gold, boron); Michigan (iron ore, portland cement, sand and gravel, magnesium compounds); Georgia (clays, crushed and broken stone, portland and masonry cement, sand and gravel); Florida (phosphate rock, crushed and broken stone, portland cement, sand and gravel); Utah (copper, gold, magnesium metal, sand and gravel); Texas (portland cement, crushed and broken stone, magnesium metal, sand and gravel); and Minnesota (iron ore, construction and industrial sand and gravel, crushed and broken stone). Oklahoma and New Mexico were important for petroleum and natural gas, and Kentucky, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, for coal. Iron ore supported the nation's most basic nonagricultural industry, iron and steel manufacture; the major domestic sources were in the Lake Superior area, with Minnesota and Michigan leading all other states in iron ore yields.

ENERGY AND POWER

The United States (US) is the world's leading energy producer and consumer.

According to British Petroleum (BP), as of end 2003, the US had proven oil reserves of 29.4 billion barrels. Oil production that year averaged 7,400,000 barrels per day, with domestic demand averaging 20,033,000 barrels per day. As a result, the US in 2003 was a net oil importer. In 2003, imports of all oil products averaged 12,264.380 barrels per day, of which crude oil accounted for an average of 9,664,920 barrels per day. Refined oil production in 2003 averaged 17,793,990 barrels per day.

As of end 2003, the US had proven reserves of natural gas totaling 5.29 trillion cu m (186.9 trillion cu ft), according to BP. Gross production that year, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), totaled 24,056.00 billion cu ft. Of that amount in 2003, 98 billion cu ft was vented or flared, and 3,548 billion cu ft was re-injected. Marketed production totaled 19,912 billion cu ft, with dry production at 19,036 billion cu ft. Demand in that same year for dry production totaled 22,375 billion cu ft. As with oil, the US was a net importer of natural gas. Imports of dry natural gas in 2003 totaled 3,996 billion cu ft, while dry exports totaled 692 billion cu ft, according to the EIA.

The US had recoverable coal reserves of 246,643 million metric tons at the end of 2004, according to BP. Of that amount, anthracite and bituminous coal reserves totaled 111,338 million metric tons, with sub-bituminous and lignite reserves totaling 135,305 million metric tons, according to BP. In 2003 according to the EIA, coal production by the US totaled 1,069,496,000 short tons, of which 987,613,000 short tons consisted of bituminous coal, with anthracite output totaling 1,289,000 short tons. Lignite or brown coal output that year totaled 80,595,000 short tons, according to the EIA.

In 2003, US electric power generation capacity by public and private generating plants totaled 932.832 million kW, of which 736.728 million kW of capacity belonged to conventional thermal fuel plants, followed by nuclear plant at 98.794 million kW. Hydroelectric capacity that year totaled 79.366 million kW, with geothermal/other capacity at 17.944 million kW. Electric power output in 2003 totaled 3,891.720 billion kWh, of which conventional thermal plants generated 2,758.650 billion kWh, followed by nuclear plants at 763.733 billion kWh, hydroelectric facilities at 275.806 billion kWh and geothermal/other facilities at 93.531 billion kWh.

During the 1980s, increasing attention was focused on the development of solar power, synthetic fuels, geothermal resources, and other energy technologies. Such energy conservation measures as mandatory automobile fuel-efficiency standards and tax incentives for home insulation were promoted by the federal government, which also decontrolled oil and gas prices in the expectation that a rise in domestic costs to world-market levels would provide a powerful economic incentive for consumers to conserve fuel. In 2001 the United States had 1,694 MW of installed wind power.

INDUSTRY

Although the United States remains one of the world's preeminent industrial powers, manufacturing no longer plays as dominant a role in the economy as it once did.

Between 1979 and 1998, manufacturing employment fell from 20.9 million to 18.7 million, or from 21.8% to 14.8% of national employment. Throughout the 1960s, manufacturing accounted for about 29% of total national income; by 1987, the proportion was down to about 19%. In 2002, manufacturing was experiencing a decline due to the recession that began in March 2001. In 2004, industry accounted for 19.7% of GDP. That year, 22.7% of the labor force was engaged in manufacturing, extraction, transportation, and crafts.

Industrial activity within the United States has been expanding southward and westward for much of the 20th century, most rapidly since World War II. Louisiana, Oklahoma, and especially Texas are centers of industrial expansion based on petroleum refining; aerospace and other high technology industries are the basis of the new wealth of Texas and California, the nation's leading manufacturing state. The industrial heartland of the United States is the east-north-central region, comprising Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, with steelmaking and automobile manufacturing among the leading industries. The Middle Atlantic states (New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) and the Northeast are also highly industrialized; but of the major industrial states in these two regions, Massachusetts has taken the lead in reorienting itself toward such high-technology industries as electronics and information processing.

Large corporations are dominant especially in sectors such as steel, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, aircraft, petroleum refining, computers, soaps and detergents, tires, and communications equipment. The growth of multinational activities of US corporations has been rapid in recent decades.

The history of US industry has been marked by the introduction of increasingly sophisticated technology in the manufacturing process. Advances in chemistry and electronics have revolutionized many industries through new products and methods: examples include the impact of plastics on petrochemicals, the use of lasers and electronic sensors as measuring and controlling devices, and the application of microprocessors to computing machines, home entertainment products, and a variety of other industries. Science has vastly expanded the number of metals available for industrial purposes, notably such light metals as aluminum, magnesium, and titanium. Integrated machines now perform a complex number of successive operations that formerly were done on the assembly line at separate stations. Those industries have prospered that have been best able to make use of the new technology, and the economies of some states have been largely based on it.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the United States was the world leader in computer manufacturing. At the beginning of the 21st century, however, the high-tech manufacturing industry registered a decline. Semiconductor manufacturing had been migrating out of the United States to East Asian countries, especially China, Taiwan, and Singapore, and research and development in that sector declined from 19992003. Certain long-established industriesespecially clothing and steelmakinghave suffered from outmoded facilities that (coupled with high US labor costs) have forced the price of their products above the world market level. In 2005, the United States was the world's third-leading steel producer (after China and Japan). Employment in the steel-producing industry fell from 521,000 in 1974 to 187,500 in 2002. Automobile manufacturing was an ailing industry in the 1980s, but rebounded in the 1990s. The "Big Three" US automakersGeneral Motors, Ford, and Daimler-Chryslermanufactured over 60% of the passenger cars sold in the United States in 1995. In 2005, however, General Motors announced it was cutting 30,000 North American manufacturing jobs, the deepest cuts since 1991, when GM eliminated 74,000 jobs over four years. Passenger car production, which had fallen from 7.1 million units in 1987 to 5.4 million in 1991, rose to 6.3 million by 1995 and to 8.3 million in 1999. In 2003, over 12 million motor vehicles were produced in the United States.

The United States had a total of 148 oil refineries as of January 2005, with a production capacity as of September 2004 of 17.1 million barrels per day. Crude oil and refined petroleum products are crucial imports, however.

COMMERCE

Total retail sales for 2004 were $3.5 trillion. Total e-commerce sales were estimated at $69.2 billion, an increase of 23.5% over 2003. The growth of great chains of retail stores, particularly in the form of the supermarket, was one of the most conspicuous developments in retail trade following the end of World War II. Nearly 100,000 single-unit grocery stores went out of business between 1948 and 1958; the independent grocer's share of the food market dropped from 50% to 30% of the total in the same period. With the great suburban expansion of the 1960s emerged the planned shopping center, usually designed by a single development organization and intended to provide different kinds of stores in order to meet all the shopping needs of the particular area. Between 1974 and 2000, the square footage occupied by shopping centers in the United States grew at a far greater rate than the nation's population.

Installment credit is a major support for consumer purchases in the United States. Most US families own and use credit cards, and their frequency of use has grown significantly in the 1990s and 2000s with aggressive marketing by credit card companies which have made cards available to households that didn't qualify in the past. The number of credit cards per household in 2004 was 8. The number of credit cards in circulation in 2004 was 641 million. The average household credit card debt in the United States in 2004 was approximately $8,650, and the total credit card debt in the United States in 2004 was some $800 billion. The use of debit cards was expected to exceed the use of credit cards in 2005.

The US advertising industry is the world's most highly developed. Particularly with the expansion of television audiences, spending for advertising has increased almost annually to successive record levels. Advertising expenditures in 2003 reached an estimated $249 billion, up from $66.58 billion in 1982 and $11.96 billion in 1960. Of the 2003 total, $87.8 billion was spent in radio, broadcast television, and cable television; $57.2 billion was spent on print media (newspapers and magazines); and internet advertising amounted to $5.6 billion.

In 2003 merchant wholesalers had combined total sales of $2.88 trillion.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

Consumer protection has become a major government enterprise during the 20th century. The Federal Trade commission (FTC), established in 1914, administers laws governing the granting and use of credit and the activities of credit bureaus; it also investigates unfair or deceptive trade practices, including price fixing and false advertising. The Securities and Exchange Commission, created in 1934, seeks to protect investors, while the Consumer Product Safety Commission, created in 1972, has the authority to establish product safety standards and to ban hazardous products. Overseeing the safety of air and highway transport is the National Transportation Safety Board, established in 1975. The Consumer Information Center Program of the General Services Administration (Pueblo, Colo.) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service and Food and Nutrition Service of the Department of Agriculture also serve consumer interests. Legislation that would have established a Department of Consumer Affairs failed to win congressional approval several times during the 1970s, however.

Public interest groups have been exceptionally effective in promoting consumer issues. The Consumer Federation of America (CFA; founded in 1967), with 220 member organizations, is the largest US consumer advocacy body; its concerns include product pricing, credit, and the cost and quality of health care, education, and housing. The CFA also serves as a clearinghouse for consumer information. Consumers Union of the US, founded in 1936, publishes the widely read monthly Consumer Reports, which tests, grades, and comments on a variety of retail products. The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, was a pioneer in the consumer movement, focusing especially on labor laws and working conditions. Much of the growth of consumerism in the 1970s resulted from the public relations efforts of one manRalph Nader. Already a well-known consumer advocate concerned particularly with automobile safety, Nader founded Public Citizen in 1971 and an affiliated litigation group the following year. In 1994, Public Citizen claimed 100,000 supporters; its activities include research committees on tax reform, health care, work safety, and energy.

Other avenues open to consumers in most states include small claims courts, generally open to claims between $100 and $1,500 at modest legal cost. Complaints involving professional malpractice may also be brought to state licensing or regulatory boards. Supported by the business community, the US Better Business Bureau provides general consumer information and can help arbitrate some customer-company disputes.

The US government also publishes helpful consumer guides. A listing of the guides is available from the US government through its "Consumer Information Catalog." This catalog is free and lists about 142 of the best federal consumer publications. The federal publications range from planning a diet to financial planning. The publication, published quarterly by the Consumer Information Center of the US General Services Administration is available in most public libraries or online at www.pueblo.gsa.gov.

BANKING AND SECURITIES

The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 provided the United States with a central banking system. The Federal Reserve System dominates US banking, is a strong influence in the affairs of commercial banks, and exercises virtually unlimited control over the money supply. The Federal Reserve Bank system is an independent government organization, with important posts appointed by the President and approved by the Senate.

Each of the 12 federal reserve districts contains a federal reserve bank. A board of nine directors presides over each reserve bank. Six are elected by the member banks in the district: of this group, three may be bankers; the other three represent business, industry, or agriculture. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (usually known as the Federal Reserve Board) appoints the remaining three, who may not be officers, directors, stockholders, or employees of any bank and who are presumed therefore to represent the public.

The Federal Reserve Board regulates the money supply and the amount of credit available to the public by asserting its power to alter the rediscount rate, by buying and selling securities in the open market, by setting margin requirements for securities purchases, by altering reserve requirements of member banks in the

United States2005 Exports, Imports, and Trade Balance by Country and Area
In millions of dollars. Details may not equal totals due to rounding. (X) Not applicable. (-) Represents zero or less than one-half of value shown. January-December, Cumulative.
COUNTRY TRADE BALANCE RANK EXPORTS F.A.S. RANK IMPORTS CUSTOMS RANK
Total, BOP Basis 782,740.2 (X) 894,630.8 (X) 1,677,371.0 (X)
Net Adjustments 15,263.3 (X) 11,346.8 (X) 3,916.5 (X)
Total, Census Basis 767,476.9 (X) 905,977.6 (X) 1,673,454.5 (X)
Afghanistan 194.8 205 262.2 93 67.3 132
Albania 18.7 102 18.5 179 37.2 146
Algeria 9,279.0 20 1,167.4 60 10,446.4 27
Andorra 9.9 152 10.5 187 0.7 203
Angola 7,555.3 24 929.0 66 8,484.4 33
Anguilla 28.4 168 32.2 160 3.8 180
Antigua and Barbuda 186.0 204 190.4 105 4.4 177
Argentina 461.8 67 4,121.9 32 4,583.6 46
Armenia 19.3 160 65.5 142 46.2 143
Aruba 2,360.8 36 558.9 76 2,919.7 54
Australia 8,486.0 229 15,828.2 14 7,342.2 35
Austria 3,509.7 30 2,593.3 42 6,102.9 39
Azerbaijan 87.1 193 132.5 116 45.4 144
Bahamas 1,086.8 222 1,786.7 51 699.9 80
Bahrain 80.8 92 350.8 88 431.6 89
Bangladesh 2,373.3 35 319.8 90 2,693.0 56
Barbados 363.0 212 394.9 84 31.9 150
Belarus 310.2 71 34.9 158 345.2 97
Belgium 5,667.7 226 18,690.6 12 13,022.9 24
Belize 119.3 199 217.6 101 98.3 124
Benin 71.8 187 72.3 138 0.5 205
Bermuda 403.2 216 490.5 82 87.3 128
Bhutan 2.4 135 3.1 208 0.6 204
Bolivia 73.7 94 219.5 99 293.2 102
Bosnia-Herzegovina 52.9 96 17.6 181 70.5 131
Botswana 110.9 88 67.3 141 178.2 112
Brazil 9,063.8 21 15,371.7 15 24,435.5 15
British Indian Ocean Territories 0.4 125 0.8 219 0.4 208
British Virgin Islands 91.3 194 124.9 117 33.6 148
Brunei 513.1 64 49.6 150 562.7 82
Bulgaria 186.3 81 267.9 92 454.3 85
Burkina 23.0 163 25.1 174 2.1 188
Burma (Myanmar) 5.4 142 5.5 201 0.1 220
Burundi 3.7 137 8.1 198 4.4 176
Cambodia 1,697.3 45 69.7 139 1,767.0 64
Cameroon 40.8 98 117.3 119 158.2 117
Canada 78,485.6 3 211,898.7 1 290,384.3 1
Cape Verde 7.2 148 9.9 190 2.6 185
Cayman Islands 627.2 219 680.7 70 53.5 138
Central African Republic 9.1 151 14.8 183 5.7 171
Chad 1,444.3 49 53.8 149 1,498.1 67
Chile 1,441.7 50 5,222.6 29 6,664.3 37
China 201,544.8 1 41,925.3 4 243,470.1 2
Christmas Island 1.6 132 2.0 214 0.4 210
Cocos (Keeling) Island 0.6 128 1.0 217 0.5 207
Colombia 3,387.0 31 5,462.4 28 8,849.4 31
Comoros 1.2 113 0.3 224 1.4 192
Congo (DROC) 198.6 78 65.0 143 263.6 107
Congo (ROC) 1,518.8 47 104.1 123 1,622.9 65
Cook Islands 0.4 116 1.4 216 1.7 189
Costa Rica 183.3 203 3,598.6 36 3,415.3 50
Côte d'Ivoire 1,073.7 55 124.2 118 1,198.0 72
Croatia 205.7 77 158.6 109 364.3 94
Cuba 369.0 213 369.0 86 (-) 226
Cyprus 53.6 181 84.2 131 30.5 152
Czech Republic 1,139.3 54 1,053.6 63 2,192.9 59
Denmark 3,225.8 32 1,918.4 49 5,144.2 43
Djibouti 46.5 177 47.6 151 1.1 198
Dominica 58.2 183 61.5 146 3.3 183
Dominican Republic 115.0 198 4,718.7 30 4,603.7 45
East Timor 8.6 150 8.7 197 0.1 219
Ecuador 3,794.9 29 1,963.8 47 5,758.7 41
Egypt 1,068.0 221 3,159.3 38 2,091.2 60
El Salvador 134.5 86 1,854.3 50 1,988.8 62
United States2005 Exports, Imports, and Trade Balance by Country and Area (cont.)
COUNTRY TRADE BALANCE RANK EXPORTS F.A.S. RANK IMPORTS CUSTOMS RANK
Equatorial Guinea 1,279.7 51 281.5 91 1,561.1 66
Eritrea 29.8 172 31.1 163 1.3 196
Estonia 366.0 70 145.4 113 511.4 84
Ethiopia 448.3 217 510.1 81 61.8 134
Falkland Islands 0.2 117 9.0 195 9.3 164
Faroe Islands 1.7 111 2.5 210 4.3 178
Federal Republic of Germany 50,567.2 4 34,183.7 6 84,750.9 5
Federated States of Micronesia 23.8 164 25.3 173 1.6 191
Fiji 141.3 85 28.2 169 169.5 114
Finland 2,087.6 40 2,254.1 44 4,341.7 47
France 11,431.7 16 22,410.4 9 33,842.1 10
French Guiana 26.9 167 27.0 172 0.1 217
French Polynesia 51.7 179 111.8 121 60.1 135
French Southern and Antarctic Lands 0.2 124 0.3 225 0.1 222
Gabon 2,716.5 34 99.1 125 2,815.6 55
Gambia 30.2 173 30.6 165 0.4 209
Gaza Strip Administered by Israel 1.2 112 0.2 226 1.4 193
Georgia 19.5 161 213.9 102 194.4 111
Ghana 179.0 202 337.4 89 158.4 116
Gibraltar 158.6 201 163.3 108 4.6 174
Greece 308.5 211 1,192.2 59 883.7 78
Greenland 12.2 105 5.1 202 17.3 156
Grenada 76.6 188 82.4 133 5.9 169
Guadeloupe 52.4 180 54.5 148 2.1 187
Guatemala 302.0 72 2,835.4 40 3,137.4 53
Guinea 18.9 159 93.6 129 74.7 130
Guinea-Bissau 2.0 133 2.1 213 0.1 218
Guyana 56.8 182 176.7 107 119.9 121
Haiti 262.4 209 709.6 69 447.2 87
Heard and McDonald Islands 0.1 122 0.2 227 (-) 225
Honduras 495.4 66 3,253.8 37 3,749.2 49
Hong Kong 7,459.3 228 16,351.0 13 8,891.7 30
Hungary 1,537.9 46 1,023.3 64 2,561.2 57
Iceland 243.0 208 512.0 80 269.0 105
India 10,814.8 18 7,989.4 22 18,804.2 18
Indonesia 8,960.4 22 3,053.9 39 12,014.3 26
Iran 78.7 93 95.8 127 174.5 113
Iraq 7,679.7 23 1,374.0 55 9,053.7 29
Ireland 19,397.4 11 9,335.7 20 28,733.1 13
Israel 7,093.1 25 9,737.3 19 16,830.5 19
Italy 19,484.9 10 11,524.3 16 31,009.3 12
Jamaica 1,325.2 223 1,700.8 52 375.6 93
Japan 82,519.2 2 55,484.5 3 138,003.7 4
Jordan 622.7 59 644.2 71 1,266.8 69
Kazakhstan 562.9 62 538.3 77 1,101.1 74
Kenya 284.5 210 632.5 72 348.0 96
Kiribati 1.3 130 2.4 211 1.1 197
Korea, North 5.8 145 5.8 199 (-) 227
Korea, South 16,016.5 12 27,765.0 7 43,781.4 7
Kuwait 2,359.9 37 1,974.9 46 4,334.8 48
Kyrgyzstan 26.5 166 31.1 162 4.6 175
Laos 5.6 144 9.8 191 4.2 179
Latvia 184.6 82 177.5 106 362.2 95
Lebanon 379.3 214 465.7 83 86.4 129
Lesotho 399.6 68 4.0 205 403.6 91
Liberia 21.5 100 69.3 140 90.8 127
Libya 1,506.5 48 83.8 132 1,590.3 (X)
Liechtenstein 276.0 74 19.7 178 295.7 101
Lithuania 243.9 75 390.0 85 633.9 81
Luxembourg 393.6 215 782.4 68 388.8 92
Macao 1,147.4 53 101.6 124 1,249.0 70
Macedonia (Skopje) 16.6 104 31.6 161 48.1 142
Madagascar 295.4 73 28.2 168 323.6 99
Malawi 87.5 90 28.0 170 115.5 122
Malaysia 23,224.3 7 10,460.8 18 33,685.2 11
Maldives 3.8 138 9.3 193 5.5 172
Mali 28.8 170 32.4 159 3.6 182
Malta 88.9 89 193.7 104 282.7 103
Marshall Islands 58.3 184 75.5 136 17.2 157
United States2005 Exports, Imports, and Trade Balance by Country and Area (cont.)
COUNTRY TRADE BALANCE RANK EXPORTS F.A.S. RANK IMPORTS CUSTOMS RANK
Martinique 12.7 157 35.0 157 22.2 155
Mauritania 85.3 192 86.1 130 0.8 202
Mauritius 191.0 79 30.9 164 221.9 109
Mayotte (-) 120 (-) 230 (-) 228
Mexico 49,743.8 5 120,364.8 2 170,108.6 3
Moldova 10.2 106 40.1 154 50.2 140
Monaco 20.7 101 16.8 182 37.5 145
Mongolia 121.8 87 21.9 177 143.6 118
Montserrat 3.9 139 4.8 203 1.0 201
Morocco 79.2 190 525.0 79 445.8 88
Mozambique 50.9 178 62.8 144 11.9 160
Namibia 17.3 103 112.2 120 129.6 120
Nauru 1.5 131 1.6 215 0.1 215
Nepal 86.5 91 24.7 175 111.2 123
Netherlands 11,622.6 230 26,484.6 8 14,862.0 22
Netherlands Antilles 215.2 206 1,137.6 61 922.4 77
New Caledonia 11.2 154 38.4 155 27.2 153
New Zealand 503.4 65 2,651.8 41 3,155.2 52
Nicaragua 555.3 63 625.5 73 1,180.8 73
Niger 13.0 158 78.5 135 65.5 133
Nigeria 22,618.2 8 1,621.2 53 24,239.4 16
Niue 0.5 127 0.6 220 0.1 216
Norfolk Island 0.2 123 0.4 223 0.2 214
Norway 4,834.4 28 1,941.9 48 6,776.3 36
Oman 39.9 175 594.9 75 555.0 83
Pakistan 2,001.6 41 1,251.6 57 3,253.2 51
Palau 11.7 155 12.2 185 0.5 206
Panama 1,835.0 224 2,162.0 45 327.1 98
Papua New Guinea 3.1 107 55.3 147 58.5 136
Paraguay 844.2 220 895.8 67 51.6 139
Peru 2,809.7 33 2,309.4 43 5,119.2 44
Philippines 2,355.0 38 6,895.4 25 9,250.4 28
Pitcairn Island 0.6 114 0.5 221 1.0 200
Poland 680.8 58 1,267.7 56 1,948.6 63
Portugal 1,196.8 52 1,131.9 62 2,328.7 58
Qatar 538.8 218 986.6 65 447.9 86
Republic of Yemen 59.6 95 219.0 100 278.6 104
Reunion 2.0 110 3.8 206 5.8 170
Romania 598.7 60 608.9 74 1,207.6 71
Russia 11,344.3 17 3,962.4 33 15,306.7 20
Rwanda 4.2 140 10.5 188 6.3 167
San Marino 3.3 136 4.7 204 1.4 194
Sao Tomé and Príncipe 9.9 153 10.2 189 0.2 213
Saudi Arabia 20,379.8 9 6,812.8 26 27,192.6 14
Senegal 154.8 200 158.5 110 3.7 181
Serbia and Montenegro 77.9 189 132.5 115 54.6 137
Seychelles 12.0 156 17.9 180 5.9 168
Sierra Leone 28.5 169 37.8 156 9.3 163
Singapore 5,532.2 225 20,642.2 11 15,110.1 21
Slovakia 810.9 57 149.8 112 960.7 76
Slovenia 179.2 83 233.8 98 413.0 90
Solomon Islands 0.9 129 2.3 212 1.4 195
Somalia 8.5 149 8.8 196 0.3 211
South Africa 1,978.7 42 3,906.9 34 5,885.6 40
Spain 1,701.0 44 6,913.6 24 8,614.6 32
Sri Lanka 1,885.3 43 197.6 103 2,082.9 61
St. Helena 0.5 115 2.7 209 3.3 184
St. Kitts and Nevis 44.4 176 94.1 128 49.7 141
St. Lucia 103.0 197 135.4 114 32.4 149
St. Pierre and Miquelon 0.1 118 1.0 218 1.1 199
St. Vincent and the Grenadines 29.8 171 45.4 153 15.7 158
Sudan 94.5 195 108.1 122 13.6 159
Suriname 80.4 191 245.7 95 165.3 115
Svalbard, Jan Mayen Island 5.6 143 5.7 200 (-) 223
Swaziland 187.0 80 11.9 186 198.9 110
Sweden 10,105.6 19 3,715.4 35 13,821.0 23
Switzerland 2,280.0 39 10,719.8 17 12,999.9 25
Syria 168.5 84 155.0 111 323.6 100
Taiwan 12,756.6 13 22,069.2 10 34,825.8 8
United States2005 Exports, Imports, and Trade Balance by Country and Area (cont.)
COUNTRY TRADE BALANCE RANK EXPORTS F.A.S. RANK IMPORTS CUSTOMS RANK
(1) Detailed data are presented on a Census basis. The information needed to convert to a BOP basis is not available.
(2) Countries included in Euro Area are also included in European Union. See Page 27 of the FT-900 release for a list of countries.
(3) Selected countries are included in more than one area grouping. Indonesia is included in both OPEC and Pacific Rim; Venezuela is included in both OPEC and Other South/Central America.
(4) The export totals reflect shipments of certain grains, oilseeds, and satellites that are not included in the country/area totals.
NOTE: For information on data sources, nonsampling errors and definitions, see the information section on page 27 of the FT-900 release, or at www.census.gov/ft900 or www.bea.gov/bea/di/home/trade.htm.
Tajikistan 212.2 76 28.8 167 241.0 108
Tanzania 62.7 185 96.4 126 33.7 147
Thailand 12,633.1 14 7,256.6 23 19,889.8 17
Togo 21.5 162 27.9 171 6.4 166
Tokelau 69.0 186 79.8 134 10.8 161
Tonga 4.3 141 9.7 192 5.4 173
Trinidad and Tobago 6,474.1 26 1,416.7 54 7,890.9 34
Tunisia 2.6 108 261.2 94 263.8 106
Turkey 913.1 56 4,269.0 31 5,182.1 42
Turkmenistan 101.8 196 237.1 97 135.3 119
Turks and Caicos Islands 228.3 207 237.8 96 9.4 162
Tuvalu (-) 119 (-) 228 0.1 221
Uganda 36.8 174 62.6 145 25.8 154
Ukraine 565.1 61 533.0 78 1,098.0 75
United Arab Emirates 7,014.1 227 8,482.4 21 1,468.3 68
United Kingdom 12,444.8 15 38,587.8 5 51,032.6 6
Uruguay 375.6 69 356.7 87 732.3 79
Uzbekistan 21.8 99 73.8 137 95.6 125
Vanuatu 6.6 147 9.1 194 2.5 186
Vatican City 23.9 165 24.2 176 0.3 212
Venezuela 27,557.2 6 6,420.9 27 33,978.1 9
Vietnam 5,438.0 27 1,193.2 58 6,631.2 38
Wallis and Futuna 0.4 126 0.4 222 (-) 224
West Bank Administered by Israel 2.1 134 3.7 207 1.6 190
Western Sahara (-) 121 (-) 229 (-) 229
Western Samoa 6.6 146 14.5 184 7.9 165
Zambia 2.6 109 29.1 166 31.7 151
Zimbabwe 48.8 97 45.5 152 94.3 126
Unidentified 216.3 (X) 216.3 (X) (-) (X)
North America 128,229.4 (X) 332,263.5 (X) 460,492.9 (X)
Western Europe 125,453.7 (X) 200,260.3 (X) 325,714.0 (X)
Euro Area 91,384.0 (X) 137,496.7 (X) 228,880.7 (X)
European Union (25) 122,338.2 (X) 186,437.3 (X) 308,775.5 (X)
European Union (15) 117,160.3 (X) 181,718.3 (X) 298,878.5 (X)
European Free Trade Association 7,147.4 (X) 13,193.5 (X) 20,340.9 (X)
Eastern Europe 18,539.6 (X) 10,994.0 (X) 29,533.6 (X)
Former Soviet Republics 13,566.9 (X) 6,604.3 (X) 20,171.2 (X)
Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) in Europe 125,232.5 (X) 199,207.8 (X) 324,440.4 (X)
Pacific Rim Countries 328,066.4 (X) 223,334.0 (X) 551,400.4 (X)
Asia-Near East 30,550.8 (X) 31,893.6 (X) 62,444.3 (X)
Asia-(NICS) 15,781.6 (X) 86,827.5 (X) 102,609.1 (X)
Asia-South 16,966.6 (X) 10,045.2 (X) 27,011.8 (X)
Assoc. of South East Asia Nations (ASEAN) 49,278.2 (X) 49,636.7 (X) 98,914.9 (X)
APEC 488,815.3 (X) 575,440.1 (X) 1,064,255.4 (X)
South/Central America 50,460.1 (X) 72,413.0 (X) 122,873.0 (X)
Twenty Latin American Republics 96,587.6 (X) 182,836.4 (X) 279,424.0 (X)
Central American Common Market 1,304.0 (X) 12,167.5 (X) 13,471.5 (X)
Latin American Free Trade Association 97,865.1 (X) 162,709.5 (X) 260,574.6 (X)
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Allies 198,120.9 (X) 406,259.2 (X) 604,380.0 (X)
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) 92,866.6 (X) 32,073.8 (X) 124,940.4 (X)
Unidentified 216.3 (X) 216.3 (X) (-) (X)

system, and by resorting to a specific number of selective controls at its disposal. The Federal Reserve Board's role in regulating the money supply is held by economists of the monetarist school to be the single most important factor in determining the nation's inflation rate.

Member banks increase their reserves or cash holdings by rediscounting commercial notes at the federal reserve bank at a rate of interest ultimately determined by the Board of Governors. A change in the discount rate, therefore, directly affects the capacity of the member banks to accommodate their customers with loans. Similarly, the purchase or sale of securities in the open market, as determined by the Federal Open Market Committee, is the most commonly used device whereby the amount of credit available to the public is expanded or contracted. The same effect is achieved in some measure by the power of the Board of Governors to raise or lower the reserves that member banks must keep against demand deposits. Credit tightening by federal authorities in early 1980 pushed the prime rate-the rate that commercial banks charge their most creditworthy customers-above 20% for the first time since the financial panics of 1837 and 1839, when rates reached 36%. As federal monetary policies eased, the prime rate dropped below 12% in late 1984; as of 2000 it was below 10%. In mid-2003 the federal funds rate was reduced to 1%, a 45-year low.

The financial sector is dominated by commercial banks, insurance companies, and mutual funds. There was little change in the nature of the sector between the 1930s, when it was rescued through the creation of regulatory bodies and deposit insurance, and the 1980s, when the market was deregulated. In the 1980s, the capital markets underwent extensive reforms. The markets became increasingly internationalized, as deregulation allowed foreign-owned banks to extend their operations. There was also extensive restructuring of domestic financial markets-interest-rate ceilings were abolished and competition between different financial institution intensified, facilitated by greater diversification.

Commercial and investment banking activities are separated in the United States by the Glass Steagall Act, which was passed in 1933 during the Great Depression. Fears that investment banking activities put deposits at risk led to a situation where commercial banks were unable to deal in non-bank financial instruments. This put them at severe commercial disadvantage, and the pressure for reform became so strong that the Federal Reserve Board has allowed the affiliates of commercial banks to enter a wide range of securities activities since 1986. Attempts to repeal the act were unsuccessful until November 1999, when the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (also known as the Financial Modernization Act) was passed by Congress. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act repealed Glass-Steagall and allows banks, insurance companies, and stock brokers and mutual fund companies to sell each other's products and services. These companies are also now free to merge or acquire one another.

The expansion and diversification in financial services was facilitated by information technology. Financial deregulation led to the collapse of many commercial banks and savings and loan associations in the second half of the 1980s. In the 1990s, change has continued in the form of a proliferation of bank mergers; with the passage in 1999 of Gramm-Leach-Bliley, further consolidation of the industry was predicted.

Prior to 1994 the banking system was highly fragmented; national banks were not allowed to establish branches at will, as they were subject to the banking laws of each state. Within states, local banks faced similar restraints on their branching activities. In 1988, only 22 states permitted statewide banking of national banks, while 18 allowed limited banking and ten permitted no branches. Consequently in 1988 over 60% of US commercial banks had assets of less the $150 million, while only 3% had assets valued at $500 million or more.

Such regulation rendered US banks vulnerable to merger and acquisition. Acquisitions have generally taken place through

United StatesGovernment Finances
(Dollar amounts in thousands. Per capita amounts in dollars.)
AMOUNT PER CAPITA
Abbreviations and symbols: - zero or rounds to zero; (NA) not available; (X) not applicable.
source: U.S. Census Bureau, Governments Division, 2004 Survey of State Government Finances, January 2006.
Total Revenue 1,589,856,242 5,424.22
  General revenue 1,197,346,812 4,085.07
    Intergovernmental revenue 394,497,492 1,345.93
    Taxes 593,821,649 2,025.98
      General sales 198,208,985 676.24
      Selective sales 95,567,053 326.05
      License taxes 39,626,991 135.20
      Individual income tax 197,878,965 675.12
      Corporate income tax 30,896,860 105.41
      Other taxes 31,642,795 107.96
    Current charges 114,842,943 391.82
    Miscellaneous general revenue 94,184,728 321.34
  Utility revenue 12,954,913 44.20
  Liquor store revenue 4,865,703 16.60
  Insurance trust revenue 374,688,814 1,278.35
Total expenditure 1,406,039,800 4,797.08
  Intergovernmental expenditure 389,706,202 1,329.59
  Direct expenditure 1,016,333,598 3,467.50
    Current operation 691,570,727 2,359.48
    Capital outlay 91,189,148 311.12
    Insurance benefits and repayments 170,914,840 583.12
    Assistance and subsidies 28,104,471 95.89
    Interest on debt 34,554,412 117.89
Exhibit: Salaries and wages 185,827,096 634.00
Total expenditure 1,406,039,800 4,797.08
  General expenditure 1,209,524,629 4,126.62
   Intergovernmental expenditure 389,706,202 1,329.59
    Direct expenditure 819,818,427 2,797.03
  General expenditures, by function:
    Education 429,340,569 1,464.81
    Public welfare 339,408,778 1,157.98
    Hospitals 40,425,954 137.92
    Health 49,559,091 169.08
    Highways 86,428,773 294.88
    Police protection 10,766,134 36.73
    Correction 39,313,812 134.13
    Natural resources 18,651,542 63.63
    Parks and recreation 5,843,274 19.94
    Government administration 44,682,549 152.45
    Interest on general debt 32,883,864 112.19
    Other and unallocable 112,220,289 382.87
  Utility expenditure 21,676,258 73.95
  Liquor store expenditure 3,924,073 13.39
  Insurance trust expenditure 170,914,840 583.12
Debt at end of fiscal year 750,409,895 2,560.23
Cash and security holdings 2,928,805,805 9,992.41

bank holding companies, which then fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Reserve System. This has allowed banks to extend their business into non-bank activities such as insurance, financial planning, and mortgages, as well as opening up geographical markets. The number of such holding companies is estimated at 6,500. These companies are believed to control over 90% of total bank assets.

The Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act of 1994 removed most of the barriers to interstate bank acquisitions and interstate banking. The new act allowed banks to merge with banks in other states although they must operate them as separate banks. In addition, banks are allowed to establish branches in neighboring states. Restrictions on branching activity were lifted as of June 1997. The legislation allowed banks to lessen their exposure to regional economic downturns. It also ensured a continuing stream of bank mergers. Liberalization has encouraged a proliferation of in-store banking at supermarkets. International Banking Technologies, Inc., reported that the number of supermarket bank branches rose to 7,100 in 1998, up from 2,191 in 1994. In the mid-1990s, the number of supermarket branch banks grew at an annual rate of around 30%, but growth from 1997 to 1998 slowed to just over 10%.

Under the provisions of the Banking Act of 1935, all members of the Federal Reserve System (and other banks that wish to do so) participate in a plan of deposit insurance (up to $100,000 for each individual account as of 2003) administered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Savings and loan associations are insured by the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC). Individual accounts were insured up to a limit of $100,000. Savings and loans failed at an alarming rate in the 1980s. In 1989 the government signed legislation that created the Resolution Trust Corporation. The RTC's job is to handle the savings and loans bailout, expected to cost taxpayers $345 billion through 2029. Approximately 30 million members participated in thousands of credit unions chartered by a federal agency; state-chartered credit unions had over 20 million members.

The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $1,595.5 billion. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $6,961.2 billion. The money market rate, the rate at which financial institutions lend to one another in the short term, was 3.89%. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 1.25%.

INSURANCE

The number of life insurance companies has shrunk in recent years. Between 1985 and 1995 the number fell from 2,261 to 1,840. In 1998, there were 51 life insurance mergers and acquisitions. Competition between financial institutions has been healthy and premium income has risen steadily. The overwhelming majority of US families have some life insurance with a legal reserve company, the Veterans Administration, or fraternal, assessment, burial, or savings bank organization. The passage in 1999 of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act allowed insurance companies, banks, and securities firms to sell each other's products and services; restrictions were also lifted on cross-industry mergers and acquisitions. In 2003, the value of all direct insurance premiums written totaled $1,055.498 billion, of which nonlife premiums accounted for $574.579 billion. In that same year, State Farm Mutual Group was the top nonlife insurer, with direct written nonlife premiums of $47,226 million, while Metropolitan Life and Affiliated was the nation's leading life insurer, with direct written life insurance premiums of $27,649.1 million.

Hundreds of varieties of insurance may be purchased. Besides life, the more important coverages include accident, fire, hospital and medical expense, group accident and health, automobile liability, automobile damage, workers' compensation, ocean marine, and inland marine. Americans buy more life and health insurance than any other group except Canadians and Japanese. During the 1970s, many states enacted a "no fault" form of automobile insurance, under which damages may be awarded automatically, without recourse to a lawsuit.

SECURITIES

When the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) opened in 1817, its trading volume was 100 shares a day. On 17 December 1999, 1.35 billion shares were traded, a record high for shares traded in a single day. Record-setting trading volume occurred for 1999 as a whole, with 203.9 billion shares traded (a 20% increase over 1998) for a total value of $8.9 trillion, up from $7.3 trillion in 1998. In 1996, 51 million individuals and 10,000 institutional investors owned stocks or shares in mutual funds traded on the NYSE. The two other major stock markets in the United States are the American Stock Exchange (AMEX) and the NASDAQ (National Association of Securities Dealers). The NASD (National Association of Securities Dealers) is regulated by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). As of 2004, the New York Stock Exchange, the NASDAQ and the American Stock Exchange had a combined total of 5,231 companies listed. Total market capitalization that same year came to $16,323.726 billion.

PUBLIC FINANCE

Under the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, the president is responsible for preparing the federal government budget. In fact, the budget is prepared by the Office of Management and Budget (established in 1970), based on requests from the heads of all federal departments and agencies and advice from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Council of Economic Advisers, and the Treasury Department. The president submits a budget message to Congress in January. Under the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Congress establishes, by concurrent resolution, targets for overall expenditures and broad functional categories, as well as targets for revenues, the budget deficit, and the public debt. The Congressional Budget Office monitors the actions of Congress on individual appropriations bills with reference to those targets. The president exercises fiscal control over executive agencies, which issue periodic reports subject to presidential perusal. Congress exercises control through the comptroller general, head of the General Accounting Office, who sees to it that all funds have been spent and accounted for according to legislative intent. The fiscal year runs from 1 October to 30 September. The public debt, subject to a statutory debt limit, has been raised by Congress 70 times since 1950. The debt rose from $43 billion in 1939/40 to more than $3.3 trillion in 1993 to more than $8.2 trillion in early 2006. In fiscal year 1991/92, the federal deficit reached $290 million, a record high. Pressured by Congressional Republicans, President Clinton introduced a taxing and spending plan to reduce the rate of growth of the federal deficit when he began his term in 1993. The Clinton Administration calculated the package of tax increases and spending would cut the deficit by $500 billion over a four-year period; in fiscal year 1997/98, the budget experienced an estimated surplus of $69 billion. However, the tax cuts and extensive military spending of President George W. Bush in the first term of the new millenium erased the surplus and pushed the economy toward a record $455 billion deficit projected for the 2003 fiscal year ($475 billion projected for 2004). The total public debt as of March 2006 exceeded $8 trillion.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 the United States' central government took in revenues of approximately $2.1 trillion and had expenditures of $2.4 trillion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately $347 billion. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 64.7% of GDP. Total external debt was $8.837 trillion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2003, the most recent year for which it had data, central government revenues in billions of dollars were 1,902.4 and expenditures were 2,311.9. The value of revenues in millions of US dollars was $1,902 and expenditures $2,312. Government outlays by function were as follows: general public services, 12.2%; defense, 19.1%; public order and safety, 1.4%; economic affairs, 7.0%; housing and community amenities, 2.0%; health, 23.4%; recreation, culture, and religion, 0.2%; education, 2.6%; and social protection, 32.0%.

TAXATION

Measured as a proportion of the GDP, the total US tax burden is less than that in most industrialized countries. Federal, state, and local taxes are levied in a variety of forms. The greatest source of revenue for the federal government is the personal income tax, which is paid by citizens and resident aliens on their worldwide income. The main state-level taxes are sales and income taxes. The main local taxes are property and local income taxes.

Generally, corporations are expected to prepay, through four installments, 100% of estimated tax liability. US corporate taxes are famous for their complexity, and it is estimated that amount spent trying to comply with, minimize and/or avoid business taxes is equal to half the tax yield. As of 2004, the US had a top corporate federal tax rate of 35%, although the effective rate is actually 39.5%. Generally, corporations having taxable income in excess of $75,000 but not over $10 million are taxed at a 34% rate, with the first $75,000 taxed at graduated rates of 15% to 25%. However those whose income falls between $335,000 and $10 million are taxed at the full 34% which includes the initial $75,000. Corporations with income of over $15 million but not over $18,333,333 are subject to an additional 3% tax, while those corporations whose taxable income is over $18,333,333 are taxed at the 35% rate. The federal government also imposes an Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). The purpose of the AMT is to prevent what is considered an overuse of tax deductions. As a result, the AMT is effectively a separate tax system with its own credit limitations and allowable deductions. Under the AMT, a 20% flat rate is applied to alternative minimum taxable income (AMTI), which the corporation must pay if the calculated AMT is greater than the regular tax. Conversely, if the calculated regular tax is more than the calculated AMT, then the regular tax must be paid. State and local governments may also impose their own corporate income taxes. Generally, these taxes use the federal definitions of taxable income as the starting point when applying their income taxes. Capital gains from assets held as investments are taxed at the same rates as ordinary income. Dividends, interest and royalties paid to non-residents are subject to a withholding tax of 30%.

The United States has a progressive personal income tax structure that as of 2004, had a top rate of 35%. As with corporations, individuals can be subject to an AMT. With rates of 26% and 28%, the AMT, as it applies to individuals, is similar to the AMT charged to corporations in that the individual must pay whichever is highest, the regular tax or the AMT. Individuals may also be subject to inheritance and gift taxes, as well as state and local income taxes, all of which vary from state-to-state and locality-to-locality. Capital gains from assets held for under a year (short term) are taxed at higher rates than gains derived from assets held for more than a year (long term). Long term capital gains for individuals are taxed at a 15% rate, while those individuals who fall into lower-income tax brackets would be subject to a 5% rate. Certain capital gains derived from real estate are subject to a 25% tax rate.

The United States has not adopted a national value-added tax (VAT) system. The main indirect taxes are state sales taxes. There is an importation duty of 0.7% on imported goods. Excise taxes are levied on certain motor vehicles, personal air transportation, some motor fuels (excluding gasohol), alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, tires and tubes, telephone charges, and gifts and estates.

ECONOMIC POLICY

By the end of the 19th century, regulation rather than subsidy had become the characteristic form of government intervention in US economic life. The abuses of the railroads with respect to rates and services gave rise to the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1887, which was subsequently strengthened by numerous acts that now stringently regulate all aspects of US railroad operations.

The growth of large-scale corporate enterprises, capable of exercising monopolistic or near-monopolistic control of given segments of the economy, resulted in federal legislation designed to control trusts. The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, reinforced by the Clayton Act of 1914 and subsequent acts, established the federal government as regulator of large-scale business. This tradition of government intervention in the economy was reinforced during the Great Depression of the 1930s, when the Securities and Exchange Commission and the National Labor Relations Board were established. The expansion of regulatory programs accelerated during the 1960s and early 1970s with the creation of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Consumer Product Safety Commission, among other bodies. Subsidy programs were not entirely abandoned, however. Federal price supports and production subsidies remained a major force in stabilizing US agriculture. Moreover, the federal government stepped in to arrange for guaranteed loans for two large private firmsLockheed in 1971 and Chrysler in 1980where thousands of jobs would have been lost in the event of bankruptcy.

During this period, a general consensus emerged that, at least in some areas, government regulation was contributing to inefficiency and higher prices. The Carter administration moved to deregulate the airline, trucking, and communications industries; subsequently, the Reagan administration relaxed government regulation of bank savings accounts and automobile manufacture as it decontrolled oil and gas prices. The Reagan administration also sought to slow the growth of social-welfare spending and attempted, with only partial success, to transfer control over certain federal social programs to the states and to reduce or eliminate some programs entirely. Ironically, it was a Democrat, Bill Clinton, who, in 1996, signed legislation that replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children with a system of block grants that would enable the states to design and run their own welfare programs.

Some areas of federal involvement in social welfare, however, seem safely entrenched. Old age and survivors' insurance, unemployment insurance, and other aspects of the Social Security program have been accepted areas of governmental responsibility for decades. With the start of the 21st century, the government faced the challenge of keeping the Medicare program solvent as the postwar baby-boomer generation reached retirement age. Federal responsibility has also been extended to insurance of bank deposits, to mortgage insurance, and to regulation of stock transactions. The government fulfills a supervisory and regulatory role in labor-management relations. Labor and management customarily disagree on what the role should be, but neither side advocates total removal of government from this field.

Since the Reciprocal Trade Agreement Act of 1934, government regulation of foreign trade has tended toward decreased levels of protection, a trend maintained by the 1945 Trade Agreements Extension Act, the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, and the 1974 Trade Act. The goals of free trade have also been furthered since World War II by US participation in the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). With the formation in 1995 of the World Trade Organization (WTO), most-favored-nation policies were expanded to trade in services and other areas.

In 1993, Congress approved the North American Free Trade Agreement, which extended the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the United States to include Mexico. NAFTA, by eliminating tariffs and other trade barriers, created a free trade zone with a combined market size of $6.5 trillion and 370 million consumers. The effect on employment was uncertainestimates varied from a loss of 150,000 jobs over the ensuing ten years to a net gain of 200,000. Labor intensive goods-producing industries, such as apparel and textiles, were expected to suffer, while it was predicted that capital goods industries would benefit. It was anticipated that US automakers would benefit in the short run by taking advantage of the low wages in Mexico and that US grain farmers and the US banking, financial, and telecommunications sectors would gain enormous new markets. As of 2005, the pros and cons of NAFTA were still being hotly debated. Spokespersons for organized labor claimed in 2000 that the agreement had resulted in a net loss of 420,000 jobs, while advocates of free trade insisted that 311,000 new jobs had been created to support record US exports to Canada and Mexico, with only 116,000 workers displaceda net gain of 195,000 jobs.

In 2003, President George W. Bush introduced, and Congress passed a tax cut of $350 billion designed to stimulate the economy, which was in a period of slow growth. This came on the heels of a $1.35 trillion tax cut passed in 2001 and a $96 billion stimulus package in 2002. Democrats cited the loss of 2.7 million private sector jobs during the first three years of the Bush administration as evidence that the president did not have control over the economy. In 1998, for the first time since 1969, the federal budget closed the fiscal year with a surplus. In 2000, the government was running a surplus of $236 billion, or a projected $5.6 trillion over 10 years. By mid-2003, the federal budget had fallen into deficit; the deficit stood at $455 billion, which was 4.2% of gross domestic product (GDP). The budget deficit stood at $412 billion in 2004, or 3.6% of GDP, and was forecast to decline to $331 billion in 2006.

US businesses are at or near the forefront of technological advances, but the onrush of technology has created a "two-tier" labor market, in which those at the bottom lack the education and professional and technical skills of those at the top, and, increasingly, fail to receive comparable pay raises, health insurance coverage, and other benefits. Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households. Other long-term problems facing the US economy are inadequate investment in economic infrastructure, the rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, significant trade, current account, and budget deficits, and the stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups. Congress in 2003 passed an overhaul of the Medicare program, to provide prescription drug coverage for the elderly and disabled, which went into effect in January 2006.

HEALTH

The US health care system is among the most advanced in the world. Escalating health care costs resulted in several proposals for a national health care program in the 1970s, early 1980s, and early 1990s. Most reform measures relied either on market-oriented approaches designed to widen insurance coverage through tax subsidies on a federally controlled single-payer plan, or on mandatory employer payments for insurance coverage. The health care industry continues to struggle with continued rising costs, as well as the financial burden of providing care to over 40 million people who were uninsured. The percentage among the nation's poor was much higher.

In response to rising costs, the popularity of managed care grew rapidly in the latter half of the 1990s. By 2000, 59% of the population was insured by either an HMO (health maintenance organization) or PPO (preferred provider organization). In such organizations, medical treatment, laboratory tests, and other health services for each patient are subject to the approval of the insurer before they can be covered. From 1987 to 1996, enrollment in health maintenance organizations (HMOs) doubled. By the end of the decade, however, the quality of treatment under managed care organizations was coming under increased scrutiny.

Life expectancy for someone born in 2005 was 77.71 years. Infant mortality has fallen from 38.3 per 1,000 live births in 1945 to 6.50 per 1,000 live births in 2005. The birth rate in 2002 was 14.1 per 1,000 people. In 1999, 56.5% of US adults were overweight and 21.1% were obese. Although health indicators continued to improve overall 2004, pronounced disparities between different segments of the population remained.

The overall death rate is comparable to that of most nationsan estimated 8.7 per 1,000 people as of 2002. Leading causes of death were: heart disease, cancer, cerebrovascular diseases, chronic lower respiratory diseases, accidents, diabetes mellitus, pneumonia and influenza, Alzheimer's disease, suicide and homicide.

Cigarette smoking has been linked to heart and lung disease; about 20% of all deaths in the United States were attributed to cigarette smoking. Smoking has decreased overall since the late 1980s. The overall trend in smoking mortality suggests a decrease in smoking among males since the 1960s, but an increase in mortality for female smokers. On 23 November 1998, the Master Settlement Agreement was signed, the result of a lawsuit brought by 46 states and the District of Columbia against tobacco companies for damages related to smoking. Payments from the settlement, totaling $206 billion, began in 1999.

The rate of HIV infection (resulting in acquired immune deficiency syndromeAIDS), first identified in 1981, has risen in the intervening years. There were a cumulative total of 750,000 AIDS cases in the 1980s and 1990s, with 450,000 deaths from the disease. In the latter 1990s, both incidence and mortality decreased with the introduction of new drug combinations to combat the disease. The number of AIDS cases declined by 30% between 1996 and 1998 and deaths were cut in half. In 2004, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 950,000, with the number of deaths from AIDS that year estimated at 14,000. AIDS continued to affect racial and ethnic minorities disproportionately. HIV prevalence was 0.60 per 100 adults in 1999.

Medical facilities in the United States included 5,810 hospitals in 2000, with 984,000 beds (down from 6,965 hospitals and 1,365,000 beds in 1980). As of 2004, there were an estimated 549 physicians, 773 nurses, 59 dentists and 69 pharmacists per 100,000 people. Of the total number of active classified physicians, the largest areas of activity were internal medicine, followed by general and family practice, then pediatrics.

Per capita health care expenditures rose from $247 in 1967 to about $3,380 in 1993. National health care spending reached $1 trillion in 1996 and is projected to rise to $1.9 trillion by 2006. Hospital costs, amounting to over $371 billion in 1997, represented 34% of national health care spending in that year. In the late 1990s, total health care expenditures stabilized at around 13% of GDP, with most expenditures being made by the private sector.

Medicare payments have lagged behind escalating hospital costs; payments in 2000 totaled $215.9 billion. Meanwhile, the elderly population in the United States is projected to increase to 18% of the total population by 2020, thus exacerbating the conundrum of health care finance.

SOCIAL WELFARE

Social welfare programs in the United States depend on both the federal government and the state governments for resources and administration. Old age, survivors', disability, and the Medicare (health) programs are administered by the federal government; unemployment insurance, dependent child care, and a variety of other public assistance programs are state administered, although the federal government contributes to all of them through grants to the states.

The Food and Nutrition Service of the US Department of Agriculture oversees several food assistance programs. Eligible Americans take part in the food stamp program, and eligible pupils participate in the school lunch program. The federal government also expends money for school breakfasts, nutrition programs for the elderly, and in commodity aid for the needy. The present Social Security program differs greatly from that created by the Social Security Act of 1935, which provided that retirement benefits be paid to retired workers aged 65 or older. Since 1939, Congress has attached a series of amendments to the program, including provisions for workers who retire at age 62, for widows, for dependent children under 18 years of age, and for children who are disabled prior to age 18. Disabled workers between 50 and 65 years of age are also entitled to monthly benefits. Other measures increased the number of years a person may work; among these reforms was a 1977 law banning mandatory retirement in private industry before age 70. The actuarial basis for the Social Security system has also changed. In 1935 there were about nine US wage earners for each American aged 65 or more; by the mid-1990s, however, the ratio was closer to three to one.

In 1940, the first year benefits were payable, $35 million was paid out. By 1983, Social Security benefits totaled $268.1 billion, paid to more than 40.6 million beneficiaries. The average monthly benefit for a retired worker with no dependents in 1960 was $74; in 1983, the average benefit was $629.30. Under legislation enacted in the early 1970s, increases in monthly benefits were pegged to the inflation rate, as expressed through the Consumer Price Index. Employers, employees, and the self-employed are legally required to make contributions to the Social Security fund. Currently, 6.2% of employee earnings (12.4% of self-employed earnings) went toward old-age, disability, and survivor benefits. Wage and salary earners pay Social Security taxes under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). As the amount of benefits and the number of beneficiaries have increased, so has the maximum FICA payment. As of 2004 the maximum annual earnings for contribution and benefit purposes was $87,000.

Workers compensation laws vary according to states. Most laws were enacted before 1920; the program covering federal employees was instituted in 1908. Insurance is compulsory through public or private carriers. In most states the employer fund the total cost. There is a special federal program for miners with black lung disease (pneumoconiosis). The laws governing unemployment compensation originate in the states as well, and therefore benefits vary from state to state in duration and amount. Generally unemployment benefits amount to 50% of earnings, and federal law provides an additional 13 weeks of payments in states with high unemployment. Federal and state systems provide aid in the form of cash payments, social services, and job training to assist needy families.

Private philanthropy plays a major role in the support of relief and health services. The private sector plays an especially important role in pension management.

HOUSING

The housing resources of the United States far exceed those of any other country, with 122,671,734 housing units serving about 109,902,090 households, according to 2004 American Community Survey estimates. About 67% of all occupied units were owner-occupied. About 10% of the total housing stock was vacant. The average household had 2.6 people. The median home value was estimated at $151,366. The median payment for rent and utilities of rental properties was $694 per month. California had the highest number of housing units at over 12 million (in 2000); the state also had the highest median housing value of owner-occupied units at $391,102 (2004 est.). Wyoming had the lowest number of housing stock with 223,854 (2000). The lowest median housing value of owner-occupied units was found in Arkansas at $79,006 (2004 est.).

The vast majority of housing units are single-unit structures; 61% are single-family detached homes. Over 9.5 million dwellings are found in buildings of 20 units or more. Over 8.7 million dwellings are mobile homes. About 14.9% of the total housing stock was built in 1939 or before. The decade of 197079 had the most homes built, with 21,462,868 units, 17.6% of the existing stock. During the period 199099, there were 19,007,934 units built, about 15% of the existing stick. Houses being built in the 1990s were significantly larger than those built in the 1970s. The average area of single-family housing built in 1993 was 180.88 sq m (1,947 sq ft), compared to 139.35 sq m (1,500 sq ft) in 1970. The median number of rooms per dwelling was estimated at 5.4 in 2004.

EDUCATION

Education is the responsibility of state and the local governments. However, federal funds are available to meet special needs at primary, secondary, or higher levels. Each state specifies the age and circumstances for compulsory attendance. The most common program of compulsory education requires attendance for ages 6 to 16; however, most school programs continue through twelve years of study, with students graduating at age 17 or 18. The high school diploma is only granted to students who complete this course of study, no certificates of completion are granted at previous intervals. Those who leave school before completion of grade 12 may choose to take a General Educational Development Test (GED) that is generally considered to be the equivalent to a state-approved diploma.

"Regular" schools, which educate a person toward a diploma or degree, include both public and private schools. Public schools are controlled and supported by the local authorities, as well as state or federal governmental agencies. Private schools are controlled and supported by religious or private organizations. Elementary schooling generally extends from grade one through grade five or six. Junior high or middle school programs may cover grades six through eight, depending on the structure of the particular school district. High schools generally cover grades 9 through 12. At the secondary level, many schools offer choices of general studies or college preparatory studies. Vocational and technical programs are also available. Some schools offer advanced placement programs through which students (after appropriate exams) may earn college credits while still in high school. The school year begins in September and ends in June.

In 2003, about 58% of children between the ages of three and five were enrolled in some type of preschool program. Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 92% of age-eligible students. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 14:1 in 2003; the ratio for secondary school was about 15:1. In 2003, private schools accounted for about 10.8% of primary school enrollment and 9.2% of secondary enrollment. As of 2003, about 87% percent of all 25- to 29-year-olds had received a high school diploma or equivalency certificate.

In 2003, about 1.1 million students were home schooled. In a home schooling program, students are taught at home by their parents or tutors using state-approved curriculum resources. Most of these students (about 82%) receive their entire education at home. Others may attend some classes at local schools or choose to attend public high school after completing preliminary grades through home schooling.

Colleges include junior or community colleges, offering two-year associate degrees; regular four-year colleges and universities; and graduate or professional schools. Both public and private institutions are plentiful. Eight of the most prestigious institutions in the country are collective known as the Ivy League. These schools are some of the oldest in the country and are known for high academic standards and an extremely selective admissions process. Though they are all now independent, nonsectarian organizations, most of them were founded or influenced by religious groups. They include: Yale University (1701, Puritans), University of Pennsylvania (1740, Quaker influence), Princeton University (1746, Presbyterian), Harvard University (1638, Puritan), Dartmouth College (1769, Puritan), Cornell University (1865), Colombia University (1754, Anglican), and Brown University (1764, Baptist).

The cost of college education varies considerably depending on the institution. There are county and state universities that receive government funding and offer reduced tuition for residents of the region. Students attending both public and private institutions may be eligible for federal aid in the form of grants or loans. Institutions generally offer their own scholarship and grant programs as well.

There are over 4,000 non-degree institutions of higher learning, including educational centers offering continuing education credits for professionals as well as general skill-based learning programs. Certificate programs are available in a number of professions and trades. Technical and vocational schools are also available for adults. In 2003, it was estimated that about 83% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in tertiary education programs. The adult literacy rate has been estimated at about 97%.

Beyond this, there are numerous public and private community organizations that offer educational programming in the form of workshops, lectures, seminars, and classes for adults interested in expanding their educational horizons.

As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 5.7% of GDP, or 17.1% of total government expenditures.

ARTS

The nation's arts centers are emblems of the importance of the performing arts in US life. New York City's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, whose first concert hall opened in 1962, is now the site of the Metropolitan Opera House, three halls for concerts and other musical performances, two theaters, the New York Public Library's Library and Museum of the Performing Arts, and the Juilliard School. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., opened in 1971; it comprises two main theaters, two smaller theaters, an opera house, and a concert hall.

The New York Philharmonic, founded in 1842, is the nation's oldest professional musical ensemble. Other leading orchestras include those of Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. (the National Symphony). Particularly renowned for artistic excellence are the Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Opera Company of Boston, Santa Fe Opera, New York City Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera.

The recording industry is an integral part of the music world. The US accounts for fully one-third of the global total of $33 billion in sales. Popular music (mostly rock), performed in halls and arenas in every major city and on college campuses throughout the US, dominates record sales. The Internet website Napster has challenged the recording industry's copyright rights by offering free downloads of popular music. The industry, threatened by the freedom that the Internet granted to those wishing to share music, succeeded in having Napster's operations suspended by an appeals judge in 2001.

Though still financially insecure, dance is winning an increasingly wide following. The American Ballet Theater, founded in 1940, is the nation's oldest dance company still active today; the New York City Ballet is equally acclaimed. Other important companies include those of Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, Alvin Ailey, Paul Taylor, and Twyla Tharp, as well as the Feld Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and Pilobolus.

Drama remains a principal performing art, not only in New York City's renowned theater district but also in regional, university, summer, and dinner theaters throughout the US. Television and the motion picture industry have made film the dominant modern medium.

The National Council on the Arts, established in 1964, advises the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Fourteen members of the Council, and six members of Congress serve in this function. As the largest single funder of the nonprofit arts sector in the United States, the NEA generated a total budget of $115.7 million in 2003. Grants are awarded to state, local, and regional organizations for projects in the following categories: creation and presentation, education and access, heritage and preservation, and planning and stabilization. Fellowship awards are made in the categories of Literature, American Jazz Masters, and National Heritage.

Since 1985, the NEA has assisted in the selection process for the National Medal of Arts, which is awarded by the president of the United States. Several winners are chosen each year, representing a variety of fields. Past medalists include: Dolly Parton (singer, 2005); Ray Bradbury (author, 2004); Ron Howard (director and actor, 2003); William "Smokey" Robinson (songwriter and musician, 2002); Al Hirschfeld (illustrator, 2002); Johnny Cash (singer, 2001); Yo-Yo Ma (cellist, 2001); Kirk Douglas (actor and producer, 2001); Mikhail Baryshnikov (dancer and director, 2000); Maya Angelou (poet and writer, 2000); Aretha Franklin (singer, 1999); Michael Graves (architect, 1999); Frank Gehry (architect, 1998); Edward Albee (playwright, 1997); Harry Callahan (photographer, 1996); Bob Hope (entertainer, 1995); Gene Kelly (dancer, 1994); Arthur Miller (playwright, 1993); and Frank Capra (film director, 1986), to name just a few. Organizations that have received medals include the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation (2001), National Public Radio (2000), the Julliard School (1999), Steppenwolf Theater Company (1998), the Sarah Lee Corporation (corporate arts patron, 1998), and the Boys Choir of Harlem (1994).

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) was created as an independent federal agency in 1965. It is the largest funder of humanities programs in the country. Grants are distributed to state and local programs in the following categories: Challenge Grants, Education Programs, Preservation and Access, Public Programs, and Research Programs. Besides offering support to outside organizations, the NEH sponsors touring exhibitions and programs through chapters in most states. The NEH budget request for the year 2006 was $138.6 million.

The NEH sponsors the Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities award, which was established in 1972 as the highest honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual and public achievement in the humanities. Recipients have included Tom Wolfe (2006); David McCullough (2003); Henry Louis Gates, Jr., (2002); Arthur Miller (2001); Toni Morrison (1996); Gwendolyn Brooks (1994); Saul Bellow (1977); and Robert Penn Warren (1974). The National Humanities Medals, established in 1997, are awarded to individuals or groups whose work has had an impact on the understanding and preservation of the humanities. Medalists include the Iowa Writers' Workshop (2002); Donald Kagan (2002); Art Linkletter (2002); Richard Peck (2001); Ernest J. Gaines (2000); Garrison Keillor (1999); Jim Lehrer (1999); Steven Spielberg (1999); Stephen Ambrose (1998); Don Henley (1997); and Maxine Hong Kingston (1997).

Since 1950, the National Book Foundation, based in New York, has sponsored the National Book Awards, which have become the nation's preeminent literary prizes. The 2005 prizes went to Europe Central by William Vollman (fiction), Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (non-fiction), New and Selected Poems by W.S. Merwin (poetry), and The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall (young people's literature). Notable past winners include: United States: Essays 19521992 by Gore Vidal (1993); Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier (1997); The White House by Henry A. Kissinger (1980); A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle (1980); The Fall of America: Poems of these States, 19651971 by Allen Ginsberg (1974); Death at an Early Age by Jonathan Kozol (1968); The Centaur by John Updike (1964); The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (1953); Collected Poems by Marianne Moore (1952); and The Collected Stories of William Faulkner (1951).

LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

The American Library Association has reported that, as of 2004, there were an estimated 117,664 libraries in the country, including 9,211 public libraries (with over 16,500 buildings), 3,527 academic libraries, 93,861 school libraries, 9,526 special libraries, 314 armed forces libraries, and 1,225 government libraries.

The largest library in the country and the world is the Library of Congress, with holdings of over 130 million items, including 29 million books and other printed materials, 2.7 million recordings, 12 million photographs, 4.8 million maps, and 58 million manuscripts. The Library of Congress serves as the national library and the site of the U.S. Copyright Office. The government maintains a system of Presidential Libraries and Museums which serve as archive and research centers that preserve documents and other ma-terials of historical value related to the presidency. Starting with Herbert Hoover, the 31st president of the United States, there has been a library and museum established for each president. State governments maintain their own libraries as well.

The country's vast public library system is administered primarily by municipalities. The largest of these is the New York Public Library system with 89 branch locations and over 42.7 million items, including 14.9 million bound volumes. Other major public library systems include the Cleveland Public Library (over 9.7 million items), Los Angeles County Public Library (over 9.6 million items, 8.7 million books), the Chicago Public Library (6.5 million), the Boston Public Library system (6.1 million books, including 1.2 million rare books and manuscripts), and the Free Library of Philadelphia (6 million items).

Noted special collections are those of the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York; the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif.; the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.; the Hoover Library at Stanford University; and the rare book divisions of Harvard, Yale, Indiana, Texas, and Virginia universities.

Among the leading university libraries are those of Harvard (with about 15 million volumes in 90 libraries), Yale, Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), Michigan (Ann Arbor), California (Berkeley), Columbia, Stanford, Cornell, California (Los Angeles), Chicago, Wisconsin (Madison), and Washington (Seattle).

There are over 5,000 nonprofit museums in the United States. The most numerous type is the historic building, followed in descending order by college and university museums, museums of science, public museums of history, and public museums of art. The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., sponsors 18 national museums and the National Zoo. Sixteen of the Smithsonian national museums are located in the Smithsonian complex of Washington, D.C.; these include the Natural History Museum, the American History Museum, the Air and Space Museum, American Art Museum, and the American Indian Museum. The American Indian Museum, Heye Center, and the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum are Smithsonian-sponsored museums located in New York.

Other eminent US museums include the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Collection of American Art, the Frick Collection, and the Brooklyn Museum, all in New York City; the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Museum of Natural History; the Franklin Institute and Philadelphia Museum of Art, both in Philadelphia; and the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco. Also of prominence are the Cleveland Museum of Art, the St. Louis Museum of Art, and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

COMMUNICATIONS

All major electric communications systems are privately owned but regulated by the Federal Communications Commission. The United States uses wire and radio services for communications more extensively than any other country in the world. In 2003, there were an estimated 621 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were approximately 543 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people. The Post Office Department of the United States was replaced on 1 July 1971 by the US Postal Service, a financially autonomous federal agency. In addition to mail delivery, the Postal Service provides registered, certified, insured, express and COD mail service, issues money orders, and operates a postal savings system. Since the 1970s, numerous privately owned overnight mail and package delivery services have been established.

Radio serves a variety of purposes other than broadcasting. It is widely used by ships and aircraft for safety; it has become an important tool in the movement of buses, trucks, and taxicabs. Forest conservators, fire departments, and the police operate with radio as a necessary aid; it is used in logging operations, surveying, construction work, and dispatching of repair crews. In 2004, broadcasting stations on the air comprised over 12,000 radio stations (both AM and FM) and more than 1,500 television stations. Nearly 1,000 stations were affiliated with five major networks: NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX (all commercial), and PBS (Public Broadcasting System). As of 1997 the United States had some 9,000 cable television systems. In 2003, there were an estimated 2,109 radios and 938 television sets for every 1,000 people. About 255 of every 1,000 people were cable subscribers. Also in 2003, there were 658.9 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 551 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were 198,098 secure Internet servers in the country in 2004.

PRESS

In 2005 there were over 1,500 daily newspapers in the United States. It has been estimated that about 20 large newspaper chains account for almost 60% of the total daily circulation. The US daily newspapers with the largest circulations as of 2004 were: USA Today (national), 2,220,863; Wall Street Journal (national), 2,106,774; New York Times, 1,121,057; Los Angeles Times (CA), 902,3164; New York Daily News, 715,052; Washington Post (DC), 707,690; New York Post, 686,207; Chicago Tribune (IL), 600,988; Houston Chronicle (TX), 554,783; Dallas Morning News (TX), 519,014; San Francisco Chronicle (CA), 505,022; Chicago Sun-Times (IL), 481,980; Long Island/New York Newsday, 481,816; Boston Globe (MA), 451,471; Arizona Republic, 413,268; Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ), 400,042; Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, GA), 386,015; Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), 381,094; Philadelphia Inquirer (PA), 368,883; and Cleveland Plain Dealer (OH), 354,309. The Christian Science Monitor is published for daily national circulation by the Christian Science Church based in Massachusetts; circulation in 2004 was about 60,723. Investor's Business Daily, based in Los Angeles, California, also has a national circulation, reaching about 191,846 in 2004.

In 2004, the most popular consumer magazine in the country was AARP the Magazine, published bimonthly by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) with a circulation of over 22.6 million. The AARP Bulletin came in second with a circulation of about 22.1 million. The two general circulation magazines that appealed to the largest audiences were Reader 's Digest (about 10 million) and TV Guide (about 9 million). Time and Newsweek were the leading news magazines, with 2004 weekly circulations of 4,034,272 and 3,135,476 respectively.

The US book-publishing industry consists of the major book companies (mainly in the New York metro area), nonprofit university presses distributed throughout the United States, and numerous small publishing firms. In 1994, 51,863 book titles were published in the United States.

The US Constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press in its Bill of Rights, and the government supports these rights. Citizens enjoy a wide range of opinions in all media, where debate, editorial opinion, and government opposition viewpoints are represented in some form or another. Nearly all media are privately owned.

ORGANIZATIONS

A number of industrial and commercial organizations exercise considerable influence on economic policy. The National Association of Manufacturers and the US Chamber of Commerce, with numerous local branches, are the two central bodies of business and commerce. Various industries have their own associations, concerned with cooperative research and questions of policy alike.

Practically every profession in the United States is represented by one or more professional organizations. Among the most powerful of these are the American Medical Association, comprising regional, state, and local medical societies; the American Bar Association, also comprising state and local associations; the American Hospital Association; and the National Education Association. The most prestigious scientific and technical institution s are the National Academy of Sciences (founded 1863) and the National Academy of Engineering (1964).

Many private organizations are dedicated to programs of political and social action. Prominent in this realm are the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Urban League, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Common Cause, and the Anti-Defamation League. The League of Women Voters, which provides the public with nonpartisan information about candidates and election issues, began sponsoring televised debates between the major presidential candidates in 1976. The National Organization for Women, and the National Rifle Association have each mounted nationwide lobbying campaigns on issues affecting their members. There are thousands of political action committees (PACs) that disburse funds to candidates for the House and Senate and other elected offices.

The great privately endowed philanthropic foundations and trusts play an important part in encouraging the development of education, art, science, and social progress in the United States. Prominent foundations include the Carnegie Corporation and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Mayo Association for the Advancement of Medical Research and Education, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Private philanthropy was responsible for the establishment of many of the nation's most eminent libraries, concert halls, museums, and university and medical facilities; private bequests were also responsible for the establishment of the Pulitzer Prizes. Merit awards offered by industry and professional groups include the "Oscars" of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the "Emmys" of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the "Grammys" of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Funds for a variety of community health and welfare services are funneled through United Way campaigns, which raise funds annually. The American Red Cross has over 3,000 chapters, which pay for services and activities ranging from disaster relief to blood donor programs. The Salvation Army is also a prominent national organization supporting programs of social welfare and advancement. There are several national associations dedicated to research and education for specific fields of medicine and particular diseases and conditions, such as the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the March of Dimes.

There are numerous youth clubs and associations across the country. The Boy Scouts of America, the Girl Scouts of the USA, rural 4-H Clubs, and the Young Men's and the Young Women's Christian Associations are among the organizations devoted to recreation, sports, camping, and education. There are youth organizations for political parties, such as the Young Republicans and Young Democrats, and Junior ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps) for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Most national religious and service associations have youth chapters.

The largest religious organization in the United States is the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, which embraces 32 Protestant and Orthodox denominations, whose adherents total more than 42 million. Many organizations, such as the American Philosophical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Geographic Society, are dedicated to the enlargement of various branches of human knowledge. National, state, and local historical societies abound, and there are numerous educational, sports, and hobbyist groups.

The larger veterans' organizations are the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, the Catholic War Veterans, and the Jewish War Veterans. Fraternal organizations, in addition to such international organizations as the Masons, include indigenous groups such as the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Loyal Order of Moose, and the Woodmen of the World. Many, such as the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America, commemorate the national origin of their members. One of the largest fraternal organizations is the Roman Catholic Knights of Columbus.

TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION

Among the most striking scenic attractions in the United States are: the Grand Canyon in Arizona; Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico; Yosemite National Park in California; Yellowstone National Park in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming; Niagara Falls, partly in New York; and the Everglades in Florida. The United States has a total of 49 national parks. Popular coastal resorts include those of Florida, California, and Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Historical attractions include the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall in Philadelphia; the Statue of Liberty in New York City; the White House, the Capitol, and the monuments to Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln in the District of Columbia; the Williamsburg historical restoration in Virginia; various Revolutionary and Civil War battlefields and monuments in the East and South; the Alamo in San Antonio; and Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. Among many other popular tourist attractions are the movie and television studios in Los Angeles; the cable cars in San Francisco; casino gambling in Las Vegas and in Atlantic City, N.J.; thoroughbred horse racing in Kentucky; the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn.; the many jazz clubs of New Orleans; and such amusement parks as Disneyland (Anaheim, Calif.) and Walt Disney World (near Orlando, Fla.). For abundance and diversity of entertainmenttheater, movies, music, dance, and sportsNew York City has few rivals. In April 1993, Amtrak began the country's first regularly scheduled transcontinental passenger service, from Los Angeles to Miami.

Americans' recreational activities range from the major spectator sportsprofessional baseball, football, basketball, ice hockey, soccer; and horse racing; and collegiate football and basketballto home gardening. Participant sports are a favorite form of recreation, including jogging, aerobics, tennis, and golf. Skiing is a popular recreation in New England and the western mountain ranges, while sailing, power boating, rafting, and canoeing are popular water sports.

Foreign visitors to the United States numbered 41,212,213 in 2003, down from 51 million in 2000. Of these visitors, 31% came from Canada and 25% from Mexico. Hotel rooms numbered 4,415,696 with an occupancy rate of 61%. With a few exceptions, such as Canadians entering from the Western Hemisphere, all visitors to the United States are required to have passports and visas.

The cost of traveling in the United States varies from city to city. According to 2005 US government estimates, daily expenses were approximately $187 in Chicago, $272 in New York, $230 in Washington, D.C., and $174 in Miami. Costs are lower in smaller cities and rural areas.

SPORTS

Baseball, long honored as the national pastime, is the nation's leading professional team sport, with two major leagues having 30 teams (one in Canada). In the 1998 season, two teams were added to Major League Baseballthe Arizona Diamondbacks, playing in the National League West, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, playing in the American League East. In 2005, the Montreal Expos became the Washington DC Nationals, following the team's move to Washington DC from Montreal. During the 2005 regular season, almost 75 million fans attended Major League Baseball games. In 1992, the Toronto Blue Jays became the first non-US team to win the World Series. In addition, there is an extensive network of minor league baseball teams, each of them related to a major league franchise. The National Basketball Association, created in 1946, included 30 teams in 2005. A labor dispute resulted in a lockout of the players for nearly half the 19992000 NBA season. The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), founded in 1997, included 14 teams as of 2005. During the WNBA's third season (1999), 1,959,733 fans attended regular season games, establishing an attendance record for women's professional sports. In 2005, WNBA attendance totaled 1,805,937. In 2005, the National Football League included 32 teams; Houston, Texas, was awarded a franchise in 2002 to establish the 32nd team. The National Hockey League (NHL) expanded to 30 teams in 2000, when teams in St. Paul, Minnesota (Minnesota Wild), and Columbus, Ohio (Columbus Blue Jackets), played their inaugural seasons. Prior expansion occurred in the 199899 season, with the Nashville Predators, and in 19992000, with the Atlanta Thrashers. In the 2003/2004 season, 20.3 million fans attended regular NHL season games. However, the entire NHL schedule for the 2004/2005 season was cancelled because of a labor dispute between the players and the team owners. Hockey players also held strikes in 1992 and 1994. Play resumed for the 2005/2006 season after both sides agreed to a new labor contract. The North American Soccer League (NASL), which appeared to be growing popular in the late 1970s, discontinued outdoor play in 1985. Indoor soccer continued, however, with the Major Indoor Soccer League. In 1994, however, soccer's World Cup games were played in nine US cities, with the final match held in Los Angeles. As of 2005, Major League Soccer fielded 12 teams in two divisions. Radio and television contracts are integral to the popular and financial success of all professional team sports. In 1994, a strike by baseball players caused the World Series to be canceled for the first time since 1904.

Several other professional sports are popular nationwide. Thoroughbred racing is among the nation's most popular spectator sports, with an estimated 12 million fans visiting horse-racing tracks annually. Annual highlights of thoroughbred racing are the three jewels of the Triple Crownthe Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakesmost recently won by Seattle Slew in 1977 and by Affirmed in 1978. In 2000, jockey Julie Krone became the first woman jockey to be inducted into the Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Harness racing is also popular; attracting millions of spectators annually and involving over $1.5 billion in wagering. In 1997, over 14.3 million fans watched greyhound racing. The prize money that Henry Ford won on a 1901 auto race helped him start his now-famous car company two years later; since then, automobile manufacturers have backed sports car, stock car, and motorcycle racing at tracks throughout the US. From John L. Sullivan to Muhammad Ali, the personality and power of the great boxing champions have drawn millions of spectators ringside. Glamour and top prizes also draw national followings for tennis and golf, two professional sports in which women are nationally prominent. Other professional sports include bowling and rodeo.

Football has been part of US college life since the game was born on 6 November 1869 with a New Jersey match between Rutgers and Princeton. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) coordinate collegiate football and basketball. Colleges recruit top athletes with sports scholarships in order to win media attention, and to keep the loyalty of the alumni, thereby boosting fund-raising. Baseball, hockey, swimming, gymnastics, crew, lacrosse, track and field, and a variety of other sports also fill the intercollegiate competitive program

The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), a national nonprofit organization founded in 1888, conducts the AAU/USA Junior Olympics, offering competition in 22 sports in order to help identify candidates for international Olympic competition. St. Louis hosted the 1904 summer Olympics; Los Angeles was home to the games in 1932 and 1984. The winter Olympic games were held in Squaw Valley, Calif., in 1960, and at Lake Placid, New York, in 1932 and 1980. Atlanta hosted the summer Olympic games in 1996. Salt Lake City, Utah, was the site of the 2002 winter Olympic games.

FAMOUS AMERICANS

Printer, publisher, inventor, scientist, statesman, and diplomat, Benjamin Franklin (170690) was America's outstanding figure of the colonial period. George Washington (173299), leader of the colonial army in the American Revolution, became first president of the United States and is known as the "father of his country." Chief author of the Declaration of Independence, founder of the US political party system, and third president was Thomas Jefferson (17431826). His leading political opponents were John Adams (17351826), second president, and Alexander Hamilton (b.West Indies, 17551804), first secretary of the treasury, who secured the new nation's credit. James Madison (17511836), a leading figure in drawing up the US Constitution, served as fourth president. John Quincy Adams (17671848), sixth president, was an outstanding diplomat and secretary of state.

Andrew Jackson (17671845), seventh president, was an ardent champion of the common people and opponent of vested interests. Outstanding senators during the Jackson era were John Caldwell Calhoun (17821850), spokesman of the southern planter aristocracy and leading exponent of the supremacy of states' rights over federal powers; Henry Clay (17771852), the great compromiser, who sought to reconcile the conflicting views of the North and the South; and Daniel Webster (17821852), statesman and orator, who championed the preservation of the Union against sectional interests and division. Abraham Lincoln (180965) led the United States through its most difficult period, the Civil War, in the course of which he issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Jefferson Davis (180889) served as the only president of the short-lived Confederacy. Stephen Grover Cleveland (18371908), a conservative reformer, was the strongest president in the latter part of the 19th century. Among the foremost presidents of the 20th century have been Nobel Peace Prize winner Theodore Roosevelt (18581919); Woodrow Wilson (18561924), who led the nation during World War I and helped establish the League of Nations; and Franklin Delano Roosevelt (18821945), elected to four terms spanning the Great Depression and World War II. The presidents during the 19612000 period have been John Fitzgerald Kennedy (191763), Lyndon Baines Johnson (190873), Richard Milhous Nixon (191394), Gerald Rudolph Ford (Leslie Lynch King, Jr., b.1913), Jimmy Carter (James Earl Carter, Jr., b.1924), Ronald Wilson Reagan (19112004), George Herbert Walker Bush (b.1924), and Bill Clinton (William Jefferson Blythe III, b.1946). George Walker Bush (b.1946) became the 43rd president and first president of the 21st century.

Of the outstanding US military leaders, four were produced by the Civil War: Union generals Ulysses Simpson Grant (182285), who later served as the eighteenth president, and William Tecumseh Sherman (182091); and Confederate generals Robert Edward Lee (180770) and Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson (182463). George Catlett Marshall (18801959), army chief of staff during World War II, in his later capacity as secretary of state under President Harry S Truman (18841972), formulated the Marshall Plan, which did much to revitalize Western Europe. George Smith Patton, Jr. (18851945) was a leading general who commanded major units in North Africa, Sicily, and Europe in World War II. Douglas MacArthur (18801964) commanded the US forces in Asia during World War II, oversaw the postwar occupation and reorganization of Japan, and directed UN forces in the first year of the Korean conflict. Dwight D. Eisenhower (18901969) served as supreme Allied commander during World War II, later becoming the thirty-fourth president. William Childs Westmoreland (19142005) commanded US military operations in the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1968 and served as US Army Chief of Staff from 1968 to 1972. H. Norman Schwarzkopf (b.1934) commanded the successful allied invasion of Iraq in the Persian Gulf War. General Colin Luther Powell (b.1937), former Secretary of State (20012005) and highest ranking African American government official in the history of the US (a position assumed by Condoleezza Rice in 2005), was a general in the army who also served as National Security Advisor (19871989) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (19891993).

John Marshall (17551835), chief justice of the United States from 1801 to 1835, established the power of the Supreme Court through the principle of judicial review. Other important chief justices were Edward Douglass White (18451921), former president William Howard Taft (18571930), and Earl Warren (18911974), whose tenure as chief justice from 1953 to 1969 saw important decisions on desegregation, reapportionment, and civil liberties. The justice who enjoyed the longest tenure on the court was William O. Douglas (18981980), who served from 1939 to 1975; other prominent associate justices were Oliver Wendell Holmes (18411935), Louis Dembitz Brandeis (18561941), and Hugo Lafayette Black (18861971).

Indian chiefs renowned for their resistance to white encroachment were Pontiac (1729?69), Black Hawk (17671838), Tecumseh (17681813), Osceola (1804?38), Cochise (1812?74), Geronimo (1829?1909), Sitting Bull (1831?90), Chief Joseph (1840?1904), and Crazy Horse (1849?77). Other significant Indian chiefs were Hiawatha (fl. 1500), Squanto (d.1622), and Sequoya (1770?1843). Historical figures who have become part of American folklore include pioneer Daniel Boone (17341820); silversmith, engraver, and patriot Paul Revere (17351818); frontiersman David "Davy" Crockett (17861836); scout and Indian agent Christopher "Kit" Carson (180968); James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok (183776); William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody (18461917); and the outlaws Jesse Woodson James (184782) and Billy the Kid (William H. Bonney, 185981).

Inventors and Scientists

Outstanding inventors were Robert Fulton (17651815), who developed the steamboat; Eli Whitney (17651825), inventor of the cotton gin and mass production techniques; Samuel Finley Breese Morse (17911872), who invented the telegraph; and Elias Howe (181967), who invented the sewing machine. Alexander Graham Bell (b.Scotland, 18471922) gave the world the telephone. Thomas Alva Edison (18471931) was responsible for hundreds of inventions, among them the long-burning incandescent electric lamp, the phonograph, automatic telegraph devices, a motion picture camera and projector, the microphone, and the mimeograph. Lee De Forest (18731961), the "father of the radio," developed the vacuum tube and many other inventions. Vladimir Kosma Zworykin (b.Russia, 18891982) was principally responsible for the invention of television. Two brothers, Wilbur Wright (18671912) and Orville Wright (18711948), designed, built, and few the first successful motor-powered airplane. Amelia Earhart (18981937) and Charles Lindbergh (190274) were aviation pioneers. Pioneers in the space program include John Glenn (b.1921), the first US astronaut to orbit the earth, and Neil Armstrong (b.1930), the first man to set foot on the moon.

Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford (17531814), developed devices for measuring light and heat, and the physicist Joseph Henry (17971878) did important work in magnetism and electricity. Outstanding botanists and naturalists were John Bartram (16991777); his son William Bartram (17391832); Louis Agassiz (b.Switzerland, 180773); Asa Gray (181088); Luther Burbank (18491926), developer of a vast number of new and improved

Presidents of the United States
NAME BORN DIED OTHER MAJOR OFFICES HELD RESIDENCE AT ELECTION
1 George Washington Westmoreland County, Va., 22 February 1732 Mt. Vernon, Va., 14 December 1799 Commander in Chief, Continental Army (177583) Mt. Vernon, Va.
2 John Adams Braintree (later Quincy), Mass., 30 October 1735 Quincy, Mass., 4 July 1826 Representative, Continental Congress (177477); US vice president (179797) Quincy, Mass.
3 Thomas Jefferson Goochland (now Albemarle) County, Va., 13 April 1743 Monticello, Va., 4 July 1826 Representative, Continental Congress (177576); governor of Virginia (177981); secretary of state (179093); US vice president (17971801) Monticello, Va.
4 James Madison Port Conway, Va., 16 March 1751 Montpelier, Va., 28 June 1836 Representative, Continental Congress (178083; 178688); US representative (178997); secretary of state (18019) Montpelier, Va.
5 James Monroe Westmoreland County, Va. 28 April 1758 New York, N.Y., 4 July 1831 US senator (179094); governor of Virginia (17991802); secretary of state (181117); secretary of war (181415) Leesburg, Va.
6 John Quincy Adams Braintree (later Quincy), Mass., 11 July 1767 Washington, D.C., 23 February 1848 US senator (18038); secretary of state (181725); US representative (183148) Quincy, Mass.
7 Andrew Jackson Waxhaw, Carolina frontier, 15 March 1767 The Hermitage, Tenn., 8 June 1845 US representative (179697); US senator (179798) The Hermitage, Tenn.
8 Martin Van Buren Kinderhook, N.Y., 5 December 1782 Kinderhook, N.Y., 24 July 1862 US senator (182128); governor of New York (1829); secretary of state (182931); US vice president (183337) New York
9 William Henry Harrison Charles City County, Va., 9 February 1773 Washington, D.C., 4 April 1841 Governor of Indiana Territory (180113); US representative (181619); US senator (182528) North Bend, Ohio
10 John Tyler Charles City County, Va., 29 March 1790 Richmond, Va., 18 January 1862 US representative (181621); governor of Virginia (182527); US senator (182736); US vice president (1841) Richmond, Va.
11 James K. Polk Mecklenburg County, N.C., 2 November 1795 Nashville, Tenn., 15 June 1849 US representative (182539); governor of Tennessee (183941) Nashville, Tenn.
12 Zachary Taylor Orange County, Va., 24 November 1784 Washington, D.C., 9 July 1850 Louisiana
13 Millard Fillmore Cayuga County, N.Y., 7 January 1800 Buffalo, N.Y., 8 March 1874 US representative (183335; 183743); US vice president (184950) Buffalo, N.Y.
14 Franklin Pierce Hillsboro, N.H., 23 November 1804 Concord, N.H., 8 October 1869 US representative, (183337); US senator (183743) Concord, N.H.
15 James Buchanan Mercersburg, Pa., 23 April 1791 Lancaster, Pa., 1 June 1868 US representative (182131); US senator (183445); secretary of state (184549) Lancaster, Pa.
16 Abraham Lincoln Hodgenville, Ky., 12 February 1809 Washington, D.C., 15 April 1865 US representative (184749) Springfield, Ill.
17 Andrew Johnson Raleigh, N.C., 29 December 1808 Carter Station, Tenn., 31 July 1875 US representative (184353); governor of Tennessee (185357; 186265); US senator (185762); US vice president (1865) Greeneville, Tenn.
18 Ulysses S. Grant Point Pleasant, Ohio, 27 April 1822 Mount McGregor, N.Y., 23 July 1885 Commander, Union Army (186465); secretary of war (186768) Galena, Ill.
19 Rutherford B. Hayes Delaware, Ohio, 4 October 1822 Fremont, Ohio, 17 January 1893 US representative (186567); governor of Ohio (186872; 187677) Fremont, Ohio
20 James A. Garfield Orange, Ohio, 19 November 1831 Elberon, N.J., 19 September 1881 US representative (186380) Mentor, Ohio
21 Chester A. Arthur Fairfield, Vt., 5 October 1829 New York, N.Y., 18 November 1886 US vice president (1881) New York, N.Y.
22 Grover Cleveland Caldwell, N.J., 18 March 1837 Princeton, N.J., 24 June 1908 Governor of New York (188284) Albany, N.Y.
23 Benjamin Harrison North Bend, Ohio 20 August 1833 Indianapolis, Ind., 13 March 1901 US senator (188187) Indianapolis, Ind.
PARTY % OF POPULAR VOTE % OF ELECTORAL VOTE1,2 TERMS IN OFFICE5 VICE PRESIDENTS NOTABLE EVENTS
Federalist 50.0 30 April 17894 March 1793 John Adams Federal government organized; Bill of Rights enacted (1791); Whiskey Rebellion suppressed (1794); North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee enter Union. 1
Federalist 25.7 4 March 17974 March 1801 Thomas Jefferson Alien and Sedition Acts passed (1798); Washington, D.C., becomes US capital (1800) 2
Dem.-Rep. 26.43
92.0
4 March 18014 March 1805 Aaron Burr
George Clinton
Louisiana Purchase (1803); Lewis and Clark Expedition (18036); Ohio enters Union. 3
Dem.-Rep. 69.7
58.9
4 March 18094 March 1818
4 March 18134 March 1817
George Clinton
Elbridge Gerry
War of 1812 (181214); protective tariffs passed (1816); Louisiana, Indiana enter Union. 4
Dem.-Rep. 84.3 4 March 18174 March 1821
4 March 18214 March 1825
Daniel D. Tompkins
Daniel D. Tompkins
Florida purchased from Spain (181921); Missouri Compromise (1820); Monroe Doctrine (1823); Mississippi, Illinois, Alabama, Maine, Missouri enter Union. 5
National Republican 30.9 38.04 4 March 18254 March 1829 John C. Calhoun Period of political antagonisms, producing little legislation; road and canal construction supported; Erie Canal opens (1825). 6
Democrat 56.0
54.2
68.2
76.6
4 March 18294 March 1833 John C. Calhoun
Martin Van Buren
Introduction of spoils system; Texas Republic established (1836); Arkansas, Michigan enter Union. 7
Democrat 50.8 57.8 4 March 18374 March 1841 Richard M. Johnson Financial panic (1837) and subsequent depression. 8
Whig 52.9 79.6 4 March 18414 April 1841 John Tyler Died of pneumonia one month after taking office. 9
Whig 4 April 18414 March 1845 Monroe Doctrine extended to Hawaiian Islands (1842); Second Seminole War in Florida ends (1842). 10
Democrat 49.5 61.8 4 March 18454 March 1849 George M. Dallas Boundary between US and Canada set at 49th parallel (1846); Mexican War (184648), ending with Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848); California gold rush begins (1848); Florida, Texas, Iowa, Wisconsin enter Union. 11
Whig 47.3 56.2 4 March 18499 July 1850 Millard Fillmore Died after 16 months in office. 12
Whig 9 July 18504 March 1853 Fugitive Slave Law (1850); California enters Union. 13
Democrat 50.8 85.8 4 March 18534 March 1857 William R. King Gadsden Purchase (1853); Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854); trade opened with Japan (1854). 14
Democrat 45.3 58.8 4 March 18574 March 1861 John C. Breckinridge John Brown's raid at Harpers Ferry, Va. (now W. Va.; 1859); South Carolina secedes (1860); Minnesota, Oregon, Kansas enter Union. 15
Republican 39.8
55.0
59.4
91.0
4 March 18614 March 1865
4 March 186515 April 1865
Hannibal Hamlin
Andrew Johnson
Confederacy established, Civil War begins (1851); Emancipation Proclamation (1863); Confederacy defeated (1865); Lincoln assassinated (1865); West Virginia, Nevada attain statehood. 16
Republican 15 April 18654 March 1869 Reconstruction Acts (1867); Alaska purchased from Russia (1867); Johnson impeached but acquitted (1868); Nebraska enters Union. 17
Republican 52.7
55.6
72.8
78.1
4 March 18694 March 1873
4 March 18734 March 1877
Schuyler Colfax
Numerous government scandals; financial panic (1873); Colorado enters Union. 18
Republican 48.0 50.1 4 March 18774 March 1881 William A. Wheeler Federal troops withdrawn from South (1877); civil service reform begun. 19
Republican 48.3 58.0 4 March 188119 Sept. 1881 Chester A. Arthur Shot after 4 months in office, dead 2 1/2 months later. 20
Republican 19 Sept. 18814 March 1885 Chinese immigration banned despite presidential veto (1882); Civil Service Commission established by Pendleton Act (1883). 21
Democrat 48.5 54.6 4 March 18854 March 1889 Thomas A. Hendricks Interstate Commerce Act (1887) 22
Republican 47.8 58.1 4 March 18894 March 1893 Levi P. Morton Sherman Silver Purchase Act (1890); North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming enter Union. 23
NAME BORN DIED OTHER MAJOR OFFICES HELD RESIDENCE AT ELECTION
1Percentage of electors actually voting.
2In the elections of 1789, 1792, 1796, and 1800, each elector voted for two candidates for president. The candidate receiving the highest number of votes was elected president; the next highest, vice president. Percentages in table are of total vote cast. From 1804 onward, electors were required to designate which vote was for president and which for vice president, and an electoral majority was required.
24 Grover Cleveland Caldwel, N.J., 18 March 1837 Princeton, N. J., 24 June 1908 Governor of New York (188284) New York, N.Y.
25 William McKinley Niles, Ohio 29 January 1843 Buffalo, N.Y., 14 September 1901 US representative (187383; 188591); governor of Ohio (189296) Canton, Ohio
26 Theodore Roosevelt New York, N.Y., 27 October 1858 Oyster Bay, N.Y., 6 January. 1919 Governor of New York (18891900); US vice president (1901) Oyster Bay, N.Y.
27 William H. Taft Cincinnati, Ohio, 15 September 1857 Washington, D. C., 8 March 1930 Governor of Philippines (19014); secretary of ware (19048); chef justice of the US (192130) Washington, D.C.
28 Woodrow Wilson Staunton, Va, 28 December 1850 Washington, D.C., 3 February 1924. Governor of New Jersey (191113) Trenton, N.J.
29 Warren G, Harding Blooming Grove Ohio, 2 November 1865 San Francisco, Calif., 2 August 1923 US senator (191521) Marion, Ohio
30 Calvin Coolidge Plymouth Notch; Vt., 4 July 1872 Northampton, Mass., 5 January 1933 Governor of Massachusetts (191920); US vice president (192123) Boston, Mass.
31 Herbert Hoover West Branch, Iowa, 10 August 1874 New York. N.Y., 20 October 1964 Secretary of commerce (192129) Stanford, Calif
32 Franklin D. Roosevelt Hyde Par, N.Y., 30 January 1882 Warm Springs, Ga., 12 April 1945 Governor of New York (19291933) Hyde Park, N.Y.
33 Harry S Truman Lamar, Mo., 8 May 1884 Kansas City, Mo., 26 December 1972 US senator (193545); US vice president (1945) Independence, Mo.
34 Dwight D. Eisenhower Denison, Tex., 14 October 1890 Washington, D. C., 28 March 1969 Supreme allied commander in Europe (194344); Army chief of staff (194548) New York
35 John F. Kennedy Bookline, Mass., 29 May 1917 Dallas, Tex., 22 November 1963 US representative (194752); US senator (195360) Masschusetts
36 Lyndon B Johnson Stonewall, Tex, 27 August 1908 Johnson City, Tex., 22 January 1973 Us representative (193748); US senator (194960); Us vice president (196163) Johnson City, Tex.
37 Richard M. Nixon Yorba Linda, Calif., 9 January 1913 New York, N. Y., 22 April 1994 US representative (194751); US senator (195153); US vice president (195361) New York, N.Y.
38 Gerald R. Ford Omaha, Neb., 14 July 1913 US representative (194973); US vice president (197374) Grand Rapids, Mich.
39 James E. Carter Plains, Ga., 1 October 1924 Governor of Georgia (195175) Plains; Ga.
40 Ronald W. Reagan Tampico, III., 6 February 1911 Bel-Air, Calif., 5 June 2004 Governor of California (196776) Los Angeles, Calif.
41 George H. W. Bush Milton, Mass., 12 June 1924 US representative (196771) Vice president (198088) Houston, Texas
42 William J. Clinton Hope, Arkansas, 19 August. 1946 Attorney general of Arkansas (197779) Governor of Arkansas (197981; 198392) Little Rock, Arkansas
43 George W. Bush. New Haven, Conn. 6 July 1946 Governor of Texas (19942000) Midland, Texas
PARTY % OF POPULAR VOTE % OF ELECTORAL VOTE1,2 TERMS IN OFFICE5 VICE PRESIDENTS NOTABLE EVENTS
3Electoral vote tied between Jefferson and Aaron Burr; elections decided in House of Representatives.
4No candidate received a majority; election decided in House.
5In the event of a president's death or removal from office, his duties are assumed to devolve immediately upon his successor, even if he does not immediately take the oath of office.
Democrat 46.1 62.4 4 March 18934 March 1897 Adlai E. Stevenson Financial panic (1893); Sherman Silver Purchase Act repealed (1893); Utah enters Union. 24
Republican 51.0 60.6 4 March 19874 March 1901 Garret A. Hobart
Theodore Roosevelt
Spanish-American War (1898); Puerto Rico, Guam, Philippines ceded by Spain; independent Republic of Hawaii annexed; US troops sent to China to suppress Boxer Rebellion (1990); McKinley assassinated. 25
Republican 56.4 70.6 14 Sept. 19014 March 1905
4 March 19054 March 1909
Charles W. Faibanks Antitrust and conservation policies emphasized; Roosevelt awarded Nobel Peace Prize (1906) for mediating settlement of Russo-Japanese War; Panama Canal construction begun (1907); Oklahoma enters Union. 26
Republican 51.6 66.5 4 March 19094 March 1913 James S. Sherman Federal income tax ratified (1913); New Mexico, Arizona enter Union. 27
Democrat 41.8
49.2
81.9
52.2
4 March 19134 March 1917
4 March 19174 March 1921
Thomas R. Marshall
Thomas R. Marshall
Clayton Antitrust Act (1914); US Virgin Islands purchased from Denmark (1917); US enters World War I (1917); Treaty of Versailles signed (1919) but not ratified by US; constitutional amendments enforce prohibition (1919), enfranchise women (1920). 28
Republican 60.3 76.1 4 March 19212 Aug 1923 Calvin Coolidge Teapot Dome Scandal (192324) 29
Republican 54.1 71.9 3 Aug. 19234 March 1925
4 March 19274 March 1929
Charles G. Dawes Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928) 30
Republican 58.2 83.6 4 March 19294 March 1933 Charles Curtis Stock market crash (1929) inaugurates Great Depression. 31
Democrat 57.4
60.8
54.7
53.4
88.9
88.5
84.6
81.4
4 March 193320 Jan. 1937
20 Jan. 193720 Jan. 1941
20 Jan. 194120 Jan. 1945
20 Jan. 194512 April 1945
John N. Garher
John N. Garner
Henry A. Wallace
Harry S Truman
New Deal social reforms; prohibition repealed (1933); US enters World War II (1941). 32
Democrat 12 April 194520 Jan. 1949
20 Jan. 194920 Jan. 1953
Alben W. Barkley United Nations founded (1954); US nuclear bombs dropped on Japan (1954); World War II ends (1945); Philippines granted independence (1946); Marshall plan (1945); Korean conflict begins (1950); era of McCarthyism. 33
Republican 55.1
57.4
83.2
86.1
20 Jan. 195320 Jan. 1957
20 Jan. 195720 Jan. 1961
Richard M. Nixon
Richard M. Nixon
Korean conflict ended (1953); Supreme Court orders school desegregation (1954); Alaska, Hawaii enter Union. 34
Democrat 49.7 56.4 20 Jan. 196122 Nov. 1963 Lyndon B. Johnson. Conflicts with Cuba (196162); aboveground nuclear test ban treaty (1963); Kennedy assassinated. 35
Democrat 61.1 90.3 22 Nov. 196220 Jan. 1965
20 Jan. 196520 Jan. 1969
Hubert H. Humphrey Great Society programs; Voting Rights Act (1965); escalation of US military role in Indochina; race riots, political assassinations. 36
Republican 43.4
60.7
55.9
96.7
20 Jan. 196920 Jan. 1973 Spiro T. Agnew
Spiro T. Agnew
Gerald R. Ford
First lunar landing (1969); arms limitation treaty with Soviet union (1972); US withdraws from Viet-Nam (1973); Agnew resigns in tax scandal (1973); Nixon resigns at height of Watergate scandal (1974). 37
Republican 9 Aug 197420 Jan. 1977 Nelson A. Rockefeller First combination of unelected president and vice president; Nixon pardoned (1974). 38
Democrat 50.1 55.2 20 Jan. 197720 Jan. 1981 Walter F. Mondale Carter mediates Israel-Egypt peace accord (1978); panama Canal treaties ratified (1979); tensions with Iran(197981). 39
Republican 50.8
58.8
90.9
97.6
20 Jan. 198120 Jan. 1985
20 Jan. 198520 Jan. 1989
George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
Defense buildup; social spending cuts; rising trade and budget deficits; tensions with Nicaragua. 40
Republican 54.0 79.2 20 Jan. 198920 Jan. 1993 J. Danforth Quayle Multi-national force repelled Iraqi invaders from Kuwait; savings and loan crisis; 1991 recession. 41
Democrat 43.0
49.2
69.7
70.4
20 Jan. 199320 Jan. 1997
20 Jan. 199720 Jan. 2001
Albert Gore, Jr. Passed North American Free Trade Agreement; enacted crime bill banning assault weapons; sent troops to Haiti to restore first democratically elected Haitian president to power after military coup. 42
Republican 47.87
50.73
50.37
53.1
20 Jan. 200120 Jan. 2005
20 Jan. 2005
Richard B. Cheney
Richard B. Cheney
Lowered taxes. Engaged in war in Afghanistan and Iraq after terrorist attacks on Washington and New York. Created the Department of Homeland Secruity. Substantially increased the federal deficit 43

varieties of fruits, vegetables, and flowers; and George Washington Carver (18641943), known especially for his work on industrial applications for peanuts. John James Audubon (17851851) won fame as an ornithologist and artist.

Distinguished physical scientists include Samuel Pierpont Langley (18341906), astronomer and aviation pioneer; Josiah Willard Gibbs (18391903), mathematical physicist, whose work laid the basis for physical chemistry; Henry Augustus Rowland (18481901), who did important research in magnetism and optics; and Albert Abraham Michelson (b.Germany, 18521931), who measured the speed of light and became the first of a long line of US Nobel Prize winners. The chemists Gilbert Newton Lewis (18751946) and Irving Langmuir (18811957) developed a theory of atomic structure.

The theory of relativity was conceived by Albert Einstein (b.Germany, 18791955), generally considered the greatest mind in the physical sciences since Newton. Percy Williams Bridgman (18821961) was the father of operationalism and studied the effect of high pressures on materials. Arthur Holly Compton (18921962) made discoveries in the field of X rays and cosmic rays. The physical chemist Harold Clayton Urey (18931981) discovered heavy hydrogen. Isidor Isaac Rabi (b.Austria, 18981988), nuclear physicist, did important work in magnetism, quantum mechanics, and radiation. Enrico Fermi (b.Italy, 190154) created the first nuclear chain reaction, in Chicago in 1942, and contributed to the development of the atomic and hydrogen bombs. Also prominent in the splitting of the atom were Leo Szilard (b.Hungary, 18981964), J. Robert Oppenheimer (190467), and Edward Teller (b.Hungary, 19082003). Ernest Orlando Lawrence (190158) developed the cyclotron. Carl David Anderson (190591) discovered the positron. Mathematician Norbert Wiener (18941964) developed the science of cybernetics.

Outstanding figures in the biological sciences include Theobald Smith (18591934), who developed immunization theory and practical immunization techniques for animals; the geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan (18661945), who discovered the heredity functions of chromosomes; and neurosurgeon Harvey William Cushing (18691939). Selman Abraham Waksman (b.Russia, 18881973), a microbiologist specializing in antibiotics, was codiscoverer of streptomycin. Edwin Joseph Cohn (18921953) is noted for his work in the protein fractionalization of blood, particularly the isolation of serum albumin. Philip Showalter Hench (18961965) isolated and synthesized cortisone. Wendell Meredith Stanley (190471) was the first to isolate and crystallize a virus. Jonas Edward Salk (191495) developed an effective killed-virus poliomyelitis vaccine, and Albert Bruce Sabin (190693) contributed oral, attenuated live-virus polio vaccines.

Adolf Meyer (b.Switzerland, 18661950) developed the concepts of mental hygiene and dementia praecox and the theory of psychobiology; Harry Stack Sullivan (18921949) created the interpersonal theory of psychiatry. Social psychologist George Herbert Mead (18631931) and behaviorist Burrhus Frederic Skinner (190490) were influential in the 20th century. Psychiatrist Aaron Temkin Beck (b.1921) is regarded as the founder of cognitive therapy, and Albert Ellis (b.1913) developed rational-emotive therapy.

A pioneer in psychology who was also an influential philosopher was William James (18421910). Other leading US philosophers are Charles Sanders Peirce (18391914); Josiah Royce (18551916); John Dewey (18591952), also famous for his theories of education; George Santayana (b.Spain, 18631952); Rudolf Carnap (b.Germany, 18911970); Willard Van Orman Quine (19082000), Richard Rorty (b.1931), Hilary Putnam (b.1926), John Rawls (19212002), Robert Nozick (19382002), and linguist and political philosopher Noam Chomsky (b.1928). Educators of note include Horace Mann (17961859), Henry Barnard (18111900), and Charles William Eliot (18341926). Noah Webster (17581843) was the outstanding US lexicographer, and Melvil Dewey (18511931) was a leader in the development of library science. Thorstein Bunde Veblen (18571929) wrote books that have strongly influenced economic and social thinking. Also important in the social sciences have been sociologists Talcott Parsons (190279) and William Graham Sumner (18401910) and anthropologist Margaret Mead (190178).

Social Reformers

Social reformers of note include Dorothea Lynde Dix (180287), who led movements for the reform of prisons and insane asylums; William Lloyd Garrison (180579) and Frederick Douglass (Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, 181795), prominent abolitionists; Elizabeth Cady Stanton (18151902) and Susan Brownell Anthony (18201906), leaders in the women's suffrage movement; Clara Barton (18211912), founder of the American Red Cross; economist Henry George (183997), advocate of the single-tax theory; Eugene Victor Debs (18551926), labor leader and an outstanding organizer of the Socialist movement in the United States; Jane Addams (18601935), who pioneered in settlement house work; Robert Marion La Follette (18551925), a leader for progressive political reform in Wisconsin and in the US Senate; Margaret Higgins Sanger (18831966), pioneer in birth control; Norman Thomas (18841968), Socialist Party leader; and Martin Luther King, Jr. (192968), a central figure in the black civil rights movement and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Betty Friedan (19212006), Gloria Steinem (b.1934), and bell hooks (b. Gloria Jean Watkins, 1952) are contemporary feminists.

Religious leaders include Roger Williams (160383), an early advocate of religious tolerance in the United States; Jonathan Edwards (170358), New England preacher and theologian; Elizabeth Ann Seton (17741821), the first American canonized in the Roman Catholic Church; William Ellery Channing (17801842), a founder of American Unitarianism; Joseph Smith (180544), founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) and his chief associate, Brigham Young (180177); and Mary Baker Eddy (18211910), founder of the Christian Science Church. Paul Tillich (b.Germany, 18861965) and Reinhold Niebuhr (18921971) were outstanding Protestant theologians of international influence. Pat Robertson (b.1930), televangelist and leader of the Christian Coalition organization, and Jerry Falwell (b.1933), a fundamentalist Baptist pastor, televangelist, and founder of the Moral Majority movement and Liberty University, are contemporary leaders of the Christian religious right.

Famous US businessmen include Éleùthere Irénée du Pont de Nemours (b.France, 17711834), John Jacob Astor (Johann Jakob Ashdour, b.Germany, 17631848), Cornelius Vanderbilt (17941877), Andrew Carnegie (b.Scotland, 18351919), John Pierpont Morgan (18371913), John Davison Rockefeller (18391937),

Chief Justices of the United States, 17892006
NEME BORN DIED APPOINTED SUPREME COURT TERM MAJOR COURT DEVELOPMENTS
1 John Jay New York City 12 December 1745 Bedford, N.Y., 17 May 1829 Washington October 1789
June 1795
Organized court, established procedures.
2 John Rutledge September 1739 Charleston, S.C., 18 July 1800 Washington Presided for one term in 1795, but Senate refused to confirm his appointment.
3 Oliver Ellsworth Windsor, Conn., 29 April 1745 Windsor, Conn. 26 Nov. 1807 Washington March 1796
December 1800
4 John Marshall Fauquier County, Va., 24 September 1755 Philadelphia, Pa. 6 July 1835 Adams February 1801
July 1835
Established principle of judicial review (Marbury v. Madison, 1803); formulated concept of implied powers (McCulloch v. Maryland, 1819).
5 Roger Brooke Taney Calvert County, Md., 17 March 1777 Washington, D.C., 12 October 1864 Jackson March 1836
October 1864
Held that slaves could not become citizens, ruled Missouri Compromise illegal (Dred Scott v. Sanford, 1857).
6 Salmon Portland Chase Cornish, N.H., 13 January 1808 New York, N.Y 7 May 1873 Lincoln December 1864
May 1873
Ruled military trials of civilians illegal (Ex parte Milligan, 1866); Chase presided at A. Johnson's impeachment trial.
7 Morrison Remick Waite Old Lynne, Conn., 29 November 1816 Washington, D.C., 23 March 1888 Grant March 1874
March 1888
Held that businesses affecting the "public interest" are subject to state regulation (Munn v. Illinois, 1877).
8 Salmon Portland Chasb Augusta, Me., 11 February 1833 Sorvento, Me., 4 July 1910 Cleveland October 1888
July 1910
Issued first opinions on cases under the Sherman Antitrust Act. (US v. E.C. Knight Co., 1895; Northern Securities Co. v. US, 1904); held the income tax unconstitutional (Pollock v. Farmers' Loan, 1895).
9 Edward Douglass White Lafourche Parish, La., 3 November 1845 Washington, D.C., 19 May 1921 Taft December 1910
May 1921
Further qualified the Sherman Antitrust Act (Standard Oil Co. v. US, 1911) by applying the "rule of reason."
10 William Howard Taft Cincinnati, Ohio 15 September 1857 Washington, D.C., 8 March 1930 Harding July 1921
February 1930
Held against congressional use of taxes for social reform (Bailey v. Drexel Furniture, 1922).
11 Charles Evans Hughes Glens Falls, N.Y., 11 April 1862 Osterville, Mass., 27 August 1948 Hoover February 1930
June 1941
Upheld constitutionality of National Labor Relations Act, Social Security Act, invalidated National Industrial Recovery Act (Schechter v. US, 1935); F. Roosevelt's attempt to pack Court opposed.
12 Hartlan Fiske Stone Chesterfield, N.H., 11 October 1872 Washington, D.C., 22 April 1946 F. Roosevelt July 1941
April 1946
Upheld Court's power to invalidate state laws (Southern Pacific Co. v. Arizona, 1945).
13 Frederick Moore Vinson Louisa, Ky., 22 January 1890 Washington, D.C., 8 September 1953 Truman June 1946
September 1953
Overturned federal seizure of steel mills (Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 1952), Vinson dissenting.
14 Ear Warren Los Angeles, Calif., 19 March 1891 Washington, D.C., 9 July 1974 Eisenhower October 1953
June 1969
Mandated public school desegregation (Brown v. Topeka, Kans., Board of Education, 1954) and reapportionment of state legislatures (Baker v. Carr, 1962); upheld rights of suspects in police custody (Miranda v. Arizona, 1966).
15 Warren Earl Burger St. Paul, Minn., 17 September 1907 Washington, D.C., 25 June 1995 Nixon June 1969
August 1986
Legalized abortion (Roe v. Wade, 1973); rejected claim of executive privilege in a criminal case (US v. Nixon, 1974); first female justice (1981).
16 William Hubbs Rehnquist Shorewood Village, Wis., 1 October 1924 Arlington, Va., 3 September 2005 Nixon September 1986
September 2005
Applied constitutional prohibition against taking of property without compensation to invalidate government regulation of property. (Nollan v. California Coastal Commission, 1987). Strengthened states' rights although invalidated Florida election procedures (Bush v. Gore, 2000) on equal protection grounds. Limited enforcement of school desegregation. Narrowed the scope of affirmative action.
17 John Glover Roberts, Jr Buffalo, New York, 27 January 1955 Bush Seokenberm 2005

Andrew William Mellon (18551937), Henry Ford (18631947), and Thomas John Watson (18741956). William Henry "Bill" Gates III (b.1955), cofounder of the Microsoft Corp., was the richest person in the world as of 2006. Other corporate leaders in the 21st century include: Warren Edward Buffett (b.1930), Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., (b.1942), H. Wayne Huizenga (b.1937), Steve Jobs (b.1955), Sam Walton (19181992), John Francis "Jack" Welch Jr. (b.1935), and Sanford I. Weill (b.1933).

Literary Figures

The first US author to be widely read outside the United States was Washington Irving (17831859). James Fenimore Cooper (17891851) was the first popular US novelist. Three noted historians were William Hickling Prescott (17961859), John Lothrop Motley (181477), and Francis Parkman (182393). The writings of two men of Concord, Mass.Ralph Waldo Emerson (180382) and Henry David Thoreau (181762)influenced philosophers, political leaders, and ordinary men and women in many parts of the world. The novels and short stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne (180464) explore New England's Puritan heritage. Herman Melville (181991) wrote the powerful novel Moby-Dick, a symbolic work about a whale hunt that has become an American classic. Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens, 18351910) is the best-known US humorist. Other leading novelists of the later 19th and early 20th centuries were William Dean Howells (18371920), Henry James (18431916), Edith Wharton (18621937), Stephen Crane (18711900), Theodore Dreiser (18711945), Willa Cather (18731947), and Sinclair Lewis (18851951), first US winner of the Nobel Prize for literature (1930). Later Nobel Prize-winning US novelists include Pearl Sydenstricker Buck (18921973), in 1938; William Faulkner (18971962), in 1949; Ernest Hemingway (18991961), in 1954; John Steinbeck (190268), in 1962; Saul Bellow (b.Canada, 19152005), in 1976; Isaac Bashevis Singer (b.Poland, 190491), in 1978; and Toni Morrison (b.1931), in 1993. Among other noteworthy writers are Zora Neale Hurston (18911960), Henry Miller (18911980), James Thurber (18941961), Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (18961940), Vladimir Nabokov (b. Russia, 18991977), Thomas Wolfe (19001938), Richard Wright (190860), Eudora Welty (19092001), John Cheever (191282), Bernard Malamud (19141986), Carson McCullers (19171967), Norman Mailer (b.1923), James Baldwin (192487), Jack Kerouac (19221969), John Updike (b.1932), Philip Roth (b.1933), Paul Auster (b.1947), John Barth (b.1930), Donald Barthelme (19311989), T. Coraghessan Boyle (b.1948), Sandra Cisneros (b.1954), Joan Didion (b.1934), Stephen Dixon (b.1936), E.L. Doctorow (b.1931), Louise Erdrich (b.1954), William Gaddis (19221998), Carl Hiaasen (b.1953), Oscar Hijuelos (b.1951), John Irving (b.1942), Jamaica Kincaid (b. Elaine Cynthia Potter Richardson, 1949), Jhumpa Lahiri (b. Nilanjana Sudeshna, 1967), Jonathan Lethem (b.1964), Cormac McCarthy (b.1933), Larry McMurtry (b.1936), Bharati Mukherjee (b.1940), Joyce Carol Oates (b.1938), Marge Piercy (b.1936), E. Annie Proulx (b.1935), Thomas Pynchon (b.1937), J.D. Salinger (b.1919), Wallace Stegner (190993), Gore Vidal (b.1925), Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (b.1922), Alice Walker (b.1944), Tom Wolfe (b.1931), and Tobias Wolff (b.1945).

Noted US poets include Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (180782), Edgar Allan Poe (180949), Walt Whitman (181992), Emily Dickinson (183086), Edwin Arlington Robinson (18691935), Robert Frost (18741963), Wallace Stevens (18791955), William Carlos Williams (18831963), Marianne Moore (18871972), Edward Estlin Cummings (18941962), Hart Crane (18991932), Langston Hughes (190267), and Rita Dove (b.1952). Ezra Pound (18851972) and Nobel laureate Thomas Stearns Eliot (18881965) lived and worked abroad for most of their careers. Wystan Hugh Auden (b.England, 190773), who became an American citizen in 1946, published poetry and criticism. Elizabeth Bishop (191179), Robert Lowell (191777), Allen Ginsberg (192697), and Sylvia Plath (193263) are among the best-known poets since World War II. Robert Penn Warren (190589) won the Pulitzer Prize for both fiction and poetry and became the first US poet laureate. Carl Sandburg (18781967) was a noted poet, historian, novelist, and folklorist. The foremost US dramatists are Eugene (Gladstone) O'Neill (18881953), who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1936; Tennessee Williams (Thomas Lanier Williams, 191183); Arthur Miller (19152005); and Edward Albee (b.1928). Neil Simon (b.1927) is among the nation's most popular playwrights and screenwriters. August Wilson (19452005) won the Pulitzer Prize twice, for Fences (1985) and The Piano Lesson (1990), both of which depicted the African American experience.

Artists

Two renowned painters of the early period were John Singleton Copley (17381815) and Gilbert Stuart (17551828). Outstanding 19th-century painters were James Abbott McNeill Whistler (18341903), Winslow Homer (18361910), Thomas Eakins (18441916), Mary Cassatt (18451926), Albert Pinkham Ryder (18471917), John Singer Sargent (b.Italy, 18561925), and Frederic Remington (18611909). More recently, Edward Hopper (18821967), Georgia O'Keeffe (18871986), Thomas Hart Benton (18891975), Charles Burchfield (18931967), Norman Rockwell (18941978), Ben Shahn (18981969), Mark Rothko (b.Russia, 190370), Jackson Pollock (191256), Andrew Wyeth (b.1917), Robert Rauschenberg (b.1925), and Jasper Johns (b.1930) have achieved international recognition.

Sculptors of note include Augustus Saint-Gaudens (18481907), Gaston Lachaise (18821935), Jo Davidson (18831952), Daniel Chester French (18501931), Alexander Calder (18981976), Louise Nevelson (b.Russia, 18991988), and Isamu Noguchi (190488). Henry Hobson Richardson (183886), Louis Henry Sullivan (18561924), Frank Lloyd Wright (18691959), Louis I. Kahn (b.Estonia, 190174), and Eero Saarinen (191061) were outstanding architects. Contemporary architects of note include Richard Buckminster Fuller (18951983), Edward Durrell Stone (190278), Philip Cortelyou Johnson (19062005), Ieoh Ming Pei (b.China, 1917), and Frank Gehry (b.1929). The United States has produced many fine photographers, notably Mathew B. Brady (1823?96), Alfred Stieglitz (18641946), Edward Steichen (18791973), Edward Weston (18861958), Ansel Adams (190284), and Margaret Bourke-White (190471).

Entertainment Figures

Outstanding figures in the motion picture industry are D. W. (David Lewelyn Wark) Griffith (18751948), Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin (b.England, 18891978), Walter Elias "Walt" Disney (190666), and George Orson Welles (191585). John Ford (18951973), Howard Winchester Hawks (18961977), Frank Capra (b.Italy, 18971991), Sir Alfred Hitchcock (b.England, 18991980), and John Huston (190687) were influential motion picture directors; Mel Brooks (Kaminsky, b.1926), George Lucas (b.1944), and Steven Spielberg (b.1947) have achieved remarkable popular success. Woody Allen (Allen Konigsberg, b.1935) has written, directed, and starred in comedies on stage and screen. World-famous American actors and actresses include the Barry-mores, Ethel (18791959) and her brothers Lionel (18781954) and John (18821942); Humphrey Bogart (18991957); James Cagney (18991986); Spencer Tracy (19001967); Helen Hayes Brown (190093); Clark Gable (190160); Joan Crawford (Lucille Fay LeSueur, 190477); Cary Grant (Alexander Archibald Leach, b.England, 190486); Greta Garbo (Greta Louisa Gustafsson, b.Sweden, 190590); Henry Fonda (190582) and his daughter, Jane (b.1937); John Wayne (Marion Michael Morrison, 190779); Bette (Ruth Elizabeth) Davis (190889); Katharine Hepburn (19092003); Judy Garland (Frances Gumm, 192269); Marlon Brando (19242004); Marilyn Monroe (Norma Jean Mortenson, 192662); and Dustin Hoffman (b.1937). Among other great entertainers are W. C. Fields (William Claude Dukenfield, 18801946), Al Jolson (Asa Yoelson, b.Russia, 18861950), Jack Benny (Benjamin Kubelsky, 18941974), Fred Astaire (Fred Austerlitz, 18991987), Bob (Leslie Townes) Hope (b.England, 19032003), Bing (Harry Lillis) Crosby (190478), Frank (Francis Albert) Sinatra (191598), Elvis Aaron Presley (193577), and Barbra (Barbara Joan) Streisand (b.1942). The first great US "showman" was Phineas Taylor Barnum (181091).

Composers and Musicians

The foremost composers are Edward MacDowell (18611908), Charles Ives (18741954), Ernest Bloch (b.Switzerland, 18801959), Virgil Thomson (189689), Roger Sessions (18961985), Roy Harris (18981979), Aaron Copland (190090), Elliott Carter (b.1908), Samuel Barber (191081), John Cage (191292), and Leonard Bernstein (191890). George Rochberg (19182005), George Crumb (b.1929), Steve Reich (b.1936), and Philip Glass (b.1937) have won more recent followings. The songs of Stephen Collins Foster (182664) have achieved folk-song status. Leading composers of popular music are John Philip Sousa (18541932), George Michael Cohan (18781942), Jerome Kern (18851945), Irving Berlin (Israel Baline, b.Russia, 18881989), Cole Porter (18931964), George Gershwin (18981937), Richard Rodgers (190279), Woody Guthrie (191267), Stephen Joshua Sondheim (b.1930), Paul Simon (b.1941), and Bob Dylan (Robert Zimmerman, b.1941). Preeminent in the blues traditions are Leadbelly (Huddie Ledbetter, 18881949), Bessie Smith (1898?1937), and Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield, 191583). Leading jazz figures include the composers Scott Joplin (18681917), James Hubert "Eubie" Blake (18831983), Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (18991974), and William "Count" Basie (190484), and performers Louis Armstrong (19001971), Billie Holiday (Eleanora Fagan, 191559), John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie (191793), Charlie "Bird" Parker (192055), John Coltrane (192667), and Miles Davis (192691).

Many foreign-born musicians have enjoyed personal and professional freedom in the United States; principal among them were pianists Artur Schnabel (b.Austria, 18821951), Arthur Rubinstein (b.Poland, 18871982), Rudolf Serkin (b.Bohemia, 190391), Vladimir Horowitz (b.Russia, 190489), and violinists Jascha Heifetz (b.Russia, 190187) and Isaac Stern (b.USSR, 1920). Among distinguished instrumentalists born in the United States are Benny Goodman (190986), a classical as well as jazz clarinetist, and concert pianist Van Cliburn (Harvey Lavan, Jr., b.1934). Singers Paul Robeson (18981976), Marian Anderson (18971993), Maria Callas (Maria Kalogeropoulos, 192377), Leontyne Price (b.1927), and Beverly Sills (Belle Silverman, b.1929) have achieved international acclaim. Isadora Duncan (18781927) was one of the first US dancers to win fame abroad. Martha Graham (189391) pioneered in modern dance. George Balanchine (b.Russia, 190483), Agnes De Mille (190593), Jerome Robbins (191898), Paul Taylor (b.1930), and Twyla Tharp (b.1941) are leading choreographers; Martha Graham (18931991) pioneered in modern dance.

Sports Figures

Among the many noteworthy sports stars are baseball's Tyrus Raymond "Ty" Cobb (18861961) and George Herman "Babe" Ruth (18951948); football's Samuel Adrian "Sammy" Baugh (b.1914), Jim Brown (b.1936), Francis A. "Fran" Tarkenton (b.1940), and Orenthal James Simpson (b.1947); and golf's Robert Tyre "Bobby" Jones (190271) and Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias (191456). William Tatum "Bill" Tilden (18931953), Billie Jean (Moffitt) King (b.1943), Chris Evert (b.1954), Martina Navratilova (b.Czechoslovakia, 1956), Andre Agassi (b.1970), Peter ("Pete") Sampras (b.1971), and sisters Venus (b.1980) and Serena (b.1981) Williams have starred in tennis; Joe Louis (Joseph Louis Barrow, 191481) and Muhammad Ali (Cassius Marcellus Clay, b.1942) in boxing; William Felton "Bill" Russell (b.1934) Wilton Norman "Wilt" Chamberlain (193699), and Michael Jordan (b.1963) in basketball; Mark Spitz (b.1950) and Michael Phelps (b.1985) in swimming; Eric Heiden (b.1958) in speed skating; and Jesse Owens (191380) in track and field.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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Benjamin, Daniel (ed.). America and the World in the Age of Terror: A New Landscape in International Relations. Washington, D.C.: CSIS Press, 2005.

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Davies, Philip John (ed.). An American Quarter Century: US Politics from Vietnam to Clinton. New York: Manchester University Press, 1995.

Donaldson, Gary. America at War since 1945: Politics and Diplomacy in Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1996.

Hart, James David (ed.). Oxford Companion to American Literature. 6th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Health in the Americas, 2002 edition. Washington, D.C.: Pan American Health Organization, Pan American Sanitary Bureau, Regional Office of the World Health Organization, 2002.

Hummel, Jeffrey Rogers. Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the Civil War. Chicago: Open Court, 1996.

Jenness, David. Classic American Popular Song: The Second Half-Century, 19502000. New York: Routledge, 2006.

Kaplan, Edward S. American Trade Policy, 19231995. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1996.

Kennedy, David M. Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

McElrath, Karen (ed.). HIV and AIDS: A Global View. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002.

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Tocqueville, Alexis de. Democracy in America. New York: Knopf, 1994.

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Who's Who in America: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women. Chicago: Marquis, 1899.

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United States

UNITED STATES

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
TOPOGRAPHY
CLIMATE
FLORA AND FAUNA
ENVIRONMENT
POPULATION
MIGRATION
ETHNIC GROUPS
LANGUAGES
RELIGIONS
TRANSPORTATION
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL PARTIES
LOCAL GOVERNMENT
JUDICIAL SYSTEM
ARMED FORCES
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
ECONOMY
INCOME
LABOR
AGRICULTURE
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
FISHING
FORESTRY
MINING
ENERGY AND POWER
INDUSTRY
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DOMESTIC TRADE
FOREIGN TRADE
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
BANKING AND SECURITIES
INSURANCE
PUBLIC FINANCE
TAXATION
CUSTOMS AND DUTIES
FOREIGN INVESTMENT
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HEALTH
HOUSING
EDUCATION
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
MEDIA
ORGANIZATIONS
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
FAMOUS AMERICANS
DEPENDENCIES
BIBLIOGRAPHY

United States of America

CAPITAL: Washington, DC (District of Columbia)

FLAG: The flag consists of 13 alternate stripes, 7 red and 6 white; these represent the 13 original colonies. Fifty 5-pointed white stars, representing the present number of states in the Union, are placed in 9 horizontal rows alternately of 6 and 5 against a blue field in the upper left corner of the flag.

ANTHEM: The Star-Spangled Banner.

MONETARY UNIT: The dollar ($) of 100 cents is a paper currency with a floating rate. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents and 1 dollar, and notes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollars. Although issuance of higher notes ceased in 1969, a limited number of notes of 500, 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 dollars remain in circulation.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The imperial system is in common use; however, the use of metrics in industry is increasing, and the metric system is taught in public schools throughout the United States. Common avoirdupois units in use are the avoirdupois pound of 16 ounces or 454 grams; the long ton of 2,240 pounds or 35,840 ounces; and the short ton, more commonly used, of 2,000 pounds or 32,000 ounces. (Unless otherwise indicated, all measures given in tons are in short tons.) Liquid measures: 1 gallon = 231 cubic inches = 4 quarts = 8 pints. Dry measures: 1 bushel = 4 pecks = 32 dry quarts = 64 dry pints. Linear measures: 1 foot = 12 inches; 1 statute mile = 1,760 yards = 5,280 feet. Metric equivalent: 1 meter = 39.37 inches.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Presidents' Day, 3rd Monday in February; Memorial or Decoration Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Columbus Day, 2nd Monday in October; Election Day, 1st Tuesday after the 1st Monday in November; Veterans or Armistice Day, 11 November; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November; Christmas, 25 December.

TIME: Eastern, 7 am = noon GMT; Central, 6 am = noon GMT; Mountain, 5 am = noon GMT; Pacific (includes the Alaska panhandle), 4 am = noon GMT; Yukon, 3 am = noon GMT; Alaska and Hawaii, 2 am = noon GMT; western Alaska, 1 am = noon GMT.

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT

Located in the Western Hemisphere on the continent of North America, the United States is the fourth-largest country in the world. Its total area, including Alaska and Hawaii, is 9,629,091 sq km (3,717,813 sq mi). The conterminous United States extends 4,662 km (2,897 mi) enewsw and 4,583 km (2,848 mi) ssennw. It is bordered on the n by Canada, on the e by the Atlantic Ocean, on the s by the Gulf of Mexico and Mexico, and on the w by the Pacific Ocean, with a total boundary length of 17,563 km (10,913 mi). Alaska, the 49th state, extends 3,639 km (2,261 mi) ew and 2,185 km (1,358 mi) ns. It is bounded on the n by the Arctic Ocean and Beaufort Sea, on the e by Canada, on the s by the Gulf of Alaska, Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea, and on the w by the Bering Sea, Bering Strait, Chukchi Sea, and Arctic Ocean, with a total land boundary of 12,034 km (7,593 mi) and a coastline of 19,924 km (12,380 mi). The 50th state, Hawaii, consists of islands in the Pacific Ocean extending 2,536 km (1,576 mi) ns and 2,293 km (1,425 mi) ew, with a general coastline of 1,207 km (750 mi).

The nation's capital, Washington, DC, is located on the mid-Atlantic coast.

TOPOGRAPHY

Although the northern New England coast is rocky, along the rest of the eastern seaboard the Atlantic Coastal Plain rises gradually from the shoreline. Narrow in the north, the plain widens to about 320 km (200 mi) in the south and in Georgia merges with the Gulf Coastal Plain that borders the Gulf of Mexico and extends through Mexico as far as the Yucatán. West of the Atlantic Coastal Plain is the Piedmont Plateau, bounded by the Appalachian Mountains. The Appalachians, which extend from southwest Maine into central Alabamawith special names in some areasare old mountains, largely eroded away, with rounded contours and forested, as a rule, to the top. Few of their summits rise much above 1,100 m (3,500 ft), although the highest, Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina, reaches 2,037 m (6,684 ft).

Between the Appalachians and the Rocky Mountains, more than 1,600 km (1,000 mi) to the west, lies the vast interior plain of the United States. Running south through the center of this plain and draining almost two-thirds of the area of the continental United States is the Mississippi River. Waters starting from the source of the Missouri, the longest of its tributaries, travel almost 6,450 km (4,000 mi) to the Gulf of Mexico.

The eastern reaches of the great interior plain are bounded on the north by the Great Lakes, which are thought to contain about half the world's total supply of fresh water. Under US jurisdiction are 57,441 sq km (22,178 sq mi) of Lake Michigan, 54,696 sq km (21,118 sq mi) of Lake Superior, 23,245 sq km (8,975 sq mi) of Lake Huron, 12,955 sq km (5,002 sq mi) of Lake Erie, and 7,855 sq km (3,033 sq mi) of Lake Ontario. The five lakes are accessible to oceangoing vessels from the Atlantic via the St. Lawrence Seaway. The basins of the Great Lakes were formed by the glacial ice cap that moved down over large parts of North America some 25,000 years ago. The glaciers also determined the direction of flow of the Missouri River and, it is believed, were responsible for carrying soil from what is now Canada down into the central agricultural basin of the United States.

The great interior plain consists of two major subregions: the fertile Central Plains, extending from the Appalachian highlands to a line drawn approximately 480 km (300 mi) west of the Mississippi, broken by the Ozark Plateau; and the more arid Great Plains, extending from that line to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Although they appear flat, the Great Plains rise gradually from about 460 m (1,500 ft) to more than 1,500 m (5,000 ft) at their western extremity.

The Continental Divide, the Atlantic-Pacific watershed, runs along the crest of the Rocky Mountains. The Rockies and the ranges to the west are parts of the great system of young, rugged mountains, shaped like a gigantic spinal column, that runs along western North, Central, and South America from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Chile. In the continental United States, the series of western ranges, most of them paralleling the Pacific coast, are the Sierra Nevada, the Coast Ranges, the Cascade Range, and the Tehachapi and San Bernardino mountains. Between the Rockies and the Sierra NevadaCascade mountain barrier to the west lies the Great Basin, a group of vast arid plateaus containing most of the desert areas of the United States, in the south eroded by deep canyons.

The coastal plains along the Pacific are narrow, and in many places the mountains plunge directly into the sea. The most extensive lowland near the west coast is the Great Valley of California, lying between the Sierra Nevada and the Coast Ranges. There are 71 peaks in these western ranges of the continental United States that rise to an altitude of 4,267 m (14,000 ft) or more, Mt. Whitney in California at 4,418 m (14,494 ft) being the highest. The greatest rivers of the Far West are the Colorado in the south, flowing into the Gulf of California, and the Columbia in the northwest, flowing to the Pacific. Each is more than 1,900 km (1,200 mi) long; both have been intensively developed to generate electric power, and both are important sources of irrigation.

Separated from the continental United States by Canadian territory, the state of Alaska occupies the extreme northwest portion of the North American continent. A series of precipitous mountain ranges separates the heavily indented Pacific coast on the south from Alaska's broad central basin, through which the Yukon River flows from Canada in the east to the Bering Sea in the west. The central basin is bounded on the north by the Brooks Range, which slopes down gradually to the Arctic Ocean. The Alaskan Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands, sweeping west far out to sea, consist of a chain of volcanoes, many still active.

The state of Hawaii consists of a group of Pacific islands formed by volcanoes rising sharply from the ocean floor. The highest of these volcanoes, Mauna Loa, at 4,168 m (13,675 ft), is located on the largest of the islands, Hawaii, and is still active.

The lowest point in the United States is Death Valley in California, 86 m (282 ft) below sea level. At 6,194 m (20,320 ft), Mt. McKinley in Alaska is the highest peak in North America. These topographic extremes suggest the geological instability of the Pacific Coast region, which is part of the "Ring of Fire," a seismically active band surrounding the Pacific Ocean. Major earthquakes destroyed San Francisco in 1906 and Anchorage, Alaska, in 1964, and the San Andreas Fault in California still causes frequent earth tremors. In 2004, there were 3,550 earthquakes documented by the US Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center. Washington State's Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980, spewing volcanic ash over much of the Northwest.

CLIMATE

The eastern continental region is well watered, with annual rainfall generally in excess of 100 cm (40 in). It includes all of the Atlantic seaboard and southeastern states and extends west to cover Indiana, southern Illinois, most of Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, and easternmost Texas. The eastern seaboard is affected primarily by the masses of air moving from west to east across the continent rather than by air moving in from the Atlantic. Hence its climate is basically continental rather than maritime. The Midwestern and Atlantic seaboard states experience hot summers and cold winters; spring and autumn are clearly defined periods of climatic transition. Only Florida, with the Gulf of Mexico lying to its west, experiences moderate differences between summer and winter temperatures. Mean annual temperatures vary considerably between north and south: Boston, MA, 11°c (51°f); New York City, NY, 13°c (55°f); Charlotte, NC, 16°c (61°f); Miami, FL, 24°c (76°f).

The Gulf and South Atlantic states are often hit by severe tropical storms originating in the Caribbean in late summer and early autumn. In the past few years, the number of hurricanes and their severity have measurably increased. From 197094, there were about three hurricanes per year. From 1995 to 2003, there were a total of 32 major hurricanes with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.

In 2005 there were a record-breaking 23 named Atlantic hurricanes, three of which caused severe damage to the Gulf Coast region. On 25 August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit Florida as a category 1 hurricane. By 29 August, the storm developed into a category 4 hurricane that made landfall in southern Louisiana. Several levees protecting the low-lying city of New Orleans broke, flooding the entire region under waters that rose over the rooftops of homes. Over 1,000 were killed by the storm. Over 500,000 people were left homeless and without jobs.

One month later, Hurricane Rita swept first into Florida and continued to make landfall between Sabine Pass, Texas, and Johnson's Bayou, Louisiana, on 24 September 2005 as a category 3 hurricane. Before reaching land, however, the storm had peaked as a category 5 hurricane that was placed on record as the strongest measured hurricane to ever have entered the Gulf of Mexico and the fourth most intense hurricane ever in the Atlantic Basin. Over 100 people were killed.

Hurricane Wilma followed on 24 October when it made landfall north of Everglades City in Florida as a category 3 hurricane. There were about 22 deaths in the United States from Wilma; however, the storm also hit Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, and Mexico, reaching a death toll of at least 25 people from those countries combined.

The prairie lands lying to the west constitute a subhumid region. Precipitation usually exceeds evaporation by only a small amount; hence the region experiences drought more often than excessive rainfall. Dryness generally increases from east to west. The average midwinter temperature in the extreme northMinnesota and North Dakotais about13°c (9°f) or less, while the average July temperature is 18°c (65°f). In the Texas prairie region to the south, January temperatures average 1013°c (5055°f) and July temperatures 2729°c (8085°f). Rainfall along the western border of the prairie region is as low as 46 cm (18 in) per year in the north and 64 cm (25 in) in the south. Precipitation is greatest in the early summera matter of great importance to agriculture, particularly in the growing of grain crops. In dry years, the prevailing winds may carry the topsoil eastward (particularly from the southern region) for hundreds of miles in clouds that obscure the sun.

The Great Plains constitute a semiarid climatic region. Rainfall in the southern plains averages about 50 cm (20 in) per year and in the northern plains about 25 cm (10 in), but extreme year-to-year variations are common. The tropical air masses that move northward across the plains originate on the fairly high plateaus of Mexico and contain little water vapor. Periods as long as 120 days without rain have been experienced in this region. The rains that do occur are often violent, and a third of the total annual rainfall may be recorded in a single day at certain weather stations. The contrast between summer and winter temperatures is extreme throughout the Great Plains. Maximum summer temperatures of over 43°c (110°f) have been recorded in the northern as well as in the southern plains. From the Texas panhandle north, blizzards are common in the winter, and tornadoes at other seasons. The average minimum temperature for January in Duluth, Minnesota, is -19°c (-3°f).

The higher reaches of the Rockies and the mountains paralleling the Pacific coast to the west are characterized by a typical alpine climate. Precipitation as a rule is heavier on the western slopes of the ranges. The great intermontane arid region of the West shows considerable climatic variation between its northern and southern portions. In New Mexico, Arizona, and southeastern California, the greatest precipitation occurs in July, August, and September, mean annual rainfall ranging from 8 cm (3 in) in Yuma, Ariz., to 76 cm (30 in) in the mountains of northern Arizona and New Mexico. Phoenix has a mean annual temperature of 22°c (71°f), rising to 33°c (92°f) in July and falling to 11°c (52°f) in January. North of the Utah-Arizona line, the summer months usually are very dry; maximum precipitation occurs in the winter and early spring. In the desert valleys west of Great Salt Lake, mean annual precipitation adds up to only 10 cm (4 in). Although the northern plateaus are generally arid, some of the mountainous areas of central Washington and Idaho receive at least 152 cm (60 in) of rain per year. Throughout the intermontane region, the uneven availability of water is the principal factor shaping the habitat.

The Pacific coast, separated by tall mountain barriers from the severe continental climate to the east, is a region of mild winters and moderately warm, dry summers. Its climate is basically maritime, the westerly winds from the Pacific Ocean moderating the extremes of both winter and summer temperatures. Los Angeles in the south has an average temperature of 13°c (56°f) in January and 21°c (69°f) in July; Seattle in the north has an average temperature of 4°c (39°f) in January and 18°c (65°f) in July. Precipitation in general increases along the coast from south to north, extremes ranging from an annual average of 4.52 cm (1.78 in) at Death Valley in California (the lowest in the United States) to more than 356 cm (140 in) in Washington's Olympic Mountains.

Climatic conditions vary considerably in the vastness of Alaska. In the fogbound Aleutians and in the coastal panhandle strip that extends southeastward along the Gulf of Alaska and includes the capital, Juneau, a relatively moderate maritime climate prevails. The interior is characterized by short, hot summers and long, bitterly cold winters, and in the region bordering the Arctic Ocean a polar climate prevails, the soil hundreds of feet below the surface remaining frozen the year round. Although snowy in winter, continental Alaska is relatively dry.

Hawaii has a remarkably mild and stable climate with only slight seasonal variations in temperature, as a result of northeast ocean winds. The mean January temperature in Honolulu is 23°c (73°f); the mean July temperature 27°c (80°f). Rainfall is moderateabout 71 cm (28 in) per yearbut much greater in the mountains; Mt. Waialeale on Kauai has a mean annual rainfall of 1,168 cm (460 in), highest in the world.

The lowest temperature recorded in the United States was -62°c (-79.8°f) at Prospect Creek Camp, Alaska, on 23 January 1971; the highest, 57°c (134°f) at Greenland Ranch, in Death Valley, California, on 10 July 1913. The record annual rainfall is 1,878 cm (739 in) recorded at Kukui, Maui in 1982; the previous record for a one-year period was 1,468 cm (578 in) recorded at Fuu Kukui, Maui, in 1950.

FLORA AND FAUNA

At least 7,000 species and subspecies of indigenous US flora have been categorized. The eastern forests contain a mixture of softwoods and hardwoods that includes pine, oak, maple, spruce, beech, birch, hemlock, walnut, gum, and hickory. The central hardwood forest, which originally stretched unbroken from Cape Cod to Texas and northwest to Minnesotastill an important timber sourcesupports oak, hickory, ash, maple, and walnut. Pine, hickory, tupelo, pecan, gum, birch, and sycamore are found in the southern forest that stretches along the Gulf coast into the eastern half of Texas. The Pacific forest is the most spectacular of all because of its enormous redwoods and Douglas firs. In the southwest are saguaro (giant cactus), yucca, candlewood, and the Joshua tree.

The central grasslands lie in the interior of the continent, where the moisture is not sufficient to support the growth of large forests. The tall grassland or prairie (now almost entirely under cultivation) lies to the east of the 100th meridian. To the west of this line, where rainfall is frequently less than 50 cm (20 in) per year, is the short grassland. Mesquite grass covers parts of west Texas, southern New Mexico, and Arizona. Short grass may be found in the highlands of the latter two states, while tall grass covers large portions of the coastal regions of Texas and Louisiana and occurs in some parts of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The Pacific grassland includes northern Idaho, the higher plateaus of eastern Washington and Oregon, and the mountain valleys of California.

The intermontane region of the Western Cordillera is for the most part covered with desert shrubs. Sagebrush predominates in the northern part of this area, creosote in the southern, with salt-brush near the Great Salt Lake and in Death Valley.

The lower slopes of the mountains running up to the coastline of Alaska are covered with coniferous forests as far north as the Seward Peninsula. The central part of the Yukon Basin is also a region of softwood forests. The rest of Alaska is heath or tundra. Hawaii has extensive forests of bamboo and ferns. Sugarcane and pineapple, although not native to the islands, now cover a large portion of the cultivated land.

Small trees and shrubs common to most of the United States include hackberry, hawthorn, serviceberry, blackberry, wild cherry, dogwood, and snowberry. Wildflowers bloom in all areas, from the seldom-seen blossoms of rare desert cacti to the hardiest alpine species. Wildflowers include forget-me-not, fringed and closed gentians, jack-in-the-pulpit, black-eyed Susan, columbine, and common dandelion, along with numerous varieties of aster, orchid, lady's slipper, and wild rose.

An estimated 428 species of mammals characterize the animal life of the continental United States. Among the larger game animals are the white-tailed deer, moose, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, black bear, and grizzly bear. The Alaskan brown bear often reaches a weight of 1,2001,400 lbs. Some 25 important furbearers are common, including the muskrat, red and gray foxes, mink, raccoon, beaver, opossum, striped skunk, woodchuck, common cottontail, snowshoe hare, and various squirrels. Human encroachment has transformed the mammalian habitat over the last two centuries. The American buffalo (bison), millions of which once roamed the plains, is now found only on select reserves. Other mammals, such as the elk and gray wolf, have been restricted to much smaller ranges.

Year-round and migratory birds abound. Loons, wild ducks, and wild geese are found in lake country; terns, gulls, sandpipers, herons, and other seabirds live along the coasts. Wrens, thrushes, owls, hummingbirds, sparrows, woodpeckers, swallows, chickadees, vireos, warblers, and finches appear in profusion, along with the robin, common crow, cardinal, Baltimore oriole, eastern and western meadowlarks, and various blackbirds. Wild turkey, ruffed grouse, and ring-necked pheasant (introduced from Europe) are popular game birds. There are at least 508 species of birds found throughout the country.

Lakes, rivers, and streams teem with trout, bass, perch, muskellunge, carp, catfish, and pike; sea bass, cod, snapper, and flounder are abundant along the coasts, along with such shellfish as lobster, shrimp, clams, oysters, and mussels. Garter, pine, and milk snakes are found in most regions. Four poisonous snakes survive, of which the rattlesnake is the most common. Alligators appear in southern waterways and the Gila monster makes its home in the Southwest.

Laws and lists designed to protect threatened and endangered flora and fauna have been adopted throughout the United States. Generally, each species listed as protected by the federal government is also protected by the states, but some states may list species not included on federal lists or on the lists of neighboring states. Conversely, a species threatened throughout most of the United States may be abundant in one or two states. As of November 2005, the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed 997 endangered US species (up from 751 listed in 1996), including 68 species of mammals, 77 birds, 74 fish, and 599 plants; and 275 threatened species (209 in 1996), including 11 species of mammals, 13 birds, 42 fish, and 146 plants. The agency listed another 520 endangered and 46 threatened foreign species by international agreement.

Threatened species, likely to become endangered if trends continued, included such plants as Lee pincushion cactus. Among the endangered floral species (in imminent danger of extinction in the wild) are the Virginia round-leaf birch, San Clemente Island broom, Texas wild-rice, Furbish lousewort, Truckee barberry, Sneed pincushion cactus, spineless hedgehog cactus, Knowlton cactus, persistent trillium, dwarf bear-poppy, and small whorled pogonia.

Endangered mammals included the red wolf, black-footed ferret, jaguar, key deer, northern swift fox, San Joaquin kit fox, jaguar, jaguarundi, Florida manatee, ocelot, Florida panther, Utah prairie dog, Sonoran pronghorn, and numerous whale species. Endangered species of rodents included the Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel, beach mouse, salt-marsh harvest mouse, 7 species of bat (Virginia and Ozark big-eared Sanborn's and Mexican longnosed, Hawaiian hoary, Indiana, and gray), and the Morro Ba, Fresno, Stephens', and Tipton Kangaroo rats and rice rat.

Endangered species of birds included the California condor, bald eagle, three species of falcon (American peregrine, tundra peregrine, and northern aplomado), Eskimo curlew, two species of crane (whooping and Mississippi sandhill), three species of warbler (Kirtland's, Bachman's, and golden-cheeked), dusky seaside sparrow, light-footed clapper rail, least tern, San Clemente loggerhead shrike, bald eagle (endangered in most states, but only threatened in the Northwest and the Great Lakes region), Hawaii creeper, Everglade kite, California clapper rail, and red-cockaded woodpecker. Endangered amphibians included four species of salamander (Santa Cruz long-toed, Shenandoah, desert slender, and Texas blind), Houston and Wyoming toad, and six species of turtle (green sea, hawksbill, Kemp's ridley, Plymouth and Alabama red-bellied, and leatherback). Endangered reptiles included the American crocodile, (blunt nosed leopard and island night), and San Francisco garter snake.

Aquatic species included the shortnose sturgeon, Gila trout, 8 species of chub (humpback, Pahranagat, Yaqui, Mohave tui, Owens tui, bonytail, Virgin River, and Borax lake), Colorado River squawfish, five species of dace (Kendall Warm Springs, and Clover Valley, Independence Valley, Moapa and Ash Meadows speckled), Modoc sucker, cui-ui, Smoky and Scioto madtom, 7 species of pupfish (Leon Springs, Gila Desert, Ash Meadows Amargosa, Warm Springs, Owens, Devil's Hole, and Comanche Springs), Pahrump killifish, 4 species of gambusia (San Marcos, Pecos, Amistad, Big Bend, and Clear Creek), 6 species of darter (fountain, watercress, Okaloosa, boulder, Maryland, and amber), totoaba, and 32 species of mussel and pearly mussel. Also classified as endangered were 2 species of earthworm (Washington giant and Oregon giant), the Socorro isopod, San Francisco forktail damselfly, Ohio emerald dragonfly, 3 species of beetle (Kretschmarr Cave, Tooth Cave, and giant carrion), Belkin's dune tabanid fly, and 10 species of butterfly (Schaus' swallowtail, lotis, mission, El Segundo, and Palos Verde blue, Mitchell's satyr, Uncompahgre fritillary, Lange's metalmark, San Bruno elfin, and Smith's blue).

Endangered plants in the United States included: aster, cactus, pea, mustard, mint, mallow, bellflower and pink family, snapdragon, and buckwheat. Several species on the federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants are found only in Hawaii. Endangered bird species in Hawaii included the Hawaiian dark-rumped petrel, Hawaiian gallinule, Hawaiian crow, three species of thrush (Kauai, Molokai, and puaiohi), Kauai 'o'o, Kauai nukupu'u, Kauai 'alialoa, 'akiapola'au, Maui'akepa, Molokai creeper, Oahu creeper, palila, and 'o'u.

Species formerly listed as threatened or endangered that have been removed from the list included (with delisting year and reason) American alligator (1987, recovered); coastal cutthroat trout (2000, taxonomic revision); Bahama swallowtail butterfly (1984, amendment); gray whale (1994, recovered); brown pelican (1984, recovered); Rydberg milk-vetch (1987, new information); Lloyd's hedgehog cactus (1999, taxonomic revision), and Columbian white-tailed Douglas County Deer (2003, recovered).

There are at least 250 species of plants and animals that have become extinct, including the Wyoming toad, the Central Valley grasshopper, Labrador duck, Carolina parakeet, Hawaiian crow, chestnut moth, and the Franklin tree.

ENVIRONMENT

The Council on Environmental Quality, an advisory body contained within the Executive Office of the President, was established by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, which mandated an assessment of environmental impact for every federally funded project. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), created in 1970, is an independent body with primary regulatory responsibility in the fields of air and noise pollution, water and waste management, and control of toxic substances. Other federal agencies with environmental responsibilities are the Forest Service and Soil Conservation Service within the Department of Agriculture, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service within the Department of the Interior, the Department of Energy, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In addition to the 1969 legislation, landmark federal laws protecting the environment include the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970 and 1990, controlling automobile and electric utility emissions; the Water Pollution Act of 1972, setting clean-water criteria for fishing and swimming; and the Endangered Species Act of 1973, protecting wildlife near extinction.

A measure enacted in December 1980 established a $1.6-billion "Superfund," financed largely by excise taxes on chemical companies, to clean up toxic waste dumps such as the one in the Love Canal district of Niagara Falls, NY. In 2005, there were 1,238 hazardous waste sites on the Superfund's national priority list.

The most influential environmental lobbies include the Sierra Club (founded in 1892; 700,000 members in 2003) and its legal arm, the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund. Large conservation groups include the National Wildlife Federation (1936; over 4,000,000), the National Audubon Society (1905; 600,000), and the Nature Conservancy (1917; 1,000,000). Greenpeace USA (founded in 1979) has gained international attention by seeking to disrupt hunts for whales and seals.

Among the environmental movement's most notable successes have been the inauguration (and mandating in some states) of recycling programs; the banning in the United States of the insecticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT); the successful fight against construction of a supersonic transport (SST); and the protection of more than 40 million hectares (100 million acres) of Alaska lands (after a fruitless fight to halt construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline); and the gradual elimination of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) production by 2000. In March 2003, the US Senate narrowly voted to reject a Bush administration plan to begin oil exploration in the 19 million acre (7.7 million hectare) Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). In 2003, about 25.9% of the total land area was protected. The United States has 12 natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 22 Ramsar wetland sites. Yellowstone National Park, founded in 1872, was the first national park established worldwide.

Outstanding problems include acid rain (precipitation contaminated by fossil fuel wastes); inadequate facilities for solid waste disposal; air pollution from industrial emissions (the United States leads the world in carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels); the contamination of homes by radon, a radioactive gas that is produced by the decay of underground deposits of radium and can cause cancer; runoffs of agricultural pesticides, pollutants deadly to fishing streams and very difficult to regulate; continued dumping of raw or partially treated sewage from major cities into US waterways; falling water tables in many western states; the decrease in arable land because of depletion, erosion, and urbanization; the need for reclamation of strip-mined lands and for regulation of present and future strip mining; and the expansion of the US nuclear industry in the absence of a fully satisfactory technique for the handling and permanent disposal of radioactive wastes.

POPULATION

The population of United States in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 296,483,000, which placed it at number 3 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 12% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 21% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 97 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 200510 was expected to be 0.6%, a rate the government viewed as satisfactory. The projected population for the year 2025 was 349,419,000. The population density was 31 per sq km (80 per sq mi), with major population concentrations are along the northeast Atlantic coast and the southwest Pacific coast. The population is most dense between New York City and Washington, DC.

At the time of the first federal census, in 1790, the population of the United States was 3,929,214. Between 1800 and 1850, the population almost quadrupled; between 1850 and 1900, it tripled; and between 1900 and 1950, it almost doubled. During the 1960s and 1970s, however, the growth rate slowed steadily, declining from 2.9% annually in 1960 to 2% in 1969 and to less than 1% from the 1980s through 2000. The population has aged: the median age of the population increased from 16.7 years in 1820 to 22.9 years in 1900 and to 36.5 years in 2006.

Suburbs have absorbed most of the shift in population distribution since 1950. The UN estimated that 79% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 1.33%. The capital city, Washington, DC (District of Columbia), had a population of 4,098,000 in that year. Other major metropolitan areas and their estimated populations include: New York, 18,498,000; Los Angeles, 12,146,000; Chicago, 8,711,000; Dallas, 4,612,000; Houston, 4,283,000; Philadelphia, 5,325,000; San Diego, 2,818,000; and Phoenix, 3,393,000. Major cities can be found throughout the United States.

MIGRATION

Between 1840 and 1930, some 37 million immigrants, the overwhelming majority of them Europeans, arrived in the United States. Immigration reached its peak in the first decade of the 20th century, when nearly 9 million came. Following the end of World War I, the tradition of almost unlimited immigration was abandoned, and through the National Origins Act of 1924, a quota system was established as the basis of a carefully restricted policy of immigration. Under the McCarran Act of 1952, one-sixth of 1% of the number of inhabitants from each European nation residing in the continental United States as of 1920 could be admitted annually. In practice, this system favored nations of northern and western Europe, with the United Kingdom, Germany, and Ireland being the chief beneficiaries. The quota system was radically reformed in 1965, under a new law that established an annual ceiling of 170,000 for Eastern Hemisphere immigrants and 120,000 for entrants from the Western Hemisphere; in October 1978, these limits were replaced by a worldwide limit of 290,000, which was lowered to 270,000 by 1981. A major 1990 overhaul set a total annual ceiling of 700,000 (675,000 beginning in fiscal 1995), of which 480,000 would be family sponsored and 140,000 employment based. The 1996 Immigration Reform Law addressed concerns about illegal immigration and border enforcement. The 1996 Welfare Reform Law revised legal and illegal immigrants' access to different forms of public assistance, and raised the standards for US residents who sponsor immigrants. The 2000 H-1B Visa Legislation increased temporary immigration visas for hightech workers. In 2004, President Bush proposed a fair and secure immigration reform with a new temporary worker program.

In 2002, 1,063,732 immigrants entered the United States, of whom 416,860 were subject to the numerical limits. Some 342,099 immigrants in 2002 were from Asia, 404,437 were from North America, 74,506 were from South America, 174,209 from Europe, 60,269 from Africa, and 5,557 from Oceania. A direct result of the immigration law revisions has been a sharp rise in the influx of Asians (primarily Chinese, Filipinos, Indians, Japanese, and Koreans), of whom 2,738,157 entered the country during 198190, as compared with 153,249 during the entire decade of the 1950s. Most immigrants in 2002 came from Mexico (219,380).

Since 1961, the federal government supported and financed the Cuban Refugee Program; in 1995, new accords were agreed to by the two countries. More than 500,000 Cubans were living in southern Florida by 1980, when another 125,000 Cuban refugees arrived; by 1990, 4% of Florida's population was of Cuban descent. Some 169,322 Cubans arrived from 19912000, and 27,520 arrived in 2002. Between 1975 and 1978, following the defeat of the US-backed Saigon (Vietnam) government, several hundred thousand Vietnamese refugees came to the United States. Under the Refugee Act of 1980, a ceiling for the number of admissible refugees is set annually; in fiscal 2002, the ceiling for refugees was 70,000. Since Puerto Ricans are American citizens, no special authorization is required for their admission to the continental United States. The population of refugees, resettled refugees, and asylum seekers with pending claims was estimated at 5,250,954 in June 2003, a 34% increase over June 2002. During the same year, the newly-formed Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCISformerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service or INS) received 66,577 applications for asylum, a decline of 36% from 2002. In 2004, the United States hosted 684,564 persons of concern to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 420,854 refugees, and 263,710 asylum seekers. For that year, the United States was the fifth-largest asylum country. UNHCR reports the United States as the leading destination of refugees, accounting for 63% of all resettlement worldwide.

Large numbers of aliensmainly from Latin America, especially Mexicohave illegally established residence in the United States after entering the country as tourists, students, or temporary visitors engaged in work or business. In November 1986, Congress passed a bill allowing illegal aliens who had lived and worked in the United States since 1982 the opportunity to become permanent residents. By the end of fiscal year 1992, 2,650,000 of a potential 2,760,000 eligible for permanent residence under this bill had attained that status. In 1996 the number of illegal alien residents was estimated at five million, of which two million were believed to be in California. As of 2002, an estimated 33.1 million immigrants (legal and illegal) lived in the United States. Of this total, the Census Bureau estimated in 2000 that 89 million of them were illegal alien residents. In 2004, there were 36 million foreign-born US residents, almost 30% were unauthorized, or some 10.3 million foreigners. Of these, 57% are unauthorized Mexicans. Foreign-born persons are 11% of the US population, and 14% of US workers.

As of 2006, there were three major immigration-related agencies in the United States: the Department of Homeland Security; the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, which apprehends foreigners; and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is responsible for enforcement of immigration laws within the United States, together with identifying and removing unauthorized foreigners, and those ordered removed.

The major migratory trends within the United States have been a general westward movement during the 19th century; a longterm movement from farms and other rural settlements to metropolitan areas, which showed signs of reversing in some states during the 1970s; an exodus of southern blacks to the cities of the North and Midwest, especially after World War I; a shift of whites from central cities to surrounding suburbs since World War II; and, also during the post-World War II period, a massive shift from the North and East to the Sunbelt region of the South and Southwest.

In 2005, the net migration rate was estimated as 3.31 migrants per 1,000 population.

ETHNIC GROUPS

The majority of the population of the United States is of European origin, with the largest groups having primary ancestry traceable to the United Kingdom, Germany, and Ireland; many Americans report multiple ancestries. According to 2004 American Community Survey estimates, about 75.6% of the total population are white, 12.1% are blacks and African Americans, and 4.2% are Asian. Native Americans (including Alaskan Natives) account for about 0.8% of the total population. About 1.8% of the population claim a mixed ancestry of two or more races. About 11.9% of all US citizens are foreign-born, with the largest numbers of people coming from Latin America (17,973,287) and Asia (9,254,705).

Some Native American societies survived the initial warfare with land-hungry white settlers and retained their tribal cultures. Their survival, however, has been on the fringes of North American society, especially as a result of the implementation of a national policy of resettling Native American tribes on reservations. In 2004, estimates place the number of Native Americans (including Alaska Natives) at 2,151,322. The number of those who claim mixed Native American and white racial backgrounds is estimated at 1,370,675; the 2004 estimate for mixed Native American and African American ancestry was 204,832. The largest single tribal grouping is the Cherokee, with about 331,491 people. The Navajo account for about 230,401 people, the Chippewa for 92,041 people, and the Sioux for 67,666 people. Groups of Native Americans are found most numerously in the southwestern states of Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, and California. The 1960s and 1970s saw successful court fights by Native Americans in Alaska, Maine, South Dakota, and other states to regain tribal lands or to receive cash settlements for lands taken from them in violation of treaties during the 1800s.

The black and African American population in 2004 was estimated at 34,772,381, with the majority still residing in the South, the region that absorbed most of the slaves brought from Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries. About 1,141,232 people claimed mixed black and white ethnicity. Two important regional migrations of blacks have taken place: (1) a "Great Migration" to the North, commencing in 1915, and (2) a small but then unprecedented westward movement beginning about 1940. Both migrations were fostered by wartime demands for labor and by postwar job opportunities in northern and western urban centers. More than three out of four black Americans live in metropolitan areas, notably in Washington, DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, Newark, Baltimore, and New York City, which had the largest number of black residents. Large-scale federal programs to ensure equality for African Americans in voting rights, public education, employment, and housing were initiated after the historic 1954 Supreme Court ruling that barred racial segregation in public schools. By 1966, however, in the midst of growing and increasingly violent expressions of dissatisfaction by black residents of northern cities and southern rural areas, the federal Civil Rights Commission reported that integration programs were lagging. Throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, the unemployment rate among nonwhites in the United States was at least double that for whites, and school integration proceeded slowly, especially outside the South.

Also included in the US population are a substantial number of persons whose lineage can be traced to Asian and Pacific nationalities, chiefly Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Indian, Korean, and Vietnamese. The Chinese population is highly urbanized and concentrated particularly in cities of over 100,000 population, mostly on the West Coast and in New York City. According to 2004 estimates, there are over 2.8 million Chinese in the United States. Asian Indians are the next largest group of Asians with over 2.2 million people in 2004. About 2.1 million people are Filipino. The Japanese population has risen steadily from a level of 72,157 in 1910 to about 832,039 in 2004. Hawaii has been the most popular magnet of Japanese emigration. Most Japanese in California were farmers until the outbreak of World War II, when they were interned and deprived of their landholdings; after the war, most entered the professions and other urban occupations.

Hispanics or Latinos make up about 14% of the population according to 2004 estimates. It is important to note, however, that the designation of Hispanic or Latino applies to those who are of Latin American descent; these individuals may also belong to white, Asian, or black racial groups. Although Mexicans in the 21st century were still concentrated in the Southwest, they have settled throughout the United States; there are over 25 million Mexicans in the country. Spanish-speaking Puerto Ricans, who often represent an amalgam of racial strains, have largely settled in the New York metropolitan area, where they partake in considerable measure of the hardships and problems experienced by other immigrant groups in the process of settling in the United States; there are about 3.8 million Puerto Ricans in the country. Since 1959, many Cubans have settled in Florida and other eastern states. As of 2004, there are about 1.4 mullion Cubans in the Untied States.

LANGUAGES

The primary language of the United States is English, enriched by words borrowed from the languages of Indians and immigrants, predominantly European. Very early English borrowed from neighboring French speakers such words as shivaree, butte, levee, and prairie; from German, sauerkraut, smearcase, and cranberry; from Dutch, stoop, spook, and cookie; and from Spanish, tornado, corral, ranch, and canyon. From various West African languages, blacks have given English jazz, voodoo, and okra. According to 2004 estimates of primary languages spoken at home, about 81% of the population speak English only.

When European settlement began, Native Americans living north of Mexico spoke about 300 different languages now held to belong to 58 different language families. Only two such families have contributed noticeably to the American vocabulary: Algonkian in the Northeast and Aztec-Tanoan in the Southwest. From Algonkian languages, directly or sometimes through Canadian French, English has taken such words as moose, skunk, caribou, opossum, woodchuck, and raccoon for New World animals; hickory, squash, and tamarack for New World flora; and succotash, hominy, mackinaw, moccasin, tomahawk, toboggan, and totem for various cultural items. From Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, terms such as tomato, mesquite, coyote, chili, tamale, chocolate, and ocelot have entered English, largely by way of Spanish. A bare handful of words come from other Native American language groups, such as tepee from Dakota Siouan, catalpa from Creek, sequoia from Cherokee, hogan from Navaho, and sockeye from Salish, as well as cayuse from Chinook.

Professional dialect research, initiated in Germany in 1878 and in France in 1902, did not begin in the United States until 1931, in connection with the Linguistic Atlas of New England (193943). This kind of research, requiring trained field-workers to interview representative informants in their homes, subsequently was extended to the entire Atlantic Coast, the north-central states, the upper Midwest, the Pacific Coast, the Gulf states, and Oklahoma. The New England atlas, the Linguistic Atlas of the Upper Midwest (197376), and the first two fascicles of the Linguistic Atlas of the Middle and South Atlantic States (1980) have been published, along with three volumes based on Atlantic Coast field materials. Also published are atlases of the north-central states, the Gulf states, and Oklahoma. In other areas, individual dialect researchers have produced more specialized studies. The definitive work on dialect speech, the American Dialect Society's monumental Dictionary of American Regional English, began publication in 1985.

Dialect studies confirm that standard English is not uniform throughout the country. Major regional variations reflect patterns of colonial settlement, dialect features from England having dominated particular areas along the Atlantic Coast and then spread westward along the three main migration routes through the Appalachian system. Dialectologists recognize three main dialectsNorthern, Midland, and Southerneach with subdivisions related to the effect of mountain ranges and rivers and railroads on population movement.

The Northern dialect is that of New England and its derivative settlements in New York; the northern parts of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa; and Michigan, Wisconsin, northeastern South Dakota, and North Dakota. A major subdivision is that of New England east of the Connecticut River, an area noted typically by the loss of/r/after a vowel, and by the pronunciation of can't, dance, half, and bath with a vowel more like that in father than that in fat. Generally, however, Northern speech has a strong/r/after a vowel, the same vowel in can't and cat, a conspicuous contrast between cot and caught, the/s/sound in greasy, creek rhyming with pick, and with ending with the same consonant sound as at the end of breath.

Midland speech extends in a wide band across the United States: there are two main subdivisions, North Midland and South Midland. North Midland speech extends westward from New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania into Ohio, Illinois, southern Iowa, and northern Missouri. Its speakers generally end with with the consonant sound that begins the word thin, pronounce cot and caught alike, and say cow and down as/caow/and/daown/. South Midland speech was carried by the Scotch-Irish from Pennsylvania down the Shenandoah Valley into the southern Appalachians, where it acquired many Southern speech features before it spread westward into Kentucky, Tennessee, southern Missouri, Arkansas, and northeast Texas. Its speakers are likely to say plum peach rather than clingstone peach and snake doctor rather than dragonfly.

Southern speech typically, though not always, lacks the consonant/r/after a vowel, lengthens the first part of the diphthong in write so that to Northern ears it sounds almost like rat, and diphthongizes the vowels in bed and hit so that they sound like/beuhd/and/hiuht/. Horse and hoarse do not sound alike, and creek rhymes with meek. Corn bread is corn pone, and you-all is standard for the plural.

In the western part of the United States, migration routes so crossed and intermingled that no neat dialect boundaries can be drawn, although there are a few rather clear population pockets.

Spanish is spoken by a sizable minority in the United States; according to 2004 estimates, about 11.4% of the population speak Spanish as the primary language of their household. The majority of Spanish speakers live in the Southwest, Florida, and eastern urban centers. Refugee immigration since the 1950s has greatly increased the number of foreign-language speakers from Latin America and Asia.

Educational problems raised by the presence of large blocs of non-English speakers led to the passage in 1976 of the Bilingual Educational Act, enabling children to study basic courses in their first language while they learn English. A related school problem is that of black English, a Southern dialect variant that is the vernacular of many black students now in northern schools.

RELIGIONS

US religious traditions are predominantly Judeo-Christian and most Americans identify themselves as Protestants (of various denominations), Roman Catholics, or Jews. As of 2000, over 141 million Americans reported affiliation with a religious group. The single largest Christian denomination is the Roman Catholic Church, with membership in 2004 estimated at 66.4 million. Immigration from Ireland, Italy, Eastern Europe, French Canada, and the Caribbean accounts for the predominance of Roman Catholicism in the Northeast, Northwest, and some parts of the Great Lakes region, while Hispanic traditions and more recent immigration from Mexico and other Latin American countries account for the historical importance of Roman Catholicism in California and throughout most of the sunbelt. More than any other US religious body, the Roman Catholic Church maintains an extensive network of parochial schools.

Jewish immigrants settled first in the Northeast, where the largest Jewish population remains; at last estimates, about 6.1 million Jews lived in the United States. According to data from 1995, there were about 3.7 million Muslims in the country. About 1.8 million people were Buddhist and 795,000 were Hindu. Approximately 874,000 people were proclaimed atheists.

Over 94 million persons in the United States report affiliation with a Protestant denomination. Baptists predominate below the Mason-Dixon line and west to Texas. By far the nation' s largest Protestant group is the Southern Baptist Convention, which has about 16.2 million members; the American Baptist Churches in the USA claim some 1.4 million members. A concentration of Methodist groups extends westward in a band from Delaware to eastern Colorado; the largest of these groups, the United Methodist Church has about 8.2 million members. A related group, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, has about 2.5 million members. Lutheran denominations, reflecting in part the patterns of German and Scandinavian settlement, are most highly concentrated in the north-central states, especially Minnesota and the Dakotas. Two Lutheran synods, the Lutheran Church in America and the American Lutheran Church, merged in 1987 to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, with more than 5 million adherents in 2004. In June 1983, the two major Presbyterian churches, the northern-based United Presbyterian Church in the USA and the southern-based Presbyterian Church in the United States, formally merged as the Presbyterian Church (USA), ending a division that began with the Civil War. This group claimed 3.4 million adherents in 2004. Other prominent Protestant denominations and their estimated adherents (2004) include the Episcopal Church, 2,334,000, and the United Church of Christ, 1,331,000.

A number of Orthodox Christian denominations are represented in the United States, established by immigrants hoping to maintain their language and culture in a new world. The largest group of Orthodox belongs to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, which has about 1.5 million members.

A number of religious groups, which now have a worldwide presence, originated in the United States. One such group, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), was organized in New York in 1830 by Joseph Smith, Jr., who claimed to receive a revelation concerning an ancient American prophet named Mormon. The group migrated westward, in part to escape persecution, and has played a leading role in the political, economic, and religious life of Utah; Salt Lake City is the headquarters for the church. As of 2004, there are about 5.4 million members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Jehovah's Witnesses were established by Charles Taze Russell in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1872. They believe that Biblical prophecies are being fulfilled through world events and that the kingdom of God will be established on earth at the end of the great war described in the Bible. In 2004, there were about one million members in the Untied States.

The Church of Christ Scientist was established by Mary Baker Eddy (18211910) through her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. A primary belief of the group is that physical injury and illness might be healed through the power of prayer and the correction of false beliefs. The Mother Church is located in Boston, Massachusetts. Christian Scientists have over 1,000 congregations in the nation. The Seventh-Day Adventists were also established in the Untied States by William Miller, a preacher who believed that the second coming of Christ would occur between 1843 and 1844. Though his prediction did not come true, many of his followers continued to embrace other practices such as worship on Saturday, vegetarianism, and a focus on preparation for the second coming. In 2004, the Seventh-Day Adventist Church had 919,000 members in the United States.

TRANSPORTATION

Railroads have lost not only the largest share of intercity freight traffic, their chief source of revenue, but passenger traffic as well. Despite an attempt to revive passenger transport through the development of a national network (Amtrak) in the 1970s, the rail sector has continued to experience heavy losses and declining revenues. In 1998 there were nine Class I rail companies in the United States, down from 13 in 1994, with a total of 178,222 employees and operating revenues of $32.2 billion. In 2003 there were 227,736 km (141,424 mi) of railway, all standard gauge. In 2000, Amtrak carried 84.1 million passengers.

The most conspicuous form of transportation is the automobile, and the extent and quality of the United States road-transport system are without parallel in the world. Over 226.06 million vehiclesa record numberwere registered in 2003, including more than 130.8 million passenger cars and over 95.3. commercial vehicles. In 2000, there were some 4,346,068 motorcycles registered.

The United States has a vast network of public roads, whose total length as of 2003 was 6,393,603 km (3,976,821 mi), of which, 4,180,053 km (2,599,993 mi) were paved, including 74,406 km (46,281 mi) of expressways. The United States also has 41,009 km (25,483 mi) of navigable inland channels, exclusive of the Great Lakes. Of that total, 19,312 km (12,012 mi) are still in commercial use, as of 2004.

Major ocean ports or port areas are New York, the Delaware River areas (Philadelphia), the Chesapeake Bay area (Baltimore, Norfolk, Newport News), New Orleans, Houston, and the San Francisco Bay area. The inland port of Duluth on Lake Superior handles more freight than all but the top-ranking ocean ports. The importance of this port, along with those of Chicago and Detroit, was enhanced with the opening in 1959 of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Waterborne freight consists primarily of bulk commodities such as petroleum and its products, coal and coke, iron ore and steel, sand, gravel and stone, grains, and lumber. The US merchant marine industry has been decreasing gradually since the 1950s. In 2005, the United States had a merchant shipping fleet of 486 vessels of 1,000 GRT or more, with a combined GRT of 12,436,658.

In 2004, the United States had an estimated 14,857 airports. In 2005 a total of 5,120 had paved runways, and there were also 153 heliports. Principal airports include Hartsfield at Atlanta; Logan International at Boston; O'Hare International at Chicago; Dallas-Fort Worth at Dallas; Detroit Metropolitan; Honolulu International; Houston Intercontinental; Los Angeles International; John F. Kennedy, La Guardia, and Newark International at or near New York; Philadelphia International; Orlando International; Miami International; San Francisco International; L. Munoz Marin at San Juan; Seattle-Tacoma at Seattle; and Dulles International at Virginia. Revenue passengers carried by the airlines in 1940 totaled 2.7 million. By 2003, the figure was estimated at 588.997 million for US domestic and international carriers, along with freight traffic estimated at 34,206 million freight ton-km.

HISTORY

The first Americansdistant ancestors of the Native Americansprobably crossed the Bering Strait from Asia at least 12,000 years ago. By the time Christopher Columbus came to the New World in 1492 there were probably no more than two million Native Americans living in the land that was to become the United States.

Following exploration of the American coasts by English, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, and French sea captains from the late 15th century onward, European settlements sprang up in the latter part of the 16th century. The Spanish established the first permanent settlement at St. Augustine in the future state of Florida in 1565, and another in New Mexico in 1599. During the early 17th century, the English founded Jamestown in Virginia Colony (1607) and Plymouth Colony in present-day Massachusetts (1620). The Dutch established settlements at Ft. Orange (now Albany, N.Y.) in 1624, New Amsterdam (now New York City) in 1626, and at Bergen (now part of Jersey City, N.J.) in 1660; they conquered New Swedenthe Swedish colony in Delaware and New Jerseyin 1655. Nine years later, however, the English seized this New Netherland Colony and subsequently monopolized settlement of the East Coast except for Florida, where Spanish rule prevailed until 1821. In the Southwest, California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas also were part of the Spanish empire until the 19th century. Meanwhile, in the Great Lakes area south of present-day Canada, France set up a few trading posts and settlements but never established effective control; New Orleans was one of the few areas of the United States where France pursued an active colonial policy.

From the founding of Jamestown to the outbreak of the American Revolution more than 150 years later, the British government administered its American colonies within the context of mercantilism: the colonies existed primarily for the economic benefit of the empire. Great Britain valued its American colonies especially for their tobacco, lumber, indigo, rice, furs, fish, grain, and naval stores, relying particularly in the southern colonies on black slave labor.

The colonies enjoyed a large measure of internal self-government until the end of the French and Indian War (174563), which resulted in the loss of French Canada to the British. To prevent further troubles with the Native Americans, the British government in 1763 prohibited the American colonists from settling beyond the Appalachian Mountains. Heavy debts forced London to decree that the colonists should assume the costs of their own defense, and the British government enacted a series of revenue measures to provide funds for that purpose. But soon, the colonists began to insist that they could be taxed only with their consent and the struggle grew to become one of local versus imperial authority.

Widening cultural and intellectual differences also served to divide the colonies and the mother country. Life on the edge of the civilized world had brought about changes in the colonists' attitudes and outlook, emphasizing their remoteness from English life. In view of the long tradition of virtual self-government in the colonies, strict enforcement of imperial regulations and British efforts to curtail the power of colonial legislatures presaged inevitable conflict between the colonies and the mother country. When citizens of Massachusetts, protesting the tax on tea, dumped a shipload of tea belonging to the East India Company into Boston harbor in 1773, the British felt compelled to act in defense of their authority as well as in defense of private property. Punitive measuresreferred to as the Intolerable Acts by the colonistsstruck at the foundations of self-government.

In response, the First Continental Congress, composed of delegates from 12 of the 13 coloniesGeorgia was not representedmet in Philadelphia in September 1774, and proposed a general boycott of English goods, together with the organizing of a militia. British troops marched to Concord, Massachusetts, on 19 April 1775 and destroyed the supplies that the colonists had assembled there. American "minutemen" assembled on the nearby Lexington green and fired "the shot heard round the world," although no one knows who actually fired the first shot that morning. The British soldiers withdrew and fought their way back to Boston.

Voices in favor of conciliation were raised in the Second Continental Congress that assembled in Philadelphia on 10 May 1775, this time including Georgia; but with news of the Restraining Act (30 March 1775), which denied the colonies the right to trade with countries outside the British Empire, all hopes for peace vanished. George Washington was appointed commander in chief of the new American army, and on 4 July 1776, the 13 American colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, justifying the right of revolution by the theory of natural rights.

British and American forces met in their first organized encounter near Boston on 17 June 1775. Numerous battles up and down the coast followed. The British seized and held the principal cities but were unable to inflict a decisive defeat on Washington's troops. The entry of France into the war on the American side eventually tipped the balance. On 19 October 1781, the British commander, Cornwallis, cut off from reinforcements by the French fleet on one side and besieged by French and American forces on the other, surrendered his army at Yorktown, Virginia. American independence was acknowledged by the British in a treaty of peace signed in Paris on 3 September 1783.

The first constitution uniting the 13 original statesthe Articles of Confederationreflected all the suspicions that Americans entertained about a strong central government. Congress was denied power to raise taxes or regulate commerce, and many of the powers it was authorized to exercise required the approval of a minimum of nine states. Dissatisfaction with the Articles of Confederation was aggravated by the hardships of a postwar depression, and in 1787the same year that Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance, providing for the organization of new territories and states on the frontiera convention assembled in Philadelphia to revise the articles. The convention adopted an altogether new constitution, the present Constitution of the United States, which greatly increased the powers of the central government at the expense of the states. This document was ratified by the states with the understanding that it would be amended to include a bill of rights guaranteeing certain fundamental freedoms. These freedomsincluding the rights of free speech, press, and assembly, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial juryare assured by the first 10 amendments to the constitution, adopted on 5 December 1791; the constitution did, however, recognize slavery, and did not provide for universal suffrage. On 30 April 1789, George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the United States.

During Washington's administration, the credit of the new nation was bolstered by acts providing for a revenue tariff and an excise tax; opposition to the excise on whiskey sparked the Whiskey Rebellion, suppressed on Washington's orders in 1794. Alexander Hamilton's proposals for funding the domestic and foreign debt and permitting the national government to assume the debts of the states were also implemented. Hamilton, the secretary of the treasury, also created the first national bank, and was the founder of the Federalist Party. Opposition to the bank as well as to the rest of the Hamiltonian program, which tended to favor northeastern commercial and business interests, led to the formation of an anti-Federalist party, the Democratic-Republicans, led by Thomas Jefferson.

The Federalist Party, to which Washington belonged, regarded the French Revolution as a threat to security and property; the Democratic-Republicans, while condemning the violence of the revolutionists, hailed the overthrow of the French monarchy as a blow to tyranny. The split of the nation's leadership into rival camps was the first manifestation of the two-party system, which has since been the dominant characteristic of the US political scene (Jefferson's party should not be confused with the modern Republican Party, formed in 1854).

The 1800 election brought the defeat of Federalist president John Adams, Washington's successor, by Jefferson; a key factor in Adam's loss was the unpopularity of the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798), Federalist-sponsored measures that had abridged certain freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. In 1803, Jefferson achieved the purchase from France of the Louisiana Territory, including all the present territory of the United States west of the Mississippi drained by that river and its tributaries; exploration and mapping of the new territory, notably through the expeditions of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, began almost immediately. Under Chief Justice John Marshall, the US Supreme Court, in the landmark case of Marbury v. Madison, established the principle of federal supremacy in conflicts with the states and enunciated the doctrine of judicial review.

During Jefferson's second term in office, the United States became involved in a protracted struggle between Britain and Napoleonic France. Seizures of US ships and the impressment of US seamen by the British navy led the administration to pass the Embargo Act of 1807, under which no US ships were to put out to sea. After the act was repealed in 1809, ship seizures and impressment of seamen by the British continued, and were the ostensible reasons for the declaration of war on Britain in 1812 during the administration of James Madison. An underlying cause of the War of 1812, however, was land-hungry Westerners' coveting of southern Canada as potential US territory.

The war was largely a standoff. A few surprising US naval victories countered British successes on land. The Treaty of Ghent (24 December 1814), which ended the war, made no mention of impressment and provided for no territorial changes. The occasion for further maritime conflict with Britain, however, disappeared with the defeat of Napoleon in 1815.

Now the nation became occupied primarily with domestic problems and westward expansion. Because the United States had been cut off from its normal sources of manufactured goods in Great Britain during the war, textiles and other industries developed and prospered in New England. To protect these infant industries, Congress adopted a high-tariff policy in 1816.

Three events of the late 1810s and the 1820s were of considerable importance for the future of the country. The federal government in 1817 began a policy of forcibly resettling the Native Americans (Indians), already decimated by war and disease, in what later became known as Indian Territory (now Oklahoma); those Native Americans not forced to move were restricted to reservations. The Missouri Compromise (1820) was an attempt to find a nationally acceptable solution to the volatile dispute over the extension of black slavery to new territories. It provided for admission of Missouri into the Union as a slave state but banned slavery in territories to the west that lay north of 36°30. As a result of the establishment of independent Latin American republics and threats by France and Spain to reestablish colonial rule, President James Monroe in 1823 asserted that the Western Hemisphere was closed to further colonization by European powers. The Monroe Doctrine declared that any effort by such powers to recover territories whose independence the United States had recognized would be regarded as an unfriendly act.

From the 1820s to the outbreak of the Civil War, the growth of manufacturing continued, mainly in the North, and was accelerated by inventions and technological advances. Farming expanded with westward migration. The South discovered that its future lay in the cultivation of cotton. The cotton gin, invented by Eli Whitney in 1793, greatly simplified the problems of production; the growth of the textile industry in New England and Great Britain assured a firm market for cotton. Hence, during the first half of the 19th century, the South remained a fundamentally agrarian society based increasingly on a one-crop economy. Large numbers of field hands were required for cotton cultivation, and black slavery became solidly entrenched in the southern economy.

The construction of roads and canals paralleled the country's growth and economic expansion. The successful completion of the Erie Canal (1825), linking the Great Lakes with the Atlantic, ushered in a canal-building boom. Railroad building began in earnest in the 1830s, and by 1840, about 5,300 km (3,300 mi) of track had been laid. The development of the telegraph a few years later gave the nation the beginnings of a modern telecommunications network. As a result of the establishment of the factory system, a laboring class appeared in the North by the 1830s, bringing with it the earliest unionization efforts.

Western states admitted into the Union following the War of 1812 provided for free white male suffrage without property qualifications and helped spark a democratic revolution. As eastern states began to broaden the franchise, mass appeal became an important requisite for political candidates. The election to the presidency in 1928 of Andrew Jackson, a military hero and Indian fighter from Tennessee, was no doubt a result of this widening of the democratic process. By this time, the United States consisted of 24 states and had a population of nearly 13 million.

The relentless westward thrust of the United States population ultimately involved the United States in foreign conflict. In 1836, US settlers in Texas revolted against Mexican rule and established an independent republic. Texas was admitted to the Union as a state in 1845, and relations between Mexico and the United States steadily worsened. A dispute arose over the southern boundary of Texas, and a Mexican attack on a US patrol in May 1846 gave President James K. Polk a pretext to declare war. After a rapid advance, US forces captured Mexico City, and on 2 February 1848, Mexico formally gave up the unequal fight by signing the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, providing for the cession of California and the territory of New Mexico to the United States. With the Gadsden Purchase of 1853, the United States acquired from Mexico for $10 million large strips of land forming the balance of southern Arizona and New Mexico. A dispute with Britain over the Oregon Territory was settled in 1846 by a treaty that established the 49th parallel as the boundary with Canada. Thenceforth the United States was to be a Pacific as well as an Atlantic power.

Westward expansion exacerbated the issue of slavery in the territories. By 1840, abolition of slavery constituted a fundamental aspect of a movement for moral reform, which also encompassed women's rights, universal education, alleviation of working class hardships, and temperance. In 1849, a year after the discovery of gold had precipitated a rush of new settlers to California, that territory (whose constitution prohibited slavery) demanded admission to the Union. A compromise engineered in Congress by Senator Henry Clay in 1850 provided for California's admission as a free state in return for various concessions to the South. But enmities dividing North and South could not be silenced. The issue of slavery in the territories came to a head with the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which repealed the Missouri Compromise and left the question of slavery in those territories to be decided by the settlers themselves. The ensuing conflicts in Kansas between northern and southern settlers earned the territory the name "bleeding Kansas."

In 1860, the Democratic Party, split along northern and southern lines, offered two presidential candidates. The new Republican Party, organized in 1854 and opposed to the expansion of slavery, nominated Abraham Lincoln. Owing to the defection in Democratic ranks, Lincoln was able to carry the election in the electoral college, although he did not obtain a majority of the popular vote. To ardent supporters of slavery, Lincoln's election provided a reason for immediate secession. Between December 1860 and February 1861, the seven states of the Deep SouthSouth Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texaswithdrew from the Union and formed a separate government, known as the Confederate States of America, under the presidency of Jefferson Davis. The secessionists soon began to confiscate federal property in the South. On 12 April 1861, the Confederates opened fire on Ft. Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina, and thus precipitated the US Civil War. Following the outbreak of hostilities, Arkansas, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee joined the Confederacy.

For the next four years, war raged between the Confederate and Union forces, largely in southern territories. An estimated 360,000 men in the Union forces died of various causes, including 110,000 killed in battle. Confederate dead were estimated at 250,000, including 94,000 killed in battle. The North, with great superiority in manpower and resources, finally prevailed. A Confederate invasion of the North was repulsed at the battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in July 1863; a Union army took Atlanta, Georgia in September 1864; and Confederate forces evacuated Richmond, Virginia the Confederate capital, in early April 1865. With much of the South in Union hands, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia on 9 April.

The outcome of the war brought great changes in US life. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 was the initial step in freeing some four million black slaves; their liberation was completed soon after the war's end by amendments to the Constitution. Lincoln's plan for the reconstruction of the rebellious states was compassionate, but only five days after Lee's surrender, Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth as part of a conspiracy in which US Secretary of State William H. Seward was seriously wounded.

During the Reconstruction era (186577), the defeated South was governed by Union Army commanders, and the resultant bitterness of southerners toward northern Republican rule, which enfranchised blacks, persisted for years afterward. Vice President Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln as president, tried to carry out Lincoln's conciliatory policies but was opposed by radical Republican leaders in Congress who demanded harsher treatment of the South. On the pretext that he had failed to carry out an act of Congress, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Johnson in 1868, but the Senate failed by one vote to convict him and remove him from office. It was during Johnson's presidency that Secretary of State Seward negotiated the purchase of Alaska (which attained statehood in 1959) from Russia for $7.2 million.

The efforts of southern whites to regain political control of their states led to the formation of terrorist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan, which employed violence to prevent blacks from voting. By the end of the Reconstruction era, whites had reestablished their political domination over blacks in the southern states and had begun to enforce patterns of segregation in education and social organization that were to last for nearly a century.

In many southern states, the decades following the Civil War were ones of economic devastation, in which rural whites as well as blacks were reduced to sharecropper status. Outside the South, however, a great period of economic expansion began. Transcontinental railroads were constructed, corporate enterprise spurted ahead, and the remaining western frontier lands were rapidly occupied and settled. The age of big business tycoons dawned. As heavy manufacturing developed, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and New York emerged as the nation's great industrial centers. The Knights of Labor, founded in 1869, engaged in numerous strikes, and violent conflicts between strikers and strikebreakers were common. The American Federation of Labor, founded in 1886, established a nationwide system of craft unionism that remained dominant for many decades. During this period, too, the woman's rights movement organized actively to secure the vote (although woman's suffrage was not enacted nationally until 1920), and groups outraged by the depletion of forests and wildlife in the West pressed for the conservation of natural resources.

During the latter half of the 19th century, the acceleration of westward expansion made room for millions of immigrants from Europe. The country's population grew to more than 76 million by 1900. As homesteaders, prospectors, and other settlers tamed the frontier, the federal government forced Indians west of the Mississippi to cede vast tracts of land to the whites, precipitating a series of wars with various tribes. By 1890, only 250,000 Indians remained in the United States, virtually all of them residing on reservations.

The 1890s marked the closing of the United States frontier for settlement and the beginning of US overseas expansion. By 1892, Hawaiian sugar planters of US origin had become strong enough to bring about the downfall of the native queen and to establish a republic, which in 1898, at its own request, was annexed as a territory by the United States. The sympathies of the United States with the Cuban nationalists who were battling for independence from Spain were aroused by a lurid press and by expansionist elements. A series of events climaxed by the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana harbor finally forced a reluctant President William McKinley to declare war on Spain on 25 April 1898. US forces overwhelmed those of Spain in Cuba, and as a result of the Spanish-American War, the United States added to its territories the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico. A newly independent Cuba was drawn into the United States orbit as a virtual protectorate through the 1950s. Many eminent citizens saw these new departures into imperialism as a betrayal of the time-honored US doctrine of government by the consent of the governed.

With the marked expansion of big business came increasing protests against the oppressive policies of large corporations and their dominant role in the public life of the nation. A demand emerged for strict control of monopolistic business practice through the enforcement of antitrust laws. Two US presidents, Theodore Roosevelt (190109), a Republican and Woodrow Wilson (191321), a Democrat, approved of the general movement for reform, which came to be called progressivism. Roosevelt developed a considerable reputation as a trustbuster, while Wilson's program, known as the New Freedom, called for reform of tariffs, business procedures, and banking. During Roosevelt's first term, the United States leased the Panama Canal Zone and started construction of a 68-km (42-mi) canal, completed in 1914.

US involvement in World War I marked the country's active emergence as one of the great powers of the world. When war broke out in 1914 between Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey on one side and Britain, France, and Russia on the other, sentiment in the United States was strongly opposed to participation in the conflict, although a large segment of the American people sympathized with the British and the French. While both sides violated US maritime rights on the high seas, the Germans, enmeshed in a British blockade, resorted to unrestricted submarine warfare. On 6 April 1917, Congress declared war on Germany. Through a national draft of all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 45, some four million US soldiers were trained, of whom more than two million were sent overseas to France. By late 1917, when US troops began to take part in the fighting on the western front, the European armies were approaching exhaustion, and US intervention may well have been decisive in ensuring the eventual victory of the Allies. In a series of great battles in which US soldiers took an increasingly major part, the German forces were rolled back in the west, and in the autumn of 1918 were compelled to sue for peace. Fighting ended with the armistice of 11 November 1918. President Wilson played an active role in drawing up the 1919 Versailles peace treaty, which embodied his dream of establishing a League of Nations to preserve the peace, but the isolationist bloc in the Senate was able to prevent US ratification of the treaty.

In the 1920s, the United States had little enthusiasm left for crusades, either for democracy abroad or for reform at home; a rare instance of idealism in action was the Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928), an antiwar accord negotiated on behalf of the United States by Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg. In general, however, the philosophy of the Republican administrations from 1921 to 1933 was expressed in the aphorism "the business of America is business," and the 1920s saw a great business boom. The years 192324 also witnessed the unraveling of the Teapot Dome scandal: the revelation that President Warren G. Harding's secretary of the interior, Albert B. Fall, had secretly leased federal oil reserves in California and Wyoming to private oil companies in return for gifts and loans.

The great stock market crash of October 1929 ushered in the most serious and most prolonged economic depression the country had ever known. By 1933, an estimated 12 million men and women were out of work; personal savings were wiped out on a vast scale through a disastrous series of corporate bankruptcies and bank failures. Relief for the unemployed was left to private charities and local governments, which were incapable of handling the enormous task.

The inauguration of the successful Democratic presidential candidate, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in March 1933 ushered in a new era of US history, in which the federal government was to assume a much more prominent role in the nation's economic affairs. Proposing to give the country a "New Deal," Roosevelt accepted national responsibility for alleviating the hardships of unemployment; relief measures were instituted, work projects were established, the deficit spending was accepted in preference to ignoring public distress. The federal Social Security program was inaugurated, as were various measures designed to stimulate and develop the economy through federal intervention. Unions were strengthened through the National Labor Relations Act, which established the right of employees' organizations to bargain collectively with employers. Union membership increased rapidly, and the dominance of the American Federation of Labor was challenged by the newly formed Congress of Industrial Organizations, which organized workers along industrial lines.

The depression of the 1930s was worldwide, and certain nations attempted to counter economic stagnation by building large military establishments and embarking on foreign adventures. Following German, Italian, and Japanese aggression, World War II broke out in Europe during September 1939. In 1940, Roosevelt, disregarding a tradition dating back to Washington that no president should serve more than two terms, ran again for reelection. He easily defeated his Republican opponent, Wendell Willkie, who, along with Roosevelt, advocated increased rearmament and all possible aid to victims of aggression. The United States was brought actively into the war by the Japanese attack on the Pearl Harbor naval base in Hawaii on 7 December 1941. The forces of Germany, Italy, and Japan were now arrayed over a vast theater of war against those of the United States and the British Commonwealth; in Europe, Germany was locked in a bloody struggle with the Soviet Union. US forces waged war across the vast expanses of the Pacific, in Africa, in Asia, and in Europe. Italy surrendered in 1943; Germany was successfully invaded in 1944 and conquered in May 1945; and after the United States dropped the world's first atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese capitulated in August. The Philippines became an independent republic soon after the war, but the United States retained most of its other Pacific possessions, with Hawaii becoming the 50th state in 1959.

Roosevelt, who had been elected to a fourth term in 1944, died in April 1945 and was succeeded by Harry s Truman, his vice president. Under the Truman administration, the United States became an active member of the new world organization, the United Nations. The Truman administration embarked on largescale programs of military aid and economic support to check the expansion of communism. Aid to Greece and Turkey in 1948 and the Marshall Plan, a program designed to accelerate the economic recovery of Western Europe, were outstanding features of US postwar foreign policy. The North Atlantic Treaty (1949) established a defensive alliance among a number of West European nations and the United States. Truman's Point Four program gave technical and scientific aid to developing nations. When, following the North Korean attack on South Korea on 25 June 1950, the UN Security Council resolved that members of the UN should proceed to the aid of South Korea. US naval, air, and ground forces were immediately dispatched by President Truman. An undeclared war ensued, which eventually was brought to a halt by an armistice signed on 27 June 1953.

In 1952, Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe during World War II, was elected president on the Republican ticket, thereby bringing to an end 20 years of Democratic presidential leadership. In foreign affairs, the Eisenhower administration continued the Truman policy of containing the USSR and threatened "massive retaliation" in the event of Soviet aggression, thus heightening the Cold War between the world's two great nuclear powers. Although Republican domestic policies were more conservative than those of the Democrats, the Eisenhower administration extended certain major social and economic programs of the Roosevelt and Truman administrations, notably Social Security and public housing. The early years of the Eisenhower administration were marked by agitation (arising in 1950) over charges of Communist and other allegedly subversive activities in the United Statesa phenomenon known as McCarthyism, after Republican Senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin, who aroused much controversy with unsubstantiated allegations that Communists had penetrated the US government, especially the Army and the Department of State. Even those who personally opposed McCarthy lent their support to the imposition of loyalty oaths and the blacklisting of persons with left-wing backgrounds.

A major event of the Eisenhower years was the US Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) outlawing segregation of whites and blacks in public schools. In the aftermath of this ruling, desegregation proceeded slowly and painfully. In the early 1960s, sit-ins, "freedom rides," and similar expressions of nonviolent resistance by blacks and their sympathizers led to a lessening of segregation practices in public facilities. Under Chief Justice Earl Warren, the high court in 1962 mandated the reapportionment of state and federal legislative districts according to a "one person, one vote" formula. It also broadly extended the rights of defendants in criminal trials to include the provision of a defense lawyer at public expense for an accused person unable to afford one, and established the duty of police to advise an accused person of his or her legal rights immediately upon arrest.

In the early 1960s, during the administration of Eisenhower's Democratic successor, John F. Kennedy, the Cold War heated up as Cuba, under the regime of Fidel Castro, aligned itself with the Soviet Union. Attempts by anti-Communist Cuban exiles to invade their homeland in the spring of 1961 failed despite US aid. In October 1962, President Kennedy successfully forced a showdown with the Soviet Union over Cuba in demanding the withdrawal of Soviet-supplied "offensive weapons"missilesfrom the nearby island. On 22 November 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a motorcade through Dallas, Texas; hours later, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was inaugurated president. In the November 1964 elections, Johnson overwhelmingly defeated his Republican opponent, Barry M. Goldwater, and embarked on a vigorous program of social legislation unprecedented since Roosevelt's New Deal. His "Great Society" program sought to ensure black Americans' rights in voting and public housing, to give the underprivileged job training, and to provide persons 65 and over with hospitalization and other medical benefits (Medicare). Measures ensuring equal opportunity for minority groups may have contributed to the growth of the woman's rights movement in the late 1960s. This same period also saw the growth of a powerful environmental protection movement.

US military and economic aid to anti-Communist forces in Vietnam, which had its beginnings during the Truman administration (while Vietnam was still part of French Indochina) and was increased gradually by presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, escalated in 1965. In that year, President Johnson sent US combat troops to South Vietnam and ordered US bombing raids on North Vietnam, after Congress (in the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution of 1964) had given him practically carte blanche authority to wage war in that region. By the end of 1968, American forces in Vietnam numbered 536,100 men, but US military might was unable to defeat the Vietnamese guerrillas, and the American people were badly split over continuing the undeclared (and, some thought, ill-advised or even immoral) war, with its high price in casualties and materiel. Reacting to widespread dissatisfaction with his Vietnam policies, Johnson withdrew in March 1968 from the upcoming presidential race, and in November, Republican Richard M. Nixon, who had been the vice president under Eisenhower, was elected president. Thus, the Johnson yearswhich had begun with the new hopes of a Great Society but had soured with a rising tide of racial violence in US cities and the assassinations of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., and US senator Robert F. Kennedy, among othersdrew to a close.

President Nixon gradually withdrew US ground troops from Vietnam but expanded aerial bombardment throughout Indochina, and the increasingly unpopular and costly war continued for four more years before a cease-firenegotiated by Nixon's national security adviser, Henry Kissingerwas finally signed on 27 January 1973 and the last US soldiers were withdrawn. The most protracted conflict in American history had resulted in 46,163 US combat deaths and 303,654 wounded soldiers, and had cost the US government $112 billion in military allocations. Two years later, the South Vietnamese army collapsed, and the North Vietnamese Communist regime united the country.

In 1972, during the last year of his first administration, Nixon initiated the normalization of relationsruptured in 1949with the People's Republic of China and signed a strategic arms limitation agreement with the Soviet Union as part of a Nixon-Kissinger policy of pursuing détente with both major Communist powers. (Earlier, in July 1969, American technology had achieved a national triumph by landing the first astronaut on the moon.) The Nixon administration sought to muster a "silent majority" in support of its Indochina policies and its conservative social outlook in domestic affairs. The most momentous domestic development, however, was the Watergate scandal, which began on 17 June 1972 with the arrest of five men associated with Nixon's reelection campaign, during a break-in at Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate office building in Washington, DC. Although Nixon was reelected in 1972, subsequent disclosures by the press and by a Senate investigating committee revealed a complex pattern of political "dirty tricks" and illegal domestic surveillance throughout his first term. The president's apparent attempts to obstruct justice by helping his aides cover up the scandal were confirmed by tape recordings (made by Nixon himself) of his private conversations, which the Supreme Court ordered him to release for use as evidence in criminal proceedings. The House voted to begin impeachment proceedings, and in late July 1974, its Judiciary Committee approved three articles of impeachment. On 9 August, Nixon became the first president to resign the office. The following year, Nixon's top aides and former attorney general, John N. Mitchell, were convicted of obstruction and were subsequently sentenced to prison.

Nixon's successor was Gerald R. Ford, who in October 1973 had been appointed to succeed Vice President Spiro T. Agnew when Agnew resigned following his plea of nolo contendere to charges that he had evaded paying income tax on moneys he had received from contractors while governor of Maryland. Less than a month after taking office, President Ford granted a full pardon to Nixon for any crimes he may have committed as president. In August 1974, Ford nominated Nelson A. Rockefeller as vice president (he was not confirmed until December), thus giving the country the first instance of a nonelected president and an appointed vice president serving simultaneously. Ford's pardon of Nixon, as well as continued inflation and unemployment, probably contributed to his narrow defeat by a Georgia Democrat, Jimmy Carter, in 1976.

President Carter's forthright championing of human rightsthough consistent with the Helsinki accords, the "final act" of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, signed by the United States and 34 other nations in July 1974contributed to strained relations with the USSR and with some US allies. During 197879, the president concluded and secured Senate passage of treaties ending US sovereignty over the Panama Canal Zone. His major accomplishment in foreign affairs, however, was his role in mediating a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, signed at the camp David, Md., retreat in September 1978. Domestically, the Carter administration initiated a national energy program to reduce US dependence on foreign oil by cutting gasoline and oil consumption and by encouraging the development of alternative energy resources. But the continuing decline of the economy because of double-digit inflation and high unemployment caused his popularity to wane, and confusing shifts in economic policy (coupled with a lack of clear goals in foreign affairs) characterized his administration during 1979 and 1980; a prolonged quarrel with Iran over more than 50 US hostages seized in Tehrān on 4 November 1979 contributed to public doubts about his presidency. Exactly a year after the hostages were taken, former California Governor Ronald Reagan defeated Carter in an election that saw the Republican Party score major gains throughout the United States. The hostages were released on 20 January 1981, the day of Reagan's inauguration.

Reagan, who survived a chest wound from an assassination attempt in Washington, DC, in 1981, used his popularity to push through significant policy changes. He succeeded in enacting income tax cuts of 25%, reducing the maximum tax rate on unearned income from 70% to 50%, and accelerating depreciation allowances for businesses. At the same time, he more than doubled the military budget, in constant 1985 dollars, between 1980 and 1989. Vowing to reduce domestic spending, Reagan cut benefits for the working poor, reduced allocations for food stamps and Aid to Families With Dependent Children by 13%, and decreased grants for the education of disadvantaged children. He slashed the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency and instituted a flat rate reimbursement system for the treatment of Medicare patients with particular illnesses, replacing a more flexible arrangement in which hospitals had been reimbursed for "reasonable charges."

Reagan's appointment of Sandra Day O'Connor as the first woman justice of the Supreme Court was widely praised and won unanimous confirmation from the Senate. However, some of his other high-level choices were extremely controversialnone more so than that of his secretary of the interior, James G. Watt, who finally resigned on October 1983. To direct foreign affairs, Reagan named Alexander M. Haig, Jr., former NATO supreme commander for Europe, to the post of secretary of state; Haig, who clashed frequently with other administration officials, resigned in June 1982 and was replaced by George P. Shultz. In framing his foreign and defense policy, Reagan insisted on a military buildup as a precondition for arms-control talks with the USSR. His administration sent money and advisers to help the government of El Salvador in its war against leftist rebels, and US advisers were also sent to Honduras, reportedly to aid groups of Nicaraguans trying to overthrow the Sandinista government in their country. Troops were also dispatched to Lebanon in September 1982, as part of a multinational peacekeeping force in Beirut, and to Grenada in October 1983 to oust a leftist government there.

Reelected in 1984, President Reagan embarked on his second term with a legislative agenda that included reduction of federal budget deficits (which had mounted rapidly during his first term in office), further cuts in domestic spending, and reform of the federal tax code. In military affairs, Reagan persuaded Congress to fund on a modest scale his Strategic Defense Initiative, commonly known as Star Wars, a highly complex and extremely costly space-based antimissile system. In 1987, the downing of an aircraft carrying arms to Nicaragua led to the disclosure that a group of National Security Council members had secretly diverted $48 million that the federal government had received in payment from Iran for American arms to rebel forces in Nicaragua. The disclosure prompted the resignation of two of the leaders of the group, Vice Admiral John Poindexter and Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, as well as investigations by House and Senate committees and a special prosecutor, Lawrence Walsh. The congressional investigations found no conclusive evidence that Reagan had authorized or known of the diversion. Yet they noted that because Reagan had approved of the sale of arms to Iran and had encouraged his staff to assist Nicaraguan rebels despite the prohibition of such assistance by Congress, "the President created or at least tolerated an environment where those who did know of the diversion believed with certainty that they were carrying out the President's policies."

Reagan was succeeded in 1988 by his vice president, George H.W. Bush. Benefiting from a prolonged economic expansion, Bush handily defeated Michael Dukakis, governor of Massachusetts and a liberal Democrat. On domestic issues, Bush sought to maintain policies introduced by the Reagan administration. His few legislative initiatives included the passage of legislation establishing strict regulations of air pollution, providing subsidies for child care, and protecting the rights of the disabled. Abroad, Bush showed more confidence and energy. While he responded cautiously to revolutions in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, he used his personal relationships with foreign leaders to bring about comprehensive peace talks between Israel and its Arab neighbors, to encourage a peaceful unification of Germany, and to negotiate broad and substantial arms cuts with the Russians. Bush reacted to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 by sending 400,000 soldiers to form the basis of a multinational coalition, which he assembled and which destroyed Iraq's main force within seven months. This conflict became known as the Gulf War.

One of the biggest crises that the Bush administration encountered was the collapse of the savings and loan industry in the late eighties. Thrift institutions were required by law to pay low interest rates for deposits and long-term loans. The creation of money market funds for the small investor in the eighties which paid higher rates of return than savings accounts prompted depositors to withdraw their money from banks and invest it in the higher yielding mutual funds. To finance the withdrawals, banks began selling assets at a loss. The deregulation of the savings and loan industry, combined with the increase in federal deposit insurance from $40,000 to $100,000 per account, encouraged many desperate savings institutions to invest in high-risk real-estate ventures, for which no state supervision or regulation existed. When the majority of such ventures predictably failed, the federal government found itself compelled by law to rescue the thrifts. It is estimated that this will cost to taxpayers $345 billion, in settlements that will continue through 2029.

In his bid for reelection in 1992, Bush faced not only Democratic nominee Bill Clinton, governor of Arkansas, but also third-party candidate Ross Perot, a Dallas billionaire who had made his fortune in the computer industry. In contrast to Bush's first run for the presidency, when the nation had enjoyed an unusually long period of economic expansion, the economy in 1992 was just beginning to recover from a recession. Although data released the following year indicated that a healthy rebound had already begun in 1992, the public perceived the economy during election year as weak. Clinton took advantage of this perception in his campaign, focusing on the financial concerns of what he called "the forgotten middle class." He also took a more centrist position on many issues than more traditional Democrats, promising fiscal responsibility and economic growth. Clinton defeated Bush, winning 43% of the vote to Bush's 38%. Perot garnered 18% of the vote.

At its outset, Clinton's presidency was plagued by numerous setbacks, most notably the failure of his controversial health care reform plan, drawn up under the leadership of first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Major accomplishments included the passage, by a narrow margin, of a deficit-reduction bill calling for tax increases and spending cuts and Congressional approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which removed or reduced tariffs on most goods moving across the borders of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Although supporters and critics agreed that the treaty would create or eliminate relatively few jobstwo hundred thousandthe accord prompted heated debate. Labor strenuously opposed the agreement, seeing it as accelerating the flight of factory jobs to countries with low labor costs such as Mexico, the third-largest trading partner of the United States. Business, on the other hand, lobbied heavily for the treaty, arguing that it would create new markets for American goods and insisting that competition from Mexico would benefit the American economy.

By the fall of 1994, many American workers, still confronting stagnating wages, benefits, and living standards, had yet to feel the effects of the nation's recovery from the recession of 199091. The resulting disillusionment with the actions of the Clinton administration and the Democrat-controlled Congress, combined with the widespread climate of social conservatism resulting from a perceived erosion of traditional moral values led to an overwhelming upset by the Republican party in the 1994 midterm elections. The GOP gained control of both houses of Congress for the first time in over 40 years, also winning 11 gubernatorial races, for control of a total of 30 governorships nationwide. The Republican agendaincreased defense spending and cuts in taxes, social programs, and farm subsidieshad been popularized under the label "Contract with America," the title of a manifesto circulated during the campaign.

The ensuing confrontation between the nation's Democratic president and Republican-controlled Congress came to a head at the end of 1995, when Congress responded to presidential vetoes of appropriations and budget bills by refusing to pass stop gap spending measures, resulting in major shutdowns of the federal government in November and December. The following summer, however, the president and Congress joined forces to reform the welfare system through a bill replacing Aid to Families with Dependent Children with block grants through which welfare funding would largely become the province of the states.

The nation's economic recovery gained strength as the decade advanced, with healthy growth, falling unemployment, and moderate interest and inflation levels. Public confidence in the economy was reflected in a bull market on the stock exchange, which gained 60% between 1995 and 1997. Bolstered by a favorable economy at home and peace abroad, Clinton's faltering popularity rebounded and in 1996 he became the first Democratic president elected to a second term since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936, defeating the Republican candidate, former Senate majority leader Robert Dole, and Independent Ross Perot, whose electoral support was greatly reduced from its 1992 level. The Republicans retained control of both houses of Congress. In 1997, President Clinton signed into law a bipartisan budget plan designed to balance the federal budget by 2002 for the first time since 1969, through a combination of tax and spending cuts. In 199899, the federal government experienced two straight years of budget surpluses.

In 1998, special prosecutor Kenneth Starr submitted a report to Congress that resulted in the House of Representatives passing four articles of impeachment against President Clinton. In the subsequent trial in the Senate, the articles were defeated.

Regulation of the three large financial industries underwent significant change in late 1999. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (also known as the Financial Modernization Act) was passed by Congress in November 1999. It cleared the way for banks, insurance companies, and securities companies to sell each other's services and to engage in merger and acquisition activity. Prior to the Act's passage, activities of the banking, insurance and securities industries were strictly limited by the Glass Steagall Act of 1933, which Gramm-Leach-Bliley repealed.

Health care issues received significant attention in 2000. On 23 November 1998, 46 states and the District of Columbia together reached a settlement with the large US tobacco companies over compensation for smoking-related healthcare costs incurred by the states. Payments to the states, totaling $206 billion, were scheduled to be made over 25 years beginning in 1999. Most states passed Patients' Rights legislation, and all 50 states and the District of Columbia passed Children's Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) legislation to provide health care to children in low-income families.

The ongoing strong economy continued through the late 1990s and into 2000. Economic expansion set a record for longevity, andexcept for higher gasoline prices during summer 2000, stemming from higher crude oil pricesinflation continued to be relatively low. By 2000, there was additional evidence that productivity growth had improved substantially since the mid-1990s, boosting living standards while helping to hold down increases in costs and prices despite very tight labor markets.

In 2000, Hispanics replaced African Americans as the largest minority group in the United States. (Hispanics numbered 35.3 million in 2000, or 12.5% of the population, compared with 34.7 million blacks, or 12.3% of the population.)

The 2000 presidential election was one of the closest in US history, pitting Democratic vice president Al Gore against Republican Party candidate George W. Bush, son of former president George H. W. Bush. The vote count in Florida became the determining factor in the 7 November election, as each candidate needed to obtain the state's 25 electoral college votes in order to capture the 270 needed to win the presidency. When in the early hours of 8 November Bush appeared to have won the state's 25 votes, Gore called Bush to concede the election. He soon retracted the concession, however, after the extremely thin margin of victory triggered an automatic recount of the vote in Florida. The Democrats subsequently mounted a series of legal challenges to the vote count in Florida, which favored Bush. Eventually, the US Supreme Court, in Bush v. Gore, was summoned to rule on the election. On 12 December 2000, the Court, divided 54, reversed the Florida state supreme court decision that had ordered new recounts called for by Al Gore. George W. Bush was declared president. Gore had won the popular vote, however, capturing 48.4% of votes cast to Bush's 47.9%.

Once inaugurated, Bush called education his top priority, stating that "no child should be left behind" in America. He affirmed support for Medicare and Social Security, and called for pay and benefit increases for the military. He called upon charities and faith-based community groups to aid the disadvantaged. Bush announced a $1.6 trillion tax cut plan (subsequently reduced to $1.35 trillion) in his first State of the Union Address as an economic stimulus package designed to respond to an economy that had begun to falter. He called for research and development of a missile-defense program, and warned of the threat of international terrorism.

The threat of international terrorism was made all too real on 11 September 2001, when 19 hijackers crashed 4 passenger aircraft into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Stony Creek Township in Pennsylvania. The World Trade Center towers were destroyed. Approximately 3,000 people were confirmed or reported dead as a result of all four 11 September 2001 attacks. The terrorist organization al-Qaeda, led by Saudi-born Osama bin Laden, was believed to be responsible for the attacks, and a manhunt for bin Laden began.

On 7 October 2001, the United States and Britain launched air strikes against known terrorist training camps and military installations within Afghanistan, ruled by the Taliban regime that supported the al-Qaeda organization. The air strikes were supported by leaders of the European Union and Russia, as well as other nations. By December 2001, the Taliban were defeated, and Afghan leader Hamid Karzai was chosen to lead an interim administration for the country. Remnants of al-Qaeda still remained in Afghanistan and the surrounding region, and a year after the 2001 offensive more than 10,000 US soldiers remained in Afghanistan to suppress efforts by either the Taliban or al-Qaeda to regroup. As of 2005, Allied soldiers continued to come under periodic attack in Afghanistan.

As a response to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, the US Congress that October approved the USA Patriot Act, proposed by the Bush administration. The act gave the government greater powers to detain suspected terrorists (or also immigrants), to counter money-laundering, and increase surveillance by domestic law enforcement and international intelligence agencies. Critics claimed the law did not provide for the system of checks and balances that safeguard civil liberties in the United States.

Beginning in late 2001, corporate America suffered a crisis of confidence. In December 2001, the energy giant Enron Corporation declared bankruptcy after massive false accounting practices came to light. Eclipsing the Enron scandal, telecommunications giant WorldCom in June 2002 disclosed that it had hid $3.8 billion in expenses over 15 months. The fraud led to WorldCom's bankruptcy, the largest in US history (the company had $107 billion in assets).

In his January 2002 State of the Union Address, President Bush announced that Iran, Iraq, and North Korea constituted an "axis of evil," sponsoring terrorism and threatening the United States and its allies with weapons of mass destruction. Throughout 2002, the United States pressed its case against Iraq, stating that the Iraqi regime had to disarm itself of weapons of mass destruction. In November 2002, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1441, calling upon Iraq to disarm itself of any chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons it might possess and to allow for the immediate return of weapons inspectors (they had been expelled in 1998). UN and IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) weapons inspectors returned to Iraq, but the United States and the United Kingdom expressed dissatisfaction with their progress, and indicated military force might be necessary to remove the Iraqi regime, led by Saddam Hussein. France and Russia, permanent members of the UN Security Council, and Germany, a nonpermanent member, in particular, opposed the use of military force. The disagreement caused a diplomatic rift in the West that was slow to repair.

After diplomatic efforts at conflict resolution failed by March 2003, the United States, on 19 March, launched air strikes against targets in Baghdād and war began. On 9 April, Baghdād fell to US forces, and work began on restoring basic services to the Iraqi population, including providing safe drinking water, electricity, and sanitation. On 1 May, President Bush declared major combat operations had been completed. Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was captured by US forces on 13 December 2003 and placed in custody.

In May 2004, the Abu Ghraib scandal erupted. Photographs of US soldiers engaged in acts of abuseincluding physical, sexual, and psychologicalagainst Iraqi prisoners being held at the Abu Ghraib military prison outside Baghdād were made public. The fact that the prison had been a place of torture and execution under Saddam Hussein's rule made the abuse seem even more degrading. Seven US suspects were named for carrying out the abuse; most were given prison sentences on charges ranging from conspiracy to assault, but some thought higher-ranking officials, including Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, should resign as well.

US forces increasingly became the targets of attacks in Iraq as an insurgency against the US military presence began. By late 2005, nearly 1,900 US soldiers had been killed since major combat operations were declared over on 1 May 2003. Some 138,000 US troops remained in Iraq in late 2005, and that number was expected to increase as a referendum on a new Iraqi constitution in October 2005 and national elections in December 2005 were to be held.

The 2004 presidential election was held on 2 November. President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney defeated Democratic challengers John F. Kerry and John R. Edwards. Bush received approximately 3 million more popular votes than Kerry, and won the electoral vote 286 to 251. (One electoral vote went to John Edwards when an elector pledged to Kerry voted for "John Edwards" instead.) The vote in Ohio was the deciding factor, and upon conceding Ohio, Kerry conceded the election. The campaign was run on such issues as terrorism, the War in Iraq, the economy, and to a lesser extent issues of morality and valuesantigay marriage measures were on the ballots in 11 states, and all passed.

In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina landed on the Gulf Coast of the United States, in what was one of the worst natural disasters in US history. The city of New Orleans, Louisiana, was evacuated, but some 150,000 people were unable to leave before the storm hit. A day after the storm appeared to have bypassed the city's center, levees were breached by the storm surge and water submerged the metropolis. Rescuers initially ignored the bodies of the dead in the search to find the living. Those unable to leave the city were sheltered in the Louisiana Superdome and New Orleans Convention Center; air conditioning, electricity, and running water failed, making for unsanitary and uncomfortable conditions. They were later transferred to other shelters, including the Houston Astrodome. Looting, shootings, and carjackings exacerbated already devastating conditions. The costs of the hurricane and flooding were exceedingly high in terms of both loss of life and economic damage: more than 1,000 people died and damages were estimated to reach $200 billion. Katrina had global economic consequences, as imports, exports, and oil suppliesincluding production, importation, and refiningwere disrupted. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the Department of Homeland Security, and President Bush were criticized in varying degrees for their lack of adequate response to the disaster. FEMA director Michael D. Brown resigned his position amid the furor. Race and class issues also came to the fore, as the majority of New Orleans residents unable to evacuate the city and affected by the catastrophe were poor and African American.

GOVERNMENT

The Constitution of the United States, signed in 1787, is the nation's governing document. In the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, ratified in 1791 and known as the Bill of Rights, the federal government is denied the power to infringe on rights generally regarded as fundamental to the civil liberties of the people. These amendments prohibit the establishment of a state religion and the abridgment of freedom of speech, press, and the right to assemble. They protect all persons against unreasonable searches and seizures, guarantee trial by jury, and prohibit excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishments. No person may be required to testify against himself, nor may he be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. The 13th Amendment (1865) banned slavery; the 15th (1870) protected the freed slaves' right to vote; and the 19th (1920) guaranteed the franchise to women. In all, there have been 27 amendments, the last of which, proposed in 1789 but ratified in 1992, denied the variation of the compensation of Senators and Representatives until an election intervened. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), approved by Congress in 1972, would have mandated equality between the sexes; only 35 of the required 38 states had ratified the ERA by the time the ratification deadline expired on 30 June 1982.

The United States has a federal form of government, with the distribution of powers between the federal government and the states constitutionally defined. The legislative powers of the federal government are vested in Congress, which consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. There are 435 members of the House of Representatives. Each state is allotted a number of representatives in proportion to its population as determined by the decennial census. Representatives are elected for two-year terms in every even-numbered year. A representative must be at least 25 years old, must be a resident of the state represented, and must have been a citizen of the United States for at least seven years. The Senate consists of two senators from each state, elected for six-year terms. Senators must be at least 30 years old, must be residents of the states from which they are elected, and must have been citizens of the United States for at least nine years. One-third of the Senate is elected in every even-numbered year.

Congress legislates on matters of taxation, borrowing, regulation of international and interstate commerce, formulation of rules of naturalization, bankruptcy, coinage, weights and measures, post offices and post roads, courts inferior to the Supreme Court, provision for the armed forces, among many other matters. A broad interpretation of the "necessary and proper" clause of the Constitution has widened considerably the scope of congressional legislation based on the enumerated powers.

A bill that is passed by both houses of Congress in the same form is submitted to the president, who may sign it or veto it. If the president chooses to veto the bill, it is returned to the house in which it originated with the reasons for the veto. The bill may become law despite the president's veto if it is passed again by a two-thirds vote in both houses. A bill becomes law without the president's signature if retained for 10 days while Congress is in session. After Congress adjourns, if the president does not sign a bill within 10 days, an automatic veto ensues.

The president must be "a natural born citizen" at least 35 years old, and must have been a resident of the United States for 14 years. Under the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, adopted in 1951, a president may not be elected more than twice. Each state is allotted a number of electors based on its combined total of US senators and representatives, and, technically, it is these electors who, constituted as the electoral college, cast their vote for president, with all of the state's electoral votes customarily going to the candidate who won the largest share of the popular vote of the state (the District of Columbia also has three electors, making a total of 538 votes). Thus, the candidate who wins the greatest share of the popular vote throughout the United States may, in rare cases, fail to win a majority of the electoral vote. If no candidate gains a majority in the electoral college, the choice passes to the House of Representatives.

The vice president, elected at the same time and on the same ballot as the president, serves as ex officio president of the Senate. The vice president assumes the power and duties of the presidency on the president's removal from office or as a result of the president's death, resignation, or inability to perform his duties. In the case of a vacancy in the vice presidency, the president nominates a successor, who must be approved by a majority in both houses of Congress. The Congress has the power to determine the line of presidential succession in case of the death or disability of both the president and vice president.

Under the Constitution, the president is enjoined to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." In reality, the president has a considerable amount of leeway in determining to what extent a law is or is not enforced. Congress's only recourse is impeachment, to which it has resorted only three times, in proceedings against presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton. Both the president and the vice president are removable from office after impeachment by the House and conviction at a Senate trial for "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." The president has the power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States except in cases of impeachment.

The president nominates and "by and with the advice and consent of the Senate" appoints ambassadors, public ministers, consuls, and all federal judges, including the justices of the Supreme Court. As commander in chief, the president is ultimately responsible for the disposition of the land, naval, and air forces, but the power to declare war belongs to Congress. The president conducts foreign relations and makes treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate. No treaty is binding unless it wins the approval of two-thirds of the Senate. The president's independence is also limited by the House of Representatives, where all money bills originate.

The president also appoints as his cabinet, subject to Senate confirmation, the secretaries who head the departments of the executive branch. As of 2005, the executive branch included the following cabinet departments: Agriculture (created in 1862), Commerce (1913), Defense (1947), Education (1980), Energy (1977), Health and Human Services (1980), Housing and Urban Development (1965), Interior (1849), Justice (1870), Labor (1913), State (1789), Transportation (1966), Treasury (1789), Veterans' Affairs (1989), and Homeland Security (2002). The Department of Defenseheadquartered in the Pentagon, the world's largest office buildingalso administers the various branches of the military: Air Force, Army, Navy, defense agencies, and joint-service schools. The Department of Justice administers the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which originated in 1908; the Central Intelligence Agency (1947) is under the aegis of the executive office. Among the several hundred quasi-independent agencies are the Federal Reserve System (1913), serving as the nation's central bank, and the major regulatory bodies, notably the Environmental Protection Agency (1970), Federal Communications Commission (1934), Federal Power Commission (1920), Federal Trade Commission (1914), and Interstate Commerce Commission (1887).

Regulations for voting are determined by the individual states for federal as well as for local offices, and requirements vary from state to state. In the past, various southern states used literacy tests, poll taxes, "grandfather" clauses, and other methods to disfranchise black voters, but Supreme Court decisions and congressional measures, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965, more than doubled the number of black registrants in Deep South states between 1964 and 1992. In 1960, only 29.1% of the black votingage population was registered to vote; by the mid-1990s, that percentage had risen to over 65%.

As of the November 2004 presidential election, there were over 16 million registered African American voters (64.4% of those African Americans eligible to vote). The number of registered Hispanic voters increased from 2.5 million in 1972 to 9 million in 2004 (34.3% of eligible Hispanic voters). Sixty-four percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the 2004 presidential election, up from 60% in 2000. Voter registration was reported to be 72% nationwide. The next presidential election was to be held November 2008.

POLITICAL PARTIES

Two major parties, Democratic and Republican, have dominated national, state, and local politics since 1860. These parties are made up of clusters of small autonomous local groups primarily concerned with local politics and the election of local candidates to office. Within each party, such groups frequently differ drastically in policies and beliefs on many issues, but once every four years, they successfully bury their differences and rally around a candidate for the presidency. Minority parties have been formed at various periods in US political history, but most have generally allied with one of the two major parties, and none has achieved sustained national prominence. The most successful minority party in recent decadesthat of Texas billionaire Ross Perot in 1992was little more than a protest vote. Various extreme groups on the right and left, including a small US Communist Party, have had little political significance on a national scale; in 1980, the Libertarian Party became the first minor party since 1916 to appear on the ballot in all 50 states. The Green Party increased its showing in the 2000 election, with presidential candidate Ralph Nader winning 2.7% of the vote. Independent candidates have won state and local office, but no candidate has won the presidency without major party backing.

Traditionally, the Republican Party is more solicitous of business interests and gets greater support from business than does the Democratic Party. A majority of blue-collar workers, by contrast, have generally supported the Democratic Party, which favors more lenient labor laws, particularly as they affect labor unions; the Republican Party often (though not always) supports legislation that restricts the power of labor unions. Republicans favor the enhancement of the private sector of the economy, while Democrats generally urge the cause of greater government participation and regulatory authority, especially at the federal level.

Within both parties there are sharp differences on a great many issues; for example, northeastern Democrats in the past almost uniformly favored strong federal civil rights legislation, which was anathema to the Deep South; eastern Republicans in foreign policy are internationalist-minded, while Midwesterners of the same party constituted from 1910 through 1940 the hard core of isolationist sentiment in the country. More recently, "conservative" headings have been adopted by members of both parties who emphasize decentralized government power, strengthened private enterprise, and a strong US military posture overseas, while the designation "liberal" has been applied to those favoring an increased federal government role in economic and social affairs, disengagement from foreign military commitments, and safeguards for civil liberties.

President Nixon's resignation and the accompanying scandal surrounding the Republican Party hierarchy had a telling, if predictable, effect on party morale, as indicated by Republican losses in the 1974 and 1976 elections. The latent consequences of the Vietnam and Watergate years appeared to take their toll on both parties, however, in growing apathy toward politics and mistrust of politicians among the electorate. Ronald Reagan's successful 1980 presidential bid cut into traditional Democratic strongholds throughout the United States, as Republicans won control of the US Senate and eroded state and local Democratic majorities. On the strength of an economic recovery, President Reagan won reelection in November 1984, carrying 49 of 50 states (with a combined total of 525 electoral votes) and 58.8% of the popular vote; the Republicans retained control of the Senate, but the Democrats held on to the House. Benefiting from a six-year expansion of the economy, Republican George H.W. Bush won 54% of the vote in 1988. As Reagan had, Bush successfully penetrated traditionally Democratic regions. He carried every state in the South as well as the industrial states of the North.

Bush's approval rating reached a high of 91% in March of 1991 in the wake of the Persian Gulf War. By July of 1992, however, that rating had plummeted to 25%, in part because Bush appeared to be disengaged from domestic issues, particularly the 1991 recession. Bill Clinton, governor of Arkansas and twenty years younger than Bush, presented himself to the electorate as a "New Democrat." He took more moderate positions than traditional New Deal Democrats, including calling for a middle-class tax cut, welfare reform, national service, and such traditionally Republican goals as getting tough on crime. The presidential race took on an unpredictable dimension with the entrance of Independent Ross Perot, a Texas billionaire. Perot, who attacked the budget deficit and called for shared sacrifice, withdrew from the race in July and then re-entered it in October. Clinton won the election with 43% of the vote, Bush received 38%, and Perot captured 18%, more than any third-party presidential candidate since Theodore Roosevelt in 1912. As of 1992, Democrats enjoyed a large advantage over Republicans in voter registration, held both houses of congress, had a majority of state governorships, and controlled most state legislative bodies. In 1996 Bill Clinton became the first Democratic president since Franklin Roosevelt to be elected to a second term, with 49% of the popular vote to 41% for Republican Bob Dole, and 8% for Ross Perot, who ran as a Reform Party candidate. Republicans retained control of the House and Senate.

Aided by a growing climate of conservatism on moral issues and popular discontent with the pace of economic recovery from the recent recession, the Republicans accomplished an historic upset in the 1994 midterm elections, gaining control of both houses of Congress for the first time since 1952. They gained 52 seats in the House, for a majority of 230204, and 8 seats in the Senate, for a majority that came to 5347 once Democrat Richard Shelby of Alabama changed parties shortly after the election. The Republicans also increased their power at the state level, winning 11 governorships, for a national total of 30. The number of state legislatures under Republican control increased from 8 to 19, with 18 controlled by the Democrats and 12 under split control. After the 1998 election, the Republican majority had eroded slightly in the House, with the 106th Congress including 223 Republicans, 210 Democrats, and 2 Independents; the Senate included 55 Republicans and 45 Democrats.

The major candidates in the 2000 presidential election were Republican George W. Bush, son of former president George H.W. Bush; his vice presidential running mate was Dick Cheney. The Democratic candidate was Vice President Al Gore, Jr. (Clinton administration 19922000). Gore chose Joseph Lieberman, senator from Connecticut, as his running mate. Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew, became the first Jew to run for national office. Following the contested presidential election of 2000, George W. Bush emerged as president following a ruling by the US Supreme Court. Gore won the popular vote, with 48.4%, to 47.9% for Bush, but Bush won the electoral college vote, 271266, with one blank vote in the electoral college cast. Sectional and demographic differences were evident in the 2000 election, with the Northeast, parts of the Mid-west, the Pacific states, and most urban areas voting Democratic, and the South, West, and rural communities voting Republican.

Following the November 2002 mid-term elections, Republicans held 229 of 435 seats in the House of Representatives, and there were 205 Democrats and 1 independent in the House. The Republicans held an extremely thin margin in the Senate, of 51 seats, to the Democrats' 48. There was one independent in the Senate, former Republican Jim Jeffords. Following the election, Nancy Pelosi became the Democratic majority leader in the House of Representatives, the first woman to head either party in Congress. As a result of the 2002 election, there were 60 women, 37 African Americans, and 22 Hispanics in the House of Representatives, and 14 women in the Senate. There were no African American or Hispanic senators following the 2002 election.

The 2004 presidential election was won by incumbent George W. Bush and his running mate Dick Cheney. They defeated Democrats John F. Kerry and John Edwards. Bush received 286 electoral votes, Kerry 251, and Edwards 1 when an elector wrote the name "John Edwards" in on the electoral ballot. Bush received a majority of the popular vote50.73%, to Kerry's 48.27%or three million more votes than Kerry. Voter turnout was the highest since 1968, at 64%. The composition of the 109th Congress after the 2004 election was as follows: 55 Republicans, 44 Democrats, and 1 Independent in the Senate, and 232 Republicans, 202 Democrats, and 1 independent in the House of Representatives. The next elections for the Senate and House of Representatives were to be held November 2006.

The 1984 election marked a turning point for women in national politics. Geraldine A. Ferraro, a Democrat, became the first female vice presidential nominee of a major US political party; no woman has ever captured a major-party presidential nomination. In the 109th Congress (200506), 14 women served in the US Senate, and 68 women held seats in the US House of Representatives (including delegates).

The 1984 presidential candidacy of Jesse L. Jackson, election, the first African American ever to win a plurality in a statewide presidential preference primary, likewise marked the emergence of African Americans as a political force, especially within the Democratic Party. In 1992 an African American woman, Democrat Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois, won election to the Senate, becoming the first black senator; Moseley Braun lost her reelection bid in 1998. She was a candidate for president in 2004.

There were 42 African Americans in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate in the 109th Congress. Twenty-six Hispanics were serving in the House and two in the Senate, a record number. Eight members of Congress were of Asian/Hawaiian/or other Pacific Islander ethnicity, six in the House of Representatives and two in the Senate. There was one Native American in the House. (These numbers include delegates.)

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Governmental units within each state comprise counties, municipalities, and such special districts as those for water, sanitation, highways, and parks and recreation. There are more than 3,000 counties in the United States; more than 19,000 municipalities, including cities, villages, towns, and boroughs; nearly 15,000 school districts; and at least 31,000 special districts. Additional townships, authorities, commissions, and boards make up the rest of the nearly 85,000 local governmental units.

The 50 states are autonomous within their own spheres of government, and their autonomy is defined in broad terms by the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution, which reserves to the states such powers as are not granted to the federal government and not denied to the states. The states may not, among other restrictions, issue paper money, conduct foreign relations, impair the obligations of contracts, or establish a government that is not republican in form. Subsequent amendments to the Constitution and many Supreme Court decisions added to the restrictions placed on the states. The 13th Amendment prohibited the states from legalizing the ownership of one person by another (slavery); the 14th Amendment deprived the states of their power to determine qualifications for citizenship; the 15th Amendment prohibited the states from denying the right to vote because of race, color, or previous condition of servitude; and the 19th, from denying the vote to women.

Since the Civil War, the functions of the state have expanded. Local businessthat is, business not involved in foreign or interstate commerceis regulated by the state. The states create subordinate governmental bodies such as counties, cities, towns, villages, and boroughs, whose charters they either issue or, where home rule is permitted, approve. States regulate employment of children and women in industry, and enact safety laws to prevent industrial accidents. Unemployment insurance is a state function, as are education, public health, highway construction and safety, operation of a state highway patrol, and various kinds of personal relief. The state and local governments still are primarily responsible for providing public assistance, despite the large part the federal government plays in financing welfare.

Each state is headed by an elected governor. State legislatures are bicameral except Nebraska's, which has been unicameral since 1934. Generally, the upper house is called the senate, and the lower house the house of representatives or the assembly. Bills must be passed by both houses, and the governor has a suspensive veto, which usually may be overridden by a two-thirds vote.

The number, population, and geographic extent of the more than 3,000 counties in the United Statesincluding the analogous units called boroughs in Alaska and parishes in Louisianashow no uniformity from state to state. The county is the most conspicuous unit of rural local government and has a variety of powers, including location and repair of highways, county poor relief, determination of voting precincts and of polling places, and organization of school and road districts. City governments, usually headed by a mayor or city manager, have the power to levy taxes; to borrow; to pass, amend, and repeal local ordinances; and to grant franchises for public service corporations. Township government through an annual town meeting is an important New England tradition.

From the 1960s into the 21st century, a number of large cities began to suffer severe fiscal crises brought on by a combination of factors. Loss of tax revenues stemmed from the migration of middle-class residents to the suburbs and the flight of many small and large firms seeking to avoid the usually higher costs of doing business in urban areas. Low-income groups, many of them unskilled blacks and Hispanic migrants, came to constitute large segments of city populations, placing added burdens on locally funded welfare, medical, housing, and other services without providing the commensurate tax base for additional revenues.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

The Supreme Court, established by the US Constitution, is the nation's highest judicial body, consisting of the chief justice of the United States and eight associate justices. All justices are appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate. Appointments are for life "during good behavior," otherwise terminating only by resignation or impeachment and conviction.

The original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is relatively narrow; as an appellate court, it is open to appeal from decisions of federal district courts, circuit courts of appeals, and the highest courts in the states, although it may dismiss an appeal if it sees fit to do so. The Supreme Court, by means of a writ of certiorari, may call up a case from a district court for review. Regardless of how cases reach it, the Court enforces a kind of unity on the decisions of the lower courts. It also exercises the power of judicial review, determining the constitutionality of state laws, state constitutions, congressional statutes, and federal regulations, but only when these are specifically challenged.

The Constitution empowers Congress to establish all federal courts inferior to the Supreme Court. On the lowest level and handling the greatest proportion of federal cases are the district courtsincluding one each in Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the District of Columbiawhere all offenses against the laws of the United States are tried. Civil actions that involve cases arising under treaties and laws of the United States and under the Constitution, where the amount in dispute is greater than $5,000, also fall within the jurisdiction of the district courts. District courts have no appellate jurisdiction; their decisions may be carried to the courts of appeals, organized into 13 circuits. These courts also hear appeals from decisions made by administrative commissions. For most cases, this is usually the last stage of appeal, except where the court rules that a statute of a state conflicts with the Constitution of the United States, with federal law, or with a treaty. Special federal courts include the Court of Claims, Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, and Tax Court.

State courts operate independently of the federal judiciary. Most states adhere to a court system that begins on the lowest level with a justice of the peace and includes courts of general trial jurisdiction, appellate courts, and, at the apex of the system, a state supreme court. The court of trial jurisdiction, sometimes called the county or superior court, has both original and appellate jurisdiction; all criminal cases (except those of a petty kind) and some civil cases are tried in this court. The state's highest court, like the Supreme Court of the United States, interprets the constitution and the laws of the state.

The grand jury is a body of from 13 to 24 persons that brings indictments against individuals suspected of having violated the law. Initially, evidence is presented to it by either a justice of the peace or a prosecuting county or district attorney. The trial or petit jury of 12 persons is used in trials of common law, both criminal and civil, except where the right to a jury trial is waived by consent of all parties at law. It judges the facts of the case, while the court is concerned exclusively with questions of law. The US accepts the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice with reservations.

ARMED FORCES

The armed forces of the United States of America in 2005 numbered 1.473 million on active duty and 1.29 million in the Ready Reserve, a category of participation that allows regular training with pay and extended active duty periods for training. Membership in all US armed forces is voluntary and has been since 1973 when conscription expired as the Vietnam war was winding down. The active duty force includes 196,100 women, who serve in all grades and all occupational specialties except direct ground combat units and some aviation billets.

In the 1990s, the armed forces reduced their personnel numbers and force structure because of the diminished threat of a nuclear war with the former Soviet Union or a major conflict in central Europe. Despite the interlude of the Gulf War, 199091, the force reductions continued throughout the decade, forcing some restructuring of the active duty forces, with emphasis on rapid deployment to deter or fight major regional conflicts much like the Gulf War, in Korea, elsewhere in the Middle East, or Latin America (e.g. Cuba). The conventional force debate centered on whether the United States could or should maintain forces to fight two regional conflicts simultaneously. In the spring of 1999, the United States took part in the NATO air campaign in response to the crisis in Kosovo, and the ensuing US participation in peacekeeping operations in the region brought with it the prospect of another long-term overseas deployment.

For the purposes of administration, personnel management, logistics, and training, the traditional four military services in the Department of Defense remain central to strategic planning. The US Army numbers 502,000 soldiers on active duty, and are deployed into 10 divisions (two armored, four mechanized infantry, two light infantry, one air assault and one airborne), as well as into various armored cavalry, aviation, artillery, signals, psychological operations, ranger, Special Forces, civil affairs and air defense units. Army missions involving special operations are given to Special Forces groups, an airborne ranger regiment, an aviation group, and a psychological warfare group, with civil affairs and communications support units. The Army had 7,620 main battle tanks, 6,719 infantry fighting vehicles, 14,900 armored personnel carriers, 6,530 towed or self-propelled artillery pieces, some 268 fixed wing aircraft, and 4,431 armed and transport helicopters. The Army National Guard (355,900) emphasizes the preparation of combat units up to division size for major regional conflicts, while the Army Reserve (351,350) prepares individuals to fill active units or provide combat support or service support/technical/medical units upon mobilization. In addition, the National Guard retains a residual state role in suppressing civil disturbances and providing disaster relief.

The US Navy had 376,750 active personnel. The service has seen its role shift from nuclear strategic deterrence and control of sea routes to Europe and Asia, to the projection of naval power from the sea. Naval task forces normally combine three combat elements: air, surface, and subsurface. The Navy had up to 80 nuclear-powered submarines, that consisted of 16 strategic ballistic missile (SSBN) and 64 tactical/attack (SSGN and SSN) submarines. The latter ships can launch cruise missiles at land targets.

As of 2005, naval aviation was centered on 12 carriers (nine nuclear-powered) and 11 carrier aircraft wings, which included armed ASW helicopters and armed long-range ASW patrol aircraft, as well as a large fleet of communications and support aircraft. The Navy controlled 983 combat capable fixed wing aircraft and 608 helicopters of all types. Naval aviation reserves provided additional wings for carrier deployment. The surface force included 27 cruisers (22 with advanced antiair suites), 49 destroyers, 30 frigates, 38 amphibious ships, 26 mine warfare ships, and 21 patrol and coastal combatants. More ships are kept in ready reserve or were manned by surface line reserve units. The fleet support force also included specialized ships for global logistics that are not base-dependent.

The Marine Corps, a separate branch of the Navy, was organized into three active divisions and three aircraft wings of the Fleet Marine Force, which also included three Force Service Support groups and special operations and antiterrorism units. The Marine Corps (173,350; 11,311 reservists) emphasized amphibious landings but trained for a wide-range of contingency employments. The Marines had 344 combat capable fixed wing aircraft, 304 helicopters of all types, 403 main battle tanks, 1,311 amphibious armored vehicles, and about 1,511 artillery pieces (926 towed).

As of 2005, the US Air Force had 379,500 active personnel, and was focused on becoming rapidly deployable rather than US-based. Almost all its aircraft are now dedicated to nonstrategic roles in support of forward deployed ground and naval forces. The Air Force stressed the missions of air superiority and interdiction with complementary operations in electronic warfare and reconnaissance, but it also included 29 transport squadrons. Air Force personnel manage the US radar and satellite early-warning and intelligence effort. The Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard (roughly 183,200 active reserves) provided a wide range of flying and support units, and its flying squadrons had demonstrated exceptional readiness and combat skills on contingency missions. Air Force reserves, for example, were the backbone of the air refueling and transport fleets.

The armed forces were deployed among a range of functional unified or specified commands for actual missions. Strategic forces were under the US Strategic Command, which was a combined service command that controlled the United States' strategic nuclear deterrence forces, which as of 2005, was made up of 550 land-based ICBMs, 16 Navy fleet ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), and 85 operational long-range bombers (B-52s and B-1As). Land-based ICBMs are under the Air Force Space Command, while the long-range bomber force was under the Air Force Air Combat Command. The Strategic Command was also responsible for strategic reconnaissance and intelligence collection, and the strategic early warning and air defense forces. In 2002 the Treaty of Moscow was signed between the United States and Russia to reduce deployed nuclear weapons by two-thirds by the year 2012. As of 2002, the United States had more than 10,000 operational nuclear warheads.

The conventional forces were deployed to a mix of geographic and organizational commands, including the Atlantic, European, Central, Southern, Northern and Pacific commands, as well as to specific organizational commands such as the Transportation Command, Special Operations Command and Air Mobility Command. Major operational units are deployed to Germany, Korea, and Japan as part of collective security alliances, in addition to forces stationed throughout other countries in the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, Western and Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Approximately 19,000 US troops are stationed in Afghanistan with Operation Enduring Freedom.

Patterns of defense spending reflected the movement away from Cold War assumptions and confrontation with the former Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. During the 1980s when defense spending hovered around $300 billion a year and increased roughly 30% over the decade, defense spending absorbed roughly 6% of the gross domestic spending, 25% of federal spending, and 16% of net public spending. In the early 1990s, when the defense budget slipped back to the $250$260 billion level, the respective percentages were 4.5, 18, and 11, the lowest levels of support for defense since the Korean War (1950). In 1999, the defense budget was $276.7 million or 3.2% of GDP. In 2005, US defense budget outlays totaled $465 billion.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

The United States is a charter member of the United Nations, having joined on 24 October 1945. The United States participates in ECE, ECLAC, ESCAP, and all the nonregional specialized agencies. The United States is a permanent member of the UN Security Council. The United States participates in numerous intergovernmental organizations, including the Asian Development Bank, the African Development Bank, OECD, APEC, the Colombo Plan, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, G-5, G-7. G-8, the Paris Club (G-10), OSCE, and the WTO. Hemispheric agencies include the Inter-American Development Bank and the OAS. The country is an observer in the Council of Europe and a dialogue partner with ASEAN.

In 1992, the United States, Canada, and Mexico signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), creating a free-trade zone among the three countries. It was ratified by all three governments in 1993 and took effect the following year.

NATO is the principal military alliance to which the United States belongs. The ANZUS alliance was a mutual defense pact between Australia, New Zealand, and the United States; in 1986, following New Zealand's decision to ban US nuclear-armed or nuclear-powered ships from its ports, the United States renounced its ANZUS treaty security commitments to New Zealand. The country is a signatory of the 1947 Río Treaty, an inter-American security agreement. The Untied States has supported UN missions and operations in Kosovo (est. 1999), Liberia (est. 2003), Georgia (est. 1993), and Haiti (est. 2004). The Untied States belongs to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (London Group), the Zangger Committee, the Nuclear Energy Agency, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. It holds observer status in the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

In environmental cooperation, the United States is part of the Central AmericanUS Joint Declaration (CONCAUSA), the Antarctic Treaty, Conventions on Air Pollution and Whaling, Ramsar, CITES, the London Convention, International Tropical Timber Agreements, the Montréal Protocol, MARPOL, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the UN Conventions on Climate Change and Desertification.

ECONOMY

The US economy is the world's largest. In variety and quantity, the natural resources of the United States probably exceed those of any other nation, with the possible exception of the former Soviet Union. The United States is among the world's leading exporters of coal, wheat, corn, and soybeans. However, because of its vast economic growth, the United States depends increasingly on foreign sources for a long list of raw materials, including oil.

By the middle of the 20th century, the United States was a leading consumer of nearly every important industrial raw material. The industry of the United States produced about 40% of the world's total output of goods, despite the fact that the country's population comprised about 6% of the world total and its land area about 7% of the earth's surface.

In absolute terms the United States far exceeds every other nation in the size of its gross domestic product (GDP), which more than tripled between 1970 and 1983. In 1998 the nation's GDP in purchasing power parity terms (PPP) reached a record $8.5 trillion in current dollars, with per capita GDP reaching $31,500. Per capita GDP (PPP) stood at $40,100 in 2004, and the nation's GDP (PPP) was $11.75 trillion.

Inflation was not as significant a factor in the US economy in the 1990s and early 2000s as it was in the 1970s and 1980s. The US inflation rate tends to be lower than that of the majority of industrialized nations. For the period 197078, for example, consumer prices increased by an annual average of 6.7%, less than in every other Western country except Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and West Germany, and well below the price increase in Japan. The double-digit inflation of 197981 came as a rude shock to most Americans, with economists and politicians variously blaming international oil price rises, federal monetary policies, and US government spending.

The United States entered the postWorld War II era with the world's largest, and strongest, economy. Public confidence in both business and government was strong, the nation enjoyed the largest peacetime trade surplus in its history, and the gross national product grew to a record $482.7 billion by the end of the 1950s. In the sixties the country enjoyed the most sustained period of economic expansion it had known, accompanied by rising productivity and low unemployment. Real income rose 50% during the decade, and US investment in foreign countries reached $49 billion in 1965, up from $11.8 billion in 1950. Big business and big government were both powerful forces in the economy during this period, when large industrial corporations accounted for vast portions of the national income, and the federal government expanded its role in such areas as social welfare, scientific research, space technology, and development of the nation's highway system.

After two decades of prosperity, Americans experienced an economic downturn in the 1970s, a period known for the unprecedented combination of lagging economic growth and inflation that gave birth to the term stagflation. Foreign competitors in Japan and Europe challenged the global dominance of American manufacturers, and oil crises in 197374 and 1979 shook public confidence in the institutions of both government and business. The forced bailouts of Chrysler and Lockheed were symbolic of the difficult transition to a new economic era, marked by the growing importance of the service sector and the ascendancy of small businesses.

During Ronald Reagan's first presidential term, from 1980 to 1984, the nation endured two years of severe recession followed by two years of robust recovery. The inflation rate was brought down, and millions of new jobs were created. The economic boom of the early and mid-eighties, however, coincided with a number of alarming developments. Federal budget deficits, caused by dramatic increases in the military budget and by rising costs of entitlement programs such as Medicaid and Medicare, averaged more than $150 billion annually. By 1992, the total deficit reached $290 billion, or $1,150 for every American. In addition, corporate debt rose dramatically, and household borrowing grew twice as fast as personal income. The eighties also witnessed a crisis in the banking industry, caused by a combination of factors, including high inflation and interest rates, problem loans to developing countries, and speculative real estate ventures that caused thousands of banks to fail when the real estate boom of the early eighties collapsed.

The disparity between the affluent and the poor widened at the end of the 20th century. The share of the nation's income received by the richest 5% of American families rose from 18.6% in 1977 to 24.5% in 1990, while the share of the poorest 20% fell from 5.7% to 4.3%. Externally, the nation's trade position deteriorated, as a high level of foreign investment combined with an uncompetitive US dollar to create a ballooning trade deficit. In 1990, the American economy plunged into a recession. Factors contributing to the slump included rising oil prices following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, a sharp increase in interest rates, and declining availability of credit. Output fell 1.6% and 1.7 million jobs were cut. Unemployment rose from 5.2% in 1989 to 7.5% in 1991, but had fallen to 4.5% by 1998.

The recovery that began in March 1991 inaugurated a sustained period of expansion that, as of mid-2000, was the third longest since World War II, characterized by moderation in the key areas of growth, inflation, unemployment, and interest rates. Real GDP growth, which fluctuated between 2% and 3.5% throughout the period, was 3.9% for 1998. After peaking at 7.5%, unemployment declined steadily throughout the early and mid-1990s, falling to 5.6% in 1995, 5.3% at the end of 1996, and in 1998, remaining below 5%. After 1993/94, inflation mostly remained under 3%. One exception to the generally moderate character of the economy was the stock market, which rose 60% between 1995 and 1997, buoyed by the combination of low unemployment and low inflation, as well as strong corporate earnings. Further cause for optimism was the bipartisan balanced-budget legislation enacted and signed into law in 1997. The plan, combining tax and spending cuts over a five-year period, was aimed at balancing the federal budget by 2002 for the first time since 1969. In early 2001, the government projected a budget surplus of $275 billion for the fiscal year ending that September. That surplus would soon be reversed.

At the beginning of the 21st century, significant economic concernsaside from the inevitable worry over how long the boom could last without an eventual downturnincluded the nation's sizable trade deficit, the increasing medical costs of an aging population, and the failure of the strong economy to improve conditions for the poor. Since 1975, gains in household income were experienced almost exclusively by the top 20% of households. However, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, productivity was continuing to grow, inflation was relatively low, and the labor market was tight.

Economic growth came to a standstill in the middle of 2001, largely due to the end of the long investment boom, especially in the information technology sector. The economy was in recession in the second half of 2001, and the service sector was affected as well as manufacturing. The 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States exacerbated the poor economic situation. Average real GDP growth rose by only 0.3% in 2001. The US economy, which had driven global economic growth during the 1990s, became the cause of a worldwide economic downturn, including in the rest of North America, Europe, Japan, and in the developing economies of Latin America and Southeast Asia strongly influenced by trends in the US economy.

The economy began to recover, slowly, in 2002, with GDP growth estimated at 2.45%. Analysts attributed the modest recovery to the ability of business decision-makers to respond to economic imbalances based on real-time information, on deregulation, and on innovation in financial and product markets. Nevertheless, domestic confidence in the economy remained low, and coupled with major corporate failures (including Enron and WorldCom) and additional stock market declines, growth remained sluggish and uneven. Economic growth slowed at the end of 2002 and into 2003, and the unemployment rate rose to 6.3% in July 2003. The CPI inflation rate fell to under 1.5% at the beginning of 2003, which raised concerns over the risk of deflation. As well, there was a substantial rise in military spending as a result of the war in Iraq which began in March 2003.

Following the start of the war in Iraq, consumer spending rebounded, as did stock prices; the housing market remained strong; inflation was low; the dollar depreciated on world markets; additional tax cuts were passed; there was an easing of oil prices; and productivity growth was strong. Nevertheless, in 2003, the federal budget deficit was projected to reach $455 billion, the largest shortfall on record.

The American economy grew at the rate of 4.3% in the third quarter of 2005, despite the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed the port city of New Orleans and closed down a large portion of the energy industry. Unemployment hovered around 5% in 2005. Productivity had grown by 4.7%. But the nation's fast-growing economy had shaky underpinnings. Oil prices were at their highest level in real terms since the early 1980s, at $53.27/barrel. The inflation rate, which ran above 4% in late 2005, was at its highest level since 1991 (although core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food prices, was still relatively modest). Wage growth was sluggish, and the jobs market was lagging the recovery. The current account deficit ballooned to record levels, and consumer spending was increasingly tied to prices in the over inflated housing market. The government ran a deficit of $412 billion in 2004, or 3.6% of GDP, but the deficit was forecast to narrow to $331 billion in 2006. Analysts projected that US deficits would average about 3.5% of GDP until about 2015.

INCOME

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 the United States's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $12.4 trillion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $41,800. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 3.5%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 3.2%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 1% of GDP, industry 20.7%, and services 78.3%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $3.031 billion or about $10 per capita.

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in United States totaled $7.385 trillion or about $25,379 per capita based on a GDP of $10.9 trillion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 3.7%. In 2001 it was estimated that approximately 13% of household consumption was spent on food, 9% on fuel, 4% on health care, and 6% on education. It was estimated that in 2004 about 12% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.

LABOR

The US labor force, including those who were unemployed, totaled 149.3 million in 2005. Of that total in that same year, farming, fishing and forestry accounted for 0.7% of the workforce, with manufacturing, extraction, transportation and crafts at 22.9%, managerial, professional and technical at 34.7%, sales and office at 25.4% and other services at 16.3%. Also that year, the unemployment rate was put at 5.1%. Earnings of workers vary considerably with type of work and section of country. In the first quarter of 2003, the national average wage was $15.27 per hour for nonagricultural workers, with an average workweek of 33.8 hours. Workers in manufacturing had a national average wage of $15.64, (including overtime), with the longest average workweek of all categories of workers at 40.4 hours in the first quarter of 2003.

In 2002, 13.2% of wage and salary workers were union members16.1 million US citizens belonged to a union that year. In 1983, union membership was 20.1%. In 2002, there were 34 national labor unions with over 100,000 members, the largest being the National Educational Association with 2.7 million members as of 2003. The most important federation of organized workers in the United States is the American Federation of LaborCongress of Industrial Organizations (AFLCIO), whose affiliated unions had 13 million members as of 2003, down from 14.1 million members in 1992. The major independent industrial and labor unions and their estimated 2002 memberships are the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 1,398,412, and the United Automobile Workers, some 710,000 (the majority of whom work for General Motors, Ford, and Daimler-Chrylser). Most of the other unaffiliated unions are confined to a single establishment or locality. US labor unions exercise economic and political influence not only through the power of strikes and slowdowns but also through the human and financial resources they allocate to political campaigns (usually on behalf of Democratic candidates) and through the selective investment of multibillion-dollar pension funds.

The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (the Wagner Act), the basic labor law of the United States, was considerably modified by the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947 (the Taft-Hartley Act) and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (the Landrum-Griffin Act). Closed-shop agreements, which require employers to hire only union members, are banned. The union shop agreement, however, is permitted, if it allows the hiring of nonunion members on the condition that they join the union within a given period of time.

As of 2003, 23 states had right-to-work laws, forbidding the imposition of union membership as a condition of employment. Under the Taft-Hartley Act, the president of the United States may postpone a strike for 90 days in the national interest. The act of 1959 requires all labor organizations to file constitutions, bylaws, and detailed financial reports with the Secretary of Labor, and stipulates methods of union elections. The National Labor Relations Board seeks to remedy or prevent unfair labor practices and supervises union elections, while the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission seeks to prevent discrimination in hiring, firing, and apprenticeship programs.

The number of work stoppages and of workers involved reached a peak in the late 1960s and early 1970s, declining steadily thereafter. In 2002, there were 19 major stoppages involving 46,000 workers resulting in 660,000 workdays idle, compared with 1995, when there were 31 major stoppages involving 191,500 workers resulting in 5,771,000 days idle; a major stoppage was defined as one involving 1,000 workers or more for a minimum of one day or shift.

AGRICULTURE

In 2004, the United States produced a substantial share of the world's agricultural commodities. Agricultural exports reached almost $63.9 billion in 2004. The United States had an agricultural trade surplus of $4 billion in 2004, 14th highest among the nations.

Between 1930 and 2004, the number of farms in the United States declined from 6,546,000 to an estimated 2,110,000. The total amount of farmland increased from 399 million hectares (986 million acres) in 1930 to 479 million hectares (1.18 billion acres) in 1959 but declined to 380 million hectares (938 million acres) in 2002. From 1930 to 2004, the size of the average farm tripled from 61 to 179 hectares (from 151 to 443 acres), a result of the consolidation effected by large-scale mechanized production. The farm population, which comprised 35% of the total US population in 1910, declined to 25% during the Great Depression of the 1930s, and dwindled to less than 2% by 2004.

A remarkable increase in the application of machinery to farms took place during and after World War II (193945). Tractors, trucks, milking machines, grain combines, corn pickers, and pickup bailers became virtual necessities in farming. In 1920 there was less than one tractor in use for every 400 hectares (1,000 acres) of cropland harvested; by 2003 there were five tractors per 400 hectares. Two other elements essential to US farm productivity are chemical fertilizers and irrigation. Fertilizers and lime represent more than 6% of farm operating expenses. Arable land under irrigation amounted to 12% of the total in 2003.

Substantial quantities of corn, the most valuable crop produced in the United States, are grown in almost every state; its yield and price are important factors in the economies of the regions where it is grown. Production of selected US crops in 2004 (in 1,000 metric tons), and their percent of world production were wheat, 58,737 (9.3%); corn, 299,917 (33.2%); rice, 10,469 (1.7%); soybeans, 85,013 (41.6%); cotton, 5,062 (20.5%); and tobacco, 398.8 (6.1%).

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

The livestock population in 2005 included an estimated 95.8 million head of cattle, 60.6 million hogs, and 6.1 million sheep and lambs. That year, there were 1.9 billion chickens, and 88 million turkeys. Milk production totaled 80.1 million metric tons in that year, with Wisconsin, California, and New York together accounting for much of the total. Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California account for more than half of all US butter production, which totaled 608,900 metric tons in 2005; in that year, the United States was the world's largest producer of cheese, with almost 4.5 million metric tons (24% of the world's total). The United States produced an estimated 15% of the world's meat supply in 2005. In 2005, meat animals accounted for $4.97 billion in exports; dairy and eggs, $1.17 billion.

FISHING

The 2003 commercial catch was 5.48 million tons. Food fish make up 80% of the catch, and nonfood fish, processed for fertilizer and oil, 20%. Aquaculture accounts for about 10% of total production.

Alaska pollock, with landings of 1,524,904 tons, was the most important species in quantity among the commercial fishery landings in the United States in 2003. Other leading species by volume included Gulf menhaden, 522,195 tons; Atlantic menhaden, 203,263 tons; Pacific cod, 257,436 tons; North Pacific hake, 140,327 tons; and American cupped oyster, 183,940 tons. In 2003, exports of fish products totaled $3,398 million (fourth after China, Thailand, and Norway).

Aquacultural production consists mostly of catfish, oysters, trout, and crayfish. In 2004, there were 1,147 catfish and 601 trout farms in the United States, with sales of $425 million and $64 million, respectively.

Pollution is a problem of increasing concern to the US fishing industry; dumping of raw sewage, industrial wastes, spillage from oil tankers, and blowouts of offshore wells are the main threats to the fishing grounds. Overfishing is also a threat to the viability of the industry in some areas, especially Alaska.

FORESTRY

US forestland covers about 226 million hectares (558.4 million acres), or 25% of the land area. Major forest regions include the eastern, central hardwood, southern, Rocky Mountain, and Pacific coast areas. The National Forest Service lands account for approximately 19% of the nation's forestland. Extensive tracts of land (4 million acres or more) are under ownership of private lumber companies in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Oregon, and Washington. During 19902000, forested area increased by an annual average of 38,000 hectares (93,900 acres) per year.

Domestic production of roundwood during 2004 amounted to 458.3 million cu m (16.2 billion cu ft), or 1.7% of world production, of which softwoods accounted for roughly 60%. Other forest products in 2004 included 54.3 million metric tons of wood pulp, 83.6 million metric tons of paper and paperboard (excluding newsprint), and 44.2 million cu m (1.56 billion cu ft) of wood-based panels. Rising petroleum prices in the late 1970s sparked a revival in the use of wood as home heating fuel, especially in the Northeast. Fuelwood and charcoal production amounted to 43.6 million cu m (1.5 billion cu ft) in 2004.

Throughout the 19th century, the federal government distributed forestlands lavishly as a means of subsidizing railroads and education. By the turn of the century, the realization that the forests were not inexhaustible led to the growth of a vigorous conservation movement, which was given increased impetus during the 1930s and again in the late 1960s. Federal timberlands are no longer open for private acquisition, although the lands can be leased for timber cutting and for grazing. In recent decades, the states also have moved in the direction of retaining forestlands and adding to their holdings when possible.

MINING

Rich in a variety of mineral resources, the United States was a world leader in the production of many important mineral commodities, such as aluminum, cement, copper, pig iron, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, potash, salt, sulfur, uranium, and zinc. The leading mineral-producing states were Arizona (copper, sand and gravel, portland cement, molybdenum); California (portland cement, sand and gravel, gold, boron); Michigan (iron ore, portland cement, sand and gravel, magnesium compounds); Georgia (clays, crushed and broken stone, portland and masonry cement, sand and gravel); Florida (phosphate rock, crushed and broken stone, portland cement, sand and gravel); Utah (copper, gold, magnesium metal, sand and gravel); Texas (portland cement, crushed and broken stone, magnesium metal, sand and gravel); and Minnesota (iron ore, construction and industrial sand and gravel, crushed and broken stone). Oklahoma and New Mexico were important for petroleum and natural gas, and Kentucky, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, for coal. Iron ore supported the nation's most basic nonagricultural industry, iron and steel manufacture; the major domestic sources were in the Lake Superior area, with Minnesota and Michigan leading all other states in iron ore yields.

ENERGY AND POWER

The United States is the world's leading energy producer and consumer.

According to British Petroleum (BP), as of the end of 2003, the United States had proven oil reserves of 29.4 billion barrels. Oil production that year averaged 7.4 million barrels per day, with domestic demand averaging 20 million barrels per day. As a result, the United States in 2003 was a net oil importer. In 2003, imports of all oil products averaged 12.3 million barrels per day, of which crude oil accounted for an average of 9.7 million barrels per day. Refined oil production in 2003 averaged 17.8 million barrels per day.

At year-end in 2003, the United States had proven reserves of natural gas totaling 5.29 trillion cu m (186.9 trillion cu ft), according to BP. Gross production that year, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), totaled 24,056.00 billion cu ft. Of that amount in 2003, some 98 billion cu ft was vented or flared, and 3,548 billion cu ft was re-injected. Marketed production totaled 19,912 billion cu ft, with dry production at 19,036 billion cu ft. Demand in that same year for dry production totaled 22,375 billion cu ft. As with oil, the United States was a net importer of natural gas. Imports of dry natural gas in 2003 totaled 3,996 billion cu ft, while dry exports totaled 692 billion cu ft, according to the EIA.

The United States had recoverable coal reserves of 246.6 billion metric tons at the end of 2004, according to BP. Of that amount, anthracite and bituminous coal reserves totaled 111.3 billion metric tons, with sub-bituminous and lignite reserves totaling 135.3 billion metric tons, according to BP. In 2003 according to the EIA, coal production by the United States totaled 1.1 billion short tons, of which 988 million short tons consisted of bituminous coal, with anthracite output totaling 1.3 million short tons. Lignite or brown coal output that year totaled 80.6 million short tons, according to the EIA.

In 2003, US electric power generation capacity by public and private generating plants totaled 932.832 million kW, of which 736.728 million kW of capacity belonged to conventional thermal fuel plants, followed by nuclear plant at 98.794 million kW. Hydroelectric capacity that year totaled 79.366 million kW, with geothermal/other capacity at 17.944 million kW. Electric power output in 2003 totaled 3,891.720 billion kWh, of which conventional thermal plants generated 2.76 billion kWh, followed by nuclear plants at 763.733 billion kWh, hydroelectric facilities at 275.806 billion kWh and geothermal/other facilities at 93.531 billion kWh.

During the 1980s, increasing attention was focused on the development of solar power, synthetic fuels, geothermal resources, and other energy technologies. Such energy conservation measures as mandatory automobile fuel-efficiency standards and tax incentives for home insulation were promoted by the federal government, which also decontrolled oil and gas prices in the expectation that a rise in domestic costs to world-market levels would provide a powerful economic incentive for consumers to conserve fuel. In 2001 the United States had 1,694 MW of installed wind power.

INDUSTRY

Although the United States remains one of the world's preeminent industrial powers, manufacturing no longer plays as dominant a role in the economy as it once did.

Between 1979 and 1998, manufacturing employment fell from 20.9 million to 18.7 million, or from 21.8% to 14.8% of national employment. Throughout the 1960s, manufacturing accounted for about 29% of total national income; by 1987, the proportion was down to about 19%. In 2002, manufacturing was experiencing a decline due to the recession that began in March 2001. In 2004, industry accounted for 19.7% of GDP. That year, 22.7% of the labor force was engaged in manufacturing, extraction, transportation, and crafts.

Industrial activity within the United States has been expanding southward and westward for much of the 20th century, most rapidly since World War II. Louisiana, Oklahoma, and especially Texas are centers of industrial expansion based on petroleum refining; aerospace and other high technology industries are the basis of the new wealth of Texas and California, the nation's leading manufacturing state. The industrial heartland of the United States is the eastnorthcentral region, comprising Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, with steelmaking and automobile manufacturing among the leading industries. The Middle Atlantic states (New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) and the Northeast are also highly industrialized; but of the major industrial states in these two regions, Massachusetts has taken the lead in reorienting itself toward such high-technology industries as electronics and information processing.

Large corporations are dominant especially in sectors such as steel, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, aircraft, petroleum refining, computers, soaps and detergents, tires, and communications equipment. The growth of multinational activities of US corporations has been rapid in recent decades.

The history of US industry has been marked by the introduction of increasingly sophisticated technology in the manufacturing process. Advances in chemistry and electronics have revolutionized many industries through new products and methods: examples include the impact of plastics on petrochemicals, the use of lasers and electronic sensors as measuring and controlling devices, and the application of microprocessors to computing machines, home entertainment products, and a variety of other industries. Science has vastly expanded the number of metals available for industrial purposes, notably such light metals as aluminum, magnesium, and titanium. Integrated machines now perform a complex number of successive operations that formerly were done on the assembly line at separate stations. Those industries have prospered that have been best able to make use of the new technology, and the economies of some states have been largely based on it.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the United States was the world leader in computer manufacturing. At the beginning of the 21st century, however, the high-tech manufacturing industry registered a decline. Semiconductor manufacturing had been migrating out of the United States to East Asian countries, especially China, Taiwan, and Singapore, and research and development in that sector declined from 19992003. Certain long-established industriesespecially clothing and steelmakinghave suffered from outmoded facilities that (coupled with high US labor costs) have forced the price of their products above the world market level. In 2005, the United States was the world's third-leading steel producer (after China and Japan). Employment in the steel-producing industry fell from 521,000 in 1974 to 187,500 in 2002. Automobile manufacturing was an ailing industry in the 1980s, but rebounded in the 1990s. The "Big Three" US automakersGeneral Motors (GM), Ford, and Daimler-Chryslermanufactured over 60% of the passenger cars sold in the United States in 1995. In 2005, however, General Motors (GM) announced it was cutting 30,000 North American manufacturing jobs, the deepest cuts since 1991, when GM eliminated 74,000 jobs over four years. Passenger car production, which had fallen from 7.1 million units in 1987 to 5.4 million in 1991, rose to 6.3 million by 1995 and to 8.3 million in 1999. In 2003, over 12 million motor vehicles were produced in the United States.

The United States had a total of 148 oil refineries as of January 2005, with a production capacity as of September 2004 of 17.1 million barrels per day. Crude oil and refined petroleum products are crucial imports, however.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

In 2003, an estimated $284.6 billion was spent on research and development (R&D). Since 1980, industry's share of funding for R&D has grown to exceed the share provided by the federal government. In 2003, the proportions were 63.1% from industry and 31.2% from the federal government, followed by 5.7% from higher education. As of 2002, national spending on R&D amounted to 2.67% of GDP. In that same year, high technology exports were valued at $162.345 billion, or 32% of the country's manufactured exports. There were an estimated 4,099 scientists and engineers engaged in research and development per million people for the period 19902001.

In 1998 NASA's budget was $9.9 billion. In 1960 NASA spent only $1.1 billion. Launching of the space shuttle orbiter Columbia began in 1981; a fleet of four reusable shuttles, which would replace all other launch vehicles was planned. However, the January 1986 Challenger disaster, in which seven crew members died, cast doubt on the program. The three remaining shuttles were grounded, and the shuttles were redesigned for increased safety. A new shuttle, Endeavour, was built to take the place of Challenger. President Reagan, following the Challenger disaster, banned the shuttle from commercial use for nine years. The shuttle's return to space began with the launch of the shuttle Atlantis in September 1988. Following the catastrophic breakup of the space shuttle Columbia in February 2003, NASA suspended the launch schedule until the cause of the accident was determined.

The National Science Foundation (founded in 1950) is one of the chief government agencies funding scientific research. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (founded in 1848) promotes public understanding of science and technology. The National Academy of Sciences (founded in 1863) and the National Academy of Engineering (founded in 1964) are both headquartered in Washington, DC. In 1996, more than 95,000 students in the United States earned master's degrees in science and engineering. In 2002, of all bachelor's degrees awarded, 17.1% were in the sciences (natural, mathematics and computers, engineering).

DOMESTIC TRADE

Total retail sales for 2004 were $3.5 trillion. Total e-commerce sales were estimated at $69.2 billion, an increase of 23.5% over 2003. The growth of great chains of retail stores, particularly in the form of the supermarket, was one of the most conspicuous developments in retail trade following the end of World War II. Nearly

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 723,608.6 1,305,091.6 -581,483.0
Canada 169,451.6 227,600.1 -58,148.5
Mexico 97,452.4 139,700.4 -42,248.0
Japan 52,061.6 121,232.3 -69,170.7
United Kingdom 33,893.8 43,741.6 -9,847.8
Germany 28,845.9 69,613.2 -40,767.3
China 28,416.6 163,250.1 -134,833.5
Korea, Republic of 24,097.3 38,344.9 -14,247.6
Netherlands 20,694.8 11,435.3 9,259.5
Other Asia nes 17,487.6 33,017.7 -15,530.1
France-Monaco 17,340.1 29,897.5 -12,557.4
() data not available or not significant.

100,000 single-unit grocery stores went out of business between 1948 and 1958; the independent grocer's share of the food market dropped from 50% to 30% of the total in the same period. With the great suburban expansion of the 1960s emerged the planned shopping center, usually designed by a single development organization and intended to provide different kinds of stores in order to meet all the shopping needs of the particular area. Between 1974 and 2000, the square footage occupied by shopping centers in the United States grew at a far greater rate than the nation's population.

Installment credit is a major support for consumer purchases in the United States. Most US families own and use credit cards, and their frequency of use has grown significantly in the 1990s and 2000s with aggressive marketing by credit card companies which have made cards available to households that didn't qualify in the past. The number of credit cards per household in 2004 was 8. The number of credit cards in circulation in 2004 was 641 million. The average household credit card debt in the United States in 2004 was approximately $8,650, and the total credit card debt in the United States in 2004 was some $800 billion. The use of debit cards was expected to exceed the use of credit cards in 2005.

The US advertising industry is the world's most highly developed. Particularly with the expansion of television audiences, spending for advertising has increased almost annually to successive record levels. Advertising expenditures in 2003 reached an estimated $249 billion, up from $66.58 billion in 1982 and $11.96 billion in 1960. Of the 2003 total, $87.8 billion was spent in radio, broadcast television, and cable television; $57.2 billion was spent on print media (newspapers and magazines); and internet advertising amounted to $5.6 billion.

In 2003 merchant wholesalers had combined total sales of $2.88 trillion.

FOREIGN TRADE

The volume of the US exports and imports exceeds that of any country. However, the value of US external sector as a percentage of GDP is comparatively low. The foreign trade position of the United States deteriorated in the 1980s as the United States became a debtor nation with a trade deficit that ballooned from $24 billion to over $100 billion by the end of the 1980s; by 2004, the trade deficit had reached an estimated $618 billion, a 24% increase over 2003. Exports of goods and services totaled $1.14 trillion in 2004, while imports totaled $1.76 trillion. The gap in merchandise trade with China jumped some 31% to nearly $162 billion in 2004, by far the largest gap than with any other trading partner. The Unites States' largest trading partners were Canada, Mexico, Japan, the United Kingdom, China, and Germany.

The Unites States' major exports include transistors, aircraft, motor vehicle parts, automobiles, computers, telecommunications equipment, medicines, chemicals, and soybeans, fruit, and corn. Major imports include computers, motor vehicle parts, automobiles, telecommunications equipment, office machines, electric power machinery, clothing medicines, furniture, toys, crude oil, and agricultural products.

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS

Since 1950, the United States has generally recorded deficits in its overall payments with the rest of the world, despite the fact that

COUNTRY TRADE BALANCE RANK EXPORTS F.A.S. RANK IMPORTS CUSTOMS RANK
Total, BOP Basis -782,740.2 (X) 894,630.8 (X) 1,677,371.0 (X)
Net Adjustments -15,263.3 (X) -11,346.8 (X) 3,916.5 (X)
Total, Census Basis -767,476.9 (X) 905,977.6 (X) 1,673,454.5 (X)
Afghanistan 194.8 205 262.2 93 67.3 132
Albania -18.7 102 18.5 179 37.2 146
Algeria -9,279.0 20 1,167.4 60 10,446.4 27
Andorra 9.9 152 10.5 187 0.7 203
Angola -7,555.3 24 929.0 66 8,484.4 33
Anguilla 28.4 168 32.2 160 3.8 180
Antigua and Barbuda 186.0 204 190.4 105 4.4 177
Argentina -461.8 67 4,121.9 32 4,583.6 46
Armenia 19.3 160 65.5 142 46.2 143
Aruba -2,360.8 36 558.9 76 2,919.7 54
Australia 8,486.0 229 15,828.2 14 7,342.2 35
Austria -3,509.7 30 2,593.3 42 6,102.9 39
Azerbaijan 87.1 193 132.5 116 45.4 144
Bahamas 1,086.8 222 1,786.7 51 699.9 80
Bahrain -80.8 92 350.8 88 431.6 89
Bangladesh -2,373.3 35 319.8 90 2,693.0 56
Barbados 363.0 212 394.9 84 31.9 150
Belarus -310.2 71 34.9 158 345.2 97
Belgium 5,667.7 226 18,690.6 12 13,022.9 24
Belize 119.3 199 217.6 101 98.3 124
Benin 71.8 187 72.3 138 0.5 205
Bermuda 403.2 216 490.5 82 87.3 128
Bhutan 2.4 135 3.1 208 0.6 204
Bolivia -73.7 94 219.5 99 293.2 102
Bosnia-Herzegovina -52.9 96 17.6 181 70.5 131
Botswana -110.9 88 67.3 141 178.2 112
Brazil -9,063.8 21 15,371.7 15 24,435.5 15
British Indian Ocean Territories 0.4 125 0.8 219 0.4 208
British Virgin Islands 91.3 194 124.9 117 33.6 148
Brunei -513.1 64 49.6 150 562.7 82
Bulgaria -186.3 81 267.9 92 454.3 85
Burkina 23.0 163 25.1 174 2.1 188
Burma (Myanmar) 5.4 142 5.5 201 0.1 220
Burundi 3.7 137 8.1 198 4.4 176
Cambodia -1,697.3 45 69.7 139 1,767.0 64
Cameroon -40.8 98 117.3 119 158.2 117
Canada -78,485.6 3 211,898.7 1 290,384.3 1
Cape Verde 7.2 148 9.9 190 2.6 185
Cayman Islands 627.2 219 680.7 70 53.5 138
Central African Republic 9.1 151 14.8 183 5.7 171
Chad -1,444.3 49 53.8 149 1,498.1 67
Chile -1,441.7 50 5,222.6 29 6,664.3 37
China -201,544.8 1 41,925.3 4 243,470.1 2
Christmas Island 1.6 132 2.0 214 0.4 210
Cocos (Keeling) Island 0.6 128 1.0 217 0.5 207
Colombia -3,387.0 31 5,462.4 28 8,849.4 31
Comoros -1.2 113 0.3 224 1.4 192
Congo (DROC) -198.6 78 65.0 143 263.6 107
Congo (ROC) -1,518.8 47 104.1 123 1,622.9 65
Cook Islands -0.4 116 1.4 216 1.7 189
Costa Rica 183.3 203 3,598.6 36 3,415.3 50
Côte d'Ivoire -1,073.7 55 124.2 118 1,198.0 72
Croatia -205.7 77 158.6 109 364.3 94
Cuba 369.0 213 369.0 86 (-) 226
Cyprus 53.6 181 84.2 131 30.5 152
Czech Republic -1,139.3 54 1,053.6 63 2,192.9 59
Denmark -3,225.8 32 1,918.4 49 5,144.2 43
Djibouti 46.5 177 47.6 151 1.1 198
Dominica 58.2 183 61.5 146 3.3 183
Dominican Republic 115.0 198 4,718.7 30 4,603.7 45
East Timor 8.6 150 8.7 197 0.1 219
Ecuador -3,794.9 29 1,963.8 47 5,758.7 41
Egypt 1,068.0 221 3,159.3 38 2,091.2 60
El Salvador -134.5 86 1,854.3 50 1,988.8 62
COUNTRY TRADE BALANCE RANK EXPORTS F.A.S. RANK IMPORTS CUSTOMS RANK
Equatorial Guinea -1,279.7 51 281.5 91 1,561.1 66
Eritrea 29.8 172 31.1 163 1.3 196
Estonia -366.0 70 145.4 113 511.4 84
Ethiopia 448.3 217 510.1 81 61.8 134
Falkland Islands -0.2 117 9.0 195 9.3 164
Faroe Islands -1.7 111 2.5 210 4.3 178
Federal Republic of Germany -50,567.2 4 34,183.7 6 84,750.9 5
Federated States of Micronesia 23.8 164 25.3 173 1.6 191
Fiji -141.3 85 28.2 169 169.5 114
Finland -2,087.6 40 2,254.1 44 4,341.7 47
France -11,431.7 16 22,410.4 9 33,842.1 10
French Guiana 26.9 167 27.0 172 0.1 217
French Polynesia 51.7 179 111.8 121 60.1 135
French Southern and Antarctic Lands 0.2 124 0.3 225 0.1 222
Gabon -2,716.5 34 99.1 125 2,815.6 55
Gambia 30.2 173 30.6 165 0.4 209
Gaza Strip Administered by Israel -1.2 112 0.2 226 1.4 193
Georgia 19.5 161 213.9 102 194.4 111
Ghana 179.0 202 337.4 89 158.4 116
Gibraltar 158.6 201 163.3 108 4.6 174
Greece 308.5 211 1,192.2 59 883.7 78
Greenland -12.2 105 5.1 202 17.3 156
Grenada 76.6 188 82.4 133 5.9 169
Guadeloupe 52.4 180 54.5 148 2.1 187
Guatemala -302.0 72 2,835.4 40 3,137.4 53
Guinea 18.9 159 93.6 129 74.7 130
Guinea-Bissau 2.0 133 2.1 213 0.1 218
Guyana 56.8 182 176.7 107 119.9 121
Haiti 262.4 209 709.6 69 447.2 87
Heard and McDonald Islands 0.1 122 0.2 227 (-) 225
Honduras -495.4 66 3,253.8 37 3,749.2 49
Hong Kong 7,459.3 228 16,351.0 13 8,891.7 30
Hungary -1,537.9 46 1,023.3 64 2,561.2 57
Iceland 243.0 208 512.0 80 269.0 105
India -10,814.8 18 7,989.4 22 18,804.2 18
Indonesia -8,960.4 22 3,053.9 39 12,014.3 26
Iran -78.7 93 95.8 127 174.5 113
Iraq -7,679.7 23 1,374.0 55 9,053.7 29
Ireland -19,397.4 11 9,335.7 20 28,733.1 13
Israel -7,093.1 25 9,737.3 19 16,830.5 19
Italy -19,484.9 10 11,524.3 16 31,009.3 12
Jamaica 1,325.2 223 1,700.8 52 375.6 93
Japan -82,519.2 2 55,484.5 3 138,003.7 4
Jordan -622.7 59 644.2 71 1,266.8 69
Kazakhstan -562.9 62 538.3 77 1,101.1 74
Kenya 284.5 210 632.5 72 348.0 96
Kiribati 1.3 130 2.4 211 1.1 197
Korea, North 5.8 145 5.8 199 (-) 227
Korea, South -16,016.5 12 27,765.0 7 43,781.4 7
Kuwait -2,359.9 37 1,974.9 46 4,334.8 48
Kyrgyzstan 26.5 166 31.1 162 4.6 175
Laos 5.6 144 9.8 191 4.2 179
Latvia -184.6 82 177.5 106 362.2 95
Lebanon 379.3 214 465.7 83 86.4 129
Lesotho -399.6 68 4.0 205 403.6 91
Liberia -21.5 100 69.3 140 90.8 127
Libya -1,506.5 48 83.8 132 1,590.3 (X)
Liechtenstein -276.0 74 19.7 178 295.7 101
Lithuania -243.9 75 390.0 85 633.9 81
Luxembourg 393.6 215 782.4 68 388.8 92
Macao -1,147.4 53 101.6 124 1,249.0 70
Macedonia (Skopje) -16.6 104 31.6 161 48.1 142
Madagascar -295.4 73 28.2 168 323.6 99
Malawi -87.5 90 28.0 170 115.5 122
Malaysia -23,224.3 7 10,460.8 18 33,685.2 11
Maldives 3.8 138 9.3 193 5.5 172
Mali 28.8 170 32.4 159 3.6 182
Malta -88.9 89 193.7 104 282.7 103
Marshall Islands 58.3 184 75.5 136 17.2 157
COUNTRY TRADE BALANCE RANK EXPORTS F.A.S. RANK IMPORTS CUSTOMS RANK
Martinique 12.7 157 35.0 157 22.2 155
Mauritania 85.3 192 86.1 130 0.8 202
Mauritius -191.0 79 30.9 164 221.9 109
Mayotte (-) 120 (-) 230 (-) 228
Mexico -49,743.8 5 120,364.8 2 170,108.6 3
Moldova -10.2 106 40.1 154 50.2 140
Monaco -20.7 101 16.8 182 37.5 145
Mongolia -121.8 87 21.9 177 143.6 118
Montserrat 3.9 139 4.8 203 1.0 201
Morocco 79.2 190 525.0 79 445.8 88
Mozambique 50.9 178 62.8 144 11.9 160
Namibia -17.3 103 112.2 120 129.6 120
Nauru 1.5 131 1.6 215 0.1 215
Nepal -86.5 91 24.7 175 111.2 123
Netherlands 11,622.6 230 26,484.6 8 14,862.0 22
Netherlands Antilles 215.2 206 1,137.6 61 922.4 77
New Caledonia 11.2 154 38.4 155 27.2 153
New Zealand -503.4 65 2,651.8 41 3,155.2 52
Nicaragua -555.3 63 625.5 73 1,180.8 73
Niger 13.0 158 78.5 135 65.5 133
Nigeria -22,618.2 8 1,621.2 53 24,239.4 16
Niue 0.5 127 0.6 220 0.1 216
Norfolk Island 0.2 123 0.4 223 0.2 214
Norway -4,834.4 28 1,941.9 48 6,776.3 36
Oman 39.9 175 594.9 75 555.0 83
Pakistan -2,001.6 41 1,251.6 57 3,253.2 51
Palau 11.7 155 12.2 185 0.5 206
Panama 1,835.0 224 2,162.0 45 327.1 98
Papua New Guinea -3.1 107 55.3 147 58.5 136
Paraguay 844.2 220 895.8 67 51.6 139
Peru -2,809.7 33 2,309.4 43 5,119.2 44
Philippines -2,355.0 38 6,895.4 25 9,250.4 28
Pitcairn Island -0.6 114 0.5 221 1.0 200
Poland -680.8 58 1,267.7 56 1,948.6 63
Portugal -1,196.8 52 1,131.9 62 2,328.7 58
Qatar 538.8 218 986.6 65 447.9 86
Republic of Yemen -59.6 95 219.0 100 278.6 104
Reunion -2.0 110 3.8 206 5.8 170
Romania -598.7 60 608.9 74 1,207.6 71
Russia -11,344.3 17 3,962.4 33 15,306.7 20
Rwanda 4.2 140 10.5 188 6.3 167
San Marino 3.3 136 4.7 204 1.4 194
São Tomé and Príncipe 9.9 153 10.2 189 0.2 213
Saudi Arabia -20,379.8 9 6,812.8 26 27,192.6 14
Senegal 154.8 200 158.5 110 3.7 181
Serbia and Montenegro 77.9 189 132.5 115 54.6 137
Seychelles 12.0 156 17.9 180 5.9 168
Sierra Leone 28.5 169 37.8 156 9.3 163
Singapore 5,532.2 225 20,642.2 11 15,110.1 21
Slovakia -810.9 57 149.8 112 960.7 76
Slovenia -179.2 83 233.8 98 413.0 90
Solomon Islands 0.9 129 2.3 212 1.4 195
Somalia 8.5 149 8.8 196 0.3 211
South Africa -1,978.7 42 3,906.9 34 5,885.6 40
Spain -1,701.0 44 6,913.6 24 8,614.6 32
Sri Lanka -1,885.3 43 197.6 103 2,082.9 61
St. Helena -0.5 115 2.7 209 3.3 184
St. Kitts and Nevis 44.4 176 94.1 128 49.7 141
St. Lucia 103.0 197 135.4 114 32.4 149
St. Pierre and Miquelon -0.1 118 1.0 218 1.1 199
St. Vincent and the Grenadines 29.8 171 45.4 153 15.7 158
Sudan 94.5 195 108.1 122 13.6 159
Suriname 80.4 191 245.7 95 165.3 115
Svalbard, Jan Mayen Island 5.6 143 5.7 200 (-) 223
Swaziland -187.0 80 11.9 186 198.9 110
Sweden -10,105.6 19 3,715.4 35 13,821.0 23
Switzerland -2,280.0 39 10,719.8 17 12,999.9 25
Syria -168.5 84 155.0 111 323.6 100
Taiwan -12,756.6 13 22,069.2 10 34,825.8 8
COUNTRY TRADE BALANCE RANK EXPORTS F.A.S. RANK IMPORTS CUSTOMS RANK
Tajikistan -212.2 76 28.8 167 241.0 108
Tanzania 62.7 185 96.4 126 33.7 147
Thailand -12,633.1 14 7,256.6 23 19,889.8 17
Togo 21.5 162 27.9 171 6.4 166
Tokelau 69.0 186 79.8 134 10.8 161
Tonga 4.3 141 9.7 192 5.4 173
Trinidad and Tobago -6,474.1 26 1,416.7 54 7,890.9 34
Tunisia -2.6 108 261.2 94 263.8 106
Turkey -913.1 56 4,269.0 31 5,182.1 42
Turkmenistan 101.8 196 237.1 97 135.3 119
Turks and Caicos Islands 228.3 207 237.8 96 9.4 162
Tuvalu (-) 119 (-) 228 0.1 221
Uganda 36.8 174 62.6 145 25.8 154
Ukraine -565.1 61 533.0 78 1,098.0 75
United Arab Emirates 7,014.1 227 8,482.4 21 1,468.3 68
United Kingdom -12,444.8 15 38,587.8 5 51,032.6 6
Uruguay -375.6 69 356.7 87 732.3 79
Uzbekistan -21.8 99 73.8 137 95.6 125
Vanuatu 6.6 147 9.1 194 2.5 186
Vatican City 23.9 165 24.2 176 0.3 212
Venezuela -27,557.2 6 6,420.9 27 33,978.1 9
Vietnam -5,438.0 27 1,193.2 58 6,631.2 38
Wallis and Futuna 0.4 126 0.4 222 (-) 224
West Bank Administered by Israel 2.1 134 3.7 207 1.6 190
Western Sahara (-) 121 (-) 229 (-) 229
Western Samoa 6.6 146 14.5 184 7.9 165
Zambia -2.6 109 29.1 166 31.7 151
Zimbabwe -48.8 97 45.5 152 94.3 126
Unidentified 216.3 (X) 216.3 (X) (-) (X)
North America -128,229.4 (X) 332,263.5 (X) 460,492.9 (X)
Western Europe -125,453.7 (X) 200,260.3 (X) 325,714.0 (X)
Euro Area -91,384.0 (X) 137,496.7 (X) 228,880.7 (X)
European Union (25) -122,338.2 (X) 186,437.3 (X) 308,775.5 (X)
European Union (15) -117,160.3 (X) 181,718.3 (X) 298,878.5 (X)
European Free Trade Association -7,147.4 (X) 13,193.5 (X) 20,340.9 (X)
Eastern Europe -18,539.6 (X) 10,994.0 (X) 29,533.6 (X)
Former Soviet Republics -13,566.9 (X) 6,604.3 (X) 20,171.2 (X)
Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) in Europe -125,232.5 (X) 199,207.8 (X) 324,440.4 (X)
Pacific Rim Countries -328,066.4 (X) 223,334.0 (X) 551,400.4 (X)
AsiaNear East -30,550.8 (X) 31,893.6 (X) 62,444.3 (X)
Asia(NICS) -15,781.6 (X) 86,827.5 (X) 102,609.1 (X)
AsiaSouth -16,966.6 (X) 10,045.2 (X) 27,011.8 (X)
Assoc. of South East Asia Nations (ASEAN) -49,278.2 (X) 49,636.7 (X) 98,914.9 (X)
APEC -488,815.3 (X) 575,440.1 (X) 1,064,255.4 (X)
South/Central America -50,460.1 (X) 72,413.0 (X) 122,873.0 (X)
Twenty Latin American Republics -96,587.6 (X) 182,836.4 (X) 279,424.0 (X)
Central American Common Market -1,304.0 (X) 12,167.5 (X) 13,471.5 (X)
Latin American Free Trade Association -97,865.1 (X) 162,709.5 (X) 260,574.6 (X)
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Allies -198,120.9 (X) 406,259.2 (X) 604,380.0 (X)
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) -92,866.6 (X) 32,073.8 (X) 124,940.4 (X)
Unidentified 216.3 (X) 216.3 (X) (-) (X)
(1) Detailed data are presented on a Census basis. The information needed to convert to a BOP basis is not available.
(2) Countries included in Euro Area are also included in European Union. See Page 27 of the FT-900 release for a list of countries.
(3) Selected countries are included in more than one area grouping. Indonesia is included in both OPEC and Pacific Rim; Venezuela is included in both OPEC and Other South/Central America.
(4) The export totals refl ect shipments of certain grains, oilseeds, and satellites that are not included in the country/area totals.
NOTE: For information on data sources, nonsampling errors and defi nitions, see the information section on page 27 of the FT-900 release, or at www.census.gov/ft900 or www.bea.gov/bea/di/home/trade.htm.
Current Account -530.7
   Balance on goods -544.3
     Imports -1,260.7
     Exports 716.4
   Balance on services 47.8
   Balance on income 33.3
   Current transfers -67.4
Capital Account -3.1
Financial Account 544.2
   Direct investment abroad -173.8
   Direct investment in United States 39.9
   Portfolio investment assets -72.3
   Portfolio investment liabilities 544.5
   Financial derivatives
   Other investment assets -38.8
   Other investment liabilities 244.8
Net Errors and Omissions -12.0
Reserves and Related Items 1.5
() data not available or not significant.

it had an unbroken record of annual surpluses up to 1970 on current-account goods, services, and remittances transactions. The balance of trade, in the red since 1975, reached a record deficit of $618 billion in 2004. The current account deficit in 2004 was 5.5% of GDP, or an estimated $635 billion.

The nation's stock of gold declined from a value of $22.9 billion at the start of 1958 to $10.5 billion as of 31 July 1971, only two weeks before President Nixon announced that the United States would no longer exchange dollars for gold. From 19902004, the value of the gold stock was stable at $11 billion. The US holds 8,140 metric tons of gold, and in December 2005, gold was trading at nearly $500 an ounce.

BANKING AND SECURITIES

The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 provided the United States with a central banking system. The Federal Reserve System dominates US banking, is a strong influence in the affairs of commercial banks, and exercises virtually unlimited control over the money supply. The Federal Reserve Bank system is an independent government organization, with important posts appointed by the president and approved by the Senate.

Each of the 12 federal reserve districts contains a federal reserve bank. A board of nine directors presides over each reserve bank. Six are elected by the member banks in the district. Of this group, three may be bankers; the other three represent business, industry, or agriculture. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (usually known as the Federal Reserve Board) appoints the remaining three, who may not be officers, directors, stockholders, or employees of any bank and who are presumed therefore to represent the public.

The Federal Reserve Board regulates the money supply and the amount of credit available to the public by asserting its power to alter the rediscount rate, by buying and selling securities in the open market, by setting margin requirements for securities purchases, by altering reserve requirements of member banks in the system, and by resorting to a specific number of selective controls at its disposal. The Federal Reserve Board's role in regulating the money supply is held by economists of the monetarist school to be the single most important factor in determining the nation's inflation rate.

Member banks increase their reserves or cash holdings by rediscounting commercial notes at the federal reserve bank at a rate of interest ultimately determined by the Board of Governors. A change in the discount rate, therefore, directly affects the capacity of the member banks to accommodate their customers with loans. Similarly, the purchase or sale of securities in the open market, as determined by the Federal Open Market Committee, is the most commonly used device whereby the amount of credit available to the public is expanded or contracted. The same effect is achieved in some measure by the power of the Board of Governors to raise or lower the reserves that member banks must keep against demand deposits. Credit tightening by federal authorities in early 1980 pushed the prime rate-the rate that commercial banks charge their most creditworthy customers-above 20% for the first time since the financial panics of 1837 and 1839, when rates reached 36%. As federal monetary policies eased, the prime rate dropped below 12% in late 1984; as of 2000 it was below 10%. In mid-2003 the federal funds rate was reduced to 1%, a 45-year low.

The financial sector is dominated by commercial banks, insurance companies, and mutual funds. There was little change in the nature of the sector between the 1930s, when it was rescued through the creation of regulatory bodies and deposit insurance, and the 1980s, when the market was deregulated. In the 1980s, the capital markets underwent extensive reforms. The markets became increasingly internationalized, as deregulation allowed foreign-owned banks to extend their operations. There was also extensive restructuring of domestic financial markets-interest-rate ceilings were abolished and competition between different financial institution intensified, facilitated by greater diversification.

Commercial and investment banking activities are separated in the United States by the Glass Steagall Act, which was passed in 1933 during the Great Depression. Fears that investment banking activities put deposits at risk led to a situation where commercial banks were unable to deal in nonbank financial instruments. This put them at severe commercial disadvantage, and the pressure for reform became so strong that the Federal Reserve Board has allowed the affiliates of commercial banks to enter a wide range of securities activities since 1986. Attempts to repeal the act were unsuccessful until November 1999, when the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (also known as the Financial Modernization Act) was passed by Congress. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act repealed Glass-Steagall and allows banks, insurance companies, and stock brokers and mutual fund companies to sell each other's products and services. These companies are also now free to merge or acquire one another.

The expansion and diversification in financial services was facilitated by information technology. Financial deregulation led to the collapse of many commercial banks and savings and loan associations in the second half of the 1980s. In the 1990s, change has continued in the form of a proliferation of bank mergers; with the passage in 1999 of Gramm-Leach-Bliley, further consolidation of the industry was predicted.

Prior to 1994 the banking system was highly fragmented; national banks were not allowed to establish branches at will, as they were subject to the banking laws of each state. Within states, local banks faced similar restraints on their branching activities. In 1988, only 22 states permitted statewide banking of national banks, while 18 allowed limited banking and ten permitted no branches. Consequently in 1988 over 60% of US commercial banks had assets of less the $150 million, while only 3% had assets valued at $500 million or more.

Such regulation rendered US banks vulnerable to merger and acquisition. Acquisitions have generally taken place through bank holding companies, which then fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Reserve System. This has allowed banks to extend their business into nonbank activities such as insurance, financial planning, and mortgages, as well as opening up geographical markets. The number of such holding companies is estimated at 6,500. These companies are believed to control over 90% of total bank assets.

The Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act of 1994 removed most of the barriers to interstate bank acquisitions and interstate banking. The new act allowed banks to merge with banks in other states although they must operate them as separate banks. In addition, banks are allowed to establish branches in neighboring states. Restrictions on branching activity were lifted as of June 1997. The legislation allowed banks to lessen their exposure to regional economic downturns. It also ensured a continuing stream of bank mergers. Liberalization has encouraged a proliferation of in-store banking at supermarkets. International Banking Technologies, Inc., reported that the number of supermarket bank branches rose to 7,100 in 1998, up from 2,191 in 1994. In the mid-1990s, the number of supermarket branch banks grew at an annual rate of around 30%, but growth from 1997 to 1998 slowed to just over 10%.

Under the provisions of the Banking Act of 1935, all members of the Federal Reserve System (and other banks that wish to do so) participate in a plan of deposit insurance (up to $100,000 for each individual account as of 2003) administered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Savings and loan associations are insured by the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC). Individual accounts were insured up to a limit of $100,000. Savings and loans failed at an alarming rate in the 1980s. In 1989 the government signed legislation that created the Resolution Trust Corporation. The RTC's job is to handle the savings and loans bailout, expected to cost taxpayers $345 billion through 2029. Approximately 30 million members participated in thousands of credit unions chartered by a federal agency; state-chartered credit unions had over 20 million members.

The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $1,595.5 billion. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $6,961.2 billion. The money market rate, the rate at which financial institutions lend to one another in the short term, was 3.89%. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 1.25%.

When the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) opened in 1817, its trading volume was 100 shares a day. On 17 December 1999, 1.35 billion shares were traded, a record high for shares traded in a single day. Record-setting trading volume occurred for 1999 as a whole, with 203.9 billion shares traded (a 20% increase over 1998) for a total value of $8.9 trillion, up from $7.3 trillion in 1998. In 1996, 51 million individuals and 10,000 institutional investors owned stocks or shares in mutual funds traded on the NYSE. The two other major stock markets in the United States are the American Stock Exchange (AMEX) and the NASDAQ (National Association of Securities Dealers). The NASD (National Association of Securities Dealers) is regulated by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). As of 2004, the New York Stock Exchange, the NASDAQ, and the American Stock Exchange had a combined total of 5,231 companies listed. Total market capitalization that same year came to $16.3 trillion.

INSURANCE

The number of life insurance companies has shrunk in recent years. Between 1985 and 1995 the number fell from 2,261 to 1,840. In 1998, there were 51 life insurance mergers and acquisitions. Competition between financial institutions has been healthy and premium income has risen steadily. The overwhelming majority of US families have some life insurance with a legal reserve company, the Veterans Administration, or fraternal, assessment, burial, or savings bank organization. The passage in 1999 of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act allowed insurance companies, banks, and securities firms to sell each other's products and services; restrictions were also lifted on cross-industry mergers and acquisitions. In 2003, the value of all direct insurance premiums written totaled $1.1 trillion, of which nonlife premiums accounted for $574.6 billion. In that same year, State Farm Mutual Group was the top nonlife insurer, with direct written nonlife premiums of $47.2 billion, while Metropolitan Life & Affiliated was the nation's leading life insurer, with direct written life insurance premiums of $27.6 billion.

Hundreds of varieties of insurance may be purchased. Besides life, the more important coverages include accident, fire, hospital and medical expense, group accident and health, automobile liability, automobile damage, workers' compensation, ocean marine, and inland marine. Americans buy more life and health insurance than any other group except Canadians and Japanese. During the 1970s, many states enacted a "no fault" form of automobile insurance, under which damages may be awarded automatically, without recourse to a lawsuit.

PUBLIC FINANCE

Under the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, the president is responsible for preparing the federal government budget. In fact, the budget is prepared by the Office of Management and Budget (established in 1970), based on requests from the heads of all federal departments and agencies and advice from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Council of Economic Advisers, and the Treasury Department. The president submits a budget message to Congress in January. Under the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Congress establishes, by concurrent resolution, targets for overall expenditures and broad functional categories, as well as targets for revenues, the budget deficit, and

Revenue and Grants 1,902.4 100.0%
   Tax revenue 1,086.5 57.1%
   Social contributions 758.3 39.9%
   Grants
   Other revenue 57.6 3.0%
Expenditures 2,311.9 100.0%
   General public services 281.9 12.2%
   Defense 442.5 19.1%
   Public order and safety 31.9 1.4%
   Economic affairs 161.9 7.0%
   Environmental protection
   Housing and community amenities 45.8 2.0%
   Health 541.9 23.4%
   Recreational, culture, and religion 4.5 0.2%
   Education 61 2.6%
   Social protection 740.5 32.0%
() data not available or not significant.

the public debt. The Congressional Budget Office monitors the actions of Congress on individual appropriations bills with reference to those targets. The president exercises fiscal control over executive agencies, which issue periodic reports subject to presidential perusal. Congress exercises control through the comptroller general, head of the General Accounting Office, who sees to it that all funds have been spent and accounted for according to legislative intent. The fiscal year runs from 1 October to 30 September. The public debt, subject to a statutory debt limit, has been raised by Congress 70 times since 1950. The debt rose from $43 billion in 1939/40 to more than $3.3 trillion in 1993 to more than $8.2 trillion in early 2006. In 1993, pressured by Congressional Republicans, President Bill Clinton introduced a taxing and spending plan to reduce the rate of growth of the federal deficit. The Clinton administration calculated the package of tax increases and spending cuts would pare down the deficit by $500 billion over a four-year period; in fiscal year 1997/98, the budget experienced an estimated surplus of $69 billion. However, the tax cuts and extensive military spending of President George W. Bush in the first term of the new millennium erased the surplus and pushed the economy to a record $455 billion deficit for the 2003 fiscal year, followed by $412 billion for 2004.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 the central government took in revenues of approximately $2.1 trillion and had expenditures of $2.4 trillion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$347 billion. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 64.7% of GDP. Total external debt in 2006 was $8.837 trillion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2003, the most recent year for which it had data, central government revenues in $1,902.4 billion and expenditures were $2,311.9 billion. The value of revenues was $1.9 billion and expenditures $2.3 billion. Government outlays by function were as follows: general public services, 12.2%; defense, 19.1%; public order and safety, 1.4%; economic affairs, 7.0%; housing and community amenities, 2.0%; health, 23.4%; recreation, culture, and religion, 0.2%; education, 2.6%; and social protection, 32.0%.

TAXATION

Measured as a proportion of the GDP, the total US tax burden is less than that in most industrialized countries. Federal, state, and local taxes are levied in a variety of forms. The greatest source of revenue for the federal government is the personal income tax, which is paid by citizens and resident aliens on their worldwide income. The main state-level taxes are sales and income taxes. The main local taxes are property and local income taxes.

Generally, corporations are expected to prepay, through four installments, 100% of estimated tax liability. US corporate taxes are famous for their complexity, and it is estimated that amount spent trying to comply with, minimize and/or avoid business taxes is equal to half the tax yield. As of 2004, the United States had a top corporate federal tax rate of 35%, although the effective rate is actually 39.5%. Generally, corporations having taxable income in excess of $75,000 but not over $10 million are taxed at a 34% rate, with the first $75,000 taxed at graduated rates of 1525%. However those whose income falls between $335,000 and $10 million are taxed at the full 34% which includes the initial $75,000. Corporations with income of over $15 million but not over $18,333,333 are subject to an additional 3% tax, while those corporations whose taxable income is over $18,333,333 are taxed at the 35% rate. The federal government also imposes an Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). The purpose of the AMT is to prevent what is considered an overuse of tax deductions. As a result, the AMT is effectively a separate tax system with its own credit limitations and allowable deductions. Under the AMT, a 20% flat rate is applied to alternative minimum taxable income (AMTI), which the corporation must pay if the calculated AMT is greater than the regular tax. Conversely, if the calculated regular tax is more than the calculated AMT, then the regular tax must be paid. State and local governments may also impose their own corporate income taxes. Generally, these taxes use the federal definitions of taxable income as the starting point when applying their income taxes. Capital gains from assets held as investments are taxed at the same rates as ordinary income. Dividends, interest and royalties paid to nonresidents are subject to a withholding tax of 30%.

The United States has a progressive personal income tax structure that as of 2004, had a top rate of 35%. As with corporations, individuals can be subject to an AMT. With rates of 26% and 28%, the AMT, as it applies to individuals, is similar to the AMT charged to corporations in that the individual must pay whichever is highest, the regular tax or the AMT. Individuals may also be subject to inheritance and gift taxes, as well as state and local income taxes, all of which vary from state-to-state and locality-to-locality. Capital gains from assets held for under a year (short term) are taxed at higher rates than gains derived from assets held for more than a year (long term). Long term capital gains for individuals are taxed at a 15% rate, while those individuals who fall into lower-income tax brackets would be subject to a 5% rate. Certain capital gains derived from real estate are subject to a 25% tax rate.

The United States has not adopted a national value-added tax (VAT) system. The main indirect taxes are state sales taxes. There is an importation duty of 0.7% on imported goods. Excise taxes are levied on certain motor vehicles, personal air transportation, some motor fuels (excluding gasohol), alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, tires and tubes, telephone charges, and gifts and estates.

CUSTOMS AND DUTIES

Under the Trade Agreements Extension Act of 1951, the president is required to inform the US International Trade Commission (known until 1974 as the US Tariff Commission) of contemplated concessions in the tariff schedules. The commission then determines what the "peril point" is; that is, it informs the president how far the tariff may be lowered without injuring a domestic producer, or it indicates the amount of increase necessary to enable a domestic producer to avoid injury by foreign competition. Similarly, the act provides an "escape clause,"in effect, a method for rescinding a tariff concession granted on a specific commodity if the effect of the concession, once granted, has caused or threatens to cause "serious injury" to a domestic producer. The Trade Expansion Act of 1962 grants the president the power to negotiate tariff reductions of up to 50% under the terms of GATT.

In 1974, The US Congress authorized the president to reduce tariffs still further, especially on goods from developing countries. As the cost of imported oil rose in the mid-1970s, however, Congress became increasingly concerned with reducing the trade imbalance by discouraging "dumping" of foreign goods on the US market. The International Trade Commission is required to impose a special duty on foreign goods offered for sale at what the commission determines is less than fair market value.

Most products are dutiable under most-favored nation (MFN) rates or general duty rates. The import tariff schedules contain over 10,000 classifications, most of which are subject to interpretation. Besides duties, the United States imposes a 17% "user fee" on all imports. Excise taxes and harsher maintenance fees are also imposed on certain imports. Under the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was approved by Congress in 1993, tariffs on goods qualifying as North American under the rules of origin will be phased out over a 15-year period.

FOREIGN INVESTMENT

From the end of World War II through 1952, US government transfers of capital abroad averaged about $5,470 million annually, while private investments averaged roughly $730 million. Portfolio investment represented less than $150 million a year, or only 2.5% of the annual aggregate.

After 1952, however, direct private investment began to increase and portfolio investment rose markedly. In the late 1950s, new private direct investment was increasing yearly by $2 billion or more, while private portfolio investment and official US government loans were climbing by a minimum annual amount of $1 billion each. During the 196073 period, the value of US-held assets abroad increased by nearly 12% annually. From the mid-1970s through the early 1980s, it rose most years by at least 15%, and doubled between 1980 and 1990. Direct investments abroad had a book value of $711.6 billion in 1995, over half of which was invested in Europe, with the single greatest concentration ($119.9 billion) in the United Kingdom. Asia and the Pacific Islands had the second-largest regional total ($126 billion), with Japan ($39 billion) the leading country.

Foreign direct investment in the United States has risen rapidly, from $6.9 billion in 1960 to $27.7 billion in 1975 and $183 billion at the end of 1985. As of 1995 foreign direct investment in the United States was valued at $560 billion, of which $363.5 billion originated in Europe ($119.9 billion in the United Kingdom). Asia and the Pacific was the other major source of foreign direct investment, of which close to 90% ($108.6 billion) came from Japan. Total foreign assets in 1994 (current cost) were over $3.16 trillion. Over one-third of the investment volume was in manufacturing. In 1998 foreign direct investment reached $174.4 billion, up from $103.4 billion in 1997, and then increased to $283 billion in 1999. Foreign direct investment inflow into the United States peaked at a world record of $301 billion in 2000. In the global economic slowdown of 2001, foreign direct investment inflows dropped to $124.4 billion. The worldwide decline in foreign investment after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks was most dramatic in the United States. In 2002, estimated foreign direct investment inflow dropped more than 64% to an estimated $52.6 billion. Foreign direct investment inflow rose to $78.8 billion in 2004, up 26% from 2003. In 2004, the major investors in the United States were Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Switzerland, and Australia.

US outward foreign direct investment in 2004 totaled $83.5 billion, with Canada, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Japan, Ireland, and Mexico the largest recipients of US FDI.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

By the end of the 19th century, regulation rather than subsidy had become the characteristic form of government intervention in US economic life. The abuses of the railroads with respect to rates and services gave rise to the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1887, which was subsequently strengthened by numerous acts that now stringently regulate all aspects of US railroad operations.

The growth of large-scale corporate enterprises, capable of exercising monopolistic or near-monopolistic control of given segments of the economy, resulted in federal legislation designed to control trusts. The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, reinforced by the Clayton Act of 1914 and subsequent acts, established the federal government as regulator of large-scale business. This tradition of government intervention in the economy was reinforced during the Great Depression of the 1930s, when the Securities and Exchange Commission and the National Labor Relations Board were established. The expansion of regulatory programs accelerated during the 1960s and early 1970s with the creation of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Consumer Product Safety Commission, among other bodies. Subsidy programs were not entirely abandoned, however. Federal price supports and production subsidies remained a major force in stabilizing US agriculture. Moreover, the federal government stepped in to arrange for guaranteed loans for two large private firmsLockheed in 1971 and Chrysler in 1980where thousands of jobs would have been lost in the event of bankruptcy.

During this period, a general consensus emerged that, at least in some areas, government regulation was contributing to inefficiency and higher prices. The Carter administration moved to deregulate the airline, trucking, and communications industries; subsequently, the Reagan administration relaxed government regulation of bank savings accounts and automobile manufacture as it decontrolled oil and gas prices. The Reagan administration also sought to slow the growth of social-welfare spending and attempted, with only partial success, to transfer control over certain federal social programs to the states and to reduce or eliminate some programs entirely. Ironically, it was a Democrat, Bill Clinton, who, in 1996, signed legislation that replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children with a system of block grants that would enable the states to design and run their own welfare programs.

Some areas of federal involvement in social welfare, however, seem safely entrenched. Old age and survivors' insurance, unemployment insurance, and other aspects of the Social Security program have been accepted areas of governmental responsibility for decades. With the start of the 21st century, the government faced the challenge of keeping the Medicare program solvent as the postwar baby-boomer generation reached retirement age. Federal responsibility has also been extended to insurance of bank deposits, to mortgage insurance, and to regulation of stock transactions. The government fulfills a supervisory and regulatory role in labor-management relations. Labor and management customarily disagree on what the role should be, but neither side advocates total removal of government from this field.

Since the Reciprocal Trade Agreement Act of 1934, government regulation of foreign trade has tended toward decreased levels of protection, a trend maintained by the 1945 Trade Agreements Extension Act, the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, and the 1974 Trade Act. The goals of free trade have also been furthered since World War II by US participation in the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). With the formation in 1995 of the World Trade Organization (WTO), most-favored-nation policies were expanded to trade in services and other areas.

In 1993, Congress approved the North American Free Trade Agreement, which extended the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the United States to include Mexico. NAFTA, by eliminating tariffs and other trade barriers, created a free trade zone with a combined market size of $6.5 trillion and 370 million consumers. The effect on employment was uncertainestimates varied from a loss of 150,000 jobs over the ensuing ten years to a net gain of 200,000. Labor intensive goods-producing industries, such as apparel and textiles, were expected to suffer, while it was predicted that capital goods industries would benefit. It was anticipated that US automakers would benefit in the short run by taking advantage of the low wages in Mexico and that US grain farmers and the US banking, financial, and telecommunications sectors would gain enormous new markets. As of 2005, the pros and cons of NAFTA were still being hotly debated. Spokespersons for organized labor claimed in 2000 that the agreement had resulted in a net loss of 420,000 jobs, while advocates of free trade insisted that 311,000 new jobs had been created to support record US exports to Canada and Mexico, with only 116,000 workers displaceda net gain of 195,000 jobs.

In 2003, President George W. Bush introduced, and Congress passed a tax cut of $350 billion designed to stimulate the economy, which was in a period of slow growth. This came on the heels of a $1.35 trillion tax cut passed in 2001 and a $96 billion stimulus package in 2002. Democrats cited the loss of 2.7 million private sector jobs during the first three years of the Bush administration as evidence that the president did not have control over the economy. In 1998, for the first time since 1969, the federal budget closed the fiscal year with a surplus. In 2000, the government was running a surplus of $236 billion, or a projected $5.6 trillion over 10 years. By mid-2003, the federal budget had fallen into deficit; the deficit stood at $455 billion, which was 4.2% of gross domestic product (GDP). The budget deficit stood at $412 billion in 2004, or 3.6% of GDP, and was forecast to decline to $331 billion in 2006.

US businesses are at or near the forefront of technological advances, but the onrush of technology has created a "two-tier" labor market, in which those at the bottom lack the education and professional and technical skills of those at the top, and, increasingly, fail to receive comparable pay raises, health insurance coverage, and other benefits. Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households. Other long-term problems facing the US economy are inadequate investment in economic infrastructure, the rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, significant trade, current account, and budget deficits, and the stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups. Congress in 2003 passed an overhaul of the Medicare program to provide prescription drug coverage for the elderly and disabled; the provisions went into effect in January 2006.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Social welfare programs in the United States depend on both the federal government and the state governments for resources and administration. Old age, survivors', disability, and the Medicare (health) programs are administered by the federal government; unemployment insurance, dependent child care, and a variety of other public assistance programs are state administered, although the federal government contributes to all of them through grants to the states.

The Food and Nutrition Service of the US Department of Agriculture oversees several food assistance programs. Eligible Americans take part in the food stamp program, and eligible pupils participate in the school lunch program. The federal government also expends money for school breakfasts, nutrition programs for the elderly, and in commodity aid for the needy. The present Social Security program differs greatly from that created by the Social Security Act of 1935, which provided that retirement benefits be paid to retired workers aged 65 or older. Since 1939, Congress has attached a series of amendments to the program, including provisions for workers who retire at age 62, for widows, for dependent children under 18 years of age, and for children who are disabled prior to age 18. Disabled workers between 50 and 65 years of age are also entitled to monthly benefits. Other measures increased the number of years a person may work; among these reforms was a 1977 law banning mandatory retirement in private industry before age 70. The actuarial basis for the Social Security system has also changed. In 1935 there were about nine US wage earners for each American aged 65 or more; by the mid-1990s, however, the ratio was closer to three to one.

In 1940, the first year benefits were payable, $35 million was paid out. By 1983, Social Security benefits totaled $268.1 billion, paid to more than 40.6 million beneficiaries. The average monthly benefit for a retired worker with no dependents in 1960 was $74; in 1983, the average benefit was $629.30. Under legislation enacted in the early 1970s, increases in monthly benefits were pegged to the inflation rate, as expressed through the Consumer Price Index. Employers, employees, and the self-employed are legally required to make contributions to the Social Security fund. Currently, 6.2% of employee earnings (12.4% of self-employed earnings) went toward old-age, disability, and survivor benefits. Wage and salary earners pay Social Security taxes under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). As the amount of benefits and the number of beneficiaries have increased, so has the maximum FICA payment. As of 2004 the maximum annual earnings for contribution and benefit purposes was $87,000.

Workers compensation laws vary according to states. Most laws were enacted before 1920; the program covering federal employees was instituted in 1908. Insurance is compulsory through public or private carriers. In most states the employer fund the total cost. There is a special federal program for miners with black lung disease (pneumoconiosis). The laws governing unemployment compensation originate in the states as well, and therefore benefits vary from state to state in duration and amount. Generally unemployment benefits amount to 50% of earnings, and federal law provides an additional 13 weeks of payments in states with high unemployment. Federal and state systems provide aid in the form of cash payments, social services, and job training to assist needy families.

Private philanthropy plays a major role in the support of relief and health services. The private sector plays an especially important role in pension management.

HEALTH

The US health care system is among the most advanced in the world. Escalating health care costs resulted in several proposals for a national health care program in the 1970s, early 1980s, and early 1990s. Most reform measures relied either on market-oriented approaches designed to widen insurance coverage through tax subsidies on a federally controlled single-payer plan, or on mandatory employer payments for insurance coverage. The health care industry continues to struggle with continued rising costs, as well as the financial burden of providing care to over 40 million people who were uninsured. The percentage among the nation's poor was much higher.

In response to rising costs, the popularity of managed care grew rapidly in the latter half of the 1990s. By 2000, 59% of the population was insured by either an HMO (health maintenance organization) or PPO (preferred provider organization). In such organizations, medical treatment, laboratory tests, and other health services for each patient are subject to the approval of the insurer before they can be covered. From 1987 to 1996, enrollment in health maintenance organizations (HMOs) doubled. By the end of the decade, however, the quality of treatment under managed care organizations was coming under increased scrutiny.

Life expectancy for someone born in 2005 was 77.71 years. Infant mortality has fallen from 38.3 per 1,000 live births in 1945 to 6.50 per 1,000 live births in 2005. The birth rate in 2002 was 14.1 per 1,000 people. In 1999, 56.5% of US adults were overweight and 21.1% were obese. Although health indicators continued to improve overall 2004, pronounced disparities between different segments of the population remained.

Leading causes of death were: heart disease, cancer, cerebrovascular diseases, chronic lower respiratory diseases, accidents, diabetes mellitus, pneumonia and influenza, Alzheimer's disease, suicide, and homicide.

Cigarette smoking has been linked to heart and lung disease; about 20% of all deaths in the United States were attributed to cigarette smoking. Smoking has decreased overall since the late 1980s. The overall trend in smoking mortality suggests a decrease in smoking among males since the 1960s, but an increase in mortality for female smokers. On 23 November 1998, the Master Settlement Agreement was signed, the result of a lawsuit brought by 46 states and the District of Columbia against tobacco companies for damages related to smoking. Payments from the settlement, totaling $206 billion, began in 1999.

The rate of HIV infection (resulting in acquired immune deficiency syndromeAIDS), has risen since first being identified in 1981. There were a cumulative total of 750,000 AIDS cases in the 1980s and 1990s, with 450,000 deaths from the disease. In the latter 1990s, both incidence and mortality decreased with the introduction of new drug combinations to combat the disease. The number of AIDS cases declined by 30% between 1996 and 1998 and deaths were cut in half. In 2004, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 950,000, with the number of deaths from AIDS that year estimated at 14,000. AIDS continued to affect racial and ethnic minorities disproportionately. HIV prevalence was 0.60 per 100 adults in 1999.

Medical facilities in the United States included 5,810 hospitals in 2000, with 984,000 beds (down from 6,965 hospitals and 1,365,000 beds in 1980). As of 2004, there were an estimated 549 physicians, 773 nurses, 59 dentists, and 69 pharmacists per 100,000 people. Of the total number of active classified physicians, the largest areas of activity were internal medicine, followed by general and family practice and pediatrics.

Per capita health care expenditures rose from $247 in 1967 to about $3,380 in 1993. National health care spending reached $1 trillion in 1996 and was projected to reach $1.9 trillion by 2006. Hospital costs, amounting to over $371 billion in 1997, represented 34% of national health care spending in that year. In the late 1990s, total health care expenditures stabilized at around 13% of GDP, with most expenditures being made by the private sector.

Medicare payments have lagged behind escalating hospital costs; payments in 2000 totaled $215.9 billion. Meanwhile, the elderly population in the United States is projected to increase to 18% of the total population by 2020, thus exacerbating the conundrum of health care finance.

HOUSING

The housing resources of the United States far exceed those of any other country, with 122,671,734 housing units serving about 109,902,090 households, according to 2004 American Community Survey estimates. About 67% of all occupied units were owner-occupied, with about 10% of the total housing stock standing vacant. The average household had 2.6 people. The median home value was estimated at $151,366. The median payment for rent and utilities of rental properties was $694 per month. California had the highest number of housing units at over 12 million (in 2000); the state also had the highest estimated median housing value of owner-occupied units, at $391,102 in 2004. Wyoming had the lowest number of housing stock with an estimated 223,854 in 2000. The lowest estimated median housing value of owner-occupied units was found in Arkansas at $79,006 in 2004.

The vast majority of housing units are single-unit structures; 61% are single-family detached homes. Over 9.5 million dwellings are found in buildings of 20 units or more. Over 8.7 million dwellings are mobile homes. About 14.9% of the total housing stock was built in 1939 or before. The decade of 197079 had the most homes built, with 21,462,868 units, 17.6% of the existing stock. During the period 199099, there were 19,007,934 units built, about 15% of the existing stick. Houses being built in the 1990s were significantly larger than those built in the 1970s. The average area of single-family housing built in 1993 was 180.88 sq m (1,947 sq ft), compared to 139.35 sq m (1,500 sq ft) in 1970. The median number of rooms per dwelling was estimated at 5.4 in 2004.

EDUCATION

Education is the responsibility of state and the local governments. However, federal funds are available to meet special needs at primary, secondary, or higher levels. Each state specifies the age and circumstances for compulsory attendance. The most common program of compulsory education requires attendance for ages 6 to 16; however, most school programs continue through twelve years of study, with students graduating at age 17 or 18. The high school diploma is only granted to students who complete this course of study, no certificates of completion are granted at previous intervals. Those who leave school before completion of grade 12 may choose to take a General Educational Development Test (GED) that is generally considered to be the equivalent to a state-approved diploma.

Regular schools, which educate a person toward a diploma or degree, include both public and private schools. Public schools are controlled and supported by the local authorities, as well as state or federal governmental agencies. Private schools are controlled and supported by religious or private organizations. Elementary schooling generally extends from grade one through grade five or six. Junior high or middle school programs may cover grades six through eight, depending on the structure of the particular school district. High schools generally cover grades 9 through 12. At the secondary level, many schools offer choices of general studies or college preparatory studies. Vocational and technical programs are also available. Some schools offer advanced placement programs through which students (after appropriate exams) may earn college credits while still in high school. The school year begins in September and ends in June.

In 2003, about 58% of children between the ages of three and five were enrolled in some type of preschool program. Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 92% of age-eligible students. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 14:1 in 2003; the ratio for secondary school was about 15:1. In 2003, private schools accounted for about 10.8% of primary school enrollment and 9.2% of secondary enrollment. As of 2003, about 87% of the population ages 2529 had received a high school diploma or equivalency certificate.

In 2003, about 1.1 million students were home schooled. In a home schooling program, students are taught at home by their parents or tutors using state-approved curriculum resources. Most of these students (about 82%) receive their entire education at home. Others may attend some classes at local schools or choose to attend public high school after completing preliminary grades through home schooling.

Colleges include junior or community colleges, offering two-year associate degrees; regular four-year colleges and universities; and graduate or professional schools. Both public and private institutions are plentiful. Eight of the most prestigious institutions in the country are collective known as the Ivy League. These schools are some of the oldest in the country and are known for high academic standards and an extremely selective admissions process. Though they are all now independent, nonsectarian organizations, most of them were founded or influenced by religious groups. They include: Yale University (1701, Puritans), University of Pennsylvania (1740, Quaker influence), Princeton University (1746, Presbyterian), Harvard University (1638, Puritan), Dartmouth College (1769, Puritan), Cornell University (1865), Columbia University (1754, Anglican), and Brown University (1764, Baptist).

The cost of college education varies considerably depending on the institution. There are county and state universities that receive government funding and offer reduced tuition for residents of the region. Students attending both public and private institutions may be eligible for federal aid in the form of grants or loans. Institutions generally offer their own scholarship and grant programs as well.

There are over 4,000 nondegree institutions of higher learning, including educational centers offering continuing education credits for professionals as well as general skill-based learning programs. Certificate programs are available in a number of professions and trades. Technical and vocational schools are also available for adults. In 2003, it was estimated that about 83% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in tertiary education programs. The adult literacy rate has been estimated at about 97%.

Beyond this, there are numerous public and private community organizations that offer educational programming in the form of workshops, lectures, seminars, and classes for adults interested in expanding their educational horizons.

As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 5.7% of GDP, or 17.1% of total government expenditures.

LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

The American Library Association has reported that, as of 2004, there were an estimated 117,664 libraries in the country, including 9,211 public libraries (with over 16,500 buildings), 3,527 academic libraries, 93,861 school libraries, 9,526 special libraries, 314 armed forces libraries, and 1,225 government libraries.

The largest library in the country and the world is the Library of Congress, with holdings of over 130 million items, including 29 million books and other printed materials, 2.7 million recordings, 12 million photographs, 4.8 million maps, and 58 million manuscripts. The Library of Congress serves as the national library and the site of the US Copyright Office. The government maintains a system of presidential libraries and museums, which serve as archive and research centers that preserve documents and other materials of historical value related to the presidency. Starting with Herbert Hoover, the 31st president of the United States, there has been a library and museum established for each president. State governments maintain their own libraries as well.

The country's vast public library system is administered primarily by municipalities. The largest of these is the New York Public Library system with 89 branch locations and over 42.7 million items, including 14.9 million bound volumes. Other major public library systems include the Cleveland Public Library (over 9.7 million items), Los Angeles County Public Library (over 9.6 million items, 8.7 million books), the Chicago Public Library (6.5 million), the Boston Public Library system (6.1 million books, including 1.2 million rare books and manuscripts), and the Free Library of Philadelphia (6 million items).

Noted special collections are those of the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York; the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif.; the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC; the Hoover Library at Stanford University; and the rare book divisions of Harvard, Yale, Indiana, Texas, and Virginia universities.

Among the leading university libraries are those of Harvard (with about 15 million volumes in 90 libraries), Yale, Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), Michigan (Ann Arbor), California (Berkeley), Columbia, Stanford, Cornell, California (Los Angeles), Chicago, Wisconsin (Madison), and Washington (Seattle).

There are over 5,000 nonprofit museums in the United States. The most numerous type is the historic building, followed in descending order by college and university museums, museums of science, public museums of history, and public museums of art. The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, sponsors 18 national museums and the National Zoo. Sixteen of the Smithsonian national museums are located in the Smithsonian complex of Washington, DC; these include the Natural History Museum, the American History Museum, the Air and Space Museum, American Art Museum, and the American Indian Museum. The American Indian Museum, Heye Center, and the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum are Smithsonian-sponsored museums located in New York.

Other eminent US museums include the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Collection of American Art, the Frick Collection, and the Brooklyn Museum, all in New York City; the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Museum of Natural History; the Franklin Institute and Philadelphia Museum of Art, both in Philadelphia; and the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco. Also of prominence are the Cleveland Museum of Art, the St. Louis Museum of Art, and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

MEDIA

All major electric communications systems are privately owned but regulated by the Federal Communications Commission. The United States uses wire and radio services for communications more extensively than any other country in the world. In 2003, there were an estimated 621 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were approximately 543 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people. The Post Office Department of the United States was replaced on 1 July 1971 by the US Postal Service, a financially autonomous federal agency. In addition to mail delivery, the Postal Service provides registered, certified, insured, express and COD mail service, issues money orders, and operates a postal savings system. Since the 1970s, numerous privately owned overnight mail and package delivery services have been established.

Radio serves a variety of purposes other than broadcasting. It is widely used by ships and aircraft for safety; it has become an important tool in the movement of buses, trucks, and taxicabs. Forest conservators, fire departments, and the police operate with radio as a necessary aid; it is used in logging operations, surveying, construction work, and dispatching of repair crews. In 2004, broadcasting stations on the air comprised over 12,000 radio stations (both AM and FM) and more than 1,500 television stations. Nearly 1,000 stations were affiliated with five major networks: NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX (all commercial), and PBS (Public Broadcasting System). As of 1997 the United States had some 9,000 cable television systems. In 2003, there were an estimated 2,109 radios and 938 television sets for every 1,000 people. About 255 of every 1,000 people were cable subscribers. Also in 2003, there were 658.9 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 551 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were 198,098 secure Internet servers in the country in 2004.

In 2005 there were over 1,500 daily newspapers in the United States. It has been estimated that about 20 large newspaper chains account for almost 60% of the total daily circulation. The US daily newspapers with the largest circulations as of 2004 were: USA Today (national), 2,220,863; Wall Street Journal (national), 2,106,774; New York Times, 1,121,057; Los Angeles Times (CA), 902,164; New York Daily News, 715,052; Washington Post (DC), 707,690; New York Post, 686,207; Chicago Tribune (IL), 600,988; Houston Chronicle (TX), 554,783; Dallas Morning News (TX), 519,014; San Francisco Chronicle (CA), 505,022; Chicago Sun-Times (IL), 481,980; Long Island/New York Newsday, 481,816; Boston Globe (MA), 451,471; Arizona Republic, 413,268; Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ), 400,042; Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, GA), 386,015; Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), 381,094; Philadelphia Inquirer (PA), 368,883; and Cleveland Plain Dealer (OH), 354,309. The Christian Science Monitor is published for daily national circulation by the Christian Science Church based in Massachusetts; circulation in 2004 was about 60,723. Investor's Business Daily, based in Los Angeles, California, also has a national circulation, reaching about 191,846 in 2004.

In 2004, the most popular consumer magazine in the country was AARP the Magazine, published bimonthly by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) with a circulation of over 22.6 million. The AARP Bulletin came in second with a circulation of about 22.1 million. The two general circulation magazines that appealed to the largest audiences were Reader's Digest (about 10 million) and TV Guide (about 9 million). Time and Newsweek were the leading news magazines, with 2004 weekly circulations of 4,034,272 and 3,135,476 respectively.

The US book-publishing industry consists of the major book companies (mainly in the New York metro area), nonprofit university presses distributed throughout the United States, and numerous small publishing firms. In 1994, 51,863 book titles were published in the United States.

The US Constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press in its Bill of Rights, and the government supports these rights. Citizens enjoy a wide range of opinions in all media, where debate, editorial opinion, and government opposition viewpoints are represented in some form or another. Nearly all media are privately owned.

ORGANIZATIONS

A number of industrial and commercial organizations exercise considerable influence on economic policy. The National Association of Manufacturers and the US Chamber of Commerce, with numerous local branches, are the two central bodies of business and commerce. Various industries have their own associations, concerned with cooperative research and questions of policy alike.

Practically every profession in the United States is represented by one or more professional organizations. Among the most powerful of these are the American Medical Association, comprising regional, state, and local medical societies; the American Bar Association, also comprising state and local associations; the American Hospital Association; and the National Education Association. The most prestigious scientific and technical institutions are the National Academy of Sciences (founded 1863) and the National Academy of Engineering (1964).

Many private organizations are dedicated to programs of political and social action. Prominent in this realm are the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Urban League, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Common Cause, and the Anti-Defamation League. The League of Women Voters, which provides the public with nonpartisan information about candidates and election issues, began sponsoring televised debates between the major presidential candidates in 1976. The National Organization for Women and the National Rifle Association have each mounted nationwide lobbying campaigns on issues affecting their members. There are thousands of political action committees (PACs) that disburse funds to candidates for the House and Senate and other elected offices.

The great privately endowed philanthropic foundations and trusts play an important part in encouraging the development of education, art, science, and social progress in the United States. Prominent foundations include the Carnegie Corporation and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Mayo Association for the Advancement of Medical Research and Education, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Private philanthropy was responsible for the establishment of many of the nation's most eminent libraries, concert halls, museums, and university and medical facilities; private bequests were also responsible for the establishment of the Pulitzer Prizes. Merit awards offered by industry and professional groups include the "Oscars" of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the "Emmys" of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the "Grammys" of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Funds for a variety of community health and welfare services are funneled through United Way campaigns, which raise funds annually. The American Red Cross has over 3,000 chapters, which pay for services and activities ranging from disaster relief to blood donor programs. The Salvation Army is also a prominent national organization supporting programs of social welfare and advancement. There are several national associations dedicated to research and education for specific fields of medicine and particular diseases and conditions, such as the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the March of Dimes.

There are numerous youth clubs and associations across the country. The Boy Scouts of America, the Girl Scouts of the USA, rural 4-H Clubs, and the Young Men's and the Young Women's Christian Associations are among the organizations devoted to recreation, sports, camping, and education. There are youth organizations for political parties, such as the Young Republicans and Young Democrats, and Junior ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps) for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Most national religious and service associations have youth chapters.

The largest religious organization in the United States is the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, which embraces 32 Protestant and Orthodox denominations, whose adherents total more than 42 million. Many organizations, such as the American Philosophical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Geographic Society, are dedicated to the enlargement of various branches of human knowledge. National, state, and local historical societies abound, and there are numerous educational, sports, and hobbyist groups.

The larger veterans' organizations are the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, the Catholic War Veterans, and the Jewish War Veterans. Fraternal organizations, in addition to such international organizations as the Masons, include indigenous groups such as the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Loyal Order of Moose, and the Woodmen of the World. Many, such as the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America, commemorate the national origin of their members. One of the largest fraternal organizations is the Roman Catholic Knights of Columbus.

TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION

Among the most striking scenic attractions in the United States are: the Grand Canyon in Arizona; Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico; Yosemite National Park in California; Yellowstone National Park in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming; Niagara Falls, partly in New York; and the Everglades in Florida. The United States has a total of 49 national parks. Popular coastal resorts include those of Florida, California, and Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Historical attractions include the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall in Philadelphia; the Statue of Liberty in New York City; the White House, the Capitol, and the monuments to Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln in the District of Columbia; the Williamsburg historical restoration in Virginia; various Revolutionary and Civil War battlefields and monuments in the East and South; the Alamo in San Antonio; and Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. Among many other popular tourist attractions are the movie and television studios in Los Angeles; the cable cars in San Francisco; casino gambling in Las Vegas and in Atlantic City, New Jersey; thoroughbred horse racing in Kentucky; the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee; and such amusement parks as Disneyland (Anaheim, California) and Walt Disney World (near Orlando, Florida). For abundance and diversity of entertainmenttheater, movies, music, dance, and sportsNew York City has few rivals. In April 1993, Amtrak began the country's first regularly scheduled transcontinental passenger service, from Los Angeles to Miami.

Americans' recreational activities range from the major spectator sportsprofessional baseball, football, basketball, ice hockey, soccer; and horse racing; and collegiate football and basketballto home gardening. Participant sports are a favorite form of recreation, including jogging, aerobics, tennis, and golf. Skiing is a popular recreation in New England and the western mountain ranges, while sailing, power boating, rafting, and canoeing are popular water sports.

Foreign visitors to the United States numbered 41.2 million in 2003, down from 51 million in 2000. Of these visitors, 31% came from Canada and 25% from Mexico. Hotel rooms numbered 4.4 million with an occupancy rate of 61%. With a few exceptions, such as Canadians entering from the Western Hemisphere, all visitors to the United States are required to have passports and visas.

The cost of traveling in the United States varies from city to city. According to 2005 US government estimates, daily expenses were approximately $187 in Chicago, $272 in New York, $230 in Washington, DC, and $174 in Miami. Costs are lower in smaller cities and rural areas.

FAMOUS AMERICANS

Printer, publisher, inventor, scientist, statesman, and diplomat, Benjamin Franklin (170690) was America's outstanding figure of the colonial period. George Washington (173299), leader of the colonial army in the American Revolution, became first president of the United States and is known as the "father of his country." Chief author of the Declaration of Independence, founder of the US political party system, and third president was Thomas Jefferson (17431826). His leading political opponents were John Adams (17351826), second president, and Alexander Hamilton (b.West Indies, 17551804), first secretary of the treasury, who secured the new nation's credit. James Madison (17511836), a leading figure in drawing up the US Constitution, served as fourth president. John Quincy Adams (17671848), sixth president, was an outstanding diplomat and secretary of state.

Andrew Jackson (17671845), seventh president, was an ardent champion of the common people and opponent of vested interests. Outstanding senators during the Jackson era were John Caldwell Calhoun (17821850), spokesman of the southern planter aristocracy and leading exponent of the supremacy of states' rights over federal powers; Henry Clay (17771852), the great compromiser, who sought to reconcile the conflicting views of the North and the South; and Daniel Webster (17821852), statesman and orator, who championed the preservation of the Union against sectional interests and division. Abraham Lincoln (180965) led the United States through its most difficult period, the Civil War, in the course of which he issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Jefferson Davis (180889) served as the only president of the short-lived Confederacy. Stephen Grover Cleveland (18371908), a conservative reformer, was the strongest president in the latter part of the 19th century. Among the foremost presidents of the 20th century have been Nobel Peace Prize winner Theodore Roosevelt (18581919); Woodrow Wilson (18561924), who led the nation during World War I and helped establish the League of Nations; and Franklin Delano Roosevelt (18821945), elected to four terms spanning the Great Depression and World War II. The presidents during the 19612000 period have been John Fitzgerald Kennedy (191763), Lyndon Baines Johnson (190873), Richard Milhous Nixon (191394), Gerald Rudolph Ford (Leslie Lynch King, Jr., b.1913), Jimmy Carter (James Earl Carter, Jr., b.1924), Ronald Wilson Reagan (19112004), George Herbert Walker Bush (b.1924), and Bill Clinton (William Jefferson Blythe III, b.1946). George Walker Bush (b.1946) became the 43rd president and first president of the 21st century.

Of the outstanding US military leaders, four were produced by the Civil War: Union generals Ulysses Simpson Grant (182285), who later served as the eighteenth president, and William Tecumseh Sherman (182091); and Confederate generals Robert Edward Lee (180770) and Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson (182463). George Catlett Marshall (18801959), army chief of staff during World War II, in his later capacity as secretary of state under President Harry s Truman (18841972), formulated the Marshall Plan, which did much to revitalize Western Europe. George Smith Patton, Jr. (18851945) was a leading general who commanded major units in North Africa, Sicily, and Europe in World War II. Douglas MacArthur (18801964) commanded the US forces in Asia during World War II, oversaw the postwar occupation and reorganization of Japan, and directed UN forces in the first year of the Korean conflict. Dwight D. Eisenhower (18901969) served as supreme Allied commander during World War II, later becoming the thirty-fourth president. William Childs Westmoreland (19142005) commanded US military operations in the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1968 and served as US Army Chief of Staff from 1968 to 1972. H. Norman Schwarzkopf (b.1934) commanded the successful allied invasion of Iraq in the Persian Gulf War. General Colin Luther Powell (b.1937), former Secretary of State (20012005) and highest ranking African American government official in the history of the United States (a position assumed by Condoleezza Rice in 2005), was a general in the army who also served as National Security Advisor (19871989) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (19891993).

John Marshall (17551835), chief justice of the United States from 1801 to 1835, established the power of the Supreme Court through the principle of judicial review. Other important chief justices were Edward Douglass White (18451921), former president William Howard Taft (18571930), and Earl Warren (18911974), whose tenure as chief justice from 1953 to 1969 saw important decisions on desegregation, reapportionment, and civil liberties. The justice who enjoyed the longest tenure on the court was William O. Douglas (18981980), who served from 1939 to 1975; other prominent associate justices were Oliver Wendell Holmes (18411935), Louis Dembitz Brandeis (18561941), and Hugo Lafayette Black (18861971).

Indian chiefs renowned for their resistance to white encroachment were Pontiac (1729?69), Black Hawk (17671838), Tecumseh (17681813), Osceola (1804?38), Cochise (1812?74), Geronimo (1829?1909), Sitting Bull (1831?90), Chief Joseph (1840?1904), and Crazy Horse (1849?77). Other significant Indian chiefs were Hiawatha (fl. 1500), Squanto (d.1622), and Sequoya (1770?1843). Historical figures who have become part of American folklore include pioneer Daniel Boone (17341820); silversmith, engraver, and patriot Paul Revere (17351818); frontiersman David "Davy" Crockett (17861836); scout and Indian agent Christopher "Kit" Carson (180968); James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok (183776); William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody (18461917); and the outlaws Jesse Woodson James (184782) and Billy the Kid (William H. Bonney, 185981).

Inventors and Scientists

Outstanding inventors were Robert Fulton (17651815), who developed the steamboat; Eli Whitney (17651825), inventor of the cotton gin and mass production techniques; Samuel Finley Breese Morse (17911872), who invented the telegraph; and Elias Howe (181967), who invented the sewing machine. Alexander Graham Bell (b.Scotland, 18471922) gave the world the telephone. Thomas Alva Edison (18471931) was responsible for hundreds of inventions, among them the long-burning incandescent electric lamp, the phonograph, automatic telegraph devices, a motion picture camera and projector, the microphone, and the mimeograph. Lee De Forest (18731961), the "father of the radio," developed the vacuum tube and many other inventions. Vladimir Kosma Zworykin (b.Russia, 18891982) was principally responsible for the invention of television. Two brothers, Wilbur Wright (18671912) and Orville Wright (18711948), designed, built, and flew the first successful motor-powered airplane. Amelia Earhart (18981937) and Charles Lindbergh (190274) were aviation pioneers. Pioneers in the space program include John Glenn (b.1921), the first US astronaut to orbit the earth, and Neil Armstrong (b.1930), the first man to set foot on the moon.

Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford (17531814), developed devices for measuring light and heat, and the physicist Joseph Henry (17971878) did important work in magnetism and electricity. Outstanding botanists and naturalists were John Bartram (16991777); his son William Bartram (17391832); Louis Agassiz (b.Switzerland, 180773); Asa Gray (181088); Luther Burbank (18491926), developer of a vast number of new and improved varieties of fruits, vegetables, and flowers; and George Washington Carver (18641943), known especially for his work on industrial applications for peanuts. John James Audubon (17851851) won fame as an ornithologist and artist.

Distinguished physical scientists include Samuel Pierpont Langley (18341906), astronomer and aviation pioneer; Josiah Willard Gibbs (18391903), mathematical physicist, whose work laid the basis for physical chemistry; Henry Augustus Rowland (18481901), who did important research in magnetism and optics; and Albert Abraham Michelson (b.Germany, 18521931), who measured the speed of light and became the first of a long line of US Nobel Prize winners. The chemists Gilbert Newton Lewis (18751946) and Irving Langmuir (18811957) developed a theory of atomic structure.

The theory of relativity was conceived by Albert Einstein (b.Germany, 18791955), generally considered the greatest mind in the physical sciences since Newton. Percy Williams Bridgman (18821961) was the father of operationalism and studied the effect of high pressures on materials. Arthur Holly Compton (18921962) made discoveries in the field of X rays and cosmic rays. The physical chemist Harold Clayton Urey (18931981) discovered heavy hydrogen. Isidor Isaac Rabi (b.Austria, 18981988), nuclear physicist, did important work in magnetism, quantum mechanics, and radiation. Enrico Fermi (b.Italy, 190154) created the first nuclear chain reaction, in Chicago in 1942, and contributed to the development of the atomic and hydrogen bombs. Also prominent in the splitting of the atom were Leo Szilard (b.Hungary, 18981964), J. Robert Oppenheimer (190467), and Edward Teller (b.Hungary, 19082003). Ernest Orlando Lawrence (190158) developed the cyclotron. Carl David Anderson (190591) discovered the positron. Mathematician Norbert Wiener (18941964) developed the science of cybernetics.

Outstanding figures in the biological sciences include Theobald Smith (18591934), who developed immunization theory and practical immunization techniques for animals; the geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan (18661945), who discovered the heredity functions of chromosomes; and neurosurgeon Harvey William Cushing (18691939). Selman Abraham Waksman (b.Russia, 18881973), a microbiologist specializing in antibiotics, was codiscoverer of streptomycin. Edwin Joseph Cohn (18921953) is noted for his work in the protein fractionalization of blood, particularly the isolation of serum albumin. Philip Showalter Hench (18961965) isolated and synthesized cortisone. Wendell Meredith Stanley (190471) was the first to isolate and crystallize a virus. Jonas Edward Salk (191495) developed an effective killed-virus poliomyelitis vaccine, and Albert Bruce Sabin (190693) contributed oral, attenuated live-virus polio vaccines.

Adolf Meyer (b.Switzerland, 18661950) developed the concepts of mental hygiene and dementia praecox and the theory of psychobiology; Harry Stack Sullivan (18921949) created the interpersonal theory of psychiatry. Social psychologist George Herbert Mead (18631931) and behaviorist Burrhus Frederic Skinner (190490) were influential in the 20th century. Psychiatrist Aaron Temkin Beck (b.1921) is regarded as the founder of cognitive therapy, and Albert Ellis (b.1913) developed rational-emotive therapy.

A pioneer in psychology who was also an influential philosopher was William James (18421910). Other leading US philosophers are Charles Sanders Peirce (18391914); Josiah Royce (18551916); John Dewey (18591952), also famous for his theories of education; George Santayana (b.Spain, 18631952); Rudolf Carnap (b.Germany, 18911970); Willard Van Orman Quine (19082000), Richard Rorty (b.1931), Hilary Putnam (b.1926), John Rawls (19212002), Robert Nozick (19382002), and linguist and political philosopher Noam Chomsky (b.1928). Educators of note include Horace Mann (17961859), Henry Barnard (18111900), and Charles William Eliot (18341926). Noah Webster (17581843) was the outstanding US lexicographer, and Melvil Dewey (18511931) was a leader in the development of library science. Thorstein Bunde Veblen (18571929) wrote books that have strongly influenced economic and social thinking. Also important in the social sciences have been sociologists Talcott Parsons (190279) and William Graham Sumner (18401910) and anthropologist Margaret Mead (190178).

Social Reformers

Social reformers of note include Dorothea Lynde Dix (180287), who led movements for the reform of prisons and insane asylums; William Lloyd Garrison (180579) and Frederick Douglass (Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, 181795), prominent abolitionists; Elizabeth Cady Stanton (18151902) and Susan Brownell Anthony (18201906), leaders in the women's suffrage movement; Clara Barton (18211912), founder of the American Red Cross; economist Henry George (183997), advocate of the single-tax theory; Eugene Victor Debs (18551926), labor leader and an outstanding organizer of the Socialist movement in the United States; Jane Addams (18601935), who pioneered in settlement house work; Robert Marion La Follette (18551925), a leader for progressive political reform in Wisconsin and in the US Senate; Margaret Higgins Sanger (18831966), pioneer in birth control; Norman Thomas (18841968), Socialist Party leader; and Martin Luther King, Jr. (192968), a central figure in the black civil rights movement and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Betty Friedan (19212006), Gloria Steinem (b.1934), and bell hooks (b.Gloria Jean Watkins, 1952) are contemporary feminists.

Religious leaders include Roger Williams (160383), an early advocate of religious tolerance in the United States; Jonathan Edwards (170358), New England preacher and theologian; Elizabeth Ann Seton (17741821), the first American canonized in the Roman Catholic Church; William Ellery Channing (17801842), a founder of American Unitarianism; Joseph Smith (180544), founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) and his chief associate, Brigham Young (180177); and Mary Baker Eddy (18211910), founder of the Christian Science Church. Paul Tillich (b.Germany, 18861965) and Reinhold Niebuhr (18921971) were outstanding Protestant theologians of international influence. Pat Robertson (b.1930), televangelist and leader of the Christian Coalition organization, and Jerry Falwell (b.1933), a fundamentalist Baptist pastor, televangelist, and founder of the Moral Majority movement and Liberty University, are contemporary leaders of the Christian religious right.

Famous US businessmen include Éleùthere Irénée du Pont de Nemours (b.France, 17711834), John Jacob Astor (Johann Jakob Ashdour, b.Germany, 17631848), Cornelius Vanderbilt (17941877), Andrew Carnegie (b.Scotland, 18351919), John Pierpont Morgan (18371913), John Davison Rockefeller (18391937), Andrew William Mellon (18551937), Henry Ford (18631947), and Thomas John Watson (18741956). William Henry "Bill" Gates III (b.1955), co-founder of the Microsoft Corp., was the richest person in the world as of 2006. Other corporate leaders in the 21st century include: Warren Edward Buffett (b.1930), Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., (b.1942), H. Wayne Huizenga (b.1937), Steve Jobs (b.1955), Sam Walton (19181992), John Francis "Jack" Welch Jr. (b.1935), and Sanford I. Weill (b.1933).

Literary Figures

The first US author to be widely read outside the United States was Washington Irving (17831859). James Fenimore Cooper (17891851) was the first popular US novelist. Three noted historians were William Hickling Prescott (17961859), John Lothrop Motley (181477), and Francis Parkman (182393). The writings of two men of Concord, Mass.Ralph Waldo Emerson (180382) and Henry David Thoreau (181762)influenced philosophers, political leaders, and ordinary men and women in many parts of the world. The novels and short stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne (180464) explore New England's Puritan heritage. Herman Melville (181991) wrote the powerful novel Moby-Dick, a symbolic work about a whale hunt that has become an American classic. Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens, 18351910) is the bestknown US humorist. Other leading novelists of the later 19th and early 20th centuries were William Dean Howells (18371920), Henry James (18431916), Edith Wharton (18621937), Stephen Crane (18711900), Theodore Dreiser (18711945), Willa Cather (18731947), and Sinclair Lewis (18851951), first US winner of the Nobel Prize for literature (1930). Later Nobel Prizewinning US novelists include Pearl Sydenstricker Buck (18921973), in 1938; William Faulkner (18971962), in 1949; Ernest Hemingway (18991961), in 1954; John Steinbeck (190268), in 1962; Saul Bellow (b.Canada, 19152005), in 1976; Isaac Bashevis Singer (b.Poland, 190491), in 1978; and Toni Morrison (b.1931), in 1993. Among other noteworthy writers are Zora Neale Hurston (18911960), Henry Miller (18911980), James Thurber (18941961), Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (18961940), Vladimir Nabokov (b.Russia, 18991977), Thomas Wolfe (19001938), Richard Wright (190860), Eudora Welty (19092001), John Cheever (191282), Bernard Malamud (19141986), Carson McCullers (19171967), Norman Mailer (b.1923), James Baldwin (192487), Jack Kerouac (19221969), John Updike (b.1932), Philip Roth (b.1933), Paul Auster (b.1947), John Barth (b.1930), Donald Barthelme (19311989), T. Coraghessan Boyle (b.1948), Sandra Cisneros (b.1954), Joan Didion (b.1934), Stephen Dixon (b.1936), E.L. Doctorow (b.1931), Louise Erdrich (b.1954), William Gaddis (19221998), Carl Hiaasen (b.1953), Oscar Hijuelos (b.1951), John Irving (b.1942), Jamaica Kincaid (b.Elaine Cynthia Potter Richardson, 1949), Jhumpa Lahiri (b.Nilanjana Sudeshna, 1967), Jonathan Lethem (b.1964), Cormac McCarthy (b.1933), Larry McMurtry (b.1936), Bharati Mukherjee (b.1940), Joyce Carol Oates (b.1938), Marge Piercy (b.1936), E. Annie Proulx (b.1935), Thomas Pynchon (b.1937), J.D. Salinger (b.1919), Wallace Stegner (190993), Gore Vidal (b.1925), Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (b.1922), Alice Walker (b.1944), Tom Wolfe (b.1931), and Tobias Wolff (b.1945).

Noted US poets include Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (180782), Edgar Allan Poe (180949), Walt Whitman (181992), Emily Dickinson (183086), Edwin Arlington Robinson (18691935), Robert Frost (18741963), Wallace Stevens (18791955), William Carlos Williams (18831963), Marianne Moore (18871972), Edward Estlin Cummings (18941962), Hart Crane (18991932), Langston Hughes (190267), and Rita Dove (b.1952). Ezra Pound (18851972) and Nobel laureate Thomas Stearns Eliot (18881965) lived and worked abroad for most of their careers. Wystan Hugh Auden (b.England, 190773), who became an American citizen in 1946, published poetry and criticism. Elizabeth Bishop (191179), Robert Lowell (191777), Allen Ginsberg (192697), and Sylvia Plath (193263) are among the best-known poets since World War II. Robert Penn Warren (190589) won the Pulitzer Prize for both fiction and poetry and became the first US poet laureate. Carl Sandburg (18781967) was a noted poet, historian, novelist, and folklorist. The foremost US dramatists are Eugene (Gladstone) O'Neill (18881953), who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1936; Tennessee Williams (Th omas Lanier Williams, 191183); Arthur Miller (19152005); and Edward Albee (b.1928). Neil Simon (b.1927) is among the nation's most popular playwrights and screenwriters. August Wilson (19452005) won the Pulitzer Prize twice, for Fences (1985) and The Piano Lesson (1990), both of which depicted the African American experience.

Artists

Two renowned painters of the early period were John Singleton Copley (17381815) and Gilbert Stuart (17551828). Outstanding 19th-century painters were James Abbott McNeill Whistler (18341903), Winslow Homer (18361910), Thomas Eakins (18441916), Mary Cassatt (18451926), Albert Pinkham Ryder (18471917), John Singer Sargent (b.Italy, 18561925), and Frederic Remington (18611909). More recently, Edward Hopper (18821967), Georgia O'Keeffe (18871986), Thomas Hart Benton (18891975), Charles Burchfield (18931967), Norman Rockwell (18941978), Ben Shahn (18981969), Mark Rothko (b.Russia, 190370), Jackson Pollock (191256), Andrew Wyeth (b.1917), Robert Rauschenberg (b.1925), and Jasper Johns (b.1930) have achieved international recognition.

Sculptors of note include Augustus Saint-Gaudens (18481907), Gaston Lachaise (18821935), Jo Davidson (18831952), Daniel Chester French (18501931), Alexander Calder (18981976), Louise Nevelson (b.Russia, 18991988), and Isamu Noguchi (190488). Henry Hobson Richardson (183886), Louis Henry Sullivan (18561924), Frank Lloyd Wright (18691959), Louis I. Kahn (b.Estonia, 190174), and Eero Saarinen (191061) were outstanding architects. Contemporary architects of note include Richard Buckminster Fuller (18951983), Edward Durrell Stone (190278), Philip Cortelyou Johnson (19062005), Ieoh Ming Pei (b.China, 1917), and Frank Gehry (b.1929). The United States has produced many fine photographers, notably Mathew B. Brady (1823?96), Alfred Stieglitz (18641946), Edward Steichen (18791973), Edward Weston (18861958), Ansel Adams (190284), and Margaret Bourke-White (190471).

Entertainment Figures

Outstanding figures in the motion picture industry are D. W. (David Lewelyn Wark) Griffith (18751948), Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin (b.England, 18891978), Walter Elias "Walt" Disney (190666), and George Orson Welles (191585). John Ford (18951973), Howard Winchester Hawks (18961977), Frank Capra (b.Italy, 18971991), Sir Alfred Hitchcock (b.England, 18991980), and John Huston (190687) were influential motion picture directors; Mel Brooks (Kaminsky, b.1926), George Lucas (b.1944), and Steven Spielberg (b.1947) have achieved remarkable popular success. Woody Allen (Allen Konigsberg, b.1935) has written, directed, and starred in comedies on stage and screen. World-famous American actors and actresses include the Barrymores, Ethel (18791959) and her brothers Lionel (18781954) and John (18821942); Humphrey Bogart (18991957); James Cagney (18991986); Spencer Tracy (19001967); Helen Hayes Brown (190093); Clark Gable (190160); Joan Crawford (Lucille Fay LeSueur, 190477); Cary Grant (Alexander Archibald Leach, b.England, 190486); Greta Garbo (Greta Louisa Gustafsson, b.Sweden, 190590); Henry Fonda (190582) and his daughter, Jane (b.1937); John Wayne (Marion Michael Morrison, 190779); Bette (Ruth Elizabeth) Davis (190889); Katharine Hepburn (19092003); Judy Garland (Frances Gumm, 192269); Marlon Brando (19242004); Marilyn Monroe (Norma Jean Mortenson, 192662); and Dustin Hoffman (b.1937). Among other great entertainers are W. C. Fields (William Claude Dukenfield, 18801946), Al Jolson (Asa Yoelson, b.Russia, 18861950), Jack Benny (Benjamin Kubelsky, 18941974), Fred Astaire (Fred Austerlitz, 18991987), Bob (Leslie Townes) Hope (b.England, 19032003), Bing (Harry Lillis) Crosby (190478), Frank (Francis Albert) Sinatra (191598), Elvis Aaron Presley (193577), and Barbra (Barbara Joan) Streisand (b.1942). The first great US "showman" was Phineas Taylor Barnum (181091).

Composers and Musicians

The foremost composers are Edward MacDowell (18611908), Charles Ives (18741954), Ernest Bloch (b.Switzerland, 18801959), Virgil Thomson (189689), Roger Sessions (18961985), Roy Harris (18981979), Aaron Copland (190090), Elliott Carter (b.1908), Samuel Barber (191081), John Cage (191292), and Leonard Bernstein (191890). George Rochberg (19182005), George Crumb (b.1929), Steve Reich (b.1936), and Philip Glass (b.1937) have won more recent followings. The songs of Stephen Collins Foster (182664) have achieved folk-song status. Leading composers of popular music are John Philip Sousa (18541932), George Michael Cohan (18781942), Jerome Kern (18851945), Irving Berlin (Israel Baline, b.Russia, 18881989), Cole Porter (18931964), George Gershwin (18981937), Richard Rodgers (190279), Woody Guthrie (191267), Stephen Joshua Sondheim (b.1930), Paul Simon (b.1941), and Bob Dylan (Robert Zimmerman, b.1941). Preeminent in the blues traditions are Leadbelly (Huddie Ledbetter, 18881949), Bessie Smith (1898?1937), and Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield, 191583). Leading jazz figures include the composers Scott Joplin (18681917), James Hubert "Eubie" Blake (18831983), Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (18991974), and William "Count" Basie (190484), and performers Louis Armstrong (19001971), Billie Holiday (Eleanora Fagan, 191559), John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie (191793), Charlie "Bird" Parker (192055), John Coltrane (192667), and Miles Davis (192691).

Many foreign-born musicians have enjoyed personal and professional freedom in the United States; principal among them were pianists Artur Schnabel (b.Austria, 18821951), Arthur Rubinstein (b.Poland, 18871982), Rudolf Serkin (b.Bohemia, 190391), Vladimir Horowitz (b.Russia, 190489), and violinists Jascha Heifetz (b.Russia, 190187) and Isaac Stern (b.USSR, 1920). Among distinguished instrumentalists born in the United States are Benny Goodman (190986), a classical as well as jazz clarinetist, and concert pianist Van Cliburn (Harvey Lavan, Jr., b.1934). Singers Paul Robeson (18981976), Marian Anderson (18971993), Maria Callas (Maria Kalogeropoulos, 192377), Leontyne Price (b.1927), and Beverly Sills (Belle Silverman, b.1929) have achieved international acclaim. Isadora Duncan (18781927) was one of the first US dancers to win fame abroad. Martha Graham (189391) pioneered in modern dance. George Balanchine (b.Russia, 190483), Agnes De Mille (190593), Jerome Robbins (191898), Paul Taylor (b.1930), and Twyla Tharp (b.1941) are leading choreographers; Martha Graham (18931991) pioneered in modern dance.

Sports Figures

Among the many noteworthy sports stars are baseball's Tyrus Raymond "Ty" Cobb (18861961) and George Herman "Babe" Ruth (18951948); football's Samuel Adrian "Sammy" Baugh (b.1914), Jim Brown (b.1936), Francis A. "Fran" Tarkenton (b.1940), and Orenthal James Simpson (b.1947); and golf's Robert Tyre "Bobby" Jones (190271) and Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias (191456). William Tatum "Bill" Tilden (18931953), Billie Jean (Moffitt) King (b.1943), Chris Evert (b.1954), Martina Navratilova (b.Czechoslovakia, 1956), Andre Agassi (b.1970), Peter ("Pete") Sampras (b.1971), and sisters Venus (b.1980) and Serena (b.1981) Williams have starred in tennis; Joe Louis (Joseph Louis Barrow, 191481) and Muhammad Ali (Cassius Marcellus Clay, b.1942) in boxing; William Felton "Bill" Russell (b.1934) Wilton Norman "Wilt" Chamberlain (193699), and Michael Jordan (b.1963) in basketball; Mark Spitz (b.1950) and Michael Phelps (b.1985) in swimming; Eric Heiden (b.1958) in speed skating; and Jesse Owens (191380) in track and field.

DEPENDENCIES

As of January 1988, US dependencies, in addition to those listed below, included American Samoa, Guam, Midway, Wake Island, and the Northern Mariana Islands; see the Asia volume. Sovereignty over the Panama Canal Zone was transferred to Panama on 1 October 1979; the canal itself reverted to Panamanian control until 31 December 1999.

Navassa

Navassa, a 5-sq-km (2-sq-mi) island between Jamaica and Haiti, was claimed by the United States under the Guano Act of 1856. The island, located at 18°24 n and 75°1 w, is uninhabited except for a lighthouse station under the administration of the coast guard.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Ricototal area 9,104 sq km (3,515 sq mi)is the smallest and most easterly of the Greater Antilles, which screen the Caribbean Sea from the Atlantic proper. It lies between 17°51 and 18°31n and 65°13 and 67°56 w, being separated from the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola to the w by the Mona Passage, 121 km (75 mi) wide, and from the Virgin Islands on the e by Vieques Sound and the Virgin Passage. Roughly rectangular, the main island of Puerto Rico extends 179 km (111 mi) ew and 58 km (36 mi) ns. It is crossed from east to west by mountain ranges, the most prominent being the Cordillera Central, rising to nearly 1,338 m (4,390 ft). The coastal plain is about 24 km (15 mi) wide at its broadest point, and approximately one-third of the island's land is arable. About 50 short rivers flow rapidly to the sea. Islands off the coast include Mona and Desecheo to the w and Vieques and Culebra to the e. The mildly tropical climate is moderated by the surrounding sea, and seasonal variations are slight. The prevailing winds are the northeast trades. In San Juan on the northern coast, mean temperatures range from 24°c (75 °f) for January to 27°c (81 °f) for July. Mean annual rainfall varies from 91 cm (36 in) on the south coast to 152 cm (60 in) in San Juan and may total more than 457 cm (180 in) on the northern mountain slopes in the interior. Tropical fruits and other vegetation abound. As of 1991, endangered species on the island included the Puerto Rican plain pigeon, Puerto Rican parrot, Puerto Rican boa, giant anole, and hawksbill, leatherback, olive ridley, and green sea turtles.

The population was estimated at 3,927,188 in 2006. San Juan, the capital, had an estimated population of 422,000, with a metropolitan area of more than one million. The population has more than doubled since 1930, despite extensive migration to the US mainland. Improved economic conditions on the island and diminishing opportunities in the United States had slowed the trend by 1970; net out-migration was -2.12 migrants per 1000 population in 2001. Thousands of Puerto Ricans commute annually between Puerto Rico and the United States.

Puerto Ricans are of Spanish descent (80%), black (8%), or mixed ancestry (10%). Nearly all of the Amerindian inhabitants (about 0.4% of the population in 2002) were exterminated in the 16th century. Spanish is the official language, but many Puerto Ricans also speak English, which is required as a second language in the schools. The Roman Catholic religion is predominant (85%), but evangelical Protestant sects also have wide followings.

San Juan is the busiest commercial air center in the Caribbean and there is excellent air service to New York, Miami, other points in the Caribbean, and Latin America. More than 40 steamship companies provide overseas freight and passenger service; San Juan, Ponce, and Mayagüez are the principal ports. In 1998 there were 14,400 km (9,020 mi) of paved highway; trucks carry the bulk of overland freight.

Archaeological finds indicate that at least three Amerindian cultures settled on the island now known as Puerto Rico, long before its European discovery by Christopher Columbus on 19 November 1493. The first group, belonging to the Archaic Culture, are believed to have come from Florida. Having no knowledge of agriculture or pottery, they relied on the products of the sea; their remains have been found mostly in caves. The second group, the Igneri, came from northern South America. Descended from South American Arawak stock, the Igneri brought agriculture and pottery to the island; their remains are found mostly in the coastal areas. The third culture, the Taíno, also of Arawak origin, combined fishing with agriculture. A peaceful, sedentary tribe, the Taíno were adept at stonework and lived in many parts of the island; to these Amerindians, the island was known as Borinquén.

Columbus, accompanied by a young nobleman named Juan Ponce de León, landed at the western end of the islandwhich he called San Juan Bautista (St. John the Baptist)and claimed it for Spain. Not until colonization was well under way would the island acquire the name Puerto Rico ("rich port"), with the name San Juan Bautista applied to the capital city. The first settlers arrived on 12 August 1508, under the able leadership of Ponce de León, who sought to transplant and adapt Spanish civilization to Puerto Rico's tropical habitat. The small contingent of Spaniards compelled the Taíno, numbering perhaps 30,000, to mine for gold; the rigors of forced labor and the losses from rebellion reduced the Taíno population to about 4,000 by 1514, by which time the mines were nearly depleted. With the introduction of slaves from Africa, sugarcane growing became the leading economic activity.

Puerto Rico was briefly held by the English in 1598 and San Juan was besieged by the Dutch in 1625; otherwise, Spanish rule continued until the latter part of the 19th century. The island was captured by US forces during the Spanish-American War, and under the Treaty of Paris (December 1898) Puerto Rico was ceded outright to the United States. It remained under direct military rule until 1900, when the US Congress established an administration with a governor and an executive council, appointed by the US president, and a popularly elected House of Delegates. In 1917, Puerto Ricans were granted US citizenship.

In 1947, Congress provided for popular election of the governor, and in 1948, Luis Muñoz Marín was elected to that office. A congressional act of 1950, affirmed by popular vote in the island on 4 June 1951, granted Puerto Rico the right to draft its own constitution. The constitution was ratified by popular referendum on 3 March 1952. Puerto Rico's new status as a free commonwealth voluntarily associated with the United States became effective on 25 July. The commonwealth status was upheld in a plebiscite in 1967, with 60.5% voting for continuation of the commonwealth and 38.9% for Puerto Rican statehood. In 1993 the plebiscite vote drew nearly 1.7 million voters or 73.6% of those eligible. The voters choose to keep the commonwealth status 48.4% to 46.2% for statehood, and 4.4% for independence.

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico enjoys almost complete internal autonomy. The chief executive is the governor, elected by popular vote to a four-year term. The legislature consists of a 28-member Senate and 51-member House of Representatives elected by popular vote to four-year terms. The Supreme Court and lower courts are tied in with the US federal judiciary, and appeals from Puerto Rican courts may be carried as far as the US Supreme Court.

The Popular Democratic Party (PDP) was the dominant political party until 1968, when Luis A. Ferré, a New Progressive Party (NPP) candidate, who had supported the statehood position in the 1967 plebiscite, won the governorship. The NPP also won control of the House, while the PDP retained the Senate. The PDP returned to power in 1972 but lost to the NPP in 1976 and again, by a very narrow margin, in 1980; in 1984, it took roughly two-to-one majorities in both houses. The pro-commonwealth PDP remained in control of the government in every election from 198492, when Pedro Rosselló, a New Progressive and supporter of statehood, was elected governor; Roselló was reelected in 1996. In the November 2000 election, Sila M. Calderon of the PDP was elected governor. There is a small but vocal independence movement, divided into two wings: the moderates, favoring social democracy, and the radicals, supporting close ties with the Fidel Castro regime in Cuba. Puerto Rico elects a commissioner to serve a four-year term as a nonvoting member of the US House of Representatives. In November 2000, PPD candidate Anibal Acevedo-Vila was elected commissioner from Puerto Rico.

For more than 400 years, the island's economy was based almost exclusively on sugar. Since 1947, agriculture has been diversified, and a thriving manufacturing industry has been established; since 1956 there has been increasing emphasis on hotel building to encourage the expansion of the tourist industry. By 2000, the gross domestic product (GDP) reached $43.9 billion, up from $15.8 billion in 1986. The leading industrial products were pharmaceuticals, electronics, apparel, food products, and tourism. Sugar processing, once the dominant industry, now plays a lesser role. In 1952, there were only 82 labor-intensive plants on the island. By 1990 there were 2,000 plantsmost capital intensivein Puerto Rico.

US taxes do not apply in Puerto Rico, since the commonwealth is not represented in Congress. New or expanding manufacturing and hotel enterprises are granted exemptions of varying lengths and degrees from income taxes and municipal levies. In 1940, when annual income per capita was $118, agricultural workers made as little as 6 cents an hour, and the illiteracy rate was 70%. By 2005, per capita GDP was $18,600, and illiteracy had declined to just 6% (estimated to be slightly higher for females).

In 2001, Puerto Rico's exports totaled $46.9 billion, imports totaled $29.1 billion. Each year, an estimated 5 million tourists visit Puerto Rico.

In 1995/96, 621,370 pupils were enrolled in public schools. Enrollment in the 14 institutions of higher education was 156,439 in 1994/95; the main state-supported university is the University of Puerto Rico, with its main campus at Rico Piedras. Other institutions of higher learning are the Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce, and the Inter-American University with campuses at Hato Rey, San Germán, and elsewhere.

In 2004, there were 1.1 million main telephone lines on the island; that year there were an estimated 2.7 million mobile cellular telephone lines, up from 169,265 in 1996. As of 2004, 127 radio stations (74 AM, 53 FM) were operation. In 2006, there were 32 broadcast television stations. The two largest Spanishlanguage daily newspapers, both from San Juan, are El Vocero de Puerto Rico (259,000 daily circulation in 2002), and El Nuevo Día (227,000). Publishing in English is The San Juan Star (daily circulation 76,873).

Virgin Islands of the United States

The Virgin Islands of the United States lie about 64 km (40 mi) n of Puerto Rico and 1,600 km (1,000 mi) sse of Miami, between 17°40 and 18°25 n and 64°34 and 65°3 n. The island group extends 82 km (51 mi) ns and 80 km (50 mi) ew with a total area of at least 353 sq km (136 sq mi). Only 3 of the more than 50 islands and cays are of significant size: St. Croix, 218 sq km (84 sq mi) in area; St. Thomas, 83 sq km (32 sq mi); and St. John, 52 sq km (20 sq mi). The territorial capital, Charlotte Amalie, on St. Thomas, has one of the finest harbors in the Caribbean.

St. Croix is relatively flat, with a terrain suitable for sugarcane cultivation. St. Thomas is mountainous and little cultivated, but it has many snug harbors. St. John, also mountainous, has fine beaches and lush vegetation; about two-thirds of St. John's area has been declared a national park. The subtropical climate, with temperatures ranging from 2132°c (7090 °f) and an average temperature of 25°c (77°f), is moderated by northeast trade winds. Rainfall, the main source of fresh water, varies widely, and severe droughts are frequent. The average yearly rainfall is 114 cm (45 in), mostly during the summer months.

The population of the US Virgin Islands was estimated at 123,498 in 2002, up from 96,569 at the time of the 1980 census. St. Croix has two principal towns: Christiansted and Frederiksted. Economic development has brought an influx of new residents, mainly from Puerto Rico, other Caribbean islands, and the US mainland. Most of the permanent inhabitants are descendants of slaves who were brought from Africa in the early days of Danish rule, and about 80% of the population is black. English is the official and most widely spoken language.

Some of the oldest religious congregations in the Western Hemisphere are located in the Virgin Islands. A Jewish synagogue there is the second-oldest in the New World, and the Lutheran Congregation of St. Thomas, founded in 1666, is one of the three oldest congregations in the United States. As of 1999, Baptists made up an estimated 42% of the population, Roman Catholics 34%, and Episcopalians 17%.

In 2000 there were 856 km (531.6 mi) of roads in the US Virgin Islands; the US Virgin Islands has the only US roads where driving is done on the left side of the road. Cargo-shipping services operate from Baltimore, Jacksonville, and Miami via Puerto Rico. In addition, weekly shipping service is available from Miami. Both St. Croix and St. Thomas have airports, with St. Croix's facility handling the larger number of jet flights from the continental United States and Europe.

Excavations at St. Croix in the 1970s uncovered evidence of a civilization perhaps as ancient as ad 100. Christopher Columbus, who reached the islands in 1493, named them for the martyred virgin St. Ursula. At this time, St. Croix was inhabited by Carib Indians, who were eventually driven from the island by Spanish soldiers in 1555. During the 17th century, the archipelago was divided into two territorial units, one controlled by the British, the other (now the US Virgin Islands) controlled by Denmark. The separate history of the latter unit began with the settlement of St. Thomas by the Danish West India Company in 1672. St. John was claimed by the company in 1683 and St. Croix was purchased from France in 1733. The holdings of the company were taken over as a Danish crown colony in 1754. Sugarcane, cultivated by slave labor, was the backbone of the islands' prosperity in the 18th and early 19th centuries. After brutally suppressing several slave revolts. Denmark abolished slavery in the colony in 1848. A long period of economic decline followed, until Denmark sold the islands to the United States in 1917 for $25 million. Congress granted US citizenship to the Virgin Islanders in 1927. In 1931, administration of the islands was transferred from the Department of the Navy to the Department of the Interior, and the first civilian governor was appointed. In the late 1970s, the Virgin Islands government began to consider ways to expand self-rule. A UN delegation in 1977 found little interest in independence, however, and a locally drafted constitution was voted down by the electorate in 1979.

The chief executive of the Virgin Islands is the territorial governor, elected by direct popular vote (prior to 1970, territorial governors were appointed by the US president). Constitutionally, the US Congress has plenary authority to legislate for the territory. Enactment of the Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands on 22 July 1954 vested local legislative powersubject to veto by the governorin a unicameral legislature. Since 1972, the islands have sent one nonvoting representative to the US House of Representatives. Courts are under the US federal judiciary; the two federal district court judges are appointed by the US president. Territorial court judges, who preside over misdemeanor and traffic cases, are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the legislature. The district court has appellate jurisdiction over the territorial court.

Tourism, which accounts for approximately 70% of both GDP and employment is the islands' principal economic activity. The number of tourists rose dramatically throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, from 448,165 in 1964 to over 2 million per year in the 1990s, continuing into the early 2000s. Rum remains an important manufacture, with petroleum refining (on St. Croix) a major addition in the late 1960s. Economic development is promoted by the US-government-owned Virgin Islands Corp. In 2002 the gross domestic product per capita was $14,500. The unemployment rate was 6.2% in 2003. Exports for 1992 totaled $1.8 billion while imports totaled $2.2 billion. The island's primary export is refined petroleum products. Raw crude oil constitutes the Virgin Island's principal import. In 1990, median family income was $24,036.

The territorial Department of Health provides hospital and medical services, public health services, and veterinary medicine. Education is compulsory. The College of the Virgin Islands is the territory's first institution of higher learning. There were about 70,900 main line telephones in 2004, and 41,000 mobile cellular phones. The Virgin Islands had 22 radio stations (6 AM, 16 FM) and 5 broadcast television stations in 2004.

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