History of the United States (Members Only)

History of the United States

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Our digital history of the United States begins with the thirteen British colonies in North America. What began as a tax dispute with Great Britain became the American Revolutionary War for the independence of the United States. In the late 18th century, the United States began expanding across North America in the spirit of Manifest Destiny, which asserted the new republic’s destiny to expand from coast to coast. It gradually opened up new territories, often through war with Native Americans or European powers, and admitted those territories as new states.

By 1848, the United States spanned the continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Slavery was practiced in the South until the American Civil War ended it. The United States emerged from the Spanish-American War as an empire, and took control of former Spanish territories that included the Philippines. World War I and World War II established the United States as a world power, and during the Cold War, the United States fought “proxy wars” with the Soviet Union in Korea and Vietnam. The two superpowers competed in the Space Race that landed the Americans on the moon in 1969. The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 ended the Cold War, leaving the United States as the world’s sole superpower.

The United States is a federal presidential-constitutional republic with three separate branches of government, including a bicameral legislature. It is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, NATO, and other international organizations. Also, it is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Considered a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities, its population has been profoundly shaped by centuries of immigration. The United States ranks high in international measures of economic freedom, quality of life, education, and human rights; it has low levels of perceived corruption. However, it is widely criticized for racial, wealth, and income inequality, capital punishment and mass incarceration, and lack of universal health care.

The United States is a highly developed country, and its economy accounts for approximately a quarter of global GDP. By value, the United States is the world’s largest importer and second-largest exporter of goods. Although its population is only 4.2% of the world’s total, it holds over 30% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share held by any country. Making up more than a third of global military spending, it is the foremost military power in the world and a leading political, cultural, and scientific force.

That said, here’s our assortment… please enjoy! When you’re done perusing a map, click the ⇠ back arrow link in the upper left of your screen (not the < link), and you’ll be back here. Any problems, please get in touch at [email protected].

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