United States of America: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government

About the location, size, population, and government of the country the United States of America.



Location--The central 1/3 of North America, bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Canada, the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, Baja California, and Mexico. The State of Alaska is on the northwest tip of the continent, with Canada to its east. The State of Hawaii lies in the mid-Pacific.

How Created--The land claimed by the original 13 States was added to as follows (See: Chap. 3 for details):

1803--The Louisiana Territory purchased from France for $15 million plus over $8 million in interest payments. This acquisition almost doubled the size of the U.S.

1819--Florida and adjacent lands bought from Spain for $5 million.

1845--The Republic of Texas was annexed.

1846--The Oregon Territory was acquired by treaty with Great Britain.

1848--Much of the Southwest was acquired as a result of the Mexican War.

1853--More land in the Southwest claimed from Mexico (the Gadsden Purchase).

1867--Alaska bought from Russia for $7,200,000.

1898--Republic of Hawaii annexed.

1968--Mexico exchanged the northern half of Cordova Island for Chamizol Island in the Rio Grande River near El Paso, Tex.

Size--3,615,122 sq. mi. (9,363,123 sq. km.).

Population--212 million: white (a mixture of over 40 ethnic groups), 87.5%; black, 11.1%; Indian, 0.4%; Japanese, 0.3%; Chinese, 0.2%; Filipino, 0.2%; other, 0.3%. 35% Protestant, 24% Roman Catholic, 3% Jewish, 38% other or no religion.

Who Rules--A President (usually elected), a 2-house legislature (Senate and House of Representatives), and a 9-man Supreme Court, appointed by the President with the approval of the Senate. There are also State, county, and city governments, but most of their laws can be voided by the Federal Government.

Who REALLY Rules--There are many forces at work in U.S. society, but the most powerful by far are the interlocking directorates of the major banks, corporations, and insurance companies, with the backing of the leaders of the military: In the words of former President Dwight Eisenhower, "the military-industrial complex."

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