A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christian churches, associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Some Christian churches, such as the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican church, view the diaconate as part of the clerical state; the word deacon is derived from the Greek word diákonos, a standard ancient Greek word meaning "servant", "waiting-man", "minister", or "messenger". One promulgated speculation as to its etymology is that it means "through the dust", referring to the dust raised by the busy servant or messenger, it is assumed that the office of deacon originated in the selection of seven men by the apostles, among them Stephen, to assist with the charitable work of the early church as recorded in Acts 6. The title deaconess is not found in the Bible. However, one woman, Phoebe, is mentioned at Romans 16:1–2 as a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. Nothing more specific is said about her duties or authority, although it is assumed she carried Paul's Letter to the Romans.
The exact relationship between male and female deacons varies. In some traditions a female deacon is a member of the order of deacons, while in others, deaconesses constitute a separate order. In some traditions, the title "deaconess" was sometimes given to the wife of a deacon. Female deacons are mentioned by Pliny the Younger in a letter to the emperor Trajan dated c. 112. “I believed it was necessary to find out from two female slaves who were called deacons, what was true—and to find out through torture ”This is the earliest Latin text that appears to refer to female deacons as a distinct category of Christian minister. A biblical description of the qualities required of a deacon, of his household, can be found in 1 Timothy 3:1–13. Among the more prominent deacons in history are Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Prominent historical figures who played major roles as deacons and went on to higher office include Athanasius of Alexandria, Thomas Becket, Reginald Pole. On June 8, 536, a serving Roman deacon was raised to Silverius.
The title is used for the president, chairperson, or head of a trades guild in Scotland. The diaconate is one of the major orders in the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox churches; the other major orders are those of bishop and presbyter and sub-deacon. While the diaconate as a vocation was maintained from earliest Apostolic times to the present in the Eastern churches, it disappeared in the Western church during the first millennium, with Western churches retaining deacons attached to diocesan cathedrals; the diaconate continued in a vestigial form as a temporary, final step along the course toward ordination to priesthood. In the 20th century, the diaconate was restored as a vocational order in many Western churches, most notably in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the United Methodist Church. In Catholic and Anglican churches, deacons assist priests in their pastoral and administrative duties, but report directly to the bishops of their diocese, they have a distinctive role in the liturgy of the Western Churches.
In the Eastern Church, deacons have a profound liturgical presence in the Divine Liturgy. In the Western Church, Pope St. Gregory the Great reduced the liturgical role of the deacon in the Roman Rite, limiting them to serving the bishop, the proclamation of the Gospel, assisting the celebrant at the altar aside from the deacon's calling of charity. Today, deacons are granted permission to preach. Beginning around the fifth century, there was a gradual decline in the permanent diaconate in the Latin church, it has however remained a vital part of the Eastern Catholic Churches. From that time until the years just prior to the Second Vatican Council, the only men ordained as deacons were seminarians who were completing the last year or so of graduate theological training, so-called "transitional deacons", who received the order after they complete their third year at the theological seminary, several months before priestly ordination. Following the recommendations of the council, in 1967 Pope Paul VI issued the motu proprio Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem, restoring the ancient practice of ordaining to the diaconate men who were not candidates for priestly ordination.
These men are known as permanent deacons in contrast to those continuing their formation, who were called transitional deacons. There is no sacramental or canonical difference between the two, however, as there is only one order of deacons; the permanent diaconate formation period in the Roman Catholic Church varies from diocese to diocese as it is determined by the local ordinary. But it entails a year of prayerful preparation, a four- or five-year training period that resembles a collegiate course of study, a year of post-ordination formation as well as the need for lifelong continuing education credits. Diaconal candidates receive instruction in philosophy, study of the Holy Scriptures (
Baptism is a Christian rite of admission and adoption invariably with the use of water, into Christianity. The synoptic gospels recount. Baptism is considered a sacrament in most churches, as an ordinance in others. Baptism is called christening, although some reserve the word "christening" for the baptism of infants, it has given its name to the Baptist churches and denominations. The usual form of baptism among the earliest Christians involved the candidate's immersion, either or partially. John the Baptist's use of a deep river for his baptising suggests immersion: The fact that he chose a permanent and deep river suggests that more than a token quantity of water was needed, both the preposition'in' and the basic meaning of the verb'baptize' indicate immersion. In v. 16, Matthew will speak of Jesus'coming up out of the water'. Phillip and the Eunuch went down and came up out of water. Baptism is likened unto a burial in Romans 6:3. "Dip" is translated from baptō. The traditional depiction in Christian art of John the Baptist pouring water over Jesus' head may therefore be based on Christian practice.
Pictorial and archaeological evidence of Christian baptism from the 3rd century onward indicates that a normal form was to have the candidate stand in water while water was poured over the upper body. Other common forms of baptism now in use include pouring water three times on the forehead, a method called affusion. Martyrdom was identified early in Church history as "baptism by blood", enabling the salvation of martyrs who had not been baptized by water; the Catholic Church identified a baptism of desire, by which those preparing for baptism who die before receiving the sacrament are considered saved. As evidenced in the common Christian practice of infant baptism, Christians universally regarded baptism as in some sense necessary for salvation, until Huldrych Zwingli denied its necessity in the 16th century. Quakers and the Salvation Army do not practice baptism with water. Among denominations that practice baptism by water, differences occur in the manner and mode of baptizing and in the understanding of the significance of the rite.
Most Christians baptize "in the name of the Father, of the Son, of the Holy Spirit", but some baptize in Jesus' name only. Much more than half of all Christians baptize infants; the term "baptism" has been used metaphorically to refer to any ceremony, trial, or experience by which a person is initiated, purified, or given a name. The English word baptism is derived indirectly through Latin from the neuter Greek concept noun baptisma, a neologism in the New Testament derived from the masculine Greek noun baptismos, a term for ritual washing in Greek language texts of Hellenistic Judaism during the Second Temple period, such as the Septuagint. Both of these nouns are derived from the verb baptizō, used in Jewish texts for ritual washing, in the New Testament both for ritual washing and for the new rite of baptisma; the Greek verb baptō, "dip", from which the verb baptizo is derived, is in turn hypothetically traced to a reconstructed Indo-European root *gʷabh-, "dip". The Greek words are used in a great variety of meanings.
Baptism has similarities to Tvilah, a Jewish purification ritual of immersing in water, required for, among other things, conversion to Judaism, but which differs in being repeatable, while baptism is to be performed only once. John the Baptist, considered a forerunner to Christianity, used baptism as the central sacrament of his messianic movement; the apostle Paul distinguished between the baptism of John, baptism in the name of Jesus, it is questionable whether Christian baptism was in some way linked with that of John. Christians consider Jesus to have instituted the sacrament of baptism; the earliest Christian baptisms were normally by immersion, complete or partial. Though other modes may have been used. Though some form of immersion was the most common method of baptism, many of the writings from the ancient church appeared to view the mode of baptism as inconsequential; the Didache 7.1–3 allowed for affusion practices in situations where immersion was not practical. Tertullian allowed for varying approaches to baptism if those practices did not conform to biblical or traditional mandates.
Cyprian explicitly stated that the amount of water was inconsequential and defended immersion and aspersion practices. As a result, there was no uniform or consistent mode of baptism in the ancient church prior to the fourth century. By the third and fourth centuries, baptism involved catechetical instruction as well as chrismation, laying on of hands, recitation of a creed. In the early middle ages infant baptism became common and the rite was simplified. In Western Europe Affusion became the normal mode of baptism between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, though immersion was still practiced into the sixteenth. In the sixteenth century, Martin Luther retained baptism as a sacrament, but Swiss reformer Huldrych Zwingli considered baptism and the Lord's supper to be symbolic. Anabaptists denied the val
The Mosaic covenant known as the Sinaitic covenant, refers to a biblical covenant between God and the biblical Israelites, including their proselytes. The establishment and stipulations of the Mosaic covenant are recorded in the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, traditionally attributed to Moses and collectively called the Torah or Pentateuch; this covenant is sometimes referred to as the Law of Moses, Mosaic Law, or the 613 Mitzvot, or commandments. The concept of a covenant began long before the biblical era the beginnings of Israel. According to George E. Mendenhall, covenants were established as legal customs and later were replicated in the field of religion; these covenants were created on the basis of an oath, a promise between two parties followed by performance. Engaging in an oath implied that the more powerful party would ensure that the other received proper punishment if it were to default. In the case of religion, the god would be carrying out punishment; such covenants assured that either curses be enacted in response to the circumstances.
The initial covenant between God and Abraham follows the form of the suzerain covenant. Future covenants between Israel and God would be conditional; this is expressed in Deuteronomy 11:13-21, recited twice-daily as part of the foundational prayer, the Shema. This passage declares that as long as Israel is faithful to God it will be blessed with ample crops but should it follow other gods the land will not support it; the cost of not following this covenant is harsh. In addition to the legal influence in regards to the creation of covenants, Mendenhall addresses the theory behind blood ties and their significance to the concept of a covenant; as stated in the bible, Abraham and Jacob are the descendants of Israel and because of their shared blood, they form a bond. This blood tie is compared to the tie, established by a covenant, implies that without their shared blood, covenants would be the only way to ensure such unification of a religious group. Furthermore, Mendenhall notes two additional theories noting how covenants may have begun with the work of Moses, or are thought to have been established during a true historical event with a valid setting.
Regardless of the theories, the creation of covenants may be a mystery to scholars for centuries to come, the use of covenants evidenced throughout the biblical sources is an undeniable fact. According to Mendenhall, the covenant was not just an idea, but a historical event; this event was the formation of the covenant community. Wandering the desert, the clans left Egypt following Moses; these people were all of different backgrounds, containing no status in any social community. With all these circumstances they formed their own community by a covenant whose texts turned into the Decalogue; the Israelites did not bind themselves to Moses as their leader though and Moses was not a part of the covenant. Moses was just seen as a historical figure of some type sent as a messenger; the Israelites followed the form of the suzerainty treaty, a particular type of covenant common in the Near East and were bound to obey stipulations that were set by Yahweh, not Moses. In addition to Mendenhall's input and perspective, Weinfeld argues that there are two forms of covenants to have occurred throughout the Hebrew Bible: 1.)
The obligatory type & 2.) The promissory type. These translate to a “political treaty” as evidenced by the Hittite Empire, a “royal grant” as shown through the covenants tied to Abraham and David. A treaty entails a promise to the master by the vassal and protects the rights of the master; this works in a manner that promotes future loyalty of the vassal since the suzerain had done favors for them. A grant on the other hand pertains to an obligation from the master to his servant thus ensuring protection of the servant’s rights; this method of covenant emphasizes focus on rewarding loyalty and good deeds that have been done. Weinfeld supports his characterization of a treaty by identifying the parallels exposed through the covenant between Yahweh and Israel, he utilizes the Abrahamic and Davidic covenant to reveal its correspondence with a royal grant. In spite of the numerous theories revolving covenants in the ancient Near East, Weinfeld ensures his readers that the covenants exposed in the Old Testament fall beneath one of the two plausible types he has identified, either an obligatory type or a promissory type.
In an article comparing covenants and forms of treaties common at the time, Mendenhall focuses on Hittite suzerainty treaties. These treaties, established between an emperor and inferior king, were defined by several important elements; the treaties were based on past aid or good fortune that the suzerain had delivered unto the vassal and the obligations that the vassal, had to the suzerain. This foundation for a treaty relationship is similar to the foundation for the Mosaic covenant and the Decalogue, according to Mendenhall. God had delivered the Israelites from Egypt in the Exodus, they therefore are obligated to follow the commandments in the Decalogue; as the vassal, God has no further obligations towards the Israelites—but it’s implied that God will continue to protect them as a result of the covenant. In the Hebrew Bible, God established the Mosaic covenant with the Israelites after he saved them from slavery in Egypt in the events of the Exodus. Moses led the Israelites into the promised land known as Canaan.
The Mosaic covenant played a role in defining the Israeli
Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ
Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ is an association of Lutheran congregations in the United States. It describes itself as an affiliation of not a denomination, it began in 2001 in response to some liberal views of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. LCMC is characterized by the stances it takes on Lutheran polity, biblical authority, human sexuality; the group describes itself as "centrist" or "mainstream", noting that it stands between the more liberal ELCA and the more conservative Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and other Lutheran church bodies in North America. LCMC was started by the WordAlone Network as an alternative for local churches who no longer felt that they could remain in the ELCA and work to reform it. In 2001 the organization began with 31 congregations as charter members; as of July 2016 membership was reported as 934 congregations, including 734 US congregations in 41 states, the U. S. Territories of Guam and Puerto Rico, as well as over 100 congregations in 17 other countries.
LCMC is now the fourth largest Lutheran group in the United States, after the ELCA, LCMS, Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. LCMC is congregational in structure, rejecting the historic episcopate, adopted by the ELCA, the denomination to which many LCMC members had belonged, in the Call to Common Mission; the beliefs of the LCMC are based on the Lutheran confessions in the Book of Concord. On one important issue, LCMC stands apart from other conservative confessional Lutheran denominations: it permits, but does not require the ordination of female clergy; some congregations' constitutions and bylaws allow only men to be installed into the Office of Holy Ministry. The LCMC does not bless same-sex partnerships and requires all pastors on their clergy list to subscribe to their pastoral admonition on human sexuality: "We affirm that God created us male and female, that it is God's will and intention that human sexual expression and fulfillment take place only within the boundaries of marriage between one man and one woman.
And, we confess as individuals and as congregations that we have not fulfilled God's will in our decisions and teaching."The LCMC has an evangelical catholic and charismatic strand. Many congregations hold to liturgical forms and vested celebrants when leading worship and administering the Sacrament of the Altar; the LCMC brings together the Sacramental and Charismatic nature of the church into one fold. The LCMC has ten geographic and three non-geographic districts; the non-geographic districts are theologically orientated. Confessing Movement Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ
Ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated, that is, set apart as clergy to perform various religious rites and ceremonies. The process and ceremonies of ordination vary by denomination. One, in preparation for, or, undergoing the process of ordination is sometimes called an ordinand; the liturgy used at an ordination is sometimes referred to as an ordination. The tradition of the ordained monastic community began with the Buddha, who established orders of monks and of nuns; the procedure of ordination in Buddhism is laid down in the Vinaya and Patimokkha or Pratimoksha scriptures. There exist three intact ordination lineages nowadays in which one can receive an ordination according to the Buddha's teachings: Dharmaguptaka Lineage Mulasarvastivadin Lineage Theravada Lineage Saicho requested that the Japanese government allow the construction of a Mahayana ordination platform. Permission was granted in 822 CE; the platform was finished in 827 CE at Enryaku-ji temple on Mount Hiei, was the first in Japan.
Prior to this, those wishing to become monks/nuns were ordained using the Hinayana precepts, whereas after the Mahayana ordination platform, people were ordained with the Bodhisattva precepts as listed in the Brahma Net Sutra. Pabbajja is an ordination procedure for novice Buddhist monks in the Theravada tradition; the legitimacy of ordained nuns has become a significant topic of discussion in recent years. Texts passed down in every Buddhist tradition record that Gautama Buddha created an order of ordained nuns, but the tradition has died out in some Buddhist traditions such as Theravada Buddhism, while remaining strong in others such as Chinese Buddhism. In the Tibetan lineage, which follows the Mulasarvastivadin lineage, the lineage of ordained nuns was not brought to Tibet by the Indian Vinaya masters, hence there is no rite for the ordination of full nuns; however th 14th Dalai Lama has endeavored for many years to improve this situation. In 2005, he asked ordained nuns in the Dharmaguptaka lineage Jampa Tsedroen, to form a committee to work for the acceptance of the bhiksuni lineage within the Tibetan tradition, donated €50,000 for further research.
The "1st International Congress on Buddhist Women’s Role in the Sangha: Bhikshuni Vinaya and Ordination Lineages" was held at the University of Hamburg from July 18–20, 2007, in cooperation with the University’s Asia-Africa Institute. Although the general tenor was that full ordination was overdue, the Dalai Lama presented a pre-drafted statement saying that more time was required to reach a decision, thus nullifying the intentions of the congress. In Medieval Sōtō Zen, a tradition of posthumous ordination was developed to give the laity access to Zen funeral rites. Chinese Ch’an monastic codes, from which Japanese Sōtō practices were derived, contain only monastic funeral rites. To solve this problem, the Sōtō school developed the practice of ordaining laypeople after death, thus allowing monastic funeral rites to be used for them as well; the Buddhist ordination tradition of the New Kadampa Tradition-International Kadampa Buddhist Union is not the traditional Buddhist ordination, but rather one newly created by Kelsang Gyatso.
Although those ordained within this organisation are called'monks' and'nuns' within the organisation, wear the robes of traditional Tibetan monks and nuns, in terms of traditional Buddhism they are neither ordained monks and nuns nor are they novice monks and nuns. Unlike most other Buddhist traditions, including all Tibetan Buddhist schools, which follow the Vinaya, the NKT-IKBU ordination consists of the Five Precepts of a lay person, plus five more precepts created by Kelsang Gyatso, he is said to view them as a “practical condensation” of the 253 Vinaya vows of ordained monks. There are no formal instructions and guidelines for the behaviour of monks and nuns within the NKT; because the behaviour of monks and nuns is not defined “each Resident Teacher developed his or her own way of ‘disciplining’ monks and nuns at their centres …”. Kelsang Gyatso's ordination has been publicly criticised by Geshe Tashi Tsering as going against the core teachings of Buddhism and against the teachings of Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelugpa school from which Kelsang Gyatso was expelled Ordination is one of the seven sacraments, variously called holy orders or cheirotonia.
Apostolic succession is considered an essential and necessary concept for ordination, in the belief that all ordained clergy are ordained by bishops who were ordained by other bishops tracing back to bishops ordained by the Apostles who were ordained by Christ, the great High Priest, who conferred his priesthood upon his Apostles. There are three "degrees" of ordination: deacon and bishop. Both bishops and presbyters have authority to celebrate the Eucharist. In common use, the term priest, when unqualified, refers to the rank of presbyter, whereas presbyter is used in rites of ordination and other places where a technical and precise term is required. Ordination of a bishop is performed by several bishops; the ordination of a new bishop is called a consecration. Many ancient sources specify that at least three bishops are necessary to consecrate another, e.g. the 13th Canon of the Council of Carthage states, "A bis
Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition which has developed from the practices and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation. Adherents of Anglicanism are called "Anglicans"; the majority of Anglicans are members of national or regional ecclesiastical provinces of the international Anglican Communion, which forms the third-largest Christian communion in the world, after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. They are in full communion with the See of Canterbury, thus the Archbishop of Canterbury, whom the communion refers to as its primus inter pares, he calls the decennial Lambeth Conference, chairs the meeting of primates, the Anglican Consultative Council. Some churches that are not part of the Anglican Communion or recognized by the Anglican Communion call themselves Anglican, including those that are part of the Continuing Anglican movement and Anglican realignment. Anglicans base their Christian faith on the Bible, traditions of the apostolic Church, apostolic succession and the writings of the Church Fathers.
Anglicanism forms one of the branches of Western Christianity, having definitively declared its independence from the Holy See at the time of the Elizabethan Religious Settlement. Many of the new Anglican formularies of the mid-16th century corresponded to those of contemporary Protestantism; these reforms in the Church of England were understood by one of those most responsible for them, Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, others as navigating a middle way between two of the emerging Protestant traditions, namely Lutheranism and Calvinism. In the first half of the 17th century, the Church of England and its associated Church of Ireland were presented by some Anglican divines as comprising a distinct Christian tradition, with theologies and forms of worship representing a different kind of middle way, or via media, between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism – a perspective that came to be influential in theories of Anglican identity and expressed in the description of Anglicanism as "Catholic and Reformed".
The degree of distinction between Protestant and Catholic tendencies within the Anglican tradition is a matter of debate both within specific Anglican churches and throughout the Anglican Communion. Unique to Anglicanism is the Book of Common Prayer, the collection of services in one Book used for centuries; the Book is acknowledged as a principal tie that binds the Anglican Communion together as a liturgical rather than a confessional tradition or one possessing a magisterium as in the Roman Catholic Church. After the American Revolution, Anglican congregations in the United States and British North America were each reconstituted into autonomous churches with their own bishops and self-governing structures. Through the expansion of the British Empire and the activity of Christian missions, this model was adopted as the model for many newly formed churches in Africa and Asia-Pacific. In the 19th century, the term Anglicanism was coined to describe the common religious tradition of these churches.
The word Anglican originates in Anglicana ecclesia libera sit, a phrase from the Magna Carta dated 15 June 1215, meaning "the Anglican Church shall be free". Adherents of Anglicanism are called Anglicans; as an adjective, "Anglican" is used to describe the people and churches, as well as the liturgical traditions and theological concepts developed by the Church of England. As a noun, an Anglican is a member of a church in the Anglican Communion; the word is used by followers of separated groups which have left the communion or have been founded separately from it, although this is considered as a misuse by the Anglican Communion. The word Anglicanism came into being in the 19th century; the word referred only to the teachings and rites of Christians throughout the world in communion with the see of Canterbury, but has come to sometimes be extended to any church following those traditions rather than actual membership in the modern Anglican Communion. Although the term Anglican is found referring to the Church of England as far back as the 16th century, its use did not become general until the latter half of the 19th century.
In British parliamentary legislation referring to the English Established Church, there is no need for a description. When the Union with Ireland Act created the United Church of England and Ireland, it is specified that it shall be one "Protestant Episcopal Church", thereby distinguishing its form of church government from the Presbyterian polity that prevails in the Church of Scotland; the word Episcopal is preferred in the title of the Episcopal Church and the Scottish Episcopal Church, though the full name of the former is The Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America. Elsewhere, the term "Anglican Church" came to be preferred as it distinguished these churches from others that maintain an episcopal polity. Anglicanism, in its structures and forms of worship, is understood as a distinct Christian tradition representing a middle ground between what are perceived to be the extremes of the claims of 16th-century Roman Ca
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti