Indiana in the American Civil War
Indiana, a state in the Midwest, played an important role in supporting the Union during the American Civil War. Despite anti-war activity within the state, southern Indiana's ancestral ties to the South, Indiana was a strong supporter of the Union. Indiana contributed 210,000 Union soldiers and marines. Indiana's soldiers served in 308 military engagements during the war. Indiana's war-related deaths reached 25,028, its state government provided funds to purchase equipment and supplies for troops in the field. Indiana, an agriculturally rich state containing the fifth-highest population in the Union, was critical to the North's success due to its geographical location, large population, agricultural production. Indiana residents known as Hoosiers, supplied the Union with manpower for the war effort, a railroad network and access to the Ohio River and the Great Lakes, agricultural products such as grain and livestock; the state experienced two minor raids by Confederate forces, one major raid in 1863, which caused a brief panic in southern portions of the state and its capital city, Indianapolis.
Indiana experienced significant political strife during the war after Governor Oliver P. Morton suppressed the Democratic-controlled state legislature, which had an anti-war element. Major debates related to the issues of slavery and emancipation, military service for African Americans, the draft, ensued; these led to violence. In 1863, after the state legislature failed to pass a budget and left the state without the authority to collect taxes, Governor Morton acted outside his state's constitutional authority to secure funding through federal and private loans to operate the state government and avert a financial crisis; the American Civil War altered Indiana's society and economy, beginning a population shift to central and northern Indiana, contributed to a relative decline in the southern part of the state. Increased wartime manufacturing and industrial growth in Hoosier cities and towns ushered in a new era of economic prosperity. By the end of the war, Indiana had become a less rural state than it had been.
Indiana's votes were split between the parties for several decades after the war, making it one of a few key swing states that decided national elections. Between 1868 and 1916, five Indiana politicians were vice-presidential nominees on the major party tickets. In 1888 Benjamin Harrison, one of the state's former Civil War generals, was elected president of the United States. Indiana was the first of the country's western states to mobilize for the Civil War; when news reached Indiana of the attack on Fort Sumter, South Carolina, on April 12, 1861, many Indiana residents were surprised, but their response was immediate. On the following day, two mass meetings were held in Indianapolis, the state capital of Indiana, the state's position was decided: Indiana would remain in the Union and would contribute men to suppress the rebellion. On April 15, Indiana's governor, Oliver P. Morton, issued a call for volunteer soldiers to meet the state's quota set by President Abraham Lincoln. Indiana's geographical location in the Midwest, its large population, its agricultural production made the state's wartime support critical to the Union's success.
Indiana, with the fifth-largest population of the states that remained in the Union, could supply much-needed manpower for the war effort, its railroad network and access to the Ohio River and the Great Lakes could transport troops and supplies, its agricultural yield, which became more valuable to the Union after the loss of the rich farmland of the South, could provide grain and livestock. On April 15, 1861, President Lincoln called for a total of 75,000 volunteers to join the Union army. On the same day, Governor Morton telegraphed the president offering 10,000 Indiana volunteers; the state's initial quota was set at six regiments for three months of service. Orders were issued on April 16 to gather at Indianapolis. On the first day, five hundred men were encamped in the city. Governor Morton and Lew Wallace, Indiana's adjutant general, established Camp Morton at the state fairgrounds in Indianapolis as the initial gathering place and training camp for the state's Union volunteers. By April 27, Indiana's first six regiments were organized as the First Brigade, Indiana Volunteers, under the command of Brigadier General Thomas A. Morris.
Members of companies not selected for these first regiments were given the option of volunteering for three years of service or returning home until they were needed. Indiana ranked second among the states in terms of the percentage of its men of military age who served in the Union army. Indiana contributed 208,367 men 15 percent of the state's total population to serve in the Union army, 2,130 to serve in the navy. Most of Indiana's soldiers were volunteers. Deserters numbered 10,846. Indiana's volunteers responded to requests for military service in the early months of the war. Military conscription, which began in October 1862, was a
Horace Bushnell was an American Congregational minister and theologian. Bushnell was born in the village of township of Litchfield, Connecticut, he attended Yale College. Willis credited Bushnell with teaching him the proper technique for sharpening a razor. After graduating in 1827, he was literary editor of the New York Journal of Commerce from 1828–1829, in 1829 became a tutor at Yale. Here he studied law, but in 1831 he entered the theology department of Yale College. In May, 1833 Bushnell was ordained pastor of the North Congregational church in Hartford, Connecticut, he married Mary Apthorp in 1833 and the couple had three children. Bushnell remained in Hartford until 1859 when, due to extended poor health he resigned his pastorate. Thereafter he held no appointed office, until his death at Hartford in 1876, he was a prolific author and preached. While in California in 1856, for the restoration of his health, he took an active interest in the organization, at Oakland, of the College of California, the presidency of which he declined.
As a preacher, Dr Bushnell was effective. Though not a dramatic orator, he was original and impressive in the pulpit, his theological position may be said to have been one of qualified revolt against the Calvinistic orthodoxy of his day. He criticized prevailing conceptions of the Trinity, the atonement and the relations of the natural and the supernatural. Above all, he broke with the prevalent view which regarded theology as intellectual in its appeal and demonstrable by processes of exact logical deduction. To his thinking its proper basis is to be found in the feelings and intuitions of humankind's spiritual nature, he had a marked influence upon theology in America, an influence not so much in the direction of the modification of specific doctrines as in the impulse and tendency and general spirit which he imparted to theological thought. Dr Munger's estimate was, he was not exact, but he put God and humanity and the world into a relation that thought can accept while it goes on to state it more with growing knowledge.
Other thinkers were moving in the same direction. It was a work of superb courage. Hardly a theologian in his denomination stood by him, nearly all pronounced against him."Four of his books were of particular importance: Christian Nurture, in which he opposed revivalism and turned the current of Christian thought toward the young. Attempts were made to bring him to trial, but they were unsuccessful, in 1852 his church unanimously withdrew from the local consociation, thus removing any possibility of further action against him. To his critics Bushnell formally replied by writing Christ in Theology, in which he employs the important argument that spiritual truth can be expressed only in approximate and poetical language, concludes that an adequate dogmatic theology cannot exist; that he did not deny the divinity of Christ he proved in The Character of Jesus, forbidding his possible Classification within Men. He published Sermons for the New Life. An edition of his works, in eleven volumes, appeared in 1876.
New editions of his Nature and the Supernatural, Sermons for this New Life, Work and Play, were published the same year. Bushnell was interested in the civic interests of Hartford, was the chief agent in procuring the establishment of the first public park in the United States, it was named Bushnell Park in his honor by that city. The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, a residence hall at the University of Hartford are named for him. Views of Christian Nurture, of Subjects Adjacent Thereto, Facsimile ed. 1876 ed. 1975, Scholars Facsimiles & Reprints, ISBN 978-0-8201-1147-6: text online God in Christ: Three Discourses Delivered at New Haven, Cambridge, & Andover, University of Michigan Library, 2005, ISBN 1-4255-3727-8, 1876 edition: text online, includes a preliminary dissertation arguing that language is inadequate to express things of the spirit. Sermons for the New Life, New York: Charles Scribner, text online Nature and the Supernatural: As Together Constituting the One System of God, University of Michigan Library, 2006, ISBN 1-4255-5865-8, 1860 edition: text online Parting Words: A Discourse Delivered in the North Church, Hartford
Maryland in the American Civil War
During the American Civil War, Maryland, a slave state, was one of the border states, straddling the South and North. Because of its strategic location, bordering the national capital city of Washington D. C. with its District of Columbia since 1790, the strong desire of the opposing factions within the state to sway public opinion towards their respective causes, Maryland played an important role in the American Civil War. Newly elected 16th President Abraham Lincoln, suspended the constitutional right of habeas corpus in Maryland. S. Supreme Court's "Ex parte Merryman" decision concerning freeing John Merryman, a prominent Southern sympathizer from Baltimore County arrested by the military and held in Fort McHenry; the Chief Justice, but not in a decision with the other justices, had held that the suspension was unconstitutional and would leave lasting civil and legal scars. The decision was filed in the U. S. Circuit Court for Maryland by Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, a Marylander from Frederick and sometimes in Baltimore and former protege of seventh President Andrew Jackson who had appointed him two decades earlier.
The first fatalities of the war happened during the Baltimore Civil War Riots of Thursday/Friday, April 18 - 19th, 1861, a year and a half with the single bloodiest day of combat in American military history occurred during the first major Confederate invasion of the North in the Maryland Campaign, just north above the Potomac River, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, at the Battle of Antietam, on 17 September 1862. Preceded by the pivotal skirmishes at three mountain passes of Crampton and Turner's Gaps to the east in the Battle of South Mountain, though tactically a draw, was strategically enough of a Union victory in the second year of the war to give 16th President Abraham Lincoln the opportunity to issue in September 1862, the Emancipation Proclamation, taking effect January 1st, 1863, which declared slaves in the rebelling states of the Confederacy to be "henceforth and forever free". In July 1864, the Battle of Monocacy near Frederick, Maryland in the third and last major Southern invasion, was fought on Maryland soil.
Monocacy was a tactical victory for the Confederate States Army but a strategic defeat, as the one-day delay inflicted on the attacking Confederates under Gen. Jubal Early by Federal General Lew Wallace's units hastily sent west on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad with reinforcements from Baltimore with their stout resistance cost rebel General Early his chance to capture the Union capital of Washington, D. C. during the subsequent attack on the outlying northwestern fortifications near Fort Stevens, witnessed by President Lincoln himself in the only time that a Chief Executive came under hostile fire. Across the state, nearly 85,000 citizens signed up for the military, with most joining the Union Army. One third as many enlisted to "go South" and fight for the Confederacy; the most prominent Maryland leaders and officers during the Civil War included Governor Thomas H. Hicks who, despite his early sympathies for the South, helped prevent the state from seceding, Confederate Brigadier General George H. Steuart, a noted brigade commander under Robert E. Lee in the Army of Northern Virginia.
Before the end of the war would bring the abolition of slavery in the State of Maryland, with a new third constitution voted approval in 1864 by a small majority of Radical Republican Unionists controlling the nominally Democratic state. Animosity against Lincoln would remain, Marylander John Wilkes Booth would assassinate President Lincoln on April 14, 1865, crying "sic semper tyrannis" the Virginia state motto as he did so in Washington's Ford's Theater fleeing and hiding in southern Maryland for a week hunted by Federal troops before slipping across the Potomac and shot in a Virginia barn. Maryland, as a slave-holding border state, was divided over the antebellum arguments over states' rights and the future of slavery in the Union. Culturally and economically, Maryland found herself neither one thing nor another, a unique blend of Southern agrarianism and Northern mercantilism. In the leadup to the American Civil War, it became clear that the state was bitterly divided in its sympathies.
There was much less appetite for secession than elsewhere in the Southern States or in the border states, but Maryland was unsympathetic towards the abolitionist position of Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln. In the presidential election of 1860 Lincoln won just 2,294 votes out of a total of 92,421, only 2.5% of the votes cast, coming in at a distant fourth place with Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge winning the state. In seven counties, Lincoln received not a single vote; the areas of Southern and Eastern Shore Maryland those on the Chesapeake Bay, which had prospered on the tobacco trade and slave labor, were sympathetic to the South, while the central and western areas of the state Marylanders of German origin, had stronger economic ties to the North and thus were pro-Union. Not all blacks in Maryland were slaves; the 1860 Federal Census showed. However, across the state, sympathies were mixed. Many
Ohio in the American Civil War
During the American Civil War, the State of Ohio played a key role in providing troops, military officers, supplies to the Union army. Due to its central location in the Northern United States and burgeoning population, Ohio was both politically and logistically important to the war effort. Despite the state's boasting a number of powerful Republican politicians, it was divided politically. Portions of Southern Ohio followed the Peace Democrats and opposed President Abraham Lincoln's policies. Ohio played an important part in the Underground Railroad prior to the war, remained a haven for escaped and runaway slaves during the war years; the third most populous state in the Union at the time, Ohio raised nearly 320,000 soldiers for the Union army, third behind only New York and Pennsylvania in total manpower contributed to the military and the highest per capita of any Union state. Several leading generals were from Ohio, including Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, Philip H. Sheridan. Five Ohio-born Civil War officers would serve as the President of the United States.
The Fighting McCooks gained fame as the largest immediate family group to become officers in the U. S. Army; the state was spared many of the horrors of war as only two minor battles were fought within its borders. Morgan's Raid in the summer of 1863 spread fear but little damage. Ohio troops fought in nearly every major campaign during the war. Nearly 7,000 Buckeye soldiers were killed in action, its most significant Civil War site is Johnson's Island, located in Sandusky Bay of Lake Erie. Barracks and outbuildings were constructed for a prisoner of war depot, intended chiefly for officers. Over three years more than 15,000 Confederate men were held there; the island includes a Confederate cemetery. Much of southern Ohio's economy depended upon trade with the South across the Ohio River, which had served for years as passage and a link with the slave states of Virginia and Kentucky; the culture of southern Ohio was closer to those states than it was to northern parts of the state, owing to many settlers coming from the South and being territory of the state of Virginia as part of the Virginia Military District.
Most of the state's population was solidly against secession. During the 1860 Presidential Election, Ohio voted in favor of Abraham Lincoln over Stephen Douglas, John C. Breckinridge, John Bell. A number of men with Ohio ties would serve important roles in Lincoln's Cabinet and administration, including Steubenville's Edwin M. Stanton as Attorney General and Secretary of War, former Ohio U. S. Senator and Governor Salmon P. Chase as Secretary of the Treasury. Prominent Ohio politicians in Congress included Benjamin F. Wade. During the war, three men would serve as Governor of Ohio– William Dennison, David Tod and John Brough. Without being asked by the War Department, Dennison sent Ohio troops into western Virginia, where they guarded the Wheeling Convention; the convention led to the admission of West Virginia as a free state. Tod became known as "the soldier's friend," for his determined efforts to help equip and sustain Ohio's troops, he was noted for his quick response in calling out the state militia to battle Confederate raiders.
Brough supported the Lincoln Administration's war efforts and was key to persuading other Midwestern governors to raise 100-day regiments, such as the 131st Ohio Infantry in early 1864, to release more seasoned troops for duty in Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's spring campaign. Through the middle of the war, the Copperhead movement had appeal in Ohio, driven in part by noted states rights advocate, Congressman Clement Vallandigham, a leading Peace Democrat. After General Ambrose E. Burnside issued General Order Number 38 in early 1863, warning that the "habit of declaring sympathies for the enemy" would not be tolerated in the Military District of Ohio, Vallandigham gave a major speech charging the war was being fought not to save the Union, but to free blacks and enslave whites. Burnside took Vallandigham to Cincinnati for trial. At the trial, Vallandigham was found guilty; the court sentenced him to prison for the duration of the war. President Lincoln attempted to quiet the situation by writing the Birchard Letter, which offered to release Vallandigham if several Ohio congressmen agreed to support certain policies of the Administration.
To try to prevent political backlash and preserve authority of Gen. Burnside, Abraham Lincoln changed Vallandigham's sentence to banishment to the South; the threat was imprisonment. The South allowed Vallandigham to migrate to Canada, from where he ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor against Brough in 1863. Vallandigham's campaign bitterly divided much of Ohio, Vallandigham's votes were heavy in central and northwestern Ohio, he lost his home county by a narrow margin. Public sentiment shifted more in favor of the Lincoln Administration as Ohio generals rose in prominence, with military successes in the Atlanta Campaign, the Siege of Petersburg, Sheridan's Valley Campaigns. In the 1864 Presidential Election, Ohio supported Lincoln's reelection; the state gave the president 265,674 votes versus 205,609 votes for General George McClellan. En route to Washington, D. C. for his inauguration, President Lincoln passed through Ohio by train, with brief stops in numerous cities. His first formal speech given after his election was in Hudson, Ohio, a stop he made en route to Cleveland.
Although Lincoln had visited the state several times before the war, he would not return during th
Virginia in the American Civil War
The Commonwealth of Virginia became a prominent part of the Confederate States of America when it joined the Confederacy during the American Civil War. As a Southern slave-holding state, Virginia held a state convention to deal with the secession crisis, voted against secession on April 4, 1861. Opinion shifted after April 15, when U. S. President Abraham Lincoln called for troops from all states still in the Union to put down the rebellion, following the capture of Fort Sumter, the Virginia convention voted to declare secession from the Union. A Unionist government was established in Wheeling and the new state of West Virginia was created by an act of Congress from 50 counties of western Virginia, making it the only state to lose territory as a consequence of the war. In May, it was decided to move the Confederate capital from Montgomery, Alabama, to Richmond, Virginia, in part because the defense of Virginia's capital was deemed vital to the Confederacy's survival. On May 24, 1861, the U. S. Army captured Alexandria without a fight.
Most of the battles in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War took place in Virginia because the Confederacy had to defend its national capital at Richmond, public opinion in the North demanded that the Union move "On to Richmond!" The successes of Robert E. Lee in defending Richmond are a central theme of the military history of the war; the White House of the Confederacy, located a few blocks north of the State Capitol, became home to the family of Confederate leader, former Mississippi Senator Jefferson Davis. On October 16, 1859, the radical abolitionist John Brown led a group of 22 men in a raid on the Federal Arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia. U. S. troops, led by Robert E. Lee and quelled the raid. Subsequently, Brown was tried and executed by hanging in Charles Town on December 2, 1859. In 1860 the Democratic Party split into northern and southern factions over the issue of slavery in the territories and Stephen Douglas' support for popular sovereignty: after failing in both Charleston and Baltimore to nominate a single candidate acceptable to the South, Southern Democrats held their convention in Richmond, Virginia, on June 26, 1860, nominated John C.
Breckinridge as their party candidate for U. S. president. When Republican Abraham Lincoln was elected as president, Virginians were concerned about the implications for their state. While a majority of the state would look for compromises to the sectional differences, most people opposed any restrictions on slaveholders' rights; as the state watched to see what South Carolina would do, many Unionists felt that the greatest danger to the state came not from the North but from "rash secession" by the lower South. On November 15, 1860 Virginia Governor John Letcher called for a special session of the General Assembly to consider, among other issues, the creation of a secession convention; the legislature convened on January 7 and approved the convention on January 14. On January 19 the General Assembly called for a national Peace Conference, led by Virginia native and former U. S. President John Tyler, to be held in Washington, DC on February 4, the same date that elections were scheduled for delegates to the secession convention.
The election of convention delegates drew 145,700 voters who elected, by county, 152 representatives. Thirty of these delegates were secessionists, thirty were unionists, ninety-two were moderates who were not identified with either of the first two groups. Advocates of immediate secession were outnumbered. Simultaneous to the February 4 election delegates from the first six states to secede met in Montgomery and four days founded the Confederate States of America. According to one Virginian teacher, William M. Thompson, who would become a Confederate cavalryman, the declaring of secession by the slave states was necessary to preserve slavery as well as prevent marriages between freedmen and the white "daughters of the South", saying that civil war would be preferable: Better, far better! Endure all the horrors of civil war than to see the dusky sons of Ham leading the fair daughters of the South to the altar; the Virginia Secession Convention of 1861 met on February 13 at the Richmond Mechanics Institute located at Ninth and Main Street in Richmond.
One of the convention's first actions was to create a 21-member Federal Relations Committee charged with reaching a compromise to the sectional differences as they affected Virginia. The committee was made up of 10 moderates and 7 unionists. At first there was no urgency to the convention's deliberations as all sides felt that time only aided their cause. In addition, there were hopes that the Peace Conference on January 19 led by Virginia's former President John Tyler, might resolve the crisis by guaranteeing the safety of slavery and the right to expand slavery into the southwest territories. With the failure of the Peace Conference at the end of February, moderates in the convention began to waver in their support for unionism. At the Richmond convention in February 1861, Georgian Henry Lewis Benning, who would go on to join the Confederate army as an officer, delivered a speech in which he gave his reasoning for the urging of secession from the Union, appealing to ethnic prejudices and pro-slavery sentiments to present his case, saying that were the slave states to remain in the Union, their slaves would end up being freed by the anti-slavery Republican Party.
He stated that he would rather be stricken with illness and starvation than to see African-Americans liberated from slavery and be given equality as citizens: What was the reason that induced Georgia to take the step of secession? This reason may be summed
History of New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state located in the New England region of the northeastern United States. New Hampshire was one of the Thirteen Colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution; the colony that became the state of New Hampshire was founded on the division in 1629 of a land grant given in 1622 by the Council for New England to Captain John Mason and Sir Ferdinando Gorges. The colony was named New Hampshire by Mason after the English county of Hampshire, one of the first Saxon shires. Hampshire was itself named after the port of Southampton, known as "Hampton". New Hampshire was first settled by Europeans at Odiorne's Point in Rye by a group of fishermen from England under David Thompson in 1623, just three years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth. Early historians believed the first native-born John Thompson, was born there. Fisherman David Thompson had been sent by Mason, to be followed a few years by Edward and William Hilton, they led an expedition to the vicinity of Dover.
Mason died in 1635 without seeing the colony he founded. Settlers from Pannaway, moving to the Portsmouth region and combining with an expedition of the new Laconia Company under Captain Neal, called their new settlement Strawbery Banke. In 1638 Exeter was founded by John Wheelwright. In 1631, Captain Thomas Wiggin served as the first governor of the Upper Plantation. All the towns agreed to unite in 1639. In 1641 an agreement was reached with Massachusetts to come under its jurisdiction. Home rule of the towns was allowed. In 1653 Strawbery Banke petitioned the General Court of Massachusetts to change its name to Portsmouth, granted; the relationship between Massachusetts and the independent New Hampshirites was controversial and tenuous, complicated by land claims maintained by the heirs of John Mason. In 1679 King Charles II separated New Hampshire from Massachusetts, issuing a charter for the royal Province of New Hampshire, with John Cutt as governor. New Hampshire was absorbed into the Dominion of New England in 1686, which collapsed in 1689.
After a brief period without formal government William III and Mary II issued a new provincial charter in 1691. From 1699 to 1741 the governors of Massachusetts were commissioned as governors of New Hampshire; the province's geography placed it on the frontier between British and French colonies in North America, it was for many years subjected to native claims in the central and northern portions of its territory. Because of these factors it was on the front lines of many military conflicts, including King William's War, Queen Anne's War, Father Rale's War, King George's War. By the 1740s most of the native population had either been killed or driven out of the province's territory; because New Hampshire's governorship was shared with that of Massachusetts, border issues between the two colonies were not properly adjudicated for many years. These issues principally revolved around territory west of the Merrimack River, which issuers of the Massachusetts and New Hampshire charters had incorrectly believed to flow from west to east.
In the 1730s New Hampshire political interest led by Lieutenant Governor John Wentworth were able to raise the profile of these issues to colonial officials and the crown in London while Governor and Massachusetts native Jonathan Belcher preferentially granted land to Massachusetts interests in the disputed area. In 1741 King George II ruled that the border with Massachusetts was what it is today, separated the governorships of the two provinces. Benning Wentworth in 1741 became the first non-Massachusetts governor since Edward Cranfield succeeded John Cutt in the 1680s. Wentworth promptly complicated New Hampshire's territorial claims by interpreting the provincial charter to include territory west of the Connecticut River, began issuing land grants in this territory, claimed by the Province of New York; the so-called New Hampshire Grants area became a subject of contention from the 1740s until the 1790s, when it was admitted to the United States as the state of Vermont. New Hampshire was one of the Thirteen Colonies that revolted against British rule during the American Revolution.
The Massachusetts Provincial Congress called upon the other New England colonies for assistance in raising an army. In response, on May 22, 1775, the New Hampshire Provincial Congress voted to raise a volunteer force to join the patriot army at Boston. In January 1776, it became the first colony to set up an independent government and the first to establish a constitution, but the latter explicitly stated "we never sought to throw off our dependence on Great Britain", meaning that it was not the first to declare its independence; the historic attack on Fort William and Mary helped supply the cannon and ammunition for the Continental Army, needed for the Battle of Bunker Hill that took place north of Boston a few months later. New Hampshire raised three regiments for the Continental Army, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd New Hampshire regiments. New Hampshire Militia units were called up to fight at the Battle of Bunker Hill, Battle of Bennington, Saratoga Campaign and the Battle of Rhode Island. John Paul Jones' ship the Sloop-of-war USS Ranger and the frigate USS Raleigh were built in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, along with other naval ships for the Continental Navy and privateers to hunt down British merchant shipping.
In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names. States are divided into counties or county-equivalents, which may be assigned some local governmental authority but are not sovereign. County or county-equivalent structure varies by state, states may create other local governments. State governments are allocated power by the people through their individual constitutions. All are grounded in republican principles, each provides for a government, consisting of three branches, each with separate and independent powers: executive and judicial.
States possess a number of rights under the United States Constitution. States and their residents are represented in the United States Congress, a bicameral legislature consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives; each state is entitled to select a number of electors to vote in the Electoral College, the body that directly elects the President of the United States. Additionally, each state has the opportunity to ratify constitutional amendments, with the consent of Congress, two or more states may enter into interstate compacts with one another; the tasks of local law enforcement, public education, public health, regulating intrastate commerce, local transportation and infrastructure have been considered state responsibilities, although all of these now have significant federal funding and regulation as well. Over time, the Constitution has been amended, the interpretation and application of its provisions have changed; the general tendency has been toward centralization and incorporation, with the federal government playing a much larger role than it once did.
There is a continuing debate over states' rights, which concerns the extent and nature of the states' powers and sovereignty in relation to the federal government and the rights of individuals. The Constitution grants to Congress the authority to admit new states into the Union. Since the establishment of the United States in 1776, the number of states has expanded from the original 13 to 50. Alaska and Hawaii are the most recent states admitted, both in 1959; the Constitution is silent on the question of whether states have the power to secede from the Union. Shortly after the Civil War, the U. S. Supreme Court, in Texas v. White, held; the 50 U. S. states, in alphabetical order, along with each state's flag: As sovereign entities, each of the 50 states reserves the right to organize its individual government in any way deemed appropriate by its people. As a result, while the governments of the various states share many similar features, they vary with regard to form and substance. No two state governments are identical.
The government of each state is structured in accordance with its individual constitution. Many of these documents more elaborate than their federal counterpart; the Constitution of Alabama, for example, contains 310,296 words – more than 40 times as many as the U. S. Constitution. In practice, each state has adopted the three-branch frame of the federal government: executive and judicial. In each state, the chief executive is called the governor, who serves as both head of state and head of government. All governors are chosen by direct election; the governor may approve or veto bills passed by the state legislature, as well as push for the passage of bills supported by their party. In 44 states, governors have line item veto power. Most states have a plural executive, meaning that the governor is not the only government official in the state responsible for its executive branch. In these states, executive power is distributed amongst other officials, elected by the people independently of the governor—such as the lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, others.
The constitutions of 19 states allow for citizens to remove and replace an elected public official before the end of their term of office through a recall election. Each state follows its own procedures for recall elections, sets its own restrictions on how and how soon after a general election, they may be held. In all states, the legislatures can remove state executive branch officials, including governors, who have committed serious abuses of their power from office; the process of doing so includes impeachment, a trial, in which legislators act as a jury. The primary responsibilities of state legislatures are to enact state laws and appropriate money for the administration of public policy. In all states, if the governor vetoes a bill, it can still become law if the legislature overrides the veto by a two-thirds vote in each chamber. In 49 of the 50 states the legislature consists of two chambers: a lower house (termed the House of Representati