American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, nicknamed the Recovery Act, was a stimulus package enacted by the 111th U. S. Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in February 2009. Developed in response to the Great Recession, the ARRA's primary objective was to save existing jobs and create new ones as soon as possible. Other objectives were to provide temporary relief programs for those most affected by the recession and invest in infrastructure, education and renewable energy; the approximate cost of the economic stimulus package was estimated to be $787 billion at the time of passage revised to $831 billion between 2009 and 2019. The ARRA's rationale was based on the Keynesian economic theory that, during recessions, the government should offset the decrease in private spending with an increase in public spending in order to save jobs and stop further economic deterioration. Since its inception, the impact of the stimulus has been a subject of disagreement. Studies on its effects have produced a range of conclusions, from positive to negative and all reactions in between.
In 2012, the IGM Forum poll conducted by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business found 80% of leading economists agree unemployment was lower at the end of 2010 than it would have been without the stimulus. 46% "agreed" or "strongly agreed" that the benefits outweighed the costs, 27% were uncertain, 12% disagreed or disagreed. IGM Forum asked the same question to leading economists in 2014; this new poll found 82% of leading economists agreed or agreed that unemployment was lower in 2010 than it would have been without the stimulus. Revisiting the question about the benefits outweighing the costs, 56% agreed or agreed that it did, 23% were uncertain, 5% disagreed. Both the House and the Senate versions of the bills were written by Democratic Congressional committee leaders and their staffs; because work on the bills started before President Obama took office on January 20, 2009, top aides to President-Elect Obama held multiple meetings with committee leaders and staffers. On January 10, 2009, President-Elect Obama's administration released a report that provided a preliminary analysis of the impact to jobs of some of the prototypical recovery packages that were being considered.
The House version of the bill, H. R. 1, was introduced on January 26, 2009. It was sponsored by Democrat David Obey, the House Appropriations Committee chairman, was co-sponsored by nine other Democrats. On January 23, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said that the bill was on track to be presented to President Obama for him to sign into law before February 16, 2009. Although 206 amendments were scheduled for floor votes, they were combined into only 11, which enabled quicker passage of the bill. On January 28, 2009, the House passed the bill by a 244–188 vote. All but 11 Democrats voted for the bill, 177 Republicans voted against it; the senate version of the bill, S. 1, was introduced on January 6, 2009, substituted as an amendment to the House bill, S. Amdt. 570. It was sponsored by Harry Reid, the Majority Leader, co-sponsored by 16 other Democrats and Joe Lieberman, an independent who caucused with the Democrats; the Senate began consideration of the bill starting with the $275 billion tax provisions in the week of February 2, 2009.
A significant difference between the House version and the Senate version was the inclusion of a one-year extension of revisions to the alternative minimum tax, which added $70 billion to the bill's total. Republicans proposed several amendments to the bill directed at increasing the share of tax cuts and downsizing spending as well as decreasing the overall price. President Obama and Senate Democrats hinted that they would be willing to compromise on Republican suggestions to increase infrastructure spending and to double the housing tax credit proposed from $7,500 to $15,000 and expand its application to all home buyers, not just first-time buyers. Other considered amendments included the Freedom Act of 2009, an amendment proposed by Senate Finance Committee members Maria Cantwell and Orrin Hatch to include tax incentives for plug-in electric vehicles; the Senate called a special Saturday debate session for February 7 at the urging of President Obama. The Senate voted, 61–36 on February 9 to end debate on the bill and advance it to the Senate floor to vote on the bill itself.
On February 10, the Senate voted 61–37 All the Democrats voted in favor, but only three Republicans voted in favor. Specter switched to the Democratic Party in the year. At one point, the Senate bill stood at $838 billion. Senate Republicans forced a near unprecedented level of changes in the House bill, which had more followed the Obama plan. A comparison of the $827 billion economic recovery plan drafted by Senate Democrats with an $820 billion version passed by the House and the final $787 billion conference version shows huge shifts within these similar totals. Additional debt costs would add about $350 billion or more over 10 years. Many provisions were set to expire in two years; the main funding differences between the Senate bill and the House bill were: More funds for health care in the Senate, renewable energy programs, for home buyers tax credit, new payments to the elderly and a one-year increase in AMT limits. The House had more funds appropriated for education and for aid to low income workers and the unemployed.
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Act of Congress
An Act of Congress is a statute enacted by the United States Congress. It can either be a Public Law, relating to the general public, or a Private Law, relating to specific institutions or individuals; the term can be used in other countries with a legislature named "Congress", such as the Congress of the Philippines. In the United States, Acts of Congress are designated as either public laws, relating to the general public, or private laws, relating to specific institutions or individuals. Since 1957, all Acts of Congress have been designated as "Public Law X-Y" or "Private Law X-Y", where X is the number of the Congress and Y refers to the sequential order of the bill. For example, P. L. 111-5 was the fifth enacted public law of the 111th United States Congress. Public laws are often abbreviated as Pub. L. No. X-Y; when the legislation of those two kinds is proposed, it is called public bill and private bill respectively. The word "act", as used in the term "Act of Congress", is a common, not a proper noun.
The capitalization of the word "act" is deprecated by some dictionaries and usage authorities. Some writers, in particular the U. S. Code, capitalize "Act"; this is a result of the more liberal use of capital letters in legal contexts, which has its roots in the 18th century capitalization of all nouns as is seen in the United States Constitution. "Act of Congress" is sometimes used in informal speech to indicate something for which getting permission is burdensome. For example, "It takes an Act of Congress to get a building permit in this town." An Act adopted by simple majorities in both houses of Congress is promulgated, or given the force of law, in one of the following ways: Signature by the President of the United States, Inaction by the President after ten days from reception while the Congress is in session, or Reconsideration by the Congress after a presidential veto during its session. The President promulgates Acts of Congress made by the first two methods. If an Act is made by the third method, the presiding officer of the house that last reconsidered the act promulgates it.
Under the United States Constitution, if the President does not return a bill or resolution to Congress with objections before the time limit expires the bill automatically becomes an Act. In addition, if the President rejects a bill or resolution while the Congress is in session, a two-thirds vote of both houses of the Congress is needed for reconsideration to be successful. Promulgation in the sense of publishing and proclaiming the law is accomplished by the President, or the relevant presiding officer in the case of an overridden veto, delivering the act to the Archivist of the United States. After the Archivist receives the Act, he or she provides for its publication as a slip law and in the United States Statutes at Large. Thereafter, the changes are published in the United States Code. An Act of Congress that violates the Constitution may be declared unconstitutional by the courts; the judicial declaration of an Act's unconstitutionality does not remove the law from the statute books.
However, future publications of the Act are annotated with warnings indicating that the statute is no longer valid law. Legislation List of United States federal legislation for a list of prominent acts of Congress. Procedures of the United States Congress Act of Parliament Coming into force Enactment Federal Register http://bensguide.gpo.gov/6-8/glossary.html
Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981
The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 known as the ERTA or "Kemp–Roth Tax Cut", was a federal law enacted by the 97th United States Congress and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. The act was a major tax cut designed to encourage economic growth. Republican Congressman Jack Kemp and Republican Senator William Roth had nearly won passage of a tax cut during the presidency of Jimmy Carter, Reagan made a major tax cut his top priority upon taking office. Though Democrats maintained a majority in the House of Representatives during the 97th Congress, Reagan was able to convince conservative Democrats like Phil Gramm to support the bill. ERTA passed Congress on August 4, 1981, was signed into law on August 13, 1981. ERTA was one of the largest tax cuts in U. S. history, ERTA and the Tax Reform Act of 1986 are known together as the Reagan tax cuts. Along with spending cuts, Reagan's tax cuts were the centerpiece of what some contemporaries described as the conservative "Reagan Revolution."
Included in the act was an across-the-board decrease in federal income tax rates. The top marginal tax rate fell from 70 percent to 50 percent, the bottom rate dropped from 14 percent to 11 percent. To prevent future bracket creep, the new tax rates were indexed for inflation. ERTA slashed estate taxes, capital gains taxes, corporate taxes. Critics of the act claim that it worsened federal budget deficits, while supporters credit it for bolstering the economy during the 1980s. Due to deficit concerns in the midst of the early 1980s recession, many of the cuts implemented by ERTA were rescinded by the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982; the Office of Tax Analysis of the United States Department of the Treasury summarized the tax changes as follows: phased-in 23% cut in individual tax rates over 3 years. The maximum expense in calculating credit was increased from $2000 to $2400 for one child and from $4000 to $4800 for two or more kids; the credit increased from a maximum of $400 or $800 to 30 % of $10,000 income or less.
The 30% credit is diminished by 1% for every $2,000 of earned income up to $28000. At $28000, the credit for earned income is 20%; the amount a married taxpayer who files a join return increased under the Economic Recovery Tax Act to $125,000 from $100,000, allowed under the 1976 Act. A single person is limited to an exclusion of $62,500, it increases the amount of a one time exclusion of gain realized on the sale of principal residence by a persons at least 55 years old. Republican Congressman Jack Kemp and Republican Senator William Roth had nearly won passage of a major tax cut during the presidency of Jimmy Carter, but President Carter had prevented passage of the bill due to concerns about the deficit. Supply-side economics advocates like Kemp and Reagan asserted that cutting taxes would lead to higher government revenue due to economic growth, a proposition, challenged by many economists. Upon taking office, Reagan made the passage of Kemp-Roth bill his top domestic priority; as Democrats controlled the House of Representatives, passage of any bill would require the support of some House Democrats in addition to the support of congressional Republicans.
Reagan's victory in the 1980 presidential campaign had united Republicans around his leadership, while conservative Democrats like Phil Gramm of Texas were eager to back some of Reagan's conservative policies. Throughout 1981, Reagan met with members of Congress, focusing on winning support from conservative Southern Democrats. In July 1981, the Senate voted 89-11 in favor of the tax cut bill favored by Reagan, the House subsequently approved the bill in a 238-195 vote. Reagan's success in passing a major tax bill and cutting the federal budget was hailed as the "Reagan Revolution" by some reporters; the Accelerated Cost Recovery System was a major component of the ERTA and was amended in 1986 to become the Modified Accelerated cost Recovery System. The system changed the way. Instead of basing the depreciation deduction on an estimate of the expected useful life of assets, the assets were placed into categories: 3, 5, 10, or 15 years of life. For example, the agriculture industry saw a re-evaluation of their farming assets.
Items such as automobiles and swine were given 3 year depreciation values, things like buildings and land had a 15-year depreciation value. The idea was that there would be a rise in tax cuts due to the optimistic consideration of depreciating values; this would in turn put more cash into the pockets of business owners to promote investment and economic growth. The most lasting impact and significant change of the Act was the indexing of the tax code parameters for inflation starting in years after 1984. Of the nine federal tax laws between 1968 and this Act, si
Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006
The Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, includes a package of tax extenders, provisions affecting health savings accounts and other provisions in the United States. The Act retroactively extended for two years certain provisions that had expired at the end of 2005, including: Above the line deduction for qualified tuition and higher education expenses Elective itemized deduction for state and local general sales taxes Research credit For tax years ending after December 31, 2006, the Act modifies the rules for calculating the research credit: it increases the rates of the alternative incremental credit and creates a new alternative simplified credit Work opportunity tax credit, welfare-to-work tax credit Tax credit for Qualified Zone Academy Bonds Up to $250 above-the-line deduction for certain expenses of elementary and secondary school teachers Expensing of brownfields remediation costs Tax incentives for investment in Washington, DC Indian employment tax credit Accelerated depreciation for business property on Indian reservations Fifteen-year depreciation for qualified leasehold improvements and qualified restaurant property Enhanced charitable deductions—for corporate donations of scientific property used for research, of computer technology and equipment Archer medical savings accounts Suspension of the taxable income limit on percentage depletion for oil and natural gas produced from marginal propertiesIn addition, the Act extended certain provisions that would otherwise expire at the end of 2006, including: Election to treat combat pay as earned income for purposes of calculating the earned income credit Provisions affecting IRS disclosure of certain tax return informationThe Act extended the new markets tax credit through the end of 2008 and requires that future regulations ensure that non-metropolitan counties receive a proportional allocation of qualified entity investments.
The Act extended through December 31, 2008, numerous energy provisions that would otherwise have expired at the end of 2007, including: Tax credit for electricity produced from certain renewable resources Authority to issue clean renewable energy bonds Deduction for energy-efficient commercial buildings Tax credit for new energy-efficient homes Tax credit for residential energy-efficient property Several provisions affect health savings accounts, including provisions dealing with limitations on HSA contributions and tax-free rollovers to HSAs from health reimbursement accounts, flexible spending accounts and individual retirement accounts. Other provisions include: Expansion of the Section 199 domestic production activity deduction to income from Puerto Rico, if all Puerto Rican receipts are subject to federal income tax A refundable credit of 20 percent of the long-term unused alternative minimum tax credits per year for the next five years, subject to certain limitations and phaseouts Enhancing reporting requirements for the exercise of incentive stock options and employee stock purchase plans Reform and expansion of whistleblower awards to certain individuals who provide information regarding violations of the tax laws An increase of the penalty for frivolous tax submissions from $500 to $5,000 and an extension of the scope of the penalty A temporary itemized deduction for qualified mortgage insurance premiums accrued during 2007, subject to limitations and phase-out Increased information sharing between the IRS and certain regional governmental organizations Charitable remainder trusts having unrelated business taxable income are subjected to an excise tax equal to 100% of unrelated business taxable income A technical correction to the Subpart F look-through rule under the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 Clarifying that the Tax Court has jurisdiction to review requests for equitable innocent spouse relief Expanding the Medicare Recovery Audit Contractor program to all 50 states and making it permanent Ordering the completion without delay of the All-American Canal Lining Project and identifying a 1944 treaty between the US and Mexico as the exclusive authority concerning the impacts of projects constructed within US territory on foreign territoriesThe Act makes permanent certain provisions that were included as temporary provisions in the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 and were otherwise scheduled to expire after 2010, including: Federal income tax exemption of certain qualified settlement funds established to resolve CERCLA claims "Separate affiliated group" rule for satisfaction of active trade or business requirement under Section 355 Election to treat self-created musical works as capital assets Exemption from imputed interest rules for certain loans to qualified continuing care facilities CRS Report in the public domain H.
R. 6111, Legislative History
Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001
The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 was a major piece of tax legislation passed by the 107th United States Congress and signed by President George W. Bush, it is known by its abbreviation EGTRRA, is referred to as one of the two "Bush tax cuts". Bush had made tax cuts the centerpiece of his campaign in the 2000 presidential election, he introduced a major tax cut proposal shortly after taking office. Though a handful of Democrats supported the bill, most support came from congressional Republicans; the bill was passed by Congress in May 2001, signed into law by Bush on June 7, 2001. Due to the narrow Republican majority in the United State Senate, EGGTRA was passed using the reconciliation process, which bypasses the Senate filibuster. EGGTRA lowered federal income tax rates, reducing the top tax rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent and reducing rates for several other tax brackets. The act reduced capital gain taxes, raised raised pre-tax contribution limits for defined contribution plans and Individual Retirement Accounts, eliminated the estate tax.
In 2003, Bush signed another bill, the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, which contained further tax cuts and accelerated certain tax changes that were part of EGGTRA. Due to the rules concerning reconciliation, EGGTRA contained a sunset provision that would end the tax cuts in 2011, but most of the cuts were made permanent with the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Bush's promise to cut taxes was the centerpiece of his 2000 presidential campaign, upon taking office, he made tax cuts his first major legislative priority. A budget surplus had developed during the Bill Clinton administration, with the Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's support, Bush argued that the best use of the surplus was to lower taxes. By the time Bush took office, reduced economic growth had led to less robust federal budgetary projections, but Bush maintained that tax cuts were necessary to boost economic growth. After Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill expressed concerns over the tax cut's size and the possibility of future deficits, Vice President Cheney took charge of writing the bill, which the administration proposed to Congress in March 2001.
Bush sought a $1.6 trillion tax cut over a ten-year period, but settled for a $1.35 trillion tax cut. The administration rejected the idea of "triggers" that would phase out the tax reductions should the government again run deficits; the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act won the support of congressional Republicans and a minority of congressional Democrats, Bush signed it into law in June 2001. The narrow Republican majority in the Senate necessitated the use of the reconciliation, which in turn necessitated that the tax cuts would phase out in 2011 barring further legislative action. One of the most notable characteristics of EGTRRA is that its provisions were designed to sunset on January 1, 2011 (that is, for tax years, plan years, limitation years that begin after December 31, 2010. After a two-year extension by the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, Job Creation Act of 2010, the Bush era rates for taxpayers making less than $400,000 per year were made permanent by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.
The sunset provision allowed EGTRRA to sidestep the Byrd Rule, a Senate rule that amends the Congressional Budget Act to allow Senators to block a piece of legislation if it purports a significant increase in the federal deficit beyond ten years. The sunset allowed the bill to stay within the letter of the PAYGO law while removing nearly $700 billion from amounts that would have triggered PAYGO sequestration. In addition to the tax cuts implemented by the EGTRRA, it initiated a series of rebates for all taxpayers that filed a tax return for 2000; the rebate was up to a maximum of $300 for single filers with no dependents, $500 for single parents, $600 for married couples. Anybody who paid less than their maximum rebate amount in net taxes received that amount, meaning some people who did not pay any taxes did not receive rebates; the rebates were automatic for anybody who filed their 2000 tax return on time, or filed for an extension and sent a return. If an eligible person did not receive a rebate check by December 2001 they could apply for the rebate in their 2001 tax return.
EGTRRA reduced the rates of individual income taxes: a new 10% bracket was created for single filers with taxable income up to $6,000, joint filers up to $12,000, heads of households up to $10,000. The 15% bracket's lower threshold was indexed to the new 10% bracket the 28% bracket would be lowered to 25% by 2006; the 31% bracket would be lowered to 28% by 2006 the 36% bracket would be lowered to 33% by 2006 the 39.6% bracket would be lowered to 35% by 2006The EGTRRA in many cases lowered the taxes on married couples filing jointly by increasing the standard deduction for joint filers to between 164% and 200% of the deduction for single filers. Additionally, EGTRRA increased the per-child tax credit and the amount eligible for credit spent on dependent child care, phased out limits on itemized deductions and personal exemptions for higher income taxpayers, increased the exemption for the Alternative Minimum Tax, created a new depreciation deduction for qualified property owners; the capital gains tax on qualified gains of property or stock held for five years was reduced from 10% to 8% for those in the 15% income tax bracket.
EGTRRA introduced sweeping changes to retirement plans, incorporating many of the so-called Portman-Cardin provisions proposed by those House members i
Ronald Wilson Reagan was an American politician who served as the 40th president of the United States from 1981 to 1989. Prior to his presidency, he was a Hollywood actor and union leader before serving as the 33rd governor of California from 1967 to 1975. Reagan was raised in a poor family in small towns of northern Illinois, he graduated from Eureka College in 1932 and worked as a sports announcer on several regional radio stations. After moving to California in 1937, he found work as an actor and starred in a few major productions. Reagan was twice elected President of the Screen Actors Guild—the labor union for actors—where he worked to root out Communist influence. In the 1950s, he was a motivational speaker at General Electric factories. Reagan had been a Democrat until 1962, when he became a conservative and switched to the Republican Party. In 1964, Reagan's speech, "A Time for Choosing", supported Barry Goldwater's foundering presidential campaign and earned him national attention as a new conservative spokesman.
Building a network of supporters, he was elected governor of California in 1966. As governor, Reagan raised taxes, turned a state budget deficit to a surplus, challenged the protesters at the University of California, ordered in National Guard troops during a period of protest movements in 1969, was re-elected in 1970, he twice ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination, in 1968 and 1976. Four years in 1980, he won the nomination and defeated incumbent president Jimmy Carter. At 69 years, 349 days of age at the time of his first inauguration, Reagan was the oldest person to have assumed office until Donald Trump in 2017. Reagan faced former vice president Walter Mondale when he ran for re-election in 1984, defeated him, winning the most electoral votes of any U. S. president, 525, or 97.6 percent of the 538 votes in the Electoral College. This was the second-most lopsided presidential election in modern U. S. history after Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1936 victory over Alfred M. Landon, in which he won 98.5 percent or 523 of the 531 electoral votes.
Soon after taking office, Reagan began implementing sweeping new economic initiatives. His supply-side economic policies, dubbed "Reaganomics", advocated tax rate reduction to spur economic growth, economic deregulation, reduction in government spending. In his first term he survived an assassination attempt, spurred the War on Drugs, fought public sector labor. Over his two terms, the economy saw a reduction of inflation from 12.5% to 4.4%, an average annual growth of real GDP of 3.4%. Reagan enacted cuts in domestic discretionary spending, cut taxes, increased military spending which contributed to increased federal outlays overall after adjustment for inflation. Foreign affairs dominated his second term, including ending the Cold War, the bombing of Libya, the Iran–Iraq War, the Iran–Contra affair. In June 1987, four years after he publicly described the Soviet Union as an "evil empire", Reagan challenged Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall!", during a speech at the Brandenburg Gate.
He transitioned Cold War policy from détente to rollback by escalating an arms race with the USSR while engaging in talks with Gorbachev. The talks culminated in the INF Treaty. Reagan began his presidency during the decline of the Soviet Union, the Berlin Wall fell just ten months after the end of his term. Germany reunified the following year, on December 26, 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed; when Reagan left office in 1989, he held an approval rating of 68 percent, matching those of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Bill Clinton, as the highest ratings for departing presidents in the modern era, he was the first president since Dwight D. Eisenhower to serve two full terms, after a succession of five prior presidents did not. Although he had planned an active post-presidency, Reagan disclosed in November 1994 that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease earlier that year. Afterward, his informal public appearances became more infrequent, he died at home on June 5, 2004. His tenure constituted a realignment toward conservative policies in the United States, he is an icon among conservatives.
Evaluations of his presidency among historians and the general public place him among the upper tier of American presidents. Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on February 6, 1911, in an apartment on the second floor of a commercial building in Tampico, Illinois, he was the younger son of Jack Reagan. Jack was a salesman and storyteller whose grandparents were Irish Catholic emigrants from County Tipperary, while Nelle was of half English and half Scottish descent. Reagan's older brother, Neil Reagan, became an advertising executive. Reagan's father nicknamed his son "Dutch", due to his "fat little Dutchman"-like appearance and "Dutchboy" haircut. Reagan's family lived in several towns and cities in Illinois, including Monmouth and Chicago. In 1919, they returned to Tampico and lived above the H. C. Pitney Variety Store until settling in Dixon. After his election as president, Reagan resided in the upstairs White House private quarters, he would quip that he was "living above the store again". Ronald Reagan wrote that his mother "always expected to find the best in people and did".
She attended the Disciples of Christ church and was active, influential, within it.
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