Internal Revenue Service
The Internal Revenue Service is the revenue service of the United States federal government. The government agency is a bureau of the Department of the Treasury, is under the immediate direction of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, appointed to a five-year term by the President of the United States; the IRS is responsible for collecting taxes and administering the Internal Revenue Code, the main body of federal statutory tax law of the United States. The duties of the IRS include providing tax assistance to taxpayers and pursuing and resolving instances of erroneous or fraudulent tax filings; the IRS has overseen various benefits programs, enforces portions of the Affordable Care Act. The IRS originated with the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, a federal office created in 1862 to assess the nation's first income tax, to raise funds for the American Civil War; the temporary measure provided over a fifth of the Union's war expenses and was allowed to expire a decade later. In 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.
S. Constitution was ratified authorizing Congress to impose a tax on income, the Bureau of Internal Revenue was established. In 1953, the agency was renamed the Internal Revenue Service. Though the IRS brings in most of the revenue needed to fund the federal government, its resources have been cut year after year. In 2016 the American College of Tax Counsel wrote to the Congressional leadership stating, "We have watched the agency struggle with significant decreases in funding that have caused staffing and morale issues. In our practices, we have seen the negative impact this has had on our clients, the taxpayers."In the 2017 fiscal year, the IRS processed more than 245 million returns and collected more than $3.4 trillion in gross revenue, spending 34¢ for every $100 it collected. On June 28, 2018, Bloomberg News wrote, "The agency has been reeling from budget cuts; the current budget of $11.43 billion is less than in fiscal 2008, the IRS pared about 15 percent of its workforce over the past five years.
The enforcement staff has plunged by more than 25 percent since 2010."In the 2018 fiscal year, the U. S. federal government spent $779 billion more. It's estimated; the cutoff date taxes from 2017 filed in the 2019 tax season is March 25th. In fiscal year 2019 the IRS plans to cut an additional 2,200 employees. In July 1862, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln and Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1862, creating the office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue and enacting a temporary income tax to pay war expenses; the Revenue Act of 1862 was passed as temporary war-time tax. It copied a new British system of income taxation, instead of trade and property taxation; the first income tax was passed in 1862: The initial rate was 3% on income over $800, which exempted most wage-earners. In 1862 the rate was 3% on income between $600 and $10,000, 5% on income over $10,000. In 1864 the rate was 5% on income between $600 and $5,000. By the end of the war, 10% of Union households had paid some form of income tax, the Union raised 21% of its war revenue through income taxes.
After the Civil War, Reconstruction and transforming the North and South war machines towards peacetime required public funding. However, in 1872, seven years after the war, lawmakers allowed the temporary Civil War income tax to expire. Income taxes evolved, but in 1894 the Supreme Court declared the Income Tax of 1894 unconstitutional in Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co. a decision that contradicted Hylton v. United States; the federal government scrambled to raise money. In 1906, with the election of President Theodore Roosevelt, his successor William Howard Taft, the United States saw a populist movement for tax reform; this movement culminated during candidate Woodrow Wilson's election of 1912 and in February 1913, the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution: The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, without regard to any census or enumeration. This granted Congress the specific power to impose an income tax without regard to apportionment among the states by population.
By February 1913, 36 states had ratified the change to the Constitution. It was further ratified by six more states by March. Of the 48 states at the time, 42 ratified it. Connecticut, Rhode Island, Utah rejected the amendment. Though the constitutional amendment to allow the Federal government to collect income taxes was proposed by President Taft in 1909, the 16th Amendment was not ratified until 1913, just before the start of the First World War. In 1913 the first edition of the 1040 form was introduced. A copy of the first IRS 1040 form, can be found at the IRS website showing that only those with incomes of $3,000 or more were instructed to file. In the first year after ratification of the 16th Amendment, no taxes were collected. Instead, taxpayers completed the form and the IRS checked the form for accuracy; the IRS's workload jumped by ten-fold. Professional tax collectors began to replace a system of "patronage" appointments; the IRS doubled its staff, but was still processing 1917 returns in 1919.
Income tax raised much of the money required to finance the war effort. In 1919 the IRS was tasked with enforcement of laws relating to prohibition of alcohol sales and manufacture.
Satpal Singh Rawat known as Satpal Maharaj is a spiritual master born 21 September 1951 in Kankhal, is the son of famous spiritual master Yogiraj Paramsant Shri Hans Ji Maharaj and Jagat Janni Rajeshwari Devi. He is a National Executive Member of Bharatiya Janata Party, he was a member of the lower house of the Parliament of India for the INC party. He is the tourism minister of Uttarakhand. Satpal Maharaj studied at St. George's College in Mussorie; as of 2014, Maharaj is the head of the Manav Utthan Sewa Samiti. He teaches the meditation techniques called "Knowledge"; the movement has ashrmas all across the globe with its head office in India. It claims millions of members and has events that draw 100,000 people or more to its main ashrams in Haridwar and New Delhi. According to Lise McKean in the book Divine Enterprise: Gurus and the Hindu Nationalist Movement, in the Samiti cult of the holy family, his wife Amrita Rawat and their two sons are worshiped as divine beings, with individual members of the holy family held to represent diverse aspects of divinity.
The Divine Light Mission was an organization founded in 1960 by Satpal Maharaj's father, guru Shri Hans Ji Maharaj for his following in northern India. During the 1970s, the DLM gained prominence in the West under the leadership of his fourth and youngest son Prem Rawat. During the customary 13 days of mourning following Shri Hans's death, the succession was discussed by DLM officials; the youngest son, 8-year-old Prem Rawat, addressed the crowd and was accepted by them, as well as by his mother and brothers, as the "Perfect Master". Though Prem Rawat was the leader of the DLM, because of his youth authority was shared by the whole family. For the next eight years Hans Maharaj's family supported Prem Rawat as his successor but the latter's decision to marry a Westerner in 1974 precipitated a struggle for control of DLM. Mata returned to India and appointed her oldest son Satpal as the new head of DLM India, claiming that Prem Rawat had broken his spiritual discipline by marrying a foreigner.
The Western premies remained loyal to Prem Rawat, but the marriage led to a permanent rift within the family and was credited with causing a profound disruption in the movement. After the split, Satpal became the new head of the organization in India following a legal battle with his brother Prem Rawat. Satpal Maharaj, had played a vital role in the formation of Uttarakhand; as an MP and a Union Minister he had knocked at the doors of Prime Ministers H D Deve Gowda and I K Gujral and West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu to press for the creation of the separate state of Uttarakhand. When the Centre was contemplating granting a Union Territory status to Uttarakhand in 1996, it was he who had convinced H D Deve Gowda that the demand for a separate state of Uttarakhand will keep raising its head if it was granted just a UT status, the Pauri MP said, it was due to his efforts that Gowda accepted the proposal to grant statehood to Uttarakhand and made an announcement in this regard from the ramparts of the Red Fort on 15 August 1996.
Satpal Maharaj inaugurated the survey to this project as a Union Minister, Minister of Railways of State of Uttar Pradesh way back in 1996. This project got budget allocation and other clearances from the government, it is said to be the longest tunnel rail project in the country, which will play a vital role in the security of the country, livelihood of the people of uttarakhand; the Rishikesh to Karnprayag Rail Line is proposed to serve vital role in the country, for prompt movement of Army and locals. The foundation stone for the project survey was led down by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, way back on 9 November 2011 at Rishikesh, this was a 125-kilometre railway line project; the survey of the project completed somewhere by the year 2013, however the project was delayed as the state ministers delayed to provide necessary land to Rail Vikas Nigam Limited for commencement of the project construction due to non finalisation of land acquisition rules of Uttarakhand. Member of Parliament from Pauri Garhwal, Shri Satpal Maharaj brought a private member's bill to include Garhwali and Kumaoni language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India.
Quinoa has the perfect balance of all nine amino acids essential for human nutrition. This type of complete protein is found in plant foods Quinoa offers a good dose of fiber and iron; the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations has declared that the year 2013 be recognized as "The International Year of the Quinoa." Proposed by the government of Bolivia and receiving strong support from many Central and South American countries, quinoa has now been singled out by the FAO as a food with "high nutritive value," impressive biodiversity, an important role to play in the achievement of food security worldwide. Satpal Maharaj has been trying hard to bring quinoa in India which will for sure bring protein revolution in India. Uttarakhand Government has inked a tourism promotion cum horticulture research agreement with Peru. State Government will have intergovernmental interaction of scientific communities from both the countries in order to boost horticulture and wool production in the State.
According to Maharaj Peru president will visit Uttarakhand in January to explore the possibilities and economic opportunities here. The MoU for tourism promotion was signed between the Uttarakhand tourism minister Amrita Rawat and Peru president Carlos Canales in the presence of vice president of India Mohammed Hamid Ansari in their recent visit to Peru
Australia the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area; the neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea and East Timor to the north. The population of 25 million is urbanised and concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, its largest city is Sydney; the country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians for about 60,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, it is documented. After the European exploration of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, who named it New Holland, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788, a date which became Australia's national day; the population grew in subsequent decades, by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy, comprising six states and ten territories. Being the oldest and driest inhabited continent, with the least fertile soils, Australia has a landmass of 7,617,930 square kilometres. A megadiverse country, its size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with deserts in the centre, tropical rainforests in the north-east and mountain ranges in the south-east. A gold rush began in Australia in the early 1850s, its population density, 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometre, remains among the lowest in the world. Australia generates its income from various sources including mining-related exports, telecommunications and manufacturing. Indigenous Australian rock art is the oldest and richest in the world, dating as far back as 60,000 years and spread across hundreds of thousands of sites. Australia is a developed country, with the world's 14th-largest economy.
It has a high-income economy, with the world's tenth-highest per capita income. It is a regional power, has the world's 13th-highest military expenditure. Australia has the world's ninth-largest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting for 26% of the population. Having the third-highest human development index and the eighth-highest ranked democracy globally, the country ranks in quality of life, education, economic freedom, civil liberties and political rights, with all its major cities faring well in global comparative livability surveys. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Pacific Islands Forum and the ASEAN Plus Six mechanism; the name Australia is derived from the Latin Terra Australis, a name used for a hypothetical continent in the Southern Hemisphere since ancient times. When Europeans first began visiting and mapping Australia in the 17th century, the name Terra Australis was applied to the new territories.
Until the early 19th century, Australia was best known as "New Holland", a name first applied by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1644 and subsequently anglicised. Terra Australis still saw occasional usage, such as in scientific texts; the name Australia was popularised by the explorer Matthew Flinders, who said it was "more agreeable to the ear, an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth". The first time that Australia appears to have been used was in April 1817, when Governor Lachlan Macquarie acknowledged the receipt of Flinders' charts of Australia from Lord Bathurst. In December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Office. In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known by that name; the first official published use of the new name came with the publication in 1830 of The Australia Directory by the Hydrographic Office. Colloquial names for Australia include "Oz" and "the Land Down Under". Other epithets include "the Great Southern Land", "the Lucky Country", "the Sunburnt Country", "the Wide Brown Land".
The latter two both derive from Dorothea Mackellar's 1908 poem "My Country". Human habitation of the Australian continent is estimated to have begun around 65,000 to 70,000 years ago, with the migration of people by land bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now Southeast Asia; these first inhabitants were the ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal Australian culture is one of the oldest continual civilisations on earth. At the time of first European contact, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers with complex economies and societies. Recent archaeological finds suggest. Indigenous Australians have an oral culture with spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime; the Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, obtained their livelihood from seasonal horticulture and the resources of their reefs and seas. The northern coasts and waters of Australia were visited s
Who is Guru Maharaj Ji?
Who is Guru Maharaj Ji?, published in 1973 by Bantam Books is a non-fiction book about Guru Maharaj Ji, now known as Prem Rawat. Edited by Charles Cameron, the book claims to be an "authentic authorized story", was written when Maharaj Ji was aged 15; the initial printing was of 125,000 copies. A Spanish-language edition was published in 1975, as Quién es Guru Maharaj Ji. In the introduction, Rennie Davis, a public spokesperson for Maharaj Ji at the time, refers to Maharaj Ji as "the greatest event in history and we sleep through it" and goes on to say "If we knew who he was we would crawl across America on our hands and knees to rest our heads at his feet." Less ambiguously, the back cover asks "Why do more than six million people around the world claim he is the greatest incarnation of God that trod the face of this planet?" Who Is Guru Maharaj Ji? was the title of a 60-minute colour film produced by Shri Hans Productions, which gave some background on the Guru and his followers. The 2000 book Pluralism Comes of Age: Religion in Twentieth-century America, by Lippy, cites Cameron's Who is Guru Maharaj Ji? for information regarding Maharaj Ji and the Divine Light Mission, along with James V. Downton's Sacred Journeys: The Conversion of Young Americans to Divine Light Mission, Maharaj Ji's own book of quotations, The Living Master.
Gray's Adam and Eve and the City cites the work, in a section where she analyzes new religious movements, Tucker cites the book in the context of the New Age movement, Marc Galanter cites the book in the context of analyzing cults. The book is cited in the work Religious Change and Continuity. Sutton cited the book, in the context of the history of communes in America citing Downton's Sacred Journeys as a source. Mangalwadi used the book as a source in his discussion of Gurus. Who is Guru Maharaj Ji? is cited by Greenfield's The Spiritual Supermarket, which discussed what Greenfield saw as the permeation of media related to to Maharaj Ji that surrounded his lifestyle. Burghart cited the work; the book has been cited by religious scholars writing in other languages, including Holm, Hummel. Irving Hexham includes the book in his index to Cults and New Religions, puts the work in the context of Neo-Hinduism. According to the book Rolling Stone: The Seventies, copies of Who is Guru Maharaj Ji were piled in stacks on the floor and on tables at the Divine Light Mission's "Millennium'73" event, which honored Maharaj Ji Who is Who In Guruism?, Johannes Aagaard Entry, Encyclopedia of Religion and Society, James T. Richardson
Liverpool Hope University
Liverpool Hope University is a public university in Liverpool, England. Growing out of its first founding colleges - one of the first UK institutions to provide teacher education for women - Liverpool Hope University now has three faculties: Arts and Humanities and Science. These faculties are organised into 19 departments; the university has received a Gold standing in UK's Teaching Excellence Framework. The University's philosophy is to ‘educate in the round’ – mind and spirit – in the quest for Truth and Goodness; the university has two campuses – the main Hope Park Campus in the suburb of Childwall and the Creative Campus just over the border in Everton 15 minutes walk to Liverpool city centre and 22 minutes walk to Liverpool Central train station. Two of the university's founding colleges, Saint Katherine's and Notre Dame were established in the 19th century; these colleges were in Liverpool City Centre respectively. These were among the first to provide opportunities for higher education to women.
They were supplemented on Merseyside when a second Catholic teacher education college, Christ's College, on a site adjacent to St Katharine's, admitted its first students in 1964. In 1980, these three colleges joined in an ecumenical federation under the holding title of Liverpool Institute of Higher Education. Archbishop Derek Worlock and Bishop David Sheppard wrote of this as being "a sign of hope". In 1995, a new Instrument and Articles of Government established a single, ecumenical College, a new name: Liverpool Hope. A company limited by guarantee and registered as a charity was formed. Meanwhile, expansion followed in student numbers; the status of a accredited institution of the University of Liverpool had been achieved in 1994. This gave full responsibility to the college for the quality and standards of its course provision and provided recognition of its academic standing. In 1998, the Accreditation Agreement with the University of Liverpool was renewed for five years and extended to cover taught postgraduate awards.
After extensive scrutiny by the Quality Assurance Agency in 2001 and 2002, Liverpool Hope gained taught degree awarding powers in August 2002. The college made an application to become a university, submitted in September 2004; the Privy Council approved the title "Liverpool Hope University" in July 2005, granting full university status under the leadership of Gerald J. Pillay, now the university's Vice-Chancellor & Rector. On 25 January 2006, Baroness Cox, Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords, was installed as the university's Foundation Chancellor. On 16 July 2013, The Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank was installed as the university's second Chancellor. In September 2007 work was completed on the student services building, named the'Gateway to Hope'; the building draws together all of the university's student services such as Registry, Accommodation Offices and the newly launched Student Success Zone. In January 2009 work began on a new £7.5m Centre for Music and Innovation at the Hope's Cornerstone campus.
The centre was opened in March 2010. In March 2009, the university awarded Vasily Petrenko, Chief Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, an honorary doctorate and made him a Visiting Professor of Music; the university's £8.5m Eden Building on the university's Hope Park campus opened in October 2010. The centre consists of a lecture theatre, meeting space and seminar and teaching rooms grouped around an internal street atrium. In 2010 the Creative Campus was completed with the opening of The Capstone, a new Music Teaching building and performance venue which includes the Hope Theatre concert hall and Angel Field, a new garden with an outdoor performance area; the main campus, Hope Park, is located in Childwall and the second campus, The Creative Campus, is located in Everton. The Sheppard-Worlock Library is the university's central library, based at the Hope Park campus. Housed within the Hilda Constance Building, the library offers extended hours throughout the year, including periods of 24-hour opening.
The Library takes its name from Archbishop Derek Worlock. The two men were noted for their work in healing sectarian divisions within Liverpool during the 1970s and 80s. In addition, they shared the ambition for an ecumenical foundation in Liverpool Hope. On a historic visit to London, Archbishop Derek Worlock and Bishop David Sheppard secured from the Secretary of State for Education permission to create an ecumenical institute of higher education; the story goes that the minister of state for further and higher education, Gordon Oakes, was not concerned about the constitution of the new institute as he believed it would not last a year. In 1997, one of the final acts of Jim Burke as Rector was to approve the building of a new library at a cost of £5.34million – the Sheppard-Worlock library which opened in 1997. It is a member of the Libraries Together: Liverpool Learning Partnership which formed in 1990. Under which, a registered reader at any of the member libraries can have access rights to the other libraries within the partnership.
In addition to a wealth of publications, research material, extensive computing facilities and stationery sales, the library plays host to a number of commercial activities in the business and education communities. The library houses a number of research collections
Lord of the Universe
Lord of the Universe is a 1974 American documentary film about Prem Rawat at an event in November 1973 at the Houston Astrodome called "Millennium'73". Lord of the Universe was first broadcast on PBS on February 2, 1974, released in VHS format on November 1, 1991; the documentary chronicles Maharaj Ji, his followers and anti-Vietnam War activist Rennie Davis, a spokesperson of the Divine Light Mission at the time. A counterpoint is presented by Abbie Hoffman, it includes interviews with several individuals, including followers, ex-followers, a mahatma, a born-again Christian, a follower of Hare Krishna. The production team of Top Value Television produced the documentary; the TVTV team followed Maharaj Ji across the United States over a period of six weeks, edited a large amount of tape down to the fifty-eight-minute piece. It was the first documentary made on 1⁄2 in video tape broadcast nationally, the first independent video documentary shown on national public television; the documentary was well-received, garnered its TVTV production team the 1974 Alfred I. du Pont/Columbia University Award in Broadcast Journalism.
The documentary received a negative review in the New York Post, positive reviews in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Sun-Times. The San Francisco Bay Guardian wrote that the TVTV team had improved since their previous work but wanted them to move on to more challenging subjects; the documentary chronicles Guru Maharaj Ji, the Divine Light Mission, his followers and anti-Vietnam War activist Rennie Davis at "Millennium'73", an event held at the Houston Astrodome in November 1973. Rennie Davis, a follower of Guru Maharaj Ji, was one of the spokespersons and speakers at the "Millennium'73" event, his speech is featured in the documentary. Abbie Hoffman appears as a commentator in the documentary and addresses some points raised in Davis's speech, stating: "It's rather arrogant of Rennie to say that he has found God and has his Telex number in his wallet." The TVTV crew interviewed different "premies", or followers of Prem Rawat, throughout the film, one teenage boy is shown stating: "Before I came to the Guru I was a freak, smoking dope and dropping out – and my parents were happier than they are with this."
In a part of the film, a loudspeaker voice announces: "Those premies who came in private cars can leave now. Those who came in rented buses can stay and meditate until further notice." Adherents of other belief systems appear in the documentary, including a born-again Christian who criticizes devotees for "following the devil", a Hare Krishna follower. A separate storyline is seen concurrently through the coverage of the "Millennium'73" event, involving a man named Michael who has come to Houston, Texas, to receive "Knowledge" from Maharaj Ji. Once Michael has received the "Knowledge", he defends the secrecy behind the rituals. Michael's experiences are contrasted in the documentary with interviews with "ex-premies" or former followers of Maharaj Ji, recounting their initiation and disillusionment with Maharaj Ji's teachings. One of them says that after receiving "Knowledge" from Maharaj Ji, he was told that this free gift required lifetime devotion and donations of "worldly goods". Maharaj Ji is shown in a scene in the Astrodome relating a satsang to the attendants.
He is seen dressed in gold-colored clothing and a crown, sits on a platform throne. The story he relates to the crowd involves a young boy who comes to Houston, while searching for a Superman comic book. While seated on the platform, Maharaj Ji is surrounded by flashing moon signs and women wearing decorative garlands, while a band called "Blue Aquarius" plays his theme song; the stage is decorated with glitter and neon lights, Maharaj Ji's brother performs rock music songs. Abbie Hoffman gives a final comment in the documentary, stating: "If this guy is God, this is the God the United States of America deserves." The documentary was produced by Top Value Television in association with TV Lab, was directed by Michael Shamberg. TVTV had received initial funding for the documentary through a small grant from the Stern Foundation, an additional promise from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. David Loxton arranged a post-production budget of US$4,000, the total production costs for the documentary amounted to $36,000 – about forty-five percent of the average costs for a PBS film production at the time.
Several camera crews used 1⁄2 in black and white portapaks and followed Maharaj Ji and his group across the United States for six weeks. The TVTV production team debated whether to include the secret techniques of Maharaj Ji in the documentary and decided that it was vital to disclose these practices in the piece, they chose to have an ex-premie divulge these practices rather than use a narration, but they were fearful of potential repercussions, which never came. TVTV member Tom Weinberg found a man who demonstrated meditation techniques in the documentary, which he described as being the "Knowledge". Producer Megan Williams stated that TVTV crew members empathized with the experiences of Maharaj Ji's followers, because there was little age difference between them and the TVTV production team. Many in the crew of TVTV felt superior to these "lost souls" describing the followers as "gurunoids". At the end of filming, eighty-two hours of tape were edited to the final fifty-eight-minute documentary piece.
TVTV's team utilized graphics, live music, wide angle lens shots. Stop-action sequences where quotations flash on the screen were used for effect; the production was the first Porta
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