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
Time in the United States
Time in the United States, by law, is divided into nine standard time zones covering the states and its possessions, with most of the United States observing daylight saving time for the spring and fall months. The time zone boundaries and DST observance are regulated by the Department of Transportation. Official and precise timekeeping services are provided by two federal agencies: the National Institute of Standards and Technology; the clocks run by these services are kept synchronized with each other as well as with those of other international timekeeping organizations. It is the combination of the time zone and daylight saving rules, along with the timekeeping services, which determines the legal civil time for any U. S. location at any moment. Before the adoption of four standard time zones for the continental United States, many towns and cities set their clocks to noon when the sun passed their local meridian, pre-corrected for the equation of time on the date of observation, to form local mean solar time.
Noon occurred at different times but time differences between distant locations were noticeable prior to the 19th century because of long travel times and the lack of long-distance instant communications prior to the development of the telegraph. The use of local solar time became awkward as railways and telecommunications improved. American railroads maintained many different time zones during the late 1800s; each train station set its own clock making it difficult to coordinate train schedules and confusing passengers. Time calculation became a serious problem for people traveling by train, according to the Library of Congress; every city in the United States used a different time standard so there were more than 300 local sun times to choose from. Time zones were therefore a compromise, relaxing the complex geographic dependence while still allowing local time to be approximate with mean solar time. Railroad managers tried to address the problem by establishing 100 railroad time zones, but this was only a partial solution to the problem.
Weather service chief Cleveland Abbe had needed to introduce four standard time zones for his weather stations, an idea which he offered to the railroads. Operators of the new railroad lines needed a new time plan that would offer a uniform train schedule for departures and arrivals. Four standard time zones for the continental United States were introduced at noon on November 18, 1883, when the telegraph lines transmitted time signals to all major cities. In October 1884, the International Meridian Conference at Washington DC adopted a proposal which stated that the prime meridian for longitude and timekeeping should be one that passes through the centre of the transit instrument at the Greenwich Observatory in the United Kingdom; the conference therefore established the Greenwich Meridian as the prime meridian and Greenwich Mean Time as the world's time standard. The US time-zone system grew from this, in which all zones referred back to GMT on the prime meridian. In 1960, the International Radio Consultative Committee formalized the concept of Coordinated Universal Time, which became the new international civil time standard.
UTC is, within about 1 second, mean solar time at 0°. UTC does not observe daylight saving time. For most purposes, UTC is considered interchangeable with GMT, but GMT is no longer defined by the scientific community. UTC is one of several related successors to GMT. Standard time zones in the United States are defined at the federal level by law 15 USC §260; the federal law establishes the transition dates and times at which daylight saving time occurs, if observed. It is the authority of the Secretary of Transportation, in coordination with the states, to determine which regions will observe which of the standard time zones and if they will observe daylight saving time; as of August 9, 2007, the standard time zones are defined in terms of hourly offsets from UTC. Prior to this they were based upon the mean solar time at several meridians 15° apart west of Greenwich. Only the full-time zone names listed below are official. View the standard time zone boundaries here; the United States uses nine standard time zones.
As defined by US law they are: From east to west, the four time zones of the contiguous United States are: Eastern Time Zone, which comprises the states on the Atlantic coast and the eastern two thirds of the Ohio Valley. Central Time Zone, which comprises the Gulf Coast, Mississippi Valley, most of the Great Plains. Mountain Time Zone, which comprises the states and portions of states that include the Rocky Mountains and the western quarter of the Great Plains. Pacific Time Zone, which comprises the states on the Pacific coast, plus Nevada and the Idaho panhandle. Alaska Time Zone, which comprises most of the state of Alaska. Hawaii-Aleutian Time Zone, which includes Hawaii and most of the length of the Aleutian Islands chain. Samoa Time Zone, which comprises American Samoa. Chamorro Time Zone, which comprises Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Atlantic Time Zone, which comprises Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands; some United States Minor Outlying Islands are outside the time zones defined by 15 U.
S. C. § exist in waters defined by Nautical time. In practice, military crews may
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is a principal agency of the U. S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the American people and economy; the Census Bureau is part of the U. S. Department of Commerce and its director is appointed by the President of the United States; the Census Bureau's primary mission is conducting the U. S. Census every ten years, which allocates the seats of the U. S. House of Representatives to the states based on their population; the Bureau's various censuses and surveys help allocate over $400 billion in federal funds every year and it helps states, local communities, businesses make informed decisions. The information provided by the census informs decisions on where to build and maintain schools, transportation infrastructure, police and fire departments. In addition to the decennial census, the Census Bureau continually conducts dozens of other censuses and surveys, including the American Community Survey, the U. S. Economic Census, the Current Population Survey.
Furthermore and foreign trade indicators released by the federal government contain data produced by the Census Bureau. Article One of the United States Constitution directs the population be enumerated at least once every ten years and the resulting counts used to set the number of members from each state in the House of Representatives and, by extension, in the Electoral College; the Census Bureau now conducts a full population count every 10 years in years ending with a zero and uses the term "decennial" to describe the operation. Between censuses, the Census Bureau makes population projections. In addition, Census data directly affects how more than $400 billion per year in federal and state funding is allocated to communities for neighborhood improvements, public health, education and more; the Census Bureau is mandated with fulfilling these obligations: the collecting of statistics about the nation, its people, economy. The Census Bureau's legal authority is codified in Title 13 of the United States Code.
The Census Bureau conducts surveys on behalf of various federal government and local government agencies on topics such as employment, health, consumer expenditures, housing. Within the bureau, these are known as "demographic surveys" and are conducted perpetually between and during decennial population counts; the Census Bureau conducts economic surveys of manufacturing, retail and other establishments and of domestic governments. Between 1790 and 1840, the census was taken by marshals of the judicial districts; the Census Act of 1840 established a central office. Several acts followed that revised and authorized new censuses at the 10-year intervals. In 1902, the temporary Census Office was moved under the Department of Interior, in 1903 it was renamed the Census Bureau under the new Department of Commerce and Labor; the department was intended to consolidate overlapping statistical agencies, but Census Bureau officials were hindered by their subordinate role in the department. An act in 1920 changed the date and authorized manufacturing censuses every two years and agriculture censuses every 10 years.
In 1929, a bill was passed mandating the House of Representatives be reapportioned based on the results of the 1930 Census. In 1954, various acts were codified into Title 13 of the US Code. By law, the Census Bureau must count everyone and submit state population totals to the U. S. President by December 31 of any year ending in a zero. States within the Union receive the results in the spring of the following year; the United States Census Bureau defines four statistical regions, with nine divisions. The Census Bureau regions are "widely used...for data collection and analysis". The Census Bureau definition is pervasive. Regional divisions used by the United States Census Bureau: Region 1: Northeast Division 1: New England Division 2: Mid-Atlantic Region 2: Midwest Division 3: East North Central Division 4: West North Central Region 3: South Division 5: South Atlantic Division 6: East South Central Division 7: West South Central Region 4: West Division 8: Mountain Division 9: Pacific Many federal, state and tribal governments use census data to: Decide the location of new housing and public facilities, Examine the demographic characteristics of communities and the US, Plan transportation systems and roadways, Determine quotas and creation of police and fire precincts, Create localized areas for elections, utilities, etc.
Gathers population information every 10 years The United States Census Bureau is committed to confidentiality, guarantees non-disclosure of any addresses or personal information related to individuals or establishments. Title 13 of the U. S. Code establishes penalties for the disclosure of this information. All Census employees must sign an affidavit of non-disclosure prior to employment; the Bureau cannot share responses, addresses or personal information with anyone including United States or foreign government
Highlands, North Carolina
Highlands is an incorporated town in Macon County in the U. S. state of North Carolina. Located on a plateau in the southern Appalachian Mountains, within the Nantahala National Forest, it lies in southeastern Macon County and in southwestern Jackson County, in the Highlands and Cashiers Townships, respectively; the permanent population was 924 at the 2010 census. Highlands was founded in 1875 after its two founders, Samuel Truman Kelsey and Clinton Carter Hutchinson, drew lines from Chicago to Savannah and from New Orleans to New York City, they felt that the place where these lines met would become a great trading center and commercial crossroads. Highlands was named for its lofty elevation. In the 1930s the town became a golfing mecca when Bobby Jones of Atlanta and some of his well-heeled golfing buddies founded the Highlands Country Club. Today that club is one of seven successful residential country club communities in the area; the Highlands Country Club is south of Highlands on Dillard Road.
Highlands is located at 35°3′15″N 83°12′8″W. According to the United States Census Bureau, the community has a total area of 6.2 square miles, of which 6.1 square miles is land and 0.1 square miles, or 1.94%, is water. The official average elevation within town limits is 4,118 feet, making it one of the highest incorporated municipalities east of the Mississippi River; the annual rainfall approaches 100 inches due to the orographic lifting effect of storms coming from the lower elevations. This rainfall, coupled with abundant sunshine, creates a lush and verdant microclimate which appeals to botanists. Highlands has a subtropical highland climate, with much cooler weather than the rest of the American South; this cooling is caused by its altitude. Astride the Eastern Continental Divide, at just over 4,100 ft, the town's elevation contributes to its cool summers and abundant rainfall, averaging 87.57 inches per year. Average snowfall is only 13 inches due to the fact that Highlands is further south and east in the Appalachian Mountains.
In 2013 Highlands received 106 inches of rainfall. Areas of similar elevation on the northwest side of Appalachian region, such as Banner Elk, are not as protected from periodic blasts of Arctic air and receive more substantial snowfall. Regardless, Highlands is one of the rare locations at this latitude that has an average high of 78 °F or 26 °C in July, far lower than the rest of the American South. Highlands is becoming more a two-season community; the summer season draws large numbers of Southerners from the oppressive summertime heat and humidity found throughout much of the region to enjoy the beautiful mountains, cool days, fine dining, hometown Main Street experience. More and more the town is increasing its winter season draw through its offering of arts, culinary and romantic events; the town is dotted with many antique dealers, a well-known auction house, restaurants and inns, as well as several buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. For the performing arts there are four theaters: The Highlands Playhouse, the Instant Theatre Company, the Highlands Community Players, the Martin-Lipscomb Performing Arts Center, which hosts touring groups.
For the visual arts there is The Bascom - A Center for the Visual Arts, a new facility named for the artist and playwright, Louise Rand Bascom Barratt. The historic Lee's Inn, with an enormous tree growing through the middle of its dining room, was lost to an electrical fire in the 1980s and was not rebuilt; the historic Old Edwards Inn continues to operate as an spa catering to the affluent. The Martin-Lipscomb Performing Arts Center is a prominent venue in Highlands, featuring independent theater and local musical acts; when the building, the Community Bible Church, went up for sale in 1999, the founding director of the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival started a fundraising campaign to buy the property so that the festival could have a permanent home. Since the Performing Arts Center has brought over 255 performances to the southeastern Macon County area. There is one public school in the town, Highlands School, as well as a public library, known as the Hudson Library; the Hudson Library is part of the Fontana Regional Library, which serves Swain and Macon counties.
The Hudson Library housed The Bascom until May 2009. Highlands has Highlands-Cashiers Hospital. Highlands has a post office, with ZIP code 28741 covering all of Highlands township and adjacent parts of Sugar Fork township, it is within area code 828, all telephone numbers served by the town's exchange begin with 526 or 482, with seven-digit dialing allowed. Since buying GTE, Verizon is now the telephone company for the area, it offers DSL high-speed Internet. Cable television and Internet services for the town of Highlands are contracted to Northland Communications Corporation and Highlands Cable Group. Both systems carry local TV stations from the Asheville/Hendersonville and Greenville/Spartanburg areas. Additionally, because there are many visitors and residents from metro Atlanta, Northland carries two major-TV network stations from Atlanta: WSB-TV 2, WAGA TV 5. Highlands Cable Group now carries all the local networks a
Bridal Veil Falls (Macon County)
Bridal Veil Falls is a 45-foot waterfall located in the Nantahala National Forest, northwest of Highlands, North Carolina. With a short curve of roadway located behind the falls, it has the distinction of being the only waterfall in the state that one can drive a vehicle under. Bridal Veil Falls flows on a tributary of the Cullasaja River through the Nantahala National Forest; the falls flows over an overhanging bluff that allows visitors to walk behind the falls and remain dry when the waterflow is low. During periods of drought, the stream may nearly dry up, though visitors will get wet if the waterflow is moderate or high. Bridal Veil Falls is located on the side of US 64 2.3 miles north of North Carolina. Highway 64 used the curve of roadway behind the falls so that all traffic went behind them. There is a parking area on the side of the road, where visitors can view the falls as well. In 2003, a massive boulder slid off the left side of the falls, blocking that side of the drive-under completely.
However, in July 2007, that boulder was removed by a local developer. Highlands, North Carolina Quarry Falls Cullasaja Falls Dry Falls Media related to Bridal Veil Falls at Wikimedia Commons North Carolina Waterfalls Bridal Veil and Dry Falls
Haywood County, North Carolina
Haywood County is a county in the western portion of the U. S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 59,036, its county seat and largest city is Waynesville. Haywood County is part of NC Metropolitan Statistical Area; the county was formed by European Americans in 1808 from the western part of Buncombe County. It was named for John Haywood, who served as the North Carolina State Treasurer from 1787 to 1827. In 1828 the western part of Haywood County became Macon County. In 1851 parts of Haywood and Macon counties were combined to form Jackson County; the last shot of the Civil War east of the Mississippi was fired in Waynesville on May 9, 1865, when elements of the Thomas Legion skirmished with the 2nd NC Mounted. A monument is situated on Sulphur Springs Road in Waynesville. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 555 square miles, of which 554 square miles is land and 0.9 square miles is water. The Pigeon River originates in Haywood County.
All rivers and springs that flow in Haywood County originate in the county. Haywood County is situated amidst the Blue Ridge Mountains and contains parts of several major subranges of the Blue Ridge, namely the Great Smoky Mountains in the west and the Plott Balsams and Great Balsam Mountains in the south. Notable peaks in the county include Cold Mountain, at 6,030 feet, Mount Sterling, at 5,835 feet, Richland Balsam, at 6,410 feet in elevation. Mt. Guyot, the county's highest point at 6,621 feet, is the 4th highest mountain east of the Mississippi River. Black Balsam Knob, in the Great Balsam Mountains in the southeastern section of the county, is the highest grassy bald in the entire Appalachian range. Haywood County is believed to be the highest county east of the Mississippi River, with a mean elevation of 3600 feet. A portion of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is in the northwestern section of the county, north of Maggie Valley. Along with several mountains rising to over 6,000 feet in elevation, the Haywood County area of the Smokies includes Cataloochee, home to a large campground and several historical structures dating to the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Other protected areas include substantial sections of the Pisgah National Forest in the far northeastern and southern parts of the county. Blue Ridge Parkway Great Smoky Mountains National Park Pisgah National Forest Cherokee Indian Reservation/Qualla Boundary As of the census of 2000, there were 54,033 people, 23,100 households, 16,054 families residing in the county; the population density was 98 people per square mile. There were 28,640 housing units at an average density of 52 per square mile; the racial makeup of the county was 96.85% White, 1.27% Black or African American, 0.49% Native American, 0.21% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.44% from other races, 0.71% from two or more races. 1.41% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 30.8% were of American, 12.9% English, 12.0% German, 10.4% Irish and 8.3% Scots-Irish ancestry according to Census 2000. 97.1% spoke English and 1.9% Spanish as their first language. There were 23,100 households out of which 26.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.70% were married couples living together, 9.50% had a female householder with no husband present, 30.50% were non-families.
26.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.30% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.76. In the county, the population was spread out with 20.80% under the age of 18, 6.20% from 18 to 24, 26.90% from 25 to 44, 27.10% from 45 to 64, 19.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 92.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.70 males. The median income for a household in the county was $33,922, the median income for a family was $40,438. Males had a median income of $30,731 versus $21,750 for females; the per capita income for the county was $18,554. About 8.10% of families and 11.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.40% of those under age 18 and 10.30% of those age 65 or over. Voter Registration Statistics In Haywood County: Democrats – 14,631 Republicans – 13,081Haywood County is a member of the regional Southwestern Commission council of governments.
Haywood County contains a portion of the Qualla Boundary, a tribal reservation for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Lands and people living within this reservation are subject to tribal/federal laws rather than county or state laws. Haywood County Schools has 16 schools ranging from pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade; those are separated into four high schools, three middle schools, nine elementary schools. The two major high schools in the Haywood County Schools System, the Tuscola High School Mountaineers of Waynesville and Pisgah High School Black Bears of Canton participate in one of the fiercest high school rivalries in the Southeast; the two high school football teams battle it out for the Haywood County Championship each fall, drawing up to 15,000 fans. The series is tied at 25-25-1; the Pisgah Bears won the last meeting. Norfolk Southern Railway operates a portion of the Murphy Branch line through Haywood County, providing a rail connection with the rest of the country. Norfolk Southern operates a small yard in Canton which directly serves Evergreen Packaging and originates several local runs.
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Macon, North Carolina
Macon is a town located in Warren County, North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the town had a total population of 119, it is named for Nathaniel Macon, long-time Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives. Macon is located at 36°26'18" North, 78°4'59" West. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.4 square miles, of which, 0.4 square miles of it is land and none of the area is covered with water. As of the census of 2000, there are 115 people, 45 households, 34 families residing in the town; the population density is 252.8 people per square mile. There are 63 housing units at an average density of 138.5 per square mile. The racial makeup of the town is 81.74% White, 13.04% African American, 1.74% Native American, 0.87% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 0.00% from other races, 2.61% from two or more races. 1.74 % of the population are Latino of any race. There are 45 households out of which 26.7% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.8% are married couples living together, 13.3% have a female householder with no husband present, 24.4% are non-families.
20.0% of all households are made up of individuals and 6.7% have someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.56 and the average family size is 2.94. In the town, the population is spread out with 19.1% under the age of 18, 7.0% from 18 to 24, 25.2% from 25 to 44, 30.4% from 45 to 64, 18.3% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 44 years. For every 100 females, there are 101.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 97.9 males. The median income for a household in the town is $40,521 and the median income for a family is $55,625. Males have a median income of $26,667 versus $22,917 for females; the per capita income for the town is $17,642. 5.7% of the population and 6.5% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 0.0% are under the age of 18 and 14.8% are 65 or older. Macon is the birthplace of writer and Professor at Duke University, Reynolds Price, the setting of his 1986 novel, Kate Vaiden.
Fannie Pennington, an activist, was born and raised here