United States Declaration of Independence
The United States Declaration of Independence is the statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776. The Declaration announced that the Thirteen Colonies at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain would regard themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. With the Declaration, these new states took a collective first step toward forming the United States of America; the declaration was signed by representatives from New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia. The Lee Resolution for independence was passed on July 2 with no opposing votes; the Committee of Five had drafted the Declaration to be ready. John Adams, a leader in pushing for independence, had persuaded the committee to select Thomas Jefferson to compose the original draft of the document, which Congress edited to produce the final version.
The Declaration was a formal explanation of why Congress had voted to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. Adams wrote to his wife Abigail, "The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America" – although Independence Day is celebrated on July 4, the date that the wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved. After ratifying the text on July 4, Congress issued the Declaration of Independence in several forms, it was published as the printed Dunlap broadside, distributed and read to the public. The source copy used for this printing has been lost and may have been a copy in Thomas Jefferson's hand. Jefferson's original draft is preserved at the Library of Congress, complete with changes made by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, as well as Jefferson's notes of changes made by Congress; the best-known version of the Declaration is a signed copy, displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.
C. and, popularly regarded as the official document. This engrossed copy was ordered by Congress on July 19 and signed on August 2; the sources and interpretation of the Declaration have been the subject of much scholarly inquiry. The Declaration justified the independence of the United States by listing 27 colonial grievances against King George III and by asserting certain natural and legal rights, including a right of revolution, its original purpose was to announce independence, references to the text of the Declaration were few in the following years. Abraham Lincoln made it the centerpiece of his policies and his rhetoric, as in the Gettysburg Address of 1863. Since it has become a well-known statement on human rights its second sentence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life and the pursuit of Happiness; this has been called "one of the best-known sentences in the English language", containing "the most potent and consequential words in American history".
The passage came to represent a moral standard. This view was notably promoted by Lincoln, who considered the Declaration to be the foundation of his political philosophy and argued that it is a statement of principles through which the United States Constitution should be interpreted; the Declaration of Independence inspired many similar documents in other countries, the first being the 1789 Declaration of United Belgian States issued during the Brabant Revolution in the Austrian Netherlands. It served as the primary model for numerous declarations of independence in Europe and Latin America, as well as Africa and Oceania during the first half of the 19th century. Believe me, dear Sir: there is not in the British empire a man who more cordially loves a union with Great Britain than I do. But, by the God that made me, I will cease to exist before I yield to a connection on such terms as the British Parliament propose. By the time that the Declaration of Independence was adopted in July 1776, the Thirteen Colonies and Great Britain had been at war for more than a year.
Relations had been deteriorating between the colonies and the mother country since 1763. Parliament enacted a series of measures to increase revenue from the colonies, such as the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Acts of 1767. Parliament believed that these acts were a legitimate means of having the colonies pay their fair share of the costs to keep them in the British Empire. Many colonists, had developed a different conception of the empire; the colonies were not directly represented in Parliament, colonists argued that Parliament had no right to levy taxes upon them. This tax dispute was part of a larger divergence between British and American interpretations of the British Constitution and the extent of Parliament's authority in the colonies; the orthodox British view, dating from the Glorious Revolution of 1688, was that Parliament was the supreme authority throughout the empire, so, by definition, anything that Parliament did was constitutional. In the colonies, the idea had developed that the British Constitution recognized certain fundamental rights that no government could violate, not Parliament.
After the Townshend Acts, some essayists began to question whether Parliament had any legitimate jurisdiction in the colonies at all. Anticipating the arrangement of the British Commonwealth, by 1774 American writers such as
The Pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continent, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during the Early Modern period. While the phrase "pre-Columbian era" refers only to the time preceding Christopher Columbus's voyages of 1492, in practice the phrase is used to denote the entire history of indigenous Americas cultures until those cultures were exterminated, diminished, or extensively altered by Europeans if this happened decades or centuries after Columbus's first landing. For this reason the alternative terms of Precontact Americas, Pre-Colonial Americas or Prehistoric Americas are in use. In areas of Latin America the term used is Pre-Hispanic. Many pre-Columbian civilizations established hallmarks which included permanent settlements, agriculture and monumental architecture, major earthworks, complex societal hierarchies.
Some of these civilizations had long faded by the time of the first permanent European colonies and the arrival of enslaved Africans, are known only through archaeological investigations and oral history. Other civilizations were contemporary with the colonial period and were described in European historical accounts of the time. A few, such as the Maya civilization, had their own written records; because many Christian Europeans of the time viewed such texts as heretical, men like Diego de Landa destroyed many texts in pyres while seeking to preserve native histories. Only a few hidden documents have survived in their original languages, while others were transcribed or dictated into Spanish, giving modern historians glimpses of ancient culture and knowledge. Indigenous American cultures continue to evolve after the pre-Columbian era. Many of these peoples and their descendants continue traditional practices while evolving and adapting new cultural practices and technologies into their lives.
Before the development of archaeology in the 19th century, historians of the pre-Columbian period interpreted the records of the European conquerors and the accounts of early European travelers and antiquaries. It was not until the nineteenth century that the work of men such as John Lloyd Stephens, Eduard Seler and Alfred P. Maudslay, of institutions such as the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology of Harvard University, led to the reconsideration and criticism of the European sources. Now, the scholarly study of pre-Columbian cultures is most based on scientific and multidisciplinary methodologies. Asian nomads are thought to have entered the Americas via the Bering Land Bridge, now the Bering Strait and along the coast. Genetic evidence found in Amerindians' maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA supports the theory of multiple genetic populations migrating from Asia. Over the course of millennia, Paleo-Indians spread throughout South America; when the first group of people migrated into the Americas is the subject of much debate.
One of the earliest identifiable cultures was the Clovis culture, with sites dating from some 13,000 years ago. However, older sites dating back to 20,000 years ago have been claimed; some genetic studies estimate the colonization of the Americas dates from between 40,000 and 13,000 years ago. The chronology of migration models is divided into two general approaches; the first is the short chronology theory with the first movement beyond Alaska into the Americas occurring no earlier than 14,000–17,000 years ago, followed by successive waves of immigrants. The second belief is the long chronology theory, which proposes that the first group of people entered the hemisphere at a much earlier date 50,000–40,000 years ago or earlier. Artifacts have been found in both North and South America which have been dated to 14,000 years ago, accordingly humans have been proposed to have reached Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America by this time. In that case, the Eskimo peoples would have arrived separately and at a much date no more than 2,000 years ago, moving across the ice from Siberia into Alaska.
The North American climate was unstable. It stabilized by about 10,000 years ago. Within this time frame pertaining to the Archaic Period, numerous archaeological cultures have been identified; the unstable climate led to widespread migration, with early Paleo-Indians soon spreading throughout the Americas, diversifying into many hundreds of culturally distinct tribes. The Paleo-Indians were hunter-gatherers characterized by small, mobile bands consisting of 20 to 50 members of an extended family; these groups moved from place to place as preferred resources were depleted and new supplies were sought. During much of the Paleo-Indian period, bands are thought to have subsisted through hunting now-extinct giant land animals such as mastodon and ancient bison. Paleo-Indian groups carried a variety of tools; these included distinctive projectile points and knives, as well as less distinctive implements used for butchering and hide processing. The vastness of the North American continent, the variety of its climates, vegetation and landforms, led ancient peoples to coalesce into many distinct linguistic and cultural groups.
This is reflected in the oral histories of the indigenous peoples, described by a wide range of traditional creation stories which say that a given people have been living in a certain territory since the creation of the world. Over the course of thousands of years, paleo-Indian
Donald John Trump is the 45th and current president of the United States. Before entering politics, he was a television personality. Trump was born and raised in the New York City borough of Queens and received an economics degree from the Wharton School, he was appointed president of his family's real estate business in 1971, renamed it The Trump Organization, expanded it from Queens and Brooklyn into Manhattan. The company built or renovated skyscrapers, hotels and golf courses. Trump started various side ventures, including licensing his name for real estate and consumer products, he managed the company until his 2017 inauguration. He co-authored several books, including The Art of the Deal, he owned the Miss Universe and Miss USA beauty pageants from 1996 to 2015, he produced and hosted The Apprentice, a reality television show, from 2003 to 2015. Forbes estimates his net worth to be $3.1 billion. Trump entered the 2016 presidential race as a Republican and defeated sixteen opponents in the primaries.
His campaign received extensive free media coverage. Commentators described his political positions as populist and nationalist. Trump has made many misleading statements during his campaign and presidency; the statements have been documented by fact-checkers, the media have described the phenomenon as unprecedented in American politics. Trump was elected president in a surprise victory over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, he became the oldest and wealthiest person to assume the presidency, the first without prior military or government service, the fifth to have won the election despite having lost the popular vote. His election and policies have sparked numerous protests. Many of his comments and actions have been perceived as racially charged or racist. During his presidency, Trump ordered a travel ban on citizens from several Muslim-majority countries, citing security concerns, he enacted a tax cut package for individuals and businesses, which rescinded the individual health insurance mandate and allowed oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge.
He repealed the Dodd-Frank Act that had imposed stricter constraints on banks in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. He has pursued his America First agenda in foreign policy, withdrawing the U. S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations, the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Iran nuclear deal. He recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, imposed import tariffs on various goods, triggering a trade war with China, negotiated with North Korea seeking denuclearization, he nominated two justices to the Supreme Court: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. The Justice Department investigated links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government regarding its election interference; when Trump dismissed FBI Director James Comey, in charge of the investigation, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel to proceed with the probe. The Special Counsel investigation led to guilty pleas by five Trump associates to criminal charges including lying to investigators, campaign finance violations, tax fraud.
Trump denied accusations of collusion and obstruction of justice, calling the investigation a politically motivated "witch hunt". Attorney General William Barr wrote that the special counsel's final report did not find that Trump or his campaign had "conspired or coordinated" with Russia during the 2016 election, but did not reach a conclusion regarding obstruction of justice, neither implicating him regarding obstruction of justice nor exonerating him. Donald John Trump was born on June 14, 1946, at the Jamaica Hospital in the borough of Queens, New York City, his parents were Frederick Christ Trump, a real estate developer, Mary Anne MacLeod. Trump grew up in the Jamaica Estates neighborhood of Queens, attended the Kew-Forest School from kindergarten through seventh grade. At age 13, he was enrolled in the New York Military Academy, a private boarding school, after his parents discovered that he had made frequent trips into Manhattan without their permission. In 1964, Trump enrolled at Fordham University.
After two years, he transferred to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. While at Wharton, he worked at Elizabeth Trump & Son, he graduated in May 1968 with a B. S. in economics. When Trump was in college from 1964 to 1968, he obtained four student draft deferments. In 1966, he was deemed fit for military service based upon a medical examination and in July 1968, a local draft board classified him as eligible to serve. In October 1968, he was given a medical deferment that he attributed to spurs in the heels of both feet, which resulted in a 1-Y classification: "Unqualified for duty except in the case of a national emergency." In the December 1969 draft lottery, Trump's birthday, June 14, received a high number that would have given him a low probability to be called to military service without the 1-Y. In 1972, he was reclassified as 4-F. In 1973 and 1976, The New York Times reported that Trump had graduated first in his class at Wharton. However, a 1984 Times profile of Trump noted.
In 1988, New York magazine reported Trump conceding, "Okay, maybe not'first,' as myth has it, but he had'the highest grades possible.'" Michael Cohen, Trump's former attorney, testified to the House Oversight Committee in February 2019 that Trump "directed me to threaten his high school, his colleges and the College Board to never release his grades or SAT scores." Days after Trump stated in 2011, "I heard [Barack O
Timeline of drafting and ratification of the United States Constitution
The drafting of the Constitution of the United States began on May 25, 1787, when the Constitutional Convention met for the first time with a quorum at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to revise the Articles of Confederation, ended on September 17, 1787, the day the Constitution drafted by the convention's delegates to replace the Articles was adopted and signed. The ratification process for the Constitution began that day, ended when the final state, Rhode Island, ratified it on May 29, 1790. In addition to key events during the Constitutional Convention and afterward while the Constitution was before the states for their ratification, this timeline includes important events that occurred during the run-up to the convention and during the nation's transition from government under the Articles of Confederation to government under the Constitution, concludes with the unique ratification vote of Vermont, which at the time was a sovereign state outside the Union; the time span covered is 5 years, 9 months, from March 25, 1785 to January 10, 1791.
March 25 • Maryland–Virginia conference convenes Initially scheduled to assemble in Alexandria, Virginia on March 21, delegates representing the states of Maryland and Virginia gather at Mount Vernon, the Fairfax County home of George Washington, to address navigational rights in the states' common waterways. Attending what became known as the Mount Vernon Conference were: Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, Thomas Stone, Samuel Chase, from Maryland. March 28 • Maryland–Virginia conference concludes Delegates approve a thirteen-point agreement known as the Mount Vernon Compact, regulating commerce and navigation in the waters of the Potomac and Pocomoke Rivers, Chesapeake Bay; the agreement was subsequently ratified by both the Virginia and Maryland General Assemblies, becoming the nation's first interstate compact. January 21 • Conference to address certain defects of the federal government called Virginia General Assembly calls for an interstate convention for the purpose of discussing and developing a consensus about reversing the protectionist trade and commerce barriers existing between the various states.
September 11 • Annapolis Convention convenes Delegates representing Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Virginia meet at George Mann's Tavern in Annapolis, Maryland to discuss ways to facilitate commerce between the states and establish standard rules and regulations. Appointed delegates from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island either arrived too late to participate or otherwise did not attend. Four states: Connecticut, Georgia and South Carolina, did not appoint delegates. September 14 • Annapolis Convention adjourns The convention report, sent to Congress and the legislatures of the various states, contains a request that another convention be held the following May at Philadelphia to discuss amending the Articles of Confederation. November 23 • New Jersey elects delegates to the proposed constitutional convention. David Brearley, Jonathan Dayton, William Houston, William Livingston, William Paterson will attend. December 4 • Virginia elects delegates to the proposed constitutional convention.
John Blair Jr. James Madison, George Mason, James McClurg, Edmund Randolph, George Washington, George Wythe will attend. December 30 • Pennsylvania elects delegates to the proposed constitutional convention. George Clymer, Thomas FitzSimons, Benjamin Franklin, Jared Ingersoll, Thomas Mifflin, Gouverneur Morris, Robert Morris, James Wilson will attend. January 6 • North Carolina elects delegates to the proposed constitutional convention. William Blount, William Richardson Davie, Alexander Martin, Richard Dobbs Spaight, Hugh Williamson will attend. January 17 • New Hampshire elects delegates to the proposed Philadelphia Convention. Nicholas Gilman and John Langdon will attend. February 3 • Delaware elects delegates to the proposed constitutional convention. Richard Bassett, Gunning Bedford, Jr. Jacob Broom, John Dickinson, George Read will attend. February 10 • Georgia elects delegates to the proposed constitutional convention. Abraham Baldwin, William Few, William Houstoun, William Pierce will attend.
February 21 • Convention to discuss revisions to the Articles of Confederation called The Congress of the Confederation calls a constitutional convention "for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions therein and when agreed to in Congress and confirmed by the States render the Federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of Government and the preservation of the Union". March 3 • Massachusetts elects delegates to the upcoming constitutional convention. Elbridge Gerry, Nathaniel Gorham, Rufus King, Caleb Strong will attend. March 6 • New York elects delegates to the upcoming constitutional convention. Alexander Hamilton, John Lansing, Jr. and Robert Yates will attend. March 8 • South Carolina elects delegates to the upcoming constitutional convention. Pierce Butler, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Charles Pinckney, John Rutledge will attend. April 23 • Maryland elects delegates to the upcoming constitutional convention.
Daniel Carroll, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, Luther Martin, James McHenry, John Mercer will attend. May 5 • A motion to send delegates to the constitutional convention fails in the Rhode Island General Assembly. May 14 • Constitutional Convention scheduled to begin As only a small number of delegates have arrived in Philadelphia, the convention's opening meeting is postponed for lack of a quorum. May 14 • Connecticut elects delegates to the constitutional convention. Oliver Ellsworth, William
County (United States)
In the United States, an administrative or political subdivision of a state is a county, a region having specific boundaries and some level of governmental authority. The term "county" is used in 48 U. S. states, while Louisiana and Alaska have functionally equivalent subdivisions called parishes and boroughs respectively. Most counties have subdivisions which may include unincorporated areas. Others may serve as a consolidated city-county; some municipalities are in multiple counties. The United States Census Bureau uses the term "county equivalent" to describe places that are comparable to counties, but called by different names. Louisiana parishes. Alaska's Unorganized Borough is divided into 10 census areas that are statistically equivalent to counties; as of 2018, there are 3,142 counties and county-equivalents in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. If the 100 county equivalents in the U. S. territories are counted the total is 3,242 counties and county-equivalents in the United States.
The number of counties per state ranges from the 3 counties of Delaware to the 254 counties of Texas. The specific governmental powers of counties vary between the states. Counties have significant functions in all states except Rhode Island and Connecticut, where county governments have been abolished but the entities remain for administrative or statistical purposes; the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has removed most government functions from eight of its 14 counties. The county with the largest population, Los Angeles County, the county with the largest land area, San Bernardino County, border each other in Southern California. Territories of the United States do not have counties. While America Samoa does have its own counties, the U. S. Census Bureau counts American Samoa's atolls as county-equivalents. Counties were among the earliest units of local government established in the Thirteen Colonies that would become the United States. Virginia created the first counties; the House of Burgesses divided the colony first into four "incorporations" in 1617 and into eight shires in 1634: James City, Charles City, Charles River, Accomac, Elizabeth City, Warwick River.
America's oldest intact county court records can be found at Eastville, Virginia, in Northampton County, dating to 1632. Maryland established its first county, St. Mary's, in 1637, Massachusetts followed in 1643. Pennsylvania and New York delegated significant power and responsibility from state government to county governments and thereby established a pattern for most of the United States, although counties remained weak in New England; when independence came, "the framers of the Constitution did not provide for local governments. Rather, they left the matter to the states. Subsequently, early state constitutions conceptualized county government as an arm of the state." In the twentieth century, the role of local governments strengthened and counties began providing more services, acquiring home rule and county commissions to pass local ordinances pertaining to their unincorporated areas. In some states, these powers are or devolved to the counties' smaller divisions called townships, though in New York, New England and Wisconsin they are called "towns".
The county may or may not be able to override its townships on certain matters, depending on the state constitution. The newest county in the United States is the city and county of Broomfield, established in 2001 as a consolidated city-county; the newest county-equivalents are the Alaskan boroughs of Skagway established in 2007, Wrangell established in 2008, Petersburg established in 2013. A consolidated city-county is a city, a municipality, a county, an administrative division of a state, having the powers and responsibilities of both types of entities. There are 40 consolidated city-counties in the U. S. including Augusta, Georgia. Some of Alaska's boroughs have merged with their principal cities creating unified city-boroughs; some such consolidations and mergers have created cities that rank among the geographically largest cities in the world, though with population densities far below those of most urban areas. The term county equivalents is used to describe divisions whose organization differs from that of most counties: Alaska census areas: Most of the land area of Alaska is not contained within any of Alaska's 19 organized boroughs.
This vast area, larger than France and Germany combined, is referred to by the Alaska state government as the Unorganized Borough and outside of other incorporated borough limits, has no independent "county" government, although several incorporated city governments exist within its boundaries. The United States Census Burea