President of the United States
The president of the United States is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces. In contemporary times, the president is looked upon as one of the world's most powerful political figures as the leader of the only remaining global superpower; the role includes responsibility for the world's most expensive military, which has the second largest nuclear arsenal. The president leads the nation with the largest economy by nominal GDP; the president possesses international hard and soft power. Article II of the Constitution establishes the executive branch of the federal government, it vests the executive power of the United States in the president. The power includes the execution and enforcement of federal law, alongside the responsibility of appointing federal executive, diplomatic and judicial officers, concluding treaties with foreign powers with the advice and consent of the Senate.
The president is further empowered to grant federal pardons and reprieves, to convene and adjourn either or both houses of Congress under extraordinary circumstances. The president directs the foreign and domestic policies of the United States, takes an active role in promoting his policy priorities to members of Congress. In addition, as part of the system of checks and balances, Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution gives the president the power to sign or veto federal legislation; the power of the presidency has grown since its formation, as has the power of the federal government as a whole. Through the Electoral College, registered voters indirectly elect the president and vice president to a four-year term; this is the only federal election in the United States, not decided by popular vote. Nine vice presidents became president by virtue of a president's intra-term resignation. Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 sets three qualifications for holding the presidency: natural-born U. S. citizenship.
The Twenty-second Amendment precludes any person from being elected president to a third term. In all, 44 individuals have served 45 presidencies spanning 57 full four-year terms. Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms, so he is counted twice, as both the 22nd and 24th president. Donald Trump of New York is the current president of the United States, he assumed office on January 20, 2017. In July 1776, during the American Revolutionary War, the Thirteen Colonies, acting jointly through the Second Continental Congress, declared themselves to be 13 independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. Recognizing the necessity of coordinating their efforts against the British, the Continental Congress began the process of drafting a constitution that would bind the states together. There were long debates on a number of issues, including representation and voting, the exact powers to be given the central government. Congress finished work on the Articles of Confederation to establish a perpetual union between the states in November 1777 and sent it to the states for ratification.
Under the Articles, which took effect on March 1, 1781, the Congress of the Confederation was a central political authority without any legislative power. It could make its own resolutions and regulations, but not any laws, could not impose any taxes or enforce local commercial regulations upon its citizens; this institutional design reflected how Americans believed the deposed British system of Crown and Parliament ought to have functioned with respect to the royal dominion: a superintending body for matters that concerned the entire empire. The states were out from under any monarchy and assigned some royal prerogatives to Congress; the members of Congress elected a President of the United States in Congress Assembled to preside over its deliberation as a neutral discussion moderator. Unrelated to and quite dissimilar from the office of President of the United States, it was a ceremonial position without much influence. In 1783, the Treaty of Paris secured independence for each of the former colonies.
With peace at hand, the states each turned toward their own internal affairs. By 1786, Americans found their continental borders besieged and weak and their respective economies in crises as neighboring states agitated trade rivalries with one another, they witnessed their hard currency pouring into foreign markets to pay for imports, their Mediterranean commerce preyed upon by North African pirates, their foreign-financed Revolutionary War debts unpaid and accruing interest. Civil and political unrest loomed. Following the successful resolution of commercial and fishing disputes between Virginia and Maryland at the Mount Vernon Conference in 1785, Virginia called for a trade conference between all the states, set for September 1786 in Annapolis, with an aim toward resolving further-reaching interstate commercial antagonisms; when the convention failed for lack of attendance due to suspicions among most of the other states, Alexander Hamilton led the Annapolis delegates in a call for a convention to offer revisions to the Articles, to be held the next spring in Philadelphia.
Prospects for the next convention appeared bleak until James Madison and Edmund Randolph succeeded in securing George Washington's attendance to Philadelphia as a delegate for Virginia. When the Constitutional Convention convened in May 1787, the 12 state delegations in attendance (Rh
New York (state)
New York is a state in the Northeastern United States. New York was one of the original thirteen colonies. With an estimated 19.54 million residents in 2018, it is the fourth most populous state. To distinguish the state from the city with the same name, it is sometimes called New York State; the state's most populous city, New York City, makes up over 40% of the state's population. Two-thirds of the state's population lives in the New York metropolitan area, nearly 40% lives on Long Island; the state and city were both named for the 17th century Duke of York, the future King James II of England. With an estimated population of 8.62 million in 2017, New York City is the most populous city in the United States and the premier gateway for legal immigration to the United States. The New York metropolitan area is one of the most populous in the world. New York City is a global city, home to the United Nations Headquarters and has been described as the cultural and media capital of the world, as well as the world's most economically powerful city.
The next four most populous cities in the state are Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, while the state capital is Albany. The 27th largest U. S. state in land area, New York has a diverse geography. The state is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south and Connecticut and Vermont to the east; the state has a maritime border with Rhode Island, east of Long Island, as well as an international border with the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the north and Ontario to the northwest. The southern part of the state is in the Atlantic coastal plain and includes Long Island and several smaller associated islands, as well as New York City and the lower Hudson River Valley; the large Upstate New York region comprises several ranges of the wider Appalachian Mountains, the Adirondack Mountains in the Northeastern lobe of the state. Two major river valleys – the north-south Hudson River Valley and the east-west Mohawk River Valley – bisect these more mountainous regions. Western New York is considered part of the Great Lakes region and borders Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Niagara Falls.
The central part of the state is dominated by the Finger Lakes, a popular vacation and tourist destination. New York had been inhabited by tribes of Algonquian and Iroquoian-speaking Native Americans for several hundred years by the time the earliest Europeans came to New York. French colonists and Jesuit missionaries arrived southward from Montreal for trade and proselytizing. In 1609, the region was visited by Henry Hudson sailing for the Dutch East India Company; the Dutch built Fort Nassau in 1614 at the confluence of the Hudson and Mohawk rivers, where the present-day capital of Albany developed. The Dutch soon settled New Amsterdam and parts of the Hudson Valley, establishing the multicultural colony of New Netherland, a center of trade and immigration. England seized the colony from the Dutch in 1664. During the American Revolutionary War, a group of colonists of the Province of New York attempted to take control of the British colony and succeeded in establishing independence. In the 19th century, New York's development of access to the interior beginning with the Erie Canal, gave it incomparable advantages over other regions of the U.
S. built its political and cultural ascendancy. Many landmarks in New York are well known, including four of the world's ten most-visited tourist attractions in 2013: Times Square, Central Park, Niagara Falls, Grand Central Terminal. New York is home to the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of the United States and its ideals of freedom and opportunity. In the 21st century, New York has emerged as a global node of creativity and entrepreneurship, social tolerance, environmental sustainability. New York's higher education network comprises 200 colleges and universities, including Columbia University, Cornell University, New York University, the United States Military Academy, the United States Merchant Marine Academy, University of Rochester, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rockefeller University, which have been ranked among the top 40 in the nation and world; the tribes in what is now New York were predominantly Algonquian. Long Island was divided in half between the Wampanoag and Lenape; the Lenape controlled most of the region surrounding New York Harbor.
North of the Lenape was the Mohicans. Starting north of them, from east to west, were three Iroquoian nations: the Mohawk, the original Iroquois and the Petun. South of them, divided along Appalachia, were the Susquehannock and the Erie. Many of the Wampanoag and Mohican peoples were caught up in King Philip's War, a joint effort of many New England tribes to push Europeans off their land. After the death of their leader, Chief Philip Metacomet, most of those peoples fled inland, splitting into the Abenaki and the Schaghticoke. Many of the Mohicans remained in the region until the 1800s, however, a small group known as the Ouabano migrated southwest into West Virginia at an earlier time, they may have merged with the Shawnee. The Mohawk and Susquehannock were the most militaristic. Trying to corner trade with the Europeans, they targeted other tribes; the Mohawk were known for refusing white settlement on their land and banishing any of their people who converted to Christianity. They posed a major threat to the Abenaki and Mohicans, while the Susquehannock conquered the Lenape in the 1600s.
The most devastating event of the century, was the Beaver Wars. From 1640–1680, Iroquoian peoples waged campaigns which extended from modern-day Michigan to Virginia against Algonquian and Siouan tribes, as well as each other; the ai
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper chamber. Together they compose the legislature of the United States; the composition of the House is established by Article One of the United States Constitution. The House is composed of Representatives who sit in congressional districts that are allocated to each of the 50 states on a basis of population as measured by the U. S. Census, with each district entitled to one representative. Since its inception in 1789, all Representatives have been directly elected; the total number of voting representatives is fixed by law at 435. As of the 2010 Census, the largest delegation is that of California, with fifty-three representatives. Seven states have only one representative: Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming; the House is charged with the passage of federal legislation, known as bills, after concurrence by the Senate, are sent to the President for consideration.
In addition to this basic power, the House has certain exclusive powers, among them the power to initiate all bills related to revenue. The House meets in the south wing of the United States Capitol; the presiding officer is the Speaker of the House, elected by the members thereof. The Speaker and other floor leaders are chosen by the Democratic Caucus or the Republican Conference, depending on whichever party has more voting members. Under the Articles of Confederation, the Congress of the Confederation was a unicameral body in which each state was represented, in which each state had a veto over most action. After eight years of a more limited confederal government under the Articles, numerous political leaders such as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton initiated the Constitutional Convention in 1787, which received the Confederation Congress's sanction to "amend the Articles of Confederation". All states except Rhode Island agreed to send delegates; the issue of how to structure Congress was one of the most divisive among the founders during the Convention.
Edmund Randolph's Virginia Plan called for a bicameral Congress: the lower house would be "of the people", elected directly by the people of the United States and representing public opinion, a more deliberative upper house, elected by the lower house, that would represent the individual states, would be less susceptible to variations of mass sentiment. The House is referred to as the lower house, with the Senate being the upper house, although the United States Constitution does not use that terminology. Both houses' approval is necessary for the passage of legislation; the Virginia Plan drew the support of delegates from large states such as Virginia and Pennsylvania, as it called for representation based on population. The smaller states, favored the New Jersey Plan, which called for a unicameral Congress with equal representation for the states; the Convention reached the Connecticut Compromise or Great Compromise, under which one house of Congress would provide representation proportional to each state's population, whereas the other would provide equal representation amongst the states.
The Constitution was ratified by the requisite number of states in 1788, but its implementation was set for March 4, 1789. The House began work on April 1789, when it achieved a quorum for the first time. During the first half of the 19th century, the House was in conflict with the Senate over regionally divisive issues, including slavery; the North was much more populous than the South, therefore dominated the House of Representatives. However, the North held no such advantage in the Senate, where the equal representation of states prevailed. Regional conflict was most pronounced over the issue of slavery. One example of a provision supported by the House but blocked by the Senate was the Wilmot Proviso, which sought to ban slavery in the land gained during the Mexican–American War. Conflict over slavery and other issues persisted until the Civil War, which began soon after several southern states attempted to secede from the Union; the war culminated in the abolition of slavery. All southern senators except Andrew Johnson resigned their seats at the beginning of the war, therefore the Senate did not hold the balance of power between North and South during the war.
The years of Reconstruction that followed witnessed large majorities for the Republican Party, which many Americans associated with the Union's victory in the Civil War and the ending of slavery. The Reconstruction period ended in about 1877; the Democratic Party and Republican Party each held majorities in the House at various times. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw a dramatic increase in the power of the Speaker of the House; the rise of the Speaker's influence began in the 1890s, during the tenure of Republican Thomas Brackett Reed. "Czar Reed", as he was nicknamed, attempted to put into effect his view that "The best system is to have one party govern and the other party watch." The leadership structure of the House developed during the same period, with the positions of Majority Leader and Minority Leader being created in 1899. While the Minority Leader
The Reconstruction era was the period from 1863 to 1877 in American history. It was a significant chapter in the history of American civil rights; the term has two applications: the first applies to the complete history of the entire country from 1865 to 1877 following the American Civil War. Reconstruction ended the remnants of Confederate secession and ended slavery, making the newly-free slaves citizens with civil rights ostensibly guaranteed by three new Constitutional amendments. Three visions of Civil War memory appeared during Reconstruction: the reconciliationist vision, rooted in coping with the death and devastation the war had brought. Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson both took moderate positions designed to bring the South back into the Union as as possible, while Radical Republicans in Congress sought stronger measures to upgrade the rights of African Americans, including the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, while curtailing the rights of former Confederates, such as through the provisions of the Wade–Davis Bill.
Johnson, a former Tennessee Senator, former slave owner, the most prominent Southerner to oppose the Confederacy, followed a lenient policy toward ex-Confederates. Lincoln's last speeches show that he was leaning toward supporting the enfranchisement of all freedmen, whereas Johnson was opposed to this. Johnson's interpretations of Lincoln's policies prevailed until the Congressional elections of 1866; those elections followed outbreaks of violence against blacks in the former rebel states, including the Memphis riots of 1866 and the New Orleans riot that same year. The subsequent 1866 election gave Republicans a majority in Congress, enabling them to pass the 14th Amendment, take control of Reconstruction policy, remove former Confederates from power, enfranchise the freedmen. A Republican coalition came to power in nearly all the southern states and set out to transform the society by setting up a free labor economy, using the U. S. Army and the Freedmen's Bureau; the Bureau protected the legal rights of freedmen, negotiated labor contracts, set up schools and churches for them.
Thousands of Northerners came south as missionaries, teachers and politicians. Hostile whites began referring to these politicians as "carpetbaggers". In early 1866, Congress passed the Freedmen's Bureau and Civil Rights Bills and sent them to Johnson for his signature; the first bill extended the life of the bureau established as a temporary organization charged with assisting refugees and freed slaves, while the second defined all persons born in the United States as national citizens with equality before the law. After Johnson vetoed the bills, Congress overrode his vetos, making the Civil Rights Act the first major bill in the history of the United States to become law through an override of a presidential veto; the Radicals in the House of Representatives, frustrated by Johnson's opposition to Congressional Reconstruction, filed impeachment charges. The action failed by one vote in the Senate; the new national Reconstruction laws – in particular laws requiring suffrage for freedmen – incensed white supremacists in the South, giving rise to the Ku Klux Klan.
During 1867-69 the Klan murdered Republicans and outspoken freedmen in the South, including Arkansas Congressman James M. Hinds. Elected in 1868, Republican President Ulysses S. Grant supported Congressional Reconstruction and enforced the protection of African Americans in the South through the use of the Enforcement Acts passed by Congress. Grant used the Enforcement Acts to combat the Ku Klux Klan, wiped out, although a new incarnation of the Klan would again come to national prominence in the 1920s. President Grant was unable to resolve the escalating tensions inside the Republican Party between the Northerners on the one hand, those Republicans hailing from the South on the other. Meanwhile, "redeemers", self-styled conservatives in close cooperation with a faction of the Democratic Party opposed Reconstruction, they alleged widespread corruption by the "carpetbaggers", excessive state spending, ruinous taxes. Meanwhile, public support for Reconstruction policies, requiring continued supervision of the South, faded in the North after the Democrats, who opposed Reconstruction, regained control of the House of Representatives in 1874.
In 1877, as part of a Congressional bargain to elect Republican Rutherford B. Hayes as president following the disputed 1876 presidential election, U. S. Army troops were withdrawn from the three states; this marked the end of Reconstruction. Historian Eric Foner argues: What remains certain is that Reconstruction failed, that for blacks its failure was a disaster whose magnitude cannot be obscured by the genuine accomplishments that did endure. In different states Reconstruction ended at different times. In recent decades most historians follow Foner in dating the Reconstruction of the South as starting in 1863 rather than 1865; the usual ending for Reconstruction has always been 1877. Reconstruction policies were debated in the North when the
African Americans are an ethnic group of Americans with total or partial ancestry from any of the black racial groups of Africa. The term refers to descendants of enslaved black people who are from the United States. Black and African Americans constitute the third largest racial and ethnic group in the United States. Most African Americans are descendants of enslaved peoples within the boundaries of the present United States. On average, African Americans are of West/Central African and European descent, some have Native American ancestry. According to U. S. Census Bureau data, African immigrants do not self-identify as African American; the overwhelming majority of African immigrants identify instead with their own respective ethnicities. Immigrants from some Caribbean, Central American and South American nations and their descendants may or may not self-identify with the term. African-American history starts in the 16th century, with peoples from West Africa forcibly taken as slaves to Spanish America, in the 17th century with West African slaves taken to English colonies in North America.
After the founding of the United States, black people continued to be enslaved, the last four million black slaves were only liberated after the Civil War in 1865. Due to notions of white supremacy, they were treated as second-class citizens; the Naturalization Act of 1790 limited U. S. citizenship to whites only, only white men of property could vote. These circumstances were changed by Reconstruction, development of the black community, participation in the great military conflicts of the United States, the elimination of racial segregation, the civil rights movement which sought political and social freedom. In 2008, Barack Obama became the first African American to be elected President of the United States; the first African slaves arrived via Santo Domingo to the San Miguel de Gualdape colony, founded by Spanish explorer Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón in 1526. The marriage between Luisa de Abrego, a free black domestic servant from Seville and Miguel Rodríguez, a white Segovian conquistador in 1565 in St. Augustine, is the first known and recorded Christian marriage anywhere in what is now the continental United States.
The ill-fated colony was immediately disrupted by a fight over leadership, during which the slaves revolted and fled the colony to seek refuge among local Native Americans. De Ayllón and many of the colonists died shortly afterwards of an epidemic and the colony was abandoned; the settlers and the slaves who had not escaped returned to Haiti, whence. The first recorded Africans in British North America were "20 and odd negroes" who came to Jamestown, Virginia via Cape Comfort in August 1619 as indentured servants; as English settlers died from harsh conditions and more Africans were brought to work as laborers. An indentured servant would work for several years without wages; the status of indentured servants in early Virginia and Maryland was similar to slavery. Servants could be bought, sold, or leased and they could be physically beaten for disobedience or running away. Unlike slaves, they were freed after their term of service expired or was bought out, their children did not inherit their status, on their release from contract they received "a year's provision of corn, double apparel, tools necessary", a small cash payment called "freedom dues".
Africans could raise crops and cattle to purchase their freedom. They raised families, married other Africans and sometimes intermarried with Native Americans or English settlers. By the 1640s and 1650s, several African families owned farms around Jamestown and some became wealthy by colonial standards and purchased indentured servants of their own. In 1640, the Virginia General Court recorded the earliest documentation of lifetime slavery when they sentenced John Punch, a Negro, to lifetime servitude under his master Hugh Gwyn for running away. In the Spanish Florida some Spanish married or had unions with Pensacola, Creek or African women, both slave and free, their descendants created a mixed-race population of mestizos and mulattos; the Spanish encouraged slaves from the southern British colonies to come to Florida as a refuge, promising freedom in exchange for conversion to Catholicism. King Charles II of Spain issued a royal proclamation freeing all slaves who fled to Spanish Florida and accepted conversion and baptism.
Most went to the area around St. Augustine, but escaped slaves reached Pensacola. St. Augustine had mustered an all-black militia unit defending Spain as early as 1683. One of the Dutch African arrivals, Anthony Johnson, would own one of the first black "slaves", John Casor, resulting from the court ruling of a civil case; the popular conception of a race-based slave system did not develop until the 18th century. The Dutch West India Company introduced slavery in 1625 with the importation of eleven black slaves into New Amsterdam. All the colony's slaves, were freed upon its surrender to the British. Massachusetts was the first British colony to recognize slavery in 1641. In 1662, Virginia passed a law that children of enslaved women took the status of the mother, rather than that of the father, as under English common law; this principle was called partus sequitur ventrum. By an act of 1699, the colony ordered all free blacks deported defining as slaves all people of African descent who remained in the c