A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make laws for a political entity such as a country or city. Legislatures form important parts of most governments. Laws enacted by legislatures are known as primary legislation. Legislatures observe and steer governing actions and have exclusive authority to amend the budget or budgets involved in the process; the members of a legislature are called legislators. In a democracy, legislators are most popularly elected, although indirect election and appointment by the executive are used for bicameral legislatures featuring an upper chamber. Names for national legislatures include "parliament", "congress", "diet", "assembly", depending on country; each chamber of the legislature consists of a number of legislators who use some form of parliamentary procedure to debate political issues and vote on proposed legislation. There must be a certain number of legislators present to carry out these activities; some of the responsibilities of a legislature, such as giving first consideration to newly proposed legislation, are delegated to committees made up of a few of the members of the chamber.
The members of a legislature represent different political parties. Legislatures vary in the amount of political power they wield, compared to other political players such as judiciaries and executives. In 2009, political scientists M. Steven Fish and Matthew Kroenig constructed a Parliamentary Powers Index in an attempt to quantify the different degrees of power among national legislatures; the German Bundestag, the Italian Parliament, the Mongolian State Great Khural tied for most powerful, while Myanmar's House of Representatives and Somalia's Transitional Federal Assembly tied for least powerful. Some political systems follow the principle of legislative supremacy, which holds that the legislature is the supreme branch of government and cannot be bound by other institutions, such as the judicial branch or a written constitution; such a system renders the legislature more powerful. In parliamentary and semi-presidential systems of government, the executive is responsible to the legislature, which may remove it with a vote of no confidence.
On the other hand, according to the separation of powers doctrine, the legislature in a presidential system is considered an independent and coequal branch of government along with both the judiciary and the executive. Legislatures will sometimes delegate their legislative power to administrative or executive agencies. Legislatures are made up of individual members, known as legislators. A legislature contains a fixed number of legislators. For example, a legislature that has 100 "seats" has 100 members. By extension, an electoral district that elects a single legislator can be described as a "seat", as, example, in the phrases "safe seat" and "marginal seat". A legislature may debate and vote upon bills as a single unit, or it may be composed of multiple separate assemblies, called by various names including legislative chambers, debate chambers, houses, which debate and vote separately and have distinct powers. A legislature which operates as a single unit is unicameral, one divided into two chambers is bicameral, one divided into three chambers is tricameral.
In bicameral legislatures, one chamber is considered the upper house, while the other is considered the lower house. The two types are not rigidly different, but members of upper houses tend to be indirectly elected or appointed rather than directly elected, tend to be allocated by administrative divisions rather than by population, tend to have longer terms than members of the lower house. In some systems parliamentary systems, the upper house has less power and tends to have a more advisory role, but in others presidential systems, the upper house has equal or greater power. In federations, the upper house represents the federation's component states; this is a case with the supranational legislature of the European Union. The upper house may either contain the delegates of state governments – as in the European Union and in Germany and, before 1913, in the United States – or be elected according to a formula that grants equal representation to states with smaller populations, as is the case in Australia and the United States since 1913.
Tricameral legislatures are rare. Tetracameral legislatures no longer exist, but they were used in Scandinavia. Legislatures vary in their size. Among national legislatures, China's National People's Congress is the largest with 2 980 members, while Vatican City's Pontifical Commission is the smallest with 7. Neither legislature is democratically elected: the National People's Congress is indirectly elected. Legislature size is a trade off between representation. Comparative analysis of national legislatures has found that size of a country's lower house tends to be proportional to the cube root of its population.
Central Pacific Railroad
The Central Pacific Railroad was a rail route between California and Utah built eastwards from the West Coast in the 1860s, to complete the western part of the "First Transcontinental Railroad" in North America. It became part of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Many 19th century national proposals to build a transcontinental railroad failed because of the energy consumed by political disputes over slavery. With the secession of the South, the modernizers in the Republican Party controlled the US Congress, they passed legislation authorizing the railroad, with financing in the form of government railroad bonds. These were all repaid with interest; the government and the railroads both shared in the increased value of the land grants, which the railroads developed. The construction of the railroad secured for the government the economical "safe and speedy transportation of the mails, munitions of war, public stores." Planned by Theodore Judah, the Central Pacific Railroad was authorized by Congress in 1862.
It was financed and built through "The Big Four": Sacramento, California businessmen Leland Stanford, Collis Huntington, Charles Crocker, Mark Hopkins. Crocker was in charge of construction. Construction crews comprised 12,000 Chinese emigrant workers by 1868, when they constituted eighty percent of the entire work force, they laid the first rails in 1863. The "Golden spike", connecting the western railroad to the Union Pacific Railroad at Promontory, was hammered on May 10, 1869. Coast-to-coast train travel in eight days became possible, replacing months-long sea voyages and lengthy, hazardous travel by wagon trains. In 1885 the Central Pacific Railroad was leased by the Southern Pacific Company. Technically the CPRR remained a corporate entity until 1959, when it was formally merged into Southern Pacific; the original right-of-way is now controlled by the Union Pacific, which bought Southern Pacific in 1996. The Union Pacific-Central Pacific mainline followed the historic Overland Route from Omaha, Nebraska to San Francisco Bay.
Chinese labor was the most vital source for constructing the railroad. Fifty Chinese laborers were hired by the Central Pacific Railroad in February 1865, soon more and more Chinese men were hired. Working conditions were harsh, Chinese men were compensated less than their white counterparts. Chinese men were paid thirty-one dollars each month, while white workers were paid the same, they were given room and board. Construction of the road was financed by 30-year, 6% U. S. government bonds authorized by Sec. 5 of the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862. They were issued at the rate of $16,000 per mile of tracked grade completed west of the designated base of the Sierra Nevada range near Roseville, CA where California state geologist Josiah Whitney had determined were the geologic start of the Sierras' foothills. Sec. 11 of the Act provided that the issuance of bonds "shall be treble the number per mile" for tracked grade completed over and within the two mountain ranges, "doubled" per mile of completed grade laid between the two mountain ranges.
The U. S. Government Bonds, which constituted a lien upon the railroads and all their fixtures, were repaid in full by the company as and when they became due. Sec. 10 of the 1864 amending Pacific Railroad Act additionally authorized the company to issue its own "First Mortgage Bonds" in total amounts up to that of the bonds issued by the United States. Such company-issued securities had priority over the original Government Bonds. Sec. 3 of the 1862 Act granted the railroads 10 square miles of public land for every mile laid, except where railroads ran through cities and crossed rivers. This grant was apportioned in 5 sections on alternating sides of the railroad, with each section measuring 0.2 miles by 10 miles. These grants were doubled to 20 square miles per mile of grade by the 1864 Act. Although the Pacific Railroad benefited the Bay Area, the City and County of San Francisco obstructed financing it during the early years of 1863-1865; when Stanford was Governor of California, the Legislature passed on April 22, 1863, "An Act to Authorize the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco to take and subscribe One Million Dollars to the Capital Stock of the Western Pacific Rail Road Company and the Central Pacific Rail Road Company of California and to provide for the payment of the same and other matters relating thereto".
On May 19, 1863, the electors of the City and County of San Francisco passed this bond by a vote of 6,329 to 3,116, in a controversial Special Election. The City and County's financing of the investment through the issuance and delivery of Bonds was delayed for two years, when Mayor Henry P. Coon, the County Clerk, Wilhelm Loewy, each refused to countersign the Bonds, it took legal actions to force them to do so: in 1864 the Supreme Court of the State of California ordered them under Writs of Mandamus and in 1865, a legal judgment against Loewy (The People ex rel The Centr
Salt Lake Valley
Salt Lake Valley is a 500-square-mile valley in Salt Lake County in the north-central portion of the U. S. state of Utah. It contains Salt Lake City and many of its suburbs, notably Murray, South Jordan, West Jordan, West Valley City. Brigham Young said "this is the right place", when he and his fellow settlers moved into Utah after being driven out of several states; the Valley is surrounded in every direction except the northwest by steep mountains that at some points rise 7,100 feet from the valley floor's base elevation. It lies nearly encircled by the Wasatch Mountains on the east, the Oquirrh Mountains on the west, Traverse Ridge to the south and the Great Salt Lake on the northwest, with the peaks of Antelope Island visible; every entrance into the valley is narrow and congested. They include the Point of the Mountain to the south via the Jordan Narrows, a gap in the Traverse Mountains, narrow entrances between the Great Salt Lake and Oquirrh Mountains to the northwest and the Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Mountains to the north, several canyons to the east including Parley's Canyon and Emigration Canyon.
Flowing from Utah Lake in Utah Valley in the south, the Jordan River runs north through a gap in the Traverse Mountains, bisecting the Valley before emptying into the Great Salt Lake. The Jordan River, along with numerous mountain streams and reservoirs, provides irrigation water to the growing Valley; the only areas that have not been urbanized in Salt Lake Valley are near the Great Salt Lake and in the far west and mid-southwest parts of the Valley, although those areas are beginning to experience the effects of the Salt Lake City urban area's rapid expansion. This southwestern expansion will be facilitated by the Mountain View Corridor; some experts are claiming. A company known as Kennecott Land, which owns the eastern foothills of the Oquirrhs in the western part of the valley drafted a plan that would develop the rest of the entire valley within 75 years, adding at least 500,000 residents; the first development, known as the Daybreak Community, has substantial portions completed but continues construction.
It will focus on transit-oriented development (it has service by TRAX light rail and will feature a ski resort in the Oquirrh Mountains and a university campus. Interstate 15 runs north to south through the middle-eastern portion of the Valley and Interstate 80 runs east to west in the northern quarter of the Valley from Parley's Canyon into Tooele County to the west; the Interstate 215 belt route, State Route 154, State Route 201, State Route 85 are major transportation routes. The Utah Transit Authority operates an extensive bus system across the Wasatch Front, including the Salt Lake Valley, in addition to three light rail lines in the Valley. A commuter rail line known as FrontRunner runs north to Pleasant View in Weber County and south to Provo in Utah County. Mormon Trail Salt Lake County, Utah
Organized incorporated territories of the United States
Organized incorporated territories are territories of the United States that are both incorporated and organized. There have been no such territories since Alaska and Hawaii were admitted as states in 1959. Through most of U. S. history, regions that were admitted as U. S. states were, prior to admission, parts of territories of this kind. As the United States grew, the most populous parts of the organized territory would achieve statehood; the remainder kept at least some of the governing structure of the old legal entity and would be renamed to avoid confusion. Some territories existed only a short time before becoming states, while others remained territories for decades; the shortest-lived was Alabama Territory at two years, while New Mexico Territory and Hawaii Territory both lasted more than 50 years. Of the current 50 U. S. states, 31 were at one time or another part of a U. S. territory. The exceptions include: the original Thirteen Colonies. Common regional names such as Louisiana Purchase, Indian Territory, Oregon Country were never formally organized as territories.
During the American Civil War, there was a Confederate-established Arizona Territory, which split Arizona and New Mexico along an east–west line, rather than the Union-established north–south line that persists today. See article for map. Since 1959, there have been no incorporated U. S. territories formally organized by an Organic Act. When Hawaii was admitted as a state in 1959, the Hawaii Admission Act excluded Palmyra Island, part of the Territory of Hawaii, Palmyra remains today as the only incorporated U. S. territory, the United States Territory of Palmyra Island. Although it still has private landowners, Palmyra is uninhabited, no Palmyra Island government has been organized under an act of Congress. Palmyra is governed as a territory by the United States Department of the Interior. All other U. S. territories except Palmyra are unincorporated, whereas other former incorporated territories are now states. While the District of Columbia functions to an organized incorporated territory, it is governed by different provisions of the United States Constitution as a federal district.
The following territories within the United States were organized by Congress with an Organic Act on the first date listed. Each was admitted as a U. S. state on the second date listed. Larger outlying portions of an organized territory were not included in the new state. For maps, see Territorial evolution of the United States. Northwest Territory became the State of Ohio and the Indiana Territory Southwest Territory became the State of Tennessee Mississippi Territory became the State of Mississippi and Alabama Territory Indiana Territory became western Michigan Territory, Illinois Territory, the State of Indiana Territory of Orleans became the State of Louisiana Michigan Territory became Wisconsin Territory and the State of Michigan Louisiana Territory, renamed Missouri Territory Illinois Territory became the State of Illinois, part of the Michigan Territory Missouri Territory became the State of Missouri and the rest unorganized Alabama Territory Arkansas Territory became the State of Arkansas and unorganized Indian Territory Florida Territory became the state of Florida Wisconsin Territory became the Iowa Territory, the State of Wisconsin, with a portion becoming part of the Minnesota Territory Iowa Territory became the State of Iowa and the rest unorganized Oregon Territory Minnesota Territory, the eastern part of which became the state of Minnesota New Mexico Territory Utah Territory Washington Territory Kansas Territory Nebraska Territory Colorado Territory Nevada Territory Dakota Territory became the Idaho Territory, the States of North Dakota and South Dakota Arizona Territory Idaho Territory Montana Territory Wyoming Territory Oklahoma Territory Territory of Hawaii Territory of Alaska Historic regions of the United States Insular areas of the United States Insular Cases Political divisions of the United States Territorial evolution of the United States Territories of the United States – foreign possessions, legal classifications Territories of the United States on stamps United States territorial acquisitions
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
The Comstock Lode is a lode of silver ore located under the eastern slope of Mount Davidson, a peak in the Virginia Range in Nevada. It was the first major discovery of silver ore in the United States, named after American miner Henry Comstock. After the discovery was made public in 1859, it sparked a silver rush of prospectors to the area, scrambling to stake their claims; the discovery caused considerable excitement in California and throughout the United States, the greatest since the California Gold Rush in 1849. Mining camps soon thrived in the vicinity, which became bustling commercial centers, including Virginia City and Gold Hill; the Comstock Lode is notable not just for the immense fortunes it generated and the large role those fortunes had in the growth of Nevada and San Francisco, but for the advances in mining technology that it spurred, such as square set timbering and the Washoe process for extracting silver from ore. The mines declined after 1874. Volcanic vents to the east covered the area during the Tertiary, a fault fissure opened the east slope of the Virginia Range.
The east slope of the range forms the footwall of the Lode, is composed of diorite, while the hanging wall is composed of andesite, which the miners called "porphyry". The fault fissures filled these fissures with "mineral-bearing quartz"; the miners stated "porphyry makes ore". The ore bodies were thinly scattered through the wide Lode'like plums in a charity pudding', nearly all of them were found in the wide upper section and along or near the east wall. Although the miners extended their work in all directions, only "sixteen large and rich ore bodies" were found, most less than 600 feet in depth. Six major bonanzas marked the first five years of the Comstock Lode; the Ophir bonanza was prosperous until 1864. Though rich, having a length of 500 feet at the surface, the ore body wedged out at a depth of 500 feet; the Gold & Curry bonanza included 500 feet of the El Dorado outcrop, but dipped southward into the Savage at 500 feet. The Savage bonanza included this ore body and a second bonanza, an ore body shared with Hale & Norcross to the south, at the 600 foot level.
The Chollar-Potosi bonanza was consolidated in 1865. The 1875 Combination Shaft was a joint effort by Hale & Norcross; the Original Gold Hill bonanza consisted of the Old Red Ledge, 1,000 feet long, 500 feet wide, 500 feet deep. The associated Gold Hill mines were merged into the Consolidated Imperial by 1876; the Yellow Jacket shared the Gold Hill bonanza on its north, shared a second bonanza with Crown Point and Kentuck to the south, discovered in 1864. The Crown Point-Belcher bonanza was discovered in 1870; the ore body extended from the 900 to the 1,500-foot level, having a length of 775 feet and a width of 120 feet. The ore, the precious metal value of, 54 percent from gold and 46 percent from silver, lasted only four years; the Consolidated Virginia bonanza was discovered at the 1,200-foot level in March 1873. The ore body terminated at the 1650-foot level. Gold was found in this region in the spring of 1850, in Gold Canyon, by a company of Mormon emigrants, one of whom, Abner Blackburn, was their guide.
After arriving much too early to cross the Sierra, the wagon train camped on the Carson River in the vicinity of Dayton, to wait for the mountain snow to melt. William Prouse soon found gold along the gravel river banks by panning, but left when the mountains were passable, as they anticipated taking out more gold on reaching California. Orr named the gulch Gold Cañón. Other emigrants camped in the canyon and went to work at mining. However, when the supply of water in the canyon gave out toward the end of summer, they continued across the mountains to California; the camp had no permanent population until the winter and spring of 1852–53, when about 100 men worked part of the year along the gravel banks of the canyon with rockers, Long Toms and sluices. After nine years, the Gold Canyon placers were producing less, many miners left for the Mono Lake placers; the gold from Gold Canyon came from quartz veins, toward the head of the vein, in the vicinity of where Silver City and Gold Hill now stand.
As the miners worked their way up the stream, they founded the town of Johntown on a plateau. In 1857, the Johntown miners found gold in Six-Mile Canyon, about five miles north of Gold Canyon; the heads of both these canyons form the north and south ends of what is now known as the Comstock Lode, defined by the Ophir Discovery and the Gold Hill Discovery. The early placer miners never worked out the location of the placer gold, since the Lode surface structure was "largely worn away and covered with debris from the mountain sides above." Credit for the discovery of the Comstock Lode is disputed. It is said to have been discovered, in 1857, by Ethan Allen Grosh and Hosea Ballou Grosh, sons of a Pennsylvania clergyman, trained mineralogists and veterans of the California gold fields. Hosea injured his foot and died of septicemia in 1857. In an effort to raise funds, accompanied by an associate Richard Maurice Bucke, set out on a trek to California with samples and maps of his claim. Henry Comstock was left in their stead to care for the Grosh cabin and a locked chest containing silver and gold ore samples and documents of the discovery.
Grosh and Bucke never made it to California, getting lost and suffering severe hardship while crossing the Sierra Nevada mountains. The two suffered from frostbite while crossing the Sierras, at the hands of a minor surgeon lost li