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
Trail of Tears
The Trail of Tears was a series of forced relocations of Native Americans in the United States from their ancestral homelands in the Southeastern United States, to areas to the west, designated as Indian Territory. The forced relocations were carried out by government authorities following the passage of the Indian Removal Act in 1830; the relocated peoples suffered from exposure and starvation while en route to their new designated reserve, many died before reaching their destinations. The forced removals included members of the Cherokee, Seminole and Choctaw nations, as well as their African slaves; the phrase "Trail of Tears" originates from a description of the removal of many Native American tribes, including the infamous Cherokee Nation relocation in 1838. Between 1830 and 1850, the Chickasaw, Creek and Cherokee people were forcibly removed from their traditional lands in the Southeastern United States, relocated farther west; those Native Americans who were relocated were forced to march to their destinations by state and local militias.
The Cherokee removal in 1838 was brought on by the discovery of gold near Dahlonega, Georgia in 1828, resulting in the Georgia Gold Rush. 2,000–8,000 of the 16,543 relocated Cherokee perished along the way. In 1830, a group of Indians collectively referred to as the Five Civilized Tribes were living as autonomous nations in what would be called the American Deep South; the process of cultural transformation, as proposed by George Washington and Henry Knox, was gaining momentum among the Cherokee and Choctaw. American settlers had been pressuring the federal government to remove Indians from the Southeast. Although the effort was vehemently opposed by some, including U. S. Congressman Davy Crockett of Tennessee, President Andrew Jackson was able to gain Congressional passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which authorized the government to extinguish Indian title to lands in the Southeast. In 1831, the Choctaw became the first Nation to be removed, their removal served as the model for all future relocations.
After two wars, many Seminoles were removed in 1832. The Creek removal followed in 1834, the Chickasaw in 1837, lastly the Cherokee in 1838; some managed to evade the removals and remained in their ancestral homelands. A small group of Seminole, fewer than 500, evaded forced removal. A small number of non-Native Americans who lived with the tribes, including some of African descent accompanied the Indians on the trek westward. By 1837, 46,000 Indians from the southeastern states had been removed from their homelands, thereby opening 25 million acres for predominantly European settlement. Prior to 1838, the fixed boundaries of these autonomous tribal nations, comprising large areas of the United States, were subject to continual cession and annexation, in part due to pressure from squatters and the threat of military force in the newly declared U. S. territories—federally administered regions whose boundaries supervened upon the Native treaty claims. As these territories became U. S. states, state governments sought to dissolve the boundaries of the Indian nations within their borders, which were independent of state jurisdiction, to expropriate the land therein.
These pressures were exacerbated by U. S. population growth and the expansion of slavery in the South, with the rapid development of cotton cultivation in the uplands following the invention of the cotton gin. Andrew Jackson's support for removal of Native Americans began at least a decade before his presidency. Indian removal was Jackson's top legislative priority upon taking office; the removals, conducted under both Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, followed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which provided the president with powers to exchange land with Native tribes and provide infrastructure improvements on the existing lands. The law gave the president power to pay for transportation costs to the West, should tribes choose to relocate; the law did not, allow the president to force tribes to move west without a mutually agreed-upon treaty. Referring to the Indian Removal Act, Martin Van Buren, Jackson's vice president and successor is quoted as saying "There was no measure, in the whole course of administration, of which he was more the author than this."In the years following the Act, the Cherokee filed several lawsuits regarding conflicts with the state of Georgia.
Some of these cases reached the most influential being Worcester v. Georgia. Samuel Worcester and other non-Indians were convicted by Georgia law for residing in Cherokee territory in the state of Georgia without a license. Worcester was sentenced to prison for four years and appealed the ruling, arguing that this sentence violated treaties made between Indian nations and the United States federal government by imposing state laws on Cherokee lands; the Court ruled in Worcester's favor, declaring that the Cherokee Nation was subject only to federal law and that the Supremacy Clause barred legislative interference by the state of Georgia. Chief Justice Marshall argued, "The Cherokee nation
National Natural Landmark
The National Natural Landmarks Program recognizes and encourages the conservation of outstanding examples of the natural history of the United States. It is the only national natural areas program that identifies and recognizes the best examples of biological and geological features in both public and private ownership; the program was established on May 18, 1962, by United States Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall. The program aims to encourage and support voluntary preservation of sites that illustrate the geological and ecological history of the United States, it hopes to strengthen the public's appreciation of the country's natural heritage. As of November 2016, 599 sites have been added to the National Registry of National Landmarks; the registry includes nationally significant geological and ecological features in 48 states, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the U. S. Virgin Islands; the National Park Service administers the NNL Program and if requested, assists NNL owners and managers with the conservation of these important sites.
Land acquisition by the federal government is not a goal of this program. National Natural Landmarks are nationally significant sites owned by a variety of land stewards, their participation in this federal program is voluntary; the legislative authority for the National Natural Landmarks Program stems from the Historic Sites Act of August 21, 1935. The NNL Program does not have the protection features of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. Thus, designation of a National Natural Landmark presently constitutes only an agreement with the owner to preserve, insofar as possible, the significant natural values of the site or area. Administration and preservation of National Natural Landmarks is the owner's responsibility. Either party may terminate the agreement; the NNL designation is made by the Secretary of the Interior after in-depth scientific study of a potential site. All new designations must have owner concurrence; the selection process is rigorous: to be considered for NNL status, a site must be one of the best examples of a natural region's characteristic biotic or geologic features.
Since establishment of the NNL program, a multi-step process has been used to designate a site for NNL status. Since 1970, the following steps have constituted the process. A natural area inventory of a natural region is completed to identify the most promising sites. After landowners are notified that the site is being considered for NNL status, a detailed onsite evaluation is conducted by scientists other than those who conducted the inventory; the evaluation report is peer reviewed by other experts to assure its soundness. The report is reviewed further by National Park Service staff; the site is reviewed by the Secretary of the Interior's National Park Advisory Board to determine that the site qualifies as an NNL. The findings are provided to the Secretary of the Interior who declines. Landowners are notified a third time informing them that the site has been designated an NNL. Prospective sites for NNL designation are aquatic ecosystems; each major natural history "theme" can be further subdivided into various sub-themes.
For example, sub-themes suggested in 1972 for the overall theme "Lakes and ponds" included large deep lakes, large shallow lakes, lakes of complex shape, crater lakes, kettle lake and potholes, oxbow lakes, dune lakes, sphagnum-bog lakes, lakes fed by thermal streams, tundra lakes and ponds and marshy areas, sinkhole lakes, unusually productive lakes, lakes of high productivity and high clarity. The NNL program does not require designated properties to be owned by public entities. Lands under all forms of ownership or administration have been designated—federal, local and private. Federal lands with NNLs include those administered by the National Park Service, National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and Wildlife Service, Air Force, Marine Corps, Army Corps of Engineers and others; some NNL have been designated on lands held by Native tribes. NNLs have been designated on state lands that cover a variety of types and management, as forest, game refuge, recreation area, preserve.
Private lands with NNLs include those owned by universities, scientific societies, conservation organizations, land trusts, commercial interests, private individuals. 52% of NNLs are administered by public agencies, more than 30% are privately owned, the remaining 18% are owned or administered by a mixture of public agencies and private owners. Participation in the NNL Program carries no requirements regarding public access; the NNL registry includes many sites of national significance that are open for public tours, but others are not. Since many NNLs are located on federal and state property, permission to visit is unnecessary; some private property may be open to public visitation or just require permission from the site manager. On the other hand, some NNL private landowners desire no visitors whatever and might prosecute trespassers; the reasons for this viewpoint vary: potential property damage or liability, fragile or dangerous resources, desire for solitude or no publicity. NNL designation is an agreement between the federal government.
NNL designation does not change ownership of the property nor induce any encumbrances on the property. NNL status does not transfer with changes in ownership. Participation in the NNL Program involve
Interstate 24 is an Interstate Highway in the Midwestern and Southeastern United States. It runs diagonally from I-57, 10 miles south of Marion, Illinois, to Chattanooga, Tennessee, at I-75; as an even-numbered Interstate, it is signed as an east–west route, though the route follows a more southeast–northwest routing, passing through Nashville, Tennessee. Because the routing of I-24 is diagonal, the numbering is a bit unusual as it does not follow the Interstate Highway System numbering conventions. I-24 constitutes the majority of a high-traffic corridor between St. Louis and Atlanta; this corridor utilizes I-64 and I-57 northwest of I-24, I-75 southeast of I-24. I-24 begins near the community of Pulleys Mill; the highway heads southeast into rural Johnson County. It reaches an exit at Tunnel Hill Road, which serves Tunnel Hill; the highway continues south to its next exit at U. S. Route 45 north of Vienna, it reaches its next exit at Illinois Route 146 in eastern Vienna. I-24 heads southeast from Vienna into Massac County.
Its first exit in Massac County is at Big Bay Road, which serves the communities of Big Bay and New Columbia. I-24 continues southward; the highway passes west of Fort Massac State Park. It crosses the Interstate 24 Bridge over the Ohio River. After that, it continues into Kentucky. I-24 crosses into Kentucky on a bridge over the Ohio River, it passes to the west of Paducah and intersects US Routes 60, 45, 62. The freeway passes near Woodlawn-Oakdale and Reidland and connects with US 68; the welcome center in Paducah is Whitehaven. This is the only historic house in the country used as a rest area. East of this point, I-24 runs concurrently with I-69. Through this, it crosses the Tennessee and the Cumberland Rivers; the roadway travels along the north shore of the Cumberland River. I-69 splits off to the east just north of Mineral Mound State Park. I-24 continues away from the river, it runs through farmland for several miles. It passes south of Hopkinsville and interchanges with I-169. Near the Tennessee border, I-24 passes north of Fort Campbell.
Afterwards, it crosses into Tennessee. I-69 runs concurrently with I-24 for 17 miles from Calvert City to Eddyville. I-24 crosses into Tennessee traveling in a southeasterly and northwesterly direction in Clarksville, Montgomery County; the first interchange is with SR 48. I-24 has interchanges with US 79, SR 237, SR 76, crosses the Red River, it enters a long straight section, crossing into Robertson County, has interchanges with SR 256, SR 49 near Springfield, respectively. The route enters the rolling hilly terrain of the Nashville Basin, crosses into Cheatham County, where it has an interchange with SR 249. I-24 crosses into Davidson County, has an interchange with US 431; the interstate continues for several miles through rural woodlands before coming to an interchange with SR 45. Three miles I-24 crosses the Nashville Urban Boundary, widens to six lanes, has an interchange with SR 155, the northern beltway around Nashville. Less than a mile I-24 joins a concurrency with Interstate 65, where the combined routes carry ten through lanes, travel due south.
About two miles I-65 splits off, I-24 enters downtown Nashville, where it has interchanges with US 41, US 431, US 31E, as well as several city streets. I-24 crosses the Cumberland River, joins in a concurrency with Interstate 40, travelling southeast with eight through lanes, two miles I-40 splits off eastwardly, heading toward Knoxville. Located at this interchange is an interchange with US 41, less than a mile is an interchange with the eastern terminus of Interstate 440, accessible from I-40 nearby. About a mile is once again an interchange with SR 155/Briley Parkway near the Nashville International Airport, I-24 continues southeast, bisecting a major residential area. Here I-24 carries eight through lanes, beginning at the next exit, SR 255, the left lanes operate as HOV lanes during rush hour. I-24 continues southeast through the growing suburbs of Nashville, crosses into Rutherford County near the city of LaVergne, where there are three exits. Beginning at this point, I-24 is straight and flat for most of its distance through Middle Tennessee.
The straightest stretch of highway in Tennessee is located on I-24 between Lavergne and eastern Murfreesboro, where the route is straight for about fifteen miles, although the median widens and narrows. Four miles is an interchange with SR 102, which connects to Smyrna and the Nissan Motor Manufacturing Plant. Another four miles is an interchange with Interstate 840, the outer southern beltway around Nashville, I-24 enters Murfreesboro, the largest suburb of Nashville. In Murfreesboro, I-24 has interchanges with SR 96, SR 99, US 231 and at the final Murfreesboro exit, the HOV lane designation ends, I-24 narrows to six lanes and four lanes a short distance later. Three miles is an interchange with the Joe B. Jackson Parkway, which serves as an outer beltway around southeast Murfreesboro. I-24 enters a more rural area, at exit 97 has an interchange with SR 64, which connects to Shelbyville. I-24 curves to the south the east enters Bedford County, Coffee County. At exit 105 is an inter
Garden of the Gods Wilderness
The Garden of the Gods Wilderness is a 3,318-acre parcel of land listed as a Wilderness Area of the United States. It is located within the Shawnee National Forest in Hardin, Pope and Gallatin counties in the U. S. state of Illinois. The nearest town of any size is Equality. During the Carboniferous period, local geological conditions laid down a thick bed of gray sandstone in what is now southern Illinois; this bed of sandstone was uplifted, the Garden of the Gods is part of an uplifted sandstone plateau. Unlike much of Illinois, this plateau was never covered by glaciers; the morphology of Garden of the Gods is rockier than in much of Illinois. Comparatively dramatic erosion patterns have created hoodoos and other unusual sandstone formations, as well as scenic overlooks such as Buzzards Point from which raptors, scavenger birds, humans can look out over the Shawnee National Forest. Several of the hoodoos have evocative names, including Anvil Rock, Camel Rock, Table Rock; as with other wilderness areas within Shawnee National Forest, the Garden of the Gods Wilderness is made of second-growth forested areas that were used, until the land acquisitions of the 1930s, as agriculture land.
Shawnee National Forest was created in 1939, in 1990, the Illinois Wilderness Act set aside seven separate parcels of land within this National Forest as small wilderness areas. The Garden of the Gods Wilderness, one of these parcels, is a roadless parcel of land within the national forest. A tongue of non-wilderness land provides a route for a paved road from Buzzards Point to a hiking and public-use location in the southeastern corner of Saline County. From this location, hiking trails provide access to much of the Wilderness, making Garden of the Gods the most-visited wilderness area in Illinois; the trails and overlooks are utilized by visitors during the fall color season. Garden of the Gods Wilderness is served by the River to River Trail. In 2016, 300 million quarters were produced that featured an image of a hoodoo from the Garden of the Gods Wilderness. An image of Camel Rock was struck on one set of quarters as part of the U. S. Mint's 56-image America the Beautiful series. United States Forest Service
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States federal government's official list of districts, buildings and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred preserving the property; the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act in 1966 established the National Register and the process for adding properties to it. Of the more than one million properties on the National Register, 80,000 are listed individually; the remainder are contributing resources within historic districts. For most of its history the National Register has been administered by the National Park Service, an agency within the United States Department of the Interior, its goals are to help property owners and interest groups, such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation, coordinate and protect historic sites in the United States.
While National Register listings are symbolic, their recognition of significance provides some financial incentive to owners of listed properties. Protection of the property is not guaranteed. During the nomination process, the property is evaluated in terms of the four criteria for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places; the application of those criteria has been the subject of criticism by academics of history and preservation, as well as the public and politicians. Historic sites outside the country proper, but associated with the United States are listed. Properties can be nominated in a variety of forms, including individual properties, historic districts, multiple property submissions; the Register categorizes general listings into one of five types of properties: district, structure, building, or object. National Register Historic Districts are defined geographical areas consisting of contributing and non-contributing properties; some properties are added automatically to the National Register when they become administered by the National Park Service.
These include National Historic Landmarks, National Historic Sites, National Historical Parks, National Military Parks, National Memorials, some National Monuments. On October 15, 1966, the Historic Preservation Act created the National Register of Historic Places and the corresponding State Historic Preservation Offices; the National Register consisted of the National Historic Landmarks designated before the Register's creation, as well as any other historic sites in the National Park system. Approval of the act, amended in 1980 and 1992, represented the first time the United States had a broad-based historic preservation policy; the 1966 act required those agencies to work in conjunction with the SHPO and an independent federal agency, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, to confront adverse effects of federal activities on historic preservation. To administer the newly created National Register of Historic Places, the National Park Service of the U. S. Department of the Interior, with director George B.
Hartzog Jr. established an administrative division named the Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation. Hartzog charged OAHP with creating the National Register program mandated by the 1966 law. Ernest Connally was the Office's first director. Within OAHP new divisions were created to deal with the National Register; the division administered several existing programs, including the Historic Sites Survey and the Historic American Buildings Survey, as well as the new National Register and Historic Preservation Fund. The first official Keeper of the Register was an architectural historian. During the Register's earliest years in the late 1960s and early 1970s, organization was lax and SHPOs were small and underfunded. However, funds were still being supplied for the Historic Preservation Fund to provide matching grants-in-aid to listed property owners, first for house museums and institutional buildings, but for commercial structures as well. A few years in 1979, the NPS history programs affiliated with both the U.
S. National Parks system and the National Register were categorized formally into two "Assistant Directorates." Established were the Assistant Directorate for Archeology and Historic Preservation and the Assistant Directorate for Park Historic Preservation. From 1978 until 1981, the main agency for the National Register was the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service of the United States Department of the Interior. In February 1983, the two assistant directorates were merged to promote efficiency and recognize the interdependency of their programs. Jerry L. Rogers was selected to direct this newly merged associate directorate, he was described as a skilled administrator, sensitive to the need for the NPS to work with SHPOs, local governments. Although not described in detail in the 1966 act, SHPOs became integral to the process of listing properties on the National Register; the 1980 amendments of the 1966 law further defined the responsibilities of SHPOs concerning the National Register.
Several 1992 amendments of the NHPA added a category to the National Register, known as Traditional Cultural Properties: those properties associated with Native American or Hawaiian groups
Heron Pond – Little Black Slough Nature Preserve
Heron Pond – Little Black Slough Nature Preserve is a parcel of protected wetland property located 5 miles southwest of Vienna in Johnson County, Illinois. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1972; as part of the Cache River basin, it is classified as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. The Heron Pond – Little Black Slough Nature Preserve protects a swath of Cache River drainage upstream from the Post Creek Cutoff, it combines upland limestone bluffs, Cache River floodplain, a drier mesic woodland. The wetland sections of this Nature Preserve protect several old growths of bald cypress and water tupelo. A heron rookery has been logged here; the Wildcat Bluff upland may commemorate one of the bobcat. There are river otters here. Birdwatchers come to Heron Pond - Little Black Slough to search for a variety of raptors, including the black vulture, red-shouldered hawk, the barred owl, enjoy a variety of songbirds, including the Kentucky warbler and the yellow-throated warbler.
The Heron Pond – Little Black Slough Nature Preserve complex comprises 1,861 acres of land accessible from U. S. Highway 45, it is, in terms of area, the largest natural area owned and operated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The name of the small nearby town of Cypress, Illinois appears to commemorate the cypress trees of the upper Cache River drainage, including the groves now protected within the Heron Pond – Little Black Slough Nature Preserve. Heron Pond-Little Black Slough Natural Area National Park Service