The S&P 500, or just the S&P, is an American stock market index based on the market capitalizations of 500 large companies having common stock listed on the NYSE, NASDAQ, or the Cboe BZX Exchange.
The S&P 500 was developed and continues to be maintained by S&P Dow Jones Indices, a joint venture majority-owned by S&P Global. S&P Dow Jones Indices publishes many stock market indices such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P MidCap 400, the S&P SmallCap 600, and the S&P Composite 1500. David M. Blitzer leads the committee that has overall responsibility for index security selection. The S&P 500 is a capitalization-weighted index, and is associated with many ticker symbols, such as: ^GSPC, INX, and $SPX, depending on market or website. The S&P 500 differs from the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the NASDAQ Composite index, because of its diverse constituency and weighting methodology. It is one of the most commonly followed equity indices, and many consider it one of the best representations of the U.S. stock market.
S&P 500 Index from 1950 to 2016
|Foundation||March 4, 1957|
|Operator||S&P Dow Jones Indices|
|Exchanges||NYSE, NASDAQ, Cboe BZX Exchange|
|Market cap||US$23.7 trillion|
(as of April 30, 2018)
|Weighting method||Free-float capitalization-weighted|
Standard & Poor's, a company that provides financial information and analysis, was founded in 1860 by Henry Varnum Poor. The "Composite Index", as the S&P 500 was first called when it introduced its first stock index in 1923, began tracking a small number of stocks. Three years later in 1926, the Composite Index expanded to 90 stocks and then in 1957 it expanded to its current 500. In 1941, Poor's Publishing (Henry Varnum Poor's original company) merged with Standard Statistics (founded in 1906 as the Standard Statistics Bureau) and therein assumed the name Standard and Poor's Corporation. Its primary daily stock market index was the "S&P 90", a value-weighted index based on 90 stocks. Standard & Poor's also published a weekly index of the stocks of 425 industrial companies. The S&P 500 index in its present form began on March 4, 1957. Technology has allowed the index to be calculated and disseminated in real time. The S&P 500 is widely used as a measure of the general level of stock prices, as it includes both growth stocks and value stocks.
In September 1962, Ultronic Systems Corp. entered into an agreement with Standard and Poor's. Under the terms of this agreement, Ultronics computed the S&P 500 Stock Composite Index, the 425 Stock Industrial Index, the 50 Stock Utility Index, and the 25 Stock Rail Index. Throughout the market day these statistics were furnished to Standard & Poor's. In addition, Ultronics also computed and reported the 94 S&P sub-indexes.
On August 12, 1982, the index closed at 102.42. The following describes the ups and downs of the period year 2000 to date.
On March 24, 2000, the index reached an intraday high of 1,552.87, at the peak of the dot-com bubble; a high not to be exceeded for the following seven years. By October 10, 2002, the index had fallen to 768.83, a decline of approximately 50%, during the stock market downturn of 2002 ; before subsequently turning back up.
On May 30, 2007, the S&P 500 closed at 1,530.23, to set its first all-time closing high in more than seven years. Although the index achieved a new all-time intraday high on October 11, 2007, at 1,576.09, following a record close of 1,565.15 on October 9, the index finished 2007 at 1,468.36 points—just below its 1999 annual close. Less than a month later, it dropped to 1,400, and would not see similar levels again for five years.
In mid-2007, the subprime mortgage crisis spread to the wider U.S. financial sector. The resulting situation became acute in September 2008, ushering in a period of unusual market volatility, encompassing record 100-point swings in both directions and reaching the highest levels since 1929. On November 20, 2008, the index closed at 752.44, its lowest since early 1997. A modest recovery the following day still left the index down 45.5% for the year. This year-to-date loss was the greatest since 1931, when the broad market declined more than 50%. The index closed the year at 903.25, for a loss of 38.5%. The market continued to decline in early 2009, surrounding the financial crisis of 2008. The index reached a nearly 13-year low, closing at 676.53, on March 9, 2009. The entire drop from high in Oct 2007 to low in Mar 2009 was 57.7%, the largest since WWII.
On March 23, 2009, the S&P 500 marked a 20% gain when it hit 822.92. The Dow Jones Industrial Average soon followed. The close for 2009 was 1,115.10, making it the second-best year of the decade. On April 14, 2010 the index broke 1,200 closing at 1,210.65, but by July 2, 2010 it had closed at 1022.58. On April 29, 2011, the index closed at 1,363.61, but it had a sharp drop in August and briefly broke 1,100 in October (with the VIX hitting 40). Gains continued despite significant volatility amid electoral and fiscal uncertainty, and the 2012 close of the S&P 500 following QE3 was its third-highest ever, at 1,426.22 points. On March 28, 2013, it closed above the closing high from 2007. On April 10, 2013, it also closed above the intraday high from 2007.
A period of over a year with no new record highs ended on July 11, 2016 (closing at 2,137.16). In June 2017, the index saw the largest weekly rise since the past presidential election in November 2016. Rapid growth in the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones as well in late 2017 translated to nasty declines in early 2018. A few months later, the S&P 500 fell borderline between correction territory (closing-basis) and bear market territory (intraday-basis). Nonetheless, the index rallied significantly to exit either of the two, but some argued a new high had to be made before that can happen.
The components of the S&P 500 are selected by a committee. This is similar to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, but different from others such as the Russell 1000, which are strictly rule-based. When considering the eligibility of a new addition, the committee assesses the company's merit using eight primary criteria: market capitalization, liquidity, domicile, public float, sector classification, financial viability, and length of time publicly traded and stock exchange. Each of these primary criteria have specific requirements that must be met. For example, in order to be added to the index, a company must satisfy the following liquidity-based size requirements:
The committee selects the companies in the S&P 500 so they are representative of the industries in the United States economy. The securities must be publicly listed on either the NYSE (including NYSE Arca or NYSE MKT) or NASDAQ (NASDAQ Global Select Market, NASDAQ Select Market or the NASDAQ Capital Market). Securities that are ineligible for inclusion in the index are limited partnerships, master limited partnerships, OTC bulletin board issues, closed-end funds, ETFs, ETNs, royalty trusts, tracking stocks, preferred stock, unit trusts, equity warrants, convertible bonds, investment trusts, ADRs, ADSs and MLP IT units.
The index includes non-U.S. companies, both formerly U.S.-incorporated companies that have re-incorporated outside the United States, as well as firms that have never been incorporated in the United States.
The "S&P 500" generally quoted is a price return index; there are also "total return" and "net total return" versions of the index. These versions differ in how dividends are accounted for. The price return version does not account for dividends; it only captures the changes in the prices of the index components. The total return version reflects the effects of dividend reinvestment. Finally, the net total return version reflects the effects of dividend reinvestment after the deduction of withholding tax.
Standard & Poor's now calculates the market capitalization of each company relevant to the index using only the number of shares available for public trading (called the "float"). The index has traditionally been capitalization-weighted; that is, movements in the prices of stocks with higher market capitalizations (the share price times the number of shares outstanding) had a greater impact on the value of the index than do companies with smaller market caps. The transition to float-adjusted capitalization-weighting was made in two steps, the first on March 18, 2005 and the second on September 16, 2005.
In order to keep the S&P 500 Index consistent over time, it is adjusted to capture corporate actions which affect market capitalization, such as additional share issuance, dividends and restructuring events such as mergers or spin-offs. Additionally, to remain indicative of the U.S. stock market, the constituent stocks are changed from time to time.
To prevent the value of the Index from changing merely as a result of corporate financial actions, all such actions affecting the market value of the Index require a divisor adjustment. Also, when a company is dropped and replaced by another with a different market capitalization, the divisor needs to be adjusted in such a way that the value of the S&P 500 Index remains constant. All divisor adjustments are made after the close of trading and after the calculation of the closing value of the S&P 500 Index. There is a large range of different corporate actions that can require the divisor to be adjusted. These are listed in the table below:
|Type of Action||Divisor Adjustment|
|Stock split (e.g., 2×1)||No|
|Special cash dividend||Yes|
To calculate the value of the S&P 500 Index, the sum of the adjusted market capitalization of all 500 stocks is divided by a factor, usually referred to as the Divisor. For example, if the total adjusted market cap of the 500 component stocks is US$13 trillion and the Divisor is set at 8.933 billion, then the S&P 500 Index value would be 1,455.28. Although the adjusted market capitalization of the entire index can be accessed from Standard & Poor's website, the Divisor is considered to be proprietary to the firm. However, the Divisor's value is approximately 8.9 billion.
The formula to calculate the S&P 500 Index value is:
where P is the price of each stock in the index and Q is the number of shares publicly available for each stock.
The divisor is adjusted in the case of stock issuance, spin-offs or similar structural changes, to ensure that such events do not in themselves alter the numerical value of the Index.
Many index funds and exchange-traded funds attempt to replicate (before fees and expenses) the performance of the S&P 500 by holding the same stocks as the index, in the same proportions. Many other mutual funds are benchmarked to the S&P 500. Consequently, a company whose stock is added to the list of S&P 500 stocks may see its stock price rise, as index funds must purchase that company's stock in order to continue tracking the S&P 500 index. Mutual fund managers provide index funds that track the S&P 500, the first of which was The Vanguard Group's Vanguard 500 in 1976.
In addition to investing in a mutual fund indexed to the S&P 500, investors may also purchase shares of an exchange-traded fund (ETF) which represents ownership in a portfolio of the equity securities that comprise the Standard & Poor's 500 Index. These exchange-traded funds track the S&P 500 index and may be used to trade the index.
Investors may also invest in all the stocks of the S&P 500 directly, which is usually called index replication.
In the derivatives market, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) offers futures contracts (ticker symbols /SP for the full-sized contract and /ES for the E-mini contract that is one-fifth the size of /SP) that track the index and trade on the exchange floor in an open outcry auction, or on CME's Globex platform, and are the exchange's most popular product. Additionally, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) offers options on the S&P 500 as well as S&P 500 ETFs, inverse ETFs and leveraged ETFs.
On October 11, 2007, S&P index set a milestone with its all-time intraday high of 1,576.09. On March 28, 2013, the S&P finally surpassed its closing high level of 1,565.15, recovering all its losses from the financial crisis. On March 2, 2015, the S&P finally closed at a new all-time inflation-adjusted closing high, though it has yet to achieve a new all-time inflation-adjusted intraday high, both of which were set back in 2000.
(total return) The CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate, Annualized Return) is the best average rate to summarize investment returns over several years. In contrast with the median return or the mean return, the CAGR is the measurement of the actual return achieved over the number of years being studied.
Calculation used for CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate, Annualized Return):
The current total rate of return (including dividends) CAGR through 2017 is 10.53%. The rate of return (without dividends, or just on the index itself) through 2017 is 8.64%
|Year||Change in Index||Total Annual Return Including Dividends||Value of $1.00 Invested on 1970‑01‑01||5 Year Annualized Return||10 Year Annualized Return||15 Year Annualized Return||20 Year Annualized Return||25 Year Annualized Return|
|Year||Change in Index||Total Annual Return Including Dividends||Value of $1.00 Invested on 1970‑01‑01||5 Year Annualized Return||10 Year Annualized Return||15 Year Annualized Return||20 Year Annualized Return||25 Year Annualized Return|
The 2008 United States presidential election was the 56th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 4, 2008. The Democratic ticket of Barack Obama, the junior Senator from Illinois, and Joe Biden, the senior Senator from Delaware, defeated the Republican ticket of John McCain, the senior Senator from Arizona, and Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska. Obama became the first African American ever to be elected as president.
Incumbent Republican President George W. Bush was ineligible to pursue a third term due to the term limits established by the 22nd Amendment. As neither Bush nor Vice President Dick Cheney sought the presidency, the 2008 election was the first election since 1952 in which neither major party's presidential nominee was the incumbent president or the incumbent vice president. McCain secured the Republican nomination by March 2008, defeating Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and other challengers. The Democratic primaries were marked by a sharp contest between Obama and the initial front-runner, Senator Hillary Clinton. Clinton's victory in the New Hampshire primary made her the first woman to win a major party's presidential primary. After a long primary season, Obama clinched the Democratic nomination in June 2008.
Early campaigning focused heavily on the Iraq War and Bush's unpopularity. McCain supported the war, as well as a troop surge that had begun in 2007, while Obama strongly opposed the war. Bush endorsed McCain, but the two did not campaign together, and Bush did not appear in person at the 2008 Republican National Convention. Obama campaigned on the theme that "Washington must change," while McCain emphasized his experience. The campaign was strongly affected by the onset of a major financial crisis, which peaked in September 2008. McCain's decision to suspend his campaign during the height of the financial crisis backfired as voters viewed his response as erratic.
Obama won a decisive victory over McCain, winning the Electoral College and the popular vote by a sizable margin, including states that had not voted for the Democratic presidential candidate since 1976 (North Carolina) and 1964 (Indiana and Virginia). Obama received the largest share of the popular vote won by a Democrat since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. As of the 2016 presidential election Obama's total count of 69.5 million votes still stands as the largest tally ever won by a presidential candidate.Eastern Time Zone
The Eastern Time Zone (ET) is a time zone encompassing part or all of 22 states in the eastern part of the contiguous United States, parts of eastern Canada, the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico, Panama in Central America, and the Caribbean Islands.
Places that use Eastern Standard Time (EST) when observing standard time (autumn/winter) are 5 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC−05:00).
Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), when observing daylight saving time DST (spring/summer) is 4 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC−04:00).
In the northern parts of the time zone, on the second Sunday in March, at 2:00 a.m. EST, clocks are advanced to 3:00 a.m. EDT leaving a one-hour "gap". On the first Sunday in November, at 2:00 a.m. EDT, clocks are moved back to 1:00 a.m. EST, thus "duplicating" one hour. Southern parts of the zone (Panama and the Caribbean) do not observe daylight saving time.Federal government of the United States
The Federal Government of the United States (U.S. Federal Government) is the national government of the United States, a federal republic in North America, composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and several island possessions. The federal government is composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial, whose powers are vested by the U.S. Constitution in the Congress, the President, and the federal courts, respectively. The powers and duties of these branches are further defined by acts of congress, including the creation of executive departments and courts inferior to the Supreme Court.Flag of the United States
The flag of the United States of America, often referred to as the American flag, is the national flag of the United States. It consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton (referred to specifically as the "union") bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows, where rows of six stars (top and bottom) alternate with rows of five stars. The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 states of the United States of America, and the 13 stripes represent the thirteen British colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and became the first states in the U.S. Nicknames for the flag include the Stars and Stripes, Old Glory, and the Star-Spangled Banner.Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state in the Southeastern United States. It began as a British colony in 1733, the last and southernmost of the original Thirteen Colonies to be established. Named after King George II of Great Britain, the Province of Georgia covered the area from South Carolina south to Spanish Florida and west to French Louisiana at the Mississippi River. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788. In 1802–1804, western Georgia was split to the Mississippi Territory, which later split to form Alabama with part of former West Florida in 1819. Georgia declared its secession from the Union on January 19, 1861, and was one of the original seven Confederate states. It was the last state to be restored to the Union, on July 15, 1870. Georgia is the 24th largest and the 8th most populous of the 50 United States. From 2007 to 2008, 14 of Georgia's counties ranked among the nation's 100 fastest-growing, second only to Texas. Georgia is known as the Peach State and the Empire State of the South. Atlanta, the state's capital and most populous city, has been named a global city. Atlanta's metropolitan area contains about 55% of the population of the entire state.
Georgia is bordered to the north by Tennessee and North Carolina, to the northeast by South Carolina, to the southeast by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by Florida, and to the west by Alabama. The state's northernmost part is in the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountains system. The Piedmont extends through the central part of the state from the foothills of the Blue Ridge to the Fall Line, where the rivers cascade down in elevation to the coastal plain of the state's southern part. Georgia's highest point is Brasstown Bald at 4,784 feet (1,458 m) above sea level; the lowest is the Atlantic Ocean. Of the states entirely east of the Mississippi River, Georgia is the largest in land area.Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884 – December 26, 1972) was the 33rd president of the United States from 1945 to 1953, succeeding upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt after serving as vice president. He implemented the Marshall Plan to rebuild the economy of Western Europe, and established the Truman Doctrine and NATO.
Truman was elected to the United States Senate in 1934 and gained national prominence as chairman of the Truman Committee aimed at waste and inefficiency in wartime contracts. Soon after succeeding to the presidency he authorized the first and only use of nuclear weapons in war. Truman's administration engaged in an internationalist foreign policy and renounced isolationism. He rallied his New Deal coalition during the 1948 presidential election and won a surprise victory that secured his own presidential term.
Truman oversaw the Berlin Airlift of 1948. When Communist North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950, he gained United Nations approval for the very large policy action known as the Korean War. It saved South Korea but the Chinese intervened, driving back the UN/US forces and preventing a rollback of Communism in North Korea. On domestic issues, bills endorsed by Truman faced opposition from a conservative Congress, but his administration successfully guided the U.S. economy through the post-war economic challenges. In 1948 he submitted the first comprehensive civil rights legislation and issued Executive Orders to start racial integration in the military and federal agencies.
Allegations of corruption in the Truman administration became a central campaign issue in the 1952 presidential election and accounted for Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower's electoral victory against Democrat Adlai Stevenson II. Truman's financially difficult retirement was marked by the founding of his presidential library and the publication of his memoirs. When he left office, Truman's presidency was criticized, but scholars rehabilitated his image in the 1960s and he is ranked as one of the best presidents.List of Presidents of the United States
The President of the United States is the head of state and head of government of the United States, indirectly elected to a four-year term by the people through the Electoral College. The officeholder leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.
Since the office was established in 1789, 44 men have served as president. The first, George Washington, won a unanimous vote of the Electoral College. Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms in office and is therefore counted as the 22nd and 24th President of the United States; the 45th and current president is Donald Trump (since January 20, 2017). There are currently four living former presidents. The most recent former president to die was George H. W. Bush on November 30, 2018.
The presidency of William Henry Harrison, who died 31 days after taking office in 1841, was the shortest in American history. Franklin D. Roosevelt served the longest, over twelve years, before dying early in his fourth term in 1945. He is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms. Since the ratification of the Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1951, no person may be elected president more than twice and no one who has served more than two years of a term to which someone else was elected may be elected more than once.Of those who have served as the nation's president, four died in office of natural causes (William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Warren G. Harding, and Franklin D. Roosevelt), four were assassinated (Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley and John F. Kennedy), and one resigned (Richard Nixon facing impeachment). John Tyler was the first vice president to assume the presidency during a presidential term, and set the precedent that a vice president who does so becomes the fully functioning president with his own presidency, as opposed to a caretaker president. The Twenty-fifth Amendment to the Constitution put Tyler's precedent into law in 1967. It also established a mechanism by which an intra-term vacancy in the vice presidency could be filled. Richard Nixon was the first president to fill a vacancy under this provision when he selected Gerald Ford for the office following Spiro Agnew's resignation in 1973. The following year, Ford became the second to do so when he chose Nelson Rockefeller to succeed him after he acceded to the presidency. As no mechanism existed for filling an intra-term vacancy in the vice presidency prior to 1967, the office was left vacant until filled through the next ensuing presidential election.
Throughout most of its history, American politics has been dominated by political parties. The Constitution is silent on the issue of political parties, and at the time it came into force in 1789, there were no parties. Soon after the 1st Congress convened, factions began rallying around dominant Washington Administration officials, such as Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. Greatly concerned about the capacity of political parties to destroy the fragile unity holding the nation together, Washington remained unaffiliated with any political faction or party throughout his eight-year presidency. He was, and remains, the only U.S. president never affiliated with a political party. Since Washington, every president has been affiliated with a political party at the time they assumed office.President of the United States
President of the United States (POTUS) is the title for 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 also leads the nation with the largest economy by nominal GDP. The president possesses significant domestic and 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, regulatory and judicial officers, and concluding treaties with foreign powers with the advice and consent of the Senate. The president is further empowered to grant federal pardons and reprieves, and 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, and 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 substantially 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 which is not decided by popular vote. Nine vice presidents became president by virtue of a president's intra-term death or resignation.Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 sets three qualifications for holding the presidency: natural-born U.S. citizenship; at least thirty-five years of age; and residency in the United States for at least fourteen years. 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 45th and current president of the United States. He assumed office on January 20, 2017.Time in the United States
Time in the United States, by law, is divided into nine standard time zones covering the states and its possessions, with most of the United States observing daylight saving time (DST) for approximately the spring, summer, and fall months. The time zone boundaries and DST observance are regulated by the Department of Transportation. Official and highly precise timekeeping services (clocks) are provided by two federal agencies: the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) (an agency of the Department of Commerce); and its military counterpart, the United States Naval Observatory (USNO). The clocks run by these services are kept synchronized with each other as well as with those of other international timekeeping organizations.
It is the combination of the time zone and daylight saving rules, along with the timekeeping services, which determines the legal civil time for any U.S. location at any moment.U.S. state
In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders (e.g., paroled convicts and children of divorced spouses who are sharing custody). Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.
States are divided into counties or county-equivalents, which may be assigned some local governmental authority but are not sovereign. County or county-equivalent structure varies widely by state, and states may also create other local governments. State governments are allocated power by the people (of each respective state) through their individual constitutions. All are grounded in republican principles, and each provides for a government, consisting of three branches, each with separate and independent powers: executive, legislative, and judicial.States possess a number of powers and rights under the United States Constitution. States and their residents are represented in the United States Congress, a bicameral legislature consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Each state is also entitled to select a number of electors (equal to the total number of representatives and senators from that state) to vote in the Electoral College, the body that directly elects the President of the United States. Additionally, each state has the opportunity to ratify constitutional amendments, and, with the consent of Congress, two or more states may enter into interstate compacts with one another.
Historically, the tasks of local law enforcement, public education, public health, regulating intrastate commerce, and local transportation and infrastructure have generally been considered primarily state responsibilities, although all of these now have significant federal funding and regulation as well. Over time, the Constitution has been amended, and the interpretation and application of its provisions have changed. The general tendency has been toward centralization and incorporation, with the federal government playing a much larger role than it once did. There is a continuing debate over states' rights, which concerns the extent and nature of the states' powers and sovereignty in relation to the federal government and the rights of individuals.
The Constitution grants to Congress the authority to admit new states into the Union. Since the establishment of the United States in 1776, the number of states has expanded from the original 13 to 50. Alaska and Hawaii are the most recent states admitted, both in 1959. The Constitution is silent on the question of whether states have the power to secede (withdraw) from the Union. Shortly after the Civil War, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Texas v. White, held that a state cannot unilaterally do so.Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant; April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885) was an American politician, soldier, international statesman, and author, who served as the 18th president of the United States from 1869 to 1877. During the American Civil War Grant led the Union Army as its commanding general to victory over the Confederacy with the supervision of President Abraham Lincoln. During the Reconstruction Era, President Grant led the Republicans in their efforts to remove the vestiges of Confederate nationalism, racism, and slavery.
From early childhood in Ohio, Grant was a skilled equestrian who had a talent for taming horses. He graduated from West Point in 1843 and served with distinction in the Mexican–American War. Upon his return, Grant married Julia Dent, and together they had four children. In 1854, Grant abruptly resigned from the army. He and his family struggled financially in civilian life for seven years. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Grant joined the Union Army and rapidly rose in rank to general. Grant was persistent in his pursuit of the Confederate enemy, winning major battles and gaining Union control of the Mississippi River. In March 1864, President Abraham Lincoln promoted Grant to Lieutenant General, a rank previously reserved for George Washington. For over a year Grant's Army of the Potomac fought the Army of Northern Virginia led by Robert E. Lee in the Overland Campaign and at Petersburg. On April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, and the war ended.
On April 14, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated. Grant continued his service under Lincoln's successor President Andrew Johnson and was promoted General of the Army in 1866. Disillusioned by Johnson's conservative approach to Reconstruction, Grant drifted toward the "Radical" Republicans. Elected the youngest 19th Century president in 1868, Grant stabilized the post-war national economy, created the Department of Justice, and prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan. He appointed African-Americans and Jewish-Americans to prominent federal offices. In 1871, Grant created the first Civil Service Commission. The Democrats and Liberal Republicans united behind Grant's opponent in the presidential election of 1872, but Grant was handily re-elected. Grant's new Peace Policy for Native Americans had both successes and failures. Grant's administration successfully resolved the Alabama claims and the Virginius Affair, but Congress rejected his Dominican annexation initiative. Grant's presidency was plagued by numerous public scandals, while the Panic of 1873 plunged the nation into a severe economic depression.
After Grant left office in March 1877, he embarked on a two-and-a-half-year world tour that captured favorable global attention for him and the United States. In 1880, Grant was unsuccessful in obtaining the Republican presidential nomination for a third term. In the final year of his life, facing severe investment reversals and dying of throat cancer, he wrote his memoirs, which proved to be a major critical and financial success. At the time of his death, he was memorialized as a symbol of national unity.
Historical assessments of Grant's legacy have varied considerably over the years. Historians have hailed Grant's military genius, and his strategies are featured in military history textbooks. Stigmatized by multiple scandals, Grant's presidency has traditionally been ranked among the worst. Modern scholars have shown greater appreciation for his achievements that included civil rights enforcement and has raised his historical reputation. Grant has been regarded as an embattled president who performed a difficult job during Reconstruction.United States
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles (9.8 million km2), the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles (10.1 million km2). 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 extremely diverse geography, climate, 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, and 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, and gradually 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, and 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, and 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 federal republic and a representative democracy. The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States (OAS), and other international organizations. The United States is a highly developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for approximately a quarter of global GDP. The U.S. economy is largely 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 very high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, and worker productivity. The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, and is a leading political, cultural, and scientific force internationally.United States Air Force
The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial and space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, and one of the seven American uniformed services. Initially formed as a part of the United States Army on 1 August 1907, the USAF was established as a separate branch of the U.S. Armed Forces on 18 September 1947 with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947. It is the youngest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the fourth in order of precedence. The USAF is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. The Air Force articulates its core missions as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control.
The U.S. Air Force is a military service branch organized within the Department of the Air Force, one of the three military departments of the Department of Defense. The Air Force, through the Department of the Air Force, is headed by the civilian Secretary of the Air Force, who reports to the Secretary of Defense, and is appointed by the President with Senate confirmation. The highest-ranking military officer in the Air Force is the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, who exercises supervision over Air Force units and serves as one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Air Force components are assigned, as directed by the Secretary of Defense, to the combatant commands, and neither the Secretary of the Air Force nor the Chief of Staff of the Air Force have operational command authority over them.
Along with conducting independent air and space operations, the U.S. Air Force provides air support for land and naval forces and aids in the recovery of troops in the field. As of 2017, the service operates more than 5,369 military aircraft, 406 ICBMs and 170 military satellites. It has a $161 billion budget and is the second largest service branch, with 318,415 active duty airmen, 140,169 civilian personnel, 69,200 reserve airmen, and 105,700 Air National Guard airmen.United States Armed Forces
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States of America. It consists of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The President of the United States is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and forms military policy with the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), both federal executive departments, acting as the principal organs by which military policy is carried out. All five armed services are among the seven uniformed services of the United States.From the time of its inception, the U.S. Armed Forces played a decisive role in the history of the United States. A sense of national unity and identity was forged as a result of victory in the First Barbary War and the Second Barbary War. Even so, the founders of the United States were suspicious of a permanent military force. It played a critical role in the American Civil War, continuing to serve as the armed forces of the United States, although a number of its officers resigned to join the military of the Confederate States. The National Security Act of 1947, adopted following World War II and during the Cold War's onset, created the modern U.S. military framework. The Act established the National Military Establishment, headed by the Secretary of Defense; and created the Department of the Air Force and the National Security Council. It was amended in 1949, renaming the National Military Establishment the Department of Defense, and merged the cabinet-level Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, and Department of the Air Force, into the Department of Defense.
The U.S. Armed Forces are one of the largest militaries in terms of the number of personnel. It draws its personnel from a large pool of paid volunteers. Although conscription has been used in the past in various times of both war and peace, it has not been used since 1973, but the Selective Service System retains the power to conscript males, and requires that all male citizens and residents residing in the U.S. between the ages of 18–25 register with the service. On February 22, 2019, however, a federal judge ruled that registering only males for Selective Service is unconstitutional.
As of 2017, the U.S. spends about US$610 billion annually to fund its military forces and Overseas Contingency Operations. Put together, the U.S. constitutes roughly 40 percent of the world's military expenditures. The U.S. Armed Forces has significant capabilities in both defense and power projection due to its large budget, resulting in advanced and powerful technologies which enables a widespread deployment of the force around the world, including around 800 military bases outside the United States. The U.S. Air Force is the world's largest air force, the U.S. Navy is the world's largest navy by tonnage, and the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps combined are the world's second largest air arm. In terms of size, the U.S. Coast Guard is the world's 12th largest naval force.United States Army
The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed (14 June 1775) to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.As a uniformed military service, the U.S. Army is part of the Department of the Army, which is one of the three military departments of the Department of Defense. The U.S. Army is headed by a civilian senior appointed civil servant, the Secretary of the Army (SECARMY) and by a chief military officer, the Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA) who is also a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It is the largest military branch, and in the fiscal year 2017, the projected end strength for the Regular Army (USA) was 476,000 soldiers; the Army National Guard (ARNG) had 343,000 soldiers and the United States Army Reserve (USAR) had 199,000 soldiers; the combined-component strength of the U.S. Army was 1,018,000 soldiers. As a branch of the armed forces, the mission of the U.S. Army is "to fight and win our Nation's wars, by providing prompt, sustained, land dominance, across the full range of military operations and the spectrum of conflict, in support of combatant commanders". The branch participates in conflicts worldwide and is the major ground-based offensive and defensive force of the United States.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 comprise 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, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming.The House is charged with the passage of federal legislation, known as bills, which, 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 impeachment of federal officers, who are sent to trial before the Senate; and, in cases wherein no candidate receives a majority of electors for President, the duty falls upon the House to elect one of the top three recipients of electors for that office, with one vote given to each state for that purpose. The House meets in the south wing of the United States Capitol.
The presiding officer is the Speaker of the House, who is elected by the members thereof (and is therefore traditionally the leader of the controlling party). The Speaker and other floor leaders are chosen by the Democratic Caucus or the Republican Conference, depending on whichever party has more voting members.United States Navy
The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second largest and second most powerful air force in the world.The U.S. Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, which was established during the American Revolutionary War and was effectively disbanded as a separate entity shortly thereafter. The U.S. Navy played a major role in the American Civil War by blockading the Confederacy and seizing control of its rivers. It played the central role in the World War II defeat of Imperial Japan. The US Navy emerged from World War II as the most powerful navy in the world, a title it still holds to this day. The 21st century U.S. Navy maintains a sizable global presence, deploying in strength in such areas as the Western Pacific, the Mediterranean, and the Indian Ocean. It is a blue-water navy with the ability to project force onto the littoral regions of the world, engage in forward deployments during peacetime and rapidly respond to regional crises, making it a frequent actor in U.S. foreign and military policy.
The Navy is administratively managed by the Department of the Navy, which is headed by the civilian Secretary of the Navy. The Department of the Navy is itself a division of the Department of Defense, which is headed by the Secretary of Defense. The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) is the most senior naval officer serving in the Department of the Navy.United States Navy SEALs
The United States Navy Sea, Air, and Land Teams, commonly abbreviated as Navy SEALs, are the U.S. Navy's primary special operations force and a component of the Naval Special Warfare Command. Among the SEALs' main functions are conducting small-unit maritime military operations that originate from, and return to, a river, ocean, swamp, delta, or coastline. The SEALs are trained to operate in all environments (sea, air, and land) for which they are named.
As of 2017, all active SEALs are male and members of the U.S. Navy. The CIA's highly secretive and elite Special Operations Group (SOG) recruits operators from SEAL Teams, with joint operations going back to the MACV-SOG during the Vietnam War. This cooperation still exists today, as evidenced by military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C.
The composition and powers of the Senate are established by Article One of the United States Constitution. The Senate is composed of senators, each of whom represents a single state in its entirety. Each state, regardless of its population size, is equally represented by two senators who serve staggered terms of six years. There being at present 50 states in the Union, there are presently 100 senators. From 1789 until 1913, senators were appointed by legislatures of the states they represented; they are now elected by popular vote, following the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913.
As the upper chamber of Congress, the Senate has several powers of advice and consent which are unique to it. These include the approval of treaties, and the confirmation of Cabinet secretaries, Supreme Court justices, federal judges, flag officers, regulatory officials, ambassadors, other federal executive officials and other federal uniformed officers. In addition to these, in cases wherein no candidate receives a majority of electors for Vice President, the duty falls to the Senate to elect one of the top two recipients of electors for that office. Furthermore, the Senate has the responsibility of conducting the trials of those impeached by the House.
The Senate is widely considered both a more deliberative and more prestigious body than the House of Representatives due to its longer terms, smaller size, and statewide constituencies, which historically led to a more collegial and less partisan atmosphere. The presiding officer of the Senate is the Vice President of the United States, who is President of the Senate. In the Vice President's absence, the President Pro Tempore, who is customarily the senior member of the party holding a majority of seats, presides over the Senate. In the early 20th century, the practice of majority and minority parties electing their floor leaders began, although they are not constitutional officers.United States dollar
The United States dollar (sign: $; code: USD; also abbreviated US$ and referred to as the dollar, U.S. dollar, or American dollar) is the official currency of the United States and its territories per the United States Constitution since 1792. In practice, the dollar is divided into 100 smaller cent (¢) units, but is occasionally divided into 1000 mills (₥) for accounting. The circulating paper money consists of Federal Reserve Notes that are denominated in United States dollars (12 U.S.C. § 418).
Since the suspension in 1971 of convertibility of paper U.S. currency into any precious metal, the U.S. dollar is, de facto, fiat money. As it is the most used in international transactions, the U.S. dollar is the world's primary reserve currency. Several countries use it as their official currency, and in many others it is the de facto currency. Besides the United States, it is also used as the sole currency in two British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean: the British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands. A few countries use the Federal Reserve Notes for paper money, while still minting their own coins, or also accept U.S. dollar coins (such as the Sacagawea or presidential dollar). As of June 27, 2018, there are approximately $1.67 trillion in circulation, of which $1.62 trillion is in Federal Reserve notes (the remaining $50 billion is in the form of coins).
Major United States stock market indices
Major American stock market indices
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