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 (Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia) 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.
|Also known as:|
(the self-designation of four states)
|Populations||Smallest: Wyoming, 579,315|
Largest: California, 39,536,653
|Areas||Smallest: Rhode Island, 1,545 square miles (4,000 km2)|
Largest: Alaska, 665,384 square miles (1,723,340 km2)
|Subdivisions||County (or equivalent)|
The 50 U.S. states, in alphabetical order, along with each state's flag:
As sovereign entities, each of the 50 states reserves the right to organize its individual government in any way (within the broad parameters set by the U.S. Constitution) deemed appropriate by its people. As a result, while the governments of the various states share many similar features, they often vary greatly with regard to form and substance. No two state governments are identical.
The government of each state is structured in accordance with its individual constitution. Many of these documents are more detailed and more elaborate than their federal counterpart. The Constitution of Alabama, for example, contains 310,296 words – more than 40 times as many as the U.S. Constitution. In practice, each state has adopted the three-branch frame of the federal government: executive, legislative, and judicial (even though doing so has never been required).
In each state, the chief executive is called the governor, who serves as both head of state and head of government. All governors are chosen by direct election. The governor may approve or veto bills passed by the state legislature, as well as push for the passage of bills supported by their party. In 44 states, governors have line item veto power. Most states have a plural executive, meaning that the governor is not the only government official in the state responsible for its executive branch. In these states, executive power is distributed amongst other officials, elected by the people independently of the governor—such as the lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller, secretary of state, and others.
The constitutions of 19 states allow for citizens to remove and replace an elected public official before the end of their term of office through a recall election. Each state follows its own procedures for recall elections, and sets its own restrictions on how often, and how soon after a general election, they may be held. In all states, the legislatures can remove state executive branch officials, including governors, who have committed serious abuses of their power from office. The process of doing so includes impeachment (the bringing of specific charges), and a trial, in which legislators act as a jury.
The primary responsibilities of state legislatures are to enact state laws and appropriate money for the administration of public policy. In all states, if the governor vetoes a bill (or a portion of one), it can still become law if the legislature overrides the veto (repasses the bill) by a two-thirds vote in each chamber. In 49 of the 50 states the legislature consists of two chambers: a lower house (termed the House of Representatives, State Assembly, General Assembly or House of Delegates) and a smaller upper house, always termed the Senate. The exception is the unicameral Nebraska Legislature, which has only a single chamber. Most states have a part-time legislature (traditionally called a citizen legislature). Ten state legislatures are considered full-time; these bodies are more similar to the U.S. Congress than are the others.
Members of each state's legislature are chosen by direct election. In Baker v. Carr (1962) and Reynolds v. Sims (1964), the U.S. Supreme Court held that all states are required to elect their legislatures in such a way as to afford each citizen the same degree of representation (the one person, one vote standard). In practice, most states elect legislators from single-member districts, each of which has approximately the same population. Some states, such as Maryland and Vermont, divide the state into single- and multi-member districts, in which case multi-member districts must have proportionately larger populations, e.g., a district electing two representatives must have approximately twice the population of a district electing just one. The voting systems used across the nation are: first-past-the-post in single-member districts, and multiple non-transferable vote in multi-member districts.
In 2013, there were a total of 7,383 legislators in the 50 state legislative bodies. They earned from $0 annually (New Mexico) to $90,526 (California). There were various per diem and mileage compensation.
States can also organize their judicial systems differently from the federal judiciary, as long as they protect the federal constitutional right of their citizens to procedural due process. Most have a trial level court, generally called a District Court, Superior Court or Circuit Court, a first-level appellate court, generally called a Court of Appeal (or Appeals), and a Supreme Court. However, Oklahoma and Texas have separate highest courts for criminal appeals. In New York State the trial court is called the Supreme Court; appeals are then taken to the Supreme Court's Appellate Division, and from there to the Court of Appeals.
State court systems provide general courts with broad jurisdiction. The overwhelming majority of criminal and civil cases in the United States are heard in state courts. The annual number of cases filed in state courts are around 30,000,000 and the number of judges in state courts is about 30,000—by comparison, federal courts see some 1,000,000 filed cases with about 1700 judges.
Most states base their legal system on English common law (with substantial indigenous changes and incorporation of certain civil law innovations), with the notable exception of Louisiana, a former French colony, which draws large parts of its legal system from French civil law.
Only a few states choose to have the judges on the state's courts serve for life terms. In most of the states the judges, including the justices of the highest court in the state, are either elected or appointed for terms of a limited number of years, and are usually eligible for re-election or reappointment.
All states have unitary governments, local governments are created under state law, and ultimately, local governments within each state are subject to the central authority of that particular state. State governments commonly delegate some authority to local units and channel policy decisions down to them for implementation. In a few states, local units of government are permitted a degree of home rule over various matters. The prevailing legal theory of state preeminence over local governments, referred to as Dillon's Rule, holds that,
A municipal corporation possesses and can exercise the following powers and no others: First, those granted in express words; second, those necessarily implied or necessarily incident to the powers expressly granted; third, those absolutely essential to the declared objects and purposes of the corporation-not simply convenient but indispensable; fourth, any fair doubt as to the existence of a power is resolved by the courts against the corporation-against the existence of the powers.
Each state defines for itself what powers it will allow local governments. Generally, four categories of power may be given to local jurisdictions:
- Structural – power to choose the form of government, charter and enact charter revisions,
- Functional – power to exercise local self government in a broad or limited manner,
- Fiscal – authority to determine revenue sources, set tax rates, borrow funds and other related financial activities,
- Personnel – authority to set employment rules, remuneration rates, employment conditions and collective bargaining.
Each state admitted to the Union by Congress since 1789 has entered it on an equal footing with the original States in all respects. With the growth of states' rights advocacy during the antebellum period, the Supreme Court asserted, in Lessee of Pollard v. Hagan (1845), that the Constitution mandated admission of new states on the basis of equality. With the consent of Congress, states may enter into interstate compacts, agreements between two or more states. Compacts are frequently used to manage a shared resource, such as transportation infrastructure or water rights.
Under Article IV of the Constitution, which outlines the relationship between the states, each state is required to give full faith and credit to the acts of each other's legislatures and courts, which is generally held to include the recognition of most contracts and criminal judgments, and before 1865, slavery status. Under the Extradition Clause, a state must extradite people located there who have fled charges of "treason, felony, or other crimes" in another state if the other state so demands. The principle of hot pursuit of a presumed felon and arrest by the law officers of one state in another state are often permitted by a state.
The full faith and credit expectation does have exceptions, some legal arrangements, such as professional licensure and marriages, may be state-specific, and until recently states have not been found by the courts to be required to honor such arrangements from other states. Such legal acts are nevertheless often recognized state-to-state according to the common practice of comity. States are prohibited from discriminating against citizens of other states with respect to their basic rights, under the Privileges and Immunities Clause.
Under Article IV, each state is guaranteed a form of government that is grounded in republican principles, such as the consent of the governed. This guarantee has long been at the fore-front of the debate about the rights of citizens vis-à-vis the government. States are also guaranteed protection from invasion, and, upon the application of the state legislature (or executive, if the legislature cannot be convened), from domestic violence. This provision was discussed during the 1967 Detroit riot, but was not invoked.
The Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2) establishes that the Constitution, federal laws made pursuant to it, and treaties made under its authority, constitute the supreme law of the land. It provides that state courts are bound by the supreme law; in case of conflict between federal and state law, the federal law must be applied. Even state constitutions are subordinate to federal law.
States' rights are understood mainly with reference to the Tenth Amendment. The Constitution delegates some powers to the national government, and it forbids some powers to the states. The Tenth Amendment reserves all other powers to the states, or to the people. Powers of the U.S Congress are enumerated in Article I, Section 8, for example, the power to declare war. Making treaties is one power forbidden to the states, being listed among other such powers in Article I, Section 10.
Among the Article I enumerated powers of Congress is the power to regulate Commerce. Since the early 20th century, the Supreme Court's interpretation of this "Commerce Clause" has, over time, greatly expanded scope of federal power, at the expense of powers formerly considered purely states' matters. The Cambridge Economic History of the United States says, "On the whole, especially after the mid-1880s, the Court construed the Commerce Clause in favor of increased federal power." In 1941, the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Darby upheld the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, holding that Congress had the power under the Commerce Clause to regulate employment conditions. Then, one year later, in Wickard v. Filburn, the Court expanded federal power to regulate the economy by holding that federal authority under the commerce clause extends to activities which may appear to be local in nature but in reality effect the entire national economy and are therefore of national concern. For example, Congress can regulate railway traffic across state lines, but it may also regulate rail traffic solely within a state, based on the reality that intrastate traffic still affects interstate commerce. Through such decisions, argues law professor David F. Forte, "the Court turned the commerce power into the equivalent of a general regulatory power and undid the Framers' original structure of limited and delegated powers." Subsequently, Congress invoked the Commerce Clause to expand federal criminal legislation, as well as for social reforms such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Only within the past couple of decades, through decisions in cases such as those in U.S. v. Lopez (1995) and U.S. v. Morrison (2000), has the Court tried to limit the Commerce Clause power of Congress.
Another enumerated congressional power is its power is its taxing and spending power. An example of this is the system of federal aid for highways, which include the Interstate Highway System. The system is mandated and largely funded by the federal government, and also serves the interests of the states. By threatening to withhold federal highway funds, Congress has been able to pressure state legislatures to pass a variety of laws. An example is the nationwide legal drinking age of 21, enacted by each state, brought about by the National Minimum Drinking Age Act. Although some objected that this infringes on states' rights, the Supreme Court upheld the practice as a permissible use of the Constitution's Spending Clause in South Dakota v. Dole 483 U.S. 203 (1987).
As prescribed by Article I of the Constitution, which establishes the U.S. Congress, each state is represented in the Senate (irrespective of population size) by two senators, and each is guaranteed at least one representative in the House. Both senators and representatives are chosen in direct popular elections in the various states. (Prior to 1913, senators were elected by state legislatures.) There are presently 100 senators, who are elected at-large to staggered terms of six years, with one-third of them being chosen every two years. Representatives are elected at-large or from single-member districts to terms of two years (not staggered). The size of the House—presently 435 voting members—is set by federal statute. Seats in the House are distributed among the states in proportion to the most recent constitutionally mandated decennial census. The borders of these districts are established by the states individually through a process called redistricting, and within each state all districts are required to have approximately equal populations.
Citizens in each state plus those in the District of Columbia indirectly elect the president and vice president. When casting ballots in presidential elections they are voting for presidential electors, who then, using procedures provided in the 12th amendment, elect the president and vice president. There were 538 electors for the most recent presidential election in 2016; the allocation of electoral votes was based on the 2010 census. Each state is entitled to a number of electors equal to the total number of representatives and senators from that state; the District of Columbia is entitled to three electors.
While the Constitution does set parameters for the election of federal officials, state law, not federal, regulates most aspects of elections in the U.S., including: primaries, the eligibility of voters (beyond the basic constitutional definition), the running of each state's electoral college, as well as the running of state and local elections. All elections—federal, state and local—are administered by the individual states, and some voting rules and procedures may differ among them.
Article V of the Constitution accords states a key role in the process of amending the U.S. Constitution. Amendments may be proposed either by Congress with a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate, or by a convention of states called for by two-thirds of the state legislatures. To become part of the Constitution, an amendment must be ratified by either—as determined by Congress—the legislatures of three-quarters of the states or state ratifying conventions in three-quarters of the states. The vote in each state (to either ratify or reject a proposed amendment) carries equal weight, regardless of a state's population or length of time in the Union.
Article IV also 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. Each new state has been admitted on an equal footing with the existing states. It also forbids the creation of new states from parts of existing states without the consent of both the affected states and Congress. This caveat was designed to give Eastern states that still had Western land claims (including Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia), to have a veto over whether their western counties could become states, and has served this same function since, whenever a proposal to partition an existing state or states in order that a region within might either join another state or to create a new state has come before Congress.
Most of the states admitted to the Union after the original 13 were formed from an organized territory established and governed by Congress in accord with its plenary power under Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2. The outline for this process was established by the Northwest Ordinance (1787), which predates the ratification of the Constitution. In some cases, an entire territory has become a state; in others some part of a territory has.
When the people of a territory make their desire for statehood known to the federal government, Congress may pass an enabling act authorizing the people of that territory to organize a constitutional convention to write a state constitution as a step towards admission to the Union. Each act details the mechanism by which the territory will be admitted as a state following ratification of their constitution and election of state officers. Although the use of an enabling act is a traditional historic practice, a number of territories have drafted constitutions for submission to Congress absent an enabling act and were subsequently admitted. Upon acceptance of that constitution, and upon meeting any additional Congressional stipulations, Congress has always admitted that territory as a state.
In addition to the original 13, six subsequent states were never an organized territory of the federal government, or part of one, before being admitted to the Union. Three were set off from an already existing state, two entered the Union after having been sovereign states, and one was established from unorganized territory:
Congress is under no obligation to admit states, even in those areas whose population expresses a desire for statehood. Such has been the case numerous times during the nation's history. In one instance, Mormon pioneers in Salt Lake City sought to establish the state of Deseret in 1849. It existed for slightly over two years and was never approved by the United States Congress. In another, leaders of the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole) in Indian Territory proposed to establish the state of Sequoyah in 1905, as a means to retain control of their lands. The proposed constitution ultimately failed in the U.S. Congress. Instead, the Indian Territory, along with Oklahoma Territory were both incorporated into the new state of Oklahoma in 1907. The first instance occurred while the nation still operated under the Articles of Confederation. The State of Franklin existed for several years, not long after the end of the American Revolution, but was never recognized by the Confederation Congress, which ultimately recognized North Carolina's claim of sovereignty over the area. The territory comprising Franklin later became part of the Southwest Territory, and ultimately the state of Tennessee.
Additionally, the entry of several states into the Union was delayed due to distinctive complicating factors. Among them, Michigan Territory, which petitioned Congress for statehood in 1835, was not admitted to the Union until 1837, due to a boundary dispute with the adjoining state of Ohio. The Republic of Texas requested annexation to the United States in 1837, but fears about potential conflict with Mexico delayed the admission of Texas for nine years. Statehood for Kansas Territory was held up for several years (1854–61) due to a series of internal violent conflicts involving anti-slavery and pro-slavery factions. West Virginia's bid for statehood was also delayed over slavery, and was settled when it agreed to adopt a gradual abolition plan.
Puerto Rico referred to itself as the "Commonwealth of Puerto Rico" in the English version of its constitution, and as "Estado Libre Asociado" (literally, Associated Free State) in the Spanish version.
As with any non-state territory of the United States, its residents do not have voting representation in the federal government. Puerto Rico has limited representation in Congress in the form of a Resident Commissioner, a delegate with limited voting rights in the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, and no voting rights otherwise.
A non-binding referendum on statehood, independence, or a new option for an associated territory (different from the current status) was held on November 6, 2012. Sixty one percent (61%) of voters chose the statehood option, while one third of the ballots were submitted blank.
On December 11, 2012, the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico enacted a concurrent resolution requesting the President and the Congress of the United States to respond to the referendum of the people of Puerto Rico, held on November 6, 2012, to end its current form of territorial status and to begin the process to admit Puerto Rico as a State.
Another status referendum was held on June 11, 2017, in which 97% percent of voters chose statehood. Turnout was low, as only 23% of voters went to the polls, with advocates of both continued territorial status and independence urging voters to boycott it.
On June 27, 2018, the H.R. 6246 Act was introduced on the U.S. House with the purpose of respond to, and comply with, the democratic will of the United States citizens residing in Puerto Rico as expressed in the plebiscites held on November 6, 2012, and June 11, 2017, by setting forth the terms for the admission of the territory of Puerto Rico as a State of the Union. The act has 37 original cosponsors between Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The intention of the Founding Fathers was that the United States capital should be at a neutral site, not giving favor to any existing state; as a result, the District of Columbia was created in 1800 to serve as the seat of government. As it is not a state, the district does not have representation in the Senate and has a non-voting delegate in the House; neither does it have a sovereign elected government. Additionally, prior to ratification of the 23rd Amendment in 1961, district citizens did not get the right to vote in Presidential elections.
Some residents of the District support statehood of some form for that jurisdiction – either statehood for the whole district or for the inhabited part, with the remainder remaining under federal jurisdiction. In November 2016, Washington, D.C. residents voted in a statehood referendum in which 86% of voters supported statehood for Washington, D.C. For statehood to be achieved, it must be approved by Congress and signed by the President.
Other possible new states are Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, both of which are unincorporated organized territories of the United States. Also, either the Northern Mariana Islands or American Samoa, an unorganized, unincorporated territory, could seek statehood.
The Constitution is silent on the issue of whether a state can secede from the Union. Its predecessor, the Articles of Confederation, stated that the United States "shall be perpetual." The question of whether or not individual states held the unilateral right to secession was a passionately debated feature of the nations's political discourse from early in its history, and remained a difficult and divisive topic until the American Civil War. In 1860 and 1861, 11 southern states each declared secession from the United States, and joined together to form the Confederate States of America (CSA). Following the defeat of Confederate forces by Union armies in 1865, those states were brought back into the Union during the ensuing Reconstruction Era. The federal government never recognized the sovereignty of the CSA, or the validity of the ordinances of secession adopted by the seceding states.
Following the war, the United States Supreme Court, in Texas v. White (1869), held that states did not have the right to secede and that any act of secession was legally void. Drawing on the Preamble to the Constitution, which states that the Constitution was intended to "form a more perfect union" and speaks of the people of the United States in effect as a single body politic, as well as the language of the Articles of Confederation, the Supreme Court maintained that states did not have a right to secede. However, the court's reference in the same decision to the possibility of such changes occurring "through revolution, or through consent of the States," essentially means that this decision holds that no state has a right to unilaterally decide to leave the Union.
Four states – Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia – adopted constitutions early in their post-colonial existence identifying themselves as commonwealths, rather than states. These commonwealths are states, but legally, each is a commonwealth because the term is contained in its constitution. As a result, "commonwealth" is used in all public and other state writings, actions or activities within their bounds.
The term, which refers to a state in which the supreme power is vested in the people, was first used in Virginia during the Interregnum, the 1649–60 period between the reigns of Charles I and Charles II during which parliament's Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector established a republican government known as the Commonwealth of England. Virginia became a royal colony again in 1660, and the word was dropped from the full title. When Virginia adopted its first constitution on June 29, 1776, it was reintroduced. Pennsylvania followed suit when it drew up a constitution later that year, as did Massachusetts, in 1780, and Kentucky, in 1792.
The U.S. territories of the Northern Marianas and Puerto Rico are also referred to as commonwealths. This designation does have a legal status different from that of the 50 states. Both of these commonwealths are unincorporated territories of the United States.
The 50 states have taken their names from a wide variety of languages. Twenty-four state names originate from Native American languages. Of these, eight are from Algonquian languages, seven are from Siouan languages, three are from Iroquoian languages, one is from Uto-Aztecan languages and five others are from other indigenous languages. Hawaii's name is derived from the Polynesian Hawaiian language.
Of the remaining names, 22 are from European languages: Seven from Latin (mainly Latinized forms of English names), the rest are from English, Spanish and French. Eleven states are named after individual people, including seven named for royalty and one named after a President of the United States. The origins of six state names are unknown or disputed. Several of the states that derive their names from (corrupted) names used for Native peoples, have retained the plural ending of "s".
The borders of the 13 original states were largely determined by colonial charters. Their western boundaries were subsequently modified as the states ceded their western land claims to the Federal government during the 1780s and 1790s. Many state borders beyond those of the original 13 were set by Congress as it created territories, divided them, and over time, created states within them. Territorial and new state lines often followed various geographic features (such as rivers or mountain range peaks), and were influenced by settlement or transportation patterns. At various times, national borders with territories formerly controlled by other countries (British North America, New France, New Spain including Spanish Florida, and Russian America) became institutionalized as the borders of U.S. states. In the West, relatively arbitrary straight lines following latitude and longitude often prevail, due to the sparseness of settlement west of the Mississippi River.
Once established, most state borders have, with few exceptions, been generally stable. Only two states, Missouri (Platte Purchase) and Nevada, grew appreciably after statehood. Several of the original states ceded land, over a several year period, to the Federal government, which in turn became the Northwest Territory, Southwest Territory, and Mississippi Territory. In 1791 Maryland and Virginia ceded land to create the District of Columbia (Virginia's portion was returned in 1847). In 1850, Texas ceded a large swath of land to the federal government. Additionally, Massachusetts and Virginia (on two occasions), have lost land, in each instance to form a new state.
There have been numerous other minor adjustments to state boundaries over the years due to improved surveys, resolution of ambiguous or disputed boundary definitions, or minor mutually agreed boundary adjustments for administrative convenience or other purposes. Occasionally, either Congress or the U.S. Supreme Court has had to settle state border disputes. One notable example is the case New Jersey v. New York, in which New Jersey won roughly 90% of Ellis Island from New York in 1998.
States may be grouped in regions; there are many variations and possible groupings. Many are defined in law or regulations by the federal government. For example, the United States Census Bureau defines four statistical regions, with nine divisions. The Census Bureau region definition is "widely used … for data collection and analysis," and is the most commonly used classification system. Other multi-state regions are unofficial, and defined by geography or cultural affinity rather than by state lines.
Atlanta () is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. With an estimated 2017 population of 486,290, it is also the 38th most-populous city in the United States. The city serves as the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, home to 5.8 million people and the ninth-largest metropolitan area in the nation. Atlanta is the seat of Fulton County, the most populous county in Georgia. A small portion of the city extends eastward into neighboring DeKalb County.
Atlanta was originally founded as the terminating stop of a major state-sponsored railroad. With rapid expansion, however, it soon became the convergence point between multiple railroads, spurring its rapid growth. The city's name derives from that of the Western and Atlantic Railroad's local depot, signifying the town's growing reputation as a transportation hub. During the American Civil War, the city was almost entirely burned to the ground in General William T. Sherman's famous March to the Sea. However, the city rose from its ashes and quickly became a national center of commerce and the unofficial capital of the "New South". During the 1950s and 1960s, Atlanta became a major organizing center of the civil rights movement, with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph David Abernathy, and many other locals playing major roles in the movement's leadership. During the modern era, Atlanta has attained international prominence as a major air transportation hub, with Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport being the world's busiest airport by passenger traffic since 1998.Atlanta is rated as a "beta(+)" world city that exerts a moderate impact on global commerce, finance, research, technology, education, media, art, and entertainment. It ranks in the top twenty among world cities and 10th in the nation with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $385 billion. Atlanta's economy is considered diverse, with dominant sectors that include transportation, logistics, professional and business services, media operations, medical services, and information technology. Atlanta has topographic features that include rolling hills and dense tree coverage, earning it the nickname of "the city in a forest." Revitalization of Atlanta's neighborhoods, initially spurred by the 1996 Summer Olympics, has intensified in the 21st century, altering the city's demographics, politics, aesthetics, and culture.Atlanta Thrashers
The Atlanta Thrashers were a professional ice hockey team based in Atlanta. Atlanta was granted a franchise in the National Hockey League (NHL) on June 25, 1997, and became the League's 28th franchise when it began play in the 1999–2000 season. They were members of the Southeast Division of the NHL's Eastern Conference, and played their home games at Philips Arena in downtown Atlanta. The Thrashers qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs only once, during the 2006–07 season in which they won the Southeast Division, but were swept in the first round by the New York Rangers.
In May 2011, the Thrashers were sold to Canadian-based ownership group True North Sports & Entertainment. The group moved the franchise to Winnipeg, Manitoba, which became the second incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets. The sale and relocation were approved by the NHL on June 21, 2011. With the sale and relocation of the team, Atlanta became the first city in the NHL's modern era to have two ice hockey teams relocate to different cities. In both cases, the team moved from Atlanta to a Western Canadian city; the city's previous NHL team (the Atlanta Flames) moved to Calgary, Alberta, in 1980 to become the Calgary Flames.Commonwealth (U.S. state)
"Commonwealth" is a designation used by four of the 50 states of the United States in their full official state names: Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. "Commonwealth" is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good. Prior to the formation of the United States of America in 1776, all four were part of Great Britain's possessions along the Atlantic coast of North America. As such, they share a strong influence of English common law in some of their laws and institutions.Crooked Creek (Georgia)
Crooked Creek is a neighborhood is located in Milton, Georgia (formerly Alpharetta). Surrounded by the Alpharetta Athletic Club Golf Course, it has 640 homes on over 500 acres of rolling hills.Ed Defore Sports Complex
The Ed Defore Sports Complex is located in Macon, Georgia, next to Westside High School.
Formerly the "Bibb County Sports Complex", the name was changed in 2008 to honor Macon City Council member Ed Defore, who has served on council since 1971.The complex features a football stadium, soccer field, and 2 baseball diamonds.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.Jermaine Dupri
Jermaine Dupri Mauldin (born September 23, 1972) is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer and record executive. He was born in Asheville, North Carolina and was raised in Atlanta. He has worked with and produced for Kris Kross, Mariah Carey, Usher, Jay-Z, Nelly, Monica, Migos, Da Brat, Xscape, Janet Jackson, TLC, Aretha Franklin, Ludacris, Alicia Keys, and Bow Wow.List of U.S. state abbreviations
Several sets of codes and abbreviations are used to represent the political divisions of the United States for postal addresses, data processing, general abbreviations, and other purposes.List of capitals in the United States
Washington, D.C. has been the federal capital city of the United States since 1802. Each U.S. state has its own capital city, as do many of its insular areas. Historically, most states have not changed their capital city since becoming a state, but the capital cities of their respective preceding colonies, territories, kingdoms, and republics typically changed multiple times. There have also been other governments within the current borders of the United States with their own capitals, such as the Republic of Texas, Native American nations, and other unrecognized governments.List of counties in Georgia
The U.S. State of Georgia is divided into 159 counties, more than any other state except for Texas, which has 254 counties. Under the Georgia State Constitution, all of its counties are granted home rule to deal with problems that are purely local in nature. Also, eight consolidated city-counties have been established in Georgia: Athens–Clarke County, Augusta–Richmond County, Columbus–Muscogee County, Georgetown–Quitman County, Statenville–Echols County, Macon–Bibb County, Cusseta–Chattahoochee County, and Preston-Webster County.Luke Bryan
Thomas Luther "Luke" Bryan (born July 17, 1976) is an American country music singer and songwriter. He began his music career writing songs for Travis Tritt and Billy Currington – before signing with Capitol Nashville with his cousin, Chad Christopher Boyd in 2007.
Bryan's first nine albums – I'll Stay Me (2007), Doin' My Thing (2009), Tailgates & Tanlines (2011), Crash My Party (2013), Spring Break...Here to Party (2014), Spring Break...Checkin' Out (2015), Kill the Lights (2015), Farm Tour... Here's to the Farmer (2016), and What Makes You Country (2017); have included fourteen number-one hits. Bryan often co-writes with Jeff Stevens.
In 2013, Bryan received the Academy of Country Music Awards, the Country Music Association Awards "Entertainer of the Year" award – and has sold over seven million albums and 27 million singles worldwide.Michael Stipe
John Michael Stipe (born January 4, 1960) is an American singer-songwriter and the lead singer of the alternative rock band R.E.M. from their formation in 1980 until their dissolution in 2011.
Possessing a distinctive voice, Stipe has been noted for the "mumbling" style of his early career. He was in charge of R.E.M.'s visual aspect, often selecting album artwork and directing many of the band's music videos. Outside the music industry, he owns and runs two film production studios, C-00 and Single Cell Pictures.
As a member of R.E.M., Stipe was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. As a singer-songwriter, Stipe influenced a wide range of artists, including Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and Thom Yorke of Radiohead. Bono of U2 described his voice as "extraordinary".Migos
Migos is an American hip hop group from Lawrenceville, Georgia, founded in 2008. They are composed of three rappers known by their stage names Takeoff, Offset and Quavo. They are managed by Coach K, the former manager of Atlanta-based rappers Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy, and frequently collaborate with producers such as Zaytoven, DJ Durel, Murda Beatz, and Metro Boomin.Migos released their commercial debut single "Versace" in 2013, taken from their mixtape Y.R.N. (Young Rich Niggas). They have gone on to release several more singles, including "Fight Night" (2014), "Look at My Dab" (2015), and their four Billboard Hot 100 top 10 entries "Bad and Boujee" (featuring Lil Uzi Vert) (2016), peaking at number one, "MotorSport" (with Nicki Minaj and Cardi B) (2017), peaking at six, "Stir Fry" (2017), peaking at eight, and "Walk It Talk It" (featuring Drake) (2018), peaking at ten.
Migos released their debut album Yung Rich Nation in July 2015, through Quality Control Music and 300 Entertainment. Their second album, Culture, was released in January 2017 also through both record labels, and debuted atop the US Billboard 200 chart. The group later signed a deal with Motown and Capitol Records in February 2017, and followed up the latter album with Culture II in January 2018, giving the group their second number one album in the United States.Public holidays in the United States
The schedule of public holidays in the United States is largely influenced by the schedule of federal holidays but is controlled by private sector employers who employ 62% of the total US population with paid time off. A typical work week has historically been 40 hours a week with a Saturday–Sunday weekend, although many professionals are currently expected to work 50 hours a week for fixed salary.
Public holidays with paid time off is generally defined to occur on a day that is within the employee's work week. When a holiday occurs on Saturday or Sunday, that holiday is shifted to either Friday or Monday. Most employers follow a holiday schedule similar to the federal holidays of the United States, with exceptions or additions. The federal holiday schedule mainly benefits employees of government and government regulated businesses. However, this sector only comprises 15% of the working population.
At the discretion of the employer, other non-federal holidays such as Christmas Eve and the Day after Thanksgiving are common additions to the list of paid holidays while Columbus Day and Veterans Day are common omissions. Besides paid holidays are festival and food holidays that also have wide acceptance based on sales of goods and services that are typically associated with that holiday. Halloween and Valentine's Day are such examples of widely celebrated uncompensated holidays.Savannah, Georgia
Savannah () is the oldest city in the U.S. state of Georgia and is the county seat of Chatham County. Established in 1733 on the Savannah River, the city of Savannah became the British colonial capital of the Province of Georgia and later the first state capital of Georgia. A strategic port city in the American Revolution and during the American Civil War, Savannah is today an industrial center and an important Atlantic seaport. It is Georgia's fifth-largest city, with a 2017 estimated population of 146,444. The Savannah metropolitan area, Georgia's third-largest, had an estimated population of 389,494 in 2018.Each year Savannah attracts millions of visitors to its cobblestone streets, parks, and notable historic buildings: the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low (founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA), the Georgia Historical Society (the oldest continually operating historical society in the South), the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences (one of the South's first public museums), the First African Baptist Church (one of the oldest African-American Baptist congregations in the United States), Temple Mickve Israel (the third-oldest synagogue in America), and the Central of Georgia Railway roundhouse complex (the oldest standing antebellum rail facility in America).Savannah's downtown area, which includes the Savannah Historic District, the Savannah Victorian Historic District, and 22 parklike squares, is one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the United States (designated by the U.S. government in 1966). Downtown Savannah largely retains the original town plan prescribed by founder James Oglethorpe (a design now known as the Oglethorpe Plan). Savannah was the host city for the sailing competitions during the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta.The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) is the only major daily newspaper in the metropolitan area of Atlanta, Georgia, United States. It is the flagship publication of Cox Enterprises. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is the result of the merger between The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution. The two staffs were combined in 1982. Separate publication of the morning Constitution and afternoon Journal ended in 2001 in favor of a single morning paper under the Journal-Constitution name.The AJC has its headquarters in the Atlanta suburb of Dunwoody, Georgia. It is co-owned with television flagship WSB-TV and six radio stations, which are located separately in midtown Atlanta. Past issues of the newspaper are archived in the United States Library of Congress.Thomas Rhett
Thomas Rhett Akins Jr. (born March 30, 1990) is an American country music singer and songwriter. His father is the singer Rhett Akins. Rhett has released three studio albums for Big Machine Records' Valory Music imprint: It Goes Like This (2013), Tangled Up (2015), and Life Changes (2017). These albums have produced seventeen singles on the Hot Country and Country Airplay charts, with twelve reaching the No. 1 position on the latter: "It Goes Like This", "Get Me Some of That", "Make Me Wanna", "Crash and Burn", "Die a Happy Man", "T-Shirt", "Star of the Show", "Craving You", "Unforgettable", "Marry Me", "Life Changes", and "Sixteen". In addition to much of his own material, Rhett has written singles for Jason Aldean, Lee Brice, Florida Georgia Line, LoCash and Michael Ray among others.United States Department of State
The United States Department of State (DOS), commonly referred to as the State Department, is the federal executive department that advises the President and conducts international relations. Equivalent to the foreign ministry of other countries, it was established in 1789 as the nation's first executive department.The State Department's duties include implementing the foreign policy of the United States, operating the nation's diplomatic missions abroad, negotiating treaties and agreements with foreign entities, and representing the United States at the United Nations. It is led by the Secretary of State, a member of the Cabinet who is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The Secretary of State also serves as the nation's chief diplomat and representative abroad, and is the first Cabinet official in the order of precedence and in the presidential line of succession.
The State Department is headquartered in the Harry S Truman Building, a few blocks away from the White House, in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C.; "Foggy Bottom" is thus sometimes used as a metonym. The current Secretary of State is Mike Pompeo, who ascended to the office in April 2018 after Rex Tillerson resigned.Washington (state)
Washington ( (listen)), officially the State of Washington, is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Named for George Washington, the first president of the United States, the state was made out of the western part of the Washington Territory, which was ceded by Britain in 1846 in accordance with the Oregon Treaty in the settlement of the Oregon boundary dispute. It was admitted to the Union as the 42nd state in 1889. Olympia is the state capital; the state's largest city is Seattle. Washington is sometimes referred to as Washington State to distinguish it from Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States.
Washington is the 18th largest state, with an area of 71,362 square miles (184,827 km2), and the 13th most populous state, with more than 7.4 million people. Approximately 60 percent of Washington's residents live in the Seattle metropolitan area, the center of transportation, business, and industry along Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean consisting of numerous islands, deep fjords, and bays carved out by glaciers. The remainder of the state consists of: deep temperate rainforests in the west; mountain ranges in the west, central, northeast, and far southeast; and a semi-arid basin region in the east, central, and south, given over to intensive agriculture. Washington is the second most populous state on the West Coast and in the Western United States, after California. Mount Rainier, an active stratovolcano, is the state's highest elevation, at almost 14,411 feet (4,392 meters), and is the 2nd topographically prominent mountain in the continental United States, the first being Denali in Alaska. It is also the 2nd highest peak in the contiguous United States, the first being Mt. Whitney in California.
Washington is a leading lumber producer. Its rugged surface is rich in stands of Douglas fir, hemlock, ponderosa pine, white pine, spruce, larch, and cedar. The state is the biggest producer of apples, hops, pears, red raspberries, spearmint oil, and sweet cherries, and ranks high in the production of apricots, asparagus, dry edible peas, grapes, lentils, peppermint oil, and potatoes. Livestock and livestock products make important contributions to total farm revenue, and the commercial fishing of salmon, halibut, and bottomfish makes a significant contribution to the state's economy. Washington ranks second only to California in the production of wine.
Manufacturing industries in Washington include aircraft and missiles, ship-building, and other transportation equipment, lumber, food processing, metals and metal products, chemicals, and machinery. Washington has over 1,000 dams, including the Grand Coulee Dam, built for a variety of purposes, including irrigation, power, flood control, and water storage.
Washington is one of the wealthiest and most socially progressive states in the country. The state consistently ranks among the best for life expectancy and low unemployment. Along with Colorado, Washington was one of the first to legalize medicinal and recreational cannabis, was among the first thirty-six states to legalize same-sex marriage, doing so in 2012, and was one of only four U.S. states to have been providing legal abortions on request before the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade loosened federal abortion laws. Similarly, Washington voters approved a 2008 referendum on legalization of physician-assisted suicide, and is currently only one of five states, along with Oregon, California, Colorado and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia to have legalized the practice. The state is also one of eight in the country to have criminalized the sale, possession and transfer of bump stocks, with California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Maryland, and Massachusetts also having banned these devices.
United States articles
Articles on first-level administrative divisions of North American countries