||This article may contain original research. (November 2012)|
The "51st state", in American political discourse, is a phrase that refers to areas or locales that are either seriously or facetiously considered candidates for addition to the 50 U.S. states that already make up the United States of America.
In 2012, the possibility of Puerto Rico becoming the 51st state was discussed as a result of a nonbinding November 6, 2012, referendum where 54% of respondents voted to reject the current status under the territorial clause of the U.S. Constitution, while in a second question 61% favored statehood as the preferred alternative.
The phrase "51st state" can be used in a positive sense, meaning a region or territory is so aligned, supportive, and conducive with the United States that it is like the "51st state". It can also be used in a negative sense, meaning an area or region is perceived to be under excessive American influence or control. In various countries around the world, people who believe their local or national culture has become too Americanized sometimes use the term "51st state" in reference to their respective countries.
Legal requirements 
Under Article IV, Section Three of the United States Constitution, which outlines the relationship among the states, Congress has the power to admit new states to the union. The states are 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 legal contracts, marriages, and criminal judgments. The states are guaranteed military and civil defense by the federal government, which is also obliged by Article IV, Section Four, to "guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government."
Possible new states 
By changes of status of U.S. land 
Puerto Rico 
Puerto Rico has been discussed as a potential 51st state of the United States. In a 2012 status referendum a majority of voters, 54%, expressed dissatisfaction with the current political relationship. In a separate question, 61% of voters supported statehood. On December 11, 2012, Puerto Rico's legislature resolved to request to the President and the U.S. Congress action on the results, to end the current form of territorial status and to begin the process of admitting Puerto Rico to the Union as a State.
Since 1898, Puerto Rico has had limited representation in the Congress in the form of a Resident Commissioner, a nonvoting delegate. The 110th Congress returned the Commissioner's power to vote in the Committee of the Whole, but not on matters where the vote would represent a decisive participation. Puerto Rico has elections on the United States presidential primary or caucus of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party to select delegates to the respective parties' national conventions although presidential electors are not granted on the Electoral College. As American citizens, Puerto Ricans can vote in U.S. presidential elections, provided they reside in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia and not in Puerto Rico itself.
Residents of Puerto Rico pay U.S. federal taxes: import/export taxes, federal commodity taxes, social security taxes, etc. Most Puerto Rico residents do not pay federal income tax but do pay federal payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare). However, federal employees, those who do business with the federal government, Puerto Rico–based corporations that intend to send funds to the U.S. and others do pay federal income taxes. Puerto Ricans may enlist in the U.S. military. Puerto Ricans have participated in all American wars since 1898; 52 Puerto Ricans have been killed in the Iraq War and War in Afghanistan as of November 2012.
Puerto Rico has been under U.S. sovereignty for over a century, and Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens since 1917. The island’s ultimate status has not been determined as of 2012[update], its residents do not have voting representation in their federal government. Puerto Rico has limited representation in the U.S. Congress in the form of a Resident Commissioner, a delegate with limited no voting rights. Like the states, Puerto Rico has self-rule, a republican form of government organized pursuant to a constitution adopted by its people, and a bill of rights.
This constitution was created when the U.S. Congress directed local government to organize a constitutional convention to write the Puerto Rico Constitution in 1951. The acceptance of that constitution by Puerto Rico's electorate, the U.S. Congress, and the U.S. president occurred in 1952. In addition, the rights, privileges and immunities attendant to United States citizens are "respected in Puerto Rico to the same extent as though Puerto Rico were a state of the union" through the express extension of the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the U.S. Constitution by the U.S. Congress in 1948.
Puerto Rico officially designates itself on its constitution with the term "Commonwealth of Puerto Rico". Regardless, the island is still considered to be under the jurisdiction of the Territorial Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which has led to doubts about the finality of the Commonwealth status for Puerto Rico. In addition, all people born in Puerto Rico become citizens of the U.S. at birth (per provisions of the Jones Act in 1917), but citizens residing in Puerto Rico cannot vote for president or for full members of either House of Congress. Statehood would grant island residents full voting rights at the Federal level. The Puerto Rico Democracy Act (H.R. 2499) was approved on April 29, 2010, by the United States House of Representatives 223–169, but was not approved by the Senate before the end of the 111th Congress. It would have provided for a federally sanctioned self-determination process for the people of Puerto Rico. This act would provide for plebiscites to be held in Puerto Rico to determine the island's ultimate political status. It had also previously been introduced in 2007.
Vote for statehood 
In November 2012, a referendum resulted in fifty-four percent of respondents voting to reject the current status under the territorial clause of the U.S. Constitution, while a second question resulted in sixty-one percent of voters identifying statehood as the preferred alternative to the current territorial status. The 2012 referendum was by far the most successful referendum for statehood advocates and support for statehood has risen in each successive popular referendum. However, more than one in four voters abstained from answering the question on the preferred alternative status. Statehood opponents have argued that the statehood option garnered only 45% of the votes if abstentions are included. If abstentions are considered, the result of the referendum is much closer to 44% for statehood, a number that falls under the 50% majority mark.
The Washington Post, The New York Times and the Boston Herald have published opinion pieces expressing support for the Statehood of Puerto Rico. On November 8, 2012, Washington, D.C. newspaper The Hill published an article saying that Congress will likely ignore the results of the referendum due to the circumstances behind the votes, and U.S. Congressman Luis Gutiérrez and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, both of Puerto Rican ancestry, agreed with the The Hill 's statements. Shortly after the results were published Puerto Rico-born U.S. Congressman José Enrique Serrano commented "I was particularly impressed with the outcome of the 'status' referendum in Puerto Rico. A majority of those voting signaled the desire to change the current territorial status. In a second question an even larger majority asked to become a state. This is an earthquake in Puerto Rican politics. It will demand the attention of Congress, and a definitive answer to the Puerto Rican request for change. This is a history-making moment where voters asked to move forward."
Several days after the referendum, the Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, Governor Luis Fortuño, and Governor-elect Alejandro García Padilla wrote separate letters to the President of the United States Barack Obama addressing the results of the voting. Pierluisi urged Obama to begin legislation in favor of the statehood of Puerto Rico, in light of its win in the referendum. Fortuño urged him to move the process forward. García Padilla asked him to reject the results because of their ambiguity. The White House stance related to the November 2012 plebiscite said that the results were clear, the people of Puerto Rico want the issue of status resolved, and a majority chose statehood in the second question,". "Now it is time for Congress to act and the administration will work with them on that effort, so that the people of Puerto Rico can determine their own future."
Washington, D.C. 
Washington, D.C. often is mentioned as a candidate for statehood. In Federalist No. 43 of the Federalist Papers, James Madison considered the implications of the definition of the "seat of government" found in the United States Constitution. Although he noted potential conflicts of interest, and the need for a "municipal legislature for local purposes," Madison did not address the district's role in national voting. Legal scholars disagree on whether a simple act of Congress can admit the District as a state, due to its status as the seat of government of the United States, which Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution requires to be under the exclusive jurisdiction of Congress; depending on the interpretation of this text, admission of the full District as a state may require a Constitutional amendment, which is much more difficult to enact. However, the Constitution does not set a minimum size for the District. Its size has already changed once before, when Virginia reclaimed the portion of the District south of the Potomac. So the constitutional requirement for a federal district can be satisfied by reducing its size to the small central core of government buildings and monuments, giving the rest of the territory to the new state.
Washington, D.C. residents who support the statehood movement sometimes use the Revolutionary War protest motto "Taxation without representation" denoting their lack of Congressional representation; the phrase is now printed on newly issued Washington, D.C. license plates (although a driver may choose to have the Washington, D.C. website address instead). President Bill Clinton's presidential limousine had the "Taxation without representation" license plate late in his term, while President George W. Bush had the vehicle's plates changed shortly after beginning his term in office. President Barack Obama had the license plates changed back to the protest style at the beginning of his second term.
This position was carried by the D.C. Statehood Party, a minor party; it has since merged with the local Green Party affiliate to form the D.C. Statehood Green Party. The nearest this movement ever came to success was in 1978, when Congress passed the District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment. Two years later in 1980, local citizens passed an initiative calling for a constitutional convention for a new state. In 1982, voters ratified the constitution of the state, which was to be called New Columbia. The drive for statehood stalled in 1985, however, when the Washington, D.C. Voting Rights Amendment failed because not enough states ratified the amendment within the seven-year span specified.
Another proposed option would be to have Maryland, from which the current land was ceded, retake the District of Columbia, as Virginia has already done for its part, while leaving the National Mall, the United States Capitol, and the White House in a truncated District of Columbia. This would give residents of the city of Washington the benefit of statehood while precluding the creation of a 51st state.
By merger of current or former U.S. territories 
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Other less likely contenders are Guam and the United States Virgin Islands, both of which are unincorporated organized territories of the United States. Also, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa, an unorganized, unincorporated territory, could both attempt to gain statehood. Some proposals call for the Virgin Islands to be admitted with Puerto Rico as one state (often known as the proposed "Commonwealth of Prusvi", for Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands, or as "Puerto Virgo"), and for the amalgamation of U.S. territories or former territories in the Pacific Ocean, in the manner of the "Greater Hawaii" concept of the 1960s. Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands would be admitted as one state, along with Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands (although these latter three entities are now separate sovereign nations, which have Compact of Free Association relationships with the United States). Such a state would have a population of 412,381 (slightly lower than Wyoming's population) and a land area of 911.82 square miles (2,361.6 km2) (slightly smaller than Rhode Island). American Samoa could possibly be part of such a state, increasing the population to 467,900 and the area to 988.65 square miles (2,560.6 km2). Radio Australia, in late May 2008, issued signs of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands becoming one again and becoming the 51st state.
|Location||Population||Area (sq. mi.)||Comments|
|Puerto Rico||3,725,789||3,514||2010 U.S. Census results|
|United States Virgin Islands||109,750||133.73||2010 U.S. Census results|
|Total||3,835,539||3,647.73||Puerto Rico & U.S. Virgin Islands|
|Location||Population||Area (sq. mi.)||Comments|
|Northern Mariana Islands||53,883||184.17||2010 U.S. Census results|
|Guam||159,358||209.85||2010 U.S. Census results|
|Total Mariana Islands||213,241||394.02|
|American Samoa||55,519||76.83||2010 U.S. Census results|
|Total American Pacific||268,760||988.65|
|Marshall Islands||67,182||70||2011 estimate|
|Federated States of Micronesia||111,000||271||2009 estimate|
|Total Former Trust Territories||199,140||518|
The Philippines has a small grassroots movement for U.S. statehood. Originally part of the platform of the Progressive Party, then known as the Federalista Party, the party dropped it in 1907, which coincided with the name change. As recently as 2004, the concept of the Philippines becoming a U.S. state has been part of a political platform in the Philippines.[not in citation given] Supporters of this movement include Filipinos who believe that the quality of life in the Philippines would be higher and that there will be less poverty there if the Philippines were an American state; or at the least, an American territory. Supporters also include Filipinos that had fought as members of the United States Armed Forces in various wars during the Commonwealth period.
The Philippine statehood movement initially had a significant impact during the early American colonial period; It is no longer a mainstream movement, but is a small social movement that gains interest and talk in that nation.
From other states 
There exist several proposals, mainly from minority populations within large states, to divide states into two smaller, more homogeneous entities. The new creations would become a re-formed and possibly renamed 50th and new 51st state.
The Texas Constitution and the Texas Annexation Act both provide for the possibility of Texas voting to divide into up to four further sovereign States of the Union. Current Texas politics and self-image make any tampering with Texas's status as the largest state by land area in the contiguous United States unlikely.
Proposals of new states by partition include:
- Arizona: The secession of Pima County in Arizona with the hopes of Cochise, Yuma, and Santa Cruz joining to form a state.
- California: Various proposals of partition and secession in California, usually involving splitting the south half from the north or the urban coastline from the rest of the state.
- California & Oregon: Jefferson, from Northern California and Southern Oregon
- Delaware, Maryland & Virginia: Delmarva, from the eastern shores of Maryland and Virginia combining with the State of Delaware
- Florida: The secession of South Florida and the Greater Miami area to form the independent state of "South Florida." South Florida has a population of over 7 million, comprising 41% of Florida's population.
- Illinois: The secession of Cook County, which contains Chicago, from Illinois to form an independent state. Chicago sits in the northeast corner of the state, with the remainder of the Illinois sometimes referred to as Downstate Illinois. Such proposals have invariably come from the more Republican downstate Illinois, as a way to end the overwhelmingly Democratic Chicago area's dominance in statewide politics.
- Michigan: Superior, from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
- New York: Various proposals partitioning New York into separate states, all of which involve to some degree the separation of New York City from the rest of New York state
- Washington: Dividing the state into Western Washington and Eastern Washington via the Cascade Mountains. Suggested names include East Washington, Lincoln, and Cascadia.
The National Movement for the Establishment of a 49th State, founded by Oscar Brown, Sr. and Bradley Cyrus and active in Chicago in 1934–37, had the aim of forming an African American state in the South.
For any state to split it would need to receive Congressional approval. Historically, four states have lost territory to new states:
- New York in 1791 (when Vermont was recognized as a state in its own right; the Province of New York had granted Vermont self-governing status in 1777, but it was not recognized as a separate state by the federal government until two years after New York ratified the Constitution)
- Massachusetts in 1820 (when Maine split off as part of the Missouri Compromise)
- Texas in 1850, when it ceded territory now in New Mexico that had been disputed by Mexico (the boundary had been settled on February 2, 1848 by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo as a result of the Mexican–American War) for debt relief as part of the Compromise of 1850, Congressional compromises related to slavery.
- Virginia, uniquely, has had two states split off from it on two separate occasions:
Use internationally 
Some countries, because of their cultural similarities and close alliances with the United States, are often described as a 51st state. In other countries around the world, movements with various degrees of support and seriousness have proposed U.S. statehood.
In Canada, "the 51st state" is an emotional trigger phrase generally used in such a way as to imply that if a certain political course is taken, Canada's destiny will be to become "the 51st state". Given the country's political structure and parallel evolution to its southern neighbor, such a union with the United States would likely not result in Canada being one giant, unified state within the union; rather, the ten provinces of Canada would more likely become multiple individual states.
The implication has historical basis and dates to the breakup of British America during the American Revolution. The colonies that had confederated to form the United States invaded Canada (at the time a term referring specifically to the modern-day provinces of Quebec and Ontario, which had only been in British hands since 1763) at least twice, neither time succeeding in taking control of the territory. The first invasion was during both the Revolution, under the assumption that French-speaking Canadians' presumed hostility towards British colonial rule combined with the Franco-American alliance would make them natural allies to the American cause; the United States would try again (more aggressively than before) in the War of 1812, an effort that was thwarted by the large number of United Empire Loyalists who had fled the United States and settled in Canada after the Revolution. The Hunter Patriots in the 1830s and the Fenian raids after the American Civil War were private attacks on Canada from the U.S. Several U.S. politicians in the 19th century also spoke in favour of annexing Canada. The idea even made its way into the Articles of Confederation, which included a provision for Canada to join the United States, should they ever decide to do so, without needing to seek U.S. permission as other states would. The other British colonies in North America never made any clear indication in either direction as to which side they were on and by default stayed in British hands; three, the maritime colonies, eventually confederated with Canada in the 1860s, and the fourth, the Dominion of Newfoundland, stayed as an independent dominion for several more decades. The provinces of Western Canada were, like the western expansion of the United States, later creations after both countries had more or less taken their modern forms.
In 1948, during the last days of the Dominion of Newfoundland (at the time a dominion-dependency in the Commonwealth and independent of Canada), there was mainstream support, although not majority, for Newfoundland to join the United States, thanks to the efforts of the Economic Union Party and significant U.S. investment in Newfoundland stemming from the U.S.-British alliance in World War II.
In modern times, becoming "the 51st state" is usually raised either as a potential consequence of adopting policies that propose greater integration or cooperation with the United States (such as the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement in 1988, or the current debate over the creation of a common defense perimeter), or as a potential consequence of not adopting proposals intended to resolve the issue of Quebec sovereignty (such as the Charlottetown Accord in 1992, or the Clarity Act in 1999).
The phrase is usually used in local political debates, in polemic writing or in private conversations. It is rarely used by politicians themselves in a public context, although at certain times in Canadian history political parties have used other similarly loaded imagery. In the 1988 federal election, the Liberals asserted that the proposed Free Trade Agreement amounted to an American takeover of Canada—notably, the party ran an ad in which Tory strategists, upon the adoption of the agreement, slowly erased the Canada-U.S. border from a desktop map of North America. Within days, however, the Tories responded with an ad which featured the border being drawn back on, as an announcer intoned "Here's where we draw the line."
A few groups in Canada have actively campaigned in favor of joining the United States. These annexationist movements have not attracted large mainstream attention, although surveys have found that a small minority of Canadians expressed support for the concept in surveys done by Léger Marketing in 2001  and in 2004.
In the United States, the term "the 51st state" when applied to Canada can serve to highlight the similarities and close relationship between the United States and Canada. Sometimes the term is used disparagingly, intended to deride Canada, or make it appear as an unimportant neighbor. In the Quebec general election, 1989, the political party Parti 51 ran 11 candidates on a platform of Quebec seceding from Canada to join the United States (with its leader, André Perron, claiming Quebec could not survive as an independent nation). The party attracted just 3,846 votes across the entire province, 0.11% of the total votes cast.
During World War II, when Denmark was occupied by Nazi Germany, the United States briefly controlled Greenland for battlefields and protection. In 1946, the United States offered to buy Greenland from Denmark for $100,000,000 but Denmark did not agree to sell.
Central America 
Due to geographical proximity of the Central American countries to the U.S. which has powerful military, economic, and political influences in the Americas, there were several movements and proposals by the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries to annex some or all of the 6 or 7 Central American republics (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras with the formerly British-ruled Bay Islands, Nicaragua, Panama which had the U.S.-ruled Canal Zone territory from 1903 to 1979, and formerly British Honduras or Belize since 1981). However, the U.S. never acted on these proposals from some U.S. politicians; some of which were never delivered or considered seriously. El Salvador has, however, recently adopted the U.S. dollar as its currency, while Panama has used it for decades due to its ties to the Canal Zone.
Cuba, like many Spanish territories, wanted to break free from Spain. A pro-independence movement in Cuba was supported by the U.S., and Cuban guerrilla leaders wanted annexation to the United States, but Cuban revolutionary leader José Martí called for Cuban nationhood. When the U.S. battleship Maine sank in Havana Harbor, the U.S. blamed Spain and the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898. After the U.S. won, Spain relinquished claim of sovereignty over territories, including Cuba. The U.S. administered Cuba as a protectorate until 1902. Several decades later in 1959, the corrupt Cuban government was overthrown by Fidel Castro. Castro installed a Soviet Russian-friendly Marxist–Leninist government which has been in power ever since (despite Soviet disbandment in 1991).
In 1898, one or more news outlets in the Caribbean noted growing sentiments of resentment of British rule in Dominica, including the system of administration over the country. These publications attempted to gauge sentiments of annexation to the United States as a way to change this system of administration.
Dominican Republic 
There is an organization dedicated to the integration of Guyana with the United States. Their claim is based on the idea that Guyana has strong connections with the United States in terms of people (100,000 people have joint Guyanese-American citizenship and 350,000 Guyanese live in the U.S., nearly half as many as remain in Guyana). It is the only South American country with English as its official language. Guyana, however, appears to have partly committed itself to the South American integration organization, becoming a founding member of the Union of South American Nations in 2008.
Time Magazine columnist Mark Thompson suggested that Haiti had effectively become the 51st state after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, with the widespread destruction prompting a quick and extensive response from the United States, even so far as the stationing of the U.S. military in Haitian air and sea ports to facilitate foreign aid.
Asia and Pacific 
In Australia, the term '51st State' is used as a disparagement of a perceived invasion of American cultural or political influence.
Several publications suggested that the Iraq War was a neocolonialist war to make the Republic of Iraq into the 51st U.S. state, though such statements are usually made in a facetious manner, as a tongue-in-cheek statement.
Several websites assert that Israel is the 51st state due to the annual funding and defense support it receives from the United States. An example of this concept can be found in 2003 when Martine Rothblatt published a book called Two Stars for Peace that argued for the addition of Israel and the Palestinian Territories as the 51st and 52nd states in the Union. The American State of Canaan, is a book published by Prof. Alfred de Grazia, political science and sociologist, in March 2009, proposing the creation of a 51st from both Israel and Palestine.
Despite the United Nations guarantee of the protection and preservation of Japanese sovereignty, some American congressmen insisted they should annex a war-defeated Japan. The U.S. armed forces rejected such a plan during the Japanese Instrument of Surrender on the USS Missouri.
However, in Article 3 of the Treaty of San Francisco between the Allied Powers and Japan, which came into force in April 1952, the U.S. put the outlying islands of the Ryukyus, including the island of Okinawa—home to over 1,000,000 Okinawans related to the Japanese—and the Bonin Islands, the Volcano Islands, and Iwo Jima into U.S. trusteeship. All these trusteeships were slowly returned to Japanese rule. Okinawa was returned on May 15, 1972, but the U.S. stations troops in the island's bases as a defense for Japan.
New Zealand 
The 51st State Party is a political party in New Zealand. It advocates New Zealand becoming the 51st state of the United States of America. The party's secretary is Paulus Telfer, a former Christchurch mayoral candidate. On February 5, 2010, the party applied to register a logo with the Electoral Commission. The logo – a US flag with 51 stars – was rejected by the Electoral Commission on the grounds that it was likely to cause confusion or mislead electors.
A poll in 2003 among Taiwanese residents aged between 13 and 22 found that, when given the options of either becoming a province of People's Republic of China or a state within the U.S., 55% of the respondents preferred statehood while only 36% chose joining China. A group called Taiwan Civil Government, established in Taipei in 2008, claims that the island of Taiwan and other minor islands are the territory of the United States.
Albania has occasionally been called the 51st state for its perceived strongly pro-American positions, mainly because of the United States' policies towards it. In reference to President George W. Bush's 2007 European tour, Edi Rama, Tirana's mayor and leader of the opposition Socialists, said: "Albania is for sure the most pro-American country in Europe, maybe even in the world ... Nowhere else can you find such respect and hospitality for the President of the United States. Even in Michigan, he wouldn't be as welcome." At the time of ex-Secretary of State James Baker's visit in 1991, there was even a move to hold a referendum declaring the country as the 51st American state.
Poland is staunchly pro-American, dating back to General Tadeusz Kościuszko's and Kazimierz Pułaski leading American revolutionaries, and reinforced following favorable American intervention in World War I (leading to the creation of an independent Poland) and the Cold War (culminating in a Polish state independent of Soviet influence), and contributing a large force in the "Coalition of the Willing" in Iraq. A quote referring to Poland as "the 51st state" has been attributed to James Pavitt, then CIA Deputy Director for Operations, especially in connection to extraordinary rendition. This prompted Bogdan Klich, then Poland's defence minister to respond angrily that the remark was "unacceptable".
Sicily (Italy) 
The Party of Reconstruction in Sicily, which claimed 40,000 members in 1944, campaigned for Sicily to be admitted as a U.S. state. This party was one of several Sicilian separatist movements active after the downfall of Italian Fascism. Sicilians felt neglected or underrepresented by the Italian government, especially after the annexation of 1861 when Sicily was part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies based in Naples. The large population of Sicilians in America and the American-led Allied invasion of Sicily in July–August 1943 may have contributed to the sentiment.
United Kingdom 
The United Kingdom has sometimes been called the 51st state due to the so-called "special" relationship between the two countries, particularly since the close cooperation between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill during World War II, and more recently continued during the premierships of Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair. "Just Another Star" (1988) is a serious attempt to analyse Anglo-American relations.
On December 29, 2011, David Aaronovitch said in jest to The Times that the UK should consider joining the United States, as the British population cannot accept union with Europe and the UK would inevitably decline on its own. He argued that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should be four separate states of the USA with Northern Ireland joing the Republic of Ireland and becoming an all Ireland state.
From terra nullius 
There are currently four categories of terra nullius, land that is currently unclaimed by any state: the small unclaimed territory of Bir Tawil between Egypt and Sudan, Antarctica, the oceans, and celestial bodies such as the Moon or Mars. In the last three of these, international treaties (the Antarctic Treaty, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the Outer Space Treaty respectively) currently prevent colonization and potential statehood of any of these thus far uninhabited territories. Nevertheless, there have been hypothetical proposals for such a development, should future technological advances and political changes allow for it.
The Moon 
In 2012, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich stated that "when we have 13,000 Americans living on the Moon, they can petition to become a state," as a way of supporting American colonization of Earth's satellite.
In popular culture 
Related terms have been used in books and film usually used in a negative sense:
- In Americathon (1979), set in a fictional 1998, Britain (renamed as Limeyland) has become the 57th state, and the logo of the Safeway grocery chain hangs on the Palace of Westminster.
- In the alternative universe of Alan Moore's graphic novel Watchmen, the Vietnam War ends with the conquest of the North and annexation of a united Vietnam as the 51st state.
- In the novel 51st State (1998) by Peter Preston, Britain leaves the European Union and becomes the 51st state of the United States.
- In The Light of Other Days (2000), a novel by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter, Britain joins the United States, with the Prime Minister serving as governor and the Royal Family exiled to Australia.
- The British film The 51st State (released in the United States and Canada as Formula 51), makes fun of Anglo-American relations.
The term has also been used in music. The 1986 album The Ghost of Cain by the English rock band New Model Army features a track called "51st State", which refers to Britain under Margaret Thatcher for her perceived pro-Americanism. The song "Heartland" on the 1986 album Infected, by the British band The The, ends with the refrain "This is the 51st state of the U.S.A."
See also 
- List of U.S. states by date of statehood
- List of U.S. state secession proposals
- List of proposed states of the United States
- New York City: the 51st State
- Manifest Destiny
- North American Union
- Proposals for new Australian states
- Proposals for new Canadian provinces and territories
- South California
- CONDICIÓN POLÍTICA TERRITORIAL ACTUAL (English:Actual Territorial Political Condition). Government of Puerto Rico. State Electoral Commission. Nov 16 2012 9:59PM. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- OPCIONES NO TERRITORIALES. (English: Non-Territorial Options). Government of Puerto Rico. State Electoral Commission. Nov 16 2012 9:59PM. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- "Sverige var USAs 51a delstat" "EU kritiserar svensk TV", Journalisten (Swedish)
- "CEE Event". Comisión Estatal de Elecciones Puerto Rico. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- The Senate and the House of Representative of Puerto Rico: Concurrent Resolution. Retrieved 2012-12-16.
- Rules of the House of Representatives : One Hundred tenth Congress (archived from (the original[dead link] on May 28, 2010).
- ICasualties, accessed Nov. 2012.
- 48 U.S.C. § 737, Privileges and immunities.
- Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico – in Spanish (Spanish).
- Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico – in English (English translation).
- The term Commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good. Historically, it has sometimes been synonymous with "republic". The Constitution of Puerto Rico which became effective in 1952 adopted the name of Estado Libre Asociado (literally translated as "Free Associated State"), officially translated into English as Commonwealth, for its body politic.
- Dwyer Arce (April 30, 2009). "US House approves Puerto Rico status referendum bill". JURIST – Paper Chase.
- Garrett, R. Sam; Keith, Bea (Jun 7, 2011). "Political Status of Puerto Rico: Options for Congress [Report RL32933]". Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service.
- "An Introduction to Puerto Rico's Status Debate". Let Puerto Rico Decide. Retrieved 2012-03-29.
- Puerto Ricans favor statehood for first time
- "Did Puerto Rico Really Vote for Statehood?". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
- García Padilla, Alejandro (November 9, 2012). "Alejandro García Padilla letter to Barack Obama".
- A good deal for the District and Puerto Rico
- Will Puerto Rico Be America’s 51st State?
- Puerto Rican statehood By Boston Herald Editorial Staff
- Kasperowicz, Pete (November 8, 2012). "Congress expected to ignore Puerto Rico's vote for statehood". The Hill.
- "El Congreso no hará caso a los resultados del plebiscito". El Nuevo Día. November 9, 2012.
- Serrano: Plebiscite an “Earthquake” in Puerto Rican Politics Retrieved 2012-12-06.
- Pierluisi, Pedro (November 13, 2012). "Pedro Pierluisi letter to Barack Obama".
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