Detailed discussions which led to the current consensus can be found in the archives of Talk:United States. Several topical talk archives are identified in the infobox to the right. A complete list of talk archives can be found at the top of the Talk:United States page.
Why is the article's name "United States" and not "United States of America"?
This has been discussed many times. Please review the summary points below and the discussion archived at the Talk:United States/Name page. The most recent major discussion showed a lack of consensus to either change the name or leave it as the same, so the name was kept as "United States".
If, after reading the following summary points and all the discussion, you wish to ask a question or contribute your opinion to the discussion, then please do so at Talk:United States. The only way that we can be sure of ongoing consensus is if people contribute.
Reasons and counterpoints for the article title of "United States":
"United States" is in compliance with the Wikipedia "Naming conventions (common names)" guideline portion of the Wikipedia naming conventions policy. The guideline expresses a preference for the most commonly used name, and "United States" is the most commonly used name for the country in television programs (particularly news), newspapers, magazines, books, and legal documents, including the Constitution of the United States.
Exceptions to guidelines are allowed.
If we used "United States of America", then to be consistent we would have to rename all similar articles. For example, rename "United Kingdom" to "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" or Mexico to "United Mexican States".
Exceptions to guidelines are allowed. Articles are independent from one another. No rule says articles have to copy-cat each other.
This argument would be valid only if "United States of America" was a particularly uncommon name for the country.
The Macropaedia version of Britannica uses "United States of America" for its article title.
With the reliability, legitimacy, and reputation of all Wikimedia Foundation projects under constant attack, Wikipedia should not hand a weapon to its critics by deviating from the "common name" policy traditionally used by encyclopedias in the English-speaking world.
Wikipedia is supposed to be more than just another encyclopedia.
Reasons and counterpoints for the article title of "United States of America":
It is the country's official name.
The country's name is not explicitly defined as such in the Constitution or in the law. The words "United States of America" only appear three times in the Constitution. "United States" appears 51 times by itself, including in the presidential oath or affirmation. The phrase "of America" is arguably just a prepositional phrase that describes the location of the United States and is not actually part of the country's name.
The whole purpose of the common naming convention is to ease access to the articles through search engines. For this purpose the article name "United States of America" is advantageous over "United States" because it contains the strings "United States of America" and "United States." In this regard, "The United States of America" would be even better as it contains the strings "United States," The United States," "United States of America," and "The United States of America."
The purpose of containing more strings is to increase exposure to Wikipedia articles by increasing search rank for more terms. Although "The United States of America" would give you four times more commonly used terms for the United States, the United States article on Wikipedia is already the first result in queries for United States of America, The United States of America, The United States, and of course United States.
Is the United States really the oldest constitutional republic in the world?
Yes. San Marino was founded before the United States and did adopt its basic law on 8 October 1600. (https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/sm.html) Full democracy was attained there with various new electoral laws in the 20th century which augmented rather than amended the existing constitution.
Yes, but not continuously. The first "constitution" within Switzerland is believed to be the Federal Charter of 1291 and most of modern Switzerland was republican by 1600. After Napoleon and a later civil war, the current constitution was adopted in 1848.
Many people in the United States are told it is the oldest republic and has the oldest constitution, however one must use a narrow definition of constitution. Within Wikipedia articles it may be appropriate to add a modifier such as "oldest continuous, federal ..." however it is more useful to explain the strength and influence of the US constitution and political system both domestically and globally. One must also be careful using the word "democratic" due to the limited franchise in early US history and better explain the pioneering expansion of the democractic system and subsequent influence.
The component states of the Swiss confederation were mostly oligarchies in the eighteenth century, however, much tighter than most of the United States, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Connecticut excepted.
Isn't St. Augustine, Florida the first European settlement in the United States?
Technically, yes. However, Florida was not one of the original 13 colonies that formed the United States and thus the article mentions Jamestown and not St. Augustine.
This decision has been disputed and no explicit consensus has ever been formed on this question.
If you wish to challenge this decision, please do so on the Talk:United States page.
Why are the Speaker of the House and Chief Justice listed as leaders in the infobox? Shouldn't it just be the President and Vice President?
The President, Vice President, Speaker of The House of Representatives, and Chief Justice are stated within the United States Constitution as leaders of their respective branches of government. As the three branches of government are equal, all four leaders get mentioned under the "Government" heading in the infobox.
Why are the President's, Vice President's, and Speaker's parties listed, but not the Chief Justice's?
Though the Chief Justice of the United States may belong to a political party, his or her office is a judicial appointment, not an elected office. Therefore, the Chief Justice's party is not included when referencing him or her. (E.g. John Roberts is a Republican, but he is not referenced as John Roberts (R).)
What is the motto of the United States?
There was no de jure motto of the United States until 1956, when "In God We Trust" was made such. Various other unofficial mottos existed before that, most notably "E Pluribus Unum". The debate continues on what "E Pluribus Unum"'s current status is (de facto motto, traditional motto, etc.) but it has been determined that it never was an official motto of the United States.
Is the U.S. really the world's largest economy?
The U.S. is the world's largest national economy. The European Union (EU), a "sui generis political body," has a larger economy. While there may be controversy regarding the EU's inclusion in GDP rankings, there is not dispute over the U.S. having the world's largest national economy.
Isn't it incorrect to refer to it as "America" or its people as "American"?
In English, America and American almost always refer to the United States and its citizens, respectively.
This article is within the scope of WikiProject United States, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of topics relating to the United States of America on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the ongoing discussions.
This article is within the scope of WikiProject Countries, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of countries on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
This article is within the scope of WikiProject North America, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of North America on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
This article is substantially duplicated by a piece in an external publication. Please do not flag this article as a copyright violation of the following sources:
Surhone, L. M., Timpledon, M. T., & Marseken, S. F., Orson Scott Card: United States, author, critic, public speaking, activism, genre, Betascript Publishing
Miller, F. P., Vandome, A. F., & McBrewster, J., Biosphere 2: Biosphere 2, closed ecological system, Oracle, Arizona, Arizona, United States, Biome, space colonization, Biosphere, rainforest, Ed Bass, BIOS-3, Eden project, Alphascript
Miller, F. P., Vandome, A. F., & McBrewster, J., Military journalism: Combatant commander, psychological warfare, United States, public affairs (military), propaganda, journalist, Civil-military operations, Alphascript PublishingClick to show/hide further details.
When the US de jure democracy has features of a de facto oligarchy, as e.g.  and  show, how accurate is it to say without qualification that the US is a democracy in Wikipedia's voice? EllenCT (talk) 22:18, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
The article does not say that the U.S. is a democracy. TFD (talk) 13:54, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
The article says the U.S. is a "representative democracy". But proclaiming the U.S. an oligarchy should, to be consistent with oligarchic revolutions of the past, imply changes to the constitution, not just economic shifts and perceived influence. The Wikipedia article Oligarchy seems confused and biased. It spends more time talking about measures that Athens took to counteract their late-5th century B.C. oligarchic revolution—selecting magistrates by lot, etc.—than in discussing the elements of the oligarchic revolution itself—repealing the constitution of Solon, reconstituting the popular assembly, etc. It also spends too much time discussing the U.S., and it seems unlikely that we occupy such a prime place in the oligarchical universe. Dhtwiki (talk) 16:12, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
To some extent all democracies will have oligarchic properties as it requires good debating skills, a certain level of intelligence (at least allowing the articulate words), and an existing network to qualify for representation. Nevertheless outsides that manage to access these resources do have a chance in a democracy - Barrack Obama is an example. Arnoutf (talk) 16:25, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
The term "representative democracy" merely means that a substantial number of nationals residing in the metropolitan state have the privilege of voting. Whether or not that is a true democracy is an issue better addressed in those articles. TFD (talk) 17:18, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
Oppose. A snapshot of inequalities does not meet the definition of a ruling oligarchy. The same economic elites and interest groups do not sustain influence over substantial regions over substantial periods of time, never mind nationally and perpetually. The states change in relative power each decennial census based on population, regardless of wealth, family ties, or other usual oligarchical forms of control. The diversity in the bases of wealth nationally in the U.S. change substantially over time, the number of millionaires multiplies, and the actors are not limited in any way to define a ruling oligopoly of the few restricting access to wealth by alternative means. Of course great concentrations of wealth are dangerous to the republic, and so they ought to be monitored, reported, widely discussed, and regulated for the common good as they are in any democracy. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 06:29, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
Ellen, there are many better things to fight for. This is a fringe idea that you know had no chance, why would you waste time and respect on this? --Golbez (talk) 13:53, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
Looks like we are using map b now? What is the reason for changing to map a? It'd seem like a good idea on your part to state some sort of need or reason rather than a seemingly random question... --OuroborosCobra (talk) 19:30, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
map a looks alot better it is more aesthetic and many wikipedia country articles use that type of svg maps, russia and canada for example Dannis243 (talk) 19:38, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
First of all, you are ignoring the discussion we had above, which came to something of a consensus that map B is better. Secondly, what consensus has been expressed here that supports your already having reverted, again!, to map A. I see a question, not support. The two maps are almost identical, except that map B manages to show more detail, especially in that the Aleutians aren't truncated and the Hawaiian archipelago is shown more fully, as is Puerto Rico (the Bahamas and the Leeward islandsLesser Antilles having gone almost completely missing in map A). Dhtwiki (talk) 11:25, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
Map B. with more complete island representation, clearer national boundaries in Latin America. Only longitude and latitude is clearer in A. Map B is better. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 13:46, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
B, absolutely. The islands are visible. --Golbez (talk) 13:53, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
Yesterday, I added a sentence on the Great Migration  (with citation) which was reverted saying it needed to be discussed, apparently concerning an issue of whether it was "undue". Before the Great Migration 90 percent of African Americans lived in the South and were mostly a rural people, afterwards African Americans were mostly an urban people and just somewhat more than 50% lived in the south. Urban America changed and American culture changed (See eg New Negro Movement). There is certainly much to read on it, but here are two general sources .
Agree, the Great Migration needs to be included, it changed the social and political landscape of the United States and the actual practice of geographic mobility across the continent for each individual at will is one of the fundamental characteristics of true American citizenship. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 06:36, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
I disagree, why talk about the migration of one group and not that of others in the history section? Why not the growth of the Hispanic/Latino population? The baring of Asian Americans? These things are touched upon in the Demographic section. The only other ethnicity's migration to be specifically singled out are Native Americans in the history section. While the Great Migration is notable, I don't think it's necessary to include it in this article. Otherwise we should integrate the history of Hispanic/Latino American history, Asian American, and other minorities. And if this is done how much weight should be given to each?--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 19:39, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
That's inaccurate. We already do talk about immigration of other people in the 19th century and the migration of other people during the Great Depression, in the history section. Moreover, if you look at the Great Migration article you will see this sourced quote, "[The Great Migration] was one of the largest and most rapid mass internal movements in history -- perhaps the greatest not caused by the immediate threat of execution or starvation. In sheer numbers it outranks the migration of any other ethnic group -- Italians or Irish or Jews or Poles -- to [the U.S.]. For blacks, the migration meant leaving what had always been their economic and social base in America, and finding a new one." Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:45, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
However, the article does not specifically single out migration of a single group of individuals, race, as the article Great Migration does, other than the forced movement of Native Americans in the early 19th century, as linked in the Trail of Tears. While the Great Migration is significant in the history of African Americans, just as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act is significant in the history of Asian Americans, that doesn't mean it should be included in the history of the United States, in what is a summary section of the history of the entire United States.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 05:54, 8 October 2014 (UTC)
In the story of national integration of a formerly enslaved people by geographic and social mobility, in the South, the lifting of the racial terrorism restricting movement to within county lines, is a notable development which is groundbreaking and transformational for the entire nation; subsequent migrations of non-Europeans benefitted from the pronouncedly more tolerant racial climate in the United States engendered by the successes of the Great Migration. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 10:03, 8 October 2014 (UTC)
African-Americans are the largest group, so it's not only about them -- the impact of the Great Migration on the entirety of American culture and social and political history was/is immense. And again, we do already talk about another's migration during the Great Depression, so you are incorrect about that too. Your argument that Asian exclusion is not due, regardless of whether you are correct about that or not, is not an argument against the Great Migration being due. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 10:54, 8 October 2014 (UTC)
┌────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────┘Economic migration, during the Great Depression, does not single out a single race, as the Great Migration does, a mention of it, as occurring as part of that migration, is one thing. But an entire sentence onto itself is not IMHO. I stand by my statement, singling out the voluntary trend of movement of one race, IMHO is undue. The Trail of Tears was forced migration, as was slavery; the Great Migration was not. Inclusion of that while excluding such things as more recent immigration of Latino/Hispanic populations, and the baring of Asians creates an unnecessary preference.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 20:37, 8 October 2014 (UTC)
The Great Migration was economic too, so that's an implausible differentation to make. One sentence is only one sentence, and is all that is being added. Your discussion of other groups is irrelevant, especially as you apparently don't think they are due, and have no proposal or citation to add on them. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:08, 8 October 2014 (UTC)
The discussion of other groups are entirely relevant. They are also significant minority populations, and Hispanic and Latino Americans outnumber African-Americans. So why include the Great Migration, while excluding other historical significant movements of other races? IMHO, best leave them all out. Otherwise it grows the size of the section, which is as others have said of this entire article, suppose to be a summary.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 05:14, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
If the Trail of Tears was slavery in a sense, the Great Migration was an end of slavery de facto, so likewise significant, and for greater numbers.
Hispanic and Latino category of the U.S. census commingles Mexicans, Central Americans, South Americans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans…and the count of their descendants present today cannot be reasonably be included in their initial streams of migration over the course of a century for comparison to the numbers of the Great Migration over the course of a decade. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 09:11, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
If you had a sentence/citation on any other historically significant migration with that has been studied and encapsulated by historians as the Great Migration has, for its historical/economic/social/political/cultural significance and effects on the entire United States, you would have proposed it for inclusion but you have not done so. We, however, follow historians in the history section - they have identified and documented this singular movement (the Great Migration) and its importance. Alanscottwalker (talk) 09:40, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
A great deal of history when it comes to immigration, has been exclusion, and there are articles that go into detail about that such as the Immigration history of Asian Americans. This is part of American history, but Asians for a great part of its history were excluded from it specifically by law. Furthermore, since the form of immigration were often significantly different between the different Asian ethnicities, it doesn't make for a clean narrative as say forced immigration (slavery) of African-Americans. Therefore, would we include this negative?
As for Hispanic and Latino immigration, there are sources out there, if we bother to look (National Park Service for example).
As I had stated before, a mention of the Great Migration is one thing, an entire sentence is IMHO undue weight, especially if the immigration, and exclusion, of other races are excluded.
What exactly is meant by "a mention of the Great Migration is one thing, an entire sentence is IMHO undue weight"? What is your proposal for mentioning it? How would one mention it in historical order if not in a sentence? The sentence proposed is a mere factual statement, not an original research claim about the relative values of different migrations or of different migrants. (As for "you", it is more than a bit mystifying how that can offend, here, when your statements reference "I" and "my" (in "IMHO") and the standard written language response to such is "you".). Alanscottwalker (talk) 08:28, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
The general thought that “A great deal of immigration history has been exclusion” is inaccurate; some has been. The United States historically and continues to legally admit more immigrants each year than all other nations combined, including the Asian.
I like the RightCowLeftCoast point of the significance, therefore for me, including something about the explosion of Latino immigration since 1960 from 6 million, 3.24% to 50 million, 16% over fifty years, and accelerating. That should qualify for WP:DUE weight. However, that does not argue for deleting a sentence on the Great Migration. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 09:03, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
Similarly, I am opposed to 'holding hostage' the Great Migration to something else that has not been proposed. Alanscottwalker (talk) 09:16, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
┌────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────┘How about including it as part of the sentence about the migration that occurred during the Great Depression? How about including it as a lead up to the African-American Civil Rights movement.
As for immigration history being one exclusion, that is coming from the documented policies of U.S. in regards to Asian immigration into the United States. Other races were treated differently. It wasn't until after 1965, that migration of Asians into the United States were largely allowed, or not severally restricted. Prior there was the Asiatic Barred Zone, Gentlemen's Agreement of 1907, the Chinese Exclusion Act, and all the way back to the Naturalization Act of 1790 (which barred Asians from naturalizing).--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 15:57, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
Semi-protected edit request on 17 October 2014
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"In God We Trust" (official)
Other traditional mottos [hide] "E pluribus unum" (Latin) (de facto) "Out of many, one" ___________________________________________________________________________________ "Annuit cœptis" (Latin) "She/he/it approves (has approved) of the undertakings"
"Novus ordo seclorum" (Latin) "New order of the ages"
I am familiar with the first two mottos, but I have never seen or heard of these last two. Where is the reference for each? I am very curious and hope to have a quick response since it's just about a reference to address these. I'm familiar with Latin and read quite a bit. This is really surprising to me and I am very curious…I don't think these are accurate.
There should be information on the relationship between the U.S. mainland and the U.S. territories and possessions. This could be provided as a footnote to the sentence "The country also has five populated and nine unpopulated territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean," complete with citing sources.
Here is also proposed text: The term “United States” does not generally encompass the Territories, Possessions and Protectorates of the United States; such as the Territories of American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico and the North Mariana Islands, the Protectorates and/or Trust Territories of Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, and the Unincorporated Territories and/or Possessions of Bajo Nuevo Bank, Baker Island, Howland Island, Kingman Reef, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Nevassa Island, Midway Islands, Palmyra Atoll, Serranilla Bank and Wake Island or leased areas under U.S. jurisdiction such as Guantanamo Bay, U.S. Embassies, and military bases.
This is important because it should be clear that those born/living in the territories and possessions are not entitled to all of the same rights that come with being a U.S. citizen on the mainland. Some key examples are health care (Affordable Care Act does not apply to territories); voting (those in territories cannot vote in federal elections or run for U.S. Presidency); taxes (not paid to federal U.S. government, because those in the territories do not live in the U.S.); constitutional rights (Constitution does not fully apply to territories, only the "United States").
Key citations would include statutes that specifically enumerate the territories as separate from the United States: a. 42 USCS § 1983 “Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia…” b. 42 USCS § 9601 “(27)The terms "United States" and "State" include the several States of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, and any other territory or possession over which the United States has jurisdiction.” c. 7 USCS § 2156 “"(g) Definitions. In this section-- (3) the term State" means any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and any territory or possession of the United States;” d. Contrast with 42 USC 1973, Voting Rights Act because Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are not States. (See, generally, Igartúa v. United States, 626 F.3d 592 (CA1 2010) why Territories are not considered States by Courts or Congress),
There was a debate about this last year, and it is my view that this has largely been resolved, with the present text holding consensus. Therefore, the wording above might be unnecessary, and might be better in other related articles.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 04:02, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
The IP has hit upon the revelation that U.S. territories are not states, which is of itself unremarkable in the history of the United States, and he presents it as original research, without sourcing scholars.
U.S. territories are and have been recognized internationally as a part of the United States. They are today explicitly included by law in citizenship, federal courts, defense, and environmental protection. Their citizens have right of travel in the U.S., they are have three-branch self-governing territories which send elected Delegate representatives to Congress in federal elections.
IMHO, the emphasis of of the number of states that recognize same-sex marriages, might be bordering POV pushing, or be given undue weight. Civil recognition of homosexual civil marriages is at least, if not less so, important than Anti-miscegenation laws in the United States, yet I don't see any mention of that history in the article. And since one is excluded, why include the other in the first place?--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 03:59, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
You are right to draw parallel in the civil rights to civil unions across racial and sexual practice. Efforts to stabilize society in state-sponsored civil unions, or marriages as a religious sacrament in the faith of your choice, is an important element of regulating public health and morals, as well as protecting the rights of partners. See common-law marriage. See also the Pope’s recent take on pastoral care of same-sex marriage partners and the remarried divorced in the Roman Catholic Church.
My objection to the repeated updates is based on making the article subject to recentism or presentism, sort of a current events blog, like some of our economic indicators which do not report a secular cycle documented in scholarly journals. It can be said that federal courts are determining civil unions cannot be constrained by a majority's definition of their religious interpretation of marriage. And the number of states where that interpretation of the Constitution and individual rights is applicable, "is increasing". That should be adequate for a few months' duration in this summary article. For those interested in weekly updates, there should be a link in this article to Same-sex marriage in their United States subsection. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 10:25, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
The article statement was tagged as "citation needed", "The states do not have the right to unilaterally secede from the union.” The in line link "do not have the right" is to Texas v. White.
One of many possible sources is now provided, Zuczek, Richard. “Encyclopedia of the Reconstruction Era” Texas v. White (1869), ISBN 0-313-33073-5 p. 649. The passage relates that the Texas v. White case ruling by the Supreme Court decided one of the"central constitutional questions" of the Civil War. The Union is perpetual and indestructible, as a matter of constitutional law until amended. In declaring that no state could leave the Union, it was "explicitly repudiating the position of the Confederate states that the United States was a voluntary compact between sovereign states”. -- TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 15:57, 19 October 2014 (UTC)