Talk:United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Former good article United States was one of the Geography and places good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject United States (Rated B-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon 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.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
Note icon
This article was a past U.S. Collaboration of the Month.
WikiProject Countries (Rated B-class)
WikiProject icon 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.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
Checklist icon
WikiProject North America (Rated B-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon 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.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the importance scale.
WikiProject United States Public Policy (Rated B-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject United States Public Policy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of United States public policy articles 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.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
Wikipedia Version 1.0 Editorial Team / v0.5 / Vital / Supplemental
WikiProject icon This article has been reviewed by the Version 1.0 Editorial Team.
Taskforce icon
This article has been selected for Version 0.5 and subsequent release versions of Wikipedia.
News This article has been mentioned by multiple media organizations:

How accurate is "democracy"?[edit]

When the US de jure democracy has features of a de facto oligarchy, as e.g. [1] and [2] 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)

Yawn. See also WP:IDHT. -- Calidum 05:53, 4 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)


should we use map a or map b? Dannis243 (talk) 19:19, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

map a
map b


  • 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 islands Lesser 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)

Great Migration (African American) undue?[edit]

Yesterday, I added a sentence on the Great Migration [3] (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 [4] [5].

So, yes it is due, and want to add it back. Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:38, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

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)
Please see WP:AVOIDYOU
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.
Perhaps this is better handled in an article such as History of immigration to the United States, and a similar article History of migration within the United States (and perhaps here is an article that can be used as a source for it).--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 04:22, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
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)

That works. Now lets see about including the baring of Asians, the growth in that population to the currently fastest growing population in the nation, and the immigration of Latino and Hispanics (off all races).--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 03:54, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 17 October 2014[edit]


"In God We Trust" (official)[1][2][3]

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. (talk) 07:44, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Pictogram voting comment.svg Note: Both Annuit cœptis and Novus ordo seclorum are blue links - if you click on them they take you to the relevant articles. - Arjayay (talk) 08:02, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Common Meaning of "United States"[edit]

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),

As well as the Insular Cases (see and Airline Ticket Comm'n Antitrust Litig. Travel Network v. United Air Lines, 307 F.3d 679 (8th Cir. 2002). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:35, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

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.
Congress has granted today’s territorial citizens more rights and privileges than the territories of Alaska and Hawaii, which faced racial discrimination before their statehood. See Territories of the United States. -- TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 09:30, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Same-sex civil marriages[edit]

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)
That sounds fair. Another possibility is just leave see also links at the top of the section, to Same-sex marriage in the United States and Anti-miscegenation laws in the United States, and remove the presently unverified content per WP:BURDEN.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 16:25, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Political divisions citation provided[edit]

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)

Area in square miles[edit]

Why does this article name a different land area from the CIA World Factbook? (the number is not footnoted) (talk) 15:27, 21 October 2014 (UTC)