Q1. How did the article get the way it is?
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
Q2. Why is the article's name "United States" and not "United States of America"?
Isn't United States of America the official name of the U.S.? I would think that United States should redirect to United States of America, not vice versa as is the current case.
- 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 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.
- Well-established encyclopedias in the English language appear to generally use a "common name" policy for article titles. More specifically, the following use "United States" for the title of the corresponding article: MSN Encarta, World Book, Encyclopedia Americana, Columbia, Grolier, and the Micropaedia and online versions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. In our effort to make Wikipedia an "encyclopedia of the highest possible quality," (Jimmy Wales, "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia", March 8, 2005, <email@example.com>) we would do well to emulate what these well-established encyclopedias do.
- 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.
Q3. Is the United States really the oldest constitutional republic in the world?
1. Isn't San Marino
- Yes. San Marino was founded before the United States and did adopt its basic law on 8 October 1600. (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-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.
2. How about Switzerland?
- 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.
Q4. 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.
Q5. 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.
Q6. 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).)
Q7. 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.
Q8. Is the U.S. really the world's largest economy?
Yes. The United States has been the world's largest national
economy since the Gilded Age
and the world's largest economy since 2014, when it surpassed the European Union.
Q9. Isn't it incorrect to refer to it as "America" or its people as "American"?
In English, America (when not preceded by "North", "Central", or "South") almost always refers to the United States. The large super-continent is called the Americas.