The United States of America (also referred to as the United States, the U.S., the USA, or America) is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district. The country is situated mostly in central North America, where its forty-eight contiguous states and Washington, D.C., the capital district, lie between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, bordered by Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. The state of Alaska is in the northwest of the continent, with Canada to the east and Russia to the west across the Bering Strait. The state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. Texas is the biggest state of United States while Delaware is the smallest state of United States. The country also possesses several territories in the Caribbean and Pacific. There are four time zones in United States: Pacific Time Zone, Mountain Time Zone, Central Time Zone, and Eastern Time Zone. The country is also implementing Daylight Saving Time always from Spring Season to Fall Season. At the start of Spring Season, they are adjusting the clock by 1 hour ahead while at the end of the Fall Season, they are adjusting their clock by 1 hour back. Most of the states are implementing the daylight saving time except Arizona, Alaska, Hawaii, and Indiana.
At 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million square kilometers) and with over 308 million people, the United States is the third or fourth largest country by total area, and the third largest both by land area and population. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries. Alaska, separated from the contiguous United States by Canada, is the largest state at 365 million acres (150 million hectares). Hawaii, occupying an archipelago in the central Pacific, southwest of North America, has just over 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares). The United States is the world's third or fourth largest nation by total area (land and water), ranking behind Russia and Canada and just above or below China.
The coastal plain of the Atlantic seaboard gives way further inland to deciduous forests and the rolling hills of the Piedmont. The Appalachian Mountains divide the eastern seaboard from the Great Lakes and the grasslands of the Midwest. The Mississippi–Missouri River, the world's fourth longest river system, runs mainly north–south through the heart of the country. The flat, fertile prairie of the Great Plains stretches to the west, interrupted by a highland region in the southeast. The Rocky Mountains, at the western edge of the Great Plains, extend north to south across the country, reaching altitudes higher than 14,000 feet (4,300 m) in Colorado. Farther west are the rocky Great Basin and deserts such as the Mojave. The Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges run close to the Pacific coast. At 20,320 feet (6,194 m), Alaska's Mount McKinley is the tallest peak in the country and in North America. Active volcanoes are common throughout Alaska's Alexander and Aleutian Islands, and Hawaii consists of volcanic islands. The super volcano underlying Yellowstone National Park in the Rockies is the continent's largest volcanic feature.
The United States, with its large size and geographic variety, includes most climate types. To the east of the 100th meridian, the climate ranges from humid continental in the north to humid subtropical in the south. The southern tip of Florida is tropical, as is Hawaii. The Great Plains west of the 100th meridian are semi-arid. Much of the Western mountains are alpine. The climate is arid in the Great Basin, desert in the Southwest, Mediterranean in coastal California, and oceanic in coastal Oregon and Washington and southern Alaska. Most of Alaska is subarctic or polar. Extreme weather is not uncommon—the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico are prone to hurricanes, and most of the world's tornadoes occur within the country, mainly in the Midwest's Tornado Alley.
The U.S. ecology is considered "mega diverse": about 17,000 species of vascular plants occur in the contiguous United States and Alaska, and over 1,800 species of flowering plants are found in Hawaii, few of which occur on the mainland. The United States is home to more than 400 mammal, 750 bird, and 500 reptile and amphibian species. About 91,000 insect species have been described. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 protects threatened and endangered species and their habitats, which are monitored by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. There are fifty-eight national parks and hundreds of other federally managed parks, forests, and wilderness areas. Altogether, the government owns 28.8% of the country's land area. Most of this is protected, though some is leased for oil and gas drilling, mining, logging, or cattle ranching; 2.4% is used for military purposes.
History and Culture:
The indigenous peoples of the U.S. mainland, including Alaska Natives, are believed to have migrated from Asia, beginning between 12,000 and 40,000 years ago. Some, such as the pre-Columbian Mississippian culture, developed advanced agriculture, grand architecture, and state-level societies. After Europeans began settling the Americas, many millions of indigenous Americans died from epidemics of imported diseases such as smallpox.
In 1492, Genoese explorer Christopher Columbus, under contract to the Spanish crown, reached several Caribbean islands, making first contact with the indigenous people. On April 2, 1513, Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León landed on what he called "La Florida"—the first documented European arrival on what would become the U.S. mainland. Spanish settlements in the region were followed by ones in the present-day southwestern United States that drew thousands through Mexico. French fur traders established outposts of New France around the Great Lakes; France eventually claimed much of the North American interior, down to the Gulf of Mexico. The first successful English settlements were the Virginia Colony in Jamestown in 1607 and the Pilgrims' Plymouth Colony in 1620. The 1628 chartering of the Massachusetts Bay Colony resulted in a wave of migration; by 1634, New England had been settled by some 10,000 Puritans. Between the late 1610s and the American Revolution, about 50,000 convicts were shipped to Britain's American colonies. Beginning in 1614, the Dutch settled along the lower Hudson River, including New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island.
In 1674, the Dutch ceded their American territory to England; the province of New Netherland was renamed New York. Many new immigrants, especially to the South, were indentured servants—some two-thirds of all Virginia immigrants between 1630 and 1680. By the turn of the 18th century, African slaves were becoming the primary source of bonded labor. With the 1729 division of the Carolinas and the 1732 colonization of Georgia, the thirteen British colonies that would become the United States of America were established. All had local governments with elections open to most free men, with a growing devotion to the ancient rights of Englishmen and a sense of self-government stimulating support for republicanism. All legalized the African slave trade. With high birth rates, low death rates, and steady immigration, the colonial population grew rapidly. The Christian revivalist movement of the 1730s and 1740s known as the Great Awakening fueled interest in both religion and religious liberty. In the French and Indian War, British forces seized Canada from the French, but the francophone population remained politically isolated from the southern colonies. Excluding the Native Americans (popularly known as "American Indians"), who were being displaced, those thirteen colonies had a population of 2.6 million in 1770, about one-third that of Britain; nearly one in five Americans were black slaves. Though subject to British taxation, the American colonials had no representation in the Parliament of Great Britain.
Tensions between American colonials and the British during the revolutionary period of the 1760s and early 1770s led to the American Revolutionary War, fought from 1775 through 1781. On June 14, 1775, the Continental Congress, convening in Philadelphia, established a Continental Army under the command of George Washington. Proclaiming that "all men are created equal" and endowed with "certain unalienable Rights," the Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, drafted largely by Thomas Jefferson, on July 4, 1776. That date is now celebrated annually as America's Independence Day. In 1777, the Articles of Confederation established a weak confederal government that operated until 1789.
After the British defeat by American forces assisted by the French and the Spaniards, Great Britain recognized the independence of the United States and the states' sovereignty over American territory west to the Mississippi River. A constitutional convention was organized in 1787 by those wishing to establish a strong national government, with powers of taxation. The United States Constitution was ratified in 1788, and the new republic's first Senate, House of Representatives, and president—George Washington—took office in 1789. The Bill of Rights, forbidding federal restriction of personal freedoms and guaranteeing a range of legal protections, was adopted in 1791.
Attitudes toward slavery were shifting; a clause in the Constitution protected the African slave trade only until 1808. The Northern states abolished slavery between 1780 and 1804, leaving the slave states of the South as defenders of the "peculiar institution." The Second Great Awakening, beginning about 1800, made evangelicalism a force behind various social reform movements, including abolitionism.
Americans' eagerness to expand westward prompted a long series of Indian Wars. The Louisiana Purchase of French-claimed territory under President Thomas Jefferson in 1803 almost doubled the nation's size. The War of 1812, declared against Britain over various grievances and fought to a draw, strengthened U.S. nationalism. A series of U.S. military incursions into Florida led Spain to cede it and other Gulf Coast territory in 1819. The Trail of Tears in the 1830s exemplified the Indian removal policy that stripped the native peoples of their land. The United States annexed the Republic of Texas in 1845. The concept of Manifest Destiny was popularized during this time. The 1846 Oregon Treaty with Britain led to U.S. control of the present-day American Northwest. The U.S. victory in the Mexican-American War resulted in the 1848 cession of California and much of the present-day American Southwest. The California Gold Rush of 1848–49 further spurred western migration. New railways made relocation easier for settlers and increased conflicts with Native Americans. Over a half-century, up to 40 million American bison, or buffalo, were slaughtered for skins and meat and to ease the railways' spread. The loss of the buffalo, a primary resource for the plains Indians, was an existential blow to many native cultures.
Tensions between slave and free states mounted with arguments over the relationship between the state and federal governments, as well as violent conflicts over the spread of slavery into new states. Abraham Lincoln, candidate of the largely antislavery Republican Party, was elected president in 1860. Before he took office, seven slave states declared their secession—which the federal government maintained was illegal—and formed the Confederate States of America. With the Confederate attack upon Fort Sumter, the American Civil War began and four more slave states joined the Confederacy. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 declared slaves in the Confederacy to be free. Following the Union victory in 1865, three amendments to the U.S. Constitution ensured freedom for the nearly four million African Americans who had been slaves, made them citizens, and gave them voting rights. The war and its resolution led to a substantial increase in federal power. The war remains the deadliest conflict in American history, resulting in the deaths of 620,000 soldiers.
After the war, the assassination of Lincoln radicalized Republican Reconstruction policies aimed at reintegrating and rebuilding the Southern states while ensuring the rights of the newly freed slaves. The resolution of the disputed 1876 presidential election by the Compromise of 1877 ended Reconstruction; Jim Crow laws soon disenfranchised many African Americans. In the North, urbanization and an unprecedented influx of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe hastened the country's industrialization. The wave of immigration, lasting until 1929, provided labor and transformed American culture. National infrastructure development spurred economic growth. The 1867 Alaska Purchase from Russia completed the country's mainland expansion. The Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890 was the last major armed conflict of the Indian Wars. In 1893, the indigenous monarchy of the Pacific Kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown in a coup led by American residents; the United States annexed the archipelago in 1898. Victory in the Spanish–American War the same year demonstrated that the United States was a world power and led to the annexation of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. The Philippines gained independence a half-century later; Puerto Rico and Guam remain U.S. territories.
At the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the United States remained neutral. Most Americans sympathized with the British and French, although many opposed intervention. In 1917, the United States joined the Allies, helping to turn the tide against the Central Powers. After the war, the Senate did not ratify the Treaty of Versailles, which established the League of Nations. The country pursued a policy of unilateralism, verging on isolationism. In 1920, the women's rights movement won passage of a constitutional amendment granting women's suffrage. The prosperity of the Roaring Twenties ended with the Wall Street Crash of 1929 that triggered the Great Depression. After his election as president in 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt responded with the New Deal, a range of policies increasing government intervention in the economy. The Dust Bowl of the mid-1930s impoverished many farming communities and spurred a new wave of western migration.
The United States, effectively neutral during World War II's early stages after Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland in September 1939, began supplying materiel to the Allies in March 1941 through the Lend-Lease program. On December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, prompting the United States to join the Allies against the Axis powers as well as the internment of Japanese Americans by the thousands. Participation in the war spurred capital investment and industrial capacity. Among the major combatants, the United States was the only nation to become richer—indeed, far richer—instead of poorer because of the war. Allied conferences at Bretton Woods and Yalta outlined a new system of international organizations that placed the United States and Soviet Union at the center of world affairs. As victory was won in Europe, a 1945 international conference held in San Francisco produced the United Nations Charter, which became active after the war. The United States, having developed the first nuclear weapons, used them on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August. Japan surrendered on September 2, ending the war.
The United States and Soviet Union jockeyed for power after World War II during the Cold War, dominating the military affairs of Europe through NATO and the Warsaw Pact, and engaging in proxy wars in many locations. Resisting leftist land and income redistribution projects around the world, the United States often supported authoritarian governments. American troops fought Communist Chinese forces in the Korean War of 1950–53. The House Un-American Activities Committee pursued a series of investigations into suspected leftist subversion, while Senator Joseph McCarthy became the figurehead of anticommunist sentiment.
The 1961 Soviet launch of the first manned spaceflight prompted President John F. Kennedy's call for the United States to be first to land "a man on the moon", achieved in 1969. Kennedy also faced a tense nuclear showdown with Soviet forces in Cuba. Meanwhile, the United States experienced sustained economic expansion. A growing civil rights movement, symbolized and led by African Americans such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and James Bevel, used nonviolence to confront segregation and discrimination. Following Kennedy's assassination in 1963, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Johnson and his successor, Richard Nixon, expanded a proxy war in Southeast Asia into the unsuccessful Vietnam War. A widespread countercultural movement grew, fueled by opposition to the war, black nationalism, and the sexual revolution. Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, and others led a new wave of feminism that sought political, social, and economic equality for women.
As a result of the Watergate scandal, in 1974 Nixon became the first U.S. president to resign, to avoid being impeached on charges including obstruction of justice and abuse of power; he was succeeded by Vice President Gerald Ford. The Jimmy Carter administration of the late 1970s was marked by stagflation and the Iran hostage crisis. The election of Ronald Reagan as president in 1980 heralded a rightward shift in American politics, reflected in major changes in taxation and spending priorities. His second term in office brought both the Iran-Contra scandal and significant diplomatic progress with the Soviet Union. The subsequent Soviet collapse ended the Cold War.
Under President George H. W. Bush, the United States took a lead role in the UN–sanctioned Gulf War. The longest economic expansion in modern U.S. history—from March 1991 to March 2001—encompassed the Bill Clinton administration and the dot-com bubble. A civil lawsuit and sex scandal led to Clinton's impeachment in 1998, but he remained in office. The 2000 presidential election, one of the closest in American history, was resolved by a U.S. Supreme Court decision—George W. Bush, son of George H. W. Bush, became president.
On September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda terrorists struck the World Trade Center in New York City and The Pentagon near Washington, D.C., killing nearly three thousand people. In response, the Bush administration launched the global War on Terror. In October 2001, U.S. forces led an invasion of Afghanistan, removing the Taliban government and al-Qaeda training camps. Taliban insurgents continue to fight a guerrilla war. In 2002, the Bush administration began to press for regime change in Iraq on controversial grounds. Lacking the support of NATO or an explicit UN mandate for military intervention, Bush organized a Coalition of the Willing; coalition forces preemptively invaded Iraq in 2003, removing dictator Saddam Hussein. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused severe destruction along much of the Gulf Coast, devastating New Orleans. On November 4, 2008, amid a global economic recession the first African American president, Barack Obama, was elected. In 2010, major health care and financial system reforms were enacted. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that year became the largest peacetime oil disaster in history.
The United States is a multicultural nation, home to a wide variety of ethnic groups, traditions, and values. Aside from the now small Native American and Native Hawaiian populations, nearly all Americans or their ancestors immigrated within the past five centuries. The culture held in common by most Americans—mainstream American culture—is a Western culture largely derived from the traditions of European immigrants with influences from many other sources, such as traditions brought by slaves from Africa. More recent immigration from Asia and especially Latin America has added to a cultural mix that has been described as both a homogenizing melting pot and a heterogeneous salad bowl in which immigrants and their descendants retain distinctive cultural characteristics.
According to Geert Hofstede's cultural dimensions analysis, the United States has the highest individualism score of any country studied. While the mainstream culture holds that the United States is a classless society, scholars identify significant differences between the country's social classes, affecting socialization, language, and values. The American middle and professional class has initiated many contemporary social trends such as modern feminism, environmentalism, and multiculturalism. Americans' self-images, social viewpoints, and cultural expectations are associated with their occupations to an unusually close degree. While Americans tend greatly to value socioeconomic achievement, being ordinary or average is generally seen as a positive attribute. Though the American Dream, or the perception that Americans enjoy high social mobility, plays a key role in attracting immigrants, various studies indicate that the United States has less social mobility than Canada and the Nordic countries.
Women now mostly work outside the home and receive a majority of bachelor's degrees. In 2007, 58% of Americans age 18 and over were married, 6% were widowed, 10% were divorced, and 25% had never been married. Same-sex marriage is contentious. Some states permit civil unions in lieu of marriage. Since 2003, several states have permitted gay marriage as the result of judicial or legislative action, while voters in more than a dozen states have barred the practice via referendum.
The world's first commercial motion picture exhibition was given in New York City in 1894, using Thomas Edison's Kinetoscope. The next year saw the first commercial screening of a projected film, also in New York, and the United States was in the forefront of sound film's development in the following decades. Since the early 20th century, the U.S. film industry has largely been based in and around Hollywood, California. Director D. W. Griffith was central to the development of film grammar and Orson Welles's Citizen Kane (1941) is frequently cited as the greatest film of all time. American screen actors like John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe have become iconic figures, while producer/entrepreneur Walt Disney was a leader in both animated film and movie merchandising. The major film studios of Hollywood have produced the most commercially successful movies in history, such as Star Wars (1977) and Titanic (1997), and the products of Hollywood today dominate the global film industry.
Americans are the heaviest television viewers in the world, and the average viewing time continues to rise, reaching five hours a day in 2006. The four major broadcast networks are all commercial entities. Americans listen to radio programming, also largely commercialized, on average just over two-and-a-half hours a day. Aside from web portals and search engines, the most popular websites are Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, Blogger, eBay, and Craigslist.
The rhythmic and lyrical styles of African-American music have deeply influenced American music at large, distinguishing it from European traditions. Elements from folk idioms such as the blues and what is now known as old-time music were adopted and transformed into popular genres with global audiences. Jazz was developed by innovators such as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington early in the 20th century. Country music developed in the 1920s, and rhythm and blues in the 1940s. Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry were among the mid-1950s pioneers of rock and roll. In the 1960s, Bob Dylan emerged from the folk revival to become one of America's most celebrated songwriters and James Brown led the development of funk. More recent American creations include hip hop and house music. American pop stars such as Presley, Michael Jackson, and Madonna have become global celebrities.
The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation. It is a constitutional republic and representative democracy, "in which majority rule is tempered by minority rights protected by law." The government is regulated by a system of checks and balances defined by the U.S. Constitution, which serves as the country's supreme legal document. In the American federalist system, citizens are usually subject to three levels of government, federal, state, and local; the local government's duties are commonly split between county and municipal governments. In almost all cases, executive and legislative officials are elected by a plurality vote of citizens by district. There is no proportional representation at the federal level, and it is very rare at lower levels.
The federal government is composed of three branches:
Legislative: The bicameral Congress, made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives, makes federal law, declares war, approves treaties, has the power of the purse, and has the power of impeachment, by which it can remove sitting members of the government.
Executive: The president is the commander-in-chief of the military, can veto legislative bills before they become law, and appoints the members of the Cabinet (subject to Senate approval) and other officers, who administer and enforce federal laws and policies.
Judicial: The Supreme Court and lower federal courts, whose judges are appointed by the president with Senate approval, interpret laws and overturn those they find unconstitutional.
The House of Representatives has 435 voting members, each representing a congressional district for a two-year term. House seats are apportioned among the states by population every tenth year. As of the 2000 census, seven states have the minimum of one representative, while California, the most populous state, has fifty-three. The Senate has 100 members with each state having two senators, elected at-large to six-year terms; one third of Senate seats are up for election every other year. The president serves a four-year term and may be elected to the office no more than twice. The president is not elected by direct vote, but by an indirect electoral college system in which the determining votes are apportioned by state. The Supreme Court, led by the Chief Justice of the United States, has nine members, who serve for life.
The state governments are structured in roughly similar fashion; Nebraska uniquely has a unicameral legislature. The governor (chief executive) of each state is directly elected. Some state judges and cabinet officers are appointed by the governors of the respective states, while others are elected by popular vote.
All laws and governmental procedures are subject to judicial review, and any law ruled in violation of the Constitution is voided. The original text of the Constitution establishes the structure and responsibilities of the federal government and its relationship with the individual states. Article One protects the right to the "great writ" of habeas corpus, and Article Three guarantees the right to a jury trial in all criminal cases. Amendments to the Constitution require the approval of three-fourths of the states. The Constitution has been amended twenty-seven times; the first ten amendments, which make up the Bill of Rights, and the Fourteenth Amendment form the central basis of Americans' individual rights.
The United States has operated under a two-party system for most of its history. For elective offices at most levels, state-administered primary elections choose the major party nominees for subsequent general elections. Since the general election of 1856, the major parties have been the Democratic Party, founded in 1824, and the Republican Party, founded in 1854. Since the Civil War, only one third-party presidential candidate—former president Theodore Roosevelt, running as a Progressive in 1912—has won as much as 20% of the popular vote.
Within American political culture, the Republican Party is considered center-right or "conservative" and the Democratic Party is considered center-left or "liberal". The states of the Northeast and West Coast and some of the Great Lakes states, known as "blue states", are relatively liberal. The "red states" of the South and parts of the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains are relatively conservative.
The winner of the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama, is the 44th U.S. president. All previous presidents were men of solely European descent. The 2010 midterm elections saw the Republican Party take control of the House and make gains in the Senate, where the Democrats retain the majority. In the 112th United States Congress, the Senate comprises 51 Democrats, two independents who caucus with the Democrats, and 47 Republicans; the House comprises 242 Republicans and 193 Democrats. There are 29 Republican and 20 Democratic state governors, as well as one independent.
"The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States of America. The lyrics come from "Defence of Fort McHenry", a poem written in 1814 by the 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet, Francis Scott Key, after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy ships in Chesapeake Bay during the Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812.
The poem was set to the tune of a popular British drinking song, written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a men's social club in London. "The Anacreontic Song" (or "To Anacreon in Heaven"), with various lyrics, was already popular in the United States. Set to Key's poem and renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner", it would soon become a well-known American patriotic song. With a range of one and a half octaves, it is known for being difficult to sing. Although the song has four stanzas, only the first is commonly sung today, with the fourth ("O! thus be it ever when free men shall stand...") added on more formal occasions. The fourth stanza includes the line "And this be our motto: In God is our Trust.". The United States adopted "In God We Trust" as its national motto in 1956.
"The Star-Spangled Banner" was recognized for official use by the Navy in 1889 and the President in 1916, and was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931 (46 Stat. 1508, codified at 36 U.S.C. § 301), which was signed by President Herbert Hoover.
Before 1931, other songs served as the hymns of American officialdom. "Hail, Columbia" served this purpose at official functions for most of the 19th century. "My Country, 'Tis of Thee", whose melody is identical to the British national anthem, also served as a de facto anthem before the adoption of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Following the War of 1812 and subsequent American wars, other songs would emerge to compete for popularity at public events, among them "The Star-Spangled Banner."
The United States has a capitalist mixed economy, which is fueled by abundant natural resources, a well-developed infrastructure, and high productivity. According to the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. GDP of $14.799 trillion constitutes 24% of the gross world product at market exchange rates and almost 21% of the gross world product at purchasing power parity (PPP). It has the largest national GDP in the world, though it is about 5% less than the GDP of the European Union at PPP in 2008. The country ranks ninth in the world in nominal GDP per capita and sixth in GDP per capita at PPP.
The United States is the largest importer of goods and third largest exporter, though exports per capita are relatively low. In 2008, the total U.S. trade deficit was $696 billion. Canada, China, Mexico, Japan, and Germany are its top trading partners. In 2007, vehicles constituted both the leading import and leading export commodity. Japan is the largest foreign holder of U.S. public debt, having surpassed China in early 2010. The United States ranks second in the Global Competitiveness Report.
In 2009, the private sector was estimated to constitute 55.3% of the economy, with federal government activity accounting for 24.1% and state and local government activity (including federal transfers) the remaining 20.6%. The economy is postindustrial, with the service sector contributing 67.8% of GDP, though the United States remains an industrial power. The leading business field by gross business receipts is wholesale and retail trade; by net income it is manufacturing. Chemical products are the leading manufacturing field. The United States is the third largest producer of oil in the world, as well as its largest importer. It is the world's number one producer of electrical and nuclear energy, as well as liquid natural gas, sulfur, phosphates, and salt. While agriculture accounts for just under 1% of GDP, the United States is the world's top producer of corn and soybeans. The New York Stock Exchange is the world's largest by dollar volume. Coca-Cola and McDonald's are the two most recognized brands in the world.
In August 2010, the American labor force comprised 154.1 million people. With 21.2 million people, government is the leading field of employment. The largest private employment sector is health care and social assistance, with 16.4 million people. About 12% of workers are unionized, compared to 30% in Western Europe. The World Bank ranks the United States first in the ease of hiring and firing workers. In 2009, the United States had the third highest labor productivity per person in the world, behind Luxembourg and Norway. It was fourth in productivity per hour, behind those two countries and the Netherlands. Compared to Europe, U.S. property and corporate income tax rates are generally higher, while labor and, particularly, consumption tax rates are lower.
Languages and Dialects:
English is the de facto national language. Although there is no official language at the federal level, some laws—such as U.S. naturalization requirements—standardize English. In 2007, about 226 million, or 80% of the population aged five years and older, spoke only English at home. Spanish, spoken by 12% of the population at home, is the second most common language and the most widely taught second language. Some Americans advocate making English the country's official language, as it is in at least twenty-eight states. Both Hawaiian and English are official languages in Hawaii by state law.
While neither has an official language, New Mexico has laws providing for the use of both English and Spanish, as Louisiana does for English and French. Other states, such as California, mandate the publication of Spanish versions of certain government documents including court forms. Several insular territories grant official recognition to their native languages, along with English: Samoan and Chamorro are recognized by American Samoa and Guam, respectively; Carolinian and Chamorro are recognized by the Northern Mariana Islands; Spanish is an official language of Puerto Rico.
Religion in the United States is characterized by both a wide diversity in religious beliefs and practices, and by a high adherence level. According to recent surveys, 83 percent of Americans claim to belong to a religious denomination, 40 percent claim to attend services nearly every week or more, and 58 percent claim to pray at least weekly. A majority of Americans report that religion plays a "very important" role in their lives, a proportion unusual among developed nations. Many faiths have flourished in the United States, including both later imports spanning the country's multicultural immigrant heritage, as well as those founded within the country; these have led the United States to become one of the most religiously diverse countries in the world.
The majority of Americans (76%) identify themselves as Christians, mostly within Protestant and Catholic denominations, accounting for 51% and 25% of the population respectively. Non-Christian religions (including Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism), collectively make up about 3.9% to 5.5% of the adult population. Another 15% of the adult population identifies as having no religious belief or no religious affiliation. When asked, about 5.2% said they did not know, or refused to reply. According to the American Religious Identification Survey, religious belief varies considerably across the country: 59% of Americans living in Western states (the "Unchurched Belt") report a belief in God, yet in the South (the "Bible Belt") the figure is as high as 86%.
The First Amendment to the country's Constitution prevents the Federal government from making any "law respecting an establishment of religion", and guarantees the free exercise of religion. The Supreme Court has interpreted this as preventing the government from having any authority in religion.
The United States includes a wide variety of climate types due to its large size, range of geographic features, and non-contiguous arrangement. In the contiguous United States to the east of the 100th meridian, the climate ranges from humid continental in the north to humid subtropical in the south. The southern tip of Florida is tropical. The Great Plains west of the 100th meridian are semi-arid. Much of the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada, and the Cascade Range are alpine. The climate is arid in the Great Basin, desert in the Southwest, Mediterranean in coastal California, and oceanic in coastal Oregon and Washington. The state of Alaska—on the northwestern corner of the North American continent—is largely subarctic, with an oceanic climate in its southern edge and a polar climate in the north. The archipelago state of Hawaii, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is tropical.
Extreme weather is not uncommon—the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico are prone to hurricanes, and tornadoes regularly occur in the area of the Midwest referred to as Tornado Alley. The United States has more tornadoes than the rest of the countries of the world combined.
The main influence on weather in the United States is the polar jet stream, which brings in large low pressure systems from the northern Pacific Ocean. Once a Pacific cyclone moves over the Great Plains, uninterrupted flat land allows it to reorganize and can lead to major clashes of air masses. Sometimes during late winter and spring these storms can combine with another low pressure system as they move up the East Coast and into the Atlantic Ocean, where they intensify rapidly. These storms are known as Nor'easters and often bring widespread, heavy snowfall to the Mid-Atlantic and New England. The uninterrupted flat grasslands of the Great Plains also leads to some of the most extreme climate swings in the world. Temperatures can rise or drop rapidly; winds can be extreme; and the flow of heat waves or Arctic air masses often advance uninterrupted through the plains.
The Great Basin and Columbia Plateau (the Intermontane Plateaus) are arid or semiarid regions that lie in the rain shadow of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada. Precipitation averages less than 15 inches (38 cm). The Southwest is a hot desert, with temperatures exceeding 100°F (38°C) for several weeks at a time in summer. The Southwest and the Great Basin are also affected by the monsoon from the Gulf of California from July-September, which brings localized but often severe thunderstorms to the region.
The characteristics of rainfall across the United States differ significantly across the United States and its possessions. Late summer and fall extratropical cyclones bring a majority of the precipitation which falls across western, southern, and southeast Alaska annually. During the fall, winter, and spring, Pacific storm systems bring most of Hawaii and the western United States much of their precipitation. Nor'easters moving up the East coast bring cold season precipitation to the Mid-Atlantic and New England states. Lake-effect snows add to precipitation potential downwind of the Great Lakes, as well as Great Salt Lake and the Finger Lakes during the cold season. The snow to liquid ratio across the contiguous United States is 13:1, meaning 13 inches (330 mm) of snow melts down to 1 inch (25 mm) of water. The El Niño-Southern Oscillation affects the precipitation distribution, by altering rainfall patterns across the West, Midwest, the Southeast, and throughout the tropics.
During the summer, the Southwest monsoon combined with Gulf of California and Gulf of Mexico moisture moving around the subtropical ridge in the Atlantic ocean bring the promise of afternoon and evening thunderstorms to the southern tier of the country as well as the Great Plains. Equatorward of the subtropical ridge, tropical cyclones enhance precipitation across southern and eastern sections of the country, as well as Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa. Over the top of the ridge, the jet stream brings a summer precipiation maximum to the Great Lakes. Large thunderstorm areas known as mesoscale convective complexes move through the Plains, Midwest, and Great Lakes during the warm season, contributing up to 10% of the annual precipitation to the region.
In northern Alaska, tundra and arctic conditions predominate, and the temperature has fallen as low as −80 °F (−62 °C). On the other end of the spectrum, Death Valley, California once reached 134 °F (56.7 °C), the second-highest temperature ever recorded on Earth.
On average, the mountains of the western states receive the highest levels of snowfall on Earth. The greatest annual snowfall level is at Mount Rainier in Washington, at 692 inches (1,758 cm); the record there was 1,122 inches (2,850 cm) in the winter of 1971–72. This record was broken by the Mt. Baker Ski Area in northwestern Washington which reported 1,140 inches (2,896 cm) of snowfall for the 1998-99 snowfall season. Other places with significant snowfall outside the Cascade Range are the Wasatch Mountains, near the Great Salt Lake and the Sierra Nevada, near Lake Tahoe.
Along the coastal mountain ranges in the Pacific Northwest, rainfall is greater than anywhere else in the continental U.S., with Quinault Ranger Station in Washington having an average of 137 inches (3,480 mm). Hawaii receives even more, with 460 inches (11,684 mm) measured annually, on average, on Mount Waialeale, in Kauai. The Mojave Desert in the southwest is home to the driest locale in the U.S. Yuma, Arizona, has an average of 2.63 inches (67 mm) of precipitation each year.
The United States is affected by a large variety of weather related natural disasters. Deadly and destructive hurricanes occur almost every year along the Atlantic seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricanes can also strike Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean. Particularly at risk are the central and southern Texas coasts, the area from southeastern Louisiana east to the Florida Panhandle, the east coast of Florida, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with a peak from mid-August through early October. Some of the more devastating hurricanes have included the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The remnants of tropical cyclones from the Eastern Pacific also occasionally impact the southwestern United States, bringing sometimes heavy rainfall.
The Great Plains and Midwest, because of the contrasting air masses, have frequent severe thunderstorms and tornado outbreaks during spring and summer. In central portions of the U.S., tornadoes are more common than anywhere else on Earth and touch down most commonly in the spring and summer. The strip of land from north Texas north to Nebraska and east into Southern Michigan is known as Tornado Alley, where many houses have tornado shelters and many towns have tornado sirens.
The Appalachian region and the Midwest experience the worst floods. Widespread severe flooding is rare. Some exceptions include the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, the Great Flood of 1993, and widespread flooding and mudslides caused by the 1982-1983 El Niño event in the western United States. Localized flooding can, however, occur anywhere, and mudslides from heavy rain can cause problems in any mountainous area, particularly the Southwest. The narrow canyons of many mountain areas in the west and severe thunderstorm activity during the monsoon season in summer leads to sometimes devastating flash floods as well, while Nor'easter snowstorms can bring activity to a halt throughout the Northeast (although heavy snowstorms can occur almost anywhere).
The Southwest has the worst droughts; one is thought to have lasted over 500 years and to have decimated the Anasazi people. Large stretches of desert shrub in the west can fuel the spread of wildfires. Although severe drought is rare, it has occasionally caused major problems, such as during the Dust Bowl (1931–1942), which coincided with the Great Depression. Farmland failed throughout the Plains, entire regions were virtually depopulated, and dust storms ravaged the land. More recently, the western U.S. experienced widespread drought from 1999-2004.
Currency and Money:
The United States dollar (USD or US$) is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents. The U.S. dollar is the currency most used in international transactions and is one of the world's reserve currencies. Several countries use it as their official currency, in many others it is the de facto currency, and it is also used as the sole currency in some British Overseas Territories (Bermuda, British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos).
The U.S. dollar bill uses the decimal system, consisting of 100 equal cents (symbol ¢). It is also officially divided into 1,000 mills or ten dimes, while ten dollars is equal to an eagle. However, only cents are in everyday use as divisions of the dollar; "dime" is used solely as the name of the coin with the value of 10¢, while "eagle" and "mill" are largely unknown to the general public, though mills are sometimes used in matters of tax levies, and gasoline prices are usually in the form of $X.XX9 per gallon, e.g., $3.599, sometimes written as $3.599⁄10. When currently issued in circulating form, denominations equal to or less than a dollar are emitted as U.S. coins while denominations equal to or greater than a dollar are emitted as Federal Reserve notes (with the exception of gold, silver and platinum coins valued up to $100 as legal tender, but worth far more as bullion). Both one-dollar coins and notes are produced today, although the note form is significantly more common. In the past, "paper money" was occasionally issued in denominations less than a dollar (fractional currency) and gold coins were issued for circulation up to the value of $20 (known as the "double eagle," discontinued in the 1930s). The term eagle was used in the Coinage Act of 1792 for the denomination of ten dollars, and subsequently was used in naming gold coins. In 1854, James Guthrie, then Secretary of the Treasury, proposed creating $100, $50 and $25 gold coins, which were referred to as a "Union," "Half Union," and "Quarter Union," thus implying a denomination of 1 Union = $100.
Today, USD notes are made from cotton fiber paper, unlike most common paper, which is made of wood fiber. U.S. coins are produced by the United States Mint. U.S. dollar banknotes are printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and, since 1914, have been issued by the Federal Reserve. The "large-sized notes" issued before 1928 measured 7.42 inches (188 mm) by 3.125 inches (79.4 mm); small-sized notes, introduced that year, measure 6.14 inches (156 mm) by 2.61 inches (66 mm) by 0.0043 inches (0.11 mm).
When Armando Magtalas Balajadia came to United States of America on November 11, 2000, he collected US dollars and coins. The highest bill so far is $100 and then followed with $50, $20, $10, $5, $2, and $1 bills. Also, he collected coins like $1, $0.50, $0.25, $0.10, $0.05, and $0.01. He got all of these collections from Bank of America and Wells Fargo Bank. The color of the bills are mostly green. The $1 coin is gold, the penny or $0.01 coin is copper, and the rest of the coins are silver in color.
Foods and Dishes:
Mainstream American cuisine is similar to that in other Western countries. Wheat is the primary cereal grain. Traditional American cuisine uses indigenous ingredients, such as turkey, venison, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, squash, and maple syrup, which were consumed by Native Americans and early European settlers. Slow-cooked pork and beef barbecue, crab cakes, potato chips, and chocolate chip cookies are distinctively American foods. Soul food, developed by African slaves, is popular around the South and among many African Americans elsewhere. Syncretic cuisines such as Louisiana creole, Cajun, and Tex-Mex are regionally important.
Characteristic dishes such as apple pie, fried chicken, pizza, hamburgers, and hot dogs derive from the recipes of various immigrants. French fries, Mexican dishes such as burritos and tacos, and pasta dishes freely adapted from Italian sources are widely consumed. Americans generally prefer coffee to tea. Marketing by U.S. industries is largely responsible for making orange juice and milk ubiquitous breakfast beverages. During the 1980s and 1990s, Americans' caloric intake rose 24%; frequent dining at fast food outlets is associated with what public health officials call the American "obesity epidemic." Highly sweetened soft drinks are widely popular; sugared beverages account for 9% of the average American's caloric intake.
Saltwater fish eaten by the American Indians were cod, lemon sole, flounder, herring, halibut, sturgeon, smelt, drum on the East Coast, and olachen and salmon on the West Coast. Whale was hunted by American Indians off the Northwest coast, especially by the Makah, and used for their meat and oil. Seal and walrus were also utilized. Eel from New York's Finger Lakes region were eaten. Catfish seemed to be favored by tribes, including the Modocs. Crustacean included shrimp, lobster, crayfish, and dungeness crabs in the Northwest and blue crabs in the East. Other shellfish include abalone and geoduck on the California coast, while on the East Coast the surf clam, quahog, and the soft-shell clam. Oysters were eaten on both shores, as were mussels and periwinkles.
Native Americans utilize a number of cooking methods. Grilling meats was common. Spit roasting over a pit fire was common as well. Vegetables, especially root vegetables were often cooked directly in the ashes of the fire. As early American Indians lacked the proper pottery that could be used directly over a fire, they developed a technique which has caused many anthropologists to call them "Stone Boilers". The American Indians would heat rocks directly in a fire and then add the bricks to a pot filled with water until it came to a boil so that it would cook the meat or vegetables in the boiling water. Another method was to use an empty bison stomach filled with desired ingredients and suspended over a low fire. The fire would have been insufficient to completely cook the food contained in the stomach however, as the flesh would burn so heated rocks would be added to the food as well. Some American Indians would also use the leather of a bison hide in the same manner.
The American Indians are credited as the first in America to create fire-proof pottery to place in direct flame. In what is now the Southwestern United States, American Indians also created ovens made of adobe called hornos in which to bake items such as breads made from cornmeal. American Indians in other parts of America made ovens out of dug pits. These pits were also used to steam foods by adding heated rocks or embers and then seaweed or corn husks (or other coverings) placed on top to steam fish and shellfish as well as vegetables; potatoes would be added while still in-skin and corn while in-husk, this would later be referred to as a clambake by the colonists. The hole was also a location for producing what has become Boston baked beans made from beans, maple sugar and a piece of bear fat.
Here's the list of restaurants that are serving American dishes in Philippines as follows:
Icebergs in Ermita, Manila, Philippines
American Diners in Caloocan City, Philippines
Brownies Fried Chicken in Quezon City, Philippines
Heaven n' Eggs in Quezon City, Philippines
Ditzy Diner in Quezon City, Philippines
Chocolate Kiss in Quezon City, Philippines
Banapple in Quezon City, Philippines
Bubba Gump in Quezon City, Philippines
Steak Plus in Quezon City, Philippines
Johnny Rockets in Quezon City, Philippines
Alfredo's Steak House in Quezon City, Philippines
Mile Hi Diner in Quezon City, Philippines
Cinnamon House in Quezon City, Philippines
Decanter in Quezon City, Philippines
Frio Mixx in Quezon City, Philippines
Gram's Diner in Quezon City, Philippines
Kenny Rogers Roasters in Quezon City, Philippines
Marco Polo Int'l Restaurant in Quezon City, Philippines
Taco Bell in Quezon City, Philippines
The Barn Restaurant in Quezon City, Philippines
Titania Wine Cellar, Inc. in Quezon City, Philippines
Tony & Jackey in Quezon City, Philippines
Uncle John's in Quezon City, Philippines
Zucchini's in Quezon City, Philippines
Chili's in San Juan City, Philippines
Burgoo in Mandaluyong City, Philippines
Chilis Bar and Grill in Mandaluyong City, Philippines
Cinnabon in Mandaluyong City, Philippines
Claw Daddy Crab House and American Grill in Mandaluyong City, Philippines
Burgoo in Pasig City, Philippines
Muruve Wine Cellar & Restaurant in Pasig City, Philippines
Yellow Cab Pizza in Marikina City, Philippines
Kenny Rogers Roasters in Cainta, Rizal, Philippines
TGI Friday's in Cainta, Rizal, Philippines
Heaven n' Eggs in Makati City, Philippines
Outback Steakhouse in Makati City, Philippines
Hard Rock Cafe in Makati City, Philippines
Tony Roma's in Makati City, Philippines
A Veneto Pizzeria Ristorante in Makati City, Philippines
Alexa's Deli Cafe and Wine Bar in Makati City, Philippines
American Hot Dog On A Stick in Makati City, Philippines
Aveneto Pizzeria Ristorante in Makati City, Philippines
Awareije Enterprise in Makati City, Philippines
Basix and Lobby Lounge in Makati City, Philippines
Brownies Fried Chicken in Makati City, Philippines
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant and Market in Makati City, Philippines
Burger Avenue in Makati City, Philippines
Burgoo in Makati City, Philippines
Cable Car in Makati City, Philippines
California Pizza Kitchen in Makati City, Philippines
California Taco Kitchen in Makati City, Philippines
California Berry in Makati City, Philippines
Chili Peppers in Makati City, Philippines
Cinnabon in Makati City, Philippines
Claudette's in Makati City, Philippines
Coquina in Makati City, Philippines
Dayrit's in Makati City, Philippines
DC Diner in Makati City, Philippines
Dome Cafe in Makati City, Philippines
DQ Dairy Queen in Makati City, Philippines
Filling Station Bar and Restaurant in Makati City, Philippines
Flamers in Makati City, Philippines
Flapjacks in Makati City, Philippines
Friday's Resort in Makati City, Philippines
Fruit Magic in Makati City, Philippines
Grams Diner in Makati City, Philippines
Gulliver's of San Francisco in Makati City, Philippines
Hard Rock Cafe in Makati City, Philippines
Heckle and Jeckle Cafe and Bar in Makati City, Philippines
House of Minis Steaks & Gourment Specialties in Makati City, Philippines
Hungry Hippo in Makati City, Philippines
Kenny Rogers Roasters in Makati City, Philippines
Krispy Kreme in Makati City, Philippines
Little Caesars Pizza! Pizza! in Makati City, Philippines
M2M in Makati City, Philippines
Magoo's Pizza in Makati City, Philippines
Malcolm's Deli in Makati City, Philippines
McDonald's in Makati City, Philippines
Melo's in Makati City, Philippines
Miesters in Makati City, Philippines
Milkyway in Makati City, Philippines
Mr. Rockefeller in Makati City, Philippines
National Sports Grill in Makati City, Philippines
Nuvo in Makati City, Philippines
Pancake House in Makati City, Philippines
Pizza Hut in Makati City, Philippines
Pollo Negro Cafe Rotisserie in Makati City, Philippines
Qingdao Peking Roaster in Makati City, Philippines
Racks in Makati City, Philippines
Restaurant Cicou in Makati City, Philippines
Rogues Sports Bar in Makati City, Philippines
Rockefeller in Makati City, Philippines
Saint Cinnamon Bake Shop in Makati City, Philippines
SGS House Of Minis in Makati City, Philippines
Shakey's in Makati City, Philippines
Spamjam Café in Makati City, Philippines
Subway in Makati City, Philippines
Sugarnut Bakeshop and Coffee Shop in Makati City, Philippines
Sunroast Chicken in Makati City, Philippines
T Salon in Makati City, Philippines
Tabu Restaurant in Makati City, Philippines
Texas BBQ Bar and Restaurant in Makati City, Philippines
The Cafe Restaurant in Makati City, Philippines
The Ice Cream Bar (Flavors by FIC) in Makati City, Philippines
The Lobby, The Peninsula Hotel in Makati City, Philippines
The Tivoli, Mandarin Oriental in Makati City, Philippines
The Tower Club in Makati City, Philippines
The Red Crab Seafood and Steaks in Makati City, Philippines
The Steak House in Makati City, Philippines
Titanic Restaurant in Makati City, Philippines
Tosca in Makati City, Philippines
Tropical Hut Hamburger in Makati City, Philippines
Tubbie's Coffee and Deli in Makati City, Philippines
Waffle Time in Makati City, Philippines
Wendy's Hamburgers in Makati City, Philippines
Whistlestop Restaurant and Bar in Makati City, Philippines
Wild West in Makati City, Philippines
Yellow Cab Pizza Co. in Makati City, Philippines
Le Bar, Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City, Philippines
Stars and Stripes in Pasay City, Philippines
Claw Daddy in Taguig City, Philippines
Jacks Restaurant in Taguig City, Philippines
Krispy Kreme Doughnut in Taguig City, Philippines
Murray's New Orleans Bourbon St. Steak Rd. Oysters in Taguig City, Philippines
California Pizza Kitchen in Muntinlupa City, Philippines
Carl's Jr. in Muntinlupa City, Philippines
TGI Friday's in Muntinlupa City, Philippines
Tony Roma's in Muntinlupa City, Philippines
Hungry Hippo in Carmona, Cavite, Philippines
Kenny Rogers Roasters in Bacoor, Cavite, Philippines
Yellow Cab Pizza in Cavite City, Philippines
Hungry Hippo in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines
Pancake House in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines
Yellow Cab Pizza in Calamba City, Philippines
Frio Mixx in Batangas City, Philippines
Hungry Hippo in Batangas City, Philippines
Kenny Rogers Roasters in Batangas City, Philippines
Yellow Cab Pizza in Batangas City, Philippines
Cinnabon in Balagtas, Bulacan, Philippines
Kenny Rogers Roasters in Bulacan, Bulacan, Philippines
The Barn Restaurant in Bustos, Bulacan, Philippines
Yellow Cab Pizza in Bulacan, Bulacan, Philippines
Unicorn Saloon and Restaurant in Clark Air Base, Pampanga, Philippines
Herbs and Greens Restaurant in Angeles City, Philippines
Yats Restaurant and Wine Club in Angeles City, Philippines
Red Crab in Angeles City, Philippines
Coffee Overdose in Angeles City, Philippines
Cottage Kitchen Cafe in Angeles City, Philippines
Margarita Station in Angeles City, Philippines
Rumpa in Angeles City, Philippines
Puzzle's Cafe in Angeles City, Philippines
VFW Post Restaurant in Angeles City, Philippines
Kenny Rogers Roasters in Olongapo City, Philippines
Xtremely Xpresso Cafe in Olongapo City, Philippines
Pancake House in Subic, Zambales, Philippines
Yellow Cab Pizza in Dagupan City, Philippines
Titania Wine Cellar, Inc. in Baguio City, Philippines
Yellow Cab Pizza in Baguio City, Philippines
Yellow Cab Pizza in Tuguegarao City, Philippines
Macy’s Diner in Laoag City, Philippines
Cowboy Cocina in Boracay, Aklan, Philippines
TGI Fridays in Boracay, Aklan, Philippines
Pancake House in Boracay, Aklan, Philippines
California Pizza Kitchen in Boracay, Aklan, Philippines
Pizza Hut in Iloilo City, Philippines
Shakey's in Iloilo City, Philippines
Crave Restaurant and Steak House in Iloilo City, Philippines
Crave Burgers in Iloilo City, Philippines
Mojave Grill and Steak House in Iloilo City, Philippines
Picea Restaurant and Bakeshop in Iloilo City, Philippines
Bourbon Street in Iloilo City, Philippines
Whistlestop Restaurant and Bar in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, Philippines
Kenny Rogers in Cebu City, Philippines
Seattle's Best Coffee in Cebu City, Philippines
Taco Bell in Cebu City, Philippines
TGI Fridays in Cebu City, Philippines
Dessert Factory in Cebu City, Philippines
David’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant in Cebu City, Philippines
Baseline Restaurant in Cebu City, Philippines
Eddie's Log Cabin in Cebu City, Philippines
Europa Delicastessen in Cebu City, Philippines
Our Place in Cebu City, Philippines
Kenny Rogers Roasters in Davao City, Philippines
Pancake House in Davao City, Philippines
Titania Wine Cellar, Inc. in Davao City, Philippines
Yellow Cab Pizza in Davao City, Philippines
The Barn Restaurant in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines
The Dynasty Court Restaurant in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines
Whoopee Burger Haus in Zamboanga City, Philippines
There are many food recipes in United States of America. Most of the dishes are already mixed or adopted from other countries. Armando Magtalas Balajadia is also expert in cooking since when he was a teenager. He learned more in cooking the dishes later especially when he came to United States on November 11, 2000. There's a popular television show especially for food lovers and cooking experts which is Food Network.
Food Network is a television specialty channel that airs both one-time and recurring (episodic) programs about food and cooking. Scripps Networks Interactive owns 70 percent of the network, with Tribune Company controlling the remaining 30 percent. The network is seen in more than ninety million households. In addition to New York City, it has offices in Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, Jersey City, and Knoxville, Tennessee.
Food Network was founded on April 19, 1993 as TV Food Network, and launched on November 23 of that year; its legal name is still Television Food Network, G.P. Within a few years, the network had shortened its on-air brand name. It was created by Reese Schonfeld (one of the founders of CNN), under the direction of Trygve Myrhen, President of The Providence Journal. Its original partners included the Journal itself, Adelphia, Scripps-Howard, Continental Cablevision, Cablevision, and most importantly, Chicago's Tribune Company, which provided the network's technical output.
Food Network was first launched internationally in the UK on November 9, 2009, and in Asia on July 5, 2010 (on StarHub TV's Channel 433 and Channel 468 for the HD version of Food Network Asia). Schonfeld, who was also a partner in the company, was appointed its Managing Director and sat on its management board along with two Providence Journal employees. The original lineup for the network included Emeril Lagasse (Essence of Emeril), Debbi Fields, Donna Hanover, David Rosengarten, Curtis Aikens, Dr. Louis Arrone, Jacques Pépin and Robin Leach. The next year the network acquired the rights to the Julia Childs library from WGBH.
In 1995 Schonfeld resigned as managing director of the network, but remained on its board until 1998, when he sold his interest in the company to Scripps. he Food Network had been acquired from the A. H. Belo Corp. Corporation by the E. W. Scripps Company in 1997, trading KENS-AM/TV in San Antonio, Texas, for it. Belo had acquired the network when it purchased The Providence Journal Company in 1996. Myrhen left the Journal company the following year.
Unit of Measurement:
The unit of measurement in United States of America is English System. They are using ounces and pounds for weight, inches, feet, yards, and miles for length or distance, degrees Fahrenheit for temperature, fluid ounces, pints, quarts, and gallons for volume, miles per hour for speed or velocity, British Thermal Units (BTU) for energy or heat, and so on. For the voltage, they are using 120 Volts, 60 Hz.
In United States of America, they are using the left hand driving method which is a very common driving method anywhere in the world. If you will drive in USA, take note that each of the 50 states has its own set of traffic laws and regulations. Fortunately, most of the laws are the same, but some states have slightly different rules. When you rent a car, you should ask the agent if there are any special driving rules in that state. When driving in multiple states, check a tour book for any special driving rules in each state.
The speed limit in most states is now 65 miles per hour (about 110 km/hr) except where signs indicate slower or faster speeds. Many drivers travel about 5 mph above the legal limit and the police do not seem to mind. Speed limits are strictly enforced by radar in many states (especially the eastern highly populated areas). Speeding in any road construction area is strictly enforced with very heavy penalties in most states.
The minimum age for driving is 16 in most states but some states will not allow unrestricted driving until 18. Some car rental agencies refuse to rent a car to any person under 25 years of age. Other agencies will rent to young drivers but require an added surcharge. Some rental agencies in the US will not rent to drivers over 71 years of age.
Nearly all states have laws requiring the driver and front passengers to wear seat belts. Many states require children to wear seat belts even in the back seats. Nearly every state requires special child restraint seats for all young children. Most states require motorcyclists to wear helmets.
The speed limit in front of every school is greatly reduced when classes are in session. The reduced limits in these school zones is posted on a sign. When these reduced limits are in effect, lights with the limit sign will flash. You are required to stop in both directions for any school bus with flashing lights. These rules are strictly enforced in every state and have severe penalties for disobedience. Drinking alcohol and driving is also forbidden and strictly enforced in all states.
The American Automobile Association (AAA), commonly called the "triple A", provides some wonderful services to drivers. They have offices in every city and most of the larger towns in the US. If you are a member of a national motor club in your home country, you can receive many of their benefits free of charge by simply showing your membership card. The AAA provides free maps and tourist guides for any city or state in the US. Many hotels offer discounted rates to AAA members.
The USA has an extensive system of interstate highways and state maintained roads. Some of the major highways are toll roads often called turnpikes, but most are free. All major interstate highways running north to south have odd numbers and are ordered from I-5 on the Pacific coast to I-95 along the Atlantic coast. All interstates running east to west are evenly numbered beginning with I-8 and I-10 near the Mexican border to I-94 near Canada.
Citizenship in United States of America:
Citizenship in the United States is a status given to individuals that entails specific rights, duties, privileges, and benefits between the United States and the individual. Citizenship is a legal marker identifying a person as having a bundle of rights, including the right to live and work in the United States and to receive federal assistance and government services. Most persons who undergo naturalization do so to get permission to live and work in the nation legally. American law permits multiple citizenship, so a citizen of the United States can be a citizen of another country at the same time. Citizenship can be renounced by citizens, and it can also be restored.
In accordance with the Citizenship Clause, part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, citizenship may be acquired automatically at birth or through the process of naturalization: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." The Constitution, in Article One, gives to Congress the power "To establish a uniform rule of naturalization."
A person who was not born a U.S. citizen may acquire U.S. citizenship through a process known as naturalization. To become a naturalized United States citizen, one must be at least eighteen years of age at the time of filing, a legal permanent resident of the United States, and have had a status of a legal permanent resident in the United States for five years before they apply (this requirement is reduced to three years if they (a) acquired legal permanent resident status, (b) have been married to and living with a citizen for the past three years and (c) the spouse has been a U.S. citizen for at least three years prior to the applicant applying for naturalization.) They must have been physically present for at least 30 months of 60 months prior to the date of filing their application. Also during those 60 months if the legal permanent resident was outside of the U.S. for a continuous period of 6 months or more they are disqualified from naturalizing (certain exceptions apply for those continuous periods of six months to 1 year). They must be a "person of good moral character", and must pass a test on United States history and government. Most applicants must also have a working knowledge of the English language. There are exceptions, introduced in 1990, for long-resident older applicants and those with mental or physical disabilities.
Applicants for citizenship are asked ten questions, and must answer at least six with the expected answers. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has published a list of 100 sample questions (with the answers that should be given when taking the test), from which the questions asked are always drawn. The full list of questions is in the "A Guide to Naturalization," available for free from the USCIS. There is a new naturalization test that is being used for all N-400 applications filed on or after October 1, 2008. If the applicant filed the N-400 application before October 1, 2008 then the applicant may choose to take the new test or the old test. The new test examines the applicant's knowledge of American society and the English language. Sample questions and answers are published by the USCIS in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. Besides passing the citizenship test: citizenship applicants must also satisfy other specific requirements of naturalization to successfully obtain U.S. citizenship. An applicant will also be required to submit to an in-person interview.
On October 5, 2008, Armando Magtalas Balajadia applied for citizenship in United States of America thru the website of Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Since Armando applied for US Citizenship after October 1, 2008, then he will be given the new test. It is also a long process, too because the applicants will be asked for the background check, fingerprint check, paperwork, oral examination, and interview as well. After he passed all the test and requirements, he took his Oath Taking for US Citizenship at Paramount Theater along Broadway (near to 19th Street Oakland BART Station) in Oakland, California on April 1, 2009 from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. There are about 1,000 people who took their oath for US Citizenship. Chinese has the most number of people there then followed by Filipinos, Indians, Mexicans, and Vietnamese. He can't believe that the application for naturalization is fast because he applied for US Citizenship on October 5, 2008 which is the new test. He went to USCIS Office at Battery Street in San Francisco, California for finger printing and picture taking on November 7, 2008. He went to USCIS Office at Sansome Street in San Francisco, California for interview on February 4, 2009. Finally, one month after, he received a notice from USCIS saying that he will take his oath for US Citizenship on April 1, 2009 at Paramount Theater in Oakland, California. Everyone must apply for US Citizenship as much as possible because every year, the fees are getting higher and the tests are getting difficult. Thanks God that right now, Armando is now an American. Being an American, he will support and defend the Constitution of United States, flag, Federal Law, and State Laws. Also, he will exercise his right to vote during the elections, join in military service, join in poll watching during the elections, serve in jury, join in community service, and join in other government activities. Since United States of America is also a first world country, all US Citizens can visit to any countries without getting a visa to the country that they will plan to visit. United States of America will support and defend all US Citizens in the whole nation as well as in another countries. The good news is that, if a US Citizen will have a trouble later in another countries, then he or she can go to US Embassies and they will help him or her as much as they can. America is a land of opportunity and all people here are treated equal. Although his place is always cold especially in Daly City, California, still, he likes to stay in United States of America because the environment is so good and he can eat a lot of food that he likes. Most of the foods in United States of America are affordable to everyone.