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United States of America

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United States (Overview), United States of America, popularly referred to as the United States or as America, a federal republic on the continent of North America, consisting of 48 contiguous states and the noncontiguous states of Alaska and Hawaii. The United States is discussed in seven articles: this overview, as well as separate articles on United States (Geography), United States (People), United States (Culture), United States (Economy), United States (Government), and United States (History).

These six topics—geography, people, culture, economy, government, and history—comprise the interrelated elements of the nation’s experience. Geography is the first element because landforms, resources, and climate affected how people who came to the United States formed new societies. People, in all their variety, are the second element because they formed communities and built a society. The next three elements are major parts of that society—its culture, economy, and government. History tells the story of how people created a society. It details how people adapted to geographical settings, how they constructed and changed their economy and government, and how their culture changed along the way. Thus all of the six topics—geography, people, culture, economy, government, and history—form a progression of interconnected topics.

II E Pluribus Unum: The American Experience
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E Pluribus Unum is the United States motto, appearing on the nation’s coins and paper money, and on many of its public monuments. It means “From many, one.” First used to unify the 13 British colonies in North America during the American Revolution (1775-1783), this phrase acquired new meaning when the United States received wave after wave of immigrants from many lands. These immigrants had to find ways to reconcile their varied backgrounds and fit together under a constitution and a set of laws. That process of creating one society out of many different backgrounds is one of the biggest stories of the American experience.

“What then is the American, this new man?” asked one of thousands of immigrants who came to North America in the 18th century. “He is an American, who leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds. The American is a new man, who acts upon new principles…Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men.”

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