The United States of America Продолжение

The Soviet Union launched the first manned spacecraft in 1961, prompting U.S. efforts to raise proficiency in mathematics and science and President John F. Kennedy's call for the country to be first to land "a man on the moon," achieved in 1969.[34] Kennedy also faced a tense nuclear showdown with Soviet forces in Cuba. Meanwhile, America experienced sustained economic expansion. A growing civil rights movement headed by prominent African Americans, such as Martin Luther King Jr., fought segregation and discrimination, leading to the abolition of Jim Crow laws. Following Kennedy's assassination in 1963, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Johnson and his successor, Richard Nixon, expanded a proxy war in Southeast Asia into the unsuccessful Vietnam War.
As a result of the Watergate scandal, in 1974 Nixon became the first U.S. president to resign, rather than be impeached on charges including obstruction of justice and abuse of power; he was succeeded by Gerald Ford. During the Jimmy Carter administration in the late 1970s, the U.S. economy experienced stagflation. The election of Ronald Reagan as president in 1980 marked a significant rightward shift in American politics, reflected in major changes in taxation and spending priorities.[35] In the late 1980s and 1990s, the Soviet Union's power diminished, leading to its collapse. The leadership role taken by the United States and its allies in the United Nations–sanctioned Gulf War, under President George H. W. Bush, and later the Yugoslav wars helped to preserve its position as the world's last remaining superpower. The longest economic expansion in modern U.S. history—from March 1991 to March 2001—encompassed the administration of President Bill Clinton.[36] In 1998, Clinton was impeached by the House on charges relating to a civil lawsuit and a sexual scandal, but was acquitted by the Senate and remained in office.
The controversial presidential election of 2000 was resolved by a Supreme Court decision that effectively awarded the presidency to Texas governor George W. Bush, son of George H. W. Bush. On September 11, 2001, terrorists struck the World Trade Center in New York City and The Pentagon near Washington, D.C., killing nearly three thousand people. In the aftermath, President Bush launched the War on Terrorism under a military philosophy stressing preemptive war now known as the Bush Doctrine. In late 2001, U.S. forces led a NATO invasion of Afghanistan, removing the Taliban government and al-Qaeda terrorist training camps. Taliban insurgents continue to fight a guerilla war against the NATO-led force. In 2002, the Bush administration began to press for regime change in Iraq on controversial grounds. Lacking the support of NATO, Bush formed a Coalition of the Willing and the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, removing President Saddam Hussein from power. Although facing both external[37] and internal[38] pressure to withdraw, the United States maintains its military presence in Iraq.
Government and politics
The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation. It is a constitutional republic, "in which majority rule is tempered by minority rights protected by law."[39] It is fundamentally structured as a representative democracy, though U.S. citizens residing in the territories are excluded from voting for federal officials.[40] The government is regulated by a system of checks and balances defined by the United States Constitution, which serves as the country's supreme legal document and as a social contract for the people of the United States. 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. Federal and state judicial and cabinet officials are typically nominated by the executive branch and approved by the legislature, although some state judges are elected by popular vote. The voting age is eighteen and voter registration is the individual's responsibility; there are no mandatory voting laws.
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 rarely used 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 Cabinet and other officers, who administer and enforce federal laws and policies.
Judiciary: The Supreme Court and lower federal courts, whose judges are appointed by the president with Senate approval, interpret laws and can overturn laws they deem unconstitutional.
The House of Representatives has 435 members, each representing a congressional district for a two-year term. House seats are apportioned among the fifty 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. Each state has two senators, elected at-large to six-year terms; one third of Senate seats are up for election every second 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.
All laws and procedures of both state and federal governments are subject to review, and any law ruled in violation of the Constitution by the judicial branch is overturned. The original text of the Constitution establishes the structure and responsibilities of the federal government, the relationship between it and the individual states, and essential matters of military and economic authority. 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 individual rights in the United States.
Politics in the United States have operated under a two-party system for virtually all of the country's history. For elective offices at all levels, state-administered primary elections are held to choose the major party nominees for subsequent general elections. Since the general election of 1856, the two dominant parties have been the Democratic Party, founded in 1824 (though its roots trace back to 1792), and the Republican Party, founded in 1854. The current president, George W. Bush, is a Republican; following the 2006 midterm elections, the Democratic Party controls both the House and the Senate. The Senate has two independent members—one is a former Democratic incumbent, the other is a self-described socialist; every member of the House is a Democrat or Republican. An overwhelming majority of state and local officials are also either Democrats or Republicans. 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 percent 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, but members of both parties have a wide range of views. In an August 2007 poll, 36 percent of Americans described themselves as "conservative," 34 percent as "moderate," and 25 percent as "liberal."[41] On the other hand, a plurality of adults, 35.9 percent, identify as Democrats, 32.9 percent as independents, and 31.3 percent as Republicans.[42] The states of the Northeast, Great Lakes, and the West Coast are relatively liberal-leaning—they are known in political parlance as "blue states." The "red states" of the South and the Rocky Mountains lean conservative.
Foreign relations and military
The United States has vast economic, political, and military influence on a global scale, which makes its foreign policy a subject of great interest around the world. Almost all countries have embassies in Washington, D.C., and many host consulates around the country. Likewise, nearly all nations host American diplomatic missions. However, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Bhutan, and Sudan do not have formal diplomatic relations with the United States.[43]
American isolationists have often been at odds with internationalists, as anti-imperialists have been with promoters of Manifest Destiny and American Empire. American imperialism in the Philippines drew sharp rebukes from Mark Twain, philosopher William James, and many others. Later, President Woodrow Wilson played a key role in creating the League of Nations, but the Senate prohibited American membership in it. Isolationism became a thing of the past when the United States took a lead role in founding the United Nations, becoming a permanent member of the Security Council and host to the United Nations headquarters. The United States enjoys a special relationship with the United Kingdom and strong ties with Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, and fellow NATO members. It also works closely with its neighbors through the Organization of American States and free trade agreements such as the trilateral North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. In 2005, the United States spent $27.3 billion on official development assistance, the most in the world; however, as a share of gross national income (GNI), the U.S. contribution of 0.22 percent ranked twentieth of twenty-two donor states. On the other hand, nongovernmental sources such as private foundations, corporations, and educational and religious institutions donated $95.5 billion. The total of $122.8 billion is again the most in the world and seventh in terms of GNI percentage.[44]
The president holds the title of commander-in-chief of the nation's armed forces and appoints its leaders, the secretary of defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The United States Department of Defense administers the armed forces, including the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Air Force. The Coast Guard falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security in peacetime and the Department of the Navy in times of war. In 2005, the military had 1.38 million personnel on active duty,[45] along with several hundred thousand each in the Reserves and the National Guard for a total of 2.3 million troops. The Department of Defense also employs approximately 700,000 civilians, disregarding contractors. Military service is voluntary, though conscription may occur in wartime through the Selective Service System. The rapid deployment of American forces is facilitated by the Air Force's large fleet of transportation aircraft and aerial refueling tankers, the Navy's fleet of eleven active aircraft carriers, and Marine Expeditionary Units at sea in the Navy's Atlantic and Pacific fleets. Outside of the American homeland, the U.S. military is deployed to 770 bases and facilities, on every continent except Antarctica.[46] Due to the extent of its global military presence, scholars describe the United States as maintaining an "empire of bases."[47]
U.S. military spending in 2006, over $528 billion, was 46 percent of the entire military spending in the world and greater than the next fourteen largest national military expenditures combined. (In purchasing power parity terms, it was larger than the next six such expenditures combined.) The per capita spending of $1,756 was approximately ten times the world average.[48] At 4.06 percent of GDP, U.S. military spending ranked 27th out of 172 nations.[49] The official Department of Defense budget in 2006, $419.3 billion, was a 5 percent increase over 2005.[50] The estimated total cost to the United States of the war in Iraq through 2016 is $2.267 trillion.[51] As of October 23, 2007, the United States had suffered 3,834 military fatalities during the war and over 28,100 wounded.[52]
Education
American public education is operated by state and local governments, regulated by the United States Department of Education through restrictions on federal grants. Children are obliged in most states to attend school from the age of six or seven (generally, kindergarten or first grade) until they turn eighteen (generally bringing them through 12th grade, the end of high school); some states allow students to leave school at sixteen or seventeen.[149] About 12 percent of children are enrolled in parochial or nonsectarian private schools. Just over 2 percent of children are homeschooled.[150] The United States has many competitive private and public institutions of higher education, as well as local community colleges of varying quality with open admission policies. Of Americans twenty-five and older, 84.6 percent graduated from high school, 52.6 percent attended some college, 27.2 percent earned a bachelor's degree, and 9.6 percent earned graduate degrees.[151] The basic literacy rate is approximately 99 percent.[1][152] The United Nations assigns the United States an Education Index of 99.9, tying it with twenty other nations for the top score.[153]
Language
Although the United States has no official language at the federal level, English is the national language.
In 2003, about 215 million, or 82 percent of the population aged five years and older, spoke only English at home. Spanish, spoken by over 10 percent of the population at home, is the second most common language and the most widely taught foreign language.[139][140] Immigrants seeking naturalization must know English. Some Americans advocate making English the country's official language, as it is in at least twenty-eight states.[141] Both Hawaiian and English are official languages in Hawaii by state law.[142] Several insular territories also grant official recognition to their native languages, along with English: Samoan and Chamorro are recognized by Samoa and Guam, respectively; Carolinian and Chamorro are recognized by the Northern Mariana Islands; Spanish is an official language of Puerto Rico. 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.[143]
Religion
The United States government does not audit Americans' religious beliefs.[144] In a private survey conducted in 2001, 76.7 percent of American adults identified themselves as Christian, down from 86.4 percent in 1990. Protestant denominations accounted for 52 percent, while Roman Catholics, at 24.5 percent, were the largest individual denomination.[145] A different study describes white evangelicals, 26.3 percent of the population, as the country's largest religious cohort;[146] evangelicals of all races are estimated at 30–35 percent.[147] The total reporting non-Christian religions in 2001 was 3.7 percent, up from 3.3 percent in 1990. The leading non-Christian faiths were Judaism (1.4 percent), Islam (0.5 percent), Buddhism (0.5 percent), Hinduism (0.4 percent), and Unitarian Universalism (0.3 percent). Between 1990 and 2001, the number of Muslims and Buddhists more than doubled. From 8.2 percent in 1990, 14.2 percent in 2001 described themselves as agnostic, atheist, or simply having no religion,[145] still significantly less than in other postindustrial countries such as Britain (44 percent) and Sweden (69 percent).[148]
Demographics
On October 17, 2006, the United States population was estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau to be 300,000,000.[116] The U.S. population included an estimated 12 million unauthorized migrants,[117] of whom an estimated 1 million were uncounted by the Census Bureau.[118] The overall growth rate is 0.89 percent,[1] compared to 0.16 percent in the European Union.[119] The birth rate of 14.16 per 1,000 is 30 percent below the world average, while higher than any European country except for Albania and Ireland.[120] In 2006, 1.27 million immigrants were granted legal residence. Mexico has been the leading source of new U.S. residents for over two decades; since 1998, China, India, and the Philippines have been in the top four sending countries every year.[121] The United States is the only industrialized nation in which large population increases are projected.[122]

The United States has a very diverse population—thirty-one ancestry groups have more than a million members.[123] Whites are the largest racial group, with German Americans, Irish Americans, and English Americans constituting three of the country's four largest ancestry groups.[123] African Americans, mostly descendants of former slaves, constitute the nation's largest racial minority and third largest ancestry group.[57][123] Asian Americans are the country's second largest racial minority; the two largest Asian American ancestry groups are Chinese and Filipino.[123] In 2005, the U.S. population included an estimated 4.5 million people with some Native American or Alaskan native ancestry (2.4 million exclusively of such ancestry) and nearly 1 million with some native Hawaiian or Pacific island ancestry (0.4 million exclusively).
Hispanic American population growth is a major demographic trend. The approximately 44 million Americans of Hispanic descent constitute the largest ethnic minority in the country. About 64 percent of Hispanic Americans are of Mexican origin.[125] Between 2000 and 2004, the country's Hispanic population increased 14 percent while the non-Hispanic population rose just 2 percent.[126] Much of this growth is due to immigration: As of 2004, 12 percent of the U.S. population was foreign-born, over half that number from Latin America.[127] Fertility is also a factor: The average Hispanic woman gives birth to three children in her lifetime. The comparable fertility rate is 2.2 for non-Hispanic black women and 1.8 for non-Hispanic white women (below the replacement rate of 2.1).[122] Hispanics accounted for nearly half of the national population growth of 2.9 million between July 2005 and July 2006.[128] It is estimated on the basis of current trends that by 2050 whites of non-Hispanic origin will be 50.1 percent of the U.S. population, compared to 69.4 percent in 2000.[129] They are already less than half the population in four "majority-minority states"—California,[130] New Mexico,[131] Hawaii,[132] and Texas[133]—as well as the District of Columbia.[134]
About 83 percent of the population lives in one of the country's 361 metropolitan areas.[135] In 2005, 254 incorporated places in the United States had populations over 100,000, nine cities had more than 1 million residents, and four global cities had over 2 million (New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston).[136] The United States has fifty metropolitan areas with populations greater than 1 million.[137] Of the fifty fastest-growing metro areas, twenty-three are in the West and twenty-five in the South. Among the country's twenty most populous metro areas, those of Dallas (the fourth largest), Houston (sixth), and Atlanta (ninth) saw the largest numerical gains between 2000 and 2006, while that of Phoenix (thirteenth) grew the largest in percentage terms.[135]
Income, human development, and social class
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the pretax median household income in 2005 was $46,326.[84] The two-year average ranged from $60,246 in New Jersey to $34,396 in Mississippi.[85] Using purchasing power parity exchange rates, these income levels are similar to those found in other postindustrial nations. Approximately 13 percent of Americans were below the federally designated poverty line.[56][57] The number of poor Americans, nearly 37 million, was actually 4 million more than in 2001, the bottom year of the most recent U.S. recession.[86] The United States was ranked eighth in the world in the UNDP's 2006 Human Development Report.[87] A 2007 UNICEF study of children's well-being in twenty-one industrialized nations, covering a broad range of factors, ranked the U.S. next to last.[88]
Between 1967 and 2005, median household income rose 30.6 percent in constant dollars, largely due to the growing number of dual-earner households. In 2005, median income for nonelderly households declined for the fifth consecutive year.[86] Though the standard of living has improved for nearly all classes since the late 1970s,[89] income inequality has grown substantially.[90][91] The share of income received by the top 1 percent has risen considerably while the share of income of the bottom 90 percent has fallen, with the gap between the two groups being roughly as large in 2005 as in 1928.[92] According to the standard Gini index, income inequality in the United States is higher than in any European nation.[93] Some economists, such as Alan Greenspan, see rising income inequality as a cause for concern.[94]
While American social classes lack defined boundaries,[91] sociologists point to social class as a crucial societal variable. Occupation, educational attainment, and income are used as the main indicators of socioeconomic status.[95] Dennis Gilbert of Hamilton College has proposed a system, adapted by other sociologists,[96] with six social classes: an upper, or capitalist, class consisting of the wealthy and powerful (1%), an upper middle class consisting of highly educated professionals (15%), a middle class consisting of semiprofessionals and craftsmen (33%), a working class consisting of clerical and blue-collar workers who conduct highly routinized tasks (33%), and two lower classes—the working poor (13%) and a largely unemployed underclass (12%).[91] Where it was once common for middle-class households to employ domestic servants, many domestic tasks are now outsourced to the service industry.[97] Wealth is highly concentrated: The richest 10 percent of the adult population possesses 69.8 percent of the country's household wealth, the second-highest share of any democratic developed nation.[98] The top 1 percent possesses 33.4 percent of net wealth, including more than half of the total value in publicly traded stocks.[99] Though the American Dream, or the perception that Americans enjoy high social mobility, played a key role in attracting immigrants to the United States, particularly in the late 1800s,[100] some analysts find that the United States has relatively low social mobility compared to Western Europe and Canada.[101]
Science and technology
The United States has been a leader in scientific research and technological innovation since the late nineteenth century, attracting immigrants such as Albert Einstein. The bulk of research and development funding, 64 percent, comes from the private sector.[102] The United States leads the world in scientific research papers and impact factor.[103] In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell was awarded the first patent for the telephone. The laboratory of Thomas Edison developed the phonograph, the first long-lasting light bulb, and the first viable movie camera. In the early twentieth century, the automobile companies of Ransom Olds and Henry Ford pioneered assembly line manufacturing. The Wright brothers, in 1903, made what is recognized as the "first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight."[104] During World War II, the United States developed nuclear weapons, ushering in the atomic age. The space race produced rapid advances in rocketry, material science, computers, and many other areas. The United States largely developed the Arpanet and its successor, the Internet. Americans enjoy high levels of access to technological consumer goods.[105] Almost half of U.S. households have broadband Internet service.[106] The country is the primary developer and grower of genetically modified food; more than half of the world's land planted with biotech crops is in the United States.[107]

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