Why Are There States In America?
To answer the question of "Why Are There States in America?" we first have to know what the meaning of a state is. Most countries are a one state, one nation. But this is different from a few countries like the United States of America. The US is a country of one nation. But it has 52 states. What does this mean?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary provides many similar definitions for the word state. Probably the most basic one is that a state is a politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory. Putting this on the context of the US, one state, say California, can this definition apply to the status of California being known as one of the states of the US?
One of the most interesting aspects about history tackled in the science and social studies curriculum of the American education system is the birth of the nation itself-the United States of America. A lot of students might wonder why the nation is structured in such way, unlike other countries in the world.
In order to appreciate the formation of the United States of America the way it is today, one needs to understand the critical historical events leading up to the formation of the states and its consolidation. It is important to start with an understanding of the colonial period of American history, around the 15th century. This is when various European countries sent out conquests or expedition for foreign land. The Spanish, English, Dutch, French, Swedish and Portuguese started arriving in the Americas.
One of the earliest and most well-known colonizers were the Spanish, who came under Christopher Columbus. However, by the 17th century, British colonization had become more widespread and dominant. (British colonization also refers to English colonization, which was prior to the Acts of Union that transformed the Kingdom of England and Kingdom of Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain.)
Jamestown was the first successful British colony established in Virginia in 1607. There were many other colonies put up, such as Massachusetts; and the Middle Colonies composed of what is known today as New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania; as well as North and South Carolina. These colonies formed what was called the Thirteen Colonies established by 1733. These colonies were interestingly characterized by diversity in aspects such as religion, having been established by various settlers with different backgrounds in belief. The Thirteen Colonies are considered the key players in the formation of the United States of America as the nation it is known today.
The French and Indian War, or the war between Great Britain and France in the North America in the mid-18th century, served to strengthen British colonization upon the defeat of their main rivals. This was also called the Seven Years' War. On the other hand, it also served to strengthen the bond among the Thirteen Colonies, precipitating their political organization and integration. One of the biggest grievances of the colonists against Britain was the imposition of taxes, which particularly started with the Stamp Act of 1765 to recoup the costs of British victory during the Seven Years' War.
All these factors led to one of the most important and seminal events in American history known as the Boston Tea Party. This is another vital piece of information in American history that is highlighted in the science and social studies curriculum of the US education system. The Boston Tea Party in 1773 was an act of defiance from the colonists against what they felt was the excessive imposition of taxes by the British parliament. While the taxed tea was returned to Britain by other colonies, in Boston, Massachusetts, a shipload of taxed tea was not disembarked but the Royal Governor refused to return the shipment as well. Protesters responded by dumping the tea into the harbor and destroying them.
This pivotal event in American history is what fortified the Thirteen Colonies to resist British rule and formalize their grievances, convening the First Continental Congress. With little progress achieved with their grievances, the colonists proceeded to convene the Second Continental Congress and fought the British in the American Revolutionary War beginning 1775, and proclaiming their independence as the United States of America on July 4, 1776.
There are four, to wit, a permanent population, a defined territory, government or a political authority, and a capacity to enter into relations with the other states. Putting this into the context of California, this state has a permanent population. There are people in California who have established a permanent residency therein. The first element is therefore present.
The second element of a state is a defined territory. What the law means when it says defined territory is a piece of land located on the surface of the earth that can be identified from other parts by metes and bounds or by reference to something else. This is definitely present in California. Even as one looks at the map of the USA, there is a line defining where the area of California begins and ends.
The third element is the government or political authority. The United States is a federal government where though the Central Government has the greatest power; it has validly devolved most of these powers to the locality. Thus California has its own government, and its own executive, legislative and judicial branch.
The fourth element, the capacity to enter into relations with the other states, yes, California has that capacity.
After knowing the elements of a state, the answer to the question "Why Are There States in America?" is closer. The USA is huge country, that is in terms of land area and population. When it opted to adapt the federal form of governance, what it did is devolution of power from the central government to the local government. This is a necessary move. One central government, having one judiciary, legislative and executive body will not be able to handle a big country like the USA. It is simply impossible to do without having to risk civil war and anarchy.
Being a federal government, it passed on the governance bestowed upon the central government to the local government. As above stated, governance is one of the elements of being a state. Thus each of those 52 places in the US having a permanent population, territory, government and incidentally relation to each other, each of the 52 has the basic qualification of becoming a state. As to the why, allowing each to be a state after acquiring the 4 elements, will give it autonomy and a greater sense of belongingness and a deeper feeling of being part of a society. This is the more logical way to go.
Why Are There States In America? This has been answered. And having these states, one will see that every state has been accomplished and successful. Each state was able to focus on developing itself, earning its own revenue and deciding how it will use this revenue to improve the state and make a better life for its inhabitants.
Websites For Learning All About the United States of America
- America's Story
- A Biography of America
- Great American Speeches
- History of America: 1780
- Today in History
- The United States of America Chronology
- USA Encyclopedia: 1840-1960