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  • This is a video by RealLifeLore done in a collaboration with Wendover Productions.

  • What is a country?

  • The traditional definition is a state with sovereignty over a geographic area

  • with a permanent population, defined territory, one government,

  • and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states.

  • So does the United States perfectly match this description?

  • And, perhaps even more importantly, what exactly is the United States?

  • When you say the words "United States of America",

  • You sort of assume the country is in America.

  • But that's not really the case

  • America means the continents of North and South America

  • But only 99.5 percent of the United States of America is actually located here

  • and 1.6 percent of all Americans live outside of America

  • Most of this non American, yet still American land is located on islands in both the Caribbean and Pacific.

  • In the Pacific, we have Hawaii, which is the only state out of 50 to be located outside of America

  • And a bunch of other islands that together make up something called US Territory

  • Territories are part of the US and are divided between Incorporated and Unincorporated territory

  • But they are all directly governed by Congress,

  • which means that they are essentially ruled by what the 50 states decide.

  • All without any representation for themselves and without the ability to even vote for president

  • The furthest away of these territories is Guam, which is a little chunk of America 3,633 miles away from the nearest state, Hawaii

  • And 7,912 miles away from the US Capital building, where the laws governing the island are decided

  • There are 160,000 people who live on Guam and there are 4 other island territories with people on them

  • The Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, The US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico

  • There are 8 other islands scattered around there too, but nobody lives on those, so they're not really that important

  • The US Constitution only partially applies in all of these territories which is getting more and more awkward all the time

  • In a place like Puerto Rico which has a higher population than these 21 actual states

  • Puerto Rico may very well someday in the future actually become the 51st state

  • But a place that likely won't anytime soon is this tiny island in the middle of nowhere in the Pacific

  • This is Palmyra Atoll, home of nobody, but the only incorporated territory of the United States, meaning that the US Constitution fully applies here

  • And anybody born here for whatever reason automatically becomes a US citizen

  • Weirdly, the person who is given the right to administer this island

  • is the U.S. President, which I am sure is probably very high on the list of Presidential things to be doing.

  • The President also has to worry about some U.S. land that is contested with other countries.

  • like these two uninhabited islands covered in bird poop that are claimed by Colombia

  • or these islands off the coast of Maine that are claimed by both the U.S. and Canada

  • which strangely means if you were to give birth on either of them your child would automatically gain both american and canadian citizenship

  • and perhaps most controversially of all

  • this piece of land in Cuba called Guantanamo Bay

  • its actually not a small space

  • Guantanamo Bay is larger than five UN recognized sovereign states

  • and it is about the same size as the island of Jersey

  • between England and France

  • Cuba has laid claim to the territory ever since 1959

  • but the United States has so far decided to keep it instead.

  • Now that's all of America that isn't actually located in America

  • but what about the other 99.5% of the country that we have been neglecting so far

  • Well.. that would be the 49 states then make up the rest of the United States along with Hawaii

  • The states have the power to elect representatives that are sent to congress which creates laws for the entire union

  • the individual states are granted a considerable amount of power on their own by congress

  • and they share this power with the federal or the national goverenment

  • the state and federal government are both allowed to pass their own separate laws which has

  • caused a huge amount of trouble in the nation's past over which laws are more valid

  • the civil war answered the question once and for all though however

  • federal law always wins over state law

  • the civil war also decided that states never have the right to leave the union

  • once they have joined even today

  • so a state could actually vote to leave the union but it would not ever be recognized by the federal government

  • states also cannot ever declare a federal law to be invalid

  • but they can kind of get around that by legalizing things that the federal government has declared illegal

  • The most famous instance of this is Marijuana

  • which continues to be illegal everywhere in the United States on the federal level.

  • but has been fully legalized for all uses in the states of

  • Nevada

  • Maine

  • Colorado

  • Washington

  • California

  • Massachusetts

  • Alaska

  • and Oregon

  • Since federal law always wins over state law

  • The federal government could in theory, at any time, enter any of these states with federal law enforcement

  • and arrest the hundreds of thousands of people participating in legal state laws but illegal federal laws

  • The only reason why they haven't yet is just because they've decided that it isn't worth their time

  • But if states can ignore federal law or even legalize things that are technically illegal

  • Then what does it say about our definition of a country particularly the sovereignty part

  • Further how many people in states identify more with their own individual state

  • over the actual country of the United States?

  • Despite how we just discussed earlier the illegality of secession

  • the states that continued to have active separatist movement regardless of that are

  • Alaska, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Vermont, New Hampshire

  • the former Confederate States of America

  • and most famously, Texas

  • The only remotely significant ones however are: Texas, Hawaii, and probably biggest of all, Alaska.

  • where the Alaska Independence Party is currently polling at around 6% of the population

  • and even got their candidate elected governor of the state back in 1990

  • And finally, there is one more significant way that you can challenge the definition of a country

  • in regards to the United States

  • The defined territory part that we went over in the beginning

  • This map leaves out the numerous American Indian reservations located within the U.S. of which there are 326

  • Many of them are very small but 12 reservations are actually larger than the state of Rhode Island

  • And the biggest one, the Navajo Nation reservation, is about the same size as West Virginia

  • or Latvia for the Europeans watching this video

  • and has a population of nearly 200,000 people

  • Together, this reservations have a population of over 1 million people

  • and take up a space the size of Idaho or a little larger than Belarus

  • These reservations are granted something called Tribal Sovereignty

  • which gives them the rights to govern themselves within the territory of the United States

  • The federal government recognizes these reservations sort of like independent countries

  • calling them officially "Domestic Dependent Nations"

  • They have jurisdiction over their own land and can pass laws separate or even in violation of both state and federal laws

  • which is why the largest casino in the world is located on one of these reservations in Oklahoma

  • despite the fact that gambling is illegal in Oklahoma

  • You can gamble anywhere on the territory or the reservation

  • but as soon as you step off back into state territory, it suddenly becomes instantly illegal again

  • Reservations sometimes even have their own court, their own police forces

  • elect their own president and even lead foreign delegations abroad as representatives not of the United States

  • but of the reservation

  • Therefore you could actually really draw the United States to look like this if you took out all American Indian reservations

  • which are extremely independent anyway

  • But all of the remaining states can have their own unique laws and even disregard some federal laws that are passed by Congress

  • So the only territory that is 100% governed by the federal government

  • is this city of Washington D.C., which isn't a part of any state and the islands that make up the US territories

  • So that really begs the question again, what exactly is the United States

  • and is the United States actually a country?

  • So the European Union is actually a lot like the United States

  • They are both composed of a bunch of different states,

  • they both have open borders, they each have a common currency, a sential government with representative from the different states

  • The only big difference is that the United States is a country

  • And the European Union is made up of countries.

  • So I made a video over at my channel

  • Wendover Productions

  • answering the question: Is the European Union a country?

  • Ok, so go ahead and check out Wendover Productions' video next.

  • If you enjoyed this video about the United States

  • then you'll certainly enjoy his video about the European Union

  • I hope that you'll subscribe to my channel by clicking here. You can visit my Patreon and receive cool rewards, like voting on on future video topics, by clicking over here.

  • And as always, thank you so much for watching.

  • ♫♫

This is a video by RealLifeLore done in a collaboration with Wendover Productions.

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B1 federal united territory state america federal government

Is the United States a Country?

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    むなかた じゅん posted on 2017/01/09
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