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Engraving of “Battle of Buena Vista” published in “Lives of the Presidents of the United States of America, From Washington to the Nowadays Time” past John S.C. Abbott in 1867. Photo Courtesy: iStock

There are 50 states in the United states of America, simply that wasn’t always the instance. Elementary schoolhouse students in the early 1950s would take said that there were only 48, and there are activists in the 2020s who want the reply to be 52.

It would seem that existence or not being a state wouldn’t be such a complicated concept. You may know the story of Manifest Destiny. First, there were 13 colonies. Then, settlers kept moving farther and further west to clear unsettled country.

Nowadays, there is growing understanding of the violence, deportation, and genocide of Ethnic peoples that occurred as part of the “manifest destiny” story, and in that location is growing back up for the Land Back motion. Additionally, many of the states that are at present role of the U.S. used to be part of other sovereign nation states, and became office of the US through colonial and neocolonial practices. Here are some more controversial stories of how states became part of the U.s..

The Mexican-American State of war Shaped the Southwest

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Take you lot e’er wondered why southwestern states take so many Castilian names for towns and landmarks? The answer is that they were in one case a part of Mexico. In 1845, President James K. Polk sought a meeting with the President of United mexican states. It was his intention to offer to buy Texas and a lot of other land, currently known as much of the southwestern U.S., for $xxx million. Mexico’s President, José Joaquín Herrera, heard about the plan and turned down Polk’s request for a coming together. President Herrera had no intentions of selling. President Polk responded past sending American soldiers to occupy all of the then Mexican-endemic lands he wanted to buy. In response, at that place was a modest battle between Mexican and American forces.

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President Polk declared the resulting deaths of American soldiers to be an deed of war because information technology happened on American soil. Congress approved starting a war, merely in that location was controversy fifty-fifty amongst American politicians. Some pointed out that America had really been the aggressor because the boxing happened on state that nonetheless belonged to United mexican states. After all, an understanding to purchase the country was never reached.

This chain of events set off the Mexican-American War, which lasted for four years. The war concluded with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. After the war, relations between the U.S. and Mexico were even so contentious, to say the least. This is the directly reason that parts of Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, California, Utah, and California are now parts of the Us. The Gadsen Purchase, another outcome of post-state of war diplomacy, is too the reason for parts of Arizona and New United mexican states’s statehood.

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In the 1800s, Hawaii was its ain nation, and a royal monarchy ruled it. There were decades of history betwixt the United States and Hawaii working together on sure endeavors for the common benefit of both neighboring nations.

During Queen Liliuokalani’s reign, a Congressional Act was passed to force Hawaii’s mitt, declaring that Hawaiian sugar would only exist lucrative for foreign carbohydrate farmers from America and Europe if Hawaii were part of America. Otherwise, they would stand to lose considerable profits.

This resulting economic turmoil prepare the stage for a group of American sugar planters to revolt against the monarchy and found an contained republic of their own. This insurrection was supported by the U.Southward. war machine, who was involved in the operation because of U.S. profit motives. Although President Cleveland expressed his discomfort with what was happening in Hawaii, he did non intervene. Eventually, Hawaii, so named the Republic of Hawaii by those who overthrew the monarchy, was annexed equally U.S. territory. Hawaii became a country in 1959.

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The Colonization of Puerto Rico

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America gained the territory of Puerto Rico through the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Spanish-American War. Today, Puerto Rico has a governor, and the U.Southward. territory even has its own political parties that are notably different from the major political parties in the continental United States. Since Puerto Rico is recognized as a Commonwealth of America, the isle chain has its ain taxes and elections.

Politically speaking, Puerto Rico is a very odd case. Although Puerto Ricans are recognized as American citizens, they cannot vote in American elections. In America’due south Congress and among Puerto Rican citizens, the issue of statehood is a hotly debated one. Many liberal American activists advocate for Puerto Rican statehood, as Puerto Rico would be a reliably blue land. At the same time, many native Puerto Ricans are fighting for full independence from America.

Guam’s Quest for Independence

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Guam is another one of the territories caused past America through the Treaty of Paris. Guam and Puerto Rico are vestiges of a mode of colonization that many people in the modern era would take offense to. There is a political movement in Guam to become an contained nation.

Equally a U.South. territory, people in Guam have dual citizenship in both Guam and America. Guamanians pay taxes to the Guamanian authorities, and Guam has its own elections. Yet, Guam is notwithstanding subject to many laws passed in the American Congress in which it has no representatives with voting ability.

D.C. Statehood

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The DC in Washington DC stands for the District of Columbia. Prior to the signing of the Constitution, part of this Commune was part of Virginia, and the other role was role of Maryland. The Constitution created Washington DC every bit the seat of America’s government. The concept of “no taxation without representation” was a big role of why America fought for independence from United kingdom, then it was important to the Founding Fathers to have the seat of regime in a neutral non-state that would not have representation in Congress.

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Sharing some similarities with the assertions of Puerto Ricans and Guamanians, some residents of Washington DC take issue with the fact that they practise not accept representatives in Congress. Notwithstanding, the actions of Congress still affect the residents of the Commune simply as they practice residents of other states.

The path to becoming a state was not ever as clear-cut as moving west and clearing country. Of grade, this land was ever occupied by indigenous populations and the American challenge of that state was a violent human action (the violence of which continues to this day). And some of the states that have go function of America were taken from other sovereign nation states. The journey to statehood for many areas included bloodshed on battlefields and political agreements that would face up a lot of scrutiny by today’due south standards. While some lands became states confronting the wishes of some of their residents, there are ironically several areas today that lack statehood despite the wishes of some residents. How many states are there in the Us? That’s a loaded question!


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