USA. The election year began with a primary election in the Republican Party. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was the best, even though he appeared most as a compromise candidate. No other candidate succeeded in gaining more support, and it became clear that he was going to challenge Barack Obama in the presidential election. The Democrats held no primary elections; as incumbent president, Obama was given as the party’s candidate.
A shooting death in Florida in February raised questions about racial profiling and state laws that give far-reaching right to self-defense. A security guard in a residential area shot dead an unarmed black 17-year-old and was then released by police without investigation after claiming he acted in self-defense. The case caused a storm of protest. Six weeks later, the guard was arrested and charged with murder.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: Provides most commonly used acronyms and abbreviations for United States. Also includes location map, major cities, and country overview.
The Supreme Court came in June with a ruling that many saw as the most important in decades due to the political explosiveness of the issue. The Court found that the disputed health insurance reform of 2010, “Obamacare”, was constitutional with the exception of certain details. Above all, the court approved the most disputed part: the law’s requirement for individual individuals to obtain health insurance. The decision, which was taken with the voting numbers 5-4, was seen as a huge success for Obama. Republicans vowed to tear up reform in victory in the fall election.
Before the party convention in August, Romney appointed Congressman Paul Ryan as its vice presidential candidate. Ryan was seen as very conservative and was believed to strengthen Romney’s position among host conservative voters far out on the right.
Romney was battling headwinds, despite Republicans having reason to hope that the continued weak economy would impede Obama’s reelection. Unemployment remained above 8% – a high figure in the US – and the economic recovery was slow. Romney portrayed himself as a successful businessman who was better placed than Obama to save the economy. The Democrats, in turn, portrayed Romney as a greedy multi-millionaire, far from ordinary people and their everyday lives.
At the end of October, Hurricane Sandy swept over the East Coast, one of the more severe storms of modern times that hit the country. Over 130 people were killed and the major floods caused enormous material damage. Thousands of people in New York City got through for weeks without electricity, and gasoline rationing was introduced. President Obama was considered to handle the crisis well, which was supposed to strengthen his position before the election.
The result of the November 6 election gave a largely unchanged political position. Obama was re-elected, his party retained control of the Senate while Republicans also remained in the House of Representatives majority. Obama received 50.7% of the vote and 332 of the 538 electoral votes in the indirect election, which decides who becomes the country’s head of state and government. In Congress, Democrats increased slightly in both chambers. In three states, voters said yes to gay marriage, and in two states to legalize cannabis.
A political scandal ensued in the days following the election, when CIA chief David Petraeus resigned after it was discovered that he had had an extramarital affair with a woman who wrote a biography of him. Petraeus, former commander in Iraq and Afghanistan, was believed to have exposed the country to a security risk through the deal. A long-winded tangle was discovered that also involved Petraeus’s successor in Afghanistan, John Allen, who came under investigation for “inappropriate” email correspondence with another woman.
Soon, there were also allegations that Petraeus’s departure was part of an attempt to lay dim curtains about an attack on the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi in September, when the US ambassador and three other Americans were killed. The attack was first said to be part of a spontaneous demonstration against a film that blamed Islam, but turned out to have been a planned Islamist act. Republicans accused the White House of misleading the public on the issue.
The debate over the country’s liberal gun laws flared up again in December, after a young man shot dead 26 people – including 20 low-school children – at a school in Newtown, Connecticut. The offender also took his own life and his motives remained unknown.
Towards the end of the year, the gaze was directed at the so-called budget halt that was expected at the turn of the year and would automatically mean that tax cuts were abolished and budgetary restrictions entered into force unless Congress reached a new settlement. The effect was predicted to be devastating in the already weak economy in the US and the world. The ideological differences were obvious: Republicans did not want to see any increased taxes or reduced appropriations for the defense, Democrats opposed cuts in support for unemployed and low-income earners. However, a compromise was reached at the last moment.
Within the present-day United States, the first real permanent settlement was thought to have taken place in Virginia in 1607. It was the British, but also a few Dutch and a group of Swedes, who colonized the East Coast, and the northern area was named New England. Scots, Irish and Germans followed, and from the beginning of the 1700’s, the importation of Negro slaves from Africa began, to what had now become an increasingly flourishing agricultural culture in the southern states. However, the really large immigration flow only took place in the 19th century – still mainly from Northern Europe, but also increasingly from Southern and Eastern Europe.
From 1820 to 1877, a total of 48 million people immigrated to the United States, according to. the official statistics – the real figure is probably higher – and 75.3% of these came from Europe. 15% were Germans, over 10% British and almost as many came from Ireland. About 1.8% of all US immigrants – approx. 855,000 – came from Norway, and compared to the population in the home country, only Ireland has given a larger percentage of its population to the colonization of the United States. Relatively few – 4.6% – came from Asia – primarily Japan and China.
Immigration has also been high from other countries in America – Canada approx. 9% and Mexico 4%. Here, however, the statistics are rather inaccurate. It has e.g. extensive illegal immigration from Mexico took place. Especially since World War II, this illegal immigration has been exploited by the large farmers in the southwestern United States to obtain cheap labor from people who do not dare to organize themselves or impose other basic requirements of horror to be deported.
The immigration laws implemented in the 1920’s clearly aimed to preserve the northern European character of the United States and prevent the continued immigration of other ethnic groups and colored people. The law was based on the 1890 census and set quotas for individual countries in proportion to their share of the United States population. This led to a drastic decline in immigration from Asia and southern and eastern Europe. The quotas were maintained with some changes until 1968. Then the country switched to a framework system, which distributed an immigration number of about 300,000 per year. years in the Western and Eastern Hemisphere – with special rights for those who already had family in the country.
Various categories of political refugees have become an important group among the new immigrants. The best access has been enjoyed by refugees from Castro’s Cuba and the United States’ former allies in South Vietnam. Haitians who fled the US-backed Papa and Baby Doc dictatorship in Haiti were far more difficult in obtaining refugee status and residence permits.
The great immigration has created the notion of the new United States as something unique, where all the nation’s new citizens throw away their local background and join a new unity. «Germans, French, Irish and Englishmen, Jews and Russians – up in the crucible with them all! God creates the American, ”it said in a 1908 North American play about immigration to the United States. (See Assimilation)
This melting pot performance gained full effect after the mass immigration from southern and eastern Europe began in the 19th century. There was no doubt that the North American who was to be created in the crucible was a person similar to the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP). It was the Northern European way of life, especially the British and Germans had brought with them, which was adapted to the new conditions in the United States. This way of life had dominated the nation’s development with its reluctance towards the old European privilege societies and with its strong belief in its own superiority.
The mass immigration of Russians, Czechs, Turks, Poles, Italians and Greeks became a challenge to the established WASP culture. Many of the immigrants did not speak English, but Slavic languages, Yiddish or Romani. They were not Protestants, but Catholics or Jews. They paid tribute to family solidarity over individualism. They did not travel into the “wilderness” alone. They sought contact with relatives and compatriots and settled in groups by origin and nationality. These new disparate immigrant groups were inferior to the WASP culture and had to be “melted down”. But US opportunities to melt them were limited.
Today, over 20 million North Americans still do not have English as their mother tongue. Over half of these are actually born in the US and 15% of them are born to parents who are also born in the US! Even today, there is a clear ethnic unity in the “Chinatowns”, “Little Italys” and “Little Polands” of the US metropolitan cities. Perhaps this unity was especially evident among the Jews, who systematically settled in the big cities where they maintained their religion and stood together against the discrimination they encountered – including in the United States.
The US colored population has always been outside the melting pot myth: Indians have been predominantly isolated in reserves in the US’s most isolated and poorest areas. As part of the large internal migration from the agricultural areas of the South, the black residents of the United States have been sought out for family and friends in the big city ghettos. The newly arrived poor are always in the slums of the big city. In 1963, for example. 70% of white students in the schools in metropolitan Los Angeles. The rest were black or colored. By the beginning of the 1980’s, the white percentage had been reduced to 28%, while Mexican-Americans constituted 42% and blacks 24% of students. The rest were immigrants from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Japan and Vietnam.
Among the later immigrants with great ethnic solidarity, the Jews occupy a special position because of their relatively large political influence – especially in terms of US policy in the Middle East. The Jews have traditionally supported the Democratic Party and, in most respects, have been liberal and radical – apart from everything to do with Israel. Since the 1960’s, however, middle-class Jews have become more conservative. They have come more in opposition to the black groups, which in the 1960’s were a natural partner in the civil rights movement, but who have been increasingly positive about Islam since the 1970’s. As the North American Jews live so collectively, they constitute an influential minority in a few key states. In the state of New York, for example. over two million North American Jews.
According to countryaah, the population of United States in 2012 was 320,878,199, ranking number 3 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.760% yearly, and the population density was 35.0786 people per km2.