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
有常住的人口 确定的疆界 唯一的政府
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
大部分这些不在美洲范围 但仍属于美国的领土的地区 位于加勒比海和太平洋的岛屿上
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 3633 miles away from the nearest state,Hawaii
关岛距离美国国会大厦 即制定法律以管理这个小岛的地方 有7912英里
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
即北马里亚纳群岛 美属萨摩亚群岛 美属维尔京群岛和波多黎各
The Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, The US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico
另外还有8个岛屿分散在此 但是由于无人居住 所以它们并没有那么重要
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
无论出于什么原因 任何一个在这里出生的人 都会自动成为美国公民
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
但是我们目前所忽略的 美国其他99.5%的地区 又是怎样的呢
but what about the other 99.5% of the country that we have been neglecting so far
Well.. that would be the 49 states that 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
过去 “谁制定的法律更有效” 这一问题给国家带来了巨大的麻烦
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
Alaska and Oregon
Since federal law always wins over state law
理论上 联邦政府可以在任何时间 进入任何州 运用联邦法律执法
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
但是 如果州能够忽视联邦法律 或者合法化法理上非法的事物
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
阿拉斯加州 夏威夷州 加利福利亚州 俄勒冈州 华盛顿州 弗蒙特州 新罕不什尔州
Alaska, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Vermont, New Hampshire
the former Confederate States of America
and most famously, Texas
可是地处偏远且较有影响的仅有：德克萨斯州 夏威夷州 以及阿拉斯加 这也许是三者当中最大的
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
最大的有 瓦霍瓦民族保留地 大小相当于西弗吉尼亚州或
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
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
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