U.S. state

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A U.S. state is any one of the fifty states (four of which officially favor the term commonwealth) which, together with the District of Columbia and Palmyra Atoll (an uninhabited incorporated unorganized territory), form the United States of America. The separate state governments and the U.S. federal government share sovereignty, in that an "American" is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of residence.

The United States Constitution allocates power between the two levels of government in general terms; the general idea is that by ratifying the Constitution, each state has transferred certain aspects of its sovereign powers to the federal government while retaining the remainder for itself. The tasks of education, health, transportation, and other infrastructure are generally the responsibility of the states.

Over time, the Constitution has been amended, and the interpretation and application of its provisions have changed. The general tendency has been toward centralization, with the federal government playing a much larger role than it once did.



(Note: Alaska and Hawaii not shown to scale.)

Map of USA with state names

List of states

The states, with their U.S. postal abbreviations, traditional abbreviations, and capitals, are as follows. For a complete list of non-state dependent areas and other territory under control of the U.S., see United States dependent areas.

Postal Traditional State Capital Largest City
AL Ala. Alabama Montgomery Birmingham
AK AAA Alaska Juneau Anchorage
AZ Ariz. Arizona Phoenix Phoenix
AR Ark. Arkansas Little Rock Little Rock
CA Calif. California Sacramento Los Angeles
CO Colo. Colorado Denver Denver
CT Conn. Connecticut Hartford Bridgeport
DE Del. Delaware Dover Wilmington
FL Fla. Florida Tallahassee Jacksonville
GA Ga. Georgia Atlanta Atlanta
HI Hawaii Hawaii Honolulu Honolulu
ID Idaho Idaho Boise Boise
IL Ill. Illinois Springfield Chicago
IN Ind. Indiana Indianapolis Indianapolis
IA Ia. Iowa Des Moines Des Moines
KS Kan. or Kans. Kansas Topeka Wichita
KY Ky. Kentucky Frankfort Louisville
LA La. Louisiana Baton Rouge Baton Rouge
ME Maine Maine Augusta Portland
MD Md. Maryland Annapolis Baltimore
MA Mass. Massachusetts Boston Boston
MI Mich. Michigan Lansing Detroit
MN Minn. Minnesota Saint Paul Minneapolis
MS Miss. Mississippi Jackson Jackson
MO Mo. Missouri Jefferson City St. Louis
MT Mont. Montana Helena Billings
NE Neb. Nebraska Lincoln Omaha
NV Nev. Nevada Carson City Las Vegas
NH N.H. New Hampshire Concord Manchester
NJ N.J. New Jersey Trenton Newark
NM N.M. New Mexico Santa Fe Albuquerque
NY N.Y. New York Albany New York City
NC N.C. North Carolina Raleigh Charlotte
ND N.D. or N.Dak. North Dakota Bismarck Fargo
OH Ohio Ohio Columbus Columbus
OK Okla. Oklahoma Oklahoma City Oklahoma City
OR Ore. or Oreg. Oregon Salem Portland
PA Pa. or Penna. Pennsylvania Harrisburg Philadelphia
RI R.I. Rhode Island Providence Providence
SC S.C. South Carolina Columbia Columbia
SD S.D. or S.Dak. South Dakota Pierre Sioux Falls
TN Tenn. Tennessee Nashville Memphis
TX Tex. or Texas Texas Austin Houston
UT Utah Utah Salt Lake City Salt Lake City
VT Vt. Vermont Montpelier Burlington
VA Va. Virginia Richmond Virginia Beach
WA Wash. Washington Olympia Seattle
WV W.Va. West Virginia Charleston Charleston
WI Wis. or Wisc. Wisconsin Madison Milwaukee
WY Wyo. Wyoming Cheyenne Cheyenne

Legal relationship

At the time of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain in 1776, the 13 colonies became 13 independently sovereign states, which became 14 in 1777 with the formation of the Vermont Republic; for a brief period, they were in effect legally separate nations. But upon the adoption of the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, the states became a single sovereign political entity as defined by international law, empowered to levy war and to conduct international relations, albeit with a very loosely structured and inefficient central government. After the failure of the union under the Articles of Confederation, the 13 states joined the modern union via ratification of the United States Constitution, beginning in 1789.

Under Article IV of the Constitution, which outlines the relationship between the states, the Congress has the power to admit new states to the union. The states are required to give "full faith and credit" to the acts of each other's legislatures and courts, which is generally held to include the recognition of legal contracts, marriages, criminal judgments, and - at the time - slave status. The states are guaranteed military and civil defense by the federal government, which is also obligated to ensure that the government of each state remains a republic.

The Constitution is silent on the issue of the secession of a state from the union. The Articles of Confederation had stated that the earlier union of the colonies "shall be perpetual", and the preamble to the Constitution states that Constitution was intended to "form a more perfect union". In 1860 and 1861, several states attempted to secede, but were brought back into the Union by force of arms during the Civil War. Subsequently, the federal judicial system, in the case of Texas v. White, established that states do not have the right to secede without the consent of the other states.

Various facts about the states

Grouping of the states in regions

U.S. Census Bureau regions:The West, The Midwest, The South and The Northeast
U.S. Census Bureau regions:
The West, The Midwest, The South and The Northeast

States may be grouped in regions; there are endless variations and possible groupings, as most states are not defined by obvious geographic or cultural borders. For further discussion of regions of the U.S., see the list of regions of the United States.

See also

U.S. state lists
  Capitals | Capitols | Largest cities | Date of statehood | Never territories | Name etymologies | Area  
Elevation | Population | Population density | Postal abbreviations | Time zone
   Traditional abbreviation | Unemployment rate | Current and former capitals | State insignia   
United States

External links

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