Talk:United States

Page contents not supported in other languages.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Former good articleUnited States was one of the Geography and places good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Did You KnowOn this day... Article milestones
December 15, 2005Good article nomineeListed
May 7, 2006Featured article candidateNot promoted
May 8, 2006Featured article candidateNot promoted
May 18, 2006Peer reviewReviewed
July 3, 2006Featured article candidateNot promoted
September 21, 2006Peer reviewReviewed
October 19, 2006Featured article candidateNot promoted
June 19, 2007Featured article candidateNot promoted
July 9, 2008Good article reassessmentKept
June 27, 2009Featured article candidateNot promoted
September 6, 2009Peer reviewReviewed
January 19, 2011Peer reviewReviewed
March 18, 2012Good article reassessmentDelisted
August 10, 2012Good article nomineeNot listed
January 21, 2015Good article nomineeListed
February 22, 2020Good article reassessmentDelisted
December 19, 2020Peer reviewReviewed
Did You Know A fact from this article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "Did you know?" column on February 3, 2015.
The text of the entry was: Did you know ... that the United States accounts for 37% of all global military spending?
On this day... A fact from this article was featured on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "On this day..." column on July 4, 2008.
Current status: Delisted good article

Article written by a New Yorker?[edit]

Articles seems to have be written by someone in New York as its mentioned 65 times, let alone Manhattan being mentioned 6 times. (talk) 19:02, 29 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Given that New York is the largest city by population in the United States and the US center of both publishing and finance, it should hardly be surprising that it is mentioned frequently in this article. Also, you seem to be including the names of publications (e.g., New York Times) and the appearances of New York as a location within references (see above re: publishing). There are actually closer to 20 mentions of the city itself in this article. General Ization Talk 19:20, 29 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The notion that one New Yorker wrote or substantially wrote this article is incorrect. Over 5000 editors have contributed to this article, and 48 of them have made 100 or more edits. This is a highly collaborative article. Cullen328 (talk) 19:34, 29 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I also think the count does not differentiate between the city and the state, which would inflate the number. Shoreranger (talk) 13:44, 8 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
United Kingdom mentions London 38 times. TFD (talk) 11:48, 31 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Excellent response. Shoreranger (talk) 21:25, 5 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's a valid observation, though. Outside of lists or references, the top 5 largest cities as stated in the article are mentioned:

  1. New York: 24 times
  2. Los Angeles: 4 times
  3. Chicago: 0 times
  4. Dallas: 0 times
  5. Houston: 1 time

Manhattan, a borough of New York City, is also discussed or mentioned an additional 7 times, more than any major city.

On a related note, I'm gathering sources to do the Fashion section which was originally added mainly about New York. Feel free to use any of these:[1][2][3][4][5]


  1. ^ Gunn, Tim (2012). Tim Gunn's fashion bible : the fascinating history of everything in your closet. New York : Gallery Books. ISBN 978-1-4516-4385-5.
  2. ^ Ilchi, Layla (13 May 2021). "Who Is Halston? Everything to Know About the Iconic Fashion Designer and His Legacy". WWD.
  3. ^ Nast, Condé (14 January 2021). "The United States of Fashion". Vogue.
  4. ^ Nast, Condé (12 February 2015). "How America Can Win the Fashion Cold War". Vanity Fair.
  5. ^ Nast, Condé (12 February 2015). "How America Can Win the Fashion Cold War". Vanity Fair.

Regards, Rjjiii (talk) 19:36, 29 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As I recall, Chicago_school_(architecture) was mentioned in the article before it was removed in an overzealous machete swipe. Another approach would be to mention redlining.-- SashiRolls 🌿 · 🍥 20:32, 29 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Chicago school of economics, [1]. The article could use a single clear sentence that explicitly lays out segregation, Jim Crow laws (in the south), and redlining (in northern cities like Chicago), maybe right after reference [110]. I don't think much needs to be added to the article though; it's inching back towards 10,000 words. A chunk of the New York stuff comes from images and asides, like the bit about Mormonism. Rjjiii (talk) 22:10, 29 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is the modification which removed the Chicago school of architecture and replaced it with a picture of a New York building. -- SashiRolls 🌿 · 🍥 22:56, 29 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've added a single, clear sentence. It may be a bit dense. Feel free to tweak it. -- SashiRolls 🌿 · 🍥 00:58, 30 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've also reworked the aside about Mormonism into something more historically relevant. In the process I looked at trying to remove the PoV that keeps popping back into the religion section, and found a misrepresented source. None of this has all that much to do with the NY bias... on that score it's surprising that neither Baltimore nor New Orleans are mentioned, given their historical importance. -- SashiRolls 🌿 · 🍥 17:05, 30 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But far less current importance. TFD (talk) 11:50, 31 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Perhaps, though when the levees on Lake Pontchartrain broke in 2005 it was quite a notable catastrophe (as was Harvey in Houston a few years later). Baltimore is surely at least notable for "The Star-Spangled Banner" and The Wire. :) 15:33, 31 December 2023 (UTC)


This might not be the right department since I could not find a phone number. I am originally from Maryland. I was given a bible about 50 years ago dates 1894 found a brochure or pamphlet in in in excellent condition with the company of Pretzincer’s Gatarrh Balm company on it 8 pages. It’s been in my closet for many years. I’m donating the Bible but contents I am not. Would like to find the interesting home. This is history and would like it to go home. Julie 2601:547:1200:5850:4CD4:1C56:B48D:A33A (talk) 18:33, 21 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikimedia Commons is apt to host such things. You might ask at their help desk. You might also consider listing it on eBay, where a similar such pamphlet, rather dog-eared at that, is listed for $95 (but that's not necessarily indicative of its real value). Note that the proper spelling is Pretzinger's Catarrh Balm. Possibly the most relevant article Wikipedia itself has is on the company founder's Dayton house. Dhtwiki (talk) 05:45, 23 January 2024 (UTC) (edited 05:47, 23 January 2024 (UTC))Reply[reply]

Extended-confirmed-protected edit request on 25 January 2024[edit]

Change 'though' to 'through' in the education section. "The United States tertiary education is primarily THOUGH the state university system" Dhuibhshithe (talk) 03:57, 25 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

 Done RudolfRed (talk) 05:17, 25 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

POW/MIA Flag in info box[edit]

@Illegitimate Barrister added the National League of Families POW/MIA flag to the infobox, under the logic that it is a quasi second national flag, being flown at many federal buildings. I removed it, under the logic that it was too big of a change to be made without discussing on the talk page.

So, should this flag be in the infobox or not? MRN2electricboogaloo (talk) 21:47, 27 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Negative it is a small political action group that has a very narrow focus. Rjensen (talk) 22:19, 27 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Definitely no. Many "awareness" flags go up at federal and state buildings on special days. Making these into national symbols of the U.S. in the WP inbox is unjustified. Mason.Jones (talk) 17:35, 28 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oppose. I appreciate that a citation was given, yet looking at the actual USC here, there is no evidence that the flag in question has the same status as the flag currently in the infobox. Orange Suede Sofa (talk) 07:04, 29 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oppose, The flag is not recognized in any manner as "Official", thus it lacks the status to be featured on the infobox.-Samoht27 (talk) 17:35, 20 Febuary 2024 (UTC) Samoht27 (talk) 17:36, 20 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Extended-confirmed-protected edit request on 29 January 2024[edit]

Update of inaccurate percentage US land area covered by water from 4.66 to 7 percent.

Back calculating the area using the land area minus total US area (both of which are shown right next to this in the article) contradicts the 4.66 % figure. Additionally there are sources giving the more accurate figure.,territorial%20waters%20along%20the%20coast.

Thanks, hope this helps :)) EditorJack99 (talk) 13:39, 29 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

 Done While Statista is not generally considered a reliable source for Wikipedia, I was able to find a table from the USGS which not only confirms the 7.0% figure but is more recent than the previous source, and so I've updated the infobox accordingly. Regards, Orange Suede Sofa (talk) 00:33, 30 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Are unincorporated territories indisputably part of the United States?[edit]

On Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (geographic names), User:Mercy11 said the intro to this article is incorrect in that it says unincorporated territories are part of what constitutes the United States. User:The Eloquent Peasant pointed out that the Britannica entry for United States says something different; it says US territories are "political units in association with the United States". If our article is incorrect, it should obviously be fixed. If our article is correct, the fact that this claim has been challenged says to me it needs to be better supported with references to reliable sources.

Puerto Rico is somewhat more integrated into the United States than other territories, and in some ways is treated like Washington, D.C. It's inside the main customs territory, and people born there become U.S. citizens. Neither of those things are true in American Samoa. In everyday conversation, people will jump up and down and insist Puerto Rico is part of the United States when it's hit by a hurricane, but then people in Puerto Rico also say they are going "to the United States" when they go to the Lower 48. Shipping stuff to US territories is not considered an export, but shipping into the Lower 48 from territories other than PR is considered an import. Quite the weird intermediate status! As Territories of the United States explains, the US constitution only partially applies in unincorporated territories because they are not considered an integral part of the country, and all the inhabited territories are unincorporated. Would it be more accurate to say the United States "has" or "possesses" or "exercises sovereignty over" as we say now, "five major unincorporated territories and nine Minor Outlying Islands"? -- Beland (talk) 11:31, 3 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If I recall the wording here was intended to reflect US government geographical publications, which did not make a distinction, rather than the strict constitutional situation. CMD (talk) 14:10, 3 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes @Beland: to what you wrote "Would it be more accurate to say the United States "has" or "possesses" or "exercises sovereignty over" as we say now, "five major unincorporated territories and nine Minor Outlying Islands"?"
Any of these would be more accurate than what the article says now. --The Eloquent Peasant (talk) 18:29, 3 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Unicorporated literally means "not part of." The distinction is that the U.S. constitution applies in full throughout the U.S. including all states and other incorporated territories and the District of Columbia. {D.C. was originally part of Maryland so remained incorporated when it became D.C.)
So for example, the 14th Amendment ensures that people born in the U.S. have U.S. citizenship. People born in Puerto Rico become citizens because of an act of Congress passed in the early 20th century. But a similar law has never been passed for American Samoa or for any of the uninhabited unincorporated territories.
The U.S. government however treats unincorporated territories the same as states in most ways. For example they deliver the mail, although they have no constitutional obligation to do so. TFD (talk) 22:26, 3 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

OK, it sounds like there are no objections to being more precise, so I tweaked the intro wording a bit to clarify as proposed and also to clarify the geography of the capital and Indian reservations. -- Beland (talk) 23:26, 3 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks. The Eloquent Peasant (talk) 02:57, 4 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your re-wording makes the description clear and accurate. TFD (talk) 03:33, 4 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • We need to stay away from phrases like "it also has five major" (User:Beland) and "There are also five major" (User:Mason.Jones) because they are ambiguous. We need to use words that convey the difference the unincorporated territories and those that are incorporated (i.e., the states/DC), which are the areas that actually comprise the US.
On the first phrase ("it also has five major..."), the use of "has" does not portray possession, which is what the unincorporated territories are. There is a difference between having something, and possessing something. For example, a man has two hands, but he possesses two cars; a woman has a beautiful figure, but she possesses great wealth; a girl has blonde hair, but she possesses degrees in music and history; a boy has a good heart, but he possesses a bike. "Having" connotes being an integral part of a larger whole, (in this case, those people's bodies) while possessing connotes ownership (cars, wealth, degrees, bike.) Thus, the US has 50 states but, possesses (owns) the unincorporated territories. Likewise, the US does not possess the 50 states because it doesn't own them.
On the second phrase ("There are also five major..."), the use of "there are" does not convey any of the significant difference between the (incorporated) states and DC and the unincorporated territories, because it is unquestionable that in the US "there are" 50 states. (Example, Q:"How many states are there in the US?" Ans: "There are 50 states.") As in the case with "has" above, "there are" isn't equivalent to ownership, which is the main difference between the states/DC and the unincorporated territories as well as the precise relationship between the US and its said territories. We need a phrase that portrays ownership such as "The US also possesses five major..." Mercy11 (talk) 03:56, 5 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I do see the problem. The lede of the WP article Territories of the United States might offer some of the vocabulary needed to express the unique relationship. Perhaps: "Other U.S. possessions, which are not considered to be an integral part of the United States, include five major..." There must be an economical way to describe these non-sovereign possessions outside the Union.
Mason.Jones (talk) 04:36, 5 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
OK, I've changed the intro to "asserts sovereignty over" to try to be more precise while remaining economical. I thought "has" was sufficiently ambiguous as to whether it implies possession ("I have $100 in cash") vs. "being an integral part of" to be neutral, but since there were objections to that, I did not go back to it. Assertion of sovereignty over is also somewhat neutral, as the US federal government asserts sovereignty over the 50 states, but European powers have also asserted sovereignty over entities that are clearly colonies. It also intentionally avoids saying the United States exercises sovereignty in all 16 places, which may imply actual administration. As far as I can tell, some of the disputed islands are de facto administered by Colombia, or no one in particular? Readers can decide for themselves whether the assertions of sovereignty are legitimate or make the territories part of the United States. -- Beland (talk) 20:35, 5 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Beland: the problem with "asserts sovereignty over" is that it doesn't answer the question that brought us to this Talk Page discussion in the first place, namely:
"Are unincorporated territories indisputably part of the United States?"

The endless argument we face from editors (the argument manifests itself in numerous distinct ways) is the mistaken notion that "the territories are part of the United States."
Some (many?) editors just don't seem to have enough with the fact that, as User:The Four Deuces stated above, "unincorporated literally means not part of " and, thus, the issue should not be open to any debate. And yet, one editor after another pops up and wants to argue that the unincorporated territories "are" part of the US. The problem, to be clear, is not only the hours spent reverting text in articles, categories, lists, templates, etc., but also the near-edit warring that we become exposed to. Two examples, this and this, somewhat show the problem. I have come across many other cases, but only these two I kept around. Their edit summaries show the problem.
That said, I wouldn't worry much about the smaller islands also claimed by Colombia, nor about what or how European powers see this issue relative to their territories, etc.; those cases rarely come up. I would simply take Puerto Rico as the model for answering the question of this discussion, is only because Puerto Rico has over 95% of the total population of all the U.S. territories combined; thus, our focus should be Puerto Rico (as in, "Is Puerto Rico indisputably part of the United States?") and then extrapolate from there to the other territories.
That is, if we, after 3 days discussing this issue here, are going to take the position you are suggesting, namely, that "Readers can decide for themselves whether the assertions of sovereignty...make the territories part of the United States [or not]", then we haven't solved problem, have wasted our times, have paved the way to perpetuate confusion, and have not performed our function as editors, namely, to educate the reader.
I would support user:Mason.Jones's suggestion that it could read "Other U.S. possessions, which are not considered to be an integral part of the United States, include five major..." I feel we need to grab the bull by the horns and settle this matter once and for all, and not leave it half-attended to which is to no one's benefit.
Mercy11 (talk) 01:11, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Mercy11: While we've established that the claim "Puerto Rico is part of the United States" is not undisputed, I also see reliable sources and notable commentators that dispute the claim "Puerto Rico is not part of the United States":
Some essentially say "it's complicated":
There are certainly people who feel Puerto Rico is part of the United States despite the Insular Cases that labelled it as "unincorporated" in order to deny it various rights and powers, similar to how South Africa created "independent" Bantustans in order to deny citizenship rights to Black South Africans. It seems like some people simply don't feel such legal distinctions are important or determinative, and some explicitly deny their validity because of they were blatantly motivated by racism.
Whichever point of view we might agree with, I think the existence of a substantial controversy means Wikipedia needs to stay neutral, either by using ambiguous phrasing or by explaining the nuance that causes the disagreement without making any categorizations that would be disputed.
The addition of Puerto Rico to Police ranks of the United States makes sense to me; Puerto Rico police are delegated their authority by the federal government of the United States, not from an inherent police power as a sovereign entity like, say, occupied Iraq. Puerto Rico is listed separately from the states, so it should be clear to readers they are not equivalent. The assignment of "U.S." as the nationality of Milagros Benet de Mewton also makes sense to me based on Puerto Rican citizenship and nationality, which describes Puerto Ricans as both U.S. and Puerto Rican citizens, but only U.S. nationals. (Similarly, I am a citizen of both Massachusetts and the United States under the Fourteenth Amendment, but Massachusetts is not my nationality. Neither Massachusetts nor Puerto Rico issue passports.) But it seems she should also be listed as a Spanish national because she was born when Puerto Rico was part of the Spanish Empire. I will update the infobox. -- Beland (talk) 03:26, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
While some jurists and legal experts have asserted that Puerto Rico has been incorporated into the U.S., that is  minority position. No one argues that acquisition of territory automatically incorporates it into the administering state. Some overt act is required to do this. Hence Massachusetts when it was ruled by England was not part of England.
The overt act is normally an act of Congress that specifically says a territory is incorporated on a specific date. The opposing argument is that various acts of Congress over the years have had a cumulative effect of incorporation.
Incidentally, the article by the professor at FIU says, "Technically, Puerto Rico is an “unincorporated territory” that legally belongs to but is not a part of the United States." You have to be careful when citing sources to make sure they support your opinion and they are sourced to experts.
The most important legal consequence is that if Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory, an act of Congress could give it independence. But if it is incorporated, it would require a constitutional amendment. Congress would be unlikely to incorporate Puerto Rico without the consent of its citizens. TFD (talk) 06:28, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, Nationality unlike citizenship, comes from international law and means someone owes allegiance to a particular sovereign state. PR and MA are not recognize a sovereign states. Similarly, until 1948, all Commonwealth citizens were considered to be British nationals subject to the UK.
The fact that citizens of Canada, Australia, etc., were considered British nationals under international law until the late 1940s did not mean those countries were part of the UK.
TFD (talk) 16:40, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@The Four Deuces: I think the point of the FIU professor's article is that the technicality of Puerto Rico being an unincorporated territory that "legally belongs to but is not a part of the United States" is an absurdity that doesn't make it not part of the United States in his opinion, or in moral or economic or practical ways that he feels are more important to this categorization than the legal technicality. The last line of the article points out it's considered "foreign in a domestic sense", which I think is there because sounds like an oxymoron, and don't forget that the headline reads "Puerto Rico has been part of the US for 125 years".
Likewise, I don't think the other sources cited above are necessarily arguing that Puerto Rico has been legally incorporated into the United States in the same way that Palmyra Atoll has. That's a narrow legal question which is a little more black-and-white. Some commentators are clearly aware of that question and agree with the majority view that it has not been incorporated; they just don't consider that determinative when deciding what is and isn't part of the United States.
I don't necessarily endorse any particular POV here, but we're supposed to give due weight to significant minority views, too. Given that mainstream news organizations are also asserting that Puerto Rico is part of the United States, it does not appear this is a fringe view which should be mostly ignored when speaking in Wikipedia's voice.
The United Kingdom is not the United States. I don't know of any mainstream news organization that has ever asserted that Massachusetts was ever part of England; everyone seems to agree that the colonies of the British Empire are outside of the UK. Maybe that's because the UK has a monarchy which unites its empire and the US does not, maybe it's because the United States doesn't like to think of itself as having a multi-country empire like the UK did, or maybe it's just a quirk of public opinion. We don't have to get to the bottom of why, just respect the differences in what people assert. -- Beland (talk) 00:51, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The minority opinion is arguing that Puerto Rico has for all intents and purposes been incorporated into the U.S. and therefore should be treated as part of it, whether it actually is or is not. The White House, Congress and the Supreme Court are all in their opinion wrong in their interpretation as are the overwhelming majority of legal experts.
English precedent is of course relevant because the Framers of the Constitution used English legal concepts, particularly through reading Blackstone. The Insular cases drew heavily for example on Calvin's Case decided in England. They would be aware of the distinction Blackstone made between Wales, which Parliament had incorporated into England, and Ireland, which it had not.
English citizenship is also the basis of U.S. nationality law and was the sole precedent for determining who was or was not a citizen prior to the resolution of meaning of the 14th Amendment in the 1890s.
While "foreign in a domestic sense" may seem ironic, those are the words used by the justices who decided Puerto Rico was not part of the U.S.
The U.S. has also told the U.N. that none of the five territories have been incorporated into the U.S. and at least two of them have an inalienable right to declare independence, which sets them apart from incorporated territories. TFD (talk) 01:38, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Beland: regarding your "While we've established that the claim 'Puerto Rico is part of the United States' is not undisputed...", not only are you in violation of WP:CLAIM but additionally, and for everyone's sake, let's talk straight: the un-wordy way to write that would be "While we've established that the claim "Puerto Rico is part of the United States" is disputed...
That said, it begs the question, Who is your "we"? Excuse me, but the participants so far, at that point in time, besides yourself (namely, Eloquent, TFD, Mason Jones and myself) we had all shared our opinions and they were all contrary to yours.
  • Eloquent: "it [would] be more accurate to say the United States 'has' or 'possesses'..."
  • TFD: "Unincorporated literally means 'not part of'."
  • Mason Jones: "Perhaps: 'Other U.S. possessions, which are not considered to be an integral part of the United States,...' "
  • Myself: Everyone of my edits here make it categorically clear my view is that the (un-incorporated) territories are not part of the United States.
Despite that WP:SNOWBALL, you have now gone to great lengths to try to show the contrary with your list of so-called reliable sources ("NBC, Professor at FIU, USA Today, The Charlotte Observer, Travel site, Time"). Of course, all of those sources are "correct" and, of course, it was also true that Dewey Defeated Truman, right? None of your sources, singly or combined, trump the SCOTUS which has established the un-incorporated territories are not part of the United States. Downes v. Bidwell, 182 U.S. 244 (1901)
So, when you share your opinion in this discussion, it would be hugely beneficial if you stated it is your opinion instead of attempting to speak for the rest of us four other participants at that point in time so far, all of who had stated opinions contrary to yours. Please do not speak for me or put words in my mouth; otherwise, I will tend to believe you started this discussion with a political agenda in mind and not to actually seek to gain WP:CONSENSUS. Thank you. Mercy11 (talk) 01:36, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Mercy11: I'm really scratching my head here. I certainly don't ever want to put words in anyone's mouth, but you seem to think I was saying you think Puerto Rico is part of the United States? I was saying the opposite, that you and other editors thought Puerto Rico is not part of the United States, and I accept yours views as widely held by a significant faction of thinkers on this topic. "Mercy11 thinks Puerto Rico is not part of the United States" is evidence that "'Puerto Rico is part of the United States' is disputed".
It is not my opinion that "Puerto Rico is part of the United States". That is the opinion of some of the sources I cited. I collected them not to argue for my personal opinion, but to demonstrate the existence of a notable faction which should be taken into account for the purposes of NPOV. If I was interested in promoting that opinion on Wikipedia, I would have simply ignored your complaint on the other talk page. I took your complaint seriously because well-written articles shouldn't strike reasonable people on one side of any given debate as incorrect or biased, whether I agree with them or not.
Nor is it my opinion that "Puerto Rico is not part of the United States". I observe that people on both sides of that question have strong feelings about it, and they point to different facts to argue their assertions. So to me, this is a classic case of, in the information theory sense, a fuzzy concept. Some attributes point to membership of the class, other attributes point to non-membership, and people argue about which attributes constitute the "proper" definition of the class. It can be fun to ask if a hot dog is a sandwich, but for serious topics, posing a binary membership question seems to cause people to endlessly argue about what words mean instead of arguing about - or actually agreeing on - more important things like policy choices. I don't want to say the question is unimportant because I know some people find the answer important to their political rhetoric or their personal identity, so, I dunno, am I rejecting the logical premise of the question? Accepting Puerto Rico as non-binary? Not taking sides because I know as soon as I do someone's going to get angry at me? Yeah. -- Beland (talk) 08:44, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I thought opinions and facts were different. Everytime I tell my sister my opinion, she tells me I'm wrong but my opinion can't be wrong, it's my opinion. Whether a hot dog is or is not a sandwich is one of the entries on the fuzzy concept WP article and some people enjoy wasting their time with such discussions. Whether the territories are or are not in the US is not an entry on the fuzzy concept WP article. When pressed the US has clarified that PR (in particular) "belongs to but is not part of the US." Also wanted to mention that over the years there is an IP editor placing "hot dog y se come con pan" on Puerto Rico articles. They must think that Puerto Rico and its status is a fuzzy concept when time and time again it writes things such as "hot dog y se come con pan" and " hot dog, se come con pan y tiodos son locos" on Puerto Rico articles. Well someone is enjoying making PR a fuzzy concept. Someone may treat an adopted child as their own but I'm sorry to say it will never be your biological child, no matter how much you treat it as your own. The same with PR and the territories. That they are sometimes "treated" as part of the US doesn't make them so. The Eloquent Peasant (talk) 17:05, 12 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
With regard to WP:CLAIM, I assume you are referring to the proposed article text and not talk page statements. It is very right to point out that "asserted" and "claimed" can be used incorrectly if they are simply blindly substituted for "said" to avoid repetition, because they imply dubiousness of the statement. But those words can also be used correctly for statements that Wikipedia has deemed dubious (e.g. people claiming to do things that are physically impossible) or disputed. For example "John claimed to enjoy winning the Oscar" is overly skeptical, but "John claimed to be able to levitate" is appropriate. Claim can also be used in a technical legal sense, which sometimes overlaps. For example, "The United States claims to be a federation of 50 states" is inappropriate, but "The United States and Columbia both claim sovereignty over Bajo Nuevo Bank" is appropriate. "Assert" can also be used in a logistical sense, as in "the United States asserted military control over Afghanistan after the 2001 invasion". I think it's appropriate to say the US asserts sovereignty over Puerto Rico in the logistical sense that it indisputably administers it, but it asserts sovereignty over Bajo Nuevo Bank in the air-of-dubiousness sense that this statement is disputed by Colombia. Maybe "asserts" isn't the best word for the lede of this article; I don't think WP:CLAIM is a reason why it wouldn't be, but I'm open to alternative suggestions for neutral language. -- Beland (talk) 09:22, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is it necessary to get into nation-state semantics at all? Simply put, PR and GU and the USVI are not federated states. The U.S. Census Bureau doesn't include them in its national population figures or rankings. (The WP article List of U.S. cities by population doesn't list San Juan, because the U.S. Census Bureau doesn't consider it a U.S. city.) In the lede, I'd prefer more emphatic wording: "Outside this union of states, the U.S. also holds possessions that are not considered to be an integral part of the United States. It thus administers, and claims sovereignty over, five major unincorporated territories and 11 minor outlying..." Something this detailed might be helpful. Mason.Jones (talk) 17:12, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Mason.Jones: That seems a bit too wordy to me. Highlighting that the territories are "unincorporated" is enough to highlight the distinction you are making; saying they are not considered integral parts of the United States is in some way repeating the same point in different words. And it's also treading on thin ice in terms of neutrality. I'm not sure what fraction of commentators would dispute "PR is not part of the US" but would not dispute "PR is not an integral part of the US". Are we talking about bill-of-rights integration here, or economic or moral? Sticking with "unincorporated" makes it clear we're talking about a narrow legal issue which everyone pretty much agrees on.
List of U.S. cities by population does list San Juan, it's in the Puerto Rico section. I don't see any evidence the Census Bureau doesn't consider it a U.S. city; it's just reported separately from the 50 states + DC. Which makes sense; it's not part of the apportionment calculation for the House of Representatives. I'm not sure the Census Bureau has an official opinion on the claim "PR is part of the US", but even if it did officially endorse that view, the official position of the US government or one or more of its agencies is only one point of view. Apparently some mainstream news organizations would disagree with the government if that were its official position, so we have to take both into account. -- Beland (talk) 01:07, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually, no, the U.S. Census Bureau does not list, nor does it rank, Puerto Rican cities with U.S. cities—that is significant. And in every census and estimate, "United States population" specifically excludes the territories. They're effectively considered to be outside the federation. Otherwise, fair enough. Their status is complicated. I can live with the current wording. Mason.Jones (talk) 01:52, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Disagree. No, Mason Jones's suggestion is not a bit too wordy. Highlighting that the territories are "unincorporated" is necessary but it is even more important to highlight they are not considered integral parts of the United States. This is what the SCOTUS has determined, found, and stated. So, this is important to state here as well. Mercy11 (talk) 02:00, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I just happened to stumble across this debate, and wanted to give my take. Personally, I think the issue over whether U.S. territories are "part of the United States" is much more complex than people make it out be. On the one hand, yes the Insular Cases held that unincorporated territories were not automatically protected by non-fundamental rights of the Federal Constitution due to racist reasoning, and thus "belonged to, but not part of, the United States" for certain constitutional purposes (in the case of V Bidwell, the Uniformity Clause). Now, we could take the position that these rulings settle the matter, and thus the status of being "unincorporated" unambiguously means that the territories in question are not "part of the United States". However, there are several problems with this:
- The SC itself has not been entirely clear as to if the term "unincorporated" to describe the existing inhabited territories means that the territories are outside the U.S. in all contexts. In fact, that very same Court ruled in 1945 [2] (pg. 324, U.S. 652) that, in different contexts, the term "United States" may be used in any one of several senses. It may be merely the name of a sovereign occupying the position analogous to that of other sovereigns in the family of nations. It may designate the territory over which the sovereignty of the United States extends, or it may be the collective name of the states which are united by and under the Constitution. (This is also mentioned in the U.S. territorial sovereignty page). Now if we interpret the Insular Cases to have held that all unincorporated territories are outside the U.S. in "all" contexts, then this 1945 ruling somewhat contradicts it, as it also suggests that all areas under the sovereignty of the U.S. can be considered to be encompassed by the term "United States" in the general sense of the word, so it's worth considering whether the term "unincorporated" was intended to mean that the territories in question are flat out outside the U.S., or whether the Court intended for this to only apply to certain constitutional contexts (i.e., the territories aren't automatically protected by all non-fundamental constitutional rights and are outside the "Union of States", but not necessarily outside the sovereign boundaries of the U.S. (this is alluded to in Downes V Bidwell, where the justices mention that the term "United States" can apply to its whole territory when used in an international context amongst a "family of nations.").
- The notion that unincorporated territories are unambiguously outside the U.S. is further undermined by the fact that, in the modern understanding of what sovereign states are, U.S. territories meet the majority of the criteria which is usually used to determine what is and isn't part of the country. The most glaring example of this is the fact that the vast majority of U.S. federal laws apply to the territories in much the same manner as states, including federal employment laws [3], federal drug laws [4], federal highway laws [5], environmental protection laws [6], immigration laws [7] (this excludes American Samoa), and I could go on, but the point I'm making is that, saying that these territories are outside of the U.S. may be more misleading than helpful, as the general modern understanding of what it means for a region to be part of a sovereign state is (i.e., under the sovereignty of the said country, and subject to most of the laws of said country) apply in practice to the territories as much as they do to the states and DC. This is why the Insular Cases is rarely taken into consideration in day to day life as to whether to refer to these territories as part of the U.S. or not, and even the U.S. federal government itself often refers to the territories as part of the U.S. today, such as this [8]] report by the State Department to the UN, which states that The United States of America is a federal republic of 50 states, together with a number of commonwealths, territories and possessions. Because the truth is (1) SCOTUS is only one of three equal branches of U.S. government, and what it decided in the Insular Cases is nowhere written in the Constitution, and merely the opinion of a few old men from the early 1900s; (2) secondly, the fact that all U.S. federal agencies have jurisdiction over the territories, the U.S. federal immigration process applies when travelling to the territories (excluding American Samoa), the U.S. Postal Service is responsible for mail in the territories and the territorial National Guards are under the overall command of the U.S. Army means that the practical basis for the territories being within the U.S. administrative system far outweighs any technical rationale that a few powerful men from the early 1900s said that the territories weren't true parts of the country under the Constitution due to their non-white customs.
- Here's an international analogy which may help (as a British editor): London isn't technically a city, since the Greater London Authority (the London-wide govt body) hasn't received Letters Patent, and the "city" status only applies to the cities of the City of London and City of Westminster within it. However, London's wiki article and most people nevertheless refer to London as a city [9] because, in the UK, we have a centuries-old outdated practice of only the places which the Monarch thinks are cities are "official" cities, which is why populated places such as Reading and Northampton (which would be considered "cities" everywhere else in the world), aren't official cities. So, if we can refer to London as a city when it de jure isn't, then if we interpret the Insular Cases to mean that unincorporated territories are definitely not in the U.S." (which is definitely debatable), we shouldn't necessarily state that on WP, as the racist views of a few men from over a century ago shouldn't change the practical reality on the ground today, which is why, when most people learn that, e.g., PR is a U.S. territory, is inhabited by U.S. citizens and is subject to U.S. federal law, they assume it's "part of" the country, which IMO makes sense from a practical standpoint.
So in summary, this article's lead should stay as it is. The arguments both for and against whether the territories are part of the U.S. are valid, so we only need to state facts (i.e. that the territories are under the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the United States.). In individual articles too, we shouldn't explicitly state that the territories are either in the United States or outside the United States. Instead, we should use purely factual wording such as under the U.S. flag, under the jurisdiction of the United States or within the sovereign territory of the United States, etc. Also, IMO, info boxes on places in the territories don't need to exclude "United States" and only included the territory and town/city/village/municipality, as if we use subsections such as "sovereign state" (as the articles of non-U.S. territorial places do, like Stanley, Falkland Islands and Nuuk, Greenland) alongside "United States", it merely informs the reader that the location which is the subject of the article is within the sovereign territory of a sovereign state, rather than "inside" or "outside" of the country proper.
Anonymous MK2006 (talk) 20:34, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
International law is only concerned what is part or not part of a country, which is a matter for domestic law. International law is only concerned with what territories come under the sovereignty of a state.
Also, it doesn't matter that the judges were white supermacists. So were the Framers of the Constitution.
One obvious example of where the U.S. constitution does not apply is the Uniformity Clause: "all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States." Yet PR is exempt for income tax to this day for the sole reason that it is not in the United States. TFD (talk) 02:02, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is is that simple though? Take the Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea regions, for example. According to Ukrainian law, they are 100% part of Ukraine, but according to Russian law, they are 100% part of Russia. So, if we go by domestic law, then we have 2 conflicting answers as there are 2 countries' domestic laws which lay claim to the same regions. However, international law makes it quite clear that these annexed regions are de jure part of Ukraine, since Russia's annexation of the regions was illegal as it wasn't approved by the majority of UN member states. Same with Serbia vis-à-vis Kosovo. This is why we can't solely rely on domestic law when determining whether a place is "part of" a country or not.
Regarding the U.S. territories - does it say anywhere in the Constitution that the so-called "unincorporated" territories are not part of the U.S.? No, because this jargon was just made up by the SC to deny territorial residents' certain benefits that people from the states have, obviously for racist reasons. What the justices said is not fact, and is widely disputed by legal experts today [10]. So yes, for certain constitutional purposes the territories aren't integrated into the country, but this doesn't change the fact that, as I have previously cited, even U.S. federal branches don't strictly use the term "United States" to refer to just the states, but also accept that it can refer to all areas under U.S. sovereignty (look at the 1945 ruling). Also, look at the State Department's report to the UN that explains the makeup of the U.S. "federal republic" in a way which includes the commonwealth, territories and possessions alongside the states.
Anonymous MK2006 (talk) 10:01, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Anonymous MK2006: Yes, I agree with your that the issue over whether U.S. territories are 'part of the United States' is much more complex than people make it out be. However, we are here to determine what wording in the lead paragraph of this article would be most appropriate, and giving an explanation anywhere close to 1% of what you --quite eloquently-- provided in your contribution above would be, IMO, not in order for the lede. Mercy11 (talk) 02:08, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Mason.Jones: regarding your "I'd prefer more emphatic wording: 'Outside this union of states, the U.S. also holds possessions that are not considered to be an integral part of the United States. It thus administers, and claims sovereignty over, five major unincorporated territories and 11 minor outlying...' Something this detailed might be helpful.", I would agree with that 110%. The intro to the article has been misleading for way too long and only some emphatic wording could rectify that, would stop the ambiguity, and could stop spreading false information. Mercy11 (talk) 01:56, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Mercy11 My more "emphatic" take seems not to be shared below. As you have a background in the status of Puerto Rico—always the default among U.S. territories—you might want to respond to the concerns of editors Beland and Anonymous, who believe the legal history and scholarly research out there are too mixed to justify more muscular wording. Mason.Jones (talk) 02:22, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Beland: Regarding the article on Milagros Benet... many articles, most articles about Puerto Rican people state they are Puerto Rican... scientist, Olympian, boxer, saint, musician, biologist, whatever. I believe the WP:WikiProject standards / guidelines has decided by consensus that a Puerto Rican person should be listed as Puerto Rican. It's also the way the news articles and sources normally describe such people. With regards to the "part of the US", should we not go with what the US Supreme Court said? The Eloquent Peasant (talk) 21:54, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@The Eloquent Peasant: I ended up putting Spain, the U.S. and Puerto Rico in the Milagros Benet de Mewton article; if this is not satisfactory, let's continue discussing on Talk:Milagros Benet de Mewton. If you're referring to Wikipedia:WikiProject Puerto Rico/Standards, it does not say what to put in the "nationality" field of biography infoboxes, but it does say to put both the U.S. and Puerto Rico under "citizenship". MOS:INFONAT actually says both should be avoided "when the country to which the subject belongs can be inferred from the country of birth", which arguably applies for someone who has lived in Puerto Rico their entire life. I don't know if you are referring to the nationality field or some other way of "listing" people as Puerto Rican. Are there specific articles you're thinking of as examples? -- Beland (talk) 00:05, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What about the 1945 SC ruling that gave many potential definitions of the "United States", which I have cited? Anonymous MK2006 (talk) 22:44, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also we have failed to mention that Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans is on the Wikipedia List of Controversial topics, so I doubt this will be "settled once and for all" but good luck, I guess. The Eloquent Peasant (talk) 21:55, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Eloquent -- Good comment. Yes, how U.S. territorial cities are named in English Wikipedia infoboxes (i.e., without referencing the U.S.) was part of a broad consensus—reached years ago—about Puerto Rico being "a nation within an nation." The island even fields its own team at the Olympics. The U.S. territories are complicated and are treated differently in WP after much discussion with editor-residents. I would thus prefer more emphatic phrasing about the territories' apartness from the federation of states, but consensus might be too hard to reach. Mason.Jones (talk) 22:40, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I do agree that PR is definitely a nation (in the sociocultural sense) within the sovereign territory of another nation (in the political sense) (i.e., the U.S.). However, I do still think that the sovereign state should me mentioned as well as the territory, as San Juan (for instance) is very much a city which the FBI would be involved in, in the event of say a terror attack, and would be protected by the U.S. Army in the event of an invasion, so in that sense, whilst San Juan might not be in the "union of the United States" like the states, D.C. and technically Palmyra Atoll are, it's very much a U.S.-controlled city like Honolulu is (btw, WP even does this for the SARs of China, which have much more autonomy from the Chinese govt than U.S. territories do from the U.S. govt (e.g. New Kowloon has both Hong Kong and China in the infobox)).
Regarding the wording of this article's lead, I think "outside of this Union of States" already gives adequate detail of the distinct relationship which states have within the U.S. political system vs the territories, although we could reword it to something like... outside of this Union of incorporated states, a federal district and Palmyra Atoll, the United States asserts sovereignty over 14 unincorporated territories and possessions, five of which are permanently inhabited... In the absence of a concrete answer from federal institutions (which may be deliberate), this is the best we can do. Anonymous MK2006 (talk) 23:28, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Dependencies are controlled by definition by another state. You seem to be arguing that the more tightly they are controlled the less of a dependency they are. The South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands have no local government and all government activity is carried out by the UK. Does that make it part of the UK? TFD (talk) 02:07, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@The Four Deuces: Our personal opinions on those questions don't particularly matter; what matters is that there are notable commentators on both sides of the question for US territories. For South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, as far as I know all notable opinions line up supporting the idea they are not part of the UK but are controlled by it. (If that's not the case, I'd be interested to read more.) -- Beland (talk) 09:09, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You presented your opinion that control of a territory incorporates it into the U.S. I was merely showing the problem with your argument.
What matters of course is expert opinion which is nearly unanimous that the "unincorporated territories" have not been incorporated into the U.S. There are scholars who argue that United States v. Wong Kim Ark was wrongly decided and Trump said he would deny citizenship to anchor babies. Some even argue that D.C. is not part of the U.S. But fringe constitutional opinions don't belong in in this article. TFD (talk) 13:53, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands do have their own local govt [11], which has jurisdiction over internal affairs in the territory [12]. Besides that, the UK government actually does say of its territories:[13] under International Law the Territories are part of the UK, so they are represented on international institutions, such as the UN, by the UK Government. They are therefore bound by International law, such as the implementation of sanctions, through the UK, although They are constitutionally separate from the UK. Whilst this does show how the question over whether dependent territories are part of their ruling sovereign state differs between domestic and international laws and contexts, the British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies are usually not talked about as being part of the UK proper as they have almost complete control over all affairs besides foreign affairs and defence, and on occasion other matters such as taxation, corruption and security [14]. This is a significant contrast to U.S. territories, which are bound by almost all U.S. federal laws in the same manner that states are [15], and this includes matters such as immigration (except American Samoa), federal criminal justice, food and water standards and currency. This is not true for British OTs and CDs, which largely operate their own immigration policies (i.e. British citizens are not guaranteed automatic right of abode in territories other than Gibraltar, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man), and UK law is very rarely directly applied to them, among others. So, even in a domestic sense, there is a much greater argument to be made that U.S. territories practically function as parts of the U.S. than the UK's OTs and CDs function as part of the UK.
It should also be mentioned that, yes, expert opinion generally agrees that the status of "unincorporated" means that said U.S. territory hasn't been incorporated into the full body of the Federal Constitution, and isn't part of the "Union", but I don't believe that the notion that the "territories are not part of the U.S." because of the lack of constitutional incorporation is explicitly endorsed by most modern jurists. This doesn't seem to be the case with regards to the legislative branch (i.e. most federal legislation encompasses the territories alongside the states and D.C.), and even the executive branch [16][17] (the 2021 press release is of Biden arguing that SSI shouldn't be expanded to PR to uphold "federal statutes", but then later argues that there can be no second-class citizens in the United States of America., in this case probably referring to PR and the territories.).
Anonymous MK2006 (talk) 16:00, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Mason.Jones: Thanks for all of that but it really doesn't matter that Puerto Rico has its own Olympic team (whose basketball team members once won against the US Olympic team) or that it has its own Miss Universe beauty pageant representation (which has own more Miss Universe contests than the United States' pageants have). What matter is that the SCOTUS has stated the un-incorporated territories are not part of the US. There is no complexity in it. The complexity comes from statehooders standing on soap boxes and perpetuating fake news that PR is part of the US when it isn't. Mercy11 (talk) 02:31, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Puerto Rico topic does not need to be uncontroversial to state in the lede of this article that Puerto Rico is not a part of the United States, which is what the SCOTUS says. Statehooders will always be saying that Puerto Rico is part of the US because of citizenship, is not a country, doesn't sit in the UN, doesn't have its own president, gets US state-like treatment, etc., etc., etc., but none of those state it is part of the US, only the SCOTUS can --and already has-- made the determination that Puerto Rico and the other territories are not part of the US. Mercy11 (talk) 02:21, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Mercy11: As Anonymous MK2006's points out above, the Supreme Court has also ruled in two cases that "United States" has multiple senses, one of which includes territories like Puerto Rico to which its sovereignty extends. Some constitutional protections have been extended to Puerto Rico by the courts, so it seems their opinion on the semantic question here is somewhat mixed. I think your opinion that the Insular Cases designation as "unincorporated" is determinative of Puerto Rico's status is a fine one, and I know lots of people agree with you, but it is an opinion about a complicated socially constructed relationship, and not an objective fact. And there are reliable news sources and notable commentators who disagree with you, so even if I agree with you and you convince all the other editors here to personally agree with you, the article still needs to reflect the real-world debate over this question. It seems you have identified statehooders as an even larger group of people beyond the quick-web-search collection above who consider Puerto Rico to at least in some sense be part of the United States. We can't just dismiss their point of view because we might not agree with it, and write the United States article only from a pro-PR-independence point of view or only from a racist Insular Cases judge point of view. -- Beland (talk) 08:05, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Certainly, the United States can mean different things. Under one definition for example, D.C. is not part of the U.S. But that's too much information for this article which is about the U.S., not U.S. constitutional law. TFD (talk) 14:02, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that all this article's lead needs to state is that there are 50 states and a federal district (and maybe Palmyra Atoll) which are constitutionally incorporated, and the U.S. also asserts sovereignty over various other territories and possessions which are constitutionally unincorporated, and explain what this stuff means in the main body. I don't agree with the use of the word "integral" as its ambiguous; yes, the territories aren't fully integrated into the U.S. for constitutional purposes, but are pretty damn integrated into the U.S. with regards to federal statute and international law. So the inclusion of the term "constitutionally" to describe incorporation vs non-incorporation is key to a non-POV, but sufficiently factual, brief explanation. Anonymous MK2006 (talk) 16:12, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Pretty damned near integrated is subjective. The Supreme Court recently upheld California's right to refuse employment to an American Samoan because he was neither a U.S. citizen nor permanent resident. It refused the right of a Puerto Rican to become naturalized so that her citizenship would be protected under the 14th Amendment. It upheld the right of a man who renounced U.S. citizenship to remain in Puerto Rico because he was a PR citizen. It allows unequal federal taxation in the territories. The U.S. government has to report annually to the UN on its administration of three of the territories. While residents of the territories may enjoy the same rights as other Americans, these are done by legislation and are not constitutionally protected.
Asserting sovereignty over does not mean claiming to have incorporated them. Until 1783, Britain claimed sovereignty over the 13 colonies, yet did not incorporate them. And British law did not discriminate between subjects born in Britain and the colonies. TFD (talk) 16:55, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply] Led8000 (talk) 17:49, 10 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, well, well. I was trying to address this multiple times and long ago here, and even on the Jimmy Wales talk page. As seen in my contribution history. You guys had to have this ridiculous huge talk page section just to not have people reversing a correction on a ridiculous legal term and grammar and comprehension error like this.... Led8000 (talk) 16:03, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

UPDATE. —WELL, THANK YOU, bitter anti-intellectuals, ! you have reversed it again! Can't be having a legitimate website concerning any country or vaguely political issues, no,no,no. Of course @KlayCax: saw my text here and thought, "I'm not going to respond on the talk page, let's just revert back to our nice little lead paragraph", then made up a bizarre lie about word count for the reason. Led8000 (talk) 01:10, 10 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply] Led8000 (talk) 16:18, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So, @KlayCax:, has reverted it to the non-factual lead again, disregarding this talk page and everything else. Is nothing going to be done about this? I cannot edit since I am not extended confirmed. @Beland: @Chipmunkdavis: @The Eloquent Peasant: @TFD: @Mercy11: @Mason.Jones: @The Four Deuces: @Anonymous MK2006: ___________________________ Led8000 (talk) 18:07, 10 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Led8000: 1.) This is a question of what reliable sources say about a single fact, and is not a big important policy question where it might be appropriate to ask Jimmy Wales to weigh in. 2.) Alanscottwalker points out in that discussion that sometimes the government uses "United States" to explicitly include the inhabited territories, like 8 USC 1101(a)(38): "The term “United States” . . . when used in a geographical sense, means the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands of the United States, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. 3.) I've listed above a mainstream newspaper, television network, and anthropology professor who assert that Puerto Rico is part of the United States. I respect you and the other editors who assert that it is not, and your legal reasons for doing so, but WP:NPOV means we cannot exclude significant opinions just because many people strongly disagree with them. I like Anonymous MK2006's example of London, which says in the intro both that London is that largest city in the UK and that it is not a city in the legal sense. No one seems to have their hair on fire about that. 4.) Calling other editors "anti-intellectual" is insulting, uncivil, and inaccurate, and only serves to make other people discount your opinion and be more likely to insult you in return. Wikipedia policies require us to criticize ideas, not people, unless we're filing a report at WP:AN/I or other dispute mechanism. 5.) Per WP:PRIMARY, given that this seems to be a complex and disputed issue and not a simple question of fact, we should probably be looking at secondary sources, not drawing our own conclusions from primary sources like court decisions and US laws (even though I myself have done so before and just did so again) . -- Beland (talk) 20:19, 10 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Title 8 of the United States Code relates to aliens and nationality. It would make sense to include the four organized territories because birthright citizenship has been extended to them by statute. It saves having to name them all countless times throughout the statutes. But note that American Samoa is omitted from the list. That's because different citizenship rules apply to its citizens.
Anyway, this is all OR. "As used in this chapter" means exactly that. It means that the intention is that it does not define the United States for any other purpose. The Fair Labor Standards Act defines state as "any State of the United States or the District of Columbia or any Territory or possession of the United States." So why doesn't DC have two senators? Or Palmyra for that matter? TFD (talk) 21:09, 10 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You are a very confused and misled power-hungry person, @Beland:, as seen again in how you misrepresented the text in the link, took a small part of the paragraphs, and did not mention how he did not respond to my response. You have been nearly successful at having almost every modern popular or even potentially at least mildly controversial article in Wikipedia state what you want it to. People like you, or even non-administrators, also edit the so-called "Wikipedia guidelines". Led8000 (talk) 05:32, 11 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Feel free to unconfuse me with citations to reliable secondary sources that support a suggested wording change that also accommodates the reliable secondary sources cited above. The only power any of us have here, both to change articles and to make policy, is in our ability to do quality research and make convincing arguments. Hardly any of the changes I've actually made to the lede of this articles have stuck, so I empathize with you if you think the process of consensus-building is frustrating. -- Beland (talk) 08:31, 11 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Let's start with the very webpage that you supposedly referenced.
quote - "United States: The 50 States and the District of Columbia."
and, anyone else seeing this, please see the talk page link above, also Led8000 (talk) 21:41, 11 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is not an actual issue. No one literally says that the territories are "in the United States". This is an error on Wikipedia. Led8000 (talk) 21:45, 11 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, there are 100% genuine arguments supporting the view of yourself, and many others, that the unincorporated territories are not, strictly speaking, in the U.S. However, there are also many genuine arguments supporting the view that they are in the U.S. Take the USGS article you cited for instance: whilst its "United States" definition on the third paragraph includes only the states and D.C., its very first sentence is Geographically (and as a general reference), the United States of America includes all areas considered to be under the sovereignty of the United States, but does not include leased areas., which implies that it is potentially plausible to include the territories (per, all areas considered to be under the sovereignty of the United States...) within the scope of the "United States" (note how it says general reference, and not for a specific purpose, e.g., nationality law as you have previously cited). And this 1945 ruling by the SCOTUS [18] also says that one definition of the "United States" is all areas under its sovereignty. So, as you can see, this debate is not unambiguous in either direction, it is very complicated, and I preferred this article's previous lead where it stated that the U.S. asserts sovereignty over 14 territories..., which does not take a POV which has not been agreed upon, on either side. Anonymous MK2006 (talk) 00:51, 12 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Please provide any news story or even other text saying any territory is "in the United States", including maybe Puerto Rico, Guam, or the others. And not one that is from a Google search of "is Puerto Rico in the United States", or discussing the terms/grammar/law specifically, just a story or news or anything else about anything. Led8000 (talk) 01:54, 12 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Here's some: [19] (USA Today), [20] (Council on Foreign Relations), [21] (CNN), [22] (Snopes), [23] (U.S. National Park Service), [24] (U.S. Department of Transportation), and more. Anonymous MK2006 (talk) 10:42, 12 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
HMMMMMMM. ctrl-f "in the u" --- the CNN is the only one, and grouped together with Hawaii in the phrase about health measure news reporting. Why are you doing this, and what or what positive thing are you trying to accomplish? Is there any advantage to having a purposely non-factual popular Wikipedia article? Led8000 (talk) 21:00, 12 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
plot twist - try actually Googling "is Puerto Rico in the United States" Led8000 (talk) 21:16, 12 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok, if you really want the emphasis on the "in the": [25] (Biden, yes, Biden's 2020 campaign where he mocks Trump for implying that "Puerto Rico isn't the U.S." at the end), [26] (the official Puerto Rico Tourism Company describing San Juan as being the oldest city in the United States), and this [27] and this [28], which refer to the Point Udalls in Guam and the USVI as the westernmost and easternmost points in the United States, and also quoting from Bill Clinton who referred to both as the westernmost and easternmost points of the United States (rather than of the United States and its territories), and sign by the National Park Service which reads “Point Udall, St. Croix, VI. Easternmost point of the United States of America.” Now it doesn't really matter whether the cites say "part of" or "in" the U.S. (they essentially mean the same thing), but this shows how, yes, this topic is genuinely debatable, and not necessarily black and white as some editors like to think. Anonymous MK2006 (talk) 23:48, 12 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
All right, good response. But, are these errors, exceptions, or unusual wording? Look at what people in Puerto Rico or from it talk like in English and Spanish that way, and of course everyone else. I do not think there is actually a debate about this, just people that use unusual or actually self-acknowledged non-factual phrases of convenience sometimes instead of a 3 or 5+ word phrase repeatedly Led8000 (talk) 01:37, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oooh so there's no debate is there?! [29] (the Trump admin. refers to the territories using phrases such as for the first time in our Nation's history, every State and Territory... and States and Territories across the country), [30] (John Hopkins University listing PR under the "United States" and part of their overall U.S. COVID cases count), and [31] (the CDC including the territories as part of COVID statistics for the "United States (and COVID-19 hospital admissions levels in U.S. by county)). I could go on and on and on... The point is, yes it is debatable, so for the love of God lets stop pretending its not. There are many valid sides to this debate, and there is most certainly not "no debate." Look at the 1945 SC case, and various other reliable sources cited that contradict your argument. See how to use article talk pages and WP: Good faith. Anonymous MK2006 (talk) 19:57, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, I could of course be wrong, but one of the reasons why many Puerto Ricans may say that they are "going to the United States" from PR (aside from the fact that PR isn't fully constitutionally incorporated into the U.S.), is that, as this [32] article explains, After the constitution was approved, the ‘commonwealth’ [which has been in power in PR many times] party began to assert that Congress had given up its territory governing powers over Puerto Rico. And obviously, since most islanders speak Spanish natively [33]], they are most likely to associate the status of PR to the territory's official name in Spanish (which translates to "Free Associated State"), so it is possible (but again not certain) that many Puerto Ricans think that their territory has more autonomy from the U.S. than it actually does. Anonymous MK2006 (talk) 20:57, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Again, that's all OR. None of the other possible meanings of the U.S. were the Ratio decidendi for the decision. Only statements that support the ratio decidendi are binding.
The court decided that goods from an unincorporated territory were subject to duty because they originated outside the U.S. Court decisions are primary sources and Wikipedia requires secondary sources to interpret them. Editors are not lawyers and are not supposed to know what is ratio decidendi, dicta or minority opinions in decisions and whether the main issues decided have been overturned on appeal or made moot by later legislation. Furthermore, expert opinion in some cases may be that decisions were wrongly decided.
If you want to argue that American Samoa is part of the United States or D.C. isn't, there are articles for that. But it is has no weight for inclusion here. TFD (talk) 14:53, 12 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Pardon me for my stupid naivete, but why couldn't we just use what the online Encyclopedia Britannica states on the US article, "Political units in association with the United States include Puerto Rico, discussed in the article Puerto Rico, and several Pacific islands, discussed in Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa." The Eloquent Peasant (talk) 17:53, 12 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In response to what TFD said, what was the actual intention of the Insular Cases. Was it to establish that the unincorporated territories were, flat out, completely outside the U.S. as a matter of law, as well as not having the Constitution fully applied to them, or was it merely to establish that the unincorporated territories weren't fully protected by the Constitution, and the opinion of some of the justices that the territories were outside the U.S. because they are inhabited by "alien races" was not intended to be enshrined into law itself, but was rather an opinion which informed some of the judges to take the action of not applying the whole Constitution to the unincorporated territories. Because remember, the Court also states that the territories were domestic in an international sense, already meaning that in some contexts, the territories can fall within the scope of the "United States." So the 1945 ruling isn't actually challenging the Insular Cases itself, as they were only with concerned how the Constitution applied, and not whether the territories were part of/not part of the U.S. in the "general sense" of the word "United States." Because the Constitution itself never discusses what is and isn't in the U.S. So three equal branches of govt, the judiciary, the legislature and the executive decide on a case by case basis the extent to which the territories are integrated with the U.S. political framework.
In response to Eloquent, whilst I do think neutral wording is appropriate for the time being, I don't agree with Britannica's assessment that the territories are merely "associated with" the U.S., as this terminology makes it sound like the territories are entities equal to the U.S. federal government, which they aren't (unlike Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands which are sovereign states in free association with the U.S.). All the unincorporated territories are under the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the United States [34][35], so I prefer terminology such as within the sovereign territory of the United States, within U.S. territory, on U.S. soil, under the U.S./American flag, under the jurisdiction of the United States, etc. We shouldn't use statements which make it sound like the territories are sovereign entities on equal footing with the U.S. government. Anonymous MK2006 (talk) 18:47, 12 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is just more OR. Now you are arguing that because dependant states are not independent, they must be part of the administering state. But then they would not be dependant states. And let's not use wording such as "within the sovereign territory of" because it could be ambiguous to readers. And don't forget that Guantanamo Bay is also within the sovereign territory of the U.S. as are for that matter American ships at sea. TFD (talk) 20:22, 12 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nowhere did I say there that the territories are "within the U.S." I was just pointing out how I feel that the term "associated with" to describe the relationship between the territories and the U.S. federal govt. is misleading as it could be misinterpreted to read that they are sovereign states in Free Association with the U.S. like 3 sovereign states in the Pacific are. And to the comment below, yes I am aware of the SC stating that the territories are foreign in a domestic sense; however, I was also pointing out that the same Court also stated that they are domestic in an international sense (or something similar), meaning that the debate as to whether the territories are part of the U.S. most definitely is ambiguous and debatable, and can be interpreted from different angles, as stated by various U.S. govt legislation, federal agencies which have been cited above, and the 1945 SC ruling. I am not taking a position here. I am just stating that this debate is absolutely ambiguous, so let's stop pretending that it's not. Anonymous MK2006 (talk) 20:33, 12 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, Guantanamo is under the jurisdiction, but not sovereignty of the U.S. [36]. These are two entirely different concepts. Anonymous MK2006 (talk) 20:42, 12 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Again, you are using your own OR to interpret sources. Out of curiosity, could you point to a source that explains the difference between sovereignty and jurisdiction? TFD (talk) 01:28, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Here: [37] - It is this immunity that confuses folks when it comes to sovereignty. The mission is protected and is considered U.S. property, but the territory does not belong to the U.S. (or any other country with an embassy). Again, the Vienna Convention does not state that the property belongs to the embassy’s country. So, in summary, jurisdiction [38] is de facto sovereignty whereby the country which owns the embassy, military base, or Guantanamo Bay exercise effective control over these complexes, but is still recognised by international law as being on the soil of the host country, which is why they can declare that foreign missions must close down [39]. In contrast, de jure sovereignty refers to the territory which a state controls that is recognised by other states and the UN. [40][41]. Yes, the 2 definitions are confusing to differentiate from one another. But PR has no authority to kick the U.S. govt out of the island because it's under its de jure sovereignty, whereas Cuba has a right under int'l law to demand that the U.S. leaves and closes down Guantanamo Bay as the sovereign authority over the territory which GB is situated in (although the U.S. is a superpower, so int'l law is dysfunctional here). Anonymous MK2006 (talk) 20:29, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Reading the summary and following the citations in our own article Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, I see the original 1903 lease agreement ([42]) explicitly says "the United States recognizes the continuance of the ultimate sovereignty of the Republic of Cuba over the above described areas" and "the United States shall exercise complete jurisdiction and control over and within said areas". I don't see how anyone could come to any different interpretation than what Anonymous MK2006 said about Guantanamo. I think I understand what TFD was getting at, though, and it's correct for different examples. The United Kingdom exercises sovereignty over Bermuda, but is Bermuda "UK soil" given that everyone seems to agree that the UK only extends to England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland? I think people would disagree about whether that's a correct statement, meaning the people who think the US is only the 50 states plus DC would also disagree about that phrasing for US territories. I think the phrasing currently used by the article, "asserts sovereignty over" avoids implying that these territories are part of the US, as TFD might object to, but also avoids implying that they are sovereign countries, as Anonymous MK2006 might object to. (BTW, I think some of the disputed Caribbean islands are de facto under the jurisdiction of Colombia because the US doesn't have a physical presence there? Though I usually see the phrase "administered by" to describe practical conditions, whereas "jurisdiction" might be described as it is on paper.) Anyway, if no one has a reason to object to "asserts sovereignty over", we need not consider the other potential alternatives suggested by Anonymous MK2006 or Britannica. -- Beland (talk) 23:09, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
When a territory is said to be on a sovereign state's soil, it means that the state in question controls the land (i.e. including soil) of said territories, and this is why we have concepts such as Jus soli (birthright citizenship within a state's territory), for instance. So, therefore, whilst Bermuda may not be considered to be part of the UK proper, it is on the UK's "soil" as Britain has control and ownership over the land of Bermuda. The same can be argued for the U.S. territories - whether or not they should be considered part of the U.S., they are on "U.S. soil" because the U.S. has control and ownership over the land of its territories. This is a good substitute for the POV-sounding in the United States and United States and its territories, as sovereignty is something that most can agree on with regards to dependent territories (and this should IMO be applied to articles about settlements and statistics in the territories, etc.). Anonymous MK2006 (talk) 00:14, 14 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Again this is all OR and your conclusions do not coincide with constitutional law textbooks. There is literature about the distinction between the two terms in U.S. law, so no need for us to re-invent the wheel. Cuba cannot btw kick the U.S. out. TFD (talk) 00:32, 14 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok, well it seems like you don't have much interest in debating the actual subject of the matter, and just want us to keep going in circles over pointless topics. Referring to the territories as being under the sovereignty of the U.S. (or "in" its sovereign territory) is factual, whether they're part of the U.S. or not, which was the point I was making. All this discussion was about how to refer to the territories in the lead of this article, and how to discuss them more generally within the context of all states and territories under U.S. control (i.e. San Juan is the 57th largest city under the jurisdiction/sovereignty of the United States). No need to complicate things further, and the article's current lead is the best we have atm. So let's stop these debates about the difference between jurisdiction and sovereignty, being "in" vs "part of" a country, and what is on a country's soil and what isn't. Anonymous MK2006 (talk) 14:11, 14 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Of course not on equal footing with United States, "under the sovereignty of" yes "associated with" is what EB writes because it's complicated and each territory has a different relationship with the US and those particulars can And should be written and seen within each territory's article. And the people who want to insist in the Wikipedia ecosystem-to say that the territories are in the US - it's either a mistake, or they like to see us argue. The consensus was that "Puert Rico is a nation within a nation". It's a country, just not a sovereign state. And if even the US territories that are "sovereign states in free association with the United States" are still under the sovereignty of the US then I do understand EB says " association with" and we shouldn't say things that are "Foo in the United States by state or territory" as some editors try. Mostly this has led the whole world who rely on English Wikipedia to believe that the territories are in the US part of the US and they don't see the complicated differences and so they immediately want to group the territories with the states, Incorrectly because they are entirely different. And I think you meant to say "foreign in a domestic sense." — Preceding unsigned comment added by The Eloquent Peasant (talkcontribs)
The FSM, Marshall Islands and Palau are sovereign states [43], most certainly not territories under United States sovereignty, like PR, Guam, USVI, the CNMI and American Samoa are (even though the inhabited U.S. territories can all be considered nations in their own right, just not sovereign independent ones, a notion which I absolutely agree with, but is not the subject of this debate.). Anonymous MK2006 (talk) 20:42, 12 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Led8000: I can't find a record of me citing that USGS article, nor does it seem to be in the article or cited by anyone else in this discussion, so I'm not sure why you say that I or we "supposedly referenced" it? The Wikipedia article does not say that the territories are "in" the United States, it says that the United States "is a republic of" a list of things that includes "unincorporated territories". I agree that is less than satisfactory. Actually, it sounds like everyone in this discussion would prefer the "asserts sovereignty over" language compared to the "republic of" language for territories? User:KlayCax changed it in this edit, apparently only to get the word count back under 450? I have just restored the earlier phrasing while condensing other parts to keep the length constant. Does that help? -- Beland (talk) 02:39, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The U.S. was able to have PR removed from the list of non-self-governing territories by saying the two countries had entered into a "free association." However, most experts disagree with that description, because it is administered by the U.S. and PR has no powers to secede.TFD (talk) 02:30, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Genocide wording[edit]

A sentence was recently inserted into the article implying that many historians believe that there was a singular, uniform genocide committed against Native Americans. (Which cited a 2015 article from the revisionist historian Jeffrey Ostler.)

Yet this appears to be a misinterpretation of what he's saying. Historians, even those who tend to hold the most negative views of American conduct such as Jeffrey Ostler, reject the claim that the United States uniformly committed genocide against Native Americans, as it is well known that American treatment of certain indigenous peoples varied significantly from that of others. Ostler argues that there was forced population transfers/ethnic cleansing with small-scale genocides of particular indigenous groups by state/local actors (w/national indifference) but denies there was a universal genocide (singular) of Native Americans. The predominant viewpoint among mainstream historians is that there were widespread mass atrocities (forced population transfers/ethnic cleansing, unequal land treaties, and military conquests) committed against the indigenous populations of what is now considered part of the United States. (Any claims to the contrary should be rightfully rejected as WP: FRINGE and denialist.) But they overwhelmingly refer to it as "forced population displacement/ethnic cleansing" rather than "genocide" when they mention it. Ostler himself also states that this is the predominant viewpoint:

Since 1992, the argument for a total, relentless, and pervasive genocide in the Americas has become accepted in some areas of Indigenous studies and genocide studies. For the most part, however, this argument has had little impact on mainstream scholarship in U.S. history or American Indian history. Scholars are more inclined than they once were to gesture to particular actions, events, impulses, and effects as genocidal, but genocide has not become a key concept in scholarship in these fields.

At best, the sentence should be revised before being reinstated into the article.KlayCax (talk) 19:47, 5 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Oxford Encyclopedia reference you are deleting does indeed state that the policies of Indian removal or assimilation have been "characterized by some historians as genocide". There is no contest that the cited source verifies the claim. For others to verify that, I will include the source that you've deleted twice now (revert #1, #2) without adding it to the talk page discussion: [1]


  1. ^ Ostler, Jeffrey (March 2, 2015). "Genocide and American Indian History". American History. Oxford Research Encyclopedias. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780199329175.013.3. ISBN 978-0-19-932917-5.
-- SashiRolls 🌿 · 🍥 20:00, 5 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ostler says exactly what I stated above: In fact, although few scholars in the fields of American Indian and western U.S. history have systematically addressed the question of genocide, for many, perhaps most, scholars in these fields, an overarching indictment of genocide seems too extreme. Some might label specific events and cases, such as the Sand Creek massacre of 1864 or widespread settler violence against Indians during the California Gold Rush, as genocidal, but they would not see U.S. policies and settler actions as consistently so. (Ostler also openly states he is a minority within the field.) Historians predominantly characterize it as forced population transfer/ethnic cleansing rather than genocide.
Even among those who consider parts of Native removal/assimilation genocidal, they overwhelmingly reject the claim that it composed a singular genocide, which the wording that was added implies.
This of course does not mean that the United States didn't commit mass atrocities against its indigenous population. The country obviously did. KlayCax (talk) 20:08, 5 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So using the adjective "genocidal" would satisfy you? -- SashiRolls 🌿 · 🍥 20:13, 5 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If we're referring narrowly to specific events of Indian assimilation/removal, yes. (e.g. "The early treatment of Native Americans in California has been considered genocidal by some historians.")
If we're referring more broadly, no. (e.g. "American treatment of Native Americans has been considered genocidal by some historians.") KlayCax (talk) 20:21, 5 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have used your preferred "some cases" wording. As you can see on the linked page, there are several books with titles including genocide, holocaust, and ethnic cleansing. -- SashiRolls 🌿 · 🍥 23:20, 5 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The new wording still implies that it is predominantly characterized as genocide. We would need substantially more historians to hold this view before casually mentioning this in the article.
Beyond this, mentions of "genocide" in Wikipedia articles have generally only been mentioned when the claim is nearly undisputed among political scientists and historians. An extraordinary amount of agreement is required.
To give just a few examples of this:
  • There is a consensus on the Belgium page that the Congo Free State shouldn't be mentioned as a possible genocide on its main page, despite many historians considering it this.
  • There is a consensus on the Soviet Union page that the Holodomor shouldn't be classified or claimed to be a genocide on its main page, despite the same.
  • There is a consensus on the China page that claims of Uyghur genocide should be excluded on its main page, despite the same.
  • There is a consensus on the Japan (featured article) and Empire of Japan articles that "genocide" or "ethnic cleansing" shouldn't be used on the main pages, again.
  • Other Anglophonic countries (Australia, Canada, and New Zealand) exclude mentions of "genocide" or "ethnic cleansing" from their articles, despite often engaging in behavior similar to the early United States.
That's why I'm under the view that it should be excluded for now. Even those who take a maximally negative view of America's treatment of its indigenous people, such as Howard Zinn, have predominantly and explicitly opposed classifying it as such in their works. Unlike Ward Churchill, or Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Ostler is a great and rightfully respected historian, and he's done some great research on the matter, but he only cites particular instances of this as being genocidal, and states that his opinion is a small minority of current scholarship. If the Congo Free State, Holodomor, and claims of Uyghur genocide are excluded for lacking consensus, then I can't see how this does.
The debate belongs on the American Indian Wars, California, and related articles, rather than on the main United States page. KlayCax (talk) 05:27, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

KlayCax, I've noticed your revert #3. Perhaps other people share your opinion? If so, I'm sure they'll weigh in below. For the record, the sentence "some cases of which have been characterized as genocide or ethnic cleansing" does not imply that everyone agrees, the sentence in the present perfect passive would be true even if only one historian made this claim (which is far from being the case). I did note with surprise that the word genocide is not in the index of A People's History of the United States. I would like to see your reference where he "explicitly opposed classifying it as" genocide.-- SashiRolls 🌿 · 🍥 15:19, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It gives off the implication that they are predominantly classified as such. Even the events in California, which are to me the strongest evidence (I'd say so) of the U.S. government committing genocide, are still widely disputed among historians as of 2023. For Zinn: he always referred to it as "ethnic cleansing". I don't have the link on me. But he often prefaced it with stuff like: "Although the United States did not commit genocide, Jackson, Jefferson, and others were ethnic cleansers of Native Americans and were hungry for their land." (Citing Jackson's adopted child Lyncoya Jackson as evidence that he didn't intend to exterminate them as a people. Rather, steal their land and subdue it into the greater American polity.") A People's History of the United States never uses the word "genocide" to describe American actions. (Which was intentional.) Ostler is probably the most prominent mainstream historian to claim so, but he openly lists himself among a small minority of scholars.
While WP:OTHER exists, most editors generally rely on precedent from other articles (albeit this is not official policy: just a rule of thumb), and there's been a strong hesitation about listing anything as a "genocide" or "ethnic cleansing" without it being near-universal among political scientists and historians. That's why I gave the above examples. That's why the article should refrain from labeling it as such. I get the desire to right great wrongs. It's just not the purpose of Wikipedia.
Unless there's a major shift in historiography — with a large majority labeling it as such — contentious claims shouldn't be included in the main article. KlayCax (talk) 02:15, 9 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There's always a problem with ascribing modern concepts to historic events that occurred long before the concepts were invented. TFD (talk) 02:34, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Length of lede[edit]

Template:Editnotices/Page/United States says that the lede is overly long. Checking MOS:LEADLENGTH, 3 to 4 paragraph is apparently normal for an article over 5,000 words. This article has about 9,800 words, according to the automated page stats. I combed through the intro and dropped some of the finer details to make it shorter, but a lot of stuff there seemed important. It's currently 4 paragraphs, which for a topic this important seems fine to me. If forced to drop it to 3 paragraphs, which the MOS says is typical for featured articles, I'd drop some of the details about Congress and merge the third paragraph into the first one. @Moxy:, it looks like you added the editnotice about this. Are you satisfied with the length reductions? Do you have some target length in mind? Anything in particular you think could be omitted? Anyone else have any thoughts? -- Beland (talk) 21:19, 5 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Oh, reading the "Government and politics" section made it clear the lede had too many details about Congress, so I did the trim and merge proposed above, and now we're down to 3 paragraphs. Is that satisfactory, or is there more to trim? -- Beland (talk) 21:38, 5 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would like to restore the mention of race relations. It is supported by the article. Black history is especially an important part of American history. This was brought up last year. Senorangel (talk) 03:32, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In what way? Saying that race relations were "problematic" is euphemistic and there's no way to quickly summarize the history in the lead. (Which is already too long.) KlayCax (talk) 05:01, 7 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@KlayCax: I've reduced the lede from four to three paragraphs. Is that still too long? If so, what is your preferred target length? -- Beland (talk) 01:32, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with Senorangel; the entire second half of the 20th century shouldn't be defined by the Cold War alone. If I'm thinking about the most important things that have happened in American history that are not mentioned in the lede, I think they'd be Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Industrial Revolution. I think those can be slipped in without adding to many words; I'll give that a try. -- Beland (talk) 01:32, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Many norms and practices in the United States today were not widely accepted or implemented before the Progressive Era. Industrialization had led to the rise of American tycoons, names that the world still recognizes for better or worse. It feels odd that the Civil rights movement and its major causes, Jim Crow laws or broader phenomena, are absent. I know the lead is already long. But brief inclusions of some of these would fill in the gaps. Senorangel (talk) 02:25, 11 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, the second time around I managed to squeeze a lot into few words. Not sure what sort of pre-Progressive Era things you had in mind, but there wasn't room for very much. I did manage to point out how the federal government has grown and suffrage has expanded over time, which hints at the Jeffersonian-era reforms expanding voting to most white men, women voting, and substantial advancements in racial equality for voting. Feel free to suggest other stuff, but it sounds like we're trying to keep the intro to 450 words. I also wonder whether the intro is too heavy on history and economics compared to the body of the article. -- Beland (talk) 08:51, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks, I will dig more into it, probably with some of the body sections first. Senorangel (talk) 00:51, 14 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

KlayCax reverted on the basis of previous RFCs. Most of the changes did not touch those topics, so I am restoring some of them. Senorangel (talk) 02:51, 14 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Potential American exceptionalism and overlinking in the lede[edit]

In this edit, KlayCa (hi, there!) changed the recent rephrasing:

the world's sole military superpower, also wielding considerable cultural, economic, and political influence.

back to:

the world's foremost political, cultural, economic, military, and scientific power.

The edit notice for this article complains that this article is overlinked. (I think that tag was added by Moxy...hello!) I agree that these links in particular at best don't contribute much and at worst are leading up a garden path. They are redundant because all of these articles are already linked as "Main article:"s from subsections in the body. They feel a bit off because e.g. Politics of the United States is not about the worldwide political influence of the United States, it's about domestic politics. Likewise, Culture of the United States is not about the worldwide cultural influence of the United States.

I flag this wording as a potential example of American exceptionalism because it seems to be making the very strong claim that the United States is somehow ranked number one in all of these areas. That may be true in some ways, but most of those claims are disputed or disputable, and lots of people are probably rolling their eyes at this sort of "USA #1" phrasing. For example, China has the largest GDP in terms of PPP, and I think the European Union has a bigger nominal economy. How would we measure whether the EU or the United States wields more cultural influence? Arguably American culture is mostly a copy of European culture, including its main languages. According to World Intellectual Property Indicators, far more patent applications are made in China than the United States now; does that mean China has more scientific or technical power? There's probably more consensus that the US has the most powerful military in the world, perhaps because it tops the list of countries with highest military expenditures. But it does not have the largest military by number of people. Does the UK have more political influence than the United States because it has given birth to more countries? Does the parliamentary system have more influence or are there more presidential republics?

We could of course gather more facts in support of the argument that the United States is number one in all these areas. But to the degree that these claims are disputed by notable commentators, it's not Wikipedia's place to declare an unconditional winner based on our own judgement; we're supposed to be neutral on controversies like that. I do think it's pretty undisputed that the United States is a very important country in all those areas, and conveying the importance of the United States in world affairs is something useful for the article to do.

I think there are three good ways to fix the POV problems. One is to make the more generic claims, which is the phrasing I had previously added. Two is to make more specific claims, like that the United States leads the world in military spending, Nobel Prize winners, exports of television and movies? Maybe there are specific claims about American diplomacy that can be paraphrased? Or something about Global policeman? This is starting to feel complicated; maybe deferring these details to the body would be better.

I dunno, any suggestions? -- Beland (talk) 03:03, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

BTW, if we want to talk about the foreign policy influence of the United States (in the body, if not the lede), Pax Americana / Global policeman are important post-WWII concepts. While Marilyn Monroe is mentioned and is certainly a notable cultural export, the Monroe Doctrine isn't mentioned, but that and the American Revolution were pretty critical to the freeing of almost all of the colonies of North and South America from their European masters. Not to mention United States involvement in regime change and military- and civilian-occupied territories. -- Beland (talk) 08:51, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In addition to military spending, U.S. military forces have a global presence that China and Russia are nowhere close to achieving: over 300 military bases established worldwide, for the past 75 years policing the world's sealanes (current events included), U.S. troops recently invited on Danish, Swedish, and Finnish soil. The statement is incontrovertible. The rest of the sentence simply says the U.S. is "unsurpassed" as an economic, cultural, etc. "force" —nothing about knocking out the EU and China in every measurable sense. It's an accurate statement about the country's unmatched global power. Mason.Jones (talk) 18:25, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, it does seem the US is surpassed by China in terms of number of troops and patents awarded, so in a literal sense it's arguably not unsurpassed in military size and science. Unless there is an objective overall ranking in these areas to point to? -- Beland (talk) 22:23, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Number of troops is not significant; it's their presence and active involvement worldwide. Similar to total patents, you're taking China's (and the EU's) larger population as evidence of equal military or economic or cultural prowess in the world. That's not a yardstick. Mason.Jones (talk) 22:58, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
GDP is the yearly market values of goods/services produced. The United States still leads greatly in terms of total wealth/economic power. Saying that the United States is the most influential in terms of culture/science shouldn't be disputable, either. None of this necessarily implies "superiority" in terms of exceptionalism. One could argue that the United States has a "bad culture" (whether from something like tipping to its ideology) KlayCax (talk) 01:29, 9 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We would need reliable sources that support the claim that the United States indisputably has the most cultural and scientific influence worldwide. Because people from China will point to the Four Great Inventions of paper, printing, gunpowder, and compass, and a writing system that's used by billions. If you mean contemporary influence, we would need to be specific. I got curious about what sources actually say, and US News and World Report ranks Italy and France above the United States ([44]) in terms of cultural influence, so I guess that claim has to come out. -- Beland (talk) 02:34, 9 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The lede already says the United States has the world's largest economy, supported by details in the body, which also clarifies that's nominal GDP. It also already says the US "ranks among the highest in the world in international measures of income, wealth, economic competitiveness, productivity, innovation," all of which have internal links to back them up. I don't think we then need an additional general awesomeness claim on top of that which violates the show, don't tell principle and takes up additional words. If there's something specific to add about international global economic influence, we might mention (as the article does), the U.S. dollar. If there's something else specific you had in mind, we'd need reliable external sources or at least a Wikipedia article to link to and mine for citations. -- Beland (talk) 02:46, 9 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you want to say the U.S. is the country with the most foreign military bases or the most involved in occupying other countries, or something, I would be fine with saying that specifically, but "unsurpassed military force" could mean the things you think are important, or it could mean troop strength. -- Beland (talk) 02:10, 9 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
International relations scholars are essentially unanimous in stating that the United States is the world's most powerful military. It isn't a violation of NPOV to state that. KlayCax (talk) 02:16, 9 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you want to add that claim, we need some reliable sources to support it. The article just says the United States spends the most of any country on its military, and has the third-largest by number of personnel. -- Beland (talk) 02:37, 9 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mentioning non-British colonies in the lede[edit]

@KlayCax: regarding this edit which dropped:

eventually incorporating lands of many indigenous peoples and former colonies of Spain, France, and Russia.

I added that because just saying the United States arose from British colonies seems...unbalanced. That may be its most important colonial connection, but most of the territory of the country was never British. French and Spanish laws, customs, and languages have been retained in various parts of the United States colonized by those countries, and that hardly seems trivial to me. For brevity's sake, I didn't add that the fifty states include several formerly independent countries, that the US still owns territory it bought from Denmark, that it was also colonized at times by Sweden and the Netherlands, spawned its own colony in Liberia, or that it once administered the Philippines, Cuba, the DR, Haiti, Nicaragua, the Panama Canal Zone, and a whole lot of Pacific islands. -- Beland (talk) 07:33, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Beland: No thinking person is going to oppose your addition about French, Spanish, and Russian colonies. Changing it (as you did, with a nice edit summary) is enough. It doesn't require a Talk Page discussion with one editor. Mason.Jones (talk) 18:01, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Mason.Jones: Uh, well, the reason I bring it up here is that they reverted my addition. I don't think they'd appreciate the implication they are not a "thinking person". -- Beland (talk) 22:26, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The editor didn't remove your text for its content; it was removed to reduce total word count. I'd restore it, with an edit summary. Mason.Jones (talk) 22:42, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's correct. This information belongs in the article. It just doesn't belong in the lead. The goal was to make it below 450 words in the lead. It's already ballooning back up again.
It's not supposed to be a systematic, through historiography of American history. Just the basics of how its national polity has changed. KlayCax (talk) 01:31, 9 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ah, sorry, it seems we were both editing and commenting at the same time, so there was a bit of an edit conflict. Where is the number 450 coming from? -- Beland (talk) 02:05, 9 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It was a rule of thumb (not consensus) from past discussions, @Beland:. The previous versions of the article suffered from significant bloat (particularly in the lead, with editors adding discussions of gun laws, universal healthcare, death penalty, circumcision, drinking habit, and other trivia into it.) The general agreement was an article with a byte count of less than 300k and a lead wording of less than 450. (@Moxy: was one who advocated shortening the page.) KlayCax (talk) 02:42, 9 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The edit summary was "More moving around/restoring. This lead seems pretty good.", so I'm not sure what the reason for removal was. I don't see why they wouldn't simply revert me putting it back in unless we had discussed it first and they were persuaded that the ideas were worth the extra words or whatever the objection was, or other editors voiced support. That's why, to avoid edit wars and to make useful progress on writing high-quality articles, if there's not an obvious way for me to address concerns raised in the edit summary of a revert, I generally follow the the bold, revert, discuss cycle. But since you have voiced support, I restored the text in question in modified form, adding context about immigration as mentioned below. -- Beland (talk) 02:03, 9 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In fact, the 13 colonies had either copied or received English law and it was extended to every part of the U.S. except Louisiana. The English language also became the working language of every state (except perhaps Lousiana) and there is no state continuity of any acquired part of the U.S. other than the 13 colonies and Louisiana.
It might have been different if say Quebec had voluntarily joined the Revolution and retained its laws, language and customs. But unlike the original 13 colonies and arguably Hawaii and Alaska, no territories have ever voted to join the U.S. TFD (talk) 19:50, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@TFD: You didn't cite New Mexico's special status for the Spanish language, incl. translation of all government documents. These rights were granted through negotiations in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. This is indeed "state continuity" after Mexico formally ceded its territory to the U.S. And English will never be the official language there. Mason.Jones (talk) 22:31, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't see any mention of Alaskans having any say in the matter on Alaskan Purchase. You'll find other independent countries joining the 50 states in the Vermont Republic and Republic of Texas. (Not trying to cram these in the lede, but for completeness I'll mention Puerto Rico retaining Spanish as its primary legal language, the USVI retaining Danish laws like driving on the left, and retention of Polynesian cultures and languages in American Samoa and Hawaii.) As I look at a map of the United States, outside of the East, I see mostly French, Spanish, and Native American place names. Legal continuity is not the only important factor in describing where the United States comes from. The diversity of its cultural heritage seems like a basic fact about the country. It seems poor to promote the idea that the British colonies expanded into a vacuum, or the misconception they were the first to colonize the Americas. Perhaps it's also worth noting how much of an immigrant country it is. People of British heritage make up a relatively small fraction of the population. -- Beland (talk) 22:49, 8 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What is important is that they expanded by annexing territories once Vermont was added as the 13th state. In some cases, Americans settled beyond the frontier then asked the U.S. to annex them. Texas is the only state after that voluntarily joined the U.S. But Vermont had broken away from Massachusetts, while Texas (like Oregon and Hawaii) had been settled by Americans.
Note also that when new states join, they join as states under the same conditions as existing states. No change to the U.S. constitution is made. This is very different from how the four countries of the UK came together.
Alaska and Hawaii were listed as non-self-governing territories at the UN and were removed from the list after referendums to become a states.
Finally, Puerto Rico, USVI, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands are not part of the U.S. but are "unincorporated" territories administered by them. Their inhabitants were considered too foreign and unassimilable to be incorporated into the U.S.
The diversity of the U.S. relies mostly on immigration rather than acquiring foreign territory. TFD (talk) 02:43, 10 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
OK, so I'm not sure what all those comments imply for the lede. -- Beland (talk) 20:22, 10 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It means that there is no reason to enumerate in the lead the various states that owned land acquired by the U.S. Now if half the people in the U.S. spoke Russian and followed Russian laws, then it should be mentioned. TFD (talk) 02:38, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, it's not half, but 41 million Americans speak Spanish, including the majority in Puerto Rico, and Spanish and French and Danish laws have been inherited into American jurisprudence in a few states and territories. Hundreds of jurisdictions including reservations, Hawaii, and some territories, also use indigenous law to one degree or another. But with sensitivity to due weight, instead of listing the countries by name, I've changed the language to "territory from indigenous peoples and former colonies of various European powers". Mostly it seems misleading not to mention that the United States expanded beyond the bounds of British North America, since we do mention that's where it started. And I added mention of population inflows, which does seem like more of a core part of American identity and history. -- Beland (talk) 05:16, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Extended-confirmed-protected edit request on 9 February 2024[edit]

Under Demographics->Health, the grammar in the following phrase is incorrect: "but attains worse healthcare outcomes when compared to peer countries for reasons that are debate."

It will need to be updated to "but attains worse healthcare outcomes when compared to peer countries for reasons that are debated." or similar. Skeletrox (talk) 04:27, 9 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

 Done Hyphenation Expert (talk) 06:06, 9 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Change the title to the United States of America[edit]

The first sentence says United States of America or United States or simply America so title should be the United States of America CarterandOreo (talk) 20:03, 10 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@CarterandOreo: Have you seen Q2 in the FAQ at the top of this page? -- Beland (talk) 20:23, 10 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
yea Careo (talk) 20:44, 10 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@CarterandOreo: OK, so do you have any new arguments or counterarguments supporting a title change that haven't been considered in previous discussions? The first sentence says "commonly known as the United States", and the FAQ and WP:COMMONNAME explain why titles use the common name and not the formal name. -- Beland (talk) 01:33, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Adding a third section on Ancestry for the Ethnic Groups section of the Infobox / Fleshing out the National Origin section[edit]

I was thinking of making it something like this:

I believe this would not only help flesh out how diverse the USA actually is; but it would be more uniform with the infoboxes of Other countries. 🤓 WeaponizingArchitecture | scream at me 🤓 17:30, 12 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@WeaponizingArchitecture: I like the idea of having that information easily accessible, but it looks a bit long for an infobox. I checked a few countries and they seem to only include high-level (racial) breakdowns there. Mexico just links to the body text. I was going to suggest doing that for this ethnicity list, but it turns out that list actually would need to be added to the body. It's not present on Demographics of the United States and I don't know whether it should be or not. I'm not sure if the map or the table would be better to pull from Race and ethnicity in the United States#2020 American Community Survey into United States#Population, but doing both might be too much? I do like them both, though. Maybe you should stick a section link in the infobox and whatever you think is appropriate in the Population section, and we can see how it looks in context? -- Beland (talk) 09:04, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Would a Drop-down work? 🤓 WeaponizingArchitecture | scream at me 🤓 14:29, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@WeaponizingArchitecture: A drop-down list would be the wrong solution, since readers are not expected to make a choice here. A list wrapped in a Show/Hide control would be a good solution to prevent it from taking up too much space in the infobox. {{hidden}} might work for that. Given that people often don't click on things, I wonder if more people would see it in the Population section, but then again people often don't keep reading the entire article. -- Beland (talk) 18:16, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Should follow the example of our best FA articles Canada, Japan, Germany... That do not list the same data three times in 3 different locations. Moxy- 18:25, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It looks like those articles all put this info in the Demographics section and not the infobox. That's certainly a good way to handle it. -- Beland (talk) 00:30, 15 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"government" in infobox[edit]

must be definitively sourced, or removed soibangla (talk) 04:32, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Soibangla: The infobox says "Federal constitutional republic". The body of the article explains in some detail how the federation of states works, about the written constitution, and that the country is a republic rather than a monarchy. I'm unsure what exactly you feel has not been firmly established about that phrase? Is there another one you would prefer? -- Beland (talk) 05:24, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I just removed "presidential" from the infobox, as it is unsourced, and I do not even see "constitutional republic" is sourced anywhere in the article. where are the sources? by this point, we need definitive sources. soibangla (talk) 05:45, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is common knowledge. One of the many sources is in the Constitution itself. Led8000 (talk) 05:58, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"It is common knowledge" is absolutely not compliant with the principles of this encyclopedia soibangla (talk) 06:05, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Please assess your current state of mind. It seems to me that something is going on in your personal life currently, and you are very disgruntled emotionally. Led8000 (talk) 06:51, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is a wholly inappropriate comment to another user. — Czello (music) 08:50, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have reported this comment to WP:AN/I. I do not see anywhere in the consitution that defines the United States using the word "republic", though a Republican form of government is guaranteed to the states, nobility is prohibited, and no role for a monarch is defined. That said, do we really need a footnote to document that the United States is a republic and not a monarchy? -- Beland (talk) 09:12, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Republican would be lowercase technically. There are many sentences in the Constitution where each word in a sentence is capitalized, as seen there, and in the direct transcription link above. Led8000 (talk) 11:22, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Extended confirmed edit request[edit]

"Republic" at the start of the article is currently linking to the Republican party. Led8000 (talk) 04:38, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

it sure is, and that shit gotta stop soibangla (talk) 04:42, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Soibangla: Thanks for fixing that incorrectly disambiguated link. BTW, many editors find four-letter words offensive, and might consider it uncivil language and respond badly. -- Beland (talk) 05:20, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Beland: , it was not disambiguated. It was added by @KlayCax: here , then you did not notice it, and I did not notice it until today. Led8000 (talk) 05:39, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I expect that this text was drafted as republican, which is indeed a disambiguation page that includes both Republican Party (United States) and republic, among many other choices. The display text could have been changed as part of a grammar check without noticing that the (incorrect) disambiguation isn't even needed anymore. -- Beland (talk) 09:18, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is there a grammar check like that? I usually do not use the visual editor. Led8000 (talk) 09:48, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
By "grammar check" I mean the process of an editor reading the displayed text with their eyes and mentally verifying that it follows the rules of English grammar. -- Beland (talk) 00:11, 15 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
this stuff should make any reputable editor livid soibangla (talk) 05:48, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]


We live in very divisive times, and I am aware there are extensive efforts afoot to deny the United States is a democracy, but rather insisting it is a republic. As in, by really dumb allusion, "Republican." As I was just made aware, "republic" was linked to the Republican Party in this article, suggesting the GOP is America. I haven't been to this article for months, but no one caught that? In addition, the US has been referred to in this article as a "presidential" republic, which I do not see is sourced, nor even a defined term. Given the current extensive concerns about Democratic backsliding in the United States, this is worrisome.

There's a whole lotta propaganda goin' down these days, and this article is in serious need of intense scrutiny. soibangla (talk) 05:34, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I expect that linking "republic" to "Republican Party" was probably just selecting the wrong item from a pull-down menu or somesuch. If you look at the article government, you'll see that "presidential republic" is one of the main systems of the world, for which the U.S. is the prototypical example. They are contrasted with parliamentary republics, which have no separation of powers between the executive and legislative functions. This is explained at length in the article Presidential system, the link to which you deleted. This is not propaganda, this is Civics 101. If you need an inline footnote to document this, I'll copy one in. -- Beland (talk) 08:03, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
where are the sources in the article? is Wikipedia relying on "common sense" Civics 101 we learned in 4th grade, or should it rely on reliable sources? there are no sources. Government enumerates many forms of republics, but does not specify the US as one of them. Surely, if this is such a certainty, if it's Civics 101 and common knowledge, there should be no problem in finding abundant sources that explicitly say so. Alas, none are provided. soibangla (talk) 08:32, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Soibangla: The source for "presidential" in the article is in the section United States#National government, namely James L. Sundquist. -- Beland (talk) 09:08, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The narrative of how the presidential system was more or less invented in the United States is at Presidential system#Development in the Americas. -- Beland (talk) 09:14, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The word "presidential" also links to that article, so readers who are confused or alarmed at that civics term of art can click through and learn all about it. -- Beland (talk) 09:20, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
if this is all so decisive, is it too much to expect a decisive cite in the infobox, where a decisive assertion is made? soibangla (talk) 09:29, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
MOS:INFOBOXREF says that repeating the reference in the infobox is not needed if the same material is referenced in the body. I have no objection to adding a cross-reference from the infobox to the existing footnote if it makes you feel better. I would not expect readers to find this designation to be in any way controversial or disputable, but here we are talking about it. -- Beland (talk) 09:36, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
ok, I just saw your change to Federal presidential republic from Federal constitutional republic, and before that Federal presidential constitutional republic. I suppose we'll need a Constitutional convention to finally resolve this. I give up. soibangla (talk) 09:02, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I also just have to say, the members of the Republican Party I know would consider the linking of "republic" to the article on their party to be an obvious error that should be corrected, not some sort of propaganda victory. The vocabulary controversies which seem to be active in U.S. politics at the moment actually involve the words "democracy", as in "the United States is not a [pure] democracy, it's a republic" and "constitutional", as in "constitutional carry" of firearms which emphasizes originalist interpretations in this and other contexts.
If there's anything to fret about, it's Wikipedia quality control mechanisms, which are somewhat eventualist. For better or worse, it appears that error was in the article for about 6 days. -- Beland (talk) 09:30, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@KlayCax:, Could you please take more care when using drop-down menus (diff)? I'm not quite sure how you were able to confuse "republic" with "Republican Party (United States)". -- SashiRolls 🌿 · 🍥 20:42, 14 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

citations and clarifications needed on governance style[edit]

Citations needed for statement that the USA is a "liberal democracy". Clarification needed where it is described as a Federal Presidential Republic - no article link to this, just the word "Federal". Also no citations to support claim.

The voting system of the USA arguably isn't a in line with definitions of liberal democracy or republic (rule of the public via representatives, as the electoral college is not the public)

Separately to the above (subjectively) perhaps an updater might consider a more descriptive definition of the USA government structure, taking into consideration the unitary presidential federation with dual factions and a lower/upper house, but more concisely and with linked definitions. 2A02:C7C:6ADF:3300:5C58:3C87:2000:AC84 (talk) 22:03, 14 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

All sourced in the article.....just need to take time and read beyond the lead. Moxy- 23:00, 14 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The United States is one of the canonical examples of a Liberal Democracy. Arguably, it was the first modern Liberal Democracy. -- RockstoneSend me a message! 02:59, 15 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]


FMSky, why did you revert information about the Native American genocide? Citations are provided in the article. The talk makes it clear that there's a universal agreement to include. ShirtNShoesPls (talk) 13:36, 15 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Cause you also inserted other unsourced contentious stuff --FMSky (talk) 13:43, 15 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Such as? ShirtNShoesPls (talk) 13:56, 15 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@ShirtNShoes -- Such as, over the past year you've been blocked, warned, and told to stop edit-warring. It's therefore rather impolite on your part to now insert unsourced, opinionated POV throughout this article. (You even managed to change the demonym "American" to "U.S.", a debate settled on WP-EN fifteen years ago.) Please desist. Mason.Jones (talk) 16:44, 15 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@ShirtNShoesPls: there might be consensus to discuss the Native American genocide in the body of the article, but it's inappropriate for the lead. -- RockstoneSend me a message! 22:54, 15 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Rockstone35 you might want to hold off on giving them that green light. Having done a quick look into the edits they made here, they appear to have seemingly manufactured claims and quotes in the edits they've made.
In their attempted set of edits here one of the major claims they inserted is the following, "According to David Stannard in American Holocaust, this is the largest genocide in world history, and led to an estimated 100 million deaths." however if you look at their attempted citation it's actually a different book entirely they've cited, with a citation reading: "Stannard, David E. (1996). Uniqueness as Denial: The Politics of Genocide Scholarship. Westview Press. pp. 245–281."
Now, I then googled that supposed citation and it turns out, low and behold, that's not correct either. The supposed claim by David Stannard is actually part of an essay that was published in the book "Is the Holocaust Unique", with the exact quoted page numbers appearing to be available here and on page 263 we find the following:
"Because of the unprecedented immensity of the disaster that befell the people of the Americas as a collectivity, resulting in a population collapse of somewhere between 50 and 100 million - that is, in the annihilation of 90 to 95 percent of the entire hemisphere's indigenous human inhabitants" (emphasis mine).
Basically it appears this user openly took a short passage on a single page of this essay, that applied to the effects of European colonisation of the entire Americas, and then in my view deliberately misrepresented it as being about the United States alone and did this, along with significantly changing claims in previously sourced statements elsewhere in the article, solely to push their POV that the United States deliberately at all stages enacted the 'largest genocide in world history'.
I shouldn't have to state this, but this sort of behaviour is grossly against Wikipedia's policies. Rambling Rambler (talk) 01:58, 16 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There's a fiction factory at WP that regularly ascribes "world's worst genocides" to the United States. The Spanish and Portuguese ruled millions of indigenous peoples—with the greatest cruelty. There were only thousands of Natives living on what is now U.S. and Canadian territory when colonists first arrived. Sources in this article that seem to muddle or conflate U.S. and Latin American crimes against the indigenous peoples, in order to magnify those in the U.S., will be rejected as always. Mason.Jones (talk) 02:15, 16 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There's a consensus that genocide was committed. Oxford states it was a genocide. The literature has changed a lot in 20 years. ShirtNShoesPls (talk) 00:22, 22 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think it's a bit disingenuous to refer to the current understanding of the situation as a "genocide". Can you please provide citations that the understanding has evolved in 20 years? --RockstoneSend me a message! 00:28, 22 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There is a consensus. In fact, AskHistorians now automatically considers reducing the events to ethnic cleansing as a form of genocide denialism, with other major historical centers stating the same.
I recommend viewing @EdHistory101:'s response:

In the United States, a subtle state of denial exists regarding portions of this country's history. One of the biggest issues concerning the colonization of the Americas is whether or not this genocide was committed by the incoming colonists. And while the finer points of this subject are still being discussed, few academics would deny that acts of genocide were committed. However, there are those who vehemently attempt to refute conclusions made by experts and assert that no genocide occurred. These “methods of denialism” are important to recognize to avoid being manipulated by those who would see the historical narratives change for the worse.

Among mainstream historians: there is no debate. The Founding Fathers, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and the United States are guilty of collective settler colonialism and genocide. ShirtNShoesPls (talk) 14:27, 22 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The fact you think reddit counts as a reliable source to back your blatant WP:NOTHERE WP:ADVOCACY is not in the least bit surprising... Rambling Rambler (talk) 14:39, 22 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Random Reddit posters are not reliable sources. However, posts from reliable sources on the website are considered credible. ShirtNShoesPls (talk) 16:28, 22 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Then why do we explicitly have a link just to remind people reddit is not a reliable source (WP:RSREDDIT)? Rambling Rambler (talk) 16:46, 22 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Indian reservations" wording[edit]

It should be Native American, not Indian. Finntastico2 (talk) 16:21, 18 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"What is a federal Indian reservation?". Indian Affairs. August 19, 2017. Moxy- 17:08, 18 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The article uses the language in reliable sources. TFD (talk) 21:21, 18 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Finntastico -- Some WP readers (me too) prefer the term "Native," but many Natives still prefer "Indian" and use it in their organizations. In 2024, "Indian" remains the official nomenclature of the U.S. government (including for reservations), so this article follows current usage. Mason.Jones (talk) 19:09, 20 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Reworking lead and returning bits to the old lead?[edit]

I just want to state that I vastly prefer the old lead to the new one, but going back into the page history to view the lead as it used to be made me realize just how much the lead has changed over the course of a month. However, I do prefer the lead as it existed on December 30, 2023.

However, if this version of the lead is no longer "in vogue," I would instead would like to suggest some aspects of the old lead return to the new one, rather than completely reverting to the old lead in itself.

For starters, the second paragraph in the lead likely needs to be split into two. While I understand the we want to keep the lead short, as it currently stands it glosses over 300 years of history and needs at least a little more context added. For instance, the lead goes "American territory was first settled by Paleo-Indians who migrated across the Bering land bridge over 12,000 years ago. Colonization by the British began in 1607." Woah! That's a lot of history. It's also extremely compacted and slightly misleading. Colonization of the Americas, and parts of modern America, had more than just the English colonizing it. The lead also doesn't make clear if its talking about North America, the Americas, or land that would later become part of the United States of America.

Possible rewording could go along the lines of, "North America was first settled by Paleo-Indians migrating across the Bering land bridge over 12,000 years ago."

There also could be further rewording to state: "British colonization throughout 17th century lead to the establishment of the Thirteen Colonies, which declared independence against the British Crown on July 16, 1776 as a result of disputes over taxation and political representation. The United States' victory in American Revolutionary War (1775–83) resulted in the first country founded on Enlightenment principles of unalienable natural rights, consent of the governed, and republicanism. A belief in Manifest destiny lead to the nation expanding westwards and acquiring new territories throughout its early history."

This is just a part of the rework to the lead I believe is necessary. I believe mentioning the confederation period is a bit too specific for the broad nature of the lead itself along with the Constitution and Bill of Rights. I also believe mentioning the United States' unique form of government compared to all comparable nations at the time is warranted and is not undue or biased. The United States' unique government and successful revolution did partly inspire the later French Revolution and Revolutions of 1848. BootsED (talk) 07:48, 19 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"America" should not redirect to the United States[edit]

In the disambiguation page for America[45], it is specified that "America is a short-form name for the United States of America". However, the United States aren't known officially as the "United States of America", instead they are just the "United States". The name of the article is United States, and not United States of America. The nation is called "United States" and "of America" is only an unofficial addition to distinguish with other nations that go by United States. This is useless nowadays, considering that when "United States" is mentioned it is always referring to the one in America, unless said otherwise. Furthermore, America is a common name for much more than just the US, and nowadays it is much more common to see "America" being used to refer to the continent rather than the nation. 2804:14D:5C50:889E:6913:F93D:EA87:874C (talk) 01:02, 21 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In the English language, America is usually used to refer to the United States, such that it is the overwhelmingly primary topic for that word. This is not limited to usage within the United States but is the common meaning of the word in reliable sources globally, such as Indian Express, Le Monde, Japan Times, The Guardian, etc. It is true that in many languages America does not necessarily refer to the United States, but the English Wikipedia reflects English-language usage, which does support America redirecting here. - Aoidh (talk) 01:19, 21 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Aoidh In Le Monde, the International section is divided into Americas and in that section is the United States. Looking up 'America' in Le Monde itself doesn't show any US-related articles using the term to refer to the US.
The same goes for The Guardian 2804:14D:5C50:80D8:E97D:ED:8CD6:4B91 (talk) 01:28, 21 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The examples I gave directly and unambiguously use America to refer specifically and exclusively to the United States. The international section of Le Monde using "Americas" reinforces the idea that in the English language, Americas is used to refer to the landmass called Americas in contrast to America, which is overwhelmingly used to refer to the United States. I'm not sure what you're searching to not find any results, but when searching through Le Monde it is very easy to find English-language articles that use America to describe the United States, this example is from a couple of days ago. The Guardian has an entire section called America's dirty divide that it describes as A series examining the country's vast environmental inequalities and how climate change will make things worse (emphasis added). When English-language reliable sources use America, it almost always is used to refer to the United States. - Aoidh (talk) 01:42, 21 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The purpose of re-directs is that readers are taken to the article they are searching for. My guess is that over 95% of readers who type in America are looking for this article. If you have evidence that they are looking for another article, please tell me what it is. TFD (talk) 01:59, 21 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The United States of America is the official name, and is for example used in international relations, as for example titles of ambassadors. For usage in Congress see Rjensen (talk)
That doesn't matter. The official name of Mexico is "The United States of Mexico", but if you look up "United States" it directs to here. This is not a conversation worth entertaining, plenty of RFCs have been conducted and the consensus has been to keep things as they are. You're welcome to try to change consensus, but it will almost certainly fail. --RockstoneSend me a message! 00:31, 22 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Inconsistency between articles[edit]

The articles on Native American genocide in the United States and Denial of genocides of Indigenous peoples state that there is an academic consensus that the United States committed genocide against its native populations. Yet this is entirely left out of the article. Why?

Only one is correct. ShirtNShoesPls (talk) 00:18, 22 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Extended-confirmed-protected edit request on 22 February 2024[edit]

America is not a liberal democracy, it is a constitutional Republic. 2601:183:C57F:95F0:6856:FE71:1E03:5493 (talk) 05:23, 22 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

 Not done for now: please establish a consensus for this alteration before using the {{Edit extended-protected}} template. it is both, as those are not mutually exclusive terms. Aoidh (talk) 05:37, 22 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is both a liberal democracy and a constitutional republic. -- RockstoneSend me a message! 19:15, 22 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]