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The United States of America (commonly referred to as the United States, the USA, the US, the States, or simply as America) is a North American nation that consists of a federal union of fifty individual states, along with territories and a capital district. Founded originally as 13 colonies in the British Empire, they united to become a nation on July 4, 1776 with the Declaration of Independence. After defeating Britain in the War of Independence, the U.S. expanded westward thanks to rapid growth from high birth rates, low death rates and high immigration from Europe and Africa (slaves). It wrote a Constitution in 1787 that remains in effect today and is based on republican political principles. The Americans created the world's first political parties, and, since abolishing slavery in a bloody civil war in the 1860s, has been committed to democracy at home and abroad. Its capitalist economy grew rapidly, becoming the largest in the world by the 1870s. After defeating Communism in the Cold War, the U.S. emerged as the world's only superpower, boasting the largest economy and most powerful military. It exerts enormous cutural and intellectual influence worldwide, and in return is the target of the enemies of democracy and capitalism.
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