USA. Political life in the United States in 1996 was dominated by the November 5 elections. In addition to the president and vice-president, one-third of the Senate, the entire House of Representatives and a wide range of state and local officials were elected.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: What does US stand for? In the field of geography, this two letter acronym means United States. Check this to see its other meanings in English and other 35 languages.
|Land area||9,826,675 km²|
|Residents per km²||33.9|
|Official language||English (American English), Spanish (7.5%)|
|Income per capita||$ 59,800|
|ISO 3166 code||US|
|License plate||United States|
|Time zone UTC||-5|
|Geographic coordinates||38 00 N, 97 00 W.|
In the presidential election, on the Democratic side, Bill Clinton as incumbent president was the self-signed candidate, while a number of candidates signed up among Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas, who was now seeking his party’s nomination for presidential candidate for the third time, was the leader, but he was challenged from the right by Pat Buchanan, who won the primary in New Hampshire Feb. 20, and by multimillionaire Steve Forbes, who won primary election in Arizona February 27. Other Republican candidates were former Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander and Texas Senator Phil Gramm. By the end of March, however, it was clear that Dole had won the nomination, following a series of clear victories in the primary elections across the United States, and all challengers except Buchanan withdrew their names.
Throughout the spring, summer, and fall, opinion polls gave President Clinton a secure lead over his challengers, often by more than ten percentage points. In June, Dole resigned as senator and majority leader to devote himself entirely to his candidacy, which did not seem to help his cause, and the entire campaign became quite paralyzed. Instead, much of the interest came from whether Democrats could regain control of one or both chambers of Congress.
When the votes were counted, Clinton had won safely with 379 electoral votes against Doles 159. Of voters, Clinton got 49%, Dole 41%, and Perot 8%.
In the congressional elections, however, Republicans retained control in both the Senate (55 vs. 45, a two-seat increase) and in the House of Representatives (227 vs. 207.1, a three-seat reduction). Voter turnout in the presidential elections was the lowest in decades, just under 50%.
The end of the election shows Clinton’s skill as a politician, as his chances for reelection were considered very small after the 1994 midterm elections when Republicans took control in Congress. The relatively good US economy, the fact that Republicans succeeded in dominating Newt Gingrich’s right wing and the inherent advantage that a presidential office provides are other important explanations for Clinton’s victory.
The US economy performed well in 1996. Inflation remained at a low level – below 3% – and unemployment was just over 5%. In October, the Dow Jones index on the New York Stock Exchange also reached an “all time high” and for the first time exceeded 6,000.
The protracted budget battle between the president and Congress, which meant layoffs of federal employees at the end of 1995, were finally finalized in January. It is also clear that the question of how pensions and healthcare should be financed in the future is among the most important economic-political issues in the United States today.
The indigenous people
The first immigration to North America was from Asia across the Bering Strait over 20,000 years ago. The immigrants – ancestors of the indigenous population of the American continent – were scattered throughout most of the continent, and were divided into many different peoples or tribes. Researchers today work with a division of the people into six to ten major cultural areas, among them the northern forest Indians (Canada-Alaska), prairie Indians in the Midwest – who followed the great buffalo flocks, the Pueblo Indians in the southwest – lived in small villages – and the East Coast Indians – who had various forms of farming as a food route, and who also lived in small villages. But they also developed some larger communities. Among other things. had the city of Cahokia near the present St. Louis about 40,000 residents in the year 1000 AD.
Each of the cultural areas was divided into a number of smaller communities. Only in North America did at least 200 distinctly different languages exist. The most important of the people were: apache, arapaho, cherokee, cheyenne, chipewa, crow, comanche, hopi, irokes, lakota, navajo, nez perce, sioux, pawnee, pueblo, seminole, shawnee, shoshone and ute. However, the dividing lines between the different life forms, cultures and languages were not always coincidental. Strains with the same life form could e.g. have completely different languages. This is one of the reasons why some researchers believe that the original immigration took place over a period of time and that the groups originated from a number of different language and cultural groups in Asia.
The religious beliefs of the indigenous peoples were based on a cosmic conception in which the earth did not belong to any human but the universe, which was conceived as a being with material and spiritual powers. The leaders of the indigenous peoples – the shamans – could summon the powers of this sacred universe to prophesy about the future, lead the people, and cure diseases.
The Norwegian Vikings’ short colonization period on the east coast around the year 1000 left no lasting traces. On the other hand, so did the arrival of the Spanish invaders in 1492, and the subsequent extensive immigration from other European countries. The Spaniards founded, inter alia, the cities of San Agustín in Florida and Santa Fe in New Mexico and reached Texas and California. In 1540, Hernando De Soto described how the Cherokeethe people had developed an advanced agricultural culture, and had established contact with other peoples – i.e. Aztecs. At that time, there were still about 1.5 million natives in the current United States, but the whites introduced the firearm and the native’s new concept to kill its opponent. The white conquered piece by piece of land. Hundreds of thousands of Indians were killed, tribe after tribe fought, displaced, and partially deported west. In 1830, the young North American federal state passed a law requiring all Native Americans to reside west of the Mississippi River. At the same time, immigration from Europe continued.
In 1848-50, gold was found in California and Colorado. The whites flocked west again. Agreements were broken and laws were forgotten. The Indians were still persecuted and systematically banished to ever smaller reserves – especially in areas where the whites did not yet see any significant opportunity for profitable mining or farming.
Over the last few centuries, between 300 and 400 agreements – formal treaties – have been made between various indigenous peoples and the state of the United States. The agreements have been broken by the colonizers one by one – mostly because the white economic expansion made it desirable to take over Native American protected areas.
This conflict continues to exist in our day with the discovery of uranium, oil shale, important lignite deposits and a number of other minerals in a number of Native American reserves. The modern Native American organizations – created by the new activism and the Red Power movement in the 1960’s and 70’s – have today as one of their most important tasks to prevent these resources from being taken over by the authorities and consumed without the Indians themselves having the crucial influence on the management of them.
According to Countryaah.com, the population of United States in 1996 was 265,163,634, ranking number 3 in the world. The population growth rate was 1.010% yearly, and the population density was 28.9878 people per km2.