“I am from one of the United States” is the correct phrase

“United States” can mean at least two things: the many states of the union and a corporation. There may also be a Supreme Court ruling that acknowledges ‘United States’ can mean three things. For this post, I will focus on the fact that United States is a plural reference as one might say landlocked states or border states (with Canada). ‘United States’ is a general reference to the collection or union of states.

From the Northwest Ordinance, we have this plural reference:

That no person be eligible or qualified to act as a representative unless he shall have been a citizen of one of the United States three years…

In this quote, ‘United States’ is plural and means one of the states such as Connecticut, Maryland, etc.

Later in the Northwest Ordinance, we see the singular version of ‘United States’ when it is paired with ‘in Congress assembled.’

Be it ordained by the United States in Congress assembled, That the said territory, for the purposes of temporary government…

This means, that in 1787, the phrase ‘United States’ was used in plural references such as ‘one of the United States’. Whereas, ‘United States’ could only be singular when in the designation United States in Congress assembled.

One might say, “I am from one of the United States,” but would not say I am from the United States, unless that is short for “I am from one of the United States in Congress assembled” and that would imply that man/woman is a representative in that congress.

From Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, within the definition of ‘United States of America’, the phrase ‘United States’ is a plural reference.

The United States, now thirty-one in number, are Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware…

If ‘United States’ means the union of states, then the above definition is saying there are 31 united states, or 31 unions. Instead, ‘United States’ means the states in the union; there are 31 united states in ‘United States of America.’

“United States” is singular when it refers to the corporation. In 28 U.S. Code § 3002 – Definitions, there is the definition of United States.

(15) “United States” means

(A) a Federal corporation;

(B) an agency, department, commission, board, or other entity of the United States; or

(C) an instrumentality of the United States

If I were to say “I am from the United States” then that would mean I am from the corporation, and that is not the status I want.

I am from one of the United States and I am man.

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