The Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolutionary War, notes that each state, such as Vermont or North Carolina, is “sovereign and independent“. In contrast, United States of America is an association created to manage specific delegated duties assigned by the states, in this case ending the war. USA is not a country. Each State is a country. State and country are synonyms.
Here is Article 1 of The Paris Peace Treaty:
His Brittanic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and independent states, that he treats with them as such, and for himself, his heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety, and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof.” [bolding added]Article 1. The Paris Peace Treaty of September 30, 1783
In the part above, “United States” refers to the states in the plural sense, as in the united athletes or the united companies. Here is a clearer example:
“And that persons of any other description shall have free liberty to go to any part or parts of any of the thirteen United States…” – Article 5 [emphasis added]The Paris Peace Treaty of September 30, 1783
There are not 13 countries called United States. There are simply 13 States, and they are also referred to as the thirteen United States.
Each State also has its own citizens, which makes sense.
“…and shall also order and cause all archives, records, deeds, and papers belonging to any of the said states, or their citizens…” [emphasis added]The Paris Peace Treaty of September 30, 1783
At the time, there was no such thing as a U.S. Citizen or Citizen of the United States. It wouldn’t make sense, since United States did not refer to a specific entity, just the group of 13 States. One can’t be a citizen of 13 States. In addition, referring to someone as a citizen of the United States of America would be like calling someone a citizen of the United Nations (the association).
The 14th Amendment created the status ‘U.S. Citizen’ to help the freed Africans who could not become citizens of any of the (United) States. The States did not make them State citizens but did agree to treat them as specified in the 14th Amendment.
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”U.S. Constitution › 14th Amendment > Section 1
The entity “United States of America” is only mentioned in the preamble to note that the parties to the treaty are Prince George and the association called United States of America. The rest of the treaty refers to the 13 United States.
USA is not a country. Sorry to break the news. The public schools misguided us.
It still makes sense to chant USA at an Olympics event since in that context, the 50 sovereign and independent States act as one body when interacting with other states/countries.
Today, United States can mean at least three things, including a corporation, especially if written in all capital letters.
- Review these slides
- Read this,
- review this diagram of US vs USofA,
- read these six PDFs,
- watch Richard McDonald's seminar intro
- learn to speak like a simple man
- If this site ever goes down, the archive is on the wayback machine.