The USA is the world’s foremost economic and military power, with global interests and an unmatched global reach.
America’s gross domestic product accounts for close to a quarter of the world total, and its military budget is reckoned to be almost as much as the rest of the world’s defense spending put together.
The country is also a major source of entertainment: American TV, Hollywood films, jazz, blues, rock and rap music are primary ingredients in global popular culture.
The United States originated in a revolution which separated it from the British Crown. The constitution, drafted in 1787, established a federal system with a division of powers which has remained unchanged in form since its inception.
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President: Donald Trump
Republican candidate Donald Trump defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to win the presidency in the 2016 election. Mr Trump’s victory was one of the biggest upsets in US political history, confounding the opinion polls and putting an end to eight years of Democratic control of the White House.
A billionaire businessman, reality TV star and political outsider, Mr Trump campaigned on a vow to “make America great again”. He presented himself as an agent of change who would bring manufacturing jobs back to the US, tear up unfavourable trade deals, and curb illegal immigration.
During an election campaign generally regarded as the most acrimonious in living memory, Mr Trump drew accusations of racism and misogyny, and managed even to alienate many senior members of his own party.
Yet despite poll predictions that America would elect its first female president in Hillary Clinton, Mr Trump emerged victorious, claiming key swing states on a wave of support especially among white working-class voters.
The US has the most highly-developed mass media in the world. Its dramas, comedies, soaps, animations, music videos and films have a global audience and are staple fare for broadcasters worldwide.
US-based web services such as Google, Facebook and Twitter are transforming news.
It is the home of the internet; more than 88% of Americans are online and 79% of adults use Facebook.
1565 – First permanent European settlement in North America.
17th-18th centuries – Hundreds of thousands of Africans brought over and sold into slavery to work on cotton and tobacco plantations.
1775 – American Revolution: George Washington leads colonist Continental Army to fight against British rule.
1787 – Founding Fathers draw up new constitution for United States of America. Constitution comes into effect in 1788.
19th century – Residual resistance by indigenous people crushed as immigration from Europe assumes mass proportions, with settlers moving westwards.
1861-1865 – US Civil War: Federalist forces defeat the Confederate pro-slavery states in the South. Slavery is abolished under the Thirteenth Amendment.
1929-33 – 13 million people become unemployed after the Wall Street stock market crash of 1929 triggers what becomes known as the Great Depression.
1941 – Japan attacks the US fleet at Pearl Harbour in Hawaii, precipitating the United States’ entry into World War Two.
1954 – Racial segregation in schools becomes unconstitutional; start of campaign of civil disobedience to secure civil rights for Americans of African descent.
2001 11 September – Co-ordinated suicide attacks on various high-profile targets, prompting the US to embark on a ”war on terror” which includes the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.
2008 – Barack Obama is elected the first black president of the United States.
*The Information are obtained through http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16761057
Education in the United States follows a pattern similar to that in many systems. Early childhood education is followed by primary school (called elementary school in the United States), middle school, secondary school (called high school in the United States), and then postsecondary (tertiary) education. Postsecondary education includes non-degree programs that lead to certificates and diplomas plus six degree levels: associate, bachelor, first professional, master, advanced intermediate, and research doctorate. The U.S. system does not offer a second or higher doctorate, but does offer postdoctorate research programs. Adult and continuing education, plus special education, cut across all educational levels.
The following links direct you to information on different aspects of the structure of education in the United States. You may open these documents and link directly to the information sources, or you may save or print the pages and use them later.
Progressing Through the System provides links to research and statistics concerning the flow of students through the U.S. education system as well as education indicators and international comparisons.
Evaluation and Assessment provides information on common U.S. grading and credit systems as well as evaluation and standardized tests.
Curriculum and Content Standards provides information on school and tertiary curriculum standards and related reform efforts.
U.S. Primary and Secondary Qualifications provides information on the U.S. high school diploma, other secondary qualifications, and high school equivalency for adults.
U.S. Career and Technical Qualifications provides information on commonly encountered types of postsecondary vocational awards.
Associate Degrees provides information on the associate degree, credit transfer to bachelor’s level studies, and common associate degree titles.
Bachelor’s Degrees provides information on the bachelor’s degree, post-bachelor’s certificate programs and common bachelor’s degree titles.
First-Professional Degrees provides information on first degrees in certain professional fields that require completion of prior undergraduate education for admission.
Master’s Degrees provides information on the master’s degree, both non-thesis and research, and common master’s degree titles.
Intermediate Graduate Qualifications provides information on certificates, diplomas, and degrees in the U.S. higher education system that represent a level of education between the master’s degree and the research doctorate.
Research Doctorate Degrees provides information on the U.S. research doctorate degree and degree titles considered equivalent to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree.
Postdoctoral Programs and Academic Tenure provides information on research and professional academic programs that follow the award of the research doctorate.