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U.S. state

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A U.S. state is any one of the 50 states (four of which officially favor the term commonwealth) which, together with the District of Columbia, form the United States of America. The separate state governments and the U.S. federal government share sovereignty, in that an "American" is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of residence.

The United States Constitution allocates power between the two levels of government in general terms; the general idea is that by ratifying the Constitution, each state has transferred certain aspects of its sovereign powers to the federal government while retaining the remainder for itself. The tasks of education, health, transportation, and other infrastructure are generally the responsibility of the states.

Over time, the Constitution has been amended, and the interpretation and application of its provisions have changed. The general tendency has been toward centralization, with the federal government playing a much larger role than it once did.

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List of states

The states, with their U.S. postal abbreviations, traditional abbreviations, and capitals, are:


ALAla.AlabamaMontgomery
AKAlaskaAlaskaJuneau
AZAriz.ArizonaPhoenix
ARArk.ArkansasLittle Rock
CACalif.CaliforniaSacramento
COColo.ColoradoDenver
CTConn.ConnecticutHartford
DEDel.DelawareDover
FLFla.FloridaTallahassee
GAGa.GeorgiaAtlanta
HIHawaiiHawaiiHonolulu
IDIdahoIdahoBoise
ILIll.IllinoisSpringfield
INInd.IndianaIndianapolis
IAIowaIowaDes Moines
KSKan.KansasTopeka
KYKy.KentuckyFrankfort
LALa.LouisianaBaton Rouge
MEMaineMaineAugusta
MDMd.MarylandAnnapolis
MAMass.MassachusettsBoston
MIMich.MichiganLansing
MNMinn.MinnesotaSaint Paul
MSMiss.MississippiJackson
MOMo.MissouriJefferson City
MTMont.MontanaHelena
NENeb.NebraskaLincoln
NVNev.NevadaCarson City
NHN.H.New HampshireConcord
NJN.J.New JerseyTrenton
NMN.M.New MexicoSanta Fe
NYN.Y.New YorkAlbany
NCN.C.North CarolinaRaleigh
NDN.D.North DakotaBismarck
OHOhioOhioColumbus
OKOkla.OklahomaOklahoma City
OROre.OregonSalem
PAPa.PennsylvaniaHarrisburg
RIR.I.Rhode IslandProvidence
SCS.C.South CarolinaColumbia
SDS.D.South DakotaPierre
TNTenn.TennesseeNashville
TXTexasTexasAustin
UTUtahUtahSalt Lake City
VTVt.VermontMontpelier
VAVa.VirginiaRichmond
WAWash.WashingtonOlympia
WVW.Va.West VirginiaCharleston
WIWis.WisconsinMadison
WYWyo.WyomingCheyenne

For a complete list of non-state dependent areas and other territory under control of the U.S., see United States dependent areas.


Various facts about the states

Grouping of the states in regions

States may be grouped in regions; there are endless variations and possible groupings, as most states are not defined by obvious geographic or cultural borders. For further discussion of regions of the U.S., see the list of regions of the United States.

Legal relationship

At the time of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, the 13 colonies became 13 independently sovereign states. Upon the adoption of the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, the states became a single sovereign political entity as defined by international law, empowered to levy war and to conduct international relations, albeit with a very loosely structured and inefficient central government. After the failure of the union under the Articles of Confederation, the 13 states joined the modern union via ratification of the United States Constitution, beginning in 1789.

Under Article IV of the Constitution, which outlines the relationship between the states, the Congress has the power to admit new states to the union. The states are required to give "full faith and credit" to the acts of each other's legislatures and courts, which is generally held to include the recognition of legal contracts, marriages, criminal judgments, and - at the time - slave status. The states are guaranteed military and civil defense by the federal government, which is also obligated to ensure that the government of each state remains a republic.

The Constitution is silent on the issue of the secession of a state from the union. The Articles of Confederation had stated that the earlier union of the colonies "shall be perpetual", and the Declaration of Independence implied that secession was justified only by overtly tyrannical government. Several states attempted to secede during the Civil War, but the federal judicial system, in the case of Texas v. White, established that states do not have the right to secede, at least not under those circumstances.

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Political divisions of the United States Missing image
Flag_of_the_United_States.png
Flag of the United States

States Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming
Federal district District of Columbia
Insular areas American Samoa | Baker Island | Guam | Howland Island | Jarvis Island | Johnston Atoll | Kingman Reef | Midway Atoll | Navassa Island | Northern Mariana Islands | Palmyra Atoll | Puerto Rico | Virgin Islands | Wake Island
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