Federal republic in North America
The American Civil War divided the United States in two--the Northern States versus the Southern States. The outcome of the four year battle (1861-1865) kept the United States together as one whole nation and ended slavery.
On April 6, 1917, the United States entered World War I by declaring war on Germany.
The National Museum of the Marine Corps is located next to the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia, and features exhibits on the actions of Marines during World Wars I and II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
Across the United States, military memorials and monuments commemorate wars, battles, and those who lived and served during those times. Popular points of interest by each major war include:
The African American Civil War Memorial and Museum in Washington, DC, has collections and exhibits to help visitors remember the African Americans who fought in the Civil War.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom - As the highest civilian award in the United States, the Presidential Medal of Freedom is given for an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the U.S., to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. It may also be awarded to members of the military and non-citizens. First awarded in 1963, the medal can be additionally awarded "With Distinction" for especially important service. See a list of recipients from 1993 on.
The Congressional Gold Medal - The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award given by Congress. It is awarded for achievements that have a major impact on American history or culture.. Awardees can be civilian or military personnel and are not required to be citizens. This medal is also given in silver and bronze. This medal was first awarded to Founding Father George Washington by the Second Continental Congress in 1776. See a list of recipients.
The National Medal of Arts - This is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States government. The National Medal of Arts is awarded to individuals or groups who "are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support, and availability of the arts in the United States." Recipients are selected by the National Endowment for The Arts, and this medal was first awarded in 1984. See a list of recipients.
The Kennedy Center Honors - Awarded by the Kennedy Center's Board of Trustees, which is headed by the First Lady, this award is given by the president to honor outstanding contributions to U.S. art, music, theatre, film, and culture. This award was first given in 1978. See a list of recipients.
The National Medal of Technology and Innovation - This medal is awarded by the president of the United States to American inventors and innovators who have made significant contributions to the development of new and important technology. The award may be granted to a specific person, to a group of people, or to an entire organization or corporation. This medal was first awarded in 1985 as the National Medal of Technology. See a list of recipients.
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the country. The nine justices are nominated by the president and must be approved by the Senate (with at least 51 votes).
The Justices of the Supreme Court, who can overturn unconstitutional laws, are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
Vice president--The vice president supports the president. If the president is unable to serve, the vice president becomes president. The vice president can be elected and serve an unlimited number of four-year terms as vice president, even under a different president.
Supreme Court--The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States. The Justices of the Supreme Court are nominated by the president and must be approved by the Senate.
Most cases reach the Court on appeal. An appeal is a request for a higher court to reverse the decision of a lower court. Most appeals come from federal courts. They can come from state courts if a case deals with federal law.