American Empire Leaders: Washington
, Lincoln Starting technologies: Agriculture Fishing Unique unit: Navy SEAL Unique building: Mall
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The United States is young by Civilization standards, being barely more than 200 years old. The United States did not expand to reach its current borders until the middle of the 19th century, and did not become a true world power until the middle of the 20th century. America was the first European colony to separate successfully from its motherland, and it was among the first nations to be established on the premise that sovereignty rests with its citizens and not with the government.
Prior to the 1770s, the American colonists were loyal subjects of the British Empire, but a combination of taxes and ministerial mismanagement of the situation led to the outbreak of revolution in 1776. George Washington, the leader of the colonial forces during the Revolutionary War and later First President of the United States, along with the other Founding Fathers, managed to win the fight for independence against all odds and lay the constitutional foundation for America`s future growth. In its first century and a half, the country was mainly preoccupied with its own territorial exploration, internal development, and economic growth. American politics evolved from quasi-aristocratic beginnings to become increasingly democratic during the 1820s and `30s. But despite the nation`s rapid acquisition of territory and dramatic population growth, the spectre of slavery continued to divide the country between North and South. The struggle between anti- and pro-slavery advocates eventually erupted in a bloody Civil War that lasted four years and consumed hundreds of thousands of lives. In the end, the Union was preserved and the power of the central federal government greatly strengthened compared to before the conflict.
Following the Civil War, the nation entered a period of unprecedented prosperity after the long conflict and reconstruction. In the ensuing two decades industrial production, the number of industrial workers, and the number of factories all more than doubled. European immigration, westward expansion, urban growth, technological advances, and a host of American inventions - including the telephone, typewriter, linotype, phonograph, electric light, cash register, air brake, refrigerator car, and the automobile - contributed to the American explosion, while widespread use of corporate organization offered new opportunities for large-scale financing of business enterprise and attracted new capital. But despite America`s growth as one of the world`s leading industrial powers, the nation still remained isolationist in outlook, paying little to no attention to the world outside its borders.
The Spanish-American War of 1898 marked the emergence of the United States onto the world`s stage as a major power, but it was not until World War I that the country truly became invovled in world politics. Following the 1919 Versailles Peace Conference, the nation again turned its back on the rest of the world and enjoyed the prosperous decade known as the "Roaring Twenties". Unfortunately, this economic boom was not to last. Wall Street`s stock market crashed in 1929 and kicked off the Great Depression of the 1930s. In the midst of constant bank failures and rampant unemployment, Franklin Roosevelt was elected president and set about to fix the country through his recovery plan called the "New Deal". The program was a mixed success economically, but helped restore hope and confidence to a people that were in serious need of both. Roosevelt then went on to lead the United States through the crucible of World War II, dying a few months before victory was won.
The Allied victory at the end of World War II left the United States as one of the world`s two "superpowers" along with the Soviet Union. In only a few short years the two former allies had become opponents in the Cold War, a tense diplomatic standoff that would last for forty years. Domestically, the nation enjoyed considerable prosperity in the 1950s, experienced a turbulent period of cultural and social change in the 1960s, and suffered through economic stagnation in the 1970s, with recovery taking place in the following decades. Since the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1989-91, the United States has been left alone as the world`s sole remaining superpower. Rather than facing conventional armies on the field of battle, America is now threatened by terrorist groups who make no distinction between military and civilian targets. Highly trained special operations units like the Navy SEALs are often used to combat these enemies using advanced weaponry. But for all of its overwhelming economic and military strength, the United States will have to work together with other nations in order to meet the threats of the modern world.