Archive for May, 2016

Organized incorporated territories

May 31, 2016

Organized incorporated territories are territories of the United States that are both incorporated (part of the United States proper) and organized (having an organized government authorized by an Organic Act passed by the U.S. Congress, usually consisting of a territorial legislature, territorial governor, and a basic judicial system). There have been no such territories since Alaska and Hawaii were admitted as states in 1959.

Through most of U.S. history, regions that were admitted as U.S. states were, prior to admission, territories or parts of territories of this kind. As the United States grew, the most populous parts of the organized territory would achieve statehood. The remainder frequently kept at least some of the governing structure of the old legal entity (territory) and would be renamed to avoid confusion.

Some territories existed only a short time before becoming states, while others remained territories for decades. The shortest-lived was Alabama Territory at 2 years, while New Mexico Territory and Hawaii Territory both lasted more than 50 years.

image001

Of the current 50 US states, 31 were at one time or another part of a U.S. territory. The exceptions include: the original Thirteen Colonies; Kentucky and West Virginia (both split off from Virginia); Maine (split off from Massachusetts); California (created as a state out of the unorganized territory of the Mexican Cession); and Vermont and Texas (both previously self-declared republics).

Common regional names such as Louisiana Purchase, Indian Territory, and Oregon Country were never formally organized as territories.

Since 1959, there have been no incorporated U.S. territories formally organized by an Organic Act. All current U.S. territories except Palmyra Atoll are unincorporated (meaning that they are not fully part of the United States and that all aspects of the United States Constitution do not automatically apply), whereas other former incorporated territories are now states.

 

Advertisements

Memorial Day

May 31, 2016

Graves_at_Arlington_on_Memorial_Day

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans founded in Decatur, Illinois, established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the Union war dead with flowers. By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service. It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.