Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceHomework Help · 3 years ago

How did America got its name - United States of America?

We went to Colonial Williamsburg this weekend. It was so much fun. While visitn Jamestown my 9 years old twin girls asked a question which I was unable to answer. There were flags of all teh states and so they asked "Who gave America the name United States of America" and When"?

If you know please let me know.

4 Answers

  • Anonymous
    3 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Well, we have to begin with an explorer and map maker, Amerigo Vespucci. Vespucci explored South America and published accounts of his discoveries. In 1507 when Martin Waldseemüller was making a map of the world, he used Vespucci's accounts to help with the map of South America and named it America after Vespucci. As both North and South America were new continents to the Europeans they both quickly became the Americas and separated as North and South America. Now why America and not Amerigo? Vespucci Latinised his name as Americus Vespucius and the feminine form of Americus in Latin is America. The Latin names for all the continents used the feminine form, Europe being Europa (also the Latin name of a Phoenician Princess for whom Europe is named after) for example.

    So we can understand how the Americas became the Americas, but how did the US become America and the the USA? Well, remember that colonists from Britain were traveling to the American colonies. Britain's first colonies in the New World were located in what would become the US. It's not hard to expect people would say they were traveling to one of the American colonies, or more simply to America. This is despite the fact that America did not refer to one particular section of a continent, but it would come to stick. A colonist would then be said to be from America or more accurately either the so and so American colony or the so and so colony in America.

    Now comes the USA. This actually first appears not in the Declaration or the Constitution, but in the Articles of Confederate. The various first article of the Articles of Confederation decrees that the new Nation shall be called the United States of America. This descion had to be agreed upon by a majority vote of the Congress of the Confederation, also known as the United States in Congress Assembled. The Congress of the Confederation actually replaced the Second Continental Congress in 1781 and was the nations government until March 4, 1789 when the Constitutional government replaced it. But remember that the Preamble of the Constitution states "We the People of the United States," the Preamble is just an opening to the Constitution and actually has no real effect on the government.

    So we know that it was the Congress of the Confederation that decided on the name of the nation as the United States of America and decreed it to be so in the Articles of Confederation. But why the United States? This goes back to the thirteen colonies and to the Articles of Confederation both. America wasn't a single colony, it was thirteen individual colonies which united to fight their parent nation, Britian, during the Revolution. Following the war they became states united in a new nation. But it should be more acurate to say that while they were supposed to be states or provinces of that nation they were more a confederation of different countries. The Articles of Confederation basically gave full power to the state governments with a very weak central government. This is the key reason the Constitution became the central governing document of the nation (and the reason the Preamble states "in order to form a more perfect union"). The US was a nation in name only. But that name explained how they became a nation. They united under a central government.

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  • JuanB
    Lv 7
    3 years ago

    When the 13 Colonies got together to declare independence. State at the time would be more like country or nation. So they were saying they were United together declaring Independence, but would be States with a certain amount of Individual sovereignty. So 100's of years later State is more taken to mean a part of a country

    But the America stuff? It wasn't known as America before known as United States.

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  • 3 years ago

    After the Civil War, the states became united, for example the Southern states used to be the Confederate States, and so on. Thus once the war was over, the country was united. Thus the reason for "United States" of America.

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  • 3 years ago

    we are all separate states united to form a great union. hence the electoral college its 50 separate elections not 1

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