In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell was awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone. Thomas Edison's research laboratory, one of the first of its kind, developed the phonograph, the first long-lasting light bulb, and the first viable movie camera. The latter led to emergence of the worldwide entertainment industry. In the early 20th century, the automobile companies of Ransom E. Olds and Henry Ford popularized the assembly line. The Wright brothers, in 1903, made the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight.
The United States often opposed Third World movements that it viewed as Soviet-sponsored, and occasionally pursued direct action for regime change against left-wing governments, even supporting right-wing authoritarian governments at times. American troops fought communist Chinese and North Korean forces in the Korean War of 1950–53. The Soviet Union's 1957 launch of the first artificial satellite and its 1961 launch of the first manned spaceflight initiated a "Space Race" in which the United States became the first nation to land a man on the moon in 1969. A proxy war in Southeast Asia eventually evolved into full American participation, as the Vietnam War.More Info
The United States has operated under a two-party system for most of its history which is in stark contrast to its Canadian neighbor. For elective offices at most levels, state-administered primary elections choose the major party nominees for subsequent general elections. Since the general election of 1856, the major parties have been the Democratic Party, founded in 1824, and the Republican Party, founded in 1854. Since the Civil War, only one third-party presidential candidate—former president Theodore Roosevelt, running as a Progressive in 1912—has won as much as 20% of the popular vote. The president and vice president are elected by the Electoral College.More Info
About 82% of Americans live in urban areas (including suburbs); about half of those reside in cities with populations over 50,000. In 2008, 273 incorporated municipalities had populations over 100,000, nine cities had more than one million residents, and four cities had over two million (namely New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston). Estimates for the year 2018 show that 53 metropolitan areas have populations greater than one million. Many metros in the South, Southwest and West grew significantly between 2010 and 2018. The Dallas and Houston metros increased by more than a million people, while the Washington, D.C., Miami, Atlanta, and Phoenix metros all grew by more than 500,000 people.More Info
American forces in Iraq were withdrawn in large numbers in 2009 and 2010, and the war in the region was declared formally over in December 2011. But months earlier, Operation Neptune Spear led to the death of the leader of Al-Qaeda in Pakistan. In the presidential election of 2016, Republican Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of the United States. On January 20, 2020, the first case of COVID-19 in the United States was confirmed. As of August 2020, the United States has over 5.5 million COVID-19 cases and over 170,000 deaths. The United States is, by far, the country with the most cases of COVID-19 since April 11, 2020.More Info
The military budget of the United States in 2011 was more than $700 billion, 41% of global military spending. At 4.7% of GDP, the rate was the second-highest among the top 15 military spenders, after Saudi Arabia. Defense spending plays a major role in science and technology investment, with roughly half of U.S. federal research and development funded by the Department of Defense. Defense's share of the overall U.S. economy has generally declined in recent decades, from Cold War peaks of 14.2% of GDP in 1953 and 69.5% of federal outlays in 1954 to 4.7% of GDP and 18.8% of federal outlays in 2011.More Info
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