Research on AMERICAN CULTURE
The United States is a country in the Western Hemisphere. It consists of forty-eightcontiguous states in North America, Alaska, a peninsula which forms thenorthwestern most part of North America, and Hawaii, an archipelago in the PacificOcean. There are several United States territories in the Pacific and Caribbean. Theterm “United States”, when used in the geographical sense, means the continentalUnited States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands of theUnited States. The country shares land borders with Canada and Mexico andmaritime (water) borders with Russia, Cuba, and The Bahamas in addition toCanada and Mexico. The United States is the world’s fourth largest country, with an area of 3,679,192square miles (9,529,107 square kilometers). It includes fifty states and one federaldistrict, where the capital, Washington, D.C., is located. Its forty-eight contiguousstates are situated in the middle of North America. The mainland United Statesborders Canada to the north and Mexico, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Straits of Florida to the south. The western border meets the Pacific Ocean, and to the eastlies the Atlantic Ocean.
The flag is perhaps the most potent and contested national symbol. Made up of stripes symbolizing the original thirteen colonies and fifty stars representing thefifty states, it is displayed on national holidays such as Veterans Day, Memorial Day,Labor Day, and Independence Day. Public places and businesses raise the flag as amatter of course. Individuals who display the flag in their homes or yards make anexplicit statement about their patriotic connection to the nation. The flag is also employed frequently as a symbol of protest. In the nineteenthcentury, northern abolitionists hoisted the flag upside down to protest the return of an escaped slave to his southern owner, and upside-down flags continue to be usedas a sign of protest. The use of the stars and stripes design of the flag in clothing,whether for fashion, humor, or protest, is controversial and is considered by some