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The 50 States

States and Districts

States and Districts

AL - Alabama
AK - Alaska
AZ - Arizona
AR - Arkansas
CA - California
CO - Colorado
CT - Connecticut
DE - Delaware
FL - Florida
GA - Georgia
HI - Hawaii
ID - Idaho
IL - Illinois
IN - Indiana
IA - Iowa
KS - Kansas
KY - Kentucky
LA - Louisiana
ME - Maine
MD - Maryland
MA - Massachusetts
MI - Michigan
MN - Minnesota
MS - Mississippi
MO - Missouri
MT - Montana
NE - Nebraska
NV - Nevada
NH - New Hampshire
NJ - New Jersey
NM - New Mexico
NY - New York
NC - North Carolina
ND - North Dakota
OH - Ohio
OK -  Oklahoma
OR - Oregon
PA - Pennsylvania
RI - Rhode Island
SC - South Carolina
SD - South Dakota
TN - Tennessee
TX - Texas
UT - Utah
VT - Vermont
VA - Virginia
WA - Washington
WV - West Virginia
WI - Wisconsin
WY - Wyoming
* DC - Washington


American Samoa                          Johnston Atoll
Guam                                             Kingman Reef
Northern Mariana Islands             Midway Islands
Puerto Rico                                    Navassa Island
Virgin Islands                                Palmyra Atoll
Baker Island, Howland Island,
Jarvis Island                                  Wake Island

The federal entity created by the Constitution is the dominant feature of the American governmental system. There are fifty (50) states and Washington D.C. The last two states to join the Union were Alaska (49th) and Hawaii (50th). Both joined in 1959.

Washington D.C. is a federal district under the authority of Congress. Puerto Rico is a commonwealth associated with the United States. Other dependent areas include American Samoa, Baker Island, Guam, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Islands, Navassa Island, Palmyra Atoll, Virgin Islands, Wake Island. From 18 July 1947 until 1 October 1994, the US administered the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, but recently entered into a new political relationship with all four political units: the Northern Mariana Islands is a commonwealth in political union with the US (effective 3 November 1986); Palau concluded a Compact of Free Association with the US (effective 1 October 1994); the Federated States of Micronesia signed a Compact of Free Association with the US (effective 3 November 1986); the Republic of the Marshall Islands signed a Compact of Free Association with the US (effective 21 October 1986).

In general, matters that lie entirely within state borders are the exclusive concern of state governments. These include internal communications; regulations relating to property, industry, business, and public utilities; the state criminal code; and working conditions within the state. There are many areas of overlap between state and federal jurisdictions. In recent years, the federal government has assumed broader responsibility in such matters as health, education, welfare, transportation, and housing and urban development. The constitutions of the various states differ in some details but generally follow a pattern similar to that of the federal Constitution, including a statement of the rights of the people and a plan for organizing the government. On such matters as the operation of businesses, banks, public utilities, and charitable institutions, state constitutions are often more detailed and explicit than the federal Сonstitution.




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Teacher Resources

All content in this section was abridged from U.S. State Department IIP publications and other U.S. government materials.

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