The Nuttall Encyclopedia
The great Western republic; occupies an area nearly as large as all Europe, bounded on the N. by the Dominion of Canada, on the E. by the Atlantic, on the S. by Mexico and the Gulf, and on the W. by the Pacific, extending 2700 m. from E. to W., and on an average 1600 m. from N. to S.; on the coasts are few capes, inlets, and islands, except on that of New England; there are two great mountain systems, the Appalachians on the E. and the Rockies, the Cascade ranges, &c., on the W., which divide the territory into four regions—an eastern, which slopes from the Appalachians to the Atlantic, a manufacturing region; a central, which slopes S., formed by the Mississippi Valley, an agricultural and pastoral region; a plateau supported by the Rocky and Cascade ranges, a metalliferous region; and a territory with the valley of the Sacramento, which slopes to the Pacific, of varied resources. The great rivers are in the Mississippi Valley, as also the two largest lakes, the Michigan and Great Salt Lake, though there are important rivers both for navigation and water-power on the Atlantic and Pacific slopes. The climate is of every variety, from sub-arctic to sub-tropic, with extremes both as regards temperature and moisture, in consequence of which the vegetation is varied. The mineral wealth is immense, and includes, besides large beds of coal, all the useful metals. The industries, too, are manifold, and embrace manufactures of all kinds, with agriculture, grazing, mining, and fishing, while commerce is prosecuted with an activity that defies all rivalry, the facilities in railway and waterway being such as no other country can boast of, for there are over 182,000 miles of railway, not to mention street railways and traction lines, with telegraphic and telephonic communication. The population is mostly of British and German descent, with eight million negroes, who are all English-spoken. The Government is a federal republic of 45 States; the legislature consists of two Houses—a Senate representing the States, each one sending two members, and a House of Representatives representing the people, every citizen over 21 having a vote, and every 170,000 voters having a representative—the head of the Government being the President, elected for a term of four years, and commander-in-chief of both army and navy. Religious equality prevails through all the States, though the Protestant section of the Church is in the ascendant, and education is free and general, though backward in some of the former slave-holding States, the cost being met by State or local funds, supplemented by the Federal Government.
Wood, James, ed. Entry for 'United States'. The Nuttall Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/nut/u/united-states.html. Frederick Warne & Co Ltd. London. 1900.