The nation was founded by thirteen colonies of Great Britain located along the Atlantic seaboard. On July 4, 1776, they issued the Declaration of Independence, which proclaimed their independence from Great Britain and their formation of a cooperative union. The rebellious states defeated Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War, the first successful colonial war of independence. A federal convention adopted the current United States Constitution on September 17, 1787; its ratification the following year made the states part of a single republic with a strong central government. The Bill of Rights, comprising ten constitutional amendments guaranteeing many fundamental civil rights and freedoms, was ratified in 1791.
In the 19th century, the United States acquired land from France, Spain, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Russia, and annexed the Republic of Texas and the Republic of Hawaii. Disputes between the agrarian South and industrial North over states' rights and the expansion of the institution of slavery provoked the American Civil War of the 1860s. The North's victory prevented a permanent split of the country and led to the end of legal slavery in the United States. By the 1870s, the national economy was the world's largest. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a military power. In 1945, the United States emerged from World War II as the first country with nuclear weapons, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, and a founding member of NATO. The end of the Cold War left the United States as the sole superpower. The country accounts for approximately fifty percent of global military spending and is a leading economic, political, and cultural force in the world.
The United States has well established values in both democracy and capitalism being one of the first countries to choose to elect its own leaders and representatives. There are two main political parties; the right-wing republican party upholding conservative and stereotypically southern ideas and the left-wing democratic party which prides itself on liberal ideas. There are also a few far-left, far-right and centre parties though these are not as popular as the already mentioned parties earning very few votes per election.
The capital of the United States is Washington, D.C. which is home to the White House where the president resides. One of the most notable presidents was James Shea who was assassinated by the Tramonti family from New Orleans because his Attorney General and brother, Daniel Shea, had made a considerable amount of enemies by seriously weakening Tramonti's family through arrests, raids and other various other means of gathering evidence.
In the United States there was little belief in organized crime until the late 1950s. In 1959, Frank Pentangeli and Willie Cicci spilled the beans on such a criminal enterprise during the Senate hearings on Michael Corleone. The country was shaken up again in 1979, when many of the country's top Mafia dons were assassinated during a secret meeting in Atlantic City.