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The United States of America (USA), commonly referred to as the United States (US) or America is a federal republic consisting of 72 states, spread across 13 star systems. The majority of these are located within the Chicago Cluster and on the border of the Vega Cloud. The country also has numerous territories located within the Solar Sector, the New Canaan Corridor, and the Frontier Sector.
The United States emerged from 13 British colonies located on the eastern coast of North America. Disputes between the colonies and the United Kingdom led to the American Revolution. On July 4th 1776, delegates from the colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence. Great Britain recognized the independence of the United States in 1783, formally ending the war. The nation’s constitution was adopted in 1787 and ratified a year later. Throughout the 19th century the United States pursued a doctrine of “Manifest Destiny”. This involved vast territorial expansion, displacing native American Indian tribes and admitting new states. By 1848 the nation spanned the continent. In the latter half of the 19th century the American Civil War ended legal slavery in the country. Its economy, driven by the industrial revolution rapidly developed and a series of conflicts, including the Spanish-American War and the Great War confirmed the countries status as a major world power.
The Virus Crisis in the 1930s saw the United States harness its vast industrial strength to organize a worldwide relief effort. The First Scinfaxi War a decade later inflicted enormous devastation on the United States, including a period of nearly two years when the country was cut in two. The formation of the Pacific States of America was recognized by the United States following the war and the two countries maintain an economic union and strong partnership.
Following the end of the First Scinfaxi War, the United States spearheaded the creation of an international alliance that would later lead to the creation of the Democratic Federation. American achievements played a large role in the space race and ensured the United States played an integral role in the Alpha Centauri project and colonization efforts throughout the subsequent decades.
Today the United States is a developed country with the Orion Arm’s third largest economy (measured independently from the Pacific States or Democratic Federation), and is a major political, cultural, and military force.
Political and Administrative Divisions
As organized most recently by the 33rd Amendment of 2112, the United States is a federal union of 13 Commonwealths, with each one currently holding administrative control over a single inhabited system. Commonwealths in turn are divided into States, of which there is a total between them of 72. Every inhabited planet in the United States is divided between one or several of a Commonwealth’s States. Commonwealth governments have a degree of autonomy from the Federal government and are allowed a certain level of self-governance, so long as they operate entirely within the framework of the Constitution and Federal law. The same applies for individual State governments, so long as they operate within the framework of their respective Commonwealth and of the Federal government. Neither are allowed to have their own foreign policies, and all international dealings, including with other Democratic Federation members, must be done exclusively through the Federal government.
Commonwealths are admitted into the Union using the same process that would-be States use, with the territory in question submitting a petition to Congress containing their proposed name and borders, which passes with a simple majority and is signed by the President. Territories are only eligible for Commonwealth status if they have an established population of American citizens and contain habitable territory. If they so desire it (or it is forced upon them by treaty), it is also possible for a formerly sovereign nation to be annexed as one or several Commonwealths and/or States with Congressional approval. The intentionally vague language of the 33rd Amendment leaves several unconventional possibilities open, such as a large enough space station being granted Commonwealth status, but nothing like that has come to fruition, and such a possibility would be up to the Supreme Court to decide.
It’s also technically possible for a star system or even a single planet to be occupied by more than one Commonwealth, as the 33rd Amendment doesn’t define the territorial extent a Commonwealth is supposed to have either, but this is not currently the case anywhere. As the American population grows however, this could eventually become necessary in the future if the people deem it so. The exception to this rule is the Commonwealth of Washington, which governs the entire Washington system excluding the District of America. The DA is instead under the jurisdiction of the Federal government, as it includes the national capital of New Philadelphia. The District of America is outside the jurisdiction of any State or Commonwealth, but its citizens still have the ability to vote in Presidential elections and are represented in Congress as ordained by a pair of amendments. The Commonwealth of Washington’s capital is New Dover, located elsewhere on the same planet. It is also possible for several star systems to be administered by one Commonwealth, which is currently the case with several Commonwealths having jurisdiction over several neighboring uninhabited star systems in addition to their main one, used primarily for mining and research operations.
Every Commonwealth has a main planet they are responsible for administering which contains their Commonwealth capital, and also administers the rest of the system as well including any secondary inhabited planets, save for any recognized sovereign countries also in the star system.
Each Commonwealth possesses its own constitution modeled after the United States Constitution, but like the State constitutions generally go into much more detail about specific government policies. Their governments are modeled after the United States one as well; their capital cities possessing a capital building that technically can contain any republican form of government they desire, but in practice like the Federal government are all bicameral legislatures. The exact details on how they work vary, but in general they have one legislative body that directly represents the people, and another that represents their State governments. Commonwealth Governors are elected by representative vote via a series of elections held in each of their states, with the term length and limit varying between Commonwealths. Commonwealth Governors (usually just called Governors in practice) are responsible for serving as the Head of State for their Commonwealth. They have the power to sign or veto bills proposed by their legislature, and can propose bills as well. Commonwealths can also impose their own taxes, and can create their own Commonwealth institutions with jurisdiction over their system. Commonwealths can create standards for their public services, such as budgeting and funding limits for their public schooling, but the implementation details are largely left up to their States.