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What is the Difference Between the United States of America and the united States of America? [149*7]

Updated on March 7, 2015


I PUT A QUESTION, which Hubpages probably wished was a forum, out a little while ago that asked - "Do Conservatives believe in a United States or a united States of America?"

One part of the comment thread was a series of back-and-forths between Mitch Allen and myself which I post here. I do so because I think it highlights, with a very bright line yet in very simple terms, the unique difference in perspective between conservatives in America and all other political stripes. It is a "bright line" because it boils down to a very fundamental assumption that lies at the core of our nation.

Except for a comment about Libertarianism at the bottom of the thread, I will leave it at that and let the fray begin, if it does.

Mitch Alan says

As a Constitution Conservative/Libertarian I believe in a small, Amendment X federal government...the word States is capitalized for a reason. Each State was meant to be a sovereign Republic with a Federation...A government closest to the people is the most efficient and responsible to it's people.

Yes, that was assumed in my question, but do conservatives think the 'u' in united States of the Declaration of Independence remain uncapitalized, which signifies one thing, or capitalized as in the Constitution, which means something different?

  • Mitch Alan 10 hours ago

    My Eso,

    The capitalization of the S in States is far more important...the Constitution was set up to limit the federal government that the States were granting certain limit powers to. We were meant to be a federation of States united...

  • My Esoteric 78 minutes ago

    Disagree. There was a reason the creators of the Constitution, who were extremely careful with nuance, chose to use a "U", rather than a "u"; for it changes the meaning entirely as your comments clearly point out. I get the feeling you want a 'u'.

  • Mitch Alan 41 minutes ago

    Yes, one of the main reasons for the Constitution and the bill of rights was to limit the federal government in both size and scope... and as a supporter of the Constitution and one who sees the value and reasons behind that idea...I am a "u" and "S"

  • My Esoteric 1 second ago

    OK, now we are getting somewhere. The group of founders who wrote the Constitution were a 'U' and 'S' set of founders. The ones who wrote the Articles of Confederation were a 'u' and 'S' set. The 'U' and 'S' group won the ratification battle.

  • Mitch Alan 17 minutes ago

    Yes, the Constitution more clearly DEFINES the federal government then did the Articles of Confederation, but it is still a LIMITING document. The "U" was used to show a unitary, but n ot a totalitar

  • My Esoteric 1 second ago

    Yes,that is one way of looking at it, I prefer a more common meaning of "all together".

A Matter of Labels

Libertarians vs. Conservatives: From what I have learned, there is a distinct difference between the two. While they do share the same fiscal and governmental values, they do not share the same social values; in the main, there is quite a bit of difference there. Conservatism, as practiced by people like Edmund Burke and Russell Kirk is all about social order and laws based on tradition. One consequence of "social order" for a true conservative is a belief in a class or hierarchical structure of society, e.g., aristocrats vs commoner. This idea is antithetical to a Libertarian who believes in egocentrism and an extreme form of individual liberty.

Thomas Jefferson might be considered a Libertarian today but not a conservative, James Madison the same, at least until he became President, then the conservatives would have probably booted him out. Patrick Henry and George Mason were true conservatives.


Should The 'U' in United States in the U.S. Constitution Be Capitalized or Not?

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Do you consider yourself more closely aligned with the -

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Are you

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© 2012 Scott Belford


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    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 

      7 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Sorry for the long wait on the response, but I'm afraid that I cannot give any definitive answers to your assertions about what I would or would not support in early American history - my knowledge is severely lacking in that area. However, I can say that I support the Constitution and the amendments as far as I know - is a unified America the natural result of the American constitution? What I can say is that I do believe in firm alliances between states in order to protect them from outside enemies, but we can take that one farther than I would like as well. Perhaps I WOULD see the Constitution as a sort of UN with power.

      You're right, our starting philosophies are different, not something I grasped when I first read this hub. You are a complicated thinker and I will keep that in mind from now on - and I thought I was so smart ;-)

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      7 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Estremely interesting perspective Mark. If I grasp your view correctly you would be very comfortable with federal-state construction similar to what we had under the original Articles of Confederation and Continental Congress. It is that type of relationship you described in your comment.

      There is no question in my mind you would have voted against the ratification of the Constitution back in 1797; and you wouldn't have been alone, almost half the country would have voted with you including such notables as George Mason, Patrick Henry, John Hancock (if he had been alive), and many others.

      Obviously, via comments, it is hard debate this to a conclusion because our starting points are from completely different philosophical planes. We can talk about consequences, of course. For example, if the Continental Congress structure had remained in place, i.e., the Constitution was defeated, it is my assertion that the America would have ended up with a history much like Europe's before WW II.

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 

      7 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Sorry, I love long sentences, something I'm always struggling to curb.

      Okay, you got me there a little. Not trying to slither out of the question, but I was specifically thinking about consensus on a decision to go to war, foreign policy and so on. What I meant in the second part of the first paragraph, is that states ought to be independent, and forcing all states to come under the rule of one president in order to protect the nation is self defeating. Meaning that all states may not agree on a decision about going to war, but any power they might have had as independent states, is greatly diminished when an executive order is given contrary to their wishes under a unified government with one president.

      On the slavery issue: I am not well versed in history, so I took a quick perusal online. It seems the reconstruction amendments took place after the civil war and so one might conclude that forcing other states to give equal rights was the only way to eliminate slavery. That may be true and if that is the case, then I understand why Lincoln unified the entire country. You can't force that kind of change without changing the structure of government as well.

      However, the struggle for equality did not end there, it took a very long time before blacks no longer had to drink from a different fountain or sit in the back of the bus. And still there are states where, if I were a black person, I would not feel comfortable living.

      The larger problem is that when control is taken of smaller states or countries and absorbed into a greater political union, they lose a little bit of their sovereignty. Eventually, they lose more and more power until a state is merely a place with a different set of driving and real estate laws.

      So if one state wants to bring back slavery, there would be nothing to stop it, but there is no reason that other states can't independently put pressure on said state, or even stage rescue parties to get the slaves out. There is no need for a national regulation here because ultimately, although it might defeat slavery, it enslaves us all. And it has, schools are federally controlled, we have social security which is estimated to run out because those in power are unrighteously taking money from it, Obama Care is being forced down our throats and so on.

      Now I have written too much! Oh well, on to the third question.

      Obama is not trying to remove term limits, it is Michael Savage's prediction that he will try to do so in his next term if he wins the election. I should have clarified that and not assumed everyone listens to the show :-) I'm a lemming, I know.

      I like your comprehensive list of ISU's. That is thought through!

      I guess lastly, to defend the idea that a civil war was not needed to abolish slavery is that social pressure can effect change - as it did during the civil rights movement. American attitudes toward racism vary wildly from state to state, but there are many places where blacks stand equal to whites. There are also those who like to keep the issue alive where it does not exist. But we will never be rid of prejudice of any kind. Forcing change is one solution, but it does not eliminate the problem, and it also creates new ones. But as you said, you don't believe big government is a problem, and I think you have to believe that in order to see things the way I do.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      7 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Thanks for the comment here, Alexander. I have some observations and questions.

      First question: Is there a limit to the second phrase in your first sentence-paragraph? To pick a favorite example of mine; if one state decides it wants to bring back slavery, what is to stop it from doing so, in your opinion?

      Second question or clarification: I am not sure I understand what follows the '-' in the first paragraph, could you expand?

      Third question: What term limits is Obama trying to remove? I haven't heard of this.

      I like your modification of the 'u', 'U', 's', 'S', 'i', and 'I' paradygm. My observation is as follows:

      Security: Conservatives: i, s, U; Moderates: I, s, U; Liberals: I, s, u

      Civil Rights: Conservatives: i, S, u; Moderates: I, s, U; Liberals: I, s, U

      Environment: Conservatives: i, s, u.; Moderates: i, S, U; Liberals: i, s, U

      Business: Conservatives: i, s, u; Moderates: I, S, U; Liberals: I, S, U

      X Amendment: Conservatives: i, S, u; Moderates: i, S, u; Liberals: i, s, U

      I - IX Amendments: Conservatives: i, S, u; Moderates: I, S, U; Liberals: I, S, U

      It is my observation that the term "Big Government" is too broad to have any meaning whatsoever; it is simply a scare term no better than boogeyman.

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 

      7 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      It's a dilemma, but the states ought to have the ultimate say over their own affairs and even how they handle affairs outside their own borders - if the states can't come to a consensus on a national issue, there is no reason that supports independence to force the country to go along with a controversial decision.

      Look at Newt - during his short campaign, he advocated destroying our privacy to keep this country safe. If we have to resort to those methods, we have already destroyed this country! No matter how you slice and dice it, the bigger the "u," the smaller the "S" becomes. And the smaller the "S," becomes, the more oppressed the "I," in "individual," becomes.

      Big government eventually, no matter how noble its purpose, becomes a dictatorship, and truthfully, all we can do is delay the inevitable. I'm actually hoping that Michael Savage is right and Obama tries to remove term limits - because that will push this country to take action (I think). No, that's not pretty, but America is complacent and a frog boiling in water. Turn the heat up too fast and too high, and it will jump.

      Great hub by the way, got me thinking about the issues of Federalism today, however, I'm glad you educated me on what the Constitution says about the big "U," and the big "S."

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      7 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      You are welcome Ginger, my pleasure.

    • profile image

      Ginger Ruffles 

      7 years ago

      Interesting topic & hub! Thank you for sharing this with us.

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 

      7 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Very true. I am concentrating my Hub on the original writing of the Constitution and not Madison's subsequent flip flops on it. Jefferson insisted on the Tenth Amendment so the federal government could go no further. He also was a flip flopper because he left Hamilton's treasury in place which he vociferously criticized. He realized once in power that it was very effective. He also signed the Louisiana purchase without any Congressional input. This was a clear violation of the Constitution but it served his purposes.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      7 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      True, true, but make sure you read up on good James, he was one complicated fellow. He ended up being quite the Libertarian after ratification; until he served as President for awhile and came face-to-face with the real world.

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 

      7 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Great and timely debate, My Esoteric. Conservatives absolutely believe United should be a small u. That is one of the most important differences between them and the rest of our nation. The Founders knew that the Articles of Confederation were far too weak. They gave the states almost total power and were tearing us apart. James Madison wrote the first outline of the Constitution and made it much stronger. He placated those who feared this with the Tenth Amendment. It has been abused ever since beginning with slavery. I am currently working on a new Hub meant to be a companion to an earlier Hub. The new one will be "The Genius and Abuse of the Tenth Amendment". The other one 7 months ago was "The Genius and Neglect of the Ninth Amendment". Both were put in the Bill of Rights to placate a certain group of doubters. This argument is very timely since the Arizona Immigration Law was just ruled on and Healthcare Reform is next. Great Hub and I also welcome debate on your dialogue.


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