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In fiction, the USA sometimes gets split up into several successor states, while at other times it might get invaded by one or more other powers. And sometimes, it even falls from power. This trope, however, reverses the common factor between the aforementioned two cases (that is, the USA being "weakened"), and instead makes it more... empowered. That is, the USA gains more territory (and more often than not turns those acquisitions into new states).

The trope has four distinct flavors:

  • The standard Expanded States of America has the USA be more aggressive, and use its military might (or subtle politics/diplomacy, whichever works) to annex at least parts of one or more neighbour countries on the North American continent - meaning Canada, Mexico, Central America, and/or a Caribbean island nation [1] - as additional states, if not take over said countries outright; more extreme examples of this kind have the US evolve into what is essentially United States of North America (depending on one's definition of "North America").
  • The more "subdued" brother, Fifty Plus States USA, has one or more of the handful of Real Life non-state subdivisions of the USA (e.g. Puerto Rico) be turned into a full-fledged state.

The other two flavors are common results of dialing standard-flavor Expanded States of America Up to Eleven, and can be seen as realizations of Manifest Destiny:

  • United Americas, where the USA has united North America and South America (or at least all of the major states and most of the smaller ones) under its banner. The resulting superstate may or may not suffer from recurrent rebellions due to social and economic inequality being imposed by "the rich North/'Anglos'" on "the poor South/'Latinos'".
  • Transcontinental American Empire, where the USA annexes countries beyond the American geographic region. An Irony factor can be added by having the British Isles as one subject of annexation, in a sort of role-reversal of the War of American Independence. America Takes Over the World is the Logical Extreme of this and has its very own trope page.

Usually, but not always, the resultant superstate would go under a name that is a variation on "United States of America".

See also Space Filling Empire. Compare with United Europe and Middle-Eastern Coalition. Contrast with Divided States of America and Invaded States of America, and sometimes with Fallen States of America -- although in the latter case, the US can join Canada or Mexico because it needs to out of weakness (e.g. it became a Vestigial Empire), and thus the two tropes can actually overlap.

Notes: This trope does not cover alternate versions of the British Empire that do not lose the American colonies in a War of American Revolution, and which eventually expand to the rest of the American continent(s). That means cases like the Holy Britannian Empire of Code Geass do not count as examples.

Examples of Expanded States of America include:


Expanded States Of America (standard)

Animation (Western)

  • In Meet the Robinsons it is implied that Canada will be annexed and renamed North Montana.

Film

  • In The Trojan Horse, a Canadian made-for-TV movie starring Paul Gross, Canadians vote to join the United States. Their territory becomes six new states, and Canada's former prime minister (Gross) becomes eligible to run for President of the United States, since, like the first 9 Presidents, he was born in a territory that later became a state.

Literature

  • Harry Turtledove's Alternate History Timeline-191 series mixes this with Divided States of America in interesting ways: The United States as we know it now is split between the United States and the Confederate States of America, but both expand into non-US territory on the American continent. The USA annexes most of Canada (minus Quebec, which becomes its own puppet state) after the World War I analogue, while the CSA owns Cuba and two Mexican states.
  • The United States in Julian Comstock stretches from as far north as Canada to as far as Panama in the south.
  • It's implied that Panem in The Hunger Games encompasses the whole of North America. In particular, District 13 is implied to have been in Canada.
  • In Mikhail Akhmanov's Arrivals From the Dark, it's briefly mentioned that the US is now called the USC (United States and Canada). How this is achieved is not explained, although it can be inferred that the unification was peaceful.
  • Tom Kratman's Caliphate has a much more militarily aggressive United States take over most of Canada under the leadership of President Buckman, ultimately becoming the Imperial States of America by the time of the book's primary setting.

Tabletop Games

  • In Shadowrun, the North American map has been considerably redrawn, but the UCAS (United Canadian and American States) is politically and economically the most powerful successor state. It's an amalgam of the northeastern USA and eastern Canada, notably not including Quebec. However, they've lost everything west of Denver or south of St. Louis to various other interests, among them the Confederation of American States (CAS), so this is actually a zig-zag blend between this trope and Divided States of America, with Invaded States of America coming into play when Aztlan (formerly Mexico) eventually invades both California and Texas, gaining some territory but failing to annex either.

Video Games

  • In the Fallout series, it's mentioned that the US annexed Canada shortly before the Great War.
  • UFO Alien Invasion includes the United States, Canada, and Mexico as part of a "United America" (the name used in-game, not the trope distinction) as part of its general trend of lumping all future nations into Space Filling Empires.
  • In Mass Effect, Canada and Mexico were annexed to form the United North American States at the end of the 21st century. Outrage from the annexation sparked off a terrorist bombing of the Statue of Liberty and the Second American Civil War, which was won by unionist forces.

Real Life

  • This is essentially what happened in the Mexican-American war, with losts of land in the south west (which did belong to Mexico) being invaded and captured by the U.S.A. For a while, the U.S. was considering annexing all of Mexico; both the hypothetical annexation and the actual land gained stirred a lot of controversy in regards to how it would affect the balance between free and slave states. See also Mexico Called They Want Texas Back.
  • There were several attempts through history to get parts or all of Canada to join the Union, either by force or by diplomacy, but all serious attempts essentially ended shortly after the War of 1812, although some in areas like Alberta and Nova Scotia have occasionally semi-seriously floated the idea, especially back when it looked like Quebec might break away from Canada.

Fifty Plus States of America

Literature

  • While not an example of territories being made states, Jon Stewart's America (The Book) does claim that one of the possibilities of the massive influx of Hispanic immigrants is the creation of new states from bits and pieces of existing ones in order to consolidate white power, such as the unification of Manhattan and Westchester into Manhattachester. The total number is mentioned to be 81.

Live-action TV

Tabletop Games

Real Life

  • U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico are legally entitled to apply for statehood if their citizens should vote to do. As yet, the advantages of territorial status have outweighed those of statehood for most voters.
  • Texas had the opportunity to join the U.S. as five states when it was annexed, and technically the option to split into five parts is still available to Texans, in the unlikely event they should vote to do so.
  • Michigan's Upper Peninsula has occasionally made noises about wanting to split from the Lower Peninsula and become a state by the name of Superior.


United Americas

Video Games

  • From the Front Mission franchise, the United States of the New Continent, whose In-Universe abbreviation is "U.S.N.", is formed of the North and South America; the English-dubbed versions of the games rename it "United Continental States" (In-Universe abbr.: "U.C.S."). Suffers from continuous unrest due to economic disparity along North-South lines, frequently requiring quashing revolts with military force.

Transcontinental American Empire

Comic Books

  • Watchmen, takes place in an Alternate History where the United States of America includes the 51st state of Vietnam ... or at least speculation in the newspapers that such might happen in the near future.
  • In Superman Red Son, Superman, who in this Alternate Universe landed in the Soviet Union as a baby and was indoctrinated by Josef Stalin and eventually becomes the Soviet Premier, integrates almost all the world (minus the USA and Chile) into the Soviet Union and enforces his rule through harsh methods like forcible lobotomies on dissidents. However, when Superman tries to annex the United States, President Lex Luthor outsmarts and seemingly kills him. In the aftermath, the liberated nations in the former Global Soviet Union now sign up to join Lex's new Global United States.
    • The Global United States later colonizes the entire Solar System, thus taking this trope to interplanetary levels and arguably evolving into a United Space of America.

Films -- Live-Action

  • In Escape From L.A., Bangkok, Thailand (where Snake has been at some point between 1997 and 2013) is mentioned as being United States territory.
  • In Americathon, Great Britain is mentioned as yet another of the (bankrupt) U.S. states.

Literature

  • Martin Smith's (before he started calling himself Martin Cru Smith) The Indians Won mixes this with The Disunited States Of America. The no-long continguous US has an independent Indian Nation separating its two sections, but the Philippines and other Pacific islands, and possibly South Korea, are states.
  • 1984: in-universe, Goldstein's Book states that the superstate of Oceania, one of only three world powers, came about in the late 1940s when the United States turned into a tyrannical empire after a nuclear war with Soviet Russia, after which it "absorbs" the British Empire. Of course, this is presumably before the Revolution. Oceania is not a continuation of the United States, and there is no indication that the Americas are more important than Britain, even though the latter's name has been changed to "Airstrip One". The Party's official ideology is called IngSoc in Newspeak, or English Socialism in Oldspeak (English). And while there are references to America on a couple occasions (mainly the bit with the photo of Big Brother from New York), Oceania has no actual capital aside from a number of regional headquarters, and it's mentioned that it is specifically designed in such a way that no one place is considered the 'center' in order to prevent the perception that any given area is under foreign domination. However, the currency in Airstrip One is dollars and cents, and Oceania's anthem, Oceania 'Tis for Thee is a parody of an American patriotic song, My Country, 'Tis of Thee (itself the American lyrics to God Save The King). However, due to the state of information in the story, it is possible that Oceania is the entire world, and that the other superpowers are fictional, Oceania is only the former United Kingdom and it is like a quasi-North Korean state, or some other possibility.


Manga and Anime

  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 has a relatively low key example with the Solar Energy Union, usually just called the Union, comprising all of North and South America, the Caribbean nations, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. There aren't a lot of details but while the member states maintain at least some degree of autonomy, the Union President resides at the White House and it is implied that the United States provides the bulk of Union military forces.

Real Life

  • This is actually the current state of the United States since 1898, when it formally annexed Hawaii. It also has several other overseas possessions, mainly in other parts of the Pacific.
  • The fringe Expansionist Party of the United States coordinates sites of groups advocating statehood for Taiwan, Britain, Australia, Guyana, and many other places.

Mixed types and Other

Literature

  • The superstate of Oceania from Nineteen Eighty-Four, encompassing the Americas, Britain (a.k.a. "Airstrip One"), Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and southern Africa below the River Congo. Well, that what the Party claims. The only parts that we know are under the Party's control is "Airstrip One" (Britain); it's all too possible that the rest is just a propaganda sham, which is par for the course in this setting.
  • In the Year 2889 by Jules Verne makes reference to "the hundred-starred flag of the Union", and it's later made clear that the United States has includes all of both Americas as well as Great Britain. (In fact, it's implied that there are only five countries in the world: the United States, France, Russia, China, and Australia.)
  • In the Wild Cards universe, both Puerto Rico and Cuba are US states.

Manga and Anime

  • The Atlantic Federation from the Mobile Suit Gundam SEED universe. It is originally comprised the US, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, the UK and Ireland. It later invades and annexes South America, which itself was its own superstate - the United States of South America.

Video Games

Web Original

  • The alternate history series Decades of Darkness has an American Empire in all but name. Most of, but not all, of the traditional states are present, albeit some with different names and boundaries. They have also acquired/conquered Mexico, most Caribbean islands, and Central America and divided the territory into new American states. And finally, there is a lone American colony in West Africa. Subtracted from this is most of real-world New England (and New York), which separated via secession just a few decades after the Revolution and later joined with Canada in a pro-Britain North American bloc.

Real Life (Sort Of)

  • One of the long-term goals of the Confederacy following The American Civil War was to have been aggressive expansion into Central and Southern America. They got hung up on the step before that, though.
  • There's a conspiracy theory that there is a plan to merge the US, Canada and Mexico into the North American Union, analogous to the EU. It's unclear how much truth their is to this plan in the halls of power, though given the nature of the US Constitution, it would be far easier for Canada and/or Mexico to apply for statehood than it would be to form a superstate.

Notes

  1. The last two often included in "North America".
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