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Capitol Newsletter: United States 'is' or United States 'are'?
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Before the American Civil War, this country was described a unified collection of its many states, such as "the United States are ..." After the war, "United States" became a collective noun meaning many individual parts form a single entity and accompanied with a singular verb, such as "the United States is ..." Now Gov. Scott Walker, seeking to be the next president of the United States, wants many of the details of the many social programs to be decided at a state level. He contends the 50 state legislatures can do a better job than Congress has done.