By Anna Von Reitz
The States exist as separate nation-states, however, they voluntarily joined together so they could operate as a group of united states when and where it served their best interest to do so.
That's where the name "United States" comes from.
They formed the Union to address their "mutual need" for a common defense and a common monetary system, to establish common weights and measures for use throughout the country and in foreign trade, to choose an official language in which to conduct business and diplomacy, to establish public roads and other public infrastructure promoting development and interstate trade, to promote common trade policies, provide domestic and foreign mail services, etc.---all these and similar mutual concerns were addressed by the Union of States, and all these efforts served to bulwark their well-being as individual States of the Union.
Very early on, within months of issuing The Unanimous Declaration of Independence, these same united states (technically still calling themselves United Colonies) realized that they needed to act as one body in the realm of international diplomacy; otherwise, it would have been too easily to leverage one state against another using economic or military powers. To create this united front, the former colonists created The United States of America, an unincorporated Federation to represent their interests abroad.
From the very beginning, The United States of America has functioned exclusively in the international and global jurisdictions.
The Founders deliberately separated the Union, doing business as the United States, from the Federation doing business as The United States of America, because they wanted to establish a separation of powers, with the United States in control of what happened at home, and The United States of America in control of what happened abroad.
Probably no other single issue has created more confusion than the proliferation of entities doing business variously as "the" United States over the years. It is important for Americans to realize that this appellation has applied to different organizations and business entities at different times in our government's development.
In the early years "the United States" referred to the Union of Colonies and later, the Union of States ---and this is the entity being referred to as "the United States" in all the early treaties and diplomatic documents. After the adoption of the Federal Constitutions, this same name "the United States" was applied to the American Federal Republic, while the original Union of States became known as The United States. Then, after the Civil War, when the American Federal Republic ceased to operate, the Municipal Government began using the name "the United States".
Today, these same three words, "the United States" have to be interpreted from context, both in terms of the subject matter of documents and the time in which the documents were written, and they can mean:
(1) the name of the country as a nation among other nations;
(2) the political union of states being referenced in context;
(3) a federal corporation doing business as the United States.
To the United States, our unincorporated Union of States, properly styled as The United States, belongs the right, title, and interest in the mutually shared powers of the county governments which allow this version of "United States" to do things like establish an interstate highway system.
The name "The United States of America" is far less ambiguous, though it has suffered, too, and has to be interpreted according to time and context.
The United States of America was and still is the Proper Name of our unincorporated Federation of States. To this Federation belongs the right, title, and interest in the mutually shared powers of the State Governments, which allows it to do things like represent the actual States in foreign diplomatic venues and international courts.
Beginning after the adoption of the Federal Constitutions, another entity called "the" United States of America appeared, this and was adopted as the name of the British-affiliated Territorial Government Please note that the definite article, "the" is not and never was part of the official name of this entity.
Later, various corporations infringed upon our Good Name, most notably a Scottish commercial corporation that did business as "The United States of America" -- Incorporated from 1868 to 1907, and the United States of America, Inc., a Delaware Corporation formed by the Roman Catholic Church that operated from 1925 to 1933, and the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, a Municipal Government corporation and the USA, Inc., a Territorial-owned Municipal Corporation....
Today, the words "United States of America" may mean:
(1) the generalized name of the country in international jurisdiction;(2) the unincorporated Federation of States;
(3) the British-affiliated Territorial Government;
(4) any one of a number of corporations past and present doing business "as" some version of "United States of America" without permission.
These, then, are the principal entities that started the ball rolling and operated the entire government for the first five years, 1776 to 1781:
(1) the Union of states known variously as "the United States" holding mutually shared powers delegated to it by the county governments, operating exclusively in national (soil) jurisdiction;
(2) the Federation of States known as "The United States of America" holding mutually shared powers delegated to it by the State Governments, operating exclusively in international (land and sea) and/or global (air) jurisdictions.
In 1781, the Union and the Federation were joined by the Confederation of States, organized under The Articles of Confederation. This entity doing business as the States of America, was a commercial business enterprise operating exclusively in the global (air) jurisdiction. But that's another story.
For now, concentrate on how this American Government began--- with a Union of counties (national soil jurisdiction) called the United States, and a Federation of States (international land and sea and air jurisdiction) called The United States of America.