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Socialism is an economic system characterised by social ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the economy. [ 1 ] "Social ownership" may refer to cooperative enterprises, common ownership , state ownership , or citizen ownership of equity. [ 2 ] There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them. [ 3 ] They differ in the type of social ownership they advocate, the degree to which they rely on markets or planning , how management is to be organised within productive institutions, and the role of the state in constructing socialism. [ 4 ] A socialist economic system would consist of a system of production and distribution organized to directly satisfy economic demands and human needs, so that goods and services would be produced directly for use instead of for private profit [ 5 ] driven by the accumulation of capital .
The United States of America is a federal republic [ 10 ] [ 11 ] consisting of fifty states and a federal district , as well as several territories . [ 12 ] It is commonly called the United States ( US , USA , U.S. or U.S.A. ) and America . The country is situated mostly in central North America , where its forty-eight contiguous states and Washington, D.C. , the capital district , lie between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans , bordered by Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. The state of Alaska is situated in the northwest portion of the continent, with Canada to its east and Russia to its west across the Bering Strait . The state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the Mid Pacific. The country also has several territories in the Pacific and Caribbean .
The Libertarian Party is the third-largest [ 7 ] political party in the United States in terms of the popular vote in the country's elections and number of candidates run per election. It is also identified by many as the fastest growing political party in the United States. [ 8 ] The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects the ideas of libertarianism , favoring minimally regulated markets, a less powerful state , strong civil liberties (including support for same-sex marriage and other LGBT rights ), the repeal of laws banning recreational and medical use of drugs , separation of church and state , open immigration , non-interventionism and neutrality in diplomatic relations (i.e., avoiding foreign military or economic entanglements with other nations), freedom of trade and travel to all foreign countries, and a more responsive and direct democracy. [ 9 ]
The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States along with the Republican Party . Since the 1930s, the party has promoted a socially liberal and progressive platform, [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] and its Congressional caucus is composed of progressives , liberals , and centrists . [ 5 ] The party has the lengthiest record of continuous operation in the United States and is among the oldest political parties in the world. [ 6 ] Current President of the United States Barack Obama is the 15th Democrat to hold the office of Presidency. As of the 113th Congress following the 2012 elections , the Democratic Party currently holds a minority of seats in the House of Representatives and a majority of seats in the Senate , as well as a minority of state governorships and control of a minority of state legislatures .
The Republican Party , also commonly called the GOP (for " Grand Old Party "), is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States , the other being the Democratic Party . Founded by anti-slavery activists in 1854, it dominated politics nationally for most of the period from 1860 to 1932. There have been 18 Republican presidents, the first being Abraham Lincoln , serving from 1861-1865, and the most recent being George W. Bush , serving from 2001-2009. Currently the party's platform is generally based upon American conservatism , [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] in contrast to the Democratic Party , who endorse more liberal policies.