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The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S.) or America, is a federal republic composed of 50 states that existed before the Republic of Gilead and the events of the television series/novel. While the novel does not elaborate on the status of the United States beyond it being the precursor to Gilead, the television series establishes that the United States still exists as only two states, which are stated or implied to be Alaska (with Anchorage serving as the new capital)[1] and Hawaii.[2]

History Edit

Before the Takeover Edit

Prior to the creation of Gilead, the United States--along with the rest of the world--was experiencing a severe fertility crisis. An indication of the severity of this crisis (at least in the television series) can be seen from the birth of June's daughter, Hannah. When Hannah is taken away for her first bath, a nurse at the hospital reveals that, of all of the other births to occur at the hospital that day, two babies are in intensive care and the rest have died.[1]

As a means of addressing this crisis, the U.S government enacts several policies, such as making it illegal for a man to undergo a vasectomy,[3] and requiring husbands to formally consent to their wives filling birth control prescriptions.[4]

At some point prior to the events of the novel and television series, a radical Christian group called the Sons of Jacob formed and began to expand, with a goal of "cleaning up" the United States. Not long before the creation of Gilead, an early leader of the group mentions in conversation with a recruit that the organization has chapters in thirty states.[5]

Sons of Jacob Coup D’état Edit

The Sons of Jacob would eventually instigate a coup d'état against the United States government, approximately three to four years prior to the present-day events of the novel and television series. In the novel, this consists of one attack against all three branches of government. In the television series, three separate attacks are carried out against the President, all members of Congress, and the Justices of the Supreme Court,[6] with the White House and the U.S Capitol being explicitly mentioned as locations for these attacks.[4] The Sons of Jacob promptly seize control of the United States, and shortly afterward, suspend the U.S. Constitution under the pretext of restoring order to the country.

In the novel, it is mentioned that the Sons of Jacob were able to successfully blame the attack on Islamic fundamentalists. This has not been referenced in the television series.

After the Takeover Edit

In the immediate aftermath of the takeover, the United States experiences large amounts of unrest and backlash towards certain groups in society, such as the LGBTQ community. For example, Emily (later Ofglen) is encouraged by the board of regents at the university she works at to focus on her research as opposed to lecturing, since they believe her open lesbianism is creating an unhealthy learning environment. A colleague of hers is later found hanged at the university with the word "faggot" being spray painted in front of him.[7] Additionally, laws are enacted that make same-sex marriages illegal.[7]

Women are also targeted by the Sons of Jacob, who enact laws that prohibit them from holding any form of employment and freezes their bank accounts, with funds being transferred to the woman's closest male relative.[8] Protests against these measures are met with violent force.[8]

After the takeover, conflict emerges between the Sons of Jacob and the remnants of the United States. While the full extent of the conflict is unknown in both the novel and television series, known areas of conflict include New York,[5] Florida,[9] Chicago,[1] and South Carolina.[3]

In the television series' continuity, the United States is eventually reduced to just two states, with Anchorage serving as the new capital and a U.S consulate being established in Toronto, around a growing community of refugees dubbed "Little America."

Geography Edit

The novel does not give any details as to the extent of the United States' territory in the aftermath of the rise of Gilead, or even as to whether the United States continues in any form.

As previously mentioned, the United States in the television series maintains direct control over only two states, with the implication that Gilead nominally controls the other forty-eight; however, pro-US rebel and citizen militia activity continues to occur in Gilead, with fighting occurring in Florida and around the Blue Hills in Massachusetts. It is mentioned that Gilead's Angel and Guardian units are fighting U.S military forces in the remains of Chicago, which suggests that the U.S maintains some presence in parts of Gilead; the extent of this presence is unknown, however.[1] In the Season 2 finale, a map of the continental United States under Gilead rule shows large areas of armed resistance to the regime in the southern United States e.g. Texas, Florida, the Gulf Coast states; the western United States e.g. California, Oregon, Washington state and the states along the Canadian border; northern Michigan and a significantly large rebel enclave in New England located around Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and parts of New York state.

Foreign Relations Edit

The extent of the U.S remnant's relations with the rest of the world are largely unknown, although the presence of a consulate in Toronto suggests that Canada continues to be allied with them. Additionally, it is mentioned that Canadian and British troops are beginning to station themselves along the Canadian-Gilead border, which could be taken as an indication of a continued alliance with the United Kingdom (and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)) as well.[10]. According to Radio Free America, both the People's Republic of China and India have been supporting the Anchorage government in their fight against Gilead with both the Chinese and the Indians providing financial aid to Anchorage.

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Episode 1.2, "Birth Day"
  2. Episode 2.9, "Smart Power"
  3. 3.0 3.1 Episode 1.7, "The Other Side"
  4. 4.0 4.1 Episode 2.1, "June"
  5. 5.0 5.1 Episode 1.8, "Jezebels"
  6. Episode 1.6, "A Woman's Place"
  7. 7.0 7.1 Episode 2.2, "Unwomen"
  8. 8.0 8.1 Episode 1.3, "Late"
  9. Episode 1.1, "Offred"
  10. Episode 2.3, "Baggage"