The United States Are, or The United States Is?

Guest Commentary by David Smith

I have been pleasantly surprised by the Walt Disney Corporation’s recent foray into making decent movies, namely with the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and ‘National Treasure’ franchises.  I would like to draw attention to a particular line of significance in the most recent release in these lines, ‘National Treasure:  Book of Secrets.’

Nicholas Cage’s character, Dr. Gates, goes about clearing his ancestor, Thomas Gates’, name in the conspiracy to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln while simultaneously discovering Cibola, the lost Aztec city of gold.  While the movie is mostly fiction, it weaves in and out of history magnificently, beginning with the assassination of President Lincoln in Washington, D.C.’s Ford Theatre.

Cage (Dr. Gates) is later pictured speaking with his partners in a scene which sparked my interest, and of which I now write.  Gates says, “Before the Civil War the States were all individual.  Before the Civil War, you said, ‘The United States are.’  After, it became, ‘The United States is.’  Lincoln made us one nation.”

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