• Code name - United Runners of America
• Mission - Run in all of the fifty States of the United States of America
• Expiration date - None
• Activation - Send us a "Activate mission" message (info(at)runtheplanet.com) including your name and nationality
• Report - Send us a "Mission completed" message (info(at)runtheplanet.com) including your name and running biography
During most of the 1700s, England had taxed its colonies in North America to varying degrees. These economies were rapidly expanding, namely with agriculture, and England wanted the fruits of the colonial settlements. During this same period, the sparks of independence began. The colonies believed that only their local legislative bodies should have had that authority. Taxes were enacted, repealed, and enacted again. There were always enough taxes to remind the colonists that England had authority over them.
The colonies sent delegates to the First Continental Congress in 1774. The Congress did not recognize the British Parliament as having authority over them and sent a petition to the King. It put for the notion that the English Parliament could not tax or legislate the colonies without their consent. There were many protests and uprisings. They turned into Revolutionary War in 1775 with battles at Lexington and Concord.
The Second Continental Congress made the colonial militias the Continental Army with George Washington as its leader. Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence. The Congress voted for independence on July 2, 1776 and signed the declaration on July 4th; now the United States' Independence Day. In deciding to fight for independence, the colonists faced great odds. Britain had a powerful and well-trained army. The States had a ragtag militia. Some early victories allowed the Americans to form alliances. One with the French provided the colonists with naval support. In the end, the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783 and the British recognized the independence of the United States.
The Continental Congress asked each State to create a constitution. Certain principles emerged. For example, government's power should be derived from the people, freedom of speech and of the press, trial by jury, and taxation only with consent. The natural rights from the Declaration of Independence were included usually as a bill of rights. Government was not trusted and these state constitutions showed it. For the ability to do such things as conduct war, maintain relations with other countries, regulate trade, levy taxes, and regulate currency, the states realized that some type of national government would be needed. The first step toward the Constitution was the Articles of Confederation.
These were still ineffective, so in 1787, state delegates met and drafted the United States Constitution. In order to balance the power between large and small states, they created a two-house legislature. One house where each state had two representatives and a second house where representation was based on state population. An Electoral College system for electing the president was put into place. There was also a balance of power between all branches of government: the executive, legislative, and judiciary. A system of "checks and balances" was spelled out.
This Constitution was sent to the States for their approval. Rhode Island was the last State to ratify the Constitution in 1790. Earlier in 1789, the First Congress convened. Ten amendments to the constitution were agreed upon and they became the Bill of Rights. Even though there was a powerful Federal government, certain freedoms could not be denied. For example, the First Amendment guaranteed the freedom of speech and freedom of the press. There are some who believe the Constitution sets hard fast rules. Others believe that it is a living document that allows for interpretation. Either way, it has been the blueprint for the United States for more than two hundred years. If you have an interest in reading any of the documents referred to, one place to do it is at http://lcweb2.loc.gov/const/mdbquery.html. This is the historical document page for a U Federal legislative information site.
Hopefully you learned something new about how the United States was born. Now you must start your United Runners of America mission. Visit each and every State, put your running shoes on and log a few miles. If you complete this mission you will not only be honored here on Run The Planet, but you will have had a tremendous experience. You will not want to forget Alaska and Hawaii. They may not be adjacent to the other 48 States but they count (they are numbers 49 and 50). Oh, one last thing: Washington D.C. is technically not a State, but you will have a great time running between all of the monuments.
In order to complete this mission you need to run in at least one city of the fifty States of the United States of America listed below plus in the city of Washington (District of Columbia):
Extra Credit - Run the States in the order in which they were admitted to the Union: Delaware (admitted to the Union on December 7, 1787), Pennsylvania (12 December 1787), New Jersey (18 December 1787), Georgia (2 January 1788), Connecticut (9 January 1788), Massachusetts (6 February 1788), Maryland (28 April 1788), South Carolina (23 May 1788), New Hampshire (21 June 1788), Virginia (25 June 1788), New York (26 July 1788), North Carolina (21 November 1789), Rhode Island (29 May 1790), Vermont (4 March 1791), Kentucky (1 June 1792), Tennessee (1 June 1796), Ohio (1 March 1803), Louisiana (30 April 1812), Indiana (11 December 1816), Mississippi (10 December 1817), Illinois (3 December 1818), Alabama (14 December 1819), Maine (15 March 1820), Missouri (10 August 1821), Arkansas (15 June 1836), Michigan (26 January 1837), Florida (3 March 1845), Texas (29 December 1845), Iowa (28 December 1846), Wisconsin (29 May 1848), California (9 September 1850), Minnesota (11 May 1858), Oregon (14 February 1859), Kansas (29 January 1861), West Virginia (20 June 1863), Nevada (31 October 1864), Nebraska (1 March 1867), Colorado (1 August 1876), North Dakota (2 November 1889), South Dakota (2 November 1889), Montana (8 November 1889), Washington (11 November 1889), Idaho (3 July 1890), Wyoming (10 July 1890), Utah (4 January 1896), Oklahoma (16 November 1907), New Mexico (6 January 1912), Arizona (14 February 1912), Alaska (3 January 1959), Hawaii (21 August 1959).
Double Credit - Run also in all of the territories classified as U.S. Possessions and Commonwealths: American Samoa, Baker Island, Guam, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Islands, Navassa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Palmyra Atoll, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Wake Island.