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The 51st State

The 51st State (also known as Formula 51) is a 2001[2] action comedy film directed by Ronny Yu, written by Stel Pavlou, and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Carlyle, Emily Mortimer, Ricky Tomlinson, Sean Pertwee, Rhys Ifans, Stephen Walters and Meat Loaf. The film follows the story of an American master chemist (Jackson) who heads to Britain to sell his formula for a powerful new drug. All does not go as planned and the chemist soon becomes entangled in a web of deceit.

The 51st State

Screenwriter Stel Pavlou came up with the idea for The 51st State in 1994 while studying at university in Liverpool and working in the kitchen's of The Brook Cafe at The Quiggins centre, loosely basing some of the characters on his friends. Pavlou described the idea of the film being based on Liverpool's history in the slave trade and transferring it to modern day in the form of the drug trade. Pavlou and his business partner Mark Aldridge showcased their idea at the Cannes Film Festival in France which led to film development company Focus Films offering funding for development. Soon the film caught the eye of Samuel L. Jackson, who eventually came on board as both a producer and star of the film.[5]

Originally Pavlou budgeted at around 1 million and intended to direct it himself. Due to difficulty getting funding Pavlou stepped aside and took a co-producer credit while the matter was being resolved. After five years The 51st State was finally budgeted at $28 million, with financing coming from Canada and the UK via Alliance Atlantis and the Film Consortium.[6]

For its US release, the film was renamed Formula 51 as the original title was seen as potentially offensive to American audiences. The expression 51st state, in this context, refers to US dominance over Britain.

The 51st state is an American political discourse term that refers to areas that are considered to be candidates for U.S. statehood, joining the current 50 states that have already been constituted in the United States since 1959. The phrase has been applied to external territories, as well as the country's capital for the District of Columbia and parts of already-existing states which would be admitted as separate states in their own right.

Voters in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have both voted for statehood in referendums.[1][2][3] As statehood candidates, their admission to the Union requires congressional approval.[4] American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands are other U.S. territories that could potentially become U.S. states.[5]

The phrase can be used in a positive sense, meaning that a region or territory is so aligned, supportive, and conducive with the United States, that it is like a U.S. state, or in a pejorative sense, meaning an area or region is under excessive American cultural or military influence or control. People who believe their local or national culture has become too Americanized sometimes use the term in reference to their own countries.[6] Before Alaska and Hawaii became states of the United States in 1959, the corresponding expression was "the 49th state".

Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution authorizes Congress to admit new states into the United States (beyond the thirteen already in existence at the time the Constitution went into effect in 1788). Historically, most new states brought into being by Congress have been established from an organized incorporated territory, created and governed by Congress.[7] In some cases, an entire territory became a state; in others, some part of a territory became a state. As defined in a 1953 U.S. Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, the traditionally accepted requirements for statehood are:

In most cases, the organized government of a territory made known the sentiment of its population in favor of statehood, usually by referendum. Congress then directed that government to organize a constitutional convention to write a state constitution. Upon acceptance of that constitution by the people of the territory and then by Congress, a joint resolution would be adopted granting statehood. The President would then issue a proclamation announcing the addition of a new state to the Union. While Congress, which has ultimate authority over the admission of new states, has usually followed this procedure, there have been occasions (because of unique, case-specific circumstances) when it did not.[9]

A simple majority in each House of Congress is required to pass statehood legislation; however, in the United States Senate, the filibuster requires 60 votes to invoke cloture. Some statehood advocacy organizations have called for amending or abolishing the filibuster as a path to achieve statehood.[10][11] As with other legislation, the President can sign or veto statehood bills that pass, and Congress has the power to override a veto with a two-thirds majority.[12]

If a new U.S. state were to be admitted, it would require a new design of the flag to accommodate an additional star for the 51st state.[13] However, according to the U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry, an existing United States flag never becomes obsolete. In the event that a new state is added to the Union and a 51-star flag is approved, any previously approved American flag (such as the 50-star flag) may continue to be used and displayed until no longer serviceable.[14]

The District of Columbia is often mentioned as a candidate for statehood. In Federalist No. 43 of The Federalist Papers, James Madison considered the implications of the definition of the "seat of government" found in the United States Constitution. Although he noted potential conflicts of interest, and the need for a "municipal legislature for local purposes",[16] Madison did not address the district's role in national voting. Legal scholars disagree on whether a simple act of Congress can admit the District as a state, due to its status as the seat of government of the United States, which Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution requires to be under the exclusive jurisdiction of Congress; depending on the interpretation of this text, admission of the full District as a state may require a Constitutional amendment, which is much more difficult to enact.[17]

The District of Columbia residents who support the statehood movement sometimes use the slogan "Taxation without representation" to denote their lack of Congressional representation. The phrase is a shortened version of the Revolutionary War protest motto "no taxation without representation" omitting the initial "No", and is now printed on newly issued District of Columbia license plates (although a driver may choose to have the District of Columbia website address instead). President Bill Clinton's presidential limousine had the "Taxation without representation" license plate late in his term, while President George W. Bush had the vehicle's plates changed shortly after beginning his term in office.[18] President Barack Obama had the license plates changed back to the protest style shortly before his second-term inauguration.[19] President Donald Trump eventually removed the license plate and signaled opposition to DC statehood.[20][21]

This position was carried by the D.C. Statehood Party, a political party; it has since merged with the local Green Party affiliate to form the D.C. Statehood Green Party. The nearest this movement ever came to success was in 1978, when Congress passed the District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment. Two years later in 1980, local citizens passed an initiative written and filed by J. Edward Guinan calling for a constitutional convention for a new state.[22] In 1982, voters ratified the constitution of the state, which was to be called New Columbia. The drive for statehood stalled in 1985, however, when the District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment failed because not enough states ratified the amendment within the seven-year span specified.

Another proposed option would be to have Maryland, from which the current land was ceded, retake the District of Columbia, as Virginia has already done for its part, while leaving the National Mall, the United States Capitol, the United States Supreme Court, and the White House in a truncated District of Columbia.[23] This would give residents of the District of Columbia the benefit of statehood while precluding the creation of a 51st state, but would require the consent of the Government of Maryland.[24]

On April 15, 2016, District Mayor Muriel Bowser called for a citywide vote on whether the nation's capital should become the 51st state.[25] This was followed by the release of a proposed State Constitution.[26] This Constitution would make the Mayor of the District of Columbia the Governor of the proposed state, while the members of the District Council would make up the proposed House of Delegates.[27]

While the name "New Columbia" has long been associated with the movement, the City Council and community members chose the proposed state name to be the State of Columbia, or the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth. The Maryland abolitionist Frederick Douglass was a D.C. resident and was chosen to be the proposed state's namesake alongside George Washington of Virginia.[29]

To fulfill Constitutional requirements of having a Federal District and to provide the benefits of statehood to the 700,000-plus residents of D.C., in the proposed State of Washington, D.C., boundaries would be delineated between the State of Washington, D.C., and a much smaller federal seat of government. This would ensure federal control of federal buildings. The National Mall, the White House, the national memorials, Cabinet buildings, judicial buildings, legislative buildings, and other government-related buildings, etc. would be housed within the much smaller federal seat of government. All residences in the State of Washington, D.C. would reside outside the seat of federal government, except for the White House. The proposed boundaries are based on precedents created through the 1902 McMillan Plan with a few modifications. The rest of the boundaries would remain the same.[30][31][32] 041b061a72


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