The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), the States or simply America, is a federal nation consisting of 51 American states. Located geographically in North America, between the countries of Canada (to the north) and Mexico (to the south), it is one of the largest and most populous nations in the world. The geography of the United States also includes the Pacific Ocean island chain of Hawaii and Alaska, which borders the northwest region of Canada, along with the province of British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. Since 1985 the country includes Vietnam as a state and Laos, Cambodia, Burma and Thailand as commonwealths, also giving the country a land border with China, India, Bangladesh and Malaysia because of these 'Asiatic Americas'.
Because Watchmen takes place in an alternate history of United States society, much of its 20th Century history has been altered by the author. The United States has won the Vietnam War, due largely to the intervention of Dr. Manhattan. Additionally, Richard Nixon has been elected to more than two terms as President after a change in the United States Constitution, specifically the 22nd Amendment that limited a president to no more than two four year terms. Most vehicles, cars, trucks, etc, are powered by lithium batteries, a process that was unfeasible in the past before Dr. Manhattan was able to synthesize lithium on a large scale.
Following the infamous events of 11/2 (also known as the Dimensional Incursion Event, or D.I.E.), the United States made peace with the Soviet Union and it seemed that a new golden age of political and technological prosperity was at hand. In 1992, Robert Redford was elected President of the United States, having capitalized on funding from Veidt Enterprises as part of a larger "blue wave" that empowered the Democratic Party. However, a rift between Adrian Veidt and Redford apparently developed, which culminated in the Campaign Finance Reform and Donor Disclosure Act of 1993, which restricted private lobbying to political individuals or groups within the US Government.
Redford's tenure as President, which lasted well into the early 21st Century thanks to the repeal of the 22nd Amendment under President Nixon, was marked by a wave of (controversial) new liberal movements and legislation, such as the implementation of the Victims of Racial Violence Act (derogatorily referred to as "Redfordations"), which saw reparations handed out to survivors and direct descendants of 50 incidents of “certifiable atrocity perpetrated by structures or agents of white supremacy” in the form of a lifetime tax exemption. While ostensibly done to aid racial reconciliation, it made many white citizens resentful, and spurred the creation of white supremacist groups such as the Seventh Kavalry in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which began a violent campaign of disruption against both the government and black citizens in order to seek retribution. The rise of violent white supremacist activity led to the passage of the Defense of Police Act resulting in the creation of masked police forces in the United States under the Redford administration, especially following an event known as White Night, where members of the Seventh Kavalry invaded the homes of police officers of Tulsa P.D., killing them en masse.
Redford's term also saw a rise in Luddite-like trends in the United States, spurred by paranoia stemming from claims that Doctor Manhattan-based technologies, such as lithium batteries in cars, could be carcinogenic. This severely hampered the growth of any equivalent to the Internet or social media in Watchmen's alternate United States. However, as of 2019, some aspects of this technological suspicion seem to have died down--electric car usage (and the use of airships) came back to the public eye.
The paranoia of the post-11/2 years would not be limited solely to technology--indeed, it seemed as if the events of the D.I.E., "squid storms" that deposited miniature versions of the Alien Monster all over the US and the world became common. Given the nature of post-D.I.E.-related trauma, special doomsday shelters, colloquially referred to as "Squid Shelters", were built across the USA in response to these events.
By 1992, Robert Redford has been elected as President of the United States. As part of a government investigation, he revealed to the world on November 2, 1992 the true intent and nature of the New York City Squid Massacre. While this investigation was ostensibly done to bring about closure to disquiet surrounding the events of 1985, it instead led to a collapse of the global order. By November 22, riots had broken out in most major American cities, to the point that the Vice President appeared to have suffered a nervous breakdown and was holding the Israeli Prime Minister hostage. In response to an invasion of Poland by Russia, Redford authorizes the launching of nuclear missiles at Russia, triggering World War III. In response, New York City, and many other cities across the United States, are destroyed.
The alternate United States of the mainstream post-Flashpoint DC Universe is also shown in Doomsday Clock, under the presidency of Donald Trump.
In the TV series, sometime after the events of 11/2 the country changed the design of its flag, changing the blue field of stars from a square in the upper left to a large circle in the middle. This alteration most likely occurred in July 1986 since Federal law specifies that new flag designs become official on the first 4th of July following the admission of a state (Vietnam became a state in October 1985). The old design can be seen in the Nixonville trailer park, and appears to have taken on some kind of a symbolic meaning for white nationalists.
- The repeal of the 22nd Amendment resulted in Richard Nixon running for six consecutive terms, while Robert Redford ran on seven consecutive terms. Because of this, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump never become President of the United States in the Watchmen universe.
- As of 2019, Vietnam is still a state of the US, but is shown to be strained under terrorist attacks committed by the pro-independence Vietnamese Liberation Front (VLF).