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When the United States was founded in 1976, there were 13 states, and the original US flag only had 13 stars. Gradually, as the settlers continually pushed further west, more and more states were added. The US kept making treaties with the native Americans setting aside areas for them. Settlers kept squeezing into those territories, and the natives were pushed further and further into remote lands and new states were created. The war with Mexico led to the acquisition of vast lands in the far west, and eventually there were 48 states. In the middle of the last century, the territories of Hawaii and Alaska became the 49th and 50th states.

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