Federation of Asteria
Federation of Asteria
Great Seal of the Federation
Motto: "In Vindicium Libertatis" (Solarian: "Through victory we are free")
Anthem: Asteria the Beautiful
|Federation (green) in Asteria Superior|
Federation (green) in Asteria Superior
|12 States of the Federation|
12 States of the Federation
|Largest city||New Haven|
|Recognised national languages||Estmerish|
|Recognised regional languages||Gaullican, Weranic|
|House of Representatives|
• 2016 estimate
• 2010 census
|GDP (PPP)||2016 estimate|
|$13.56 trillion (#1)|
• Per capita
|Currency||Federal Dollar (FD ($))|
The Federation of Asteria (Gaullican: Fédération d'Asteria), (Weranic: Föderation der Asterreich), also known by the abbreviation F.O.A. or by simply Asteria or the Federation, is a sovereign federation of twelve states located in Asteria Superior. The nation spans from the Vehemes to the Lumine Ocean, and his home to approximately 217 million people-- the most populous in the continent. The Federation is bordered by Senouillac to the north, along with Roeselle, Marirana, and Duquesne to the south. The nation has a particularly-large landmass, though the 2010 Census reported that approximately 78.4% of the population lives in urban areas. Both of the nation's coasts are colder and heavily wooded towards the north, and gradually become warmer towards the south-- with many parts of the south being extremely humid in summer months, and developing marshes and swamplands. Most of the central region of the Federation consists of expansive plains, though dense forests constitute much of the Asterian-Senouillac border. A large desert also exists in the southeast of the country. The country's governing document is the Constitution of the Federation of Asteria, signed on May 23rd, 1774.
Native peoples are believed to have first settled along the country's western coast around 25,000BCE, expanding throughout the continent and settling over the course of thousands of years. Colonization by Euclean powers began around the 1500s, with Gaullica, Estmere, Glytter, and Vredlandia being the primary powers in Asteria Superior before the Gilded Wars brought most of the continent under Gaullican rule. The Asterian War for Independence (1766-1773) led to west coast colonies (present-day New Estmere, Eaglen, Milton, Marais, F.D. Jackson) separating from Gaullican rule and establishing the Federation of Asteria. Much of the following 100 years would be spent expanding east, and the Federation would rapidly industrialize between the 1840s and 1870s, which led to the country freeing its native slaves in 1871, after decades of criticism and the rapid industrialization of the agriculture sector. Leading up to the mid-19th Century, the Federation found itself competing with Roeselle as the two nations rapidly expanded-- kicking off into the Roessan-Asterian War, which the Federation won, thus securing the role of the continent's sole power. Throughout the late 1800s, the Federation participated in economic imperialism in a number of nearby countries-- mainly Marirana, where the Southern Coffee Company gained a monopoly, coining the popular term "Coffee Republic". The Federation's vast economic influence began to wane in the late 1890s as the Mariranan government expelled the Asterian Cocoa Company, though the start of the Asterian Civil War put an end to Asterian imperial ambitions. Lasting from 1904 to 1911, the Civil War claimed over 3 million Asterian lives and thoroughly destroyed the nation's economy, contributing to the Great Depression that would make the recovery process even more strenuous. It wasn't until the outbreak of the Great War (1926-1936) that the Federation's economy started rapid recovery. Being among the victors of the Great War, the Federation found itself in an elevated position on the global scale-- securing its place as a Great Power. The Federation would retract from Euclea by the 1960s, and adapt a Asteria-Centric foreign policy, while still participating in the Great Game against other Great Powers.
Today, the Federation continues to compete with others powers socially, economically, and militarily. The country maintains the highest GDP in the world at $13.56 trillion, and a per/capita of $51,640. The Federation co-founded the Joint Defense Force (JDF) with Roeselle, a military organization tasked with protecting the Asterian continents against piracy, smuggling, and foreign threats. The Federation also maintains a permanent seat on the Community of Nations Security Council, despite its tendency to remain neutral when it comes to affairs outside of the Asterian Continents. Under President Avery, who took office on January 20th 2017, the Federation has undergone large-scale changes, which include attempts to patch the holes in its education system, crack down on illegal immigration, and reassert many of its other policies. The Mariranan insurgency has been a focal point for the Federation and the greater JDF, and brought international attention, as members of the defensive alliance battle with radical insurgents and cartels throughout the country of Marirana.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 2.1 Early History
- 2.2 Asterian Colonies
- 2.3 Revolution and Independence
- 2.4 Early Development
- 2.5 Eastward Expansion
- 2.6 Roessan-Asterian War
- 2.7 Modernization and Industrialization
- 2.8 Asterian Imperialism
- 2.9 Asterian Civil War
- 2.10 The Great Depression
- 2.11 The Great War
- 2.12 Post-War Growth and Superpower Status
- 2.13 Asteria in the Phony War
- 2.14 21st Century
- 3 Geography
- 4 Government & Politics
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Economy
The first Humans to inhabit the present-day borders of the Federation arrived on the continent of Asteria Superior long before Euclean colonial ambitions led them overseas. In fact, it is believed that the first Humans arrived in Asteria Superior via a land bridge around 9,000 BCE, originally settling in northern Senouillac before gradually migrating south over the next two-thousand years. The Icaanan Tribes were the first to settle in what now makes up parts of the States of New Estmere, Evelia, Milton, and Eaglen - creating walled-in settlements that often hugged the coastline, giving the Natives easy access to ocean food sources. For those that were inland, they were often found atop hills and near lakes or rivers, where plenty of fish and animals gathered.
The Icaanan, like most other Tribes, were a very Conservative society - only hunting by necessity, and using every piece of the animal they killed. For instance, if a deer was killed, the venison would be used to feed the tribe, the fur to make clothes, blankets, or rugs, and the bones to make weapons and tools. Icaanan tribes usually never surpassed 300 occupants, with the largest ever recorded tribe having consisted of 500-670 Natives. Over the course of many centuries, and indeed millennia, more Tribal groups would begin to prop up across Asteria - the Anawan Tribes in Marais and Freeman and the Rafachee Tribes in Dinejo, Montgomery, and Centralia being the most prominent. Among the "Big Three" tribal groups were also thousands of smaller ones located in all corners of Asteria, each with their own cultures, traditions, and often times with different gods.
There is very little evidence to determine how often Natives fought with one another, but remains found in various ancient settlements in Dinejo suggest that the Rafachee were a warlike people who fought among one another often, as well as against other Tribal groups. Icaanan Tribes were the most peaceful of the Big Three, with evidence pointing towards general cooperation among the different tribes within the group, while the Anawan appeared to have been isolationist and ethnocentric, both in cultural practices and religious beliefs. Native Asterians were vastly poly-theistic - similar to the Solarians in that they attributed god-like personalities to their surroundings as a means of explaining what occurred in their lives. A cave painting in Marais, which dated back as far as 2,000 BCE, told a story of what appeared to be a massive hurricane that swept across the coasts, bringing untold destruction to the environment around them, and destroying the village they resided in. The survivors pleaded with the Gods to end the storm by sacrificing an infant girl - recording all events in drawings on the walls of the cave. Cave paintings are a common find throughout the Federation - a reminder of an ancient society that once dominated the Asterias.
When the first Eucleans arrived in present-day New Estmere, establishing the settlement of Quenton, they, to their surprise, were greeted with open arms by the friendly Icaanan tribes. The Natives helped the Estmerish survive the first few brutal winters - teaching them how to grow corn and how to better-preserve meats through the winter. In return, Estmerish settlers taught the Icaanans how to use guns and how to ride horses, as well as how to build better, more durable homes. However, the cooperation between the Icaanan peoples and Euclean settlers had adverse effects as hundreds upon hundreds of Natives died from Euclean diseases like Smallpox, that were carried over, and that they'd had no immunity to. Eventually, the Icaanan tribes in New Estmere and the settlers agreed to essentially ignore each other completely, but the Euclean tradition of claiming land pushed them to violated Icaanan hunting groups, and conflict between the two groups was common. In Marais, Vredlandian settlers saw almost immediate conflict with the Anawan tribes, but as in New Estmere, disease killed thousands and pushed the Anawan to leave the region entirely. As colonies developed more and more in the Asterias, from Glytteronian settlements in Eaglen, to Estmerish New Estmere and Milton, to the Vredlandian towns in what is now called Marais, Native Asterians were further alienated - actively hunted by the Vredlandians, even. Still, Estmerish and Glytteronian colonists tried to maintain peace with the Natives - promising them lands within the Colonies. While many of these lands would eventually be seized by the Federation, a number remain as Reservations. Relatively good relations in Estmerish and Glytteronian colonies would ensure the survival of the Native Asterians, even as the Asterias entered their colonial age.
By the late 1600s, the non-Gaullican colonies in Asteria (known as the Asterian Colonies) were under the control of three different countries. Glytter had established their control over "Ealaghleann", or Eaglen, while Estmere had Milton and New Estmere, and Vredlandia controlled Ostenland, which is present-day Marais. Generally, Colonials from all three groups tended to get along, brought together in their mutual distrust of Gaullica which ruled vast swathes of territory in Senouillac to the north, and Roeselle to the south. WIP.
Revolution and Independence
The end of the Gilded Wars saw that the Glytteronian, Estmerish, and Vredlandian colonies would fall under full control of the Gaullica, whose colonial empire now encompassed much of the known New World. Estmerish, Vredlanian, and Ghallish settlers - which had intermingled and fused over the centuries - were now directly under the leadership of the Gaullican crown, which implemented new laws and taxes. The colonies, being overwhelmingly-Amendist, were targets of the Church as those who refused the Catholic faith were often punished. By the 1720s, Gaullican Law had forbidden Amendism within the colonies - considering it heresy - and had driven out most Amendist churches. Many had to worship in secret, though, Gaullican authorities were not kind to those accused of being "heretics".
The first organized resistance forces surfaced in the early 1730s, though these groups were typically local militias belonging to small towns, and had very little strength or influence. Mostly, these groups dedicated themselves to protecting their churches from Gaullican Catholics, and throughout the 1730s, 40s, and 50s, Gaullican troops clashed with local militias in isolated incidents. The formation of the Patriot Army in 1749 was the first step towards organized opposition, as the organization used espionage and other shadowy tactics against their opponents, and operated under the radar. The Patriot Army was originally formed in Freeminster, in the present-day state of Milton, by a number of colonists-- namely Perseus Liber, who had previously served as a Captain in Gaullica's Army, and its primary goal was to unite the colonies and organize a resistance - both politically and militarily - against Gaullica. While they'd grow into the largest opposing force in the colonies, the Patriots began as a small fringe movement, and remained that way for years.
In summer of 1762, the renowned colonial author Henry Jackson of Freeminster released a pamphlet titled "Asterian Identity", and it spread through the colonies rapidly. The 94 page pamphlet was a direct strike at Gaullican rule, criticizing the unfair tax burdens placed on colonists, the oppression and murder of non-Catholics, the "police state" that Gaullica forced them to live under, among many other things. The pamphlet spoke of independence, stating that "we are no Estmerishmen, nor are we Ghallish, Vredlandian, and certainly not Gaullican. We are Asterian". The pamphlet spread through the colonies, encouraging many to rise up and begin organizing themselves. The Patriot Army saw its numbers surge as a result, for many colonists had finally found the identity they'd been seeking for decades: Asterian.
The Patriot Army was able to effectively work against the Gaullican crown in the shadows-- using espionage to undermine and confuse colonial authorities. Thousands of Asterian sympathizers existed throughout Gaullica's colonial government and within Gaullican-run militias, and even within the Gaullican Army itself, which typically gave the Asterians an advantage in intelligence. Many local militias were formed outside of Gaullican control and maintained secret loyalty to the Asterian cause. However, Perseus Liber warned his associates against direct military action against Gaullica-- understanding that they would never stand a chance without an army of their own. Instead, Liber and numerous other Asterian leaders, soon to become known as the "Asterian Congress", assembled in Freeminster on August 10th, 1763 to draft a document known as the Colonial Griefs, which outlined the various grievances that the colonists had with Gaullican rule. This included the overwhelming military presence that infringed on the lives and rights of the people, political persecution of non-Catholics, grossly unfair taxation, and the continued use of an unconscionable justice system that denied the people the right to a fair trial.
The document was sent across the Vehemens to Verlois. Whether or not the King received the document remained a mystery until after the war's end, as the Asterian Congress never received a reply. Most members assumed that the response would simply be silence, and used Gaullica's refusal to work peacefully as justification to continue arming themselves against an oppressive government.
Things in the Asterian colonies seemed to calm through the rest of 1763 and remained so for all of 1764 as newly-appointed General Liber assembled and prepared his army in secret. Hoping to gain any possible advantage over Gaullica, Florena began shipping weapons and munitions to the colonies in secret, which the Asterians stockpiled in farms and small villages. Weapons had been legal to own under Estmerish and Weranic rule, Gaullican Law permitted only frontiersmen to own a single firearm for hunting. When Royal authorities learned that colonists were arming themselves and stockpiling weapons, they enacted the Civil Safety Proclomation. Gaullican troops began widespread arms confiscation, which Asterian colonists resisted-- meticulously relocating their stashes and leaving false tips to misdirect the Gaullican army. This effort was led primarily by local militias that were sympathetic to the Asterian cause, and the strategy was - at the time - to mislead Gaullican authorities and avoid an escalation to conflict for as long as possible.
As early as 1777, the Federal Government began to pump out legislations designed to repair the young, war torn nation, and bring about the country's modernization. The nation's first President, Henry Jackson, sought to achieve a goal that he called "Eucleanization" - rebuilding many cities and downs which had been destroyed during the war, and then expanding them. In 1775, Congress approved President Jackson's "Mayer Plan" which was designed to provide jobs for poor people (mainly unskilled labor) by hiring them to help build roads, bridges, and repair the war-torn cities. One of Jackson's plans as President of the fledgling nation was to create relations with the only other revolutionary nation on the continent: Roeselle. Having fought their own revolution in the early 1770s against Gaullica, Roeselle was a mostly-prosperous nation. Not only that, but during the time of the Asterian Revolution, they fought their own war against the Euclean power of Eparia, and in 1771, they had sent troops to support the Patriot Armies under Perseus Liber. President Jackson wished to form a trade agreement and non-aggression pact with Roeselle, but due to the tense relationship it had with Gaullica, he feared that this would re-ignite the already-tense relationship with Gaullica. Eventually, Jackson was forced to make a decision, and on June 15th, 1776, just two months after Asteria's 10th birthday, he would travel to Roeselle where the two nations would sign the "Liberty City Agreement" which guaranteed free trade between them and ensured that a non-militarized, peaceful border be kept. Gaullica retaliated by cutting off shipments of wine and other delicacies to Asteria, but within a few months, retracted this ban, and relations with the Euclean power would stabilize once again. In 1779, the "Global Trade Agreement" opened massive sea lanes that connected the Federation to many Euclean countries including Werania, Glytter, Caesena, and Estmere. Goods began to pour in and out of Asteria, and by 1800, had grown into the fastest-growing economic power in the region. People all across the world began to flock to Asteria in hordes - seeking freedom from oppression and economic opportunity. In the 1800 census, the Federation recorded more than 10 million people living within its borders, as opposed to 3.5 million at the end of the War of Independence.
Though, the vast expansion of the Federation's economy and population brought a wave of new problems that the young, inexperienced country had to face. Since the signing of the Global Trade Agreement, various sea lanes were opened to connect Euclea and Couis to the Federation - lanes that had never been traveled to such an extent. The southernmost lanes, those that also connected to Roeselle, were frequently attacked by pirates based out of the islands of the Arucian Sea. It was a situation that the Federal Government, under President Andrew Brown, tried to ignore, but as attacks increased, the inevitability of conflict was assured. After a Esmterish trade ship carrying gold and silver was raided and it's crew taken captive by pirates in August of 1802, the High Kingdom's Government demanded that the Federation take immediate action, since according to the Estmerish King, it was Asteria's responsibility to protect shipping lanes to their country. The result was the Arucian Campaign of 1802. At this time, the Federation's military was virtually non-existent. It's Navy consisted of under 100 vessels, and it's small army of 30,000 was fully dedicated to manning various forts across the country. President Brown's attempts to enlist Roessan aid failed, and he instead developed a new, largely-untested type of warfare that included styles used during the Revolution. Brown would utilize 6,000 of the nation's greatest warriors, the Federation Marines, to launch more than a hundred raids on pirate vessels and bases throughout the Arucian Sea through October and November, until Marines would raid the hideout of pirate legend Lawrence the Terror on what is present-day Isla Juana. The Federation lost a mere 27 Marines in the campaign, while it is estimated that more than 500 pirates were killed or captured, and nearly all criminal presence in the Arucian Sea was eliminated, as well as the raids on shipping lanes. The Arucian Campaign would be the Federation's first large-scale military operation, and while largely-insignificant compared to conflicts, it showed the formidability of Asterian soldiers and proved as a demonstration that the Federation was a militarily-capable nation, and was capable of surviving on its own.
Modernization and Industrialization
In the North, urbanization and an unprecedented influx of immigrants from Southern and Western Euclea supplied a surplus of labor for the country's industrialization and transformed its culture. National infrastructure including telegraph and transcontinental railroads spurred economic growth and greater settlement and development of the Asterian Old East. The later invention of electric light and the telephone would also impact communication and urban life.
The end of the Native Wars further expanded acreage under mechanical cultivation, increasing surpluses for international markets. Mainland expansion was completed by the end of the Roessan-Asterian War in 1847. In 1893, the Federation turned its sights to some of the outlying islands in the Florian Ocean and subsequently annexed them into the nation.
Rapid economic development at the end of the 19th century produced many prominent industrialists, and the Federation's economy became the world's largest. Dramatic changes were accompanied by social unrest and the rise of populist, socialist, and anarchist movements. This period eventually ended with the advent of the Progressive Era, which saw significant reforms in many societal areas, including women's suffrage, alcohol prohibition, regulation of consumer goods, greater antitrust measures to ensure competition and attention to worker conditions.
In the later 19th Century, especially starting in the early 1860s, the Federation entered a stage most-commonly referred to as Pax Asteriana-- "Asterian Peace" in Solarian. Following their victory in the Roessan-Asterian War, the Federation had asserted itself as the dominant military and economic power in the Asterias, and as a result, began developing policies to maintain this status. The Federation - especially its rising corporations - began shifting their focus to Middle Asteria-- especially Marirana, which Johnathan Rice once claimed to be "ripe for the picking". When rebel forces rose up against the Mariranan monarchy, the Federation intervened-- funding rebel forces with money, arms, supplies, and eventually soldiers. The Federation would assist in the establishment of the Second Mariranan Free State, and its role in doing so would successfully secure Marirana as a "client state" to the Federation.
Sanctioned by the Federal Government, a number of Asterian companies began expanding their operations into Marirana. Collecting upon the massive debt owed to the Federation for supply their revolution, Asterian companies began heavily investing in the Mariranan economy. A number of companies bought coffee plantations throughout the country early on, and would eventually merge into the Southern Coffee Company in 1888. By 1892, the Southern Coffee Company had established a monopoly in many parts of Marirana, having absorbed smaller local groups, and was the largest employer in many areas, leading to the creation of the term "Coffee Republic". Asterian companies invested in infrastructure, constructing a modern network of railroads throughout the 1890s for businesses and private use. However, the average Mariranan could rarely afford to ride the private train, and it became a method of transport for the rich. A wealth apartheid began to develop in Marirana with Asterian traders at the top, which would cause anti-Asterian sentiment to rise among the general Mariranan population. Popular opinion began turning on the Mariranan government and Asterian business leaders in the late 1890s, and the nation's government was again overthrown in 1902.
Asterian businesses like the Southern Coffee Company were expelled from Marirana not long after, which would eventually cripple the country's economy. A number of companies sued Marirana in 1903 in the United Asterian Court of Justice, winning a sum of today's $1.4 trillion, and further-crippling a Mariranan economy that simply could not pay. Simply, the start of the Asterian Civil War would lead to the loss of other foreign assets, and successfully end the Federation's overseas economic ambitions.
Asterian Civil War
By the late 19th Century, the rapid industrialization of the Federation - centered around its major population centers - had caused the nation to become among the top industrial forces on the planet. The country had been modernizing at an alarming rate, building the world's largest railroad network that connected the nation's coasts in a way never before thought possible. Trade between the Federation and the rest of the world, primarily Euclea, brought wealth to the country, and the economic freedoms available within the country attracted millions of immigrants seeking a better life and new opportunity for success, primarily from Euclea as well. This new age of prosperity had many benefits to the nation as a whole, but during this period of time, the 12 States of the Federation became less reliant on one-another, and many developed the ability to be self-sufficient, and capable of standing on their own. States like Montgomery especially, that were so disconnected from the Federal Government in Jackson, began to harbor ideas of independence-- believing that they did not "need" the Federation to prosper. Early secessionists gained very little attention in the late 19th Century, and it wasn't until vocal secessionist Wallace Brandt released his pamphlet called The Cause of Liberty throughout Montgomery in 1886, that these movements gained traction.
In order to enforce the Federal Government's authority over the States, President Samuel Teller pushed the "Jameson Act" through Congress in 1889, a Federal Tax placed on travel between state borders in order to help repay the Federation's debt from the Roessan-Asterian War. This Act had adverse effects, however, as it enraged many states-- primarily the Eastern States, and emboldened secessionist movements. Governor Joseph Seinsman of Montgomery would go on to say: "...it is a tax of discrimination on the borders of sovereign states, and directly interferes with the ability for free citizens to move with ease across states borders, which creates complications in those who cross states lines every day for work, or simply to go to the store." The State of Faulkner would take this bill to the High Court, questioning the Constitutionality of the tax, but would ultimately lose to the Federalist Court.
The first organized act of rebellion, which would foreshadow the future conflict, came in 1892 when the State of Faulkner wrote a letter to the Federal Government, asking to "shed Federal Law and Restrictions that suppress and otherwise undermine the authority, and thus challenge the sovereignty of, our State-- thus trampling on the rights that were guaranteed to us in the Constitution of this Federation." In short, Faulkner asked to become independent-- a request that was quickly shot down, and deemed "Illegal" by the High Court. In 1887, following the release of new legislation that enforced Federal Trade Laws and said that States cannot Independently Trade with another country, Dinejo Governor Allen Pennence lashed out at President Tommy Field: “These laws have held us down and purposely tried to undermine our authority, and like the chains of slavery, I fear that the only way to protect the people of Dinejo is to shed the burden of this Federation.”
Despite the resentment that the Eastern States held for the Government in Jackson, leaders still had faith in democracy-- sending Governor Joseph Seinsman to run for President against Senator Adrian Martin. The campaign, which was intense and explosive, was symbolic-- a struggle between East and West. Martin was a Federalist and - according to many historians - a nationalist, believing that the Federal Government's authority triumphed over the States. He promoted a message of unity and insisted that the Federation could only survive if it remained wholly together, rather than allow States to further the divide. Seinsman, on the other hand, sought reform-- hoping to break down the Government and ensure that they would remain out of State affairs.
The Great Depression
The Great War
Post-War Growth and Superpower Status
Asteria in the Phony War
Government & Politics
The Federation of Asteria, as the name implies, is a federation, with the power mostly-balanced between the 12 States and the Federal Government, located out of the nation's capital of Jackson. A representative democracy consisting of three branches of government, each keeping one-another in check by the system of "Checks and Balances", which is outlined in the Constituion, the nation's supreme legal document.
Under the Federation's system, citizens are usually subject to three levels of government: federal, state, and local. The local government's duties are commonly split between county and municipal governments. In almost all cases, executive and legislative officials are elected by a plurality vote of citizens by district. There is no proportional representation at the federal level, and it is rare at lower levels. As stated, the Federal Government consists of three branches, each granted its own rights and responsibilities:
- Legislative - The bicameral Congress, made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives, makes federal law, declares war, approves treaties, has the power of the purse, and has the power of impeachment, by which it can remove sitting members of the government.
- Executive - The President is the commander-in-chief of the military, can veto legislative bills before they become law (subject to Congressional override), and appoints the members of the Cabinet (subject to Senate approval) and other officers, who administer and enforce federal laws and policies.
- Judicial - The High Court of the Federation and lower federal courts, whose judges are appointed by the President with Senate approval, interpret laws and overturn those they find unconstitutional.
The Federation of Asteria maintains a fixed two-party system, where two political parties control the majority of elected positions in Congress. The Conservative and Liberal parties are the Federation’s two dominating political parties, with both the Senate and House of Representatives being comprised entirely of members of either party. The Conservative Party maintains a majority in both houses, holding 16 of 24 seats in the Senate and 195 of 376 House seats-- down from 204 seats after losing 9 to Liberal candidates in the 2016 House elections. Statistics found by the Montgomery Institute of Technology found that overall, 96% of candidates who run for Congress are members of either the Conservative of Liberal Parties. 94% of those who run for state government are members of either party, and approximately 79% of local candidates are in either party. The remainder are either registered independent - not aligned to any political party - or are Third-Parties in the Federation members. For a two-party system, the Federation has a surprisingly-high number of independent or third-party candidates. Currently, no independent or third-party candidates hold Congressional office, though they have in the past on numerous occasions.
The President holds the title of commander-in-chief of the Federation's Armed Forces and appoints its leaders, the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Federal Department of Defense administers the Armed Forces, including the Federal Navy, Federal Army, Federal Air Force, and Federal Marine Corps. As of 2016, the Federal Armed Forces maintains an active force of 1,157,200 and a reserve force of 2,586,000. The Department of Defense also employs about 800,000 people, not including military contractors.
Military service is voluntary, though all males ages 18-27 are required to register for the Draft, though this has only been implemented twice in the nation's history. Asterian forces can be rapidly deployed by the Air Force's large collection of transport aircraft, or by the Navy's fleet consisting of 7 aircraft carriers-- the most in the world. The Federation maintains a number of bases in multiple countries including Marirana and Roeselle.
The Federation's budget in 2015 was 656.65 billion, leading the world in military spending.
Religion in the Federation is characterized by a diversity of religious beliefs and practices. Various religious faiths have flourished within the Federation. A majority of Asterians report that religion plays a very important role in their lives, a proportion unique among developed countries.
The Federation is an overwhelmingly-Sotirian country, with 75.5% of Asterians identifying as Sotirian in some form. There are three major variations of Sotirianity that exist with prominence in the Federation. The majority of Asterians - 51% - identify as Sotirian Amendist, followed by 24% that identify as Sotirian Catholic. Followers of the Gospel of Ezekiel fled to the Federation in droves to escape religious persecution by the Church in the 1800s, and today make up for around .5% of the population. The total number of practicing Sotirians has declined by about 3-4% over the last three decades, being replaced largely by Hyndism and Atheism. Salam is present, but not popular, in addition to a number of other, smaller faiths.
Approximately 11% of the population is Native Asterian, and the majority follow one of the numerous Native Asterian Faiths, though the most common is that of the Rafachee Tribes. Roughly 71% of Natives follow the Rafachee faith, though 20% follow the Anawan faiths. A small number of Native Asterians have converted to Sotirianity, but Natives have in large resisted forced-conversion by Euclean settlers.
The Federation has an average life expectancy of 79.9 years, up from 79.4 in 2000. This does vary by state and region, however, with the lowest being in Dinejo at 78.7, and the highest being in Eaglen at 80.9. The average infant mortality rate in the country is 6.11 per thousand births, which is down from 6.64 in 200.
The rising level of obesity in the Federation and health improvements in other countries has caused the country's rank in life expectancy to fall in the past 30 years, as obesity rates have doubled since the 1980s, leaving the Federation with the highest obesity rate in the industrialized world. Approximately one-fourth of the population is obese, with an additional fourth being overweight. Obesity-related type-2 diabetes has been considered an epidemic by healthcare professionals.
In 2010, coronary artery disease, lung cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, and traffic accidents caused the most years of life lost in the Federation. Low back pain, depression, musculoskeletal disorders, neck pain, and anxiety caused the most years lost to disability. The most deleterious risk factors were poor diet, tobacco smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, physical inactivity, and alcohol use. Alzheimer's disease, drug abuse, kidney disease, cancer, and falls caused the most additional years of life lost over their age-adjusted 1990 per-capita rates. Teenage pregnancy rates are significantly higher than in other industrialized countries, though experts believe that this is likely the result of strict abortion laws that have been long-implemented by the Federal Government.
The Federation is a global leader in medical innovation. Asteria solely developed or contributed significantly to 9 of the top 10 most important medical innovations since 1975 as ranked by a 2001 poll of physicians. Since 1966, more Asterians have received the Nobel Prize in Medicine than the rest of the world combined. From 1989 to 2002, four times more money was invested in private biotechnology companies in Asteria than in Euclea The Federation's health-care system far outspends any other nation, measured in both per capita spending and percentage of GDP.
Health-care coverage in the Federation is a combination of public and private efforts and is not universal. The Federal Government does regulate health insurance companies to a broad extent, with laws being passed in the last few decades to prevent age discrimination and discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions. Bipartisan efforts in Congress have also led to crackdowns on health insurance monopolies in order to promote competition and lower prices. As of 2014, approximately 12.4% of Asterians remain uninsured. All 12 States offer state-subsidized health insurance for those who cannot afford it, though the Federal Government offers no such subsidies.
Asterian public education is operated by state and local governments, regulated by the Federal Department of Education through restrictions on federal grants. In most states, children are required to attend school from the age of six or seven (generally, kindergarten or first grade) until they turn 18 (generally bringing them through twelfth grade, the end of high school); some states allow students to leave school at 16 or 17, depending on class choices and credit allocation.
About 14% of children are enrolled in parochial or nonsectarian private schools. Just over 3% of children are homeschooled. The Federation spends more on education per student than any nation in the world, spending more than $9,000 per elementary student in 2010 and more than $11,500 per high school student. Asterian youth tend to diverge in three main directions after the end of mandatory public or private schooling. 59.6% move to colleges or universities. 21.9% enroll in technical schools, while roughly 7.6% enlist in the Armed Forces.
The Federal Government, along with state government, offer grants and scholarships to students attempting to pay for schooling. Still, the majority of college students rely on taking out student loans to pay for schooling. As of 2012, student loan debt exceeded $700 billion.