This weekend, as we celebrate the birth of the world's oldest democracy with goods imported from the world's largest autocracy, it's worth remembering that America is truly an exceptional nation — in many ways good, and some ways bad. Below, the charts and maps that quantify 21 of the ways that America is #1.
1. Making money
Whether you measure it using exchange rates or get down with PPP, the U.S. is still the world's largest economy. On the exchange rate measure, the U.S. accounts for more than a fifth of the world's GDP.
2. Putting people in jail
Number of incarcerated people per 100,000 population
The U.S.'s incarceration rate of 716 prisoners per 100,000 population is the world's highest. Thirty-six of our states also have higher incarceration rates than any country in the world. Freedom isn't free, especially if you're behind bars.
What could be more American than jean shorts? NOTHING, that's what. Americans search Google for "jorts" three times as much as Canadians, and ten times as much as Brits.
4. Making new parents work
America is dead last among OECD nations when it comes to paid parental leave. But this means that we're first in not providing paid leave! Technically, we are tied on this measure with Liberia, Papua New Guinea and Swaziland. But we are better than those countries in nearly every other respect, which means the tie goes to us.
5. Paying lots of money for health care
We all already know that our health care is insanely expensive. But it's always good to have a reminder of just how expensive it is.
6. Guns, guns, guns
Okay, I know I said that nothing was more American than jorts just a few minutes ago, but I might have to take that back, because guns. There is nearly one gun for every single man, woman and child in the U.S. I'm not sure how many jorts there are, but I bet it's not that much.
7. Thinking highly of ourselves
America is Number 1, according to Americans. Or at least, that was the case in 2012, when more Americans rated the U.S. favorably than people in any other country. Oddly, in 2013, the Philippines, Israel and Ghana all had higher opinions of us than we did of ourselves. How is it possible that people in other countries have more American pride than Americans do? I don't know, but when you're number one, anything is possible.
8. Killing people with flying robots
The United States was the first country to kill people with drones, and we're the country killing the most people with drones. Setting aside all the thorny legal and moral questions, we're also the country most likely to approve of killing people with drones.
9. Making cheese
Technically the EU makes more cheese than we do, but the E.U. isn't a country. Of course, this finding assumes that American cheese counts as a proper cheese, which of course it does.
10. Bald Eagles
Map of bald eagle range
Half of the world's 70,000 bald eagles live in Alaska. An additional 20,000 live in the lower 48, which means we totally crush Canada for the title of World's Bald Eagle Capital. You can have the moose and maple syrup, Canada — but the eagles are ours.
11. Super Bowl wins
Hahaha. Seriously though.
12. Military spending
Nobody else can touch our military spending. In 2012, our military budget was $683 billion. The next-highest spender, China, was less than a quarter of that.
The U.S. is the world's tornado capital.
14. Spending money on Scotch
France may import — and drink — the most whisky, but Americans spend more on it. Like health care, when it comes to whisky, we spend more and get less, because it's the American way.
15. Wasting time on the Internet
Americans use Twitter more than people in any other country. Twitter is an amazing tool — you can use it to spread democracy and topple dictators! But in reality, most of us are using it to share pictures of red pandas and get in stupid fights we know we'll never win.
16. Bill Murray
This isn't a chart, but there's only one Bill Murray and he lives in America.
17. Being rich
We are really, really good at being rich, especially when it comes to the share of total income going to our 1 percent. One reason for this? Our tax policy is very favorable to high-income earners.
18. Selling corn
19. Watching TV
We watch more TV than anyone else in the world. And among Americans, West Virginians watch the most, averaging nearly four hours of tube time per day.
20. Going to work sick
Even if we're not the best at democracy anymore, we've been doing it longer than anyone else.
Did I miss your favorite American superlative? Let me know in the comments.
Need more Freedom? 19 photos that make you appreciate America.