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In the Star Trek: Enterprise episode Affliction, Lieutenant Reed is seen working for section 31 (just a guess, from the fact where the sketchy black coat guy in his chat with Jon asks Jon to read Article 15, Section 31).

In this episode, Harris asks Malcom to meet at the address he's just sent. In the next shot, we see that Reed has been sent to (from the transcript)

1044 North Maple, San Francisco, California, USA, Earth. 94-1104-314159

How does the address include USA if Earth does not have countries in Star Trek?

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    Countries still exist as physical entities, they just no longer function as sovereign states or independant political entities. Jan 14 at 13:43
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    The number of places in the world today that people refer to with names that have zero political significance is huge. In New York City alone there must be more than a hundred places that are just places with names and have no political boundaries at all. Some are very famous, like SOHO and Greenwich Village. Jan 14 at 14:23
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    why do you think countries no longer exist?
    – NKCampbell
    Jan 14 at 15:33
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    I just don't think this requires explanation. Mentioning a "country" to specify a geographic location does not imply that it still exists as a political entity. Furthermore, the existence of a United Earth government doesn't mean that the old countries can't exist as political entites anyhow, just like there are still countries under the UK and EU, and just like most countries still have various political hierachies under them (state/provinces/counties/municipalities etc). So I just don't see a way that mentioning USA contradicts anything. Jan 14 at 17:45
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    I cannot help but notice that the OP is baffled by the mention of "USA", but accepts the mention of "California" without any comment. Jan 15 at 23:22

5 Answers 5

31

Enterprise takes place before the formation of the Federation in 2161. It's still possible that people would identify places by the country that place was in (Paris is both a city in France and a town in Texas, USA). There's no formal date for when the United Earth government was formed, and the concept might still be new enough people still used old terms at that point, since they would still be understood. From the episode dialogue it's clear the old countries were still well known

ARCHER: You haven't said much of anything. You've told me a lot about your father, his years in the Royal Navy. Their tradition of honour and service.

The Royal Navy refers to the military of the United Kingdom. Clearly, that would no longer exist under a United Earth government, so the transition would have had to be within the lifetime of Malcom's father, Stuart Reed (we have no detailed information of his life, but it's probable he was in his 50s or 60s).

We also know that the concept of some of the original nations of Earth never really disappeared. In 2267, the natives of Omega IV worshipped the US Constitution and flag. Jean Luc Picard was from what was still known as France in 2305.

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    We still refer to San Antonio as being in Texas even though Texas is no longer an independent state. Jan 14 at 14:44
  • Omega IV is a bad example as that was a parallel culture duplicate that TOS did several times. Kind of a twilight zone twist. No different than an exact replica of Earth in Miri or duplicate Romans. Even though those are all very impossible. Jan 14 at 15:43
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    @lucasbachmann While TOS had many such "Americana" cultures they came across, this particular one actually worshiped both the Constitution and the US flag. It means someone had to know enough of said culture to bring those items in the first place, let alone know what they meant.
    – Machavity
    Jan 14 at 16:04
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    An interesting but lengthy discussion about the Omega IV example has been moved to chat; please continue it there instead of in comments here.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 14 at 20:10
  • The Royal Navy (and hence concepts of Great Britain/UK) was still in existence in the time of Enterprise, or at least recently enough for Malcolm to have been planning to join it memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Royal_Navy Jan 17 at 15:31
27

Although countries no longer had individual governments by the mid-22nd century, at least some of the landmasses were still referred to by their previous names, even as late as the 24th century.

TROI: So, where have you decided to go?

PICARD: Hmm? What? Oh, er, France. Labarre. My home village.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - S04E02 - "Family"

O'BRIEN: Me, out of breath? I was climbing mountains in Ireland before you were born.

MUNIZ: You mean hills, don't you? They have gently sloping hills in Ireland. No mountains. But what do I know? After all, you're the mountain man. An old mountain man.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - S05E02 - "The Ship"

BASHIR: What did you talk about?

O'BRIEN: A lot of things. His son, Alexander. Growing up in Russia. The proper way to eat gagh.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - S07E01 - "Image in the Sand"

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    For a parallel example here on Earth, look at England: names such as "East Anglia" are still in use, despite the old kingdom of that name being absorbed into the Danelaw back in 869.
    – Mark
    Jan 16 at 7:36
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    +1. Another example that comes to mind is the episode Lower Decks, where Ensign Lavelle mentions a grandfather from Canada (and Commander Riker grew up in Alaska, which both he and Lavelle recognize as being mutually exclusive with Canada).
    – ruakh
    Jan 17 at 7:38
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The other answers are great in pointing out that the names of countries continue to be used even after they have ceased to become independent, sovereign nations.

In our own world, this has happened to many formerly independent nations that have joined with larger ones but retained their old name. Some well-known examples include Texas (1845), Hawaii (territorial annexation in 1898, statehood in 1959), Scotland (1707), and Newfoundland and Labrador (1933).

If Texas and Hawaii can join the USA and still call themselves Texas and Hawaii, I see no reason why the USA couldn't join United Earth and/or the Federation and still call itself the USA.

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    Texas still exists. It's the name of a state within the US. Scotland is still a recognised country, separate from England and Wales
    – Valorum
    Jan 14 at 18:25
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    @Valorum true, but Scotland hasn't been sovereign since 1707, but rather subject to the UK. In fact, Scotland had a referendum in 2014 in which they confirmed that they wanted to stay that way (a non-independent country). In the future of Star Trek, the USA presumably still exists but is likewise no longer independent/sovereign, but subject to the rule of the United Earth and/or Federation governments. My whole point is that the USA could continue to exist in such a state, just the same way that Scotland continues to exist. Jan 14 at 18:27
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    I don't think you're wrong, I just think these are terrible examples.
    – Valorum
    Jan 14 at 18:32
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    "I've done far worse than downvote you, Admiral. I've hurt you. And I wish to go on hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me, as you left her: neither upvoted nor downvoted. Marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead question, buried alive. Buried alive." @Valorum
    – NKCampbell
    Jan 14 at 18:47
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    @Valorum Huh? A thing called the USA continues to exist in Star Trek. And usage seems interchangeable, "the Alamo happened in Texas" or even "Texas became a state in 1846". O'Brien would say "Ireland" for when it was a country, or now when it's whatever StarTrek calls countries in a world government where it's still called Ireland. Jan 15 at 19:31
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Some official and unofficial maps of the Star Trek galaxy depict space realms like the Federation or the Klingon Empire, etc., spread out over a large proportion of the galaxy. Maps often depict each realm coving maybe 1 percent to 10 percent, for example.

The Milky Way Galaxy contains at least 100,000,000,000 star systems. So 1 percent to 10 percent of the volume of the galactic disc of the Milky Way Galaxy would contain at least about 1,000,000,000 to 10,000,000,000 stars, and possibly a few times that many.

So I can imagine that each star system within the Federation has a local system government, and that each group of 10 systems has a second level local government, and that each group of 100 systems has a third level government, and that each group of 1,000 systems has a fourth level local government, and that each group of 10,000 systems has a fifth level local government, and that each group of 1000,000 systems has a sixth level local government, and so on.

Obviously there would probably be many levels of government in a space federation or empire which ruled even one percent of the milky way galaxy. And there should similarly be several levels of local government within a star system and an inhabited planet within the system.

In the USA there are four levels of government that provide different services. Municipalities, which usually provide utilities, countries which keep records of wills and deeds among other services, states which make most laws and which issue driver's licenses, and the federal government which fights wars among other things.

In the later Roman Empire there were 5 or 6 levels of government. Pagi, subdivisions of civitates, civitates, which were city states with elected councils and magistrates, provinces with appointed governors, (secular) dioceses with appointed vicars, four praetorian prefectures with praetorian prefects, and the empire as a whole.

So if the United States of America joined the United Earth, presumably some of the functions of the federal government of the USA would be taken over by the United Earth government, but the Federal government would keep some functions, or share some functions with the United Earth government.

And presumably the same thing would happen when the United Earth joined the United Federation of Planets.

So it is perfectly reasonable to assume that the USA still had a functioning federal government with some functions after joining the United Earth and after the United Earth Joined the United Federation of Planets.

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You can probably think of an example close to you where one city annexed another, or cities merged, but they still retained the place name as a cultural delineation which no longer carried any legal weight.

Neighborhoods and regions are very real even without legal standing.

In this specific example, a unified Earth still needs administrative regions, though the boundaries may have shifted.

Per Memory Alpha,

Even after United Earth was formed, many nation-states and confederations of Earth retained their individual identities. These included the African Confederation, Canada, the European Alliance, Russia, and the United States of America. (TNG: "The Naked Now", "The Price", "Conundrum", "Lower Decks"; VOY: "Imperfection")

So the episode you described is not a one-off continuity error.

See also What does the map of Earth map look like in the 24th Century?

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