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Magical Congress of the United States of America

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The Magical Congress of the United States of America (shortened MACUSA) is the magical body in charge of governing the wizarding population of the United States of America.[3] It is led by the President of the Magical Congress of the United States of America. Unlike the No-Maj United States Congress, which is divided into a House of Representatives and a Senate, the MACUSA is unicameral.[4] The MACUSA is located in the Woolworth Building in downtown New York City.

Functions

The MACUSA performs many of the same functions as other wizarding governing bodies in other countries such as the Ministries of Magic or Councils of Magic.[3]

History

Early years

The Magical Congress of the United States of America was established in 1693, as a direct result of the Salem Witch Trials, thus pre-dating the No-Maj government by around a century.[1] The first task of the North American wizarding legislature was to put on trial the Scourers, a unscrupulous and brutal band of wizarding bounty hunters and racketeers, executing those convicted of murder, wizard-trafficking, and torture.[1]

MACUSA-FB

The inside of the MACUSA, 1926.[2]

MACUSA has had to move its location at least five times since its inception. Due to the indiscretions of the dim-witted witch Dorcus Twelvetrees, the then President Emily Rappaport created Rappaport's Law which would enforce strict segregation between the No-Maj and wizarding communities. Henceforth wizards were no longer allowed to befriend or marry No-Majs and penalties of such fraternisation were harsh. Communication was also limited to that necessary to perform daily activities. During this time MACUSA worked strictly independent of itself from the No-Maj government to decrease the possibility of exposure.

Under Rappaport's Law, MACUSA continued to avoid communication with the No-Maj community for many years and MACUSA also continued to impose severe penalties on those who disobeyed the International Statute of Secrecy.

After the Great Sasquatch Rebellion of 1892, MACUSA was forced to relocate its headquarters for the fifth time in its history, and moved from Washington DC to New York City at the Woolworth Building where it remained throughout the 1920s.

Sometime at the end of the 19th century, a legislation was introduced which would require all American wizards and witches to have a permit allowing them to carry a wand, a measure that was intended to keep tabs on all magical activity and identify the perpetrators by their wands.

Unlike the No-Maj community which had a strict Prohibition law against alcohol for many years, MACUSA allowed the wizarding community to consume alcohol. Though many criticised this policy, pointing out that it made witches and wizards rather conspicuous around sober No-Majs. However in a light-hearted moment, the then President Seraphina Picquery stated that being a wizard or witch in America was already hard enough and at one point famously told her Chief of Staff that the "Gigglewater" was non-negotiable.

During his time in America in the 1920s, Newt Scamander is known to have visited the Magical Congress of the United States.[2]

Present time

The current President of MACUSA and thus leader of American wizarding society is President Samuel G. Quahog.[3]

Following the kidnapping of Hans the Augurey by American fans celebrating the American team's success in the quarter-finals of the 2014 Quidditch World Cup against Liechtenstein, several terse letters were exchanged between President Quahog and Otto Obermeier, Minister for Magic of Liechtenstein.[3] Luckily, Hans was returned the following day, 9 June 2014, and the relationship between the two countries seemed not to have been too damaged.[3]

It is known that House elves work at MACUSA. One such House elf was cleaning wands.[5]

Personnel

Presidents

Other personnel

Gallery

Behind the scenes

  • The MACUSA's emblem greatly resembles the observe side of the Great Seal of the United States, which is also used as the coat of arms of the United States of America, albeit with many differences.
    • Only the bald eagle proper, the stars, and the escutcheon remains; while the other elements from the No-Maj counterpart (the crest, the talons, the thirteen-leaved olive branch, the thirteen arrows, and the scroll with motto) are absent (perhaps to differentiate themselves from the No-Majs, e.g. Rappaport's Law).
      • In contrast to its No-Maj counterpart, the bald eagle dominates the entire emblem as a blue silhouette (with variations in shading), and its head and beak faces towards the viewer's right (the No-Maj counterpart faces towards the viewer's left).
      • Beneath the bald eagle's outstretched wings are three tongues of flame on each side, perhaps symbolising the Salem Witch Trials; the MACUSA was established as a direct result of the aftermath, and is therefore used as a tool in rationale for its foundation and legitimization.
      • The escutcheon (in the eagle's breast, which seems to blend in with the eagle) is much larger than its No-Maj counterpart (perhaps in proportion to the size of the bald eagle), with its bottom reaching to halfway of the border. Its chief (like its No-Maj counterpart) is also blue (therefore violating the heraldic rule of tincture of "no colour on colour" since the eagle's breast is also blue of the "azure" shade), but unlike its No-Maj counterpart, contains thirty white stars (in five irregular rows). The colouring of its paleways (the stripes; also thirteen pieces) are in reverse of its No-Maj counterpart (outermost sides in white), resembling the vertical display of the flag of the United States.
      • The bald eagle's head has twenty-nine radiating lines up to its wings in the background, termed in heraldry as "glory". But unlike its No-Maj counterpart (above the eagle's head is a crest of thirteen white stars arranged in a six-pointed star pattern, on a blue field within a yellow glory breaking through a cloud proper), the "glory" ends up to the borders of the eagle's outstretched wings, and within the space are eighteen randomly positioned stars (which is similar to the early committee designs for the No-Majs' counterpart seal, described as a "constellation"; it was in 1782 when the first die was made that the six-pointed star pattern (after English heraldry) was adopted for the No-Maj seal).
    • The emblem contains altogether forty-eight stars, symbolising the number of states of America by the 1920's.
      • The 48th state, Arizona, was admitted in 14 February 1912. Alaska & Hawaii were both to be admitted in 1959 (7 months apart).
      • This comes as problematic in the case of the emblem's history.
        • As MACUSA was established in 1693 and prior to the 1776 establishment of the No-Maj government "America" only consisted of the Thirteen Colonies (which later became the first states upon the No-Maj declaration of independence and made official upon the ratification of the 1787 No-Maj Constitution), it would become improbable if the emblem was made as it is with forty-eight stars.
        • It is likely the emblem was made as an emulation of the obverse of the Great Seal, for in 15 September 1789, the No-Maj Congress ordered and declared it to be the seal of the United States (after seven years in No-Maj usage after the final design and the casting of the first die of the seal).
      • Most likely the MACUSA emblem is similar with the Seal of the President of the United States (which uses a variation of the obverse of the Great Seal), since it has the similar concept of having stars conforming to the current states admitted to the Union (having in its current design fifty stars surrounding the shield and crest).
        • As the MACUSA functions as all three branches of government (like its European counterparts) and its leader is the "President", it is more likely this was the intention.
        • Three known older seals exist whose provenances match with the number of stars conforming to the number of states admitted in the Union.
        • The present design of the No-Majs' presidential seal dates to 25 October 1945, when Truman issued Executive Order 9646 which defined & specified the seal's design, and had 48 stars (like that of MACUSA's, only twenty years into the future from the FBWTFT timeline). The design changed with Alaska and Hawaii's admission into the union under Eisenhower (with corresponding Executive Orders), with the last change in 1960, from which the current seal is used.
  • It seems probable that the MACUSA has a judicial branch to adjudicate on violations of Wizard law, and an organisation like the Wizengamot which is akin to the Supreme Court used by the No-Maj.
  • A Federal Bureau of Covert Vigilance and No-Maj Obliviation exists and seemingly operates under the jurisdiction of MACUSA. (F.B.C.V.N.O.) appears to deal with wizarding/No-Maj law enforcement at a federal level.
  • Similar to how the No-Maj US government is split into three separate branches to prevent any one branch from gaining all the power, the Wizard government may have followed a related system of "checks and balances".
  • Conversely, with its unicameral legislative body, MACUSA may have centralised government powers as a means of preventing and controlling any breaches of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy.
  • It is possible that wizarding newspaper The New York Ghost may have relations with MACUSA as the Ministry of Magic has ties to The Daily Prophet.

Appearances

Notes and references

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