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The United States of America (USA) is a country depicted in the Deus Ex series. The United States is a setting in many titles in the series, including most of the games.

History in the Deus Ex series[]


The slide into authoritarianism began in the early 21st century, building on the experiences and erosion of democratic foundations that started during the Cold War. The Revised Homeland Security Act of 2012 that allowed for arbitrary restrictions on access to evidence for national security reasons was a sign of things to come.

The real push, however, came three years later. The 2015 oil crash caused by terror attacks in Saudi Arabia, the once dominant superpower entered a free fall it never quite recovered from. The economic crisis exposed massive divisions within U.S. society, powered by increasingly draconian federal regulations, a deepening gulf between the rich and the poor, extremist sentiments surging nationwide, and commonplace discontent. Radical decisions by the government brought order: The Green River Energy Bill opened up protected shale deposits in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming, while augmented soldiers were permitted to reenlist on the basis of the Recycle Military Bill, shoring up overseas adventures in the Middle East. Fallout from these decisions was contained by even more radical choices: Suspension of posse comitatus and increased powers for FEMA and the NSA.[1]

Picus Communications and its firebrand columnist, Keith Lighter, played a key role in drumming up popular support for the measure and containing the unrest.[2]


With the increasingly despotic nature of the federal government, many states - Texas, Utah, California among them - began considering secession. On the other end of the spectrum, cities like Seattle, Dallas and Chicago became fortress-states in an attempt to maintain normalcy in a dangerous environment. Struggling to hold itself together against the building pressures of balkanization and aggressive, assertive China, the US became a fragmenting nation on a downward spiral.[3]

By 2027, the US and its government remained in a sharp decline economically and politically. Poverty, corruption, and decay rampage across the country, while Congress ignored the problem in favor of continued increases in military spending and serving the interests of corporate lobbyists. The gap between the wealthy and the poor starkly increased as districts in cities became segregated, divided into opulent upper class districts and impoverished crime ridden slums. The middle class became an endangered species, with many Americans are leaving the country for Canada or other more stable countries. Megacorporations became the de facto sovereigns, influencing or even directly controlling many aspects of the government. FEMA concentration camps were established to confront the unrest by jailing political opponents, under the auspices of readiness exercises.[4]

The debate over augmentation has only served to deepen the pre-existing rift among the people of the United States.


In 2030, the same year the AIDS cure was released, a major earthquake hit the West Coast, destroying most of San Francisco and dumping all of Los Angeles and most of Southern California south of Lompoc into the ocean. Some saw more than coincidence in the fact that the cure for a disease long-thought to have spread from San Francisco was released at the same time the city itself was destroyed. No connection between these events has been proved and no evidence of foul play has been discovered. Regardless of root causes, the earthquake forced the government to declare the west coast (or what was left of it) a disaster area.[5]

In 2031, Utah announced its intention to secede from the United States, declaring its independence and annexing what was left of Arizona and Nevada. Inspired by Utah's example, fringe groups in Texas declared independence, too, followed shortly thereafter by a group made up of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming; the Northwest Secessionist Forces, starting the Northwest War. These efforts all failed and the would-be secessionists have been pushed back to the margins of society. However, martial law persisted in some parts of these states.[5]


In 2042, the Sporting Weapons Act and the resulting restrictions on weapon ownership prompted militias from every state to form the National Secessionist Forces, a rebel group under the leadership of General Leon Woods. Their declared goal is the liberation of Washington, Montana, Oregon, and Northern California in a war that they consider the Second American Revolution. Retaliation against the rebels began immediately - martial law is enacted in states with a substantial NSF presence (and persists in some areas even ten years later) while dissidents and their children are rounded up in FBI-run re-education camps. In 2045 Leon Woods died in his infamous "Last Stand", but the movement persisted.[6]


In 2051, the Statue of Liberty was bombed by MJ12 operatives in a false flag operation to allow UNATCO to be deployed on American soil. Silhouette was framed for this attack. At the same time, the Gray Death plague began, quickly becoming the most lethal disease since the early 21st century outbreaks of influenza, the Century Flu or AIDS.[5]

The Russo-Mexican Alliance, emboldened by burgeoning economies built on a foundation of steady drug sales in the US, declared their intention to take back the state of Texas that Mexico had lost centuries before. Conspiracy buffs had long theorized that UN troops would one-day swarm across the Mexican border. Russian and Mexican troops advanced rapidly and have, by 2052, taken control of the southern portions of the state. Texas became a genuine war zone with battle lines drawn just north of Austin.[5]

In 2052, the United States was a country on the brink of social collapse. The Gray Death's systematic toll on the population rendered as the federal services unable to cope with the situation. Disenfranchised and disillusioned, citizens of America alternated between apathy and rioting. Violence became commonplace in cities as the crime rate soared, boosted by local outbreaks of the disease and strict rationing of the Ambrosia vaccine (whose existence was kept out of public knowledge). The situation degenerated to the point where mass graves have to be dug to bury the plague's victims. Even then, many dead and dying were left in the streets as public services and the military are unable to timely dispose of the dead.[5]

The government attempted to operate normally, if increasingly authoritarian. The already harsh policies enacted in the wake of the Northwest War, including reeducation camps, became even harder on the population: Surveillance became even more pervasive, while the police received numerous privileges, including shoot-on-sight laws.[7] Federal taxes also became punitive, consolidating power and weakening the individual citizens. This was most apparent in taxes: A car company paid just 2% federal income tax, while an assembly line worker paid 40%.[8] As a result, the burden of propping up the dying nation fell squarely on the people, as corporations paid only 5% of the gross amount of federal taxes. Self-employment also plummeted, down to a mere 2%.[9] The US became dependent on loans from China,[10] with multiple taken out by 2052 and another likely due to the shoddy state of public funds.[11]

President Philip Riley Mead largely ignored Congress, instead opting to govern through executive orders to e.g. pay the outstanding US dues to the United Nations, a third such event in 2052 alone, reaching a midterm approval rating of 35% with his decisions,[12] and nationalizing industries (except for the largest corporations). In 2052 alone, three airlines were nationalized for, allegedly, botching FAA security standards. The records were never released to the public and the news were pushed back to distant parts of the newspapers.[13]

The situation was further worsened by the National Secessionist Forces (NSF), which continued to fight the American government and UNATCO, escalating the tensions and undermining governmental control over the country.


The tipping point was reached when JC Denton defected to the NSF, and eventually the remnants of the Illuminati. In retaliation, MJ12 had President Mead enact martial law nationwide, citing a "fundamental threat to the American way of life in the form of organized, insidious terrorism." Walton Simons, director of FEMA and a major leader of MJ12, was promoted to the head of an interim council managing the government response - effectively becoming the dictator of a rapidly disintegrating United States.[14]

Social order in the United States disappeared within 24 hours, with numerous governors outright refusing to comply with the martial law or recognize Simons' authority. Jason Findley (Colorado), Gray Haddock (Texas), and Christina Leicht (California) were particularly vocal. Many National Guard units and other troops outright deserted, with General Ed Garner going on record declaring that he would resist the martial law, by refusing to issue orders and countermand any that could harm the citizens of the United States. Simons' prompt dismissal of the General resulted in the resignation of N.D. Goper, Secretary of Defense. UNATCO, freshly purged of the old guard by Simons, went on a rampage across the world, free of government restrictions and oversight.[15]

The final blow was struck by JC Denton. His merger with Helios at Area 51 destroyed the Aquinas routers, obliterating communications world-wide and plunging the world into a new Dark Age. The Collapse erases the United States, reducing it to a patchwork of independent city-states, like Seattle or Chicago. Although ostensibly realizing the goals of the NSF, these city-states are constantly manipulated by the World Trade Organization and the The Order, tools of the resurrected Illuminati.


New York[]

American Midwest[]

Western United States[]


  1. Timeline (
  2. Picus TV computers, Too many pro-augs
  3. Global Politics Review (2026 Edition)
  4. REX-84 Operational Field Notes
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Deus Ex Bible
  6. UNATCO bulletin terminal: Know Your Enemy -- NSF
  7. Leo Gold: "Do you ever ask what it's for? The surveillance, the police, the shoot-on-sight laws? Is that freedom?"
  8. Leo Gold: "Ever wonder why big car companies pay two percent tax while the guys on the assembly line pay forty?"
  9. Leo Gold: "Number one: In 1945 corporations paid 50 percent of federal taxes. Now they pay about 5 percent. Number two: In 1900 90 percent of Americans were self-employed; now it's about two percent."
  10. Barracks soldier: " I think the United States is asking for another loan. That's my theory."
  11. Barracks soldier: " We could sure use another check from the Chinese."
  12. Midnight Sun, US Prez Sells Out
  13. K. Lloyd's computer, re: NOBODY CARES! (was: Nationalizing industry)
  15. U.S. Situation Worsens