… is needed, to figure out what happened here, in John Lahr's review of "John Guare's rollicking play 'A Free Man of Color'" (the New Yorker 11/29/2010 p. 88):
For the price of fifteen million dollars – more than two hundred million in today's money – the newly United States unexpectedly found itself with an additional eight hundred and twenty-eight thousand square miles of uncharted territory, which would eventually be divided among fourteen states.
Bob Ladd sent this in with the comment:
To me, "the newly United States" demands plural agreement. Singular would be OK with "the new United States" or "the newly formed United States", but with "the newly United Stated" I really want "found themselves". I'll bet that the writer was being clever with the phrase "the newly United States" but then either he or the copy editor couldn't bring themselves to use the plural agreement that that cleverness seemed to require.