- "MACUSA was modelled on the Wizards’ Council of Great Britain, which predated the Ministry of Magic. Representatives from magical communities all over North America were elected to MACUSA to create laws that both policed and protected American wizardkind."
- — Description[src]
The Magical Congress of the United States of America (often abbreviated MACUSA) was the magical body in charge of governing the wizarding community of the United States of America. It was 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 United States Senate, the MACUSA was unicameral. The MACUSA was located within the Woolworth Building in downtown New York City.
MACUSA was modelled on the Wizards' Council of Great Britain, which predated the Ministry of Magic. Representatives from magical communities all over North America were elected to MACUSA to create laws that both policed and protected American wizardkind.
In MACUSA’s early years, its primary aim was to rid the continent of Scourers, corrupt wizards who had hunted their fellow magical beings for personal gain. MACUSA’s second great law enforcement challenge was the number of wizarding criminals who had fled to America from Europe and beyond, precisely because of the lack of organised law enforcement such as existed in their own countries.
- "Unlike most Western countries, there was no cooperation between the No-Maj government and MACUSA."
- — MACUSA's strict rule regarding Muggle relations[src]
The Magical Congress of the United States of America was established in 1693 with the introduction of the International Statute of Secrecy, as a direct result of the Salem Witch Trials. Thus this means that MACUSA pre-dates the No-Maj formation of the United States of America by around a century. One of the representatives was Josiah Jackson, who became the first President of MACUSA. Josiah was thought to be strong enough to deal with the troubles caused by the Salem Witch Trials.
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. Josiah Jackson's main priority when he became President was to create and train Aurors. There were only a select few to start with, with only two of them surviving to old age. They won the enduring respect of the magical community in North America, which was extended to their descendants.
MACUSA has had to move its location at least five times since its inception. Originally, MACUSA had no definite meeting place and moved around so it would not be detected by No-Majs.
Due to the fact that America had a very hostile relationship between magical and non magical people, there was no cooperation between MACUSA and the No-Maj government.
In 1760, MACUSA relocated to Williamsburg in Virginia where then President Thornton Harkaway lived. Harkaway bred Crups, which possessed a great aggression towards non-magical people. When the Crups attacked local No-Majs, it led to a great breach of the Statute of Secrecy, and Harkaway had to step down in disgrace.
MACUSA then relocated to Baltimore, where President Able Fleming lived. However, when the Revolutionary War began, MACUSA decided to move to what would become Washington, decades before the No-Maj Congress even built the city.
In 1777, then President Elizabeth McGilliguddy presided over the infamous Country or Kind? debate. It was an extraordinary meeting which led to the expansion of the Great Meeting Chamber. They discussed whether to support their community or their country and whether to fight for liberation from the British Muggles. They also debated whether it was really their fight. The argument did not go well and it led to a fight. Pro-interventionists argued that by intervening, they could save lives, while anti-interventionists believed that they would reveal their community by intervening and place it in danger. They sought the advice of the British Ministry of Magic to find out whether they intended to intervene on their side, and they replied with only a four word letter — "Sitting this one out". McGilliguddy replied with an even shorter message stating "Mind you do".
Ultimately, they did not intervene, but they did attempt to protect their No-Maj neighbours unofficially, and celebrated Independence Day.
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 only if necessary to perform daily activities. During this time, MACUSA worked strictly independently of 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 to New York City at the Woolworth Building, where it remained throughout the 1920s. The rebellion was blamed on Irene Kneedander, Head of the Body for the Protection of Magical Species, as Kneedander had taken to attacking a Sasquatch that had done something wrong, which led to their decision to rebel. It had led to great Obliviations in Washington.
They needed a new headquarters, and over the course of several years, wizards infiltrated the construction team of a new building in New York. By the time the Woolworth Building was completed, it could both house No-Majs and — if activated by the correct spells — transform into a space for wizards. The only outer mark of their new secret location was the owl carved over the entrance.
Late 19th century–1920s
- "Magical beasts are terrorising No-Majs. When No-Majs are afraid, they attack. Contain this or it will mean war."
- — 1920s America was a hostile period[src]
Sometime at the end of the 19th century, legislation was introduced which would require all American wizards and witches to have a permit allowing them to carry a wand. This was a measure that was intended to keep tabs on all magical activity and identify the perpetrators by their wands, thus making the concealment of magic easier. Rappaport’s Law was still in operation in the 1920s and several offices in MACUSA had no counterpart in the Ministry of Magic.
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, the then President Seraphina Picquery stated that being a wizard or witch in America was already hard enough. At one point she famously told her Chief of Staff that the "Gigglewater was non-negotiable."
House elves worked at MACUSA during the 1920s. One such House-elf cleaned wands with a wand polishing machine. A significant difference between the wizarding governments of the United States and the UK of this time was the penalty for a serious crime. British witches and wizards were sent to Azkaban, whereas the worst criminals in America were executed. The penalty for escaping Azkaban, however, was the Dementor's Kiss, which could be considered worse than execution.
In the 1920s, the President of MACUSA was Seraphina Picquery. The Department of Magical Law Enforcement was headed by Percival Graves, a well-respected descendant of one of the original twelve American Aurors. It was during this period that MACUSA closely monitored the terrorism committed by the Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald and his followers in Europe, also co-operating in the international search for him. It is also known that during this time, Grindelwald's ideals influenced some MACUSA workers.
By 1926, Gellert Grindelwald had infiltrated MACUSA by assuming the identity of Director of Magical Security and Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Percival Graves, at a time when MACUSA's Major Investigation Department was attempting to discover the identity of an unknown magical force causing severe devastation throughout the city. He used this high-ranking position to manipulate Credence Barebone into revealing the identity of the unknown magical force.
In December, British Magizoologist Newt Scamander was detained by former MACUSA Auror Tina Goldstein when he inadvertently caused a series of breaches of the International Statute of Secrecy related to his case of magical creatures. The severest breach occurred when Scamander accidentally swapped cases with No-Maj Jacob Kowalski at a bank in New York City, leading to various creatures escaping. The three then set about attempting to recover the escaped magical beasts without reporting the incident to wizarding authorities. On 6 December, MACUSA was hiring Obliviators as No-majs were having more magical experiences than usual, because of the problems Newt Scamander was causing across New York city.
Whilst this was occurring, the unknown magical force killed a No-Maj Senator in front of guests at a fundraising dinner. As a result, the International Confederation of Wizards, already concerned with the rising levels of MACUSA's Magical Exposure Threat Level Measurer, sent a delegation to MACUSA Headquarters to hold an emergency meeting. It was at this meeting that Newt Scamander, Tina Goldstein, and Jacob Kowalski were falsely believed to have been responsible for the Senator's death and were arrested. Grindelwald, in his assumed capacity as Director of Magical Security, sought to have them executed after Scamander and Tina discovered a hint over his true identity. Scamander, Goldstein, and Kowalski ultimately escaped MACUSA, becoming fugitives.
After Scamander, Tina, Queenie Goldstein, and Jacob Kowalski were able to recover all of the escaped magical beasts, Grindelwald discovered that the identity of the magical force was Credence Barebone himself, while simultaneously revealing that the boy was an Obscurial. Grindelwald then attempted to persuade Barebone to join his cause after callously rejecting him, which provoked Barebone into transforming once more into his Obscurus form and caused him to go on a rampage across the city. The rampage resulted in Credence Barebone being seemingly destroyed at the hands of MACUSA Aurors, Gellert Grindelwald being revealed and arrested by MACUSA, Goldstein and Scamander pardoned and thanked for their role in helping unmask Grindelwald, and the en masse obliviation of the thousands of New York City No-Maj residents, and MACUSA engaging in a major clean-up operation to repair the property damage caused.
On 30 May 1927, MACUSA, working with the International Confederation of Wizards, attempted to extradite maximum-security prisoner Gellert Grindelwald via use of a flying high-security carriage from New York to Europe. Several MACUSA Aurors escorted the carriage on broomstick, while additional Aurors, along with the ICW's Head of Incarceration Rudolph Spielman, guarded inside. The attempt was ultimately sabotaged by MACUSA worker-turned Grindelwald Acolyte Abernathy, whom in fact managed to switch places with Grindelwald before the extradition. Grindelwald subsequently attacked the transport in the skies of New York, assuming control of the carriage by killing the Aurors and injuring Spielman, whom he threw off the carriage into the New York Bay, escaping with Abernathy into the night.
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. Luckily, Hans was returned the following day, 9 June 2014, and the relationship between the two countries seemed not to have been too damaged.
The first dozen volunteers to train as Aurors in the US had a special place in United States wizarding history, in part due to their sacrifice. Their descendants were given particular respect ever since. Of these twelve, only two survived into old age: Charity Wilkinson, who would become MACUSA’s third President, and Theodard Fontaine, whose direct descendant Agilbert was the Headmaster of Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by 2016. Another vital part of the Law Enforcement Offices were the US Auror Divisions, which conducted Auror as well as police work.
Also of note were Gondulphus Graves, ancestor to Percival Graves, whose family were influential in American wizarding politics, and Abraham Potter, who genealogists would discover centuries later was distantly related to the famous Harry Potter.
As with most other magical governing bodies, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement was the largest department in MACUSA.
The Magical Congress of the United States of America was a large body of government, and thus had many different positions and departments within it.
The President of the Magical Congress of the United States of America was the leader of the wizarding world in the United States and the highest ranking member of the Magical Congress of the United States of America, which they presided over. Josiah Jackson became the first President of MACUSA. Josiah was thought to be strong enough to deal with the troubles caused by the Salem Witch Trials.
MACUSA had several departments in all, each dealing with different aspects of the wizarding world. It had a Department of Magical Law Enforcement, just as the British Ministry of Magic did. It was also the largest department, and all others more or less answered to it. Some of the departments were:
- The Body for Protection of Magical Species.
- The Department of Aurors.
- The Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
- The Department of No-Maj Misinformation.
- The Department of Unidentifiable Magical Objects.
- The Department for Confiscated Items.
- The Federal Bureau of Covert Vigilance and No-Maj Obliviation.
- The MACUSA Surveillance Wizarding Resources Department.
- The Magical Cleaning Department.
- The Major Investigation Department.
- The Office for Magic Relations and Education.
- The Wizarding Resources Department.
Most of the departments listed had either something to do with magical law or No-Maj relations, as MACUSA spent a large amount of its resources toward keeping the American Wizarding community hidden from No-Majes.
|Josiah Jackson||c. 1693||1st President|
|Charity Wilkinson||3rd President|
|Thornton Harkaway||1760||Relocated MACUSA to his hometown of Williamsburg, Virginia in 1760|
|Able Fleming||1770s||Relocated MACUSA to his hometown of Baltimore|
|Elizabeth McGilliguddy||c. 1777||Presided over the infamous 'Country or Kind?' debate of 1777|
|Emily Rappaport||c. 1790||15th President|
|Seraphina Picquery||1920-1928||Dealt with massive threat to the Statute of Secrecy|
|Samuel G. Quahog||2014||Oversaw the kidnapping and return of Liechtenstein Quidditch mascot Hans|
|Theodard Fontaine||c.1693||One of the original twelve. He was one of only two who survived to see old age.|
|Wilhelm Fischer||One of the original twelve|
|Charity Wilkinson||One of the original twelve. She was one of only two who survived to see old age. She also became the 3rd President of MACUSA.|
|Percival Graves||1920s||The Director during the early 20th century. Status unknown due to his identity being stolen by Gellert Grindlewald, who impersonated him for some time.|
|Porpentina Goldstein||An Auror until her dismissal for magically assaulting a No-Maj, Mary Lou Barebone, in front of witnesses because she was beating her son. Reinstated in 1926, after helping to arrest Gellert Grindelwald.|
|M. L. Minus||20th century||Auror Commissioner|
|E. A. Limus||Chief Auror, Federal Identity Commissioner|
|M. P. Carneirus||Captain of Aurors|
|Aristotle Twelvetrees||1700s||Keeper of Treasure and Dragots|
|Irene Kneedander||1800s||Head of the Body for Protection of Magical Species|
|Chief of Staff||Likely a rough equivalent of the No-Maj post of White House Chief of Staff.|
|Queenie Goldstein||1920s||Desk job in Wand Permit Office|
|Albert Perschky||Apparition Examiner|
|Paloma Proudfoot||Surveillor of Activity|
|F. Wakefield||MACUSA employees|
Behind the scenes
- The acronym "MACUSA" is commonly pronounced "Mah-cooz-ah".
- In Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, MACUSA is incorrectly identified in an establishing shot as the "American Ministry of Magic". One possible explanation is that it was so called in the subtitles at the beginning of the film for the sake of simplicity and the benefit of the audience. Later on in the same film, Yusuf Kama refers to the "European and American Ministries", which, again, seems to have been done out of simplicity or could be bolted down to the character's ignorance about the structure of the American wizarding government.
- The MACUSA's emblem greatly resembles the obverse side of the real-world Great Seal of the United States, albeit with many differences:
- Only the bald eagle proper, the stars, and the escutcheon remain; 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.
- 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 legitimisation.
- 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 halfway to 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 1920s (the 48th state, Arizona, was admitted in 1912, and Alaska and Hawaii both were in 1959). Most likely, in this regard, the MACUSA emblem mimicks the real-world Seal of the President of the United States (which uses a variation of the obverse of the Great Seal), since the number of stars in it conforms to the current states admitted to the Union.
- Although it is never mentioned, it seems probable that the MACUSA has a judicial branch to adjudicate on violations of wizarding law, and an organisation like the Wizengamot which is akin to the Supreme Court used by the No-Maj.
- It's possible that each state in the US has its own state wizarding government, emulating the No-Maj Federal set-up, especially given how many departments of the MACUSA have the word "federal" in them, implying a federalised structure of government.
- It is possible that wizarding newspaper The New York Ghost may have relations with MACUSA as the British Ministry of Magic has ties to The Daily Prophet.
- The worst criminals apprehended by MACUSA are executed rather than incarcerated. This is a reflection of how the United States still utilise the death penalty for many of their most dangerous offenders who don't get granted clemency via the defence of criminal actions being due to insanity. The State Government of Texas has sentenced to death and executed over 430 individuals to date, the largest number of any other State in the nation.
- Pottermore (First appearance)
- Wizarding World
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Mentioned in 2017 edition)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film)
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
- LEGO Dimensions
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: Magic Awakened (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- Pottermore - Writing by J.K. Rowling: "History of Magic in North America: Seventeenth Century and Beyond"
- Pottermore - Writing by J.K. Rowling: "The Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA)"
- "This Week's Cover: Inside the magical world of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" at Entertainment Weekly
- Pottermore - RETURN OF HANS THE AUGUREY (Archived)
- .@PauliePoBoy No, it's a single body. by J.K. Rowling on Twitter
- http://www.cinemablend.com/news/1554929/10-fantastic-things-we-learned-on-the-fantastic-beasts-set?story_page=4 Cinemablend - 10 Fantastic Things We Learned On The Fantastic Beasts Set
- Pottermore - 19 things we spotted in the new Fantastic Beasts Comic-Con trailer
- The New York Ghost, 6 December Sunet Final Edition
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film) (see this image)
- Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry" at Wizarding World
|Magical Congress of the United States of America|