There are 15 states in the usa. 2 of 3 states, Alaska and Hawaii, are not connected to the other states icon

There are 15 states in the usa. 2 of 3 states, Alaska and Hawaii, are not connected to the other states



НазваниеThere are 15 states in the usa. 2 of 3 states, Alaska and Hawaii, are not connected to the other states
Дата конвертации31.07.2012
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The USA


There are 15 states in the USA. 2 of 3 states, Alaska and Hawaii, are not connected to the other states. The US is washed by the Pacific Ocean in the west, by the Atlantic Ocean in the east, by the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico in the south. In the north are Great Lakes.

The US is a large country with many different natural wonders. It goes from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean to the islands of Hawaii on the Pacific, and from cold, snowy shores of the Atlantic Ocean to sunny Florida in the southeast. The US has almost every kind of weather. Also, it has many kinds of land – rocky coasts, dry empty deserts, powerful rivers, wide plains and grasslands, lakes of allsizes, high mountains, great forests, sunny beaches, and lands of endless winter.

More than 250 million people live in the US. But the country is very big, so there is still a lot of open space and natural scenery outside the cities. Americans have tried to save many of the most beautiful wild areas of the United States. There are a lot of parks, forests and wildlands where you can enjoy the beauty and power of wild America. There are a lot of parks, forests and wildlands where you can enjoy the beauty and power of wild America. The Grand Canyon, Yosemite Valley, and Yellowstone are among the most famous.

Many rivers cross the United States. But the greatest is the mighty Mississippi. Native Americans called it “the father of waters”. It begins quietly in the north of the country and ends in the Gulf of Mexico, nearly four thousand miles (6400 km) away. On its journey to the sea, the Mississippi travels through several states, and becomes larger and more powerful, it brings water to farmlands. And the Mississippi has been an important waterway since early times, when native Americans travelled on the river in canoes. Among other big rivers are the Colorado and the Missouri. The Colorado River rises in the Rocky Mountains on the Rockies that stretch from Alaska down almost to the south of the country. Another big mountain chain is the Appalachians in the east also running from north to south.

The Grand Canyon is one of America’s main tourist attractions. It is so big that you must go there yourself to feel its true size and beauty. The Colorado River formed the Grand Canyon over millions of years. Slowly, the river cut down through the rock. Today, the canyon is about 1 km deep and 360 km long. It’s interesting that there are different kinds of plants and animals on opposite sides of the canyon. The south side is dry and desert country. The north side has tall forests. The canyon looks different at different times of day, and in different seasons and weather. At sunrise and sunset the red, gold, brown and orange colours of the rocks are especially clear and bright. In winter, the canyon is partly covered with snow. You can walk down into the Grand Canyon, or you can go down on the back of a mule.
But be careful to carry enough water inside the canyon, it is very hot.

The United States is a young country. Its written history is only a few hundred years old. It is sometimes, in fact, called the “New World”. Over the last four hundred years millions of people have come to start a new life in this “New World”.

Americans are not afraid of new ideas. They built the first skyscrapers and they sent the first man on the Moon. They like to be modern. They like exciting, modern cities, new houses, and new cars.

At the same time, Americans love old things. They like to visit historic houses and museums. They build old pionner houses and remember the days of the “Wild West”. Americans are interested in old traditions, but they are good at making new traditions, too.

The people of the US are a mixture of many different nationalities. Every American schoolchild learns that the United States is a big melting pot. In a melting pot, different metals are melted together to make a new metal. The US is like a melting pot for people. In the past, people from many different European countries came to the US and made one country out of many. In one city you can find people whose parents or grandparents came from China, Africa, South America, Southern Asia, or other European country. These different people brought to their new land a wonderful mixture of customs and traditions. The Germans brought Christmas trees, the Irish brought St.Patrick’s Day celebrations, the Scots brought Hallowe’en.


US Political System

The United States is an indirect democracy - that is, the people rule through the representatives they elect. In the beginning, only white men with property could vote. Over time, the vote has been given to more and more people. Today any citizen who is at least 18 years old can vote. The capital of the country is the City of Washington, situated in the Columbia District - a territory not included in any of the states.

^ The Constitution

The US Constitution, written in 1787, established the country's political system and is the basis of its laws. In the 200 years of its history, the United States has greatly grown and changed. Yet the Constitution works as well today as when it was written. One reason is that the Constitution can be amended (for example, the Fifteenth Amendment gave black Americans the right to vote and the Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote). Another reason is that the Constitution is flexible: its basic principles can be applied and interpreted differently at different times.


Federalism

The United States has a federalist system. It means that there are individual states, each with its own government, and there is a federal, or national powers to the federal government, other powers to the state governments, and yet other powers to both. For example, only the national government can print money; the states establish their own school systems; and both the national and the state governments can collect taxes.

 

^ The three branches of government

Within the national government, power is divided among three branches: the legislative branch, the executive branch, and the judical branch.

The legislative branch is represented by Congress, which consists of two parts - the House of Representatives and the Senate. Congress' main function is to make laws. There are 100 senators (two from each state) and 435 representatives (the number from each state depends on the size of the state's population).

^ The executive branch is headed by the President, who is also head of the country. The executive branch administers the laws (sees to it that the laws are carried out, actually rules the country). In addition to the President and the Vice-President, the executive branch of departments and agencies.

The President appoints the department heads, or advisers, who together make up the President's Cabinet.

The judicial branch interprets the laws and makes sure that new laws are in keeping with the Constitution. The judicial branch is represented by several levels of federal courts. The Supreme Court is the most important body. It has nine members, who are appointed for life (пожизненно).

There is a system of checks established by the Constitution, which is meant to prevent any of the three branches from having too much power. Each branch has certain controls over the other branches. For example, Congress makes the laws, but the President can veto (запретить) a law, and the Supreme Court can decide that the law is unconstitutional.

 

Branch

Members

How chosen

Term

Powers

Legislative (Congress)

Senate,

2 senators from each state

6 years

 

  • writes new laws

  • sets federal taxes

  • approves presidential vetoes

  • approves treaties (договор)

  • declares war

  • impeaches a president

 

House of Representatives,

number of Representatives varies according to state population

state election

2 years

 

Executive

President

national election

4 years

  • enforces federal laws

  • appoints and removes high federal officials

  • commands the armed forces

  • conducts foreign affairs

  • recommends laws to Congress

  • approves or vetoes new laws

 

Executive Departments

Presidential appointment

no set term

  • conducts the administration of the national government

 

Independent Agencies

Presidential appointment

no set term

  • oversees goverment regulations

Judicial

Supreme Court,

nine justices

Presidential appointment

life

  • interprets laws according to the Constitution

  • may declare actions of the Executive and Legislative branches unconstitutional

 

Lower Federal Courts

Presidential appointment

life

  • decides cases that involve the Constitution and federal laws

 

American cities overview. Washington D.C.

A visitor to the Washington D.C. is impressed by the straight tree-lined avenues of the capital city and grand houses in neo-classical style.

Washington D.C. is situated on the Potomac River. The author of the design for the capital city was the French engineer Pierre Charles L’Enfant. His design is based on Versailles, a palace near Paris. The capital city is criss-crossed by broad avenues, which meet in spacious squares and circles.

The central place of the city is the Mall, a large open sapce, a kind of park, stretching from the building of the Capitol to Lincoln Memorial, with Washington Memorial in the middle. The Mall is often used by people for puplic meetings, picnics, games, concerts, etc.

On both sides of the Mall are the numerous buildings of the Smithsonian Institution – a group of museums, scientific buildings and collections. James Smithson was an English scientist of the 19th century, who left his entire fortune to the United States, asking to use it in order to found “an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge”. The Smithsonian Institution was founded in 1846, and it includes now thirteen museums.

There is only one business in Washington, and this business is government. The executive departments are located in Washington. Most of the people who live in Washington work for the federal governemnt.

When you are in Washington, you can visit the White House. You won’t see the President at work, because the offices and the living quarters of the White House are closed to the public. But you can visit Capitol Hill, and there you will be able to see the work of the other two branches of government: the Senate, the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court have public galleries.




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