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The US government
What are americans fond of?
The capital of the usa
places of sightseeing
holidays in the usa
famous people of america
The united states of america.
The United States of America is the fourth largest country in the world (after Russia, Canada and China). It occupies the southern part of North America and stretches from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. It also includes Alaska in the north and Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean. The total area of the country is about nine and a half million square kilometres. The USA borders on Canada in the north and on Mexico in the south. It also has a seaboarder with Russia.
The USA is made up of 50 states and the District of Columbia, a special federal area where the capital of the country, Washington, is situated. The population of the country is about 250 million.
If we look at the map of the USA, we can see lowlands and mountains. The highest mountains are the Rocky Mountains, the Cordillera and the Sierra Nevada. The highest peak is Mount McKinley, which is located in Alaska.
America's largest rivers are the Mississippi, the Missouri, the Rio Grande and the Columbia. The Great Lakes on the border with Canada are the largest and deepest in the USA.
The climate of the country varies greatly. The coldest regions are in the north. The climate of Alaska is arctic. The climate of the central part is continental. The south has subtropical climate. Hot winds blowing from the Gulf of Mexico often bring typhoons. The climate along the Pacific coast is much warmer than that of the Atlantic coast.
The USA is a highly developed industrial country. It is the world's leading producer of copper and oil and the world's second producer of iron ore and coal. Among the most important manufacturing industries are aircraft, cars, textiles, radio and television sets, armaments, furniture and paper.
Though mainly European and African in origin, Americans are made up from nearly all races and nations, including Chinese and native Americans.
The largest cities are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, San Francisco and others.
The United States is a federal union of 50 states, each of which has its own government. The seat of the central (federal) government is Washington, DC. According to the US Constitution the powers of the government are divided into 3 branches: the executive, headed by the President, the legislative, exercised by the Congress, and the juridical. The Congress consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives. There are two main political parties in the USA: the Republican and the Democratic.
The American flag is often called “The Stars and Stripes”, it is also called "Old Glory". It represents the growth of the nation. It has 13 horizontal stripes, 7 red and 6 white which stand for the original 18 states. In the top left hand corner there are 50 white stars on a blue background: one star for each state. The national anthem of the United States is “The Star Spangled Banner". The words written during the Anglo-American war of 1812-1814 and set to the music of an old song. Every state has its own flag, its own emblem and its own anthem too.
The eagle became the national emblem of the country in 1782. It has an olive branch (a symbol of peace) and arrows (a symbol of strength). You can see the eagle on the back of a dollar bill.
The Statue of Liberty is the symbol of American democracy. It stands on Liberty Island in New York. It one of the first things people see when they arrive in New York by sea. This National Monument was a present form France to the USA. France gave the statue to America in 1884 as a symbol of friendship. Liberty carries the torch of freedom - in her right hand. In her left hand she is holding a tablet with the inscription "July 4,1776" - American Independence Day.
The Congress of the United States is composed of two houses: Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate presents the states and the House represents the population according to its distribution among the states. Each state is guaranted at least one representative in the House. The remainder are apportioned among the states according to their population. The Senate of US is composed one of the hundred members – two being elected from each state. Senators are chosen for six years, one-third retiring or seeking is re-elected every two years. Two senators from the same state never finish their terms at the same time, one of them is called "Senior Senator" and the other - "Junior Senator".
The presiding officer of the senate is the Vice-President of the United States, The Vice-President is not a member of the chamber over which he presides and he sometimes is not a member of the party in power.
The work of the US Congress is done mostly in different committees. The mostly important Rules, Appropriation Foreign Relations, Finance, Armed Services.
In the House of Representatives the most important are Rules, Appropriation, Ways and Means, Judiciary, Agriculture.
The chairmen of the standing committees are considered the real rules of the Senate and the House.
Americans are very fond of sport. The most popular sports in the USA are football, which is played from April to October , baseball, played from September to December, basketball, played from October to April and ice hockey, played in most nor then cities from October to March.
American football derives from the English game of rugby. It started at Harvard University in the 1870's. It is a game for two teams of eleven men on the field. The object of the game is to have the control of the ball and to score points by carrying it across the goal-line.
Baseball is a team game derived from the English game of cricket. It is played with a bat and ball by two teams of nine players each, on a field with four bases. Baseball is the national game in the USA and it is very popular in Canada too.
Basketball is a game which nowadays is popular all over the world. It was invented in 1891. During the ’20s the first US league championship was organized. In the ’70s American Championship was divided into two leagues: the ABA (American Basketball Association), which does not exist any longer and which played with a blue, red and white ball and the NBA (National Basketball Association).
There are more activities which Americans take part in such as golf, swimming, tennis, aerobics, wrestling, etc.
The capital of the usa
The beautiful city of Washington D.C. is the capital of the United States and the centre of its government. The capital was named after the first president George Washington and was founded in 1790. It is situated on the Potomac River in the District of Columbia. Washington is not the largest city in the USA. It has a population only 900000.
Washington D.C. has nothing characteristically American in it, as its conception is purely French. It has long wide avenues, gardens, beautiful parks and no skyscrapers at all. Washington is the residence of the President and the Congress of the USA. The White House is the President’s residence, the Capitol – the seat of the American Congress. The largest and the tallest among the buildings is the Capitol with its great House of Representatives and Senate Chamber. There are no skyscrapers because no other building must be taller than the Capitol. All american presidents except George Washington (the White House was not yet built in his time) have lived in the White House. It was built in 1799.
Washington is a large scientific and cultural centre, where there are many research institutes, five universities, the National Academy of Science and the Library of Congress.
There is one more well-known building in Washington – Pentagon, the residence of the US Military department. It is situated in the suburbs to the south of the Potomac.
places of sightseeing
The Pentagon is a building in Arlington, Virginia, near Washington, D.C. It has the offices of the U.S. Department of Defense. The Department of Defense includes the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard.
The word pentagon comes from the Greek penta, which means “five”. A pentagon is a figure with five sides. The Pentagon has five rings. The rings are inside each other. Each ring has five sides. How tall do you think the Pentagon is? The answer is easy. Each ring is five stories tall.
The Pentagon is the largest office building in the world. It has seventeen miles of halls. People can get lost in the Pentagon. So the walls on each floor are a different color (brown, green, red, gray, and blue). This helps people to know where they are. There are also many maps in the halls.
The Pentagon is so big that it is like a city. Almost 30,000 people work there. The Pentagon has its own doctors, dentists, and nurses. It has its own banks and stores. It has a post office, a fire department, and a police department. It also has an important center for communications. This center guards the country. It is hundreds of feet under the ground. The Pentagon even has its own radio and TV stations.
New York is one of the largest cities in the world and the biggest seaport. It's the financial capital of the country. It’s the business centre of the United States. The city is situated in New York State, at the mouth of the Hudson river. It’s population is over eight million. In early times the New York area was populated by Indians. It is here in Wall street many business offices, banks and world famous New York stock exchange are situated.
New York is an industrial and cultural centre of the country. The most important branches of industry are those producing vehicles, glass, chemicals. New York is also a great cultural centre. It has many museums, art galleries, theatres, ballet. There are two world-famous streets in New York – Broadway and Fifth Avenue. Broadway is the centre of the theatres and night life. Fifth Avenue is the great shopping, hotel and club avenue.
The Empire State Building is at Fifth Avenue. It's a 102-storeyed building, was built in 1931. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is at Fifth Avenue. It includes hundreds of world famous masterpieces and attracts many visitors.
The Statue of Liberty is the symbol of American democracy. It stands on Liberty Island in New York port. Liberty.
Today New York City is informally called “The Big Apple”, The origin of this name is unknown , but it is popular all over the world.
Most visitors to Los Angeles, California want to go and see Beverly Hills. This is where you find the homes of the movie stars. But Beverly Hills is not Los Angeles. It is h small city next to Los Angeles.
All kinds of celebrities live in Beverly Hills. These celebrities may be movie stars, television stars, sports stars, or other people in the news. Tourists can buy special maps for the homes of the stars. These homes are very beautiful. They usually have swimming pools and tennis courts. But some times you cannot see very much. The homes have high wall or trees around them.
Beverly Hills is also famous for Rodeo Drive. This is one of the most expensive shopping streets in the United States. Rodeo Drive started to be an elegant street in the 1960s. Many famous stores were opened on the street. People liked all the new styles and fashions they could buy. Today, you can find the most expensive and unusual clothing, jewelry, and furniture in the world on Rodeo Drive. Rodeo Drive is a very special street. When you want to park your car in public parking, an attendant will come and park your car for you.
Beverly Hills is really a small city. Only about 35,000 people live there. But during the day more than 200,000 people come to Beverly Hills to work or to shop.
Holidays in the USA
There are no national holidays in the United States. Each of the 50 states has jurisdiction over its holidays. In practice, however, most states observe the federal (“legal”) public holidays, even though the President and Congress can legally designate holidays only for federal government employees.
Ten holidays per year are proclaimed by the federal government. They are as follows:
New Year's Day (January 1)
Martin Luther King Day (third Monday in January)
George Washington’s Birthday (third Monday in February)
Memorial Day (last Monday in May)
Independence Day (July 4)
Labour Day (first Monday in September)
Columbus Day (second Monday in October)
Veteran's Day (November 11)
Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday in November)
Christmas (December 25).
There is no many traditional holidays, observed by a large number of Americans, which are neither legal nor official. Among these are Valentine’s Day, St. Patric’s Day, Mother’s Day and Halloween (the last day of October).
Valentine’s Day has had a long and romantic history. February 14 was the Roman date of the festival, where were games and dancing and then each young man drew from an urn the name of the girl who would be his sweetheart for the coming year. In the seventh century the festival began to be called St. Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day is the sweet-hearts holiday when people in love express affection for each other in different ways. The young people can do it though a small gift or a card.
On October 31, Americans celebrate Halloween. Halloween means "holy" (hallow) “evening” (een). This is the evening before the Christian holiday – All Saints Day. On All Saints Day, Christians remember the saints. But Halloween is even older than Christianity.
Before Christianity, people in Europe believed that on October 31 ghosts of dead people came back. To scare the ghosts, people dressed like devils and were very noisy. They also made big fires to keep the ghosts away. Later, people did not believe in ghosts, but they kept the day of Halloween for fun.
Immigrants came from Europe to America and brought with them the custom of Halloween. Halloween has some strange symbols. One symbol is the jack-o'-lantern in the window. The jack-o’-lantern is to scare the ghosts. People cut the pumpkin, throw away all of the inside, and cut a face in it. Then they put a candle inside of it. Jack-o’-lanterns usually look scary, too.
Today, in the United States, Halloween is very popular with children. They wear masks and special costumes. They want to look like skeletons and ghosts. Then they go from house to house and say, “Trick or treat!” People give them candies, cookies, or fruit. When people give nothing, the children sometimes play tricks on them.
On July 4 the Americans celebrate their national holiday – Independence Day. The United States gained independence as a result of gradual and painful process. By the mid 1700’s,it became difficult for thirteen British colonies in the New World to be ruled by a king 3.000 miles across the ocean. The British empire imposed high taxes upon the colonies.
In 1774, the First Continental Congress drew up a list of grievances against the British crown. This document was the first draft of the document that would formally separate colonies from England. In 1775, the Revolutionary War began July 2,1776, the Second Continental Congress presented a second draft of the list of grievances. On July 4 the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of independence. But the War of independence lasted until 1783. After the war Independence Day became an official holiday.
On July 4, Americans have holiday from work. People have day-long picnics with favorite foods like hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, baked beans. Lively music is heard everywhere. People play baseball or compete at three-legged races. or pie-eating or water-melon-eating contests. Some cities have parades with people dressed as the original founding fathers who march to the music of high school bands. In the evening people gather to watch firework displays. Wherever Americans are around the globe they will get together to celebrate Independence Day.
In1620, a religious community sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to settle in the New World. They settled in what is now known as the state of Massachusettes. Their first winter in America was difficult. They arrived too late to grow a rich harvest. Moreover, half the colony died from desease. The following spring the Iroquois Indians taught them how to grow corn. Indians showed them also how to grow other crops and how to hunt and fish.
In the autumn of 1621 they got a beautiful harvest of corn, barley, beans and pumpkins. The colonists had much to be thankful for, so they planned a feast. Local Indian chief and ninety Indians were present. The colonists learned from Indians how to cook cranberries and dishes of corn and pumpkins.
In following years many of the colonists celebrated the harvest with a feast of thanks. After the United States gained independence, Congress recommended one yearly day of thanksgiving for the whole country. Later, George Washington suggested the date November 26 as Thanksgiving Day. Then, after the civil war, Abraham Lincoln suggested the last Thursday in November to be the day of thanksgiving.
On Thanksgiving Day, family members gather at the house of an older relative, even if they live far away. All give thanks for everything good they have. Charitable organization offer traditional meal to the homeless.
Food, eaten at the first thanksgiving, have become traditional. The traditional thanksgiving mean consists of roast turkey stuffed with herb-flavoured bread, cranberry jelly, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie. Other dishes may vary as to region: ham, sweet potatoes, creamed corn.
Christmas is Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. No one knows the exact date of Christ’s birth but most Christie celebrate Christmas on December 25. People in the United States decorate their homes with Christmas trees, wreaths and ornaments. City streets are filled with colored lights; the sound of bells and Christmas carols can be heard everywhere.
Children write letters to Santa Claus and tell him what presents they would like to get. Many department stores hire people to wear a Santa Claus costume and listen to children’s reguests. People send Christmas cards to relatives and friends.
A Christmas tree is one of the main symbols of Christmas in most homes. Presents are placed under the tree. On Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, families open their presents. Some children hang up stockings so Santa Claus can fill them with candy, fruit and other small gift.
In many parts of the United States groups of people walk from house to house and sing Christmas carols. Some people give singers money or small gifts or invite them for a warm drunk.
Many people attend church services on Christmas Eve or Christmas moning. They listen to readings from Bible and singing Christmas carols.
A traditional Christmas dinner consists of stuffed turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and a variety of other dishes. Some families have ham or roast goose of turkey. Pumpkin pie, plum pudding, and fruitcake are favourite desserts.
famous people of america
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known to most people as Mark Twain, was born and spent his boyhood in a small town on the Mississippi River. When he grew up, he became a river pilot.
Later he went west and worked as a newspaper reporter. While he was on this job he began to sign his articles “Mark Twain”. From then on Clemens used Mark Twain as his pen-name.
Clemens worked on other newspaper, travelled, and gave lectures.
Clemens spent his summers on his farm. There he wrote “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”, published in 1876. Tom in the story is really Mark Twain. Huckleberry Finn is his close boyhood friend, Tom Blankenship. The book tells of the boys’ exciting adventures.
Later Clemens wrote a sequel, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. “Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn” are among the most popular books ever published in the United States. Among Mark Twain’s other books are “Joan of Arc”, “Life on the Mississippi”.
Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth president of the United States. He was born in Kentucky in 1809. His family was very poor. When Lincoln was a boy, he worked on his family’s farm. He did not go to school. He taught himself to read and write. Later, Lincoln studied law and became a lawyer. After that, he became a politician.
Everybody liked Abraham Lincoln because he was intelligent and hard-working. Lincoln was very ambitious. He wanted to be good at everything he did. He said that he wanted to win the “race of life”. He was also kind and honest. People called him “Honest Abe”.
Lincoln became president in 1860. In 1861, there was a war between the North and the South of the United States. The people in the South wanted a separate government from the United States. The North wanted the United States to stay together as one country. Lincoln was the leader of the North. In the war, brother killed brother. The Civil War was four years long.
The North won the Civil War. The war ended on April 9, 1865. Six days later, President Lincoln and his wife went to the theatre. Inside the theatre, a man went behind the president and shot him in the head. The man’s name was John Wilkes Booth. He was a supporter of the South. Lincoln died the next morning.
THOMAS ALVA EDISON
Thomas Alva Edison was born in 1847. He was sick a lot when he was young. Edison’s mother taught him lessons at home and he only studied the things he wanted to know. At the age of ten, he read his first science book. After he read the book, he built a laboratory in his house. Soon, Edison started to invent things. He was interested in the telegraph and electricity. At the age of twenty-three, he made a special telegraphic machine and sold it for a lot of money. With this money, he was now free to invent all the time.
Edison started his own laboratory at Menio Park, New Jersey. He hired mechanics and chemists to help him. He worked day and night. Once, he worked on forty-five inventions at the same time. Edison did not sleep very much, but he took naps. He often fell asleep with his clothes on.
Did you know Edison invented wax paper, fire alarms, the battery, and motion pictures? But his favourite invention was the phonograph, or record player. He invented the phonograph in 1876. His other famous invention was the light bulb. Edison died in 1931, at the age of eighty-four. He had over 1,300 inventions to his name! Many people say that Edison was a genius – one of the smartest people in the world.
Ernest Hemingway is one of the greatest 20th-century American writers. His incredible career, and the legend which developed around his impressive personality, was that of a man of action, a devil-may-care adventurer, a brave war correspondent, an amateur boxer, a big-game hunter and deep-sea fisherman, the victim of three car accidents and two plane crashes, a man of four wives and many loves, but above all a brilliant writer of stories and novels.
Hemingway was born in 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois. His father was a doctor who initiated the boy into the outdoor life of hunting, camping and fishing. In high school Hemingway played football and wrote for the school newspaper.
In 1917, when the United States entered the First World War, Hemingway left home and schooling to become a young reporter for the Kansas City Star. He wanted to enlist for the war but was rejected because of an eye injury from football. Finally he managed to go to Europe as an ambulance driver for the Red Cross. He joined the Italian army and was seriously wounded.
His war experience and adventurous life provided the background for his many short stories and novels. He achieved success with A Farewell to Arms, the story of a love affair between an American lieutenant and an English nurse during the First World War.
Hemingway actively supported the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War and wrote another successful novel of war, love and death. It was For Whom the Bell Tolls.
During the Second World War Hemingway was a war correspondent first in China and then in Europe. He fought in France, and helped to liberate Paris.
In his later years Hemingway lived mostly in Cuba where his passion for deep-sea fishing provided the background for The Old Man and the Sea. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954.
Unwilling to live with the inevitable physical aging, Hemingway committed suicide, as his father had done before him under similar circumstances.
Theodore Roosevelt was the twenty-sixth president of the United States. He was president from 1901 to 1909. He was a very intelligent man. He was also very energetic. He was a boxer, a soldier, a rancher, and an explorer.
This energetic man was not strong when he was a boy. He had some problems with his breathing. He had asthma. His father wanted him to be strong. Roosevelt learned to box and did many other sports. Soon Roosevelt became strong and energetic.
After he became president, Roosevelt kept his body strong. He even boxed in the White House. One day, another boxer hit him in the eye. After that accident, Roosevelt became blind in one eye.
Theodore Roosevelt’s nickname was “Teddy”. Everybody called him Teddy. When he was president, he often went hunting. One day he went hunting with some friends and saw a little bear. He did not shoot the bear. He said the bear was too small and must go free. The next day the story of the little bear was in the newspapers. The newspapers named the little bear “Teddy” after the president. Soon people called toy bears for children “teddy bears”.
When he left the White House, Teddy Roosevelt went to hunt in Africa. He then went to South America to explore places that nobody knew about. Everybody loved his energy.