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The Flag 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 13 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 Coat of Arms 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.
Anthem O say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light, What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight, O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. O say does that star spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave? On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep. Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam, In full glory reflected now shines in the stream: ‘Tis the Star-Spangled Banner! O long may it wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave. And where is that band who so vauntingly swore That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion A home and a country should leave us no more? Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave: And the Star-Spangled Banner, in triumph doth wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave. O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation! Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heaven-rescued land Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation. Then conquer we must when our cause it is just And this be our motto: «In God is our Trust.» And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
The Statue of Liberty The Statue of Liberty is the symbol of American democracy. It stands on Liberty Island in New York. It is one of the first things people see when they arrive in New York by sea. This National Monument was a present from 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 Higher Organs of Power in the USA By the US Constitution the government of the nation is entrusted to three separate authorities: the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial. The executive power is vested in the President, who holds his office during the term of four years, and is elected together with the Vice-President. Among the duties and powers of the President listed by the Constitution are the following: the President is Commandeering-Chief of the armed forces, he makes treaties and appoints ambassadors to foreign powers as well as other high officers of the United States. Within his competence is also the responsibility for taking care that the laws be faithfully executed. From this one can see that the Constitution gives the President some measure of control of the military establishment, imposes upon him a responsibility for foreign policy and assigns to him the obligation to administer federal programmes. The administrative business of the nation is conducted by Secretaries who form the Cabinet. They are appointed by the President but their nomination must be confirmed by the Senate. As chief executive officer, the President can at his discretion remove any Secretary. The Executive Office of the President is represented by a group of agencies. First of all, these are: the White House Office, the Bureau of the Budget, the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Council of Economic Advisers, and the Office of Civil and Defence Mobilisation. The whole legislative power in the USA is vested in the Congress. There are two chambers in the US Congress: the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The US Government After its 200th birthday the United States of America still holds the leading position in the western world. A country that has inspired many names - "Land of Opportunity", "Meeting Pot", "God's Country" is still referred to as land of superlatives - "the richest", "the greatest", "the most". In size the United States is not the biggest. What makes the USA the leader of the western world is its economic, political and military dominance over other countries. The United States is a parliamentary republic. The Government is divided into 3 branches: legislative (the US Congress), executive (the President and his Administration) and judicial (the US Supreme Court). There are two main political parties in the USA the Democratic (symbolize by a "donkey") and the Republican (symbolized by an "elephant"). The US president is both head of State and of government. He is elected for a 4-year term. The Supreme Court consists of Chief Justice and 8 Associate Justices who are appointed for life. The Supreme Court is supposed to decide whether a law of the Congress or an executive order of the President is "Constitutional or not".
Washington Washington, the capital of the United States of America, is situated on the Potomac River in the District of Columbia. The district is a piece of land ten miles square and it does not belong to any separate state but to all the states. The district is named in honour of Columbus, the discoverer of America. The capital owes much to the first President of the USA -George Washington. It was G. Washington, who chose the place for the District and laid in 1790 the corner-stone of the Capitol, where Congress sits. Washington is not the largest city in the USA. It has a population of 900 000 people. Washington is a one-industry town. That industry is government. It does not produce anything except very much scrap paper. Every day 25 railway cars leave Washington loaded with scrap paper. Washington has many historical places. The largest and tallest among the buildings is the Capitol with its great House of Representatives and the Senate chamber. There are no skyscrapers in Washington because no other building must be taller than the Capitol. The White House is the President's residence. 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. It is a two-storied, white building. Not far from the Capitol is the Washington Monument, which looks like a very big pencil. It rises 160 metres and is hollow inside. A special lift brings visitors to the top in 70 seconds from where they can enjoy a wonderful view of the whole city. The Jefferson Memorial was built in memory of the third President of the USA, Thomas Jefferson, who was also the author of the Declaration of Independence. The memorial is surrounded by cherry-trees. The Lincoln Memorial devoted to the memory of the 16th President of the US, the author of the Emancipation Proclamation, which gave freedom to Negro slaves in America.
New York . New York is the largest city in the USA and the biggest seaport. It is the business centre of the United States. New York is situated in the mouth of the Hudson river. In comparison with such ancient historical cities as, say, Rome, London, Moscow or Paris, New York is quite young. It was founded in 1613 by Dutch settlers. There are five districts in the city: Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Richmond. Manhattan is the central and the oldest part of the city. It is the district of business and finance. It is here in Wall Street that many business offices, banks and the world famous New York stock exchange are situated. The New York stock exchange dominates business life of many countries. The total area of New York is 365 square miles or 900 square kilometres. Its population together with the population of its suburbs amounts to 16 million people. Among the inhabitants of New York one can meet people of almost all nationalities. They settled here during the immigration in the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century. The Statue of Liberty, which is on Liberty Island, was a present from France in 1876 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of American independence. This statue and a few 18th and 19th century churches, hospitals, newspaper offices and other buildings are the only examples of "old" architecture in New York. Wherever your eyes travel, everywhere you can see sky-scrapers. New York, one of the USA leading manufacturing cities, is the home of great firms and banks. The most important branches of industry are those producing vehicles, glass, chemicals and all kinds of machinery. The city has very busy traffic. Its streets and highways are full of cars and buses. The mouth of the Hudson river makes an excellent harbour for numerous passengers and cargo ships from all over the world. Speaking about New York one can't but mention the outstanding role, the city plays, in the cultural life of the country. New York has many museums and art galleries which have collected works of art of many peoples and of all times. Many of them are on constant display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of Art. Most of the theatres and cinemas are in or near Broadway, the longest street and the biggest shopping district in New York. The Metropolitan and Modern Arts Museums attract many visitors.
Brief History of the USA The history of the USA dates back only to the 15th century. In the 15th century there was no USA at all. The present territory of the USA was divided among some countries. In the 15th — 16th centuries some territory of the USA belonged to Great Britain (northern and western lands); southern parts (California, Florida, New Mexico, Texas) belonged to Spain, then — to Mexico; the central part, the territory was called Louisiana — to France; Alaska was possessed by Russia; some territories remained to be under Indians control in 18th century there were only thirteen Britain's American colonies and they broke with Great Britain in 1776 and later were recognized as the new nation of the the United States of America, following the Treaty of Paris in 1783. During the 19th"and 20th centuries, 37 new states were added to the original 13 as the nation expanded their frontiers across the North American continent and acquired a number of overseas possession There were three most dramatic experiences in the nation's history: the Civil War (1861-1865), the Great Depression of the 1930s and Vietnam War of the 1960s — 70s. After its victories in World Wars I and II and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the USA remains the world's most powerful state. The economy is marked by steady growth, low unemployment and inflation, and great advances in technology. Nowadays USA is world's third-largest country by size (after Russia and Canada) and by population (after China and India). It is about half the size of Russia or lightly larger than China or Brazil.
Nowadays USA Nowadays USA is world's third-largest country by size (after Russia and Canada) and by population (after China and India). The total territory of the USA is 9,630,000 sq km. It is about half the size of Russia or lightly larger than China or Brazil. The USA has borders with Canada, Mexico and Russian Federation. The lowest point is Death Valley — 86 m and the highest one is Mount McKinley 6,194 m. By July 2002, the population of the USA was about 280,565,000. The largest US river is the Mississippi . It is a multicultural and multinational country. As to religion there are 56% of Protestants, 28% of Catholics and 2% of Jews. Ethnic groups include white 77%, black 13%, Asian 4.5%. It is a federal republic with strong democratic traditions. The capital of the US is Washington, DC. The country includes 50 states and 1 district plus dependent areas as: Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, etc. Independence Day is celebrated on 4 July (from Great Britain). Constitution Day is 17 September, which was approved in 1787. The chief of state is President George W. Bush (since 20 January 2001) and Vice President Richard B. Cheney (since 20 January 2001). There are three political parties in the USA. They are Democratic Party, Green Party and Republican Party. Do you know that among American people, the Democratic Party is associated with mother (mom) and Republican Party is associated with dad (father)? It is a very interesting fact. The currency of the USA is US dollar.
National Celebrations in the USA January: the 1st of January — New Years Day the 15th January — Martin Luther King Day February: the third Monday — Presidents Day May: the fourth Monday — Memorial Day July: the 4th of July — Independence Day September: the first Monday — Labor Day October: the 12th of October — Columbus Day the 31st of October — Halloween November: the 11th of November — Veterans Day the fourth Thursday — Thanksgiving Day December: the 25th of December — Christmas Americans share three holidays with many countries: Easter Sunday, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. Easter, which falls on a spring Sunday that varies from year to year, celebrates the Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For Christians, Easter is a day of religious services and the gathering of family. Many Americans follow old traditions of coloring hard-boiled eggs and giving children baskets of candies. On the next day, Easter Monday, the president of the United States holds an annual Easter egg hunt in White House lawn for young children. Christmas day, December 25, is another Christian holiday, it marks the birth of the Christ Child. Decorating houses and yards with lights, putting up Christmas trees, giving gifts, and sending greeting cards have become traditions even for many non-Christian Americans. New Year's Day, of course, is in January. The celebration of this holiday begins the night before, when Americans gather to wish each other a happy and prosperous coming year.
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