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The United States of America
The United States of America is a large country which is situated in North America. 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 goes from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean to the islands of Hawaii in the Pacific, and from cold, snowy northern Alaska to sunny Florida in the southeast.
There are 3 branches in the US government. They are: the Congress, the President and his helpers and the Supreme Court. The first branch on the tree of government is the Congress. The Congress makes the laws that everybody must obey. The Congress meets in the US Capitol in Washington D.C. The Congress is divided into 2 parts, The Senate and the House of Representatives. Every state, no matter how large or small, sends 2 people to the Senate. These people are called senators.
There are one hundred senators in the Senate. A senator's term is 6 years. Each state also sends people to the House of Representatives. They are called congressmen or congresswomen. The number of congressmen from each state depends on the number of people who live in the state. The larger states have more congressmen than the smaller states. All in all there are 435 congressmen in the House of Representatives. A representative's term is two years.
The second branch of government is the president and his helpers. They carry out the laws that the Congress makes. The President signs bills and then they become law. The Vice President and members of the Cabinet help the President to make decisions.
The US President is Commander in Chief of the country's armed forces. A person who wants to become President must be born in the US, must be at least 35 years old and must live in the US for at least 14 years before becoming President. The President’s term is four years and one can be President for one or two terms, but not longer. Americans vote for the President in November of every leap year. The President lives and works in the White House.
The third branch of government is the Supreme Court. It is made up of 9 judges-the most important judges in the land. They have to make sure that the President and the Congress follow the Constitution. They decide what the Constitution and the laws passed by the Congress mean when there is an argument about their meaning. The judges work in the Supreme Court as long as they live.
The first US President was George Washington. He was born in Virginia into a planter’s family. When the boy was 11 his father died. George went to a private school. He learned to ride a horse, to hunt, shoot, sail and swim.
Because he was good at arithmetic, he also learned to measure land. The young man went to faraway parts of the country to measure land for those who built their houses there. Everyone liked and trusted young George. George Washington began his career in the service of his country as a major in the Virginia militia and later became Commander in Chief of the Colonial Army during the Revolutionary War. People respected him for his courage, honesty and wisdom.
After the Revolutionary War Washington wanted to retire and live at Mount Vernon where he had a beautiful house and a big plantation. But he knew that his duty was to serve his country. He hurried off to New York City which was the capital then. On April 30, 1789, before a large crowd Washington promised to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the US”. This is how George Washington became the first President of the country and served 2 terms. He refused a third term and in 1797 he retired to Mount Vernon where he died two years later.