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 US Congress
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.