USA. Its geographical survey, economy and political system
The USA is the most powerful and highly developed country of the world. It is situated in the central part of the North American continent. Its western coast is washed by the Pacific Ocean and its eastern coast is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The USA is separated from Canada in the north by the 49th parallel and the Great Lakes, and from Mexico in the south by a line following the Rio Grande River and continuing across the highlands to the Pacific Ocean. The total are of the USA is over 9 million kilometers.
Because of such a huge size of the country the climate differs from one part of the country to another. The coldest climate is in the northern part, where there is heavy snow in winter and the temperature may go down to 40 degrees below zero. The south has subtropical climate, with temperature as high as 49 degrees in summer.
The highland regions are the Appalachian mountains in the east and the Cordillera in the west. Between them are the central lowlands which are called prairie, and eastern lowlands called the Mississippi valley. Many rivers cross the country. The most important are the Mississippi, Missouri, Colorado, Sacramento.
The basis of modern industry form coal, oil, copper and other minerals which are abundant. The mineral resources vary from precious gold and rare uranium to common lead and zinc. The USA consists of three separate parts. They are Hawaiian Islands, Alaska and the rest major part of the USA. The states differ very much in size, population and economical development. The agriculture of the country is highly mechanized. Coal-mines are in the Cordillera Mountains, in the Kansas City region. Iron in mined near the Great Lakes. The USA has rich oil-fields in California, Texas and some other regions. The country has a highly developed motor-car industry. It would be no exaggeration to say that cars have become the symbol of American way of life. The vehicles produced at such companies as Ford and the General Motors are known world-wide. Shipbuilding is developed along the Atlantic coast and in San Francisco. The USA has also a highly developed railway system and the best network of roads in the world which are called highways.
The United States is a federal republic. The Government is divided into three branches: legislative (the USA Congress), executive (the President and his Administration) and judicial (the US Supreme Court). There are two main political parties in the USA: the Democratic and the Republican. The Congress consists of two chambers – the House of Representatives and the Senate. The President, elected by the whole nation for four years, is head of the state and the Government. The flag of the USA is called “Stars and Stripes”. The 50 stars – white on a blue field represent the 50 states, 13 stripes represent 13 original English colonies, which in 1776 become independent of England.
The capital of the United States is Washington. It was named in honor of the first president whose name was George Washington. The biggest cities of the USA are New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and others.
The beautiful city of Washington D.C. (District Columbia) 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 was G. Washington who chose the place for the District and laid the corner-stone of the Capitol. The district is a piece of land ten miles square and it does not belong to any separate state but to all the states. It is situated on the Potomac River in the District Columbia. The District is named in honour of Christopher Columbus, the discoverer of America after Amerigo Vespucci, a traveler who left a description of some places he had seen there. Columbus was certain that the lands he had discovered were part of India, and he called these islands the West India. The people living there have been called Indians since then, though they have nothing in common with the real Indians – inhabitants of India. Washington is not the largest city in the USA. It has only a population only one million.
Washington D.C. has nothing characteristically American in it, as its construction 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 buildings is the Capitol with its great House of Representatives and Senate Chamber. The White House was built in 1799 and it is a symbol of the country.
Here is the story of Washington D.C. Once it was a little village on the Potomac River. About two hundred years ago, when the United States was a young country, people began to talk about where the capital should be and where the president should live. While Congress debated what to build and where to build it, the first American President, George Washington, picked a patch of land on the Potomac River. The land was on the border of Maryland and Virginia. G. Washington named the land the District Columbia. Washington D.C. is one of the only cities in the world that was designed before it was built. The city is well planned.
Washington is a largest scientific and cultural centre, where there are many research institutes, five universities, the National Academy of Sciences and the Library of Congress.
Washington is one-industry town. It doesn’t produce anything except very much scrap paper. Every day 25 railway cars leave Washington loaded with scrap paper. Washington has many historical places. 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 is 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.
On the other bank of the Potomac lies the Arlington National Cemetery where President Kennedy was buried, his death shocked everyone in America. American soldiers and officers, who died in World Wars I and II are buried there too. One can see the eternal flame on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier here. Americans remember and honor their national heroes.
There is one more well-known building in Washington – Pentagon, the residence if the US Military department. It is situated in the suburbs to the south of the Potomac.