The United States of America is a federal republic consisting of 50 states. Each state has its own government (state government). In some ways the United States is like 50 small countries.
The government of the USA act according to the Constitution which was signed by the first thirteen representatives of thirteen original American states in 1787. The document was written in 1787 and since that time twenty six Amendments have been added. The first ten Amendments were simply rights or the Bill of rights. According to the Constitution the USA is a republic. So, the officials of any rank are elected by US citizens. Every citizen has rights which cannot be violated.
The Constitution proclaims a federal system of government which keeps both the states and the federal power from getting too much power. It means that the federal government is given certain powers, for example, to make peace or war, to issue money and to regulate the trade and so on.
The federal power is located in Washington, D.C. It is based on legislative, executive and juridical branches of power.
The legislative power is vested in Congress, which consists of two houses: the Senate and the House of Representatives, There are 435 members in the House of Representatives and 100 senators in Congress. Each state elects two members for the Senate.
The executive branch is headed by the President who is assisted by the Vice President. The President enforces federal laws, serves as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. The President can veto a bill unless Congress by a two-thirds vote shall overrule him. The Vice President, elected from the same political party as the President, acts as chairman of the Senate, and in the event of the death of the President, assumes the Presidency. The President of the USA is chosen in nationwide elections every 4 years together with the Vice-President. The President cannot be elected for more than two terms. The Cabinet is made up of Department Secretaries. The most important of them is the Secretary of State, who deals with foreign affairs.
The judicial branch is made up of Federal District Courts, 11 Federal Courts and the Supreme Court. Federal judges are appointed by the President for life.
Federal courts decide cases involving federal law, conflicts between citizens of different states.
Constitution has been amended twenty six times. The Bill of Rights guarantees individual liberties: freedom of word, religion and so on. Later amendments abolished slavery, granted the vote to women and colour people and allowed citizens to vote at the age of 18.
1. What is the main document of the USA?
2. When was the Constitution of the USA signed?
3. How many Amendments have been added to the Constitution since 1787?
4. What does the Constitution proclaim?
5. What powers is the federal government given?
6. Where is the federal government located?
7. Where is the legislative power vested?
8. How many members are there in the House of Representatives?
9. Who is the head of the executive power in the USA?
10. How often do the President's elections take place?
11. Who deals with foreign affairs in the USA?
12. What does the Bill of Rights guarantee?
Sport in the USA
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 northern cities from October to March.
There is a large choice of sports in America. This can be explained by the size and variety of the country. Another reason of the popularity of sports is the people’s love of competition of any kind. One more reason is that Americans use sports activities for teaching socials values, such as teamwork and sportsmanship. All this explains why Americans have traditionally done well in many kinds of sports.
Every high school offers its students many sports, such as wrestling, rowing, tennis and golf. There are no separate “universities” for sports in the USA. Students of any higher educational establishment are trained in different kinds of sports. Many colleges and universities are famous for their sports clubs.
Some Americans like active games, and others like quiet games. I think that quite games, as golf and crocket, intend for rich elite people. Most popular games in the USA is hockey, American football, baseball, basketball.
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 20's the first US league championship was organized. In the 70's the 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). The NBA is a professional league which still plays.
There are more activities which Americans take part in such as swimming, aerobics, wrestling, etc.