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The United States of America: the geographical position, climate and the political structure of the country
1. Do you know the historical significance of the following names:
- “The Mayflower”
- George Washington
- Declaration of Independence
- Uncle Sam
- “The Stars and Stripes and old Glory”
2. Read and translate the text:
The vast and varied expanse of the United States of America stretches from the industrial, metropolitan Atlantic seaboard, across the rich flat farms of the central plains, over the majestic Rocky Mountains to the fertile, densely populated west coast, then halfway across the Pacific to the semi-tropical island-state of Hawaii. Without Hawaii and Alaska the continental U.S. measures 4,505 kilometres from its Atlantic to Pacific coasts, 2,574 kilometres from Canada to Mexico. The total area of the country is more than 9 million kilometres. It is the fourth largest country in the world after Russia, Canada and China. The population of the country is about 250 million people.
The history of the country dates back to the 17th century when the first English settlement was established in 1602. It was the beginning of New England colonies consisting of 4 states only.
Nowadays the USA consists of 50 states and the District of Columbia, a special federal area where the capital of the country, Washington, is situated. The federal symbols of the USA are the national flag with 50 stars and stripes, hymn and arms.
America is a land of physical contrasts including the weather. The southern parts of Florida, Texas, California and the entire state of Hawaii have high temperature whole year round. Most of the United States is in the temperate and mild climatic zone with four distinct seasons and varying numbers of hot and cold days each season while the northern tier of states and Alaska suffer extremely cold winters. The land varies from heavy forests covering 2,104 million hectares to barren deserts, from high-peaked mountains (McKinley in Alaska rises to 6193.5 meters) to deep canyons (Death Valley in California is 1,064 meters below sea level).
The United States is also a land of beautiful rivers and lakes. The northern state of Minnesota, for example, is known as the land of 10,000 lakes. The broad Mississippi River system is of great historic and economic importance to the U.S. It runs 5,969 kilometres from Canada into the Gulf of Mexico—the world's third longest river after the Nile and the Amazon. The St. Lawrence Seaway, which the U.S. shares with Canada, connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean allowing seagoing vessels to travel 3,861 kilometres inland during the spring, summer and fall shipping season.
The USA is a highly developed industrial country. It produces and exports all the possible goods and services. It is known as the motherland of fast-food kitchen that is spread all over the world. The American transport industry is considered to be one of the best in the world.
A wealth of minerals provides a solid base for American industry. History has glamorized the gold rushes to California and Alaska and the silver finds in Nevada. Yet America's yearly production of gold ($2,831,000,000) is far exceeded by the value of its petroleum, natural gas, clays, phosphates, lead and iron, even its output of sand, cement and stone for construction. Production value of crude oil alone is about 4.2 thousand million annually, pumped from petroleum reserves that range from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska's North Slope.
The USA is a federal union of 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Federation was established in 1767 according to the adopted Constitution that hasn’t ever been changed since that time.
Nowadays the federal government of the country is divided into 3 branches: the legislative, the judicial and the executive. The legislative powers are exercised by the Congress. It consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The judicial branch of the federal government consists of the Supreme Court and the system of federal courts.
The executive power is concentrated in the hands of the President, Vice-President and the President’s Cabinet. The President is elected for four years of service. The present day President of the USA is Baraq Obama, the representative of the Democratic Party.
3. Prepare a report about any city of the USA (not less then 50 words). Use additional sources of information.
4. Make up the plan of the text and retell it according to the plan (not less then 100 words).