The US is a federal Union of 50 states each of them has its own government. The seat of the central (federal) government is Washington, D.C.
The population of the USA is about 250 million people; most of the population lives in towns and cities.
The United States is rich in natural and mineral resources. It produces copper, oil, iron ore and coal. It's a highly developed industrial and agricultural country. There are many big cities in the USA, such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and others. The national capital is Washington, D.C. Its population is about 3.4 million. It was built in the late eighteenth century as the centre of government. It was named after George Washington, the first president of USA and general of war.
The USA are 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 half million square kilometers. The USA borders on Canada in the North and on Mexico in the South. It also has a sea border with Russia.
The USA is a presidential republic. The legislative branch of the US Government, or the Congress, represents all of the American states. It consists of two parts: the House of Representatives and the Senate. Each state has two senators, who are elected every 6 years. A senator must be at least 30 years old, a citizen of the US for 9 years and live the state she or he will represent. A representative must be at least 25 years old, a citizen for 7 years and live in the state.
USA - the very first state accepted the constitution. It is one of the first countries which have established democracy by the basic form of board. In this report we shall tell about the reasons of occurrence of the constitution and about its influence on development of the state on an example of president's institute.
With independence came many problems. The U. S. were joined together under one government by the Articles of Confederation. The articles listed the powers of the central government and the powers of the states. There was a national Congress made up of representatives from each state. But Congress had almost no power at all. The 13 states acted like 13 separate little nations. There were many times when states would not cooperate with the central government. They were too busy quarrelling with each other. The U. S. was in danger of falling.
In May 1787 a meeting began in Philadelphia to change the Articles of Confederation. Representatives from all the states except Rhode Island were present. It was soon decided that whole new constitution had to be written. A constitution is set of laws by which a country is governed.
This meeting became known as the Constitutional Convention. Washington was chosen president of the convention. A 81-year-old Benjamin Franklin took part in its work. A new group of first-rate leaders were at this meeting. Among these leaders were James Madison and Gouverneur Morris. The people who attended the convention did their work very well. The Constitution has lasted to the present.
What kind of government would be the best for the USA?
The delegates all agreed that the new government should continue to be a republic. This means that the people would elect representatives to manage their country.
The delegates knew that they wanted a federal government. In such a government the power is divided between the national and the state governments. The national government would collect taxes and borrow money. It would control trade with foreign countries and between states. The national government would print or coin money. It alone could declare war. All other powers were left to the states. Matters within a state would be settled by that state.
The members of the Constitutional Convention wanted a government that would protect the people's rights, not take them away. So they divided the government's power into three parts, or branches. This is called separation of powers.
The legislative branch was the Congress. Its major job was to make laws. The executive branch was the President and his helpers. It was their job to carry out the laws the Congress passed. The judicial branch was the courts. They had to decide the meaning of the laws.
Each branch had some power over the other two. No one branch would be allowed more power than the others.
A big debate at the convention was over the matter of who would control Congress. Large states wanted representatives to Congress based on the number of people in the state. Small states wanted an equal vote with the larger states. This problem was solved by giving Congress two parts. Regardless of size each state would send two representatives to the Senate, one part of Congress. States with more people would send more delegates to the House of Representatives, the other part of Congress. In order for a law to be passed, it had to go through both parts of Congress.
The new Constitution included a way to make changes, called amendments. If things didn't work out, or if the USA grew о changes, the Constitution could be amended without being entirely changed. This was to prove helpful very soon.
Nine state governments had to approve the Constitution be fore it could become the law of the land. Many states refused to do so unless the Constitution listed people's rights as well as the rights of the government. They argued that important freedoms must be written down. Once the states were promised that this would happen, the Constitution would become law.
James Madison saw to it that these freedoms were written down. Madison had been very active at the Constitutional Convention. After the Convention he worked hard to explain the Constitution to the people. Once the new government was started, Madison wrote many amendments that would make rights like freedom the press, speech and worship part of the Constitution. Ten of these amendments were passed by the states. These first ten amendments to the Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights.
Nation Grows. Washington Through Jackson. Jefferson
April 30, 1789 was Inauguration Day for the young nation's first President. An inauguration is the ceremony that puts someone office. Washington did not want to be President. He wanted to live at his beautiful home Mount Vernon. But he put his love for his country ahead of his own wishes. Washington traveled from Mount Vernon to New York City. New York City was the nation's first capital. Washington took the oath of office on the Bible. He promised to do his best to keep, protect and defend the Constitution. The Constitution listed the powers and duties of the President.
The new government was started with a Constitution, a Congress, a President and little else. Both Washington and the Congress knew that the new government would have to show its strength very quickly.
The job of President was too big for one person alone. Congress formed three departments to help Washington. These departments went to work on three of the biggest problems facing the new nation.
The State Department would work on relations with other nations. The War Department would build a national navy and army. It is now called the Department of Defense. The Treasury Department would handle the nation's money problems.
Washington chose able leaders for each of these departments. Each leader would be called a secretary. Thomas Jefferson became secretary of state; Henry Knox, secretary of war and Alexander Hamilton secretary of treasury.
Each of these men advised the President. Final decisions were made by the President, however.
The group of advisors became known as the Cabinet. Future Presidents would all have a Cabinet.
The Constitution called for a third branch of government - a Supreme Court. All questions about the Constitution and federal laws would be settled by this court. Washington appointed John Jay as head of the Supreme Court. He was called the Chief Justice.
In 1791 Congress passed a tax law in order to raise money for the new government. Some people thought they would rather fight than pay these taxes. Washington formed an army to stop them. He showed future Presidents how to be a strong leader.
The nation also grew and expanded while Washington was President. The new states - Vermont, Kentucky and Tennessee - entered the Union.
Washington could have been President for life. But he didn't feel this was right. He had devoted most of his life to helping his country. Now, he was 65 years old and had served two terms, or four-year periods as President. With the exception of Franklin Roosevelt, every President has followed Washington's two-term tradition. In 1797 Washington retired. He went back to the life he loved at Mount Vernon.
Не did not enjoy it for long time. On December 12, 1799 he was caught in a snowstorm while riding around his farm and became sick. Two days later he died. The second president be-came John Adams. He was a true patriot as well as a brave and stubborn man. Near the end of Adam's term as President, the government moved from Philadelphia to Washington, D. C. The most important of Adam's deeds was that he took responsibility of the peace with France in 1800.
The third president of the USA was a very remarkable man, Thomas Jefferson. He was a man of many talents: He was a lawyer. He wrote the Declaration of Independence. He was the representative of the United States at the court of the king of France A person who does this kind of work is called a diplomat. He was the first secretary of state, second vice-president and third President of the USA. While he was President the size of the country doubled.
He came from Virginia. He served that state as governor and Congressman. As an architect he drew the plans for many building in Virginia. At the same time he was also a fine violinist and composer. He studied Native American languages. He knew Greek, Latin and Hebrew. He could speak French and Italian.
His work as scientist and inventor shouldn't be forgotten. He did practical things such as improving farming methods by in venting a new type of plow. He experimented with different seeds. He worked much in education.
Jefferson's greatest accomplishment as President was the Louisiana Purchase. At this time Louisiana included just above all the land from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. The Mississippi River was a highway for those Americans who lived west of the Appalachian Mountains. They took their goods downriver to the port of New Orleans. New Orleans was not part of the U. S. It belonged to France which had received the city and the rest of what is called the Louisiana Territory from Spain in 1800.
Americans living in the West were afraid that France would not allow them to use the port of New Orleans for trade. This was because Napoleon wanted to start another French empire in America. The Americans were to try to buy New Orleans from the French for ten million dollars.
Haiti was a French colony in the Caribbean Sea. Napoleon needed a strong naval base in Haiti if he wanted a French empire in America. But a former slave Toussaint L'Ouverture led the people of Haiti in successful fight for freedom at this time. With out Haiti, Louisiana lost some of its appeal for Napoleon. It also looked as though France would soon be fighting Great Britain. If so, France would be unable to defend Louisiana. The soldiers would be needed in Europe. Napoleon decided to sell the entire Louisiana territory to the USA. It was bought for 15 million dollars. By this act the USA doubled its size.
Jefferson wanted to know more about Louisiana. He wished to find out about the Native Americans, the animals, the minerals, the climate and the type of land. To make such an exploration Jefferson chose Merewether Lewis, his personal secretary, and William dark, Lewis's close friend. They were to try to find a route all the way to the Pacific Ocean. They built a fort and spent the winter on the shores of the Pacific. In the spring they started the trip home, finally reaching St Louis in September 1806. Their diary was a document of great importance. Jefferson received an excellent report of their journey. He learned a great deal about the geography of the new territory. He learned about the animals, trees and plants there. The work of Lewis and dark gave the USA a claim to the Oregon Country. In 1846 this area became part of the USA.