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В.И.

АРТЕМОВ

AMERICAN AND BRITISH STUDIES.


THE USA AND AMERICAN PEOPLE TODAY

Курс лекций

Минск
Современные знания
2009
Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 2
УДК 908(42)(075.8)
А 86

Рецензенты:
Дорошко Н.В., завкафедрой иностранных языков № 2 БГАТУ;
Мурашко Л.Г., старший преподаватель кафедры иностранных языков № 2 БГТУ.

Артемов, В.И.
А 86 American and British studies. The USA and American people today [Электронный
ресурс]: курс лекций / В.И.Артемов. — Минск: Современные знания, 2009. — 120 с.

ISBN 978-985-6885-59-7

Курс лекций по страноведению США состоит из шести лекций по географии,


конституционному строю, структуре населения, современной социальной жизни и
политическому устройству, системе образования и культуре США.
Для студентов вузов факультетов английского языка, межкультурных
коммуникаций, а также других высших учебных заведений, где изучается курс
страноведения США, а также широкого круга читателей, интересующихся данным
вопросом.

УДК 908(42)(075.8)

ISBN 978-985-6885-59-7 © Артемов В.И., 2009


© ЧУО «Институт современных
знаний имени А.М. Широкова», 2009
© Оформление. ЗАО «Современные
знания», 2009

© Институт современных знаний имени А.М. Широкова


Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 3
Содержание
Предисловие 4
Lecture 1 An Outline of US Geography 6
1.1. General Characteristics of the Geographical Situation of the Country 6
1.2. The Relief of the Country. Mountains 7
1.3. Rivers 12
1.4. Lakes 14
1.5. Climate 15
1.6. Vegetation and Animal Life 17
1.7. Mineral Resources 19
1.8. The population 21
Lecture 2 An Outline of American Economy 26
2.1. General Characteristics 26
2.2. Industries and Services 27
2.3. The Main Economic Regions in the East of the USA 32
2.4. The Main Economic Regions in the West of the USA 34
Lecture 3 The Political and State System of the USA 38
3.1. The Constitution of the USA 38
3.2. The Executive Branch: the President and Administration 42
3.3. The Legislative Branch: Congress and the Senate 44
3.4. The Judicial Branch 47
3.5. Federal and Local Governments 49
3.6. Elections in the United States of America 54
3.7. National symbols of the USA 56
3.8. Political Parties 58
Lecture 4 Education in the USA 60
4.1 General Characteristics 60
4.2. The Structure of US Education. Early Childhood Education.
Pre-School Preparation 61
4.3. School Education 62
4.4. Higher Education 66
Lecture 5 The American Way of Life 71
5.1. Being American 71
5.2. Regional differences 77
5.3. Social life in America80
5.4. The Changing American family 82
5.5. The Media in the USA 85
5.6. The National Holidays 91
5.7. Sports in the USA 95
5.8. American Sports 98
5.9. Religion in the United States 101
Lecture 6 American Culture 104
6.1. Theatre in the United States 104
6.2. Cinema in the United States 107
6.3. Music of the USA 112
6.4. Painting in the USA 116
REFERENCES 119

© Институт современных знаний имени А.М. Широкова


Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 4

Предисловие
Данный курс лекций разработан в соответствии с учебной программой по
дисциплине «Страноведение» (специальность 1-23 01 02 «Лингвистическое
обеспечение межкультурной коммуникации») и предназначен для студентов,
специализирующихся в области межкультурной коммуникации.
Курс лекций состоит из 6 разделов, охватывающих такие темы как
географическое положение и структура населения США, конституционный
строй и политическое устройство США, экономика и социальная жизнь,
система образования и культура страны. В краткой и удобной форме
предлагаются ответы на некоторые вопросы из такого глобального
философско-культурологического концепта как «американский образ жизни»,
прослеживаются самые общие тенденции социального и культурного развития
современных США. В контексте исторического развития страны делается
попытка систематизации материала по рассматриваемым в данном курсе тем.
В курсе лекций сводятся в единый комплекс сведения об основных
особенностях психологии нации, современном экономическом и политическом
положении страны. Это, на взгляд автора, будет способствовать формированию
лингвистической, страноведческой и лингвострановедческой компетенции,
необходимой для адекватного владения иностранным языком как средством
межкультурного общения. Подобный подход соответствует основным
требованиям образовательного стандарта по современным иностранным
языкам.
Курс лекций составлен на основе привлечения большого количества
справочного материала и оригинальной научной литературы по
рассматриваемой проблеме, а также данных о последних событиях в
американском обществе. Вместе с тем, лекционный курс не претендует на
отражение всех аспектов современной жизни страны.
Цель курса лекций — развивать умения и навыки чтения текстов
страноведческой и политической тематики, способствовать развитию умения

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 5
воспринимать и оценивать информацию, полученную в ходе чтения такого рода
текстов, а также выражать в устной форме собственные суждения и отношение
к прочитанному.
Автор надеется, что работа с вышеназванным курсом лекций будет
способствовать не только овладению студентами материалом лекций, но и
формированию знаний студентов о социально-политической и культурной
жизни США, а также географии, экономики и системе образования страны.
Курс лекция предназначен для студентов вузов, где изучается
страноведение и может служить в качестве дополнительного материала на
занятиях по изучению политлексики, на занятиях по переводу и для
внеаудиторной, самостоятельной работы.

© Институт современных знаний имени А.М. Широкова


Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 6

Lecture 1
An Outline of US Geography

1.1. General Characteristics of the Geographical


Situation of the Country
The United States of America is the third largest country in the world in
population, and the fourth largest country in area. It is situated in central North
America with Canada to the north, Mexico to the south, the Atlantic Ocean to the
east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The two newest states Alaska (1959) and
Hawaii (1959) are separated from the continental US. The total area of the United
States is about 9,4 million square kilometers (9,372,571 km2) (Alaska — 1,5 mln
km2, Hawaii — 16,7 thousand km2), and the population – about 306 mln people. Its
capital is in Washington, D.C. English is spoken throughout the country, but does not
have official status. Spanish is the second most common language in the United
States.
The United States has possession of various island territories in the Caribbean
Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Some of them, such as Guam and the Virgin Islands,
have a large degree of self-government. Puerto Rico is a commonwealth associated
with the United States that has been given wide powers of self-rule by the US
Congress. American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands each send to
Congress a representative who votes only in committees.
The country occupies a favourable geographical position. The Atlantic Ocean
is of great importance for the country’s sea communications with Europe, Africa and
South America, and the Pacific Ocean — with Asia and Australia. The two oceans
are connected by the Panama Canal.
The territory of the USA stretches 2,600 km from north to south, and 4,500 km
from east to west. There are high mountains and vast prairies, tropical heat and arctic
cold, fertile valleys and bare desert areas.

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 7
There is also a variety of natural resources. All sorts of products are raised, and
there are industries of every kind. Some of the most densely and most sparsely
populated areas of the world are found in the United States. The physical features of
the United States are also greatly diverse.
The country, excluding Alaska and Hawaii, can be divided into seven major
land regions. The regions are: (1) the Appalachian Highlands; (2) the Coastal
Lowlands; (3) the Interior Plains; (4) the Ozark-Ouachita Highlands; (5) the Rocky
Mountains; (6) the Western Plateaus, Basins, and Ranges; and (7) the Pacific
Ranges and Lowlands.

1.2. The Relief of the Country. Mountains


The (1) Appalachian Mountains run along the Atlantic coast of the country.
They extend from the northern tip of Maine southwestward to Alabama. They are
ancient, strongly destroyed mountains of no great height (2,000 m). The Appalachian
Mountains consist mainly of the numerous mountain ranges which are nearly parallel
with the Atlantic coastline and extend from near the Gulf of Mexico north into
Canada.
The eastern slopes of the Appalachians merge with the Atlantic Coastal Plain.
The greatest width of the Appalachian belt in the south is nearly 320 kilometres, and
in the north — some 100 kilometres.
The White Mountains and the Green Mountains of northern New England are
old mountains, worn down but craggy in some places. Southern New England
consists mostly of hilly land.
The Adirondack Upland of northern New York includes mountains and many
beautiful lakes. From central New York southward, the Appalachian Highlands has
three main subdivisions. They are, from east to west: the Blue Ridge Mountains
Area, the Ridge and Valley Region, and the Appalachian Plateau.

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 8

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 9
The Blue Ridge Mountains Area consists of some of the oldest mountains in
the country that stretch from southeastern Pennsylvania to northeastern Georgia. The
Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina are also part of this area.
The Hudson Highlands of New York and New Jersey form a northern extension of
the area.
The (2) Coastal Lowlands extend from southeastern Maine, across the eastern
and southern United States, to eastern Texas. The region has three subdivisions:
(1) the Piedmont, (2) the Atlantic Coastal Plain, and (3) the Gulf Coastal Plain.
The Piedmont is a slightly elevated rolling plain that separates the Blue Ridge
Mountains from the Atlantic Coastal Plain. It stretches from southern New York to
Alabama. The eastern boundary of the Piedmont is called the Fall Line. Rivers that
reach the Fall Line tumble down from the Piedmont to the lower coastal plains in a
series of falls and rapids.
The Atlantic Coastal Plain extends eastward from the Piedmont to the Atlantic
Ocean. It ranges from a narrow strip of land in New England to a broad belt that
covers much of North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
The Gulf Coastal Plain borders the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to southern
Texas. Numerous rivers flow through the plain into the Gulf. The plain also has belts
of hilly forests and grazing land, as well as many sandy beaches, swamps, bays, and
offshore islands.
The (3) Interior Plains occupy a huge expanse of land that stretches from the
Appalachian Highlands in the east to the Rocky Mountains in the west. Glaciers
covered much of the region during the Ice Age. They stripped the topsoil from parts
of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin and carved out thousands of lakes. Today,
much of this area is heavily forested. Farther south — in parts of Illinois, Indiana,
Iowa, and Ohio — the glaciers flattened the land and formed rich soil ideal for
growing crops. The plains slope gradually upward from east to west and get
progressively drier.
The western part of the region, called the Great Plains, has vast grasslands
where livestock graze. It also has large areas of fertile soil that yield maize, wheat,

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 10
and other crops. Few trees grow on the Great Plains. Some rugged hills, including the
Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming, rise up out of the plains.
Glaciers carved out the five Great Lakes in the Interior Plains. The Mississippi
River is the region’s other great waterway.
The (4) Ozark-Ouachita Highlands rise up between the Interior Plains and
Coastal Lowlands. The highlands form a scenic landscape in southern Missouri,
northwest Arkansas, and eastern Oklahoma. The region is named for the Ozark
Plateau and the Ouachita Mountains. Rivers and streams have cut deep gorges
through the rugged highland terrain. The highlands include forested hills, artificial
lakes, and many underground caves and gushing springs. Much of the region has poor
soil for farming but fertile land lies along the river valleys.
Nearly all the Western part of the United States is occupied by the Cordillera
Mountain System. The Cordillera Mountains extend from Mexico to Canada and
Alaska. In the south they are drained by the Colorado River, in the north — by the
Columbia River. It is a region of high plateaus crossed by streams which flow
through deep canyons. The highest elevation in the USA is Mount McKinley in
Alaska — (6,194 m).
The (5) Rocky Mountains are part of the Cordillera mountain system. They
extend from northern Alaska, through Canada and the western United States to
northern New Mexico. They form the eastern chain of the Cordilleras. Many peaks of
the Rockies are more than 4,250 metres high. As compared with the Appalachians,
they are young and their peaks are capped with snow. The Continental Divide, or
Great Divide, passes through the mountains. It is an imaginary line that separates
streams that flow into the Pacific Ocean from those that flow into the Atlantic.
Another subdivision of the Cordilleras — the Sierra Nevada (to the south) and
Cascade Range (to the north) — extends from the Canadian border to the Mexican
boundary. It forms an almost unbroken mountain wall between inland United States
and the Pacific coast land.

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 11
The Pacific slope of the Cordillera Mountains includes the Pacific valleys and
the Coast Ranges. These ranges stretch along the Pacific coast and are also known as
the Maritime Cordilleras.
Close to the western edge of the Sierra Nevada, in California, there is a
particularly lonely stretch of desert named Death Valley by pioneers who tried to
cross it in their rush to the goldfields. For 225 kilometres hardly a bush can be seen in
this ancient lakebed 85 metres below sea level. This area is called — the Bottom of
the United States.
The mountain ranges of the United States stretch longitudinally and afford no
protection against the cold northerly winds. This accounts for the country’s climate,
which is notably colder than that of Western Europe or North Africa in the same
latitudes.
The (6) Western Plateaus, Basins, and Ranges lie west of the Rocky
Mountains. This region extends from Washington south to the Mexican border. It is
the driest part of the United States. Parts of it are wastelands with little plant life. But
the region has some forested mountains, and some fertile areas where rivers provide
irrigation water necessary for growing crops. In other areas, livestock graze on huge
stretches of dry land.
The Columbia Plateau occupies the northernmost part of the region. It has
fertile volcanic soil, formed by lava that flowed out of giant cracks in the earth
thousands of years ago. The Colorado Plateau lies in the southern part of the region.
It has some of the nation’s most unusual landforms, including natural bridges and
arches of solid rock and huge, lat-topped rock formations. The plateau’s spectacular
river gorges, including the Grand Canyon, rank among the world’s great natural
wonders. The Basin and Range part of the region is a vast area of mountains and
desert lowlands between the Columbia and Colorado plateaus.
The (7) Pacific Ranges and Lowlands stretch across western Washington and
Oregon and most of California. The region’s eastern boundary is formed by the
Cascade Mountains in the north and by the Sierra Nevada in the south. Volcanic

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 12
activity formed the Cascades. Two of the Cascades — Lassen Peak in California and
Mount Saint Helens in Washington — are active volcanoes.
Broad, fertile valleys lie west of the Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountains.
They include the Puget Sound Lowland of Washington, the Willamette Valley of
Oregon, and the Central Valley of California.
West of the valleys, the Coast Ranges line the Pacific shore. In many places,
they rise up abruptly from the ocean, creating craggy walls of rock. In other areas, the
mountains lie behind sandy coastal plains. Deep bays that jut into the coast include
Puget Sound, Columbia River Bay, San Francisco Bay, and San Diego Bay.

1.3. Rivers
The rivers of the United States belong to the Atlantic and the Pacific basins.
The chief and the longest river of the country is the Mississippi.
It originates in the Interior Plains. Together with its west tributary the
Missouri the Mississippi flows some 7,300 km from its northern source in the Rocky
Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico in the south. Other important tributaries of the
Mississippi are the Ohio River, Red, and the Arkansas River.
The two largest rivers of the Pacific side are the Colorado in the south and the
Columbia in the north. These rivers are navigable only in their lower reaches because
they flow through deep canyons and are cut by numerous rapids, which makes them a
good source of electric power. These rivers start in the Cordilleras and empty into the
Pacific Ocean.-
The Rio Grande (about 3,200 km long) is the most important river of the
southwest. It forms a natural boundary between Mexico and the USA.
Another important river of the USA is the Hudson River which flows across
the north-eastern part of the country and empties into the Atlantic Ocean at New
York.

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 13

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 14
Many short rivers flowing into the Atlantic Ocean – the Delaware, James,
Roanoke, Savannah, Potomac, and the Susquehanna — cut through the Hudson
Highlands of New York and New Jersey mountains to form water gaps. These water
gaps provide low, level land suitable for the construction of major roads and railways.
Bays cut deeply into the Atlantic Coastal Plain in some areas, creating excellent
natural harbours. They include Cape Cod Bay, Boston Bay, Chesapeake Bay,
Delaware Bay, and Long Island Sound.
Another river flowing into the Atlantic Ocean is the Tennessee River which,
together with its branches in the southern Great Valley, has about 50 dams and
provides flood control and hydroelectric power. New England’s chief river is the
Connecticut.
Numerous rivers — including the Alabama, Pearl, and the Trinity — cross the
Gulf Coastal Plain and flow into the Gulf.

1.4. Lakes
The United States has thousands of lakes of all kinds and sizes. The Great
Lakes make up the largest group of lakes in the country. It is also the greatest
collection of fresh-water lakes in the world. The total area of the Great Lakes (over
245,000 km2) is equal to that of Great Britain. Only Lake Michigan lies entirely
inside the US. The other four lakes – the Superior, Huron, Erie and Ontario – form
a border between north-eastern United States and Canada. The lakes are
interconnected by short rivers and channels. Between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, on
the Niagara River, which links the two lakes, there are the powerful Niagara Falls,
precipitating from the height of almost 50 meters. The waters of the Five Great Lakes
have their outlet into the Atlantic Ocean by St. Lawrence River, flowing mostly
across the territory of Canada.
Another group of lakes is to the west of the Rocky Mountains. The most
famous of these salty lakes are Great Salt Lake in Utah, and the Salton Sea in
Southern California. Great Salt Lake is the largest of many shallow, salty lakes in this

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 15
area. Bathers cannot sink in Great Salt Lake because the high salt content enables
swimmers to float with ease.
The following region of numerous lakes lies along the Gulf of Mexico and the
Atlantic shore. There are hundreds of small lakes and lagoons in coastal swamps or
behind sandy coastal dunes.

1.5. Climate
Climate is the aggregate of day-to-day weather conditions over a period of
many years. It is the result of the interaction of many different elements, the most
important of which are temperature and precipitation.
Climatic patterns are a result of the interaction of three geographic controls.
The first is latitude. The second control is based on the relationship between land
and water. Land tends to heat and cool more rapidly than water. In a tendency called
continentality, places far from large bodies of water experience greater seasonal
extremes of temperature than do coastal communities. Proximity to large water
bodies also tends to have a positive influence on precipitation levels, with coastal
locations receiving generally higher amounts.
The third prime geographic influence on climate is topography. Most obvious
it is the relationship between elevation and temperature, with higher elevations cooler
than lower elevations. The influence of topography can be broader, however, because
it affects wind flow. If a major mountain chain lies astride a normal wind direction,
the mountains force the air to rise and cool. As the air mass cools, the amount of
moisture that it can hold is reduced. Moisture falls on the windward side, and the lee
is dry.
Most parts of America are subject to a generally westerly wind flow that tends
to move weather systems eastward. The continental climate of the interior is thus
pushed onto the East Coast.
Recapping the above information one can say that the United States has many
kinds of climate. The weather ranges from the warm, wet conditions of the
Appalachians to the desert conditions of some of the western states. It varies from

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 16
almost winterless climate in southern Arizona and southern Florida to long, very cold
winters in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.
The northern part of the Pacific coast enjoys a moderate climate with a cool
summer and a rather warm winter without a permanent snow cover. The southern part
of the Pacific coast has a Mediterranean climate: a hot, cloudless and dry summer and
a cool and rainy winter. The rainfall is rather small.
The climate on the Atlantic coast is continental-marine with cool summers and
rather warm winters. Farther to the south the climate gets warmer, gradually passing
into the monsoon subtropical climate in the extreme south and Florida. The
temperatures here are comparable to those on the Pacific coast of California, but the
rainfall is heavier and occurs mostly in summer.
The southern and far western parts of the United States have milder winters
than the rest of the country. Average January temperatures generally decrease from
south to north.
Alaska is cold, but the southern coast is milder than the rest of the state. Hawaii
is tropical.
When speaking about the distribution patterns of precipitation (rain, snow,
hail, and other forms of moisture) one should mention that the Cascade Mountains
and the Sierra Nevada Mountains are so close to the west coast, that they catch the
largest amount of the rain from the Pacific Ocean before it can go further inland. As a
result, there is too little rain for almost the whole western half of the United States,
which lies in the “rain shadow” of the mountains. In a great part of that territory,
therefore, farmers must depend on irrigation water from the snows or rains that are
caught by the mountains. So the wettest area in North America is along the Pacific
coast from Oregon to southern Alaska, where moisture-laden winds strike mountains
along the shore. Average annual precipitation is more than 200 centimeters
throughout the area, and in some places exceeds 300 centimeters.
One of the most important and at the same time striking geographical
boundaries in the United States is the 50-centimetre rainfall line, which runs north
and south almost through the middle of the country. East of the line, farming is

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 17
relatively easy, and the population is relatively large. West of the line, one finds man-
made irrigation systems, dry-farming, grazing and fewer people. West of the Rocky
Mountains, running all the way from the Canadian border to Mexico, there are vast
areas where almost no trees grow. In this section of the country are the deserts which
receive as little as 12.7 centimetres of rainfall a year. Yet, west of the Sierra Nevada
Mountains, as was mentioned above, is the wettest place in the United States of
America.
Precipitation ranges from a yearly average of less than 5 centimetres at Death
Valley to about 1,170 centimetres at Mount Waialeale (Waimea Canyon) in Hawaii.
In general, however, most parts of the United States have seasonal changes in
temperature and moderate precipitation.
The climate of the United States varies greatly from place to place. Average
annual temperatures range from — 13°C in Barrow, Alaska, to 25.7°C in Death
Valley, California. The highest temperature ever recorded in the country was 57°C. It
was registered at Death Valley on July 10, 1913. The lowest recorded temperature
was — 62°C It was registered at Prospect Creek, near Barrow, Alaska, on January 23,
1971.
Average July temperatures in most of the country are between 16 — 24°C and
24 — 32°C. Temperatures are lower in most of Alaska and some mountains, and
higher in the Southwest desert.

1.6. Vegetation and Animal Life


Vegetation There are several ways of describing vegetation regions of the
USA. Perhaps the simplest is to divide the country into three broad categories —
forest, grasslands, and scrublands. One can also include here tundra although it
occupies only some parts of northern United States.
Forests once covered most of the East, the central and northern Pacific Coast,
the higher elevations of the West, and a broad band across the interior North. Forests
of the Pacific coast, the interior West, the North, and a narrow belt in the Deep South
were all needleleaf and composed of many different trees. Much of the Ohio and

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 18
lower Mississippi River Valleys and the middle Great Lakes region was covered by a
broadleaf forest.
Grasslands covered much of the interior lowlands, including nearly all of the
Great Plains from Texas and New Mexico to the Canadian border. This is an area of
generally subhumid climate where precipitation amounts are not adequate to support
tree growth. An eastward extension of the grasslands, the Prairie Wedge, reached
across Illinois to the western edge of Indiana, where precipitation is clearly adequate
to support tree growth.
Scrublands usually develop under dry conditions. They are concentrated in the
lowlands of the interior West. Actual vegetation varies from the cacti of the
Southwest to the dense, brushy chaparral of southern California and the mesquite of
Texas.
The tundra of the far North is the result of a climate that is too cold and too dry
for the growth of vegetation other than grasses, lichens, and mosses. Tundra exists in
small areas far southward into the United States, where climatic conditions at high
elevations are inhospitable to tree growth.
By the 1970’s almost half the forests had been cut down and large areas in the
prairies had been ploughed.
Botanists speak of something called climax (or “natural”) vegetation — the one
that would grow and reproduce indefinitely at a place with a stable climate and
average conditions of soil and drainage. For most of the inhabited portions of
America today, that concept has little meaning. The “natural” vegetation, has been so
substantially removed, rearranged, and replaced that it seldom is found now.
In the Southeast, for example, the original mixed broadleaf and needleleaf
forests were cut and replaced by the economically more important needleleaf forests.
The grasses of the plains and prairies are mostly European imports. Their native
American predecessors are gone either because they offered an inferior browse for
farm animals or because they could not withstand imported weeds. Most of what
climax vegetation remains is in the West and North.

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 19
In the north-east and in the region of the Great Lakes there are mixed forests of
pine, fir, silver-fir, lime and ash. Farther south they are replaced by broad-leaf forests
of oak, maple, tulip-tree and plane-tree; still farther south there appear magnolia,
laurel and other evergreen plants.
The vegetation in the Cordilleras is represented by coniferous forests, which
cover the lower mountain slopes, and at the height of 3000 m by alpine meadows.
In California one can come across sequoia or redwood. The prevailing
vegetation in the dry Southwest is brushwood of sclerophyllous shrubs and trees
Animal Life The mixed forests zone is the home of the brown bear, lynx,
glutton, and marten. In the forests of the Appalachians there is Virginia deer, red
lynx, chipmunk, mole, different kinds of bats.
The Southeast is represented by alligator, turtle, peccary, opossum, coyote,
rattle-snake and many kinds of pole-cats, badgers and gophers. Of birds there is
flamingo, pelican and humming-bird.
The semi-desert and desert zones are inhabited by different rodents and
reptiles.
On the Cordillera slopes there is Rocky Mountain sheep, grizzly bear and
farther south – jaguar and armadillo.

1.7. Mineral Resources


In North America, vast regions are formed by sediments from the
Carboniferous period. These areas where coal, oil, or natural gas might be found are
located in the interior and Great Plains, sections of the Gulf coastal plain, portions of
the Pacific mountains and valleys, the Arctic rimland, and along the western margins
of the Appalachian Highlands and in the eastern Rockies.
Large deposits of mineral fuels have been discovered across these sedimentary
lowlands. The most important coal deposits in America have been mined in the more
rugged Appalachian field. Mines throughout this nearly continuous field in eastern
Kentucky, West Virginia, and western Pennsylvania were the earliest to be brought
into production, and they continue to supply over half of America’s coal needs.

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Until recently, much of the remaining coal mined in the United States has been
obtained from the Eastern Interior Field, which underlies most of Illinois and extends
into western Indiana and western Kentucky.
The Western Interior Field is also large, located under Iowa and Missouri with
a narrowing extension southward into eastern Oklahoma. The coal found in this field
is of slightly poorer quality than that found in the eastern fields and has only recently
begun to be mined. There are also several extensive fields of brown coal in the
northern Great Plains.
There are many small and a few large bituminous deposits scattered through
and along the eastern margins of the Rocky Mountains. Extensive deposits in
Wyoming and Montana have come into production in the last three decades.
Scattered deposits of petroleum and natural gas are found throughout the
Appalachian coal field. Southern Illinois and south-central Michigan produce some
petroleum, as do scattered sites across the northern Great Plains and the northern
Rockies.
The most important petroleum fields, however, have been those in the southern
plains, along the Gulf coast, and in southern California. One great arc of producing
wells is located along the full length of the Texas and Louisiana coasts. Another
slightly broken arc extends from central Kansas south through Oklahoma and
westward across central Texas to New Mexico. Between and beyond these two large
areas lie two more fields of great importance, the East Texas field and the Panhandle
field in northwest Texas. Separate from these fields but also of major importance are
those located in southern California. In the mid-1960s, exploitation of deposits of
petroleum and natural gas was begun along the north Alaska slope.
The source of metallic minerals is metamorphic rock. The pattern of mineral
production follows a long arc extending from the North Atlantic and St. Lawrence
River estuary across the Great Lakes and northward through Canada to the Arctic
Ocean. The arc continues on both sides of Lake Superior: in northern Michigan,
Wisconsin, and Minnesota with copper and iron.

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 21
A second zone of metamorphic rock is located along the eastern Appalachian
Mountains. Copper and iron were important minerals found locally by New England
colonists.
A third and extensive region of metallic minerals is formed by the western
mountains. There are scattered deposits of gold and silver, a few of them rich, from
south of the Mexican border to central Alaska. Of great industrial importance are the
large deposits of copper, zinc, lead, molybdenum, and uranium found in this western
region, as well as smaller deposits of tungsten, chromite, manganese, and other
minerals.

1.8. The population


Today, the US total resident population of over 305 million is a rich mosaic of
national origins. Whites make up about 80 per cent of the country’s population.
Blacks form the largest minority group. They account for about 12 per cent of the
population. About 3 per cent of the population is of Asian descent. American Indians
make up almost 1 per cent of the population. Other groups combine to make up the
remaining 4 per cent.
The population of the United States includes many Hispanic people, such as
people of Mexican, Puerto Rican, or Cuban descent. Hispanics consist mainly of
whites, but they also include some blacks and American Indians. Hispanics make up
8 per cent of the U.S. population.
The ratio of females and males is 51 to 49 per cent. The expectation of life for
the white man is 71 and for a black man 65 years, for a white woman — 78 and for a
black woman — 74 years.
The United States has seen a rapid growth in its elderly population during the
20th century. The number of Americans aged 65 and older climbed to 35 million in
2000, compared with 3.1 million in 1900. Improvements in medical care have been
the main reason for the increase. The over-65 population of the United States will
continue to grow at a rapid rate as advances in medicine continue and as the large

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 22
numbers of people born during the “baby boom” grow older. The baby boom was a
period of high birth rate that occurred in the United States from 1946 to 1964.
About 52% of American adults in 2000 were married and living with their
spouse. Another 24% had never been married, 7% were widowed, and 10% were
divorced.
Of the 105.5 mil households in the United States, 72 % included or constituted
a family — that is, 2 or more people related by blood, marriage, or adoption. The
remaining households consisted of a person living alone or 2 or more unrelated
people.
Some parts of the nation are growing much faster than others. The fastest
growth, as usual, was concentrated in the West. Growing more slowly were the
Midwest and the Northeast.
A vital role in the formation of the population of the United States was played
by the immigration. Immigrants from different countries very often live by solid
communities – Franco-Canadians in the north of New England, Germans in
Pennsylvania, Swedes in Minnesota, the French in Louisiana, the Slavs in the
northeast and the Lake District.
More than half of the population is concentrated in the industrial Northeast.
California is the most populated state – 27 million people.
Approximately 94 per cent of the present-day Americans were born in the USA
and nearly all have been assimilated into the American way of life. The largest
foreign-born groups are, in order of size, Mexicans, Germans, Canadians, Italians,
British, and Cubans.
The United States has an overall average population density of about 27 people
per square kilometre. But the density varies widely from place to place.
Ancestry The United States has one of the world’s most varied populations in
terms of ancestry. The population includes descendants of people from almost every
part of the world.
The first people to live in what is now the United States were Indians,
Eskimos, and Hawaiians. The Indians and Eskimos are descended from peoples who

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 23
migrated to North America from Asia thousands of years ago. The ancestors of the
Hawaiians were Polynesians who sailed to what is now Hawaii from other Pacific
islands about 2,000 years ago.
Most white Americans trace their ancestry to Europe. Most Hispanic
Americans are people who immigrated — or whose ancestors immigrated — to the
United States from Latin America. A small percentage of them trace their ancestry
directly back to Spain. Some have mainly Spanish ancestry. Others have mixed
Spanish and Latin-American Indian or black ancestry.
Most black Americans are descendants of Africans who were brought to the
United States as slaves during the 1600’s – 1800’s and forced to work on plantations.
Since the 1800’s, the United States has attracted immigrants from Asia. Most
Asian Americans trace their ancestry to China, India, Indochina, Japan, Korea, or the
Philippines.
The United States has often been called a melting pot. This term refers to the
idea that the country is a place where people from many lands have come together
and formed a unified culture. But in other ways, US society is an example of cultural
pluralism. That is, large numbers of its people have retained features of the cultures
of their ancestors.
For census purposes, the United States is divided into urban areas and rural
areas. An urban area, as defined by the US Census Bureau, is a community with
2,500 or more people. A rural area is a community with fewer than 2,500 people.
In 1790, the year of the first census, about 95 per cent of the nation’s people
lived in rural areas, and only about 5 per cent were urban dwellers. Through the
years, these percentages changed steadily and dramatically as a result of the reduction
of employment in agriculture and the increase of those employed in industry, trade,
finance, and service. Today, about 74 per cent of all the people live in urban areas.
Only about 26 per cent live in rural areas.
Urban life Although the urban areas cover less than 2 per cent of the land, they
are the home of about three-fourths of the people. New York City, with about 7
million people, is the largest US city by far. Los Angeles has about 3 million people.

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 24
Chicago has a population of about 2 million. Five other US cities — Houston,
Philadelphia, San Diego, Detroit, and Dallas — each have more than 1 million
people.
Networks of suburbs surround many US cities. There are about 335
metropolitan areas in the United States. The four largest are, in order of size, the Los
Angeles, Long Beach, New York City, and Chicago areas.
Urban economies provide jobs for a great variety of workers. Urban life also
has many other positive features. Because of their large populations, urban areas
generally offer a wide variety of specialized services and shops. Urban dwellers can
take advantage of an assortment of restaurants, recreation facilities, and places of
entertainment. These and other features make urban areas exciting and interesting
places to live for many people.
The people of most US urban areas represent a variety of ethnic backgrounds.
Most cities include neighbourhoods in which almost all the people belong to the same
ethnic or nationality group. The people of large urban areas are also divided
economically. Urban society includes extremely wealthy and extremely poor people,
and a huge middle class. The wealthy live in luxurious flats or condominiums
(apartment buildings), or in large, comfortable single-family houses. Middle-class
housing also includes flats, condominiums, and single-family houses. In contrast,
large numbers of urban poor people live in substandard housing. They rent crowded,
small flats or run-down single-family houses.
Rural life More than 98 per cent of all the land of the United States is
classified as rural. But much of the rural land is uninhabited or only lightly inhabited.
Farms provide the economic basis of the nation’s rural areas. But only about 5
per cent of the country’s rural people work on farms. Many other rural people own or
work in businesses related to agriculture, such as grain and feed stores and
warehouses. Mining and related activities and light industries also employ many rural
people. Still other rural Americans work as teachers, police officers, salesclerks, or in
other occupations. Many farmers hold other jobs for part of the year to add to their
incomes.

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 25
American farmers of today lead vastly different lives from those of their
grandparents. In the home, farm families may have all the comforts and conveniences
of people who live in cities. During the 1900’s, the car, telephone, radio, and
television have brought American farm families into close contact with the rest of the
world.
Because of their small populations, rural communities collect less tax revenues
than urban communities do, and they generally cannot provide the variety of services
that urban areas can. For many rural Americans, social life centres around family
gatherings, church and school activities, special interest clubs, and such events as
state and county fairs.
The gaps between economic classes are not as large in rural areas as in urban
areas. Most rural Americans live in single-family houses. The majority of the houses
are comfortable and in good condition. But some people, including many who live in
parts of Appalachia have run-down houses and enjoy few luxuries.
Religion About 60 per cent of all the American people are members of an
organized religious group. Among them, about 52 per cent are Protestants, 37 per
cent Roman Catholics, 4 per cent Jews, 3 per cent Mormons, and 3 per cent are
members of Eastern Orthodox Churches. Relatively small numbers of Americans
belong to other faiths, such as Islam and Buddhism. Roman Catholics make up the
largest single religious denomination in the United States. About 53 million
Americans are Roman Catholics. The country’s largest Protestant groups are, in order
of size, Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Pentecostals, and Presbyterians.

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Lecture 2
An Outline of American Economy

2.1. General Characteristics


America’s economy produces a greater value of agricultural, manufactured,
and mined products than any other country. The United States ranks first in the world
in the total value of its economic production. The nation’s gross national product
(GNP) — the value of all the goods and services produced by a country in a year —
amounted to about 13,5 trillion US dollars in 2008. This total was more than three
times the GNP of Japan, which ranked second.
The United States economy is based largely on a free enterprise system. In
such a system, individuals and companies are free to make their own economic
decisions. Individuals and companies own the raw materials, equipment, factories,
and other items necessary for production, and they decide how best to use them in
order to make a profit.
At the same time the government also plays an important role in the American
economy. It has placed regulations on economic practices over the years. It has
passed antitrust laws, which are designed to keep one company or a few firms from
controlling entire industries. Government regulations protect consumers from unsafe
merchandise and protected workers from unsafe working conditions and
unreasonably low wages. The government has also enacted regulations designed to
reduce environmental pollution. In spite of involvement by the government, the
United States still has one of the least regulated economies in the world.
A variety of natural resources provide the raw materials that support the
economy of the United States. In addition to a moderate climate, the most valuable
resources are minerals, soils, water, forests, and fish.
Minerals The United States has large deposits of coal, iron ore, natural gas,
and petroleum, which are vital to the country’s industrial strength. Its many other
important minerals include copper, gold, lead, phosphates, potash, silver, sulphur, and

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zinc. To meet its needs, however, the United States has to import additional amounts
of iron ore, petroleum, and other minerals.
Soils The United States has vast expanses of fertile soil that is well-suited to
growing crops. The most fertile soils include the dark soils of the Interior Plains and
the alluvial (water-deposited) soils along the lower Mississippi River Valley and
other smaller river valleys. Rich, wind-blown soil called loess covers parts of eastern
Washington and the southern Interior Plains.
Water Lakes, rivers, and underground deposits supply water for households,
farms, and industries in the United States. The nation uses about 1,500 billion litres of
water daily. Households use only about 10 per cent of this total.
Forests cover nearly a third of the United States, and they yield many valuable
products. About 40 per cent of the nation’s timber comes from the trees of forests in
the Pacific Northwest. Forests in the South supply timber, wood pulp, and nearly all
the turpentine, pitch, rosin, and wood tar produced in the United States. The
Appalachian Mountains and parts of the Great Lakes area have fine hardwood forests.
Hickory, maple, oak, and other hardwood trees cut from these forests provide quality
woods for the manufacture of furniture.
Fish Americans catch about 5.6 million metric tons of sea products annually.
The greatest quantities are taken from the Gulf of Mexico, where important catches
include menhaden, oysters, and shrimp. The Pacific Ocean supplies pollock, cod,
crabs, herring, salmon, tuna, and other fish. The Atlantic yields cod, flounder,
herring, menhaden, and other fish; and such shellfish as clams, lobsters, oysters, and
scallops.

2.2. Industries and Services


Service industries account for 74 per cent of the US gross domestic product
and employ 76 per cent of the country’s workers.
Community, social, and personal services are rated first among US service
industries in terms of the GDP. This industry includes such establishments as doctors’
offices and private hospitals, hotels, law firms, computer programming and data

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 28
processing companies, restaurants, repair shops, private research laboratories, and
engineering companies.
Finance, insurance, land and property services are rated second among US
service industries. Banks finance much of the economic activity in the United States
by lending money to both individuals and businesses. Most of the loans to individuals
are for the purchase of houses, cars, or other major items. Loans to businesses
provide an important source of money for the construction of new factories and the
purchase of new equipment. Other important types of financial institutions include
commodity and security exchanges. The prices of commodities and securities are
determined by the buying and selling that takes place at exchanges. The New York
Stock Exchange is the nation’s largest security exchange. The Chicago Board of
Trade is the world’s largest commodity exchange.
The United States has the world's largest private insurance industry. The
country has about 2,000 life and health insurance companies and about 3,500
property and liability companies. Land and property services are important to the
economy of the United States because of the large sums of money involved in the
buying and selling of property.
Wholesale and retail trade play major roles in the American economy.
Wholesale trade, which includes foreign trade, takes place when a buyer purchases
goods directly from a producer. The goods may then be sold to other businesses for
resale to consumers. Retail trade involves selling products to the final consumer.
Foreign trade provides markets for surplus agricultural goods and many raw
materials and manufactured goods produced in the United States. Important US
exports include (1) machinery and transportation equipment, such as aircraft,
computers, electric power equipment, industrial machinery, and motor vehicles and
parts; (2) manufactured articles, especially scientific measuring equipment; (3)
chemical elements and compounds, including plastic materials; (4) basic
manufactures, such as metals and paper; and (5) agricultural products, especially
maize and wheat.

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The leading US imports are (1) machinery and transport equipment, such as
cars and parts, engines, office machines, and telecommunications equipment; (2)
manufactured articles, such as clothing, shoes, and toys; (3) mineral fuels and
lubricants, especially petroleum; (4) basic manufactures, such as iron, steel, and other
metals, and paper and newsprint; and (5) chemical products, such as chemical
compounds and medicines.
Canada and Japan are the country’s chief trading partners. Other major US
trading partners include Germany, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United
Kingdom.
Government services play a major role in the economy. Federal, state, and
local governments employ 17 per cent of US workers. Many government employees
are directly involved in making public policies. Others — including police officers,
postal workers, teachers, and refuse collectors — provide public services.
Federal, state, and local governments buy a fifth of all the goods and services
produced by the nation. These purchases range from paper clips to office buildings.
The federal government is the nation’s largest single buyer of goods and services. Its
agencies, including the military, buy billions of dollars worth of equipment from
private companies. In addition, federal grants finance much of the nation’s research
activity.
Communication and utilities are also important to the economy. Utility
companies provide electricity, gas, telephone, and water services.
Manufacturing accounts for 18 per cent of the gross domestic product and
employs 16 per cent of the workers. The value of American manufactured goods is
greater than that of any other country. Factories in the United States turn out a
tremendous variety of producer goods, such as sheet metal and printing presses; and
consumer goods, such as cars, clothing, and TV sets. The leading categories of US
products are, in order of value, chemicals, transportation equipment, food products,
machinery and equipment, printed materials, scientific and medical instruments,
fabricated metal products, paper products, rubber and plastic products, and primary
metals.

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 30
The Midwest and Northeast have long been major US centres of
manufacturing. Since the mid-1900’s, the country’s fastest-growing manufacturing
areas have been on the West Coast, in the Southwest, and in the South. Today,
California is first among the states in the value of its manufactured goods, followed
by Texas, Ohio, Michigan, New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. Manufacturers in
California produce aircraft, aerospace equipment, computers and electronic
components, food products, and many other goods.
Midwestern factories turn out much of the nation’s iron and steel, cars, and
other heavy industrial products. The Northeast has many clothing factories, food
processors, printing plants, and manufacturers of electronic equipment. Petroleum
refineries and petrochemical industries account for much of the manufacturing
activity in Texas and other states bordering the Gulf of Mexico. Atlanta, Dallas-Fort
Worth, Seattle, and Wichita are important centres for the manufacture of aircraft and
related equipment.
Construction accounts for 4 per cent of the US gross domestic product and
provides jobs for 4 per cent of the work force. This industry employs such workers as
architects, engineers, contractors, bricklayers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers,
roofers, ironworkers, and plasterers.
Agriculture accounts for 2 per cent of the US gross domestic product and
employs 3 per cent of the nation’s workers. Yet, the United States is a world leader in
agriculture production. The country’s farms turn out as much food as the nation
needs, with enough left over to export food to other countries. About a third of the
world’s food exports come from US farms.
Beef cattle is the most valuable product of American farms. Millions of beef
cattle are reared on huge ranches in the western United States. The South and
Midwest also produce large numbers of beef cattle. Other leading farm products, in
order of value, include milk, maize, soybeans, chickens and eggs, pigs, wheat, and
cotton. United States farms also produce large amounts of hay, tobacco, turkeys,
oranges, potatoes, tomatoes, apples, peanuts, and sorghum.

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Farmers throughout the country rear dairy cattle for milk and other products.
Much of the dairy production is concentrated in a belt that extends from Minnesota to
New York. Midwestern states account for much of the nation’s maize, soybeans, and
pig production. The nation’s chief wheat-growing region stretches across the Great
Plains. Most of the chickens are reared in the South. California and the states in the
South and Southwest produce almost all the country’s cotton. Farmers in various
areas also produce poultry, eggs, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and many other crops.
Mining The United States is among the leading countries in the value of its
mineral production. Mining accounts for 2 per cent of the gross domestic product and
employs 1 per cent of the workers.
The chief mineral products of the United States are, in order of value,
petroleum, natural gas, and coal. The United States is third, after Russia and Saudi
Arabia, in the production of petroleum. It is second to Russia in natural gas
production. The United States is the second-largest producer of coal after China.
Although mining accounts for a small share of the total economic output in the
United States, it has been a key to the growth of other parts of the economy such as
steel production, fuel for electric power plants, heating and industrial power; the
manufacture of plastics, paint, drugs, fertilizers, and synthetic fabrics, construction
materials, etc.
Energy sources The farms, factories, households, and motor vehicles of the
United States consume vast amounts of energy annually. Various sources are used to
generate the energy. Petroleum provides about 40 per cent. It is the source of most of
the energy used to power motor vehicles, and it heats millions of houses and
factories. Natural gas generates about 25 per cent of the energy used. Many industries
use gas for heat and power and millions of households burn it for heat, cooking, and
drying laundry. Coal is the source of about 25 per cent of all the energy. Its major
uses are in the production of electricity and steel. The electricity lights buildings and
powers factory and farm machinery. Hydroelectric and nuclear power plants each
generate about 5 per cent of America’s energy.

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 32
Transportation A sprawling transportation network spreads out over the
United States. Motor vehicles drive on about 6,200,000 kilometres of streets, roads,
and highways in the country. The United States has an average of about 80 cars for
every 100 people. Trucks carry nearly 25 per cent of the freight in the United States.
The United States has about 240,000 kilometres of railway lines. Railways are
the leading freight carriers in the United States, handling more than 35 per cent of the
freight. But they account for less than 1 per cent of all passenger traffic.
Airlines handle about 18 per cent of all US passenger traffic, but less than 0,5
per cent of the freight traffic. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is the world’s
busiest airport.
About 15 per cent of the freight traffic in the United States travels on
waterways. The Mississippi River system handles more than half of this freight.
Ships and barges travelling on the Mississippi and its branches, including the
Arkansas, Missouri, and Ohio rivers, can reach deep into the country’s interior. The
Great Lakes form the nation’s other major inland waterway. The St. Lawrence
Seaway links the lakes with the Atlantic Ocean.
There are many major ports in the United States. New Orleans ranks as the
busiest port in the nation, followed by the ports of New York City and Houston.
The nation has a vast network of pipelines that carries crude oil, petroleum
products, and natural gas. Pipelines account for nearly 25 per cent of the total freight
handled in the United States.

2.3. The Main Economic Regions in the East of the USA


The United Stations is the leading economic power in the world with a high
standard of living. The states of the USA can be grouped into regions that have
common historical, economic and physical characteristics. From this point of view
we can single out six major economic regions. They are (1) the New England Region,
(2) the Middle Atlantic States Region, (3) the Southern and Southwestern States
Region, (4) the Northern and Midwestern States Region, (5) the Rocky Mountains
States Region, and (6) the Pacific Coast States Region.

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 33
The New England Region It is made up of the New England states (to the
east of the Hudson River valley): Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts,
Rhode Island, and Connecticut. It is a small region in the northeast corner of the
country that is known for picturesque rural villages, fishing harbours and colourful
autumn scenery. Industrial cities dot southern New England. Much of the region’s
land is too hilly or rocky to grow crops. But New England produces large amounts of
dairy products and is famous for its maple syrup.
The southern section includes Boston, New England’s largest city by far.
The Middle Atlantic States Region It stretches inland from the Atlantic
Ocean southwest of New England. New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey
and Maryland form this region. Deepwater harbours help make the region a major
centre of international trade. The busiest harbour is at New York City, the largest city
in the United States. Factories in and near such Middle Atlantic cities -in order of
size — such as New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Newark
produce a wide variety of goods. Coal mining and related industries are important
economic activities in the western part of the Middle Atlantic States Region. Farms
dot hillsides and fertile plains in various parts of the region.
The Middle Atlantic States Region ranks as the nation’s most densely
populated area.
The Northern and Midwestern States Region It is a vast area of generally
flat land that covers much of the north and centre of the United States. The Northern
states are Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and
Nebraska.
The Mississippi River system, the Great Lakes, and many railways give the
region an excellent transportation network. Lakes and rivers provide numerous
recreation areas there. The Great Lakes region is the industrial heart of the USA. It
produces heavy machinery, farm equipment and automobiles. In recent years,
industrial growth has declined here. The manufacturing industry and trade have made
this region an urban region that produces goods like steel, clothing and books.

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In addition to manufacturing and trade, about 20% of the economic activity of
the Northeast is connected with service: finance and banking, entertainment,
education, government service.
The largest cities here are Detroit and Milwaukee.
The Midwestern states of the region include Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri
and Kansas. The Midwest is famous for its large stretches of fertile soil. Farms in the
region produce enormous quantities of maize, wheat, and other crops-and also dairy
products and livestock. In addition, the Midwest has a number of large industrial
cities. The largest cities include Chicago and Columbus.

2.4. The Main Economic Regions in the West of the USA


The Rocky Mountain States Region This region lies west of the Midwest. It
is made up of the states of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New
Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. It is named after the Rocky Mountains, which cut
through it. In addition to the mountains the region has areas of desert, plains and
plateaus. Although much of it is a thinly populated wilderness (the smallest number
of population as compared to other regions of the USA), some of its cities and towns
are among the nation’s fastest-growing areas.
The Rocky Mountains are rich in mineral and energy resources. Rich deposits
of gold, silver, and other metals first attracted settlers to the region. Mining remains
an important economic activity. Today, a number of minerals are mined such as
copper, mercury and molybdenum. But manufacturing is now the chief source of
income. Oil, natural gas and coal are now of major importance to the region .Cattle
and other livestock graze on dry, grassy ranges, and farmers grow a variety of crops
here. Many tourists visit the region to enjoy its scenic beauty and numerous ski
resorts.
Denver ranks as the region’s largest city by far. Denver has an economy based
on federal government service including a mint. The other major city here is Phoenix.
Phoenix is an important producer of electronic products, computers, airplanes and
chemicals.

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The South and Southwestern States Region It is an area of rolling hills,
mountains, and plains bordered by broad beaches along the Atlantic Ocean and the
Gulf of Mexico. Until the mid-1900s, the region’s economy was based heavily on
agriculture. Such warm-weather crops as sugar cane, tobacco, pecans (very specific
and tasty nuts) and peanuts, citrus fruits and soybeans and, especially, cotton
contributed greatly to the economy.
Agriculture has retained importance in the South. But an industrial boom that
began in the mid-1900s has greatly increased manufacturing and has improved the
balance of the region’s economy.
Fishing produces more than half of the total national catch.
The South and Southwestern States Region can be divided into three large
areas. The south-eastern states of the region lying south of the Ohio and Potomac
rivers and east of the Mississippi River along the Atlantic Coastal Plain – Florida,
Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia – are known as the South
Atlantic states. Baltimore is the largest city here. Jacksonville, Memphis,
Washington D.C, New Orleans and Charlotte rank next in size. Washington D.C is
not part of a state.
The states in the Appalachian Highlands and along the Gulf Coastal Plain are
known as the South Central states. They are West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee,
Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana. Mining and oil drilling are important
economic activities in the South Central states. Atlanta is to this area what Chicago is
to the Midwestern States Region. It is a most important centre of railroad and airline
transportation in the South.
To the west, part of the region spreads out over a vast area that is sometimes
called the “wide open spaces”. Oklahoma and Texas make up the Southern Plains
states. There, cattle graze on huge ranches, and vast fields of cotton and other crops
soak up rays of blazing sunshine. However, petroleum has brought the region most of
its wealth. The region has large deposits of petroleum and natural gas, as well as
various other minerals. This part of the region includes many of the nation’s fastest-

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growing cities. Its largest cities are, in order of size, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, El
Paso, and Austin.
Texas is one of the most important agricultural states in the region and the
country. It leads the country in the number of cattle and sheep.
Houston is the largest city in the area. It is becoming the international center of
technology for space exploration, energy and medicine.
The Pacific Coast States Region The region, which borders the Pacific
Ocean, is known for its dense forests, rugged mountains, and dramatic ocean shore.
The scenic beauty and relatively mild climate of the region encourage an outdoor life
style enjoyed by both residents and tourists. It includes those states, which are
washed by the Pacific Ocean: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington.
Fertile valleys in the Pacific Coast States Region produce a large part of the
nation’s fruits, nuts, vegetables, and wine grapes. The region also has abundant
timber, minerals, and fish.
Due to its location on the ocean the region has important fisheries. California
holds the first place in the country for its catch. Fishing in Hawaii is mainly for sport
and recreation.
California also leads the Pacific states in farming. It is the country’s leading
grower of fruits and vegetables.
Tourism plays a very important role in the economy of Hawaii. Alaska now
receives great profit from oil production.
The fastest growing industries in the region are electronics and technical
products. (Silicone Valley is in an area around the city of San Jose).
Most of the region’s large cities are ports. Los Angeles is the third largest city
in the country. The Los Angeles area is a giant center of aircraft production,
communications equipment, motor cars and cosmetics. It is also a major region of
space technology. It is also known as the city of entertainment because of Hollywood,
which is the world capital of film production.

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Much manufacturing takes place in the region’s other large cities, which
include San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, and Seattle. San Francisco is the center
of trade, finance and shipping.

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Lecture 3
The Political and State System of the USA

3.1. The Constitution of the USA


Creation of the Constitution The American Constitution is one of the world’s
oldest written constitutions in force. It is the central instrument of American
government and the supreme law of the land. For more than 200 years it has provided
the basis for political stability, individual freedom, economic growth, and social
progress.
The Constitution owes its staying power to its simplicity and flexibility.
Originally designed in the late 18th century to provide a framework for governing 4
million people in 13 very different states along America’s Atlantic coast, its basic
provisions were so soundly conceived that, with only 27 amendments, it now serves
the needs of more than 300 million Americans in 50 even more diverse states that
stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.
The path to the Constitution wasn’t straight or easy. A draft document
appeared in 1787 after intense debate and six years of experience with an earlier
federal union. As you know, the 13 British colonies in America declared their
independence from their motherland in 1776. A year before, war had broken out
between the colonies and Britain. While still at war, the colonies — now calling
themselves the United States of America — drafted an agreement that bound them
together as a nation. The compact, called the “Articles of Confederation and
Perpetual Union”, was adopted by a congress of the states in 1777 and formally
signed in July 1778. The Articles became binding when they were ratified by the 13th
state, Maryland, in March 1781.
The Articles of Confederation devised a loose association among the states and
set up a federal government with very limited powers. In such critical matters as
defense, public finance, and trade, the federal government was at the mercy of the

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state legislatures. It was not an arrangement leading to stability or strength. Within a
short time the weakness of the confederation was apparent to all. George
Washington, who would become the first president of the United States in 1789, said
that the 13 states were united only “by a rope of sand”.
It was under these circumstances that the Constitution of the United States was
drawn up. In February 1787 the Continental Congress, the legislative body of the
republic, issued a call for the states to send delegates to Philadelphia to revise the
Articles. The Constitutional Convention gathered on May 25, 1787 in Independence
Hall, where the Declaration of Independence had been adopted 11 years before.
Although the delegates had been authorised only to amend the Articles of
Confederation, they put aside the Articles and proceeded to construct a charter for a
completely new, more centralised form of government. The new document, the
Constitution, was completed on September 17, 1787, and was officially adopted on
March 4, 1789.
The 55 delegates who drafted the Constitution included most of the outstanding
leaders, or Founding Fathers, of the new nation.
The Supreme Law The US Constitution calls itself the “supreme law of the
land”. It means that when state constitutions or laws passed by state legislatures or by
the national Congress are found in conflict with the federal Constitution, these laws
have no force.
Final authority is vested in the American people, who can change the
fundamental law, if they wish, by amending the Constitution.
The power of public officials is also limited under the Constitution. Their
public actions must conform to the Constitution and to the laws made in accordance
with the Constitution. Appointed officials serve at the pleasure of the person or
authority that appointed them and may be removed at any time. The exception to this
practice is the lifetime appointment by the president of justices of the Supreme Court
and other federal judges, so that they may be free of political obligations or influence.

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The Constitution makes provision for the removal of a public official from
office, in cases of extreme misconduct or malfeasance, by the process of
impeachment (Article II, Section 4).
Impeachment is considered a drastic measure, one that has been used on only
rare occasions in the United States. Since 1797 the House of Representatives has
voted articles of impeachment against 16 federal officials — two presidents, one
cabinet member, one senator, one justice of the Supreme Court, and 11 federal
judges. Of those impeached, the Senate has convicted seven, all of them judges.
In 1868 the Senate fell one vote short of the two-thirds majority necessary to
convict President Andrew Johnson over issues relating to the proper treatment of the
defeated Confederate states following the American Civil War. In 1974, as a result of
the Watergate affair, President Richard Nixon resigned from office after the Judiciary
Committee of the House recommended impeachment. As recently as 1998, President
Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives on charges of perjury
and obstruction of justice.
The Principles of the Constitution The underlying element of the Constitution
is that private property is the backbone of liberty. It was put forward by a rich
plantation owner from Virginia, James Madison, who is known to be the “Father of
the Constitution”.
Although the Constitution has changed in many aspects since it was first
adopted, its basic principles remain the same now as in 1789:
1) The three main branches of government — executive, legislative, judicial —
are separate and distinct from one another. The powers given to each are delicately
balanced by the powers of the other two.
2) The Constitution stands above all other laws, executive acts, and
regulations.
3) All persons are equal before the law and are equally entitled to its
protection. All states are equal, and none can receive special treatment from the
federal government. Within the limits of the Constitution, each state must recognise
and respect the laws of the others.

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4) The people have the right to change their form of national government by
legal means defined in the Constitution.
The Structure of the Constitution The Constitution consists of the Preamble
and seven articles. Twenty-seven amendments have been added to its original text
since 1789.The most sweeping changes occurred within two years of its adoption.
The first ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were added in 1791. These
amendments establish the individual rights and freedoms to all people of the States,
including freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of worship, the right to
peaceful assembly, etc. Congress approved these amendments as a block in
September 1789, and 11 states had ratified them by the end of 1791.
These amendments remain intact today, as they were written two centuries ago.
The first guarantees freedom of worship, speech, and press; the right of peaceful
assembly; and the right to petition the government to correct wrongs. The second
guarantees the right of citizens to bear arms. The third provides that troops may not
be quartered in private homes without the owner’s consent.
The next five amendments deal with the system of justice.
Some of these amendments are now relatively unimportant, but the 5th
amendment retains its significance. It provides that “no person shall be deprived of
life, liberty or property, without due process of law”, and no person “shall be
compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself”.
The last two of the 10 amendments contain very broad statements of
constitutional authority.
All the amendments adopted by Congress become an integral part of the
Constitution. Mention should be made of some of them. The 13th amendment
abolished slavery. The 14th and the 15th adopted in 1868 and 1870 defined citizenship
and gave the vote to all male citizens, regardless of race and colour. The 19th gave the
vote to women, and was adopted in 1920. The 22nd amendment, adopted in 1951,
makes it impossible for any President to hold office for more than two terms. The
25th amendment, adopted in 1967, clarifies the process of presidential succession.
The 26th amendment was adopted in 1971, it lowered the voting age to 18 years.

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3.2. The Executive Branch: the President and
Administration
The executive branch of the United States government consists of (1) the
President, (2) the Executive Office of the president, (3) the executive departments,
and (4) the independent agencies.
The president of the United States is the nation’s chief executive and chief of
state. As chief executive, the president has the responsibilities of enforcing federal
laws and appointing and removing high federal officials. The president commands
the armed forces, conducts foreign affairs, and recommends laws to Congress. The
president also appoints American representatives to international organizations and to
diplomatic missions in other lands. As chief of state, the president performs many
ceremonial duties. Elected by the people to hold office for a four-year term, the
president cannot be elected to more than two terms. President outlines the course of
his administration through his frequent messages to Congress. The major presidential
messages sent to Congress are the annual state of the union message, the annual
budget message and the economic report.
President must be a natural-born citizen of the USA, at least 35 years old, and
for at least 14 years a resident of the USA.
US President is assisted in Administration by a Cabinet of 14 members who
head 14 executive departments of the national government. The day-to-day
enforcement and administration of federal laws is in the hands of these departments,
created by Congress to deal with specific areas of national and international affairs.
These 14 departments are: (I) State, (2) Treasury, (3) Defense, (4) Justice, (5)
Interior, (6) Agriculture, (7) Commerce, (8) Labor, (9) Health and Human Services,
(10) Housing and Urban Development, (II) Transportation, (12) Energy, (13)
Education, and (14) Veterans Affairs. Department heads are appointed by the
president, with the approval of the Senate. They form the Cabinet. Thirteen are called
secretaries. The attorney general heads the Department of Justice.
The Constitution makes no provision for a presidential cabinet. The cabinet
developed outside the Constitution as a matter of practical necessity, for even in the

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days of George Washington, the country's first president, it was impossible for the
president to discharge his duties without advice and assistance.
Cabinet secretaries correspond to European ministers and directly and fully
responsible to President who appoints them for an indefinite time. Cabinet officials
usually serve during his term. When the President’s service ends, it is customary for
the Cabinet to resign, so the new President can appoint new chiefs of executive
departments. Among the most important departments one should mention the
Department of State responsible for American foreign policy, the Department of
Defence or the Pentagon, the Department of Justice, the Department of Commerce.
The State Department ranks ahead of other Departments. The political power of the
Secretary of State is second only to that of the President. The Secretary of State has
the duty of trying to maintain peace and to negotiate economic and political treaties.
In addition to Secretaries, President has the Executive Office of the president
which includes: (1) the White House Office, (2) the Office of Management and
Budget, (3) the National Security Council, (4) the Office of Policy Development, (5)
the Council of Economic Advisers, (6) the Office of the United States Trade
Representative, (7) the Office of Administration, (8) the Council on Environmental
Quality, (9) the Office of the Vice President, (10) the Office of Science and
Technology Policy, (11) the National Critical Materials Council, and (12) the Office
of National Drug Control Policy.
The White House Office is the President’s inner Cabinet, It is the name given
to the President’s immediate assistants and various advisers on different aspects of
home and foreign policy. The President’s Press Secretary explains what the President
intended to say. Frequently the Press Secretary is a close personal friend of the
President.
Independent agencies operate in many fields, including aeronautics and space,
banking and finance, civil rights, communications, labour relations, nuclear energy,
science, small business, and transportation safety. The president appoints the
members of these agencies with Senate approval, and must state reasons for removing
them.

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The Constitution also provides for the election of a vice president, who
succeeds to the presidency in case of the death, resignation, or incapacitation of the
president. The vice president serves concurrently with the president. The Vice-
President presides over the Senate, but the Constitution does not delegate any specific
executive powers to the vice president.
The seat of government is Washington, D.C. (the District of Columbia), a
federal enclave located between the states of Maryland and Virginia on the eastern
seaboard. The White House, both residence and office of the president, is located
there.
The presidential term of four years begins on January 20 (it was changed from
March by the Twentieth Amendment, ratified in 1933) following a November
election. The president starts his official duties with an inauguration ceremony,
traditionally held on the steps of the US Capitol, where Congress meets. The
president publicly takes an oath of office, which is traditionally administered by the
chief justice of the Supreme Court. The words are prescribed in Article II of the
Constitution: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office
of president of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect,
and defend the Constitution of the United States”. The oath-taking ceremony is
followed by an inaugural address in which the new president outlines the policies and
plans of his administration.

3.3. The Legislative Branch: Congress and the Senate


Supreme legislative power in the USA lies with Congress, which consists of
two chambers or houses – the Senate (the upper house) and the House of
Representatives (the lower house). This branch also includes eight administrative
agencies: (1) the Architect of the Capitol, (2) the Congressional Budget Office, (3)
the Copyright Royalty Tribunal, (4) the General Accounting Office, (5) the
Government Printing Office, (6) the Library of Congress, (7) the Office of
Technology Assessment, and (8) the United States Botanic Garden.

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The broad powers of the whole Congress are spelt out in Article I of the
Constitution. Congress makes, repeals, and amends federal laws. It also levies federal
taxes and appropriates funds for the government, makes rules for trade with foreign
countries and between states, coins money, organises the Armed Forces, declares
war, etc.
The Senate has 100 members. Each state, regardless of size or population, has
two senators, who serve six-year terms. The vice president of the United States
presides over the Senate. The Senate has certain exclusive powers. It alone can sit as
a court of impeachment to try federal officials impeached by the House of
Representatives. It alone has the power to approve the president’s nominations for
major federal offices. Any treaty made by the United States needs the Senate’s
approval.
Congressional elections take place every two years; but only one-third of the
Senate is re-elected, ensuring continuity by this procedure.
The Constitution says that a Senator must be at least 30 years old, a citizen of
the US for nine years and a resident of the state from which he is elected. The
individual seats in the Senate are numbered. Democrats sit in the western part of the
chamber – on vice-president’s right. Republicans sit on his left. Vice-president
presides over the Senate and he conducts debates. The Senate is more stable and more
conservative than the House of Representatives, as many Senators are re-elected
several times and often they are more experienced politicians.
The House of Representatives consists of 435 members. A state’s
representation is based on population. At present, seven states — Alaska, Delaware,
Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming — have only one
representative. On the other hand, six states have more than 20 representatives.
California has 52.
The number of representatives changes as population changes. The
Constitution provides for a national census each 10 years and a redistribution of
House seats according to population shifts. Under the original constitutional
provision, the number of representatives was to be no more than one for each 30,000

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citizens. There were 65 members in the first House, and the number was increased to
106 after the first census. But over the years, the formula has been changed, and
today the ratio of representatives to people is about 1-to-600,000.
Only the House can bring charges of impeachment against high federal
officials. It alone can initiate tax bills.
A Representative must be at least 25 years of age, a US citizen for seven years
and live in the state from which he is elected. Congressmen of the House of
Representatives do not have individual seats/ By tradition Democrats sit on the
Speaker’s right, Republicans – on his left. The Speaker presides over the House, he
conducts debates. The Speaker, like vice-president in the Senate, may vote, but
usually he does not do it, except in case of a tie-vote.
The Senate and the House of representatives have equal constitutional rights.
Each House has the power to introduce bills on any subject.
The Twentieth Amendment to the US Constitution provides that the Congress
will convene in regular session each January 3, unless Congress fixes a different date,
and meets almost all the year round. Sessions are held in the Capitol in Washington,
D. C. The Congress remains in session until its members vote to adjourn — usually
late in the year. The president may call a special session when he thinks it necessary.
Sessions are held in the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
The legislative work of Congress is done mostly in standing (or permanent)
committees (22 – in the House of Representatives and 16 – in the 4 joint committees
with members from both Houses).
To become a law any bill has to be introduced. Then it is sent to certain
committees. When a committee is in favour of the bill, it is sent to the Congress for
open debate. When the debate is over, members vote to approve the bill or to defeat
it. The bill passed by one House is sent to the other. After the bill is passed by both
Houses, it is sent to the President for his approval. However, the President has the
right to veto the bill. In this case the bill must be re-approved by a two-thirds vote in
both Houses to become law or an Act of Congress.

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The president may also refuse either to sign or veto a bill. In that case, the bill
becomes law without his signature 10 days after it reaches him (not counting
Sundays). The single exception to this rule is when Congress adjourns after sending a
bill to the president and before the 10-day period has expired; his refusal to take any
action then negates the bill — a process known as the ‘pocket veto’.

3.4. The Judicial Branch


The third branch of the federal government, the judiciary, consists of a system
of courts spread throughout the country, headed by the Supreme Court of the United
States.
The Federal Court System The first Congress divided the nation into districts
and created federal courts for each district. The present structure comprises the
Supreme Court, 13 courts of appeals, 94 district courts, and two courts of special
jurisdiction. Congress today retains the power to create and abolish federal courts, as
well as to determine the number of judges in the federal judiciary system. It cannot,
however, abolish the Supreme Court.
The judicial power of the Supreme Court extends to cases affecting
ambassadors, ministers, and consuls of foreign countries in the United States;
controversies in which the US government is a party; controversies between states (or
their citizens) and foreign nations (or their citizens or subjects); and bankruptcy
cases.
The power of the federal courts extends both to civil actions for damages and
other redress, and to criminal cases arising under federal law. The Constitution
safeguards judicial independence by providing that federal judges shall hold office
‘during good behavior’ — in practice, until they die, retire, or resign, although a
judge who commits an offense while in office may be impeached in the same way as
the president or other officials of the federal government. US judges are appointed by
the president and confirmed by the Senate. Congress also determines the pay scale of
judges.

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The Supreme Court The Supreme Court is the highest court of the United
States, and the only one specifically created by the Constitution. A decision of the
Supreme Court cannot be appealed to any other court. Congress has the power to fix
the number of judges sitting on the Court and, within limits, decide what kind of
cases it may hear, but it cannot change the powers given to the Supreme Court by the
Constitution itself.
There is no mention in the Constitution of the qualifications for judges.
Since 1869 the Supreme Court consists of a chief justice and eight associate
justices. The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in only two kinds of cases:
those involving foreign dignitaries and those in which a state is a party. All other
cases reach the Court on appeal from lower courts.
Of the several thousand cases filed annually, the Court usually hears only about
150. A significant amount of the work of the Supreme Court deals with determining
whether legislation or executive acts conform to the Constitution.
Decisions of the Court need not be unanimous; a simple majority is needed,
provided at least six justices — the legal quorum — participate in the decision.
Courts of Appeals and District Courts The second highest level of the
federal judiciary is made up of the courts of appeals, created in 1891 to ease the
burden on the Supreme Court. Congress has established 12 regional circuit courts of
appeal and the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The number of judges
sitting on each of these courts varies considerably (from 6 to 28), but most circuits
have between 10 and 15 judges.
The courts of appeals review decisions of the district courts within their areas.
Below the courts of appeals there are the district courts. The 50 states and US
territories are divided into 94 districts so that one may have a trial within easy reach.
Each district court has at least two judges, many have several judges, and the most
populous districts have more than two dozen. Depending on case load, a judge from
one district may temporarily sit in another district. Congress fixes the boundaries of
the districts according to population, size, and volume of work. Some of the smaller

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states constitute a district by themselves, while the larger states, such as New York,
California, and Texas, have four districts each.
Except in the District of Columbia, judges must be residents of the district in
which they permanently serve. District courts hold their sessions at periodic intervals
in different cities of the district. These are the only federal courts where grand juries
indict those accused of crimes, and juries decide the cases.
Each judicial district also includes a US bankruptcy court.
Special Courts In addition to the federal courts of general jurisdiction, it has
been necessary from time to time to set up courts for special purposes. These are
known as ‘legislative’ courts because they were created by congressional action.
Judges in these courts, like their peers in other federal courts, are appointed for life
terms by the president, with Senate approval.
Today, there are two special trial courts. The Court of International Trade
addresses cases involving international trade and customs issues. The US Court of
Federal Claims has jurisdiction over most claims for money damages against the
United States, disputes over federal contracts, unlawful ‘takings’ of private property
by the federal government, and a variety of other claims against the United States.

3.5. Federal and Local Governments


Government of the United States The government of the United States
represents, serves, and protects the American people at home and in foreign
countries. The three branches of the United States government—executive,
legislative, and judicial—are usually represented by the president, Congress, and the
Supreme Court. Generally speaking, the president enforces the laws that Congress
passes, and the Supreme Court interprets these laws if any question arises.
United States military forces stationed in many parts of the world support
American policy and help preserve peace. Millions of civil sere-ice employees and
other workers at home and abroad carry out the programmes of the government.
The United States government shares governmental powers with the states
under the federal system established by the United States Constitution.

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Government in the United States operates on three levels: national, state, and
local. The federal government in Washington cannot abolish the states or rearrange
their boundaries. It can exercise only powers that are delegated or implied by the
Constitution. The states exercise powers reserved to them or not denied them by the
Constitution. In some areas, the federal and state governments have concurrent
powers. That is, they both have the right to exercise authority. The American judicial
system keeps the federal and state governments within their proper fields of power.
The United States government makes and enforces laws, collects taxes,
provides services for the people, protects individuals and their property, and works
for national and international security. But it is noted for the way it encourages the
people to take part in government, seeks to protect the rights of the people from the
government itself, and assures the self-government of the states.
State Governments There are 50 state governments plus the government of
the District of Columbia, and further down the ladder are still smaller units that
govern counties, cities, towns, and villages.
In general, matters that lie entirely within state borders are the exclusive
concern of state governments. These include internal communications; regulations
relating to property, industry, business, and public utilities; the state criminal code;
and working conditions within the state. Within this context, the federal government
requires that state governments must be democratic in form and that they adopt no
laws that contradict or violate the federal Constitution or the laws and treaties of the
United States.
Like the national government, state governments have three branches:
executive, legislative, and judicial; these are roughly equivalent in function and scope
to their national counterparts. The chief executive of a state is the governor, elected
by popular vote, typically for a four-year term (although in a few states the term is
two years). Except for Nebraska, which has a single legislative body, all states have a
bicameral legislature, with the upper house usually called the Senate and the lower
house called the House of Representatives, the House of Delegates, or the General

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Assembly. In most states, senators serve four-year terms, and members of the lower
house serve two-year terms.
The constitutions of the various states differ in some details but generally
follow a pattern similar to that of the federal Constitution, including a statement of
the rights of the people and a plan for organizing the government. On such matters as
the operation of businesses, banks, public utilities, and charitable institutions, state
constitutions are often more detailed and explicit than the federal one.
Local government Each state creates units of local government. The chief unit
of local government is the county, of which there are more than 3,000.
County Government The county is a subdivision of the state, usually — but
not always — containing two or more townships and several villages. New York City
is so large that it is divided into five separate boroughs, each a county in its own
right: the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. On the other hand,
Arlington County, Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., is
both an urbanized and suburban area, governed by a unitary county administration.
In most US counties, one town or city is designated as the county seat, and this
is where the government offices are located and where the board of commissioners or
supervisors meets. In small counties, boards are chosen by the county as a whole; in
the larger ones, supervisors represent separate districts or townships. The board levies
taxes; borrows and appropriates money; fixes the salaries of county employees;
supervises elections; builds and maintains highways and bridges; and administers
national, state, and county welfare programmes.
The counties maintain public order through the sheriff and his deputies. The
sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer of the county. He is also officer of the
court: he serves papers, enforces orders and maintains the jail. The sheriff’s deputy is
appointed by the sheriff. He assists the sheriff in law enforcement and in some states
may act in place of the sheriff.
City Government Once predominantly rural, the United States is today a highly
urbanized country, and about 80 percent of its citizens now live in towns, large cities,
or suburbs of cities. This makes city governments critically important in the overall

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pattern of American government. To a greater extent than on the federal or state
level, the city directly serves the needs of the people, providing everything from
police and fire protection to sanitary codes, health regulations, education, public
transportation, and housing.
The business of running America’s major cities is enormously complex. In
terms of population alone, New York City is larger than 41 of the 50 states. It is often
said that, next to the presidency, the most difficult executive position in the country is
that of mayor of New York.
City governments are chartered by states, and their charters detail the
objectives and powers of the municipal government. But in many respects the cities
function independently of the states. For most big cities, however, cooperation with
both state and federal organizations is essential to meeting the needs of their
residents.
Types of city governments vary widely across the nation. However, almost all
have some kind of central council, elected by the voters, and an executive officer,
assisted by various department heads, to manage the city’s affairs.
There are three general types of city government: the mayor-council, the
commission, and the city manager. These are the pure forms; many cities have
developed a combination of two or three of them.
Mayor-Council This is the oldest form of city government in the United States
and, until the beginning of the 20th century, was used by nearly all American cities.
Its structure is similar to that of the state and national governments, with an elected
mayor as chief of the executive branch and an elected council that represents the
various neighborhoods forming the legislative branch. The mayor appoints heads of
city departments and other officials, sometimes with the approval of the council. He
or she has the power of veto, and frequently is responsible for preparing the city’s
budget. The council passes city laws or regulations, sets the tax rate on property, and
distributes money among the various city departments.
The Commission This combines both the legislative and executive functions in
one group of officials, usually three or more in number, elected city-wide. Each

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commissioner supervises the work of one or more city departments. One is named
chairperson of the body and is often called the mayor, although his or her power is
equal to that of the other commissioners.
The City Manager The city manager is a response to the increasing complexity
of urban problems, which require management expertise not often possessed by
elected public officials. The answer has been to entrust most of the executive powers,
including law enforcement and provision of services, to a highly trained and
experienced professional city manager.
The city manager plan has been adopted by a growing number of cities. Under
this plan, a small, elected council makes the city ordinances and sets policy, but hires
a paid administrator, also called a city manager, to carry out its decisions. The
manager draws up the city budget and supervises most of the departments. Usually,
there is no set term; the manager serves as long as the council is satisfied with his or
her work.
Town And Village Government Thousands of municipal jurisdictions are too
small to qualify as city governments. These are chartered as towns and villages and
deal with such strictly local needs as paving and lighting the streets; ensuring a water
supply; providing police and fire protection; establishing local health regulations;
arranging for garbage, sewage, and other waste disposal; collecting local taxes to
support governmental operations; and, in cooperation with the state and county,
directly administering the local school system.
The government is usually entrusted to an elected board or council, which may
be known by a variety of names: town or village council, board of selectmen, board
of supervisors, board of commissioners. The board may have a chairperson or
president who functions as chief executive officer, or there may be an elected mayor.
Governmental employees may include a clerk, treasurer, police and fire officers, and
health and welfare officers.
One unique aspect of local government, found mostly in the New England
region of the United States, is the ‘town meeting’. Once a year — sometimes more
often if needed — the registered voters of the town meet in open session to elect

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officers, debate local issues, and pass laws for operating the government. As a body,
they decide on road construction and repair, construction of public buildings and
facilities, tax rates, and the town budget. The town meeting, which has existed for
more than two centuries, is often cited as the purest form of direct democracy, in
which the governmental power is not delegated, but is exercised directly and
regularly by all the people.

3.6. Elections in the United States of America


Types of U.S. Elections There are two basic types of elections: primary and
general. Primary elections are held prior to a general election to determine party
candidates for the general election. The winning candidates in the primary go on to
represent that party in the general election.
Since the early 20th century, primaries have been the chief electoral device for
choosing party candidates. With rare exception, victory in a primary election results
in a candidate being nominated by that political party for the general election. In a
few states, party candidates are chosen in state or local nominating conventions,
rather than primaries, either by tradition or at the option of the political parties.
In the general election, voters make the final determination from among the
party candidates listed on the ballot. The general election ballot may also include
independent candidates (those not affiliated with a major political party) who gain
access to the ballot by submitting a specified number of petition signatures, rather
than by the traditional primary method. Furthermore, in some states, the ballot may
include a place to ‘write in’ the names of candidates who were neither nominated by
the parties nor qualified by petition. Such candidates may be described as ‘self-
nominated’.
In addition to federal, state, and local elections held in even-numbered years,
some states and local jurisdictions hold ‘off-year’ elections in odd-numbered years,
which can be scheduled at any time to serve a specific purpose, such as filling an
unexpected vacancy in an elected office.

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The method of electing the president is peculiar to the American system.
Although the names of the candidates appear on the ballots, the people technically do
not vote directly for the president (and vice president). Instead, the voters of each
state select a slate (a list) of presidential ‘electors’, equal to the number of senators
and representatives that state has in Congress. The candidate with the highest number
of votes in each state wins all the ‘electoral votes’ of that state.
The electors of all 50 states and the District of Columbia — a total of 538
persons — make up what is known as the Electoral College. Under the terms of the
Constitution, the Electoral College never meets as a body. Instead, the electors in
each state gather in their state capital shortly after the election and cast their votes for
the candidate with the largest number of popular votes in their state. To be successful,
a candidate for the presidency must receive 270 electoral votes out of the possible
538. The Constitution stipulates that if no candidate has a majority, the decision shall
be made by the House of Representatives, with all members from a state voting as a
unit. In this event, each state and the District of Columbia would be allotted one vote
only.
National elections to elect a president and vice president are held every four
years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. All members of the
House of Representatives and about one-third of the members of the Senate are
elected at this same time. Between the presidential elections, all of the representatives
and another one-third of the senators are elected. This election is held on the same
day in November in even-numbered years.
Thus, every four years, Americans elect a president and vice president. Every
two years, Americans elect all 435 members of the US House of Representatives and
approximately one-third of the 100 members of the US Senate.

3.7. National symbols of the USA


Symbols of the United States include the American flag, the Great Seal and the
national anthem.

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Flag of the United States The flag of the United States of America consists of
13 equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white, with a blue
rectangle in the canton bearing 50 small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine
offset horizontal rows of six stars (top and bottom) alternating with rows of five stars.
The creator of the US Flag is popularly considered to be Betsy Ross. Nicknames for
the flag include the Stars and Stripes, Old Glory and the Star-Spangled Banner (also
the name of the country’s official national anthem).
The starred blue canton is called the ‘union’. This part of the national flag can
stand alone as a maritime flag called the Union Jack which served as the US jack on
warships from 1777 until 2002. It continues to be used as a jack by various federally-
owned vessels.
The flag of the United States is one of the nation’s widely recognized and used
symbols. Within the US it is frequently displayed, not only on public buildings, but
on private residences, as well as decals for car windows, and clothing ornaments such
as badges and lapel pins. Many understand the flag to represent the freedoms and
rights guaranteed in the US Constitution, and personal liberty as set forth in the
Declaration of Independence.
The three main colours of the flag are Red, White, and Blue. Red represents
courage and valour; White proclaims liberty; while Blue stands for loyalty and
justice. The 13 stripes are representative of the 13 original colonies that signed the
Declaration of Independence. The 50 stars that lie on a blue background represent the
50 states that are part of present day America. The Stripes are also representative of
the rays that emanated from the sun while the stars are also seen as being symbolic of
the heavens; the highest place that a person could aim to reach.
The flag has been changed 26 times since it was raised in its first unified form
on January 2, 1776 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress passed the Flag
Resolution. Flag Day is now observed on June 14 of each year.
Great Seal of the United States The Great Seal of the United States is used to
authenticate certain documents issued by the United States government. The phrase is

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used both for the physical seal itself (which is kept by the US Secretary of State), and
more generally for the design impressed upon it. The Great Seal was publicly first
used in 1782.
The design on the obverse (or front) of the great seal is the national coat of
arms of the United States and is officially used on documents such as passports as
well as for military insignia, embassy placards, and various flags. As a coat of arms,
the design has official colours; the physical Great Seal itself is monochrome.
Since 1935, both sides of the Great Seal appear on the reverse (or back) of the
One-Dollar Bill of the United States.
The main figure of the coat of arms of the United States is a bald eagle with its
wings outstretched. It holds a bundle of thirteen arrows in its left talon, (the symbol
of administering) and an olive branch (the emblem of love), in its right talon, both of
which symbolize that the United States of America has ‘a strong desire for peace, but
will always be ready for war’. Although not specified by law, the olive branch is
usually depicted with thirteen leaves and thirteen olives, again representing the
thirteen original states. The eagle has its head turned towards the olive branch: it is
said to symbolize a preference for peace. The eagle clutches the motto ‘E Pluribus
Unum’ (‘Out of Many, One’) in its beak; over its head there appears a ‘glory’ with
thirteen mullets (stars) on a blue field. In the current (and several previous) dies of
the great seal, the thirteen stars above the eagle are arranged in rows of 1-4-3-4-1,
forming a six-pointed star.
The shield the eagle bears on its breast has two main differences from the
American flag. First, it has no stars on the blue chief. Second, unlike the American
flag, the outermost stripes are white, not red; so as not to violate the heraldic rule of
‘colour on colour’.
National anthem ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ is the national anthem of the
United States. The lyrics come from a poem written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key, a
35-year-old amateur poet who wrote ‘Defence of Fort McHenry’ after seeing the
bombardment of Fort McHenry at Baltimore, Maryland, by Royal Navy ships during
theWar of 1812.

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The poem was set to the tune of a popular British drinking song, written by
John Stafford Smith for a London social club. This song (called ‘The Anacreontic
Song’ was already popular in the United States and set to various lyrics. Set to Key’s
poem and renamed, ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ soon became a well-known
American patriotic song. It is known for being difficult to sing because it has a range
of one and a half octaves. Although the song has four stanzas, only the first is
commonly sung today, with the fourth (‘O thus be it ever when free men shall
stand ...’) added on more formal occasions.
‘The Star Spangled Banner’ was recognized for official use by the Navy in
1889, and was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3,
1931.
Prior to 1931, other songs served as the hymns of American officialdom. Most
prominent among them was ‘Hail, Columbia’, which served as the national anthem
de facto from Washington’s time and through the 18th and 19th centuries. Following
the War of 1812 and the outbreak of subsequent American wars, other songs would
emerge to compete for popularity at public events, among them ‘The Star-Spangled
Banner’.

3.8. Political Parties


The two-party system The popularity of George Washington, who wanted the
country to stay a one-party political system, and the good effects of the Constitution
on trade, prevented the organization of opposing parties until the end of
Washington’s second term. Then the question of who should be the new President
began to divide the people into political organizations backing opposing candidates.
Thus the one-party Revolutionary government of the United States split up into a
two-party system.
The present-day Democratic Party was founded in 1828, representing Southern
planters – slave owners and part of Northern bourgeoisie, as well as groups of petty
bourgeoisie and farmers. The Republican Party was founded in 1854. It united

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industrial and trade bourgeoisie from North-East, farmers, workers, craftsmen who
were interested in destroying the political power of the South.
The parties chose their own names, Republican and Democratic, but not their
party emblems. The cartoonist Thomas Nast invented the Republican elephant and
the Democratic donkey in the early 1870s and they soon became fixed types.
The parties are not divided by any doctrinal gulf. It is hard to say what the
“Republican Party view” or the “Democratic Party view” on any political issue is.
Outsiders often complain that they find it difficult to distinguish between the two
major political parties of the US, which appear to support such similar policies.
The main task of the parties is to win elections. Every four years the American
parties come together as national bodies in the Presidential nominating conventions
and make up the party programmes. But once a President is chosen, the parties again
become amorphous bodies.
One of the reasons of the stability of the two-party system is family tradition.
Each new generation of Americans inherits its politics and party loyalty from their
parents. National origin plays a role, too. Descendants of northern Europeans tend to
the Republican party while those of southern and eastern Europeans prefer the
Democratic party.
Minor political parties of the United States rarely elect candidates to
government offices. They serve chiefly to draw attention to problems that the major
parties may have neglected. Often, one or both of the major parties may then attempt
to solve such a problem. Then the third party, which brought attention to the problem,
may disappear.

Lecture 4
Education in the USA

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4.1 General Characteristics
Education has been an important factor in the economic development of the
United States and in the achievement of a high standard of living for most Americans.
It has also contributed to the enjoyment of life for many people. Americans are
among the best-educated people in the world. Schools, libraries, museums, and other
educational institutions in the country provide learning opportunities for people of all
ages.
Young people fill classrooms after leaving the kindergartens and continue to
study up to the 12th grade. (In the USA they use the term 'grade' instead of the words
'class' or ‘form’.) The children attend school usually for five hours a day, and five
days a week until the beginning of the following summer. They don’t attend classes
on public holidays, or when they have their vacation for Christmas or Easter. The
United States have the shortest school year in the world, an average of 180 days.
In the USA there are two types of schools – public schools, which are
supported by the state and where schooling is free-of-charge, and private schools,
where the families have to pay special attendance fees. Today, about 80 per cent of
the nation’s primary and secondary schools, and about 45 per cent of its institutions
of higher learning, are state schools. The rest are private schools run by churches,
religious organizations or private groups. In such schools religious teachings are part
of the curriculum, which also includes the traditional academic subjects which are
taught in public schools.
There are over 100,000 public schools, and more than 29,000 private schools
of all levels and types. In addition, there are approximately 3,300 colleges and
universities. The average primary school enrolls approximately 470 students and the
average secondary school over 700 students. Despite the rapid economic
development and urbanization of the United States, there still remain 376 rural
schools staffed by a single teacher.
Many American children begin their schooling before enrolling in primary
school. About 30 per cent of all the children aged 3 and 4 attend nursery schools, and
about 95 per cent of all 5-year-olds attend kindergarten. More than 99 per cent of all

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US children complete primary school and about 75 per cent of them graduate from
secondary school. Approximately 65 per cent of the secondary school graduates go
on to colleges or universities. About 20 per cent of the country’s people complete at
least four years of higher education.
Adult education is an important part of the school system in the United States.
Millions of adults take courses at universities, colleges, vocational schools, recreation
centres, or other institutions. Many adults continue their schooling to improve their
job skills or to get training for a new job. Others attend classes simply to develop new
hobbies or to find out more about topics that interest them. A growing number of
part-time and lull-time college and university students are men and women who have
held jobs or raised families and are returning to higher education to get a degree.
State schools in the United States are supported mainly by taxation. Private
schools get their operating funds chiefly from tuition fees and contributions from
private citizens.
Formal education after graduating from secondary school but prior to advanced
study in the research disciplines or professional fields – or higher education — is
called undergraduate postsecondary education. It corresponds to the initial phases of
higher education studies in other education systems.

4.2. The Structure of US Education. Early Childhood


Education. Pre-School Preparation
The structure of US education includes 12 years of regular schooling, preceded
by a year or two of pre-school education, and followed by a four-stage higher
education degree system plus various non-degree certificates and diplomas. In
addition, there are special education services, adult basic and continuing education,
leisure learning programmes, and continuing professional education and training
programmes. Completion of each level or stage is a condition for access to the next,
and a variety of assessment and evaluation techniques are used to determine learning
needs, academic achievement standards, and qualification to proceed to higher levels
of education.

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Early Childhood Education Early childhood education is the term used in the
United States to describe the educational development of infants and young children
prior to starting regular school and through the first year or two of school. It is
considered a critical stage of growth and development, with significant national
resources being increasingly devoted to this educational level. Early childhood
educators are considered specialists who are specially trained and certified, and the
field has also emerged as a separate research area.
The facilities that provide early childhood education include public and private
kindergartens, elementary schools, day care centers, child care services (including
home services), and charitable organizations such as religious congregations.
Children usually attend early childhood programs for half a day (generally in
the morning) in the pre-kindergarten age range (3-4). This frequently expands to a
full day for the year immediately preceding school entry.
Pre-School Education The majority of American children now begin their
education before entering regular school, and most states now require enrollment in
pre-school programmes and provide such programmes. Pre-school programmes
generally occur around ages 3-5. The first year of pre-school education is often called
pre-kindergarten or nursery school, while the second year is often called kindergarten
or preschool.

4.3. School Education


Management of School Education Under the US Constitution the federal
government has no power to make laws in the field of education. Thus, education
remains primarily a function of the states. Each state has a Board of Education
(usually 3 to 9 members elected by the public or appointed by the governor), not
subject to federal control. State laws determine the age of compulsory education, the
length of the school year, the way in which teachers shall be certified and many of the
courses which must be taught. With so much local control there is some degree of
uniformity of education provided in different parts of the USA, because state and

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national accrediting agencies insist that certain standards be maintained and certain
things be taught.
Elementary School Education is compulsory for every child from the age of 6
up to the age of 16 except in Maine, New Mexico, North Dakota and Pennsylvania
where it is compulsory to the age of 17 and in Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma and Utah
where children must go to school until the age of 18.
Elementary education is the term used in the United States to describe the
educational development of children from the first year of school until the transition
to secondary school, which corresponds to what is generally known as the primary
level of education. Middle School Education is a component of elementary education
that corresponds to what many countries call upper primary education. The duration
of the elementary education level depends on the law of each state. All elementary
education starts with the first year of school (grade one) and generally ends at grade
6, 7, or 8 depending on state and local policy. Many states and local authorities divide
elementary education into a lower elementary level and a middle school (upper
elementary) level.
Elementary (primary) and high (secondary) schools are organized on one of the
two bases: eight years of elementary school and four years of secondary school, or six
years of elementary, three years of junior high school and three years of senior high
school. Formal primary education is called elementary education and ranges from
first grade through grade 4, 5, or 6, depending on state and district regulations. The
upper level of primary education is often organized separately into a unit called
Middle School, which begins at grade 4, 5, or 6 and ends at grade 6, 7, or 8.
Likewise, the lower grades of secondary education (years 7, 8, or 9 depending on
state and district regulations) are sometimes organized separately into what is called
Junior High School. Regular (including upper) secondary education is called High
School, beginning in grade 8, 9, or 10 and ending at grade 12, again depending on
state and district regulations.
Elementary school children learn much the same things as do their peers in
other countries. Over 3.7 million children enter the first grade of school each year.

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Middle School Education provides information and resources on upper primary
education occurring between grades 4-6 and 6-8.
High School The Junior High School is a sort of halfway between primary
and secondary school. It continues some elementary school subjects, but it also
introduces courses in maths and science, and usually gives students their first chance
to study a foreign language. It usually comprises grades 7 – 9, although sometimes it
is only grades 7 – 8.
Senior High School education provides information and resources on
secondary education occurring between grades 9-12 or 10-12.
The high school prepares young people either for work immediately after
graduation or for more advanced study in a college or university. Although there are
some technical, vocational and specialised high schools in the country the typical
high school is comprehensive in nature. The subjects studied in elementary school are
dealt with in greater detail and in more advanced form in high school. In addition one
can specialise in home economics, chemistry and physics, music, humanities,
automobile mechanics, etc. High school students study 4-5 major subjects a year and
classes in each of them meet for an hour a day, five days a week.
In the US the usual requirements for high school graduation are about 18
‘units’ of course work. A high school ‘unit’ is equal to about 120 hours of classes in
one subject (three hours a week). Students who plan to attend college need over 20
units.
High school students are helped by school counsellors in choosing the subjects,
which are called ‘electives’ because they are not necessary for everybody. A student
chooses the electives which he thinks will be necessary for him for his future work or
further education at the university or college. The elective courses differ from school
to school.
An important part of high school life is what is called extracurricular activities.
The student is free to join a chorus, band or school orchestra, enter a debating team,
or participate in sports of all kinds as well as a variety of social activities.

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School Leaving Two basic school leaving certificates are awarded for
completing school, the High School Diploma, awarded to graduates of secondary
school, and the GED (General Educational Development) Certificate, awarded to
adults who left school but then complete a special supervised study and examination
programme. Some 2.8 million students are awarded some form of High School
Diploma each year, while around 500 thousand adults successfully complete GED
programmes.
Some private schools and school districts award certificates at the primary
level to students who complete Elementary School or Middle School, although this
practice is not uniform across the country.
Special Education At the school level, around 6 million students receive some
form of special instruction and support for diagnosed disabilities that may affect
learning. Special education students are frequently required to stay in compulsory
school longer than regular students, usually until age 20 or 21. In addition, some 2.4
million school-age students are enrolled in special programmes for the gifted and
talented. Students who complete Individual Education Plan (IEP) programmes in
special education also receive certificates (if the programme is not equivalent to
secondary graduation) or diplomas (equivalent to secondary graduation).
Vocational and Technical Education Vocational and technical education is
offered at both the secondary and postsecondary levels in the United States. This type
of instruction is provided both for unlicensed and licensed occupations, and ranges
from general and basic skills to complex technical programmes requiring extensive
postsecondary level study and practice. In addition, vocational and technical
programmes are frequently offered by employers, unions, professional associations,
and private training services as well as by traditional educational institutions, and
they are among the most popular types of education to offer via distance education
technologies.

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4.4. Higher Education
Post-secondary education An important goal for most students who enter
higher education is to earn a degree: that is, to receive a diploma or certificate
indicating command of particular skills and knowledge. The most common pattern of
degrees consists of three ranks that are usually designated the bachelor, master, and
doctoral levels.
Post-secondary education in the United States is known as college or
university and commonly consists of four years of study at an institution of higher
learning. Like high school, the four undergraduate grades are commonly called
freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years (alternately called first year, second
year, etc.).
Some students choose to attend a community college for two years prior to
further study at another college or university. These are primarily two-year public
institutions of lower status. In most states, community colleges are operated either by
a division of the state university or by local special districts subject to guidance from
a state agency. Community colleges may award Associate of Arts (AA) or Associate
of Science (AS) degree after two years. Many community colleges have relationships
with four-year state universities and colleges or even private universities which
enable their students to transfer relatively smoothly to these universities for a four-
year degree after completing a two-year programme at the community college.
Many of these institutions feature at least one distinguished academic
department, and most Americans attend one of the 1,700 two-year colleges or 2,400
four-year colleges and universities not included among the twenty-five or so ‘top-tier’
institutions.
Those seeking to continue their education may also transfer to a four-year
college or university. Some community colleges have automatic enrollment
agreements with a local four-year college, where the community college provides the
first two years of study and the university provides the remaining years of study,
sometimes all on one campus.

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Once admitted, students engage in undergraduate study, which consists of
satisfying university and class requirements to achieve a bachelor’s degree in a field
of concentration known as a major (some students enroll in double majors or ‘minor’
in another field of study). The most common method consists of four years of study
leading to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), a Bachelor of Science (B.S.), or sometimes
another bachelor’s degree such as Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), Bachelor of Social
Work (B.S.W.), Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.,) or Bachelor of Philosophy
(B.Phil.), etc.
Graduate study, conducted after obtaining an initial degree and sometimes
after several years of professional work, leads to a more advanced degree such as a
master’s degree, which could be a Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS),
Master of Business Administration (MBA), or other less common master’s degrees
such as Master of Education (MEd), etc. After additional years of study and
sometimes in conjunction with the completion of a master’s degree, students may
earn a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) or other doctoral degree, such as Doctor of Arts,
Doctor of Education, Doctor of Theology, etc.
Annual undergraduate tuition varies widely from state to state, and there are
many additional fees. A typical year’s tuition at a public university (for residents of
the state) is about $5,000 (2007). Tuition for public school students from outside the
state is generally comparable to private school prices, although students can generally
get state residency after their first year. Depending upon the type of school and
programme, annual graduate programme tuition can vary from $15,000 to as high as
$40,000. Note that these prices do not include living expenses (rent, room/board, etc.)
or additional fees that schools add on such as ‘activities fees’ or health insurance.
These fees, especially room and board, can range from $6,000 to $12,000 per
academic year (assuming a single student without children).
Entering American Universities Students traditionally apply to receive
admission into college with varying difficulties of entrance. Schools differ in their
competitiveness and reputation; generally, the most prestigious schools are private,

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rather than public. Successful applicants at college of higher education are only
chosen on the basis of:
1) their high school records which include the list of all the courses taken
and the grades earned in high school,
2) the students’ GPA (Grade point average),
3) class ranking,
4) standardised test scores (such as the SAT or the ACT tests),
5) recommendations from their high school teachers, and
6) the impression they produce during interviews at the university, which is
in fact examination;
The SAT (the Scholastic Aptitude Tests) is a test in maths and English which
was introduced in 1947. The SAT is taken in the last year of high school. If a student
gets 1600 scores it is considered as a good result, and if he or she gets 400 scores
such a result is considered too low. A SAT can be taken two or three times, so that
the student may improve the results if he or she wishes to do so.
Most colleges also consider more subjective factors such as a commitment to
extracurricular activities, a personal essay, etc. While numerical factors rarely ever
are absolute required values, each college usually has a rough threshold below which
admission is unlikely.
American Universities In the popular mind, approximately twenty-five
institutions compose the ‘top tier’ of American higher learning. However, most
would cite the eight universities that compose the Ivy League and a small number of
elite, private research universities (e.g. Caltech (California Institute of Technology),
Duke (University), Johns Hopkins (University), MIT (Massachusetts Institute of
Technology), Northwestern (University), Stanford (University), University of
Chicago, Vanderbilt (University), Washington University in St. Louis, etc.). A small
percentage of students who apply to these institutions gain admission.
Many Americans would also recognise the ‘top tier’ to include the so-called
‘Little Ivies’; a handful of arts colleges known for their high-quality instruction and
academic rigour. These include Amherst (College), Swarthmore (College), Wesleyan

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(University), Williams (College), etc. This group would also include the all-female
institutions such as Wellesley (College), Bryn Mawr (College), and Smith (College).
Certain public universities (sometimes referred to as ‘Public Ivies’) are also
recognized for their outstanding record in scholarship. They are the University of
Arizona, all of the campuses of the University of California, the University of
Florids, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Indiana at
Bloomington, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Purdue University, the University of
Texas at Austin, the University of Virginia, the University of Washington, and the
College of William & Mary. Some of these institutions are currently placed among
the elite in certain fields of graduate education and research, especially among
engineering and medical schools.
Each state in the United States maintains its own public university system,
which is always non-profit. The State University of New York (SUNY) and the
California State University (CSU) are the largest public higher education systems in
the United States. SUNY is the largest system that includes community colleges,
while CSU is the largest without. Most areas also have private institutions which may
be for-profit or non-profit. Unlike many other nations, there are no public universities
at the national level outside the military service academies.
Many states have two separate state university systems. The faculty of the
more prestigious system are expected to conduct advanced research in addition to
teaching (the naming convention usually runs ‘the University of …’ for the upper
tier, e.g. the University of California), while the less prestigious is focused on quality
of teaching and producing the next generation of teachers (usually named ‘… State
University’, e.g., California State University). The second-tier university systems are
often the descendants of the 19th-century odinary schools.
Studies at American Universities Studies usually begin in September and end
in July. There are summer classes for those who want to improve the grades or take
up additional courses. Students who study at a university or four-year college are
known as undergraduates. Those who have received a degree after four years of

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study are known as graduates. They may continue with their studies and research
work for another two years as graduates to get a higher degree.
During one term or semester a student will study four or five different subjects.
The students’ progress is controlled through oral or written tests, term or course
papers and a final examination in each course. Each part of a student’s work is given
a mark which helps to determine the final grade. A student’s record consists of his
grade in each course. College grades are usually on a five-point scale: A – is the
highest mark and usually equals to 5 points, E or F means failure. The points make it
possible to calculate the GPA (grade point average). Normally, a minimum GPA of 3,
5 points (about 6 on a ten-point scale) is necessary to continue their study at the
college or university and to graduate.
Each college or university has its own curriculum.
There are courses that every student has to take in order to receive a degree.
These courses or subjects are called major subjects or ‘majors’. At the same time
there are subjects, which the students may choose themselves for their future life.
These courses are called ‘electives’. A student has to earn a certain number of
‘credits’ (about 120) in order to receive a degree at the end of four years of study at
college. Credits are earned by attending lectures or laboratory classes and completing
assignments and examinations. One credit usually equals one hour of class per week
in a single course during the semester.

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Lecture 5
The American Way of Life

5.1. Being American


General Characteristics Claude Lévi-Strauss, the French anthropologist, once
wrote of the ‘mental click’ people feel when arriving in the United States: an
adjustment to the enormous landscapes and skylines. The so-called lower 48 states
(all but Alaska and Hawaii) sprawl across 4,500 kilometers and four time zones. A
car trip from coast to coast typically takes a minimum of five days — and that’s with
almost no stops to look around. It is not unusual for the gap between the warmest and
coldest high temperatures on a given day in the United States to reach about 40
degrees Celsius.
Many American customs will surprise you. People living in mixed and varied
cultures handle many small daily things differently. The constant restless motion of
Americans may be startling at first. People in the flat Middle West think nothing of
driving a hundred miles just to have dinner with a friend or for an evening of theatre
or music, or even a movie.
You may come upon Americans who lack knowledge about you country.
Unfortunately, they don’t teach enough about other cultures, customs, or even
geography at school. Americans have always been so insulated by oceans that they
are not readily exposed to different cultures and other ways of doing things. This
huge continent has been developed from virgin land into the modern dynamo that it is
now in a remarkably short time – about 300 years. They have been absorbed with
their own growth, city building, and free education, the assimilation of countless
strangers, with the inventions, discoveries, and developments that their science and
technology contributed to the world. Their attention has been inward, not global. A
‘world’ sense has come to the US only since the end of World War II.

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Because American people have come from so many nationalities and American
society has married an ethic of choice to an endless variety of traditions, ideas, and
opportunities, there is a wider range of what is ‘acceptable’ than in some countries
where the inhabitants have grown up with a common heritage. This has led to a
practice of sampling and borrowing and intermingling of styles, rituals, and, above
all, foods. This eclecticism becomes in America a value. As a result, no one needs to
feel uncomfortable in following his own customs. Americans are in general informal,
and you are sure to feel free to act in your own way.
The most important thing to understand about American is probably their
devotion to individualism. They have been trained since very early in their lives to
consider themselves as separate individuals who are responsible for their own
situations in life and their own destinies. They have not been trained to see
themselves as members of a close-knit, tightly interdependent family, religious group,
tribe, nation, or other collectivity. Conversely our people find themselves part of
some group. They always have some kind of attachment, especially family relations.
Another distinctive difference is in the attitude to change and future.
Americans are generally less concerned about history and traditions than are people
from older societies. ‘History doesn’t matter’, many of them will say. ‘It’s the future
that counts’. They look ahead. People from many other cultures, as well as
Belarusians, have a pronounced reverence for the past. In these cultures the future is
considered to be in the hands of fate, God, or at least the few powerful people or
families dominating society.
American Character In most regions of the US, public display of affection, as
well as significant expression of emotion, was historically disapproved of and
discouraged, prior to the mid-20th century. Such attitudes have seen considerable
change, however, with the cultural revolutions of the 1960s and 1970s. There is
considerable variation with respect to attitudes, mostly generational in nature, and
while Americans are not generally as demonstrative of their affections as, say, Latin
Americans or Southern Europeans, they are considerably more so than, for instance,
the Northern Europeans or the Japanese, have been historically. Noticeable regional

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differences in norms of social expression also exist. For example, it is generally
acceptable in the egalitarian Northeast (especially among younger Americans) for a
female candidly to discuss sexuality and certain aspects of sexual behaviour in
conversation among friends, while such expression is usually recognized as social
taboo in the more genteel South.
Americans are joiners and volunteers and philanthropists. They embrace a
series of obligations and responsibilities freely chosen, and thereby harness their
individualism to social purpose. If Europeans, Asians, Africans, and Latin Americans
marvel at the lack of a sense of extended family, ancestral ties, and class allegiance in
the United States, so do Americans marvel at what they see as the ungenerous
reluctance of members of traditional cultures to embrace nonreligious or non-familial
opportunities for volunteerism and to provide financial support for good causes.
Time is also of great importance in the USA. For Americans, time is a
resource, like water or coal, which can be used well or poorly. ‘Time is money’.
Thus, Americans admire a well-organized person, one who has a written list of things
to do and a schedule for doing them. The ideal person is punctual and considerate of
other people’s time. Russians are more likely to conceive of time as something that is
simply there around them, not something they can use.
Asking conversational questions (such as “Where do you work?” Are you
married?” is not personal or familiar by American standards. Such questions are
meant to be friendly. He or she is not being impertinent.
Americans have a minimum feeling for ’rank’. Most do not enjoy being
treated with special respect for age or position. Many Americans find even the titles
Mr, Mrs or Miss stiff and formal. You hear people well beyond middle age say –
even to quite young people – “Just call me Sally (or Henry)”. Being on first-name
terms is taken as a sign of acceptance and friendliness.
What they do use, however, are occupational titles, which denotes a
recognition that has been earned, not merely inherited. Examples would be:
Ambassador Jones, Doctor Brown, Father White etc.

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Promptness is valued highly in American life. If people are not prompt they
may be regarded as impolite or not fully responsible.
Americans worry about relaxing. They even take classes to learn how to relax.
They read books that tell them how to “take it easy”.
The British prefer privacy, the Americans like sociability. This feeling shows
itself in the houses. The American houses have no hedges or fences separating them
from the pavement or from each other. There are none of those little shut-off
gardens – just a strip of grass with trees in it. The American in his home doesn’t
object to being seen by everyone. And inside the house he has ‘the open plan’
house – just one large room where all the family activities go on.
With their sociability goes overwhelming hospitality. You are taken to parties
at the houses of your friend and your friends’ friends. They all show the keenest
interest in your affairs.
The Americans like new things: a new car every year, the latest thing in
television, if possible, next year’s washing-machine. They love change, they call it
“the spirit of adventure”.
There is a very interesting remark in a book by an English writer about being
an American. “We in England, and the French, the Germans, the Italians, even the
Russians, have all got one thing in common – we are descended from the men who
stayed behind. In the States they are descended from the folk who moved away”.
That’s why they seem to be constantly “on the move”. They have none of the
Englishman’s sentimental love for things because they are old.
It has been claimed that some Americans exhibit an insular outlook, with little
interest in the culture or political developments of other countries. As possible
evidence of this trait, comparatively few books from foreign countries are translated
for sale in the United States, and sales of those that are translated tend to be slow.
Imported films are generally less successful than domestic productions. Likewise,
imported television shows are also rarely successful, although remakes of foreign
shows are increasingly common. In this process, the show is often rewritten and
localised with American actors cast in the place of their British counterparts. By

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contrast, in many other countries, films and television programmes produced abroad
are broadcast unchanged.
Americans also tend to travel to other countries less than citizens of European
countries, partly because international travel from the United States typically involves
much farther distances than for Europeans resulting in much higher costs. The
average American worker has fewer vacation days than the average European (10-15
rather than the European average of around 20). America’s vast size also enables its
citizens to go great distances, and see a variety of places, without leaving the country.
For example, one can travel within the continental United States from a near-tropical
region (e.g. Southern Texas) to a frigid region (Minnesota). Lifestyles, food, and
culture also tend to differ within the different regions.
Cuisine and Food The cuisine of the United States has a history dating back
before the colonial period. With European colonization, the style of cookery changed
vastly, with numerous ingredients introduced from Europe, as well as cooking styles
and modern cookery books. The style of cookery continued to expand into the 19th
and 20th centuries with the influx of immigrants from various nations across the
world. This influx has created a rich diversity in the country that has also created a
unique regional character throughout the country. In addition to cookery, cheese and
wine play an important role in the cuisine.
One characteristic of American cooking is the fusion of multiple ethnic or
regional approaches into completely new cooking styles. The cuisine of the South, for
example, has been heavily influenced by immigrants from Africa, France, and
Mexico, among others. Asian cooking has played a particularly large role in
American fusion cuisine.
Similarly, while some dishes considered typically American many have their
origins in other countries, American cooks and chefs have substantially altered them
over the years, to the degree that the dish as now enjoyed the world over may even be
considered American. Hot dogs and hamburgers are both based on traditional
German dishes, brought over to America by German immigrants to the United States,
but in their modern popular form they can be reasonably considered American dishes.

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Many companies in the American food industry develop new products
requiring minimal preparation, such as frozen entrees. Some corporate kitchens (e.g.
General Mills, Campbell’s, Kraft Foods) develop consumer recipes featuring their
company’s products. Many of these recipes have become very popular. For example,
the General Mills Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, first published in 1950, is still
commonly found in American homes.
Americans eat a wide variety of foods. A typical dinner consists of meat and
potatoes, plus a lettuce salad or a vegetable, and sometimes rolls or bread. Favourite
dinner meats include beef steaks, ground beef dishes, chicken, ham, and turkey. Fish,
shellfish, and such dishes as pizza and spaghetti also serve as main courses.
For lunch, many Americans eat a hamburger or a hot dog, or a sandwich made
with meat or sliced sausage, cheese, peanut butter, chicken salad, or tuna salad.
Some Americans enjoy a hearty breakfast of eggs or pancakes served with
bacon or sausage. Others prefer a light breakfast of toast or a pastry, or cereal with
milk and fruit. Orange juice accompanies many breakfasts.
Cake, biscuits, pie, and ice cream are eaten as desserts and snacks. Other snack
foods include chocolate and sweets, crisps made from potatoes or maize, and fruits
such as bananas, apples, oranges, and grapes.
Beverages are drunk with meals and also at other times for refreshment.
Consumption of soft drinks, especially cola, exceeds that of any other beverage.
Americans also drink much coffee, milk, and beer, and smaller amounts of fruit
juices, tea, and wine.
Americans eat out often. Fast-food restaurants have wide popularity. They
offer a limited variety of foods, all of which are served within a few minutes.
Common fast-food items include hamburgers and other sandwiches, fried chicken,
and chips. Many Americans also enjoy the cooking of other countries. Chinese,
French, Italian, and Mexican restaurants have long been popular. In recent years,
Americans have begun to enjoy the cuisines of India, Japan, the Middle East, and
many other areas.

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5.2. Regional differences
Of course, the United States owes much of its national character to its good
fortune in having such a large and varied landmass to inhabit and cultivate. Yet the
country still exhibits marks of regional identity, and one way Americans cope with
the size of their country is to think of themselves as linked geographically by certain
traits, such as New England self-reliance, Southern hospitality, Midwestern
wholesomeness, and Western mellowness.
Regional differences also make themselves felt in less tangible ways, such as
attitudes and outlooks. An example is the attention paid to foreign events in
newspapers. In the East, where people look out across the Atlantic Ocean, papers
tend to show greatest concern with what is happening in Europe, the Middle East,
Africa, and western Asia. On the West Coast, news editors give more attention to
events in East Asia and Australia.
How much sense does it make to talk about American regions when practically
all Americans can watch the same television shows and go to the same fast-food
restaurants for dinner? One way to answer the question is by giving examples of
lingering regional differences.
Consider the food Americans eat. Most of it is standard wherever you go. A
person can buy packages of frozen peas bearing the same label in Idaho, Missouri,
and Virginia. Cereals, candy bars, and many other items also come in identical
packages from Alaska to Florida. Generally, the quality of fresh fruits and vegetables
does not vary much from one state to the next. On the other hand, it would be unusual
to be served hush puppies (a kind of fried dough) or grits (boiled and ground corn
prepared in a variety of ways) in Massachusetts or Illinois, but normal to get them in
Georgia. Other regions have similar favourites that are hard to find elsewhere.
To understand regional differences in American character more fully, we shall
take a closer look at the regions themselves.
The smallest region, New England played a dominant role in American
development. From the 17th century until well into the 19th, New England was the

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country’s cultural and economic center. That’s why New Englanders gained a
reputation for hard work, shrewdness, thrift, and ingenuity.
As some of the original New England settlers migrated westward, immigrants
from Canada, Ireland, Italy, and eastern Europe moved into the region. Despite a
changing population, much of the original spirit of New England remains. It can be
seen in the simple, woodframe houses and white church steeples that are features of
many small towns, and in the traditional lighthouses that dot the Atlantic coast.
If New England provided the brains and dollars for 19th-century American
expansion, the Middle Atlantic States provided the muscle. The region’s largest
states, New York and Pennsylvania, became centers of heavy industry. Early settlers
were mostly farmers and traders, and the region served as a bridge between North
and South.
The South is perhaps the most distinctive and colorful American region. Like
New England, the South was first settled by English Protestants. But whereas New
Englanders tended to stress their differences from the old country, Southerners tended
to emulate the English.
The Midwest is a cultural crossroads. Midwesterners are praised as being
open, friendly, and straightforward. Their politics tend to be cautious, but the
caution is sometimes peppered with protest. Perhaps because of their geographic
location, many Midwesterners have been strong adherents of isolationism, the belief
that Americans should not concern themselves with foreign wars and problems.
The Southwest differs from the adjoining Midwest in population (less dense),
and ethnicity (strong Spanish-American and Native-American components). Outside
the cities, the region is a land of open spaces, much of which is desert. The
magnificent Grand Canyon is located in this region, as is Monument Valley, the
starkly beautiful backdrop for many western movies. Monument Valley is within the
Navajo Reservation, home of the most populous American Indian tribe. To the south
and east lie dozens of other Indian reservations, including those of the Hopi, Zuni,
and Apache tribes.

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Parts of the Southwest once belonged to Mexico. Its Mexican heritage
continues to exert a strong influence on the region, which is a convenient place to
settle for immigrants (legal or illegal) from farther south. The regional population is
growing rapidly, with Arizona in particular rivaling the southern states as a
destination for retired Americans in search of a warm climate.
Americans have long regarded the West as the last frontier. Yet California has
a history of European settlement older than that of most Midwestern states. Spanish
priests founded missions along the California coast a few years before the outbreak of
the American Revolution. In the 19th century, California and Oregon entered the
Union ahead of many states to the east.
In much of the West the population is sparse. The Westerners are known for
their tolerance. Perhaps because so many westerners have moved there from other
regions to make a new start, interpersonal relations, as a rule, are marked by a live-
and-let-live attitude.
One final American region deserves mention. It is not a fixed place but a
moving zone, as well as a state of mind: the border between settlements and
wilderness known as the frontier. Writing in the 1890s, historian Frederick Jackson
Turner claimed that the availability of vacant land throughout much of the nation’s
history has shaped American attitudes and institutions. ‘This perennial rebirth’, he
wrote, ‘this expansion westward with its new opportunities, its continuous touch with
the simplicity of primitive society, furnish the forces dominating American
character’.
Numerous present-day American values and attitudes can be traced to the
frontier past: self-reliance, resourcefulness, comradeship, a strong sense of
equality.
Because the resources of the West seemed limitless, people developed wasteful
attitudes and practices. A counterweight to the abuse of natural resources took form
in the American conservation movement, which owes much of its success to
Americans’ reluctance to see frontier conditions disappear entirely from the
landscape.

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5.3. Social life in America
The American Middle Class The middle class is large and sets the tone for the
nation. America is a middle class country; the poor are left behind and the rich are
tolerated for their eccentricities. The middle class ideal is portrayed frequently on
television. The family, white or black, is clean and prosperous, living in a spotlessly
clean house with two or three children and two cars, possibly a family pet. One or
both spouses will be a professional or will work for a corporation. The more
prosperous members of the middle class might have a vacation home, many
televisions and electronic gadgets, motor boats or even airplanes. Members of the
lower middle class would live in simpler homes in working class neighborhoods, but
the homes are kept clean and paid for.
Immediately after World War II, Americans began living in increasing
numbers in the suburbs, belts around major cities with higher density than rural areas,
but much lower than urban areas. This move has been attributed to many factors such
as the automobile, the availability of large patches of land, the increasing violence in
cities, and the cheapness of housing. These new single-family houses were usually
one or two stories high, and often were part of large contracts of homes built by a
single developer. This has been given the pejorative (degrading) label ‘urban sprawl’.
In past days, middle class wives rarely worked outside of the house. Now these
women are likely to be employed or work as professionals at the same (or nearly the
same) levels of pay and prestige as their husbands. In this context one can come
across the phrase ‘glass ceiling’ which refers to the battle working women have had
to fight to be paid as well as men for the same work, and to have equal opportunities
for advancement on the job. The earnings gap between the genders is closing,
however. The economic reality is that most families at all levels of the middle class
need two incomes to keep living the lifestyle they are accustomed to.
Work and jobs Most jobs are based on a 40-hour work week; that is, five days
(Monday through Friday), eight hours per day. The United States has minimum wage
laws requiring a minimum wage for many employees, though a number of
employment sectors are excluded. Minimum wage differs from state to state; some

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states have higher minimum wages than the wage mandated by the federal
government.
Vacations are usually two weeks. Other company benefits may include sick
days and/or personal days. Americans usually retire at the age of 65, but may retire
earlier if their pension plans or financial status permit it.
The American employment situation is always changing. There is also a great
deal of misinformation going around about the economy and career opportunities.
Where you look for employment upon arriving in the USA will depend upon the
skills you have, including the ability to speak English.
The luckiest newcomers to the United States are those people who have skills
that are needed. An experienced chef or computer engineer, for example, will be able
to look in any newspaper and find columns full of ‘help wanted’ advertisements. If
your skill is more obscure you might have a longer search. Be aware, however, that
many trades and professions may have barriers to entry for foreigners. A medical
doctor or dentist who has been trained in another country may have to be recertified
by an American medical or dental school before being allowed to practice medicine.
A carpenter or other skilled tradesperson may not be able to work — at least not right
away — because of trade union restrictions. University professors may find no
demand for their specialized subjects. So even if you have skills, and especially if
you don’t, you may have to find an ‘entry-level’ position in the American work force.
The best way to find a job is through ‘word-of-mouth’ or what is now called
‘networking’. Even if you have to find your first job through other means, your goal
should be to put yourself in a position where you learn what is going on, know the
right people in the field you choose, and stay prepared to recognize and take
advantage of opportunity when it presents itself.
Another preferred way is, of course, to apply to the company directly. A small
company may have an informal system for hiring, while large companies have
personnel or ‘human resources’ departments with set hiring procedures. Your task
will be to try to identify the person who has the power to hire you and make sure you
get through to that person. It’s not always easy to get past a person’s secretary or the

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personnel department, but once you do, it’s up to you to show them how you can
make a positive contribution to their organization — to solve their problems.
The goal of the entry-level position is not simply to get a small paycheck every
week to pay the rent. It is to start learning how the world of American work operates
on a day-to-day basis: how to deal with coworkers, how to take direction from
superiors and, eventually, how to take on responsibility in the American system.

5.4. The Changing American family


Couples often meet through religious institutions, work, school, or friends.
‘Dating services’ that are geared to assist people in finding partners, are becoming
more and more popular.
The trend over the past few decades has been for more and more couples
deciding to cohabitate before, or instead of, getting married. The 2000 Census
reported 9.7 million different-sex partners living together and about 1.3 million same-
sex partners living together.
Marriage laws are established by individual state. Same-sex marriage is
currently legal only in Massachusetts. In many states, it is illegal to cross state lines
to obtain a marriage that would be illegal in the home state. Married couples typically
reside in their own dwelling.
The typical wedding involves a couple proclaiming their commitment to one
another in front of their close relatives and friends and presided over by a religious
figure such as a minister, priest, or rabbi, depending upon the faith of the couple. In
Christian ceremonies, the general practice is for the bride’s father to ‘give away’ the
bride to the groom. Secular weddings are also common, often presided over by a
judge, Justice of the Peace, or other municipal official.
The American family unit is in the process of change. There used to be mainly
two types of families: the extended and the nuclear. The extended family most often
included mother, father, children, and some other relatives, such as grandparents,
living in the same house or nearby. Then as job patterns changed and the economy
progressed from agricultural to industrial, people were forced to move to different

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parts of the country for better job opportunities. These moves split up the extended
family. The nuclear family becomes more prevalent; this consists of only the parents
and the children.
Beginning in the early 20th century, the two-parent family was the
predominant American family type. Children live with their parents until they go
away to a college or university or until they acquire their own jobs and decide to
move out into their own apartment or home. Children are expected to be out of the
house by their mid-20s. While in some cultures (Asian, Middle Eastern,
Mediterranean) it is acceptable for an adult to remain in the parental household, a
person over 25 living with their parents is viewed negatively by most Americans.
This may come from the long tradition of individualism. However, this perception
appears to be changing as more Americans are being threatened with rising costs of
living; many young adults now remain with their parents well past their mid-20s.
Unconsciously, many Americans don’t consider a person a ‘true adult’ until he or she
moves out of the parental nest. There are some exceptions to this custom, especially
among Italian and Hispanic Americans, and in the extremely expensive regions of
New York City, California, and Honolulu, where rents of $1000 to over $4000 per
month are the norm.
In the early to mid-20th century, the father typically was the sole wage earner
and the mother was the children’s principal caregiver. Today, often both parents hold
jobs. Such families are the predominant type for families with children in the US.
Increasingly, one of the parents has a non-standard shift (that is, a shift that does not
start in the morning and end in the late afternoon). In these families, one of the
parents manages the children while the other works.
Before they start school, adequate day care of children is necessary for dual-
earner families; many private companies and home-based day care canters fulfil this
need. Increasingly, corporate sponsorship of day care is occurring, as well as
government assistance to parents requiring day care.
In the American family the husband and wife usually share important decision
making. When children are old enough, they participate as well. Foreign observers

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are frequently amazed by the permissiveness of American parents. The old rule that
‘children should be seen and not heard’ is rarely followed, and children are often
allowed to do what they wish without strict parental control. The father seldom
expects his children to obey him without question, and children are encouraged to be
independent at an early age. Some people believe that American parents carry this
freedom too far. Young people are expected to break away from their parental
families by the time they have reached their late teens or early twenties.
Now, besides these two types of traditional groupings, the word ‘family’ is
being extended to include a variety of other living arrangements. Today’s family can
be made up of diverse combinations. With the divorce rate nearly one in two, there is
an increase in single-parent homes: a father or mother living with one or more
children.
Single-parent households are households consisting of a single adult (most
often a woman) and one or more children. These types of households have been
increasing in number and, today, the majority of black households are single parent
households. For whites, Hispanics, and other races, the predominant family
household is still the two-parent family. Although the United States has a larger
number of single-parent households than it did in the past, countries such as the UK
have a higher percentage of single-parent households than the United States.
In the single-parent household, one parent typically raises the children with
little to no help from the other. This parent is the sole breadwinner of the family and
thus these households are particularly vulnerable economically. They have higher
rates of poverty, and children of these households are more likely to have educational
problems.
Blended families occur when previously married men or women marry again
and combine the children from their previous marriages into a new family. On the
other hand, some couples are deciding not to have children at all, so there is an
increase in two-person childless families. There are also more people who live alone:
single, widowed, divorced. Now, one in five Americans lives alone.

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5.5. The Media in the USA
Freedom of the Media The average American, according to a recent study,
spends about eight hours a day with the print and electronic media — at home, at
work, and travelling by car. This total includes four hours watching television, three
hours listening to radio, a half hour listening to recorded music, and another half hour
reading the newspaper.
The central role of information in American society harks back to a
fundamental belief held by the framers of the US Constitution: that a well-informed
people is the strongest guardian of its own liberties. The framers embodied that
assumption in the First Amendment to the Constitution, which provides in part that
‘Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech or of the press’. It
means that the press watches government actions and calls attention to official
misdeeds and violations of individual rights.
The First Amendment and the political philosophy behind it have allowed the
American media extraordinary freedom in reporting the news and expressing
opinions. In the 1970s, American reporters uncovered the Watergate scandal, which
ended with the resignation of President Richard Nixon, and American newspapers
printed the ‘Pentagon papers’ related to US involvement in the Vietnam War. Press
reports of official corruption that in some countries would bring arrests and the
shutdown of newspapers are made freely in the United States.
The media of the USA consist of several different types of communications
media: television, radio, cinema, newspapers, magazines, and Internet-based Web
sites. The US also has a strong music industry.
Many of the media are controlled by large for-rofit corporations who reap
revenue from advertising, subscriptions, and sale of copyrights material.
Newspapers In 1990, the press celebrated its 300th anniversary as an
American institution. The first newspaper in the colonies, Public Occurrences: Both
Foreign and Domestic, lasted only one day in 1690 before British officials suppressed
it. However, other papers sprang up, and by the 1730s, the colonial press was strong
enough to criticise British governors.

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By the 1820s, about 25 daily newspapers and more than 400 weeklies were
published in the United States. Horace Greeley founded the New York Tribune in
1841, and it quickly became the nation’s most influential newspaper.
Early in the 20th century, newspaper editors realised that the best way to attract
readers was to give them all sides of a story, without bias. This standard of objective
reporting is today one of American journalism’s most important traditions. Another
dominant feature of early 20th-century journalism was the creation of chains of
newspapers operating under the same ownership. This trend accelerated after World
War II, and newspaper chains own today about 75 percent of all US daily papers.
With the advent of television in the 1940s and 1950s, the new electronic
medium cut down on newspaper circulation: Readers tended to overlook the
afternoon paper because they could watch the day’s news on TV.
The top five daily newspapers by circulation in 1995 were the Wall Street
Journal (1,823,207), the USA Today (1,570,624), the New York Times (1,170,869),
the Los Angeles Times (1,053,498), and the Washington Post (840,232). The
youngest of the top five, USA Today, was launched as a national newspaper in 1982.
It relies on bold graphic design, colour photos, and brief articles to capture an
audience of urban readers interested in news ‘bites’ rather than traditional, longer
stories.
New technology is enabling other newspapers to enlarge their national and
international audiences. The USA Today is edited and composed in Arlington,
Virginia, then transmitted via satellite to 32 printing plants around the country and
two printing plants serving Europe and Asia. The International Herald Tribune,
owned jointly by the New York Times and the Washington Post, is a global
newspaper, printed via satellite in 11 cities around the world and distributed in 164
countries.
In 1992, the Chicago Sun-Times began to offer articles through America
Online, one of the first companies that connected personal computers with the
Internet. In 1993, the San Jose Mercury-News began distributing most of its daily
text, minus photos and illustrations, to subscribers to America Online. In 1995, eight

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media companies announced formation of a company to create a network of on-line
newspapers. Now, most American newspapers are available on the Internet, and
anyone with a personal computer and a link to the Internet can scan papers from
across the country in his or her own home or office.
Most general-purpose newspapers are either printed one time a week, usually
on Thursday or Friday, or are printed daily. Weekly newspapers tend to have much
smaller circulation and are more prevalent in rural communities or small towns.
Major cities often have ‘alternative weeklies’ to complement the mainstream daily
paper(s), for example, New York City’s Village Voice or Los Angeles’ L.A. Weekly,
to name two of the most well-known. Major cities may also support a local business
journal, trade papers relating to local industries and papers for local ethnic and social
groups.
Probably due to competition from other media, the number of daily newspapers
in the US has declined over the past half-century. In particular, the number of
evening newspapers has fallen by almost one-half since 1970, while the number of
morning editions and Sunday editions has grown.
With a very few exceptions, all the newspapers in the US are privately owned.
Television in the United States is regulated, along with radio, by the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC). There are several thousand local stations, of
which many belong to the seven nationwide commercial broadcast networks.
Traditionally, there were three: NBC, ABC, and CBS. The four newer networks are
Fox, UPN, the WB, and I. There is also a noncommercial public television network,
PBS, which is partially subsidised by the federal government. Public access
television is open local cable channels. The WB and UPN have merged into one
network known as the CW. MyNetwork TV was created as an alternative to stations
not affiliating with the CW network.
Among the new cable channels there are several that show movies 24 hours a
day — Cable News Network (CNN), the creation of Ted Turner, which broadcasts
news around the clock, and MTV, which shows music videos.

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In 1988, Christopher Whittle founded Channel One cable network, which
provides educational programming — along with commercials — to about 40 percent
of American high school students.
Since World War II television has developed into the most popular medium in
the United States, with enormous influence on the country’s elections and way of life.
In 2000, 100 million American homes (98.2 percent) had at least one TV set, and the
average number of sets per home was 2.4.
There are 349 public television stations across the United States, each of which
is independent and serves its community’s interests. But the stations are united by
such national entities as the Public Broadcasting Service, which supplies
programming. American taxpayers provide partial funding for public television,
which is watched by nearly 100 million viewers per week.
Radio American radio broadcasts in two bands: FM and AM. Some stations
are only talk radio — featuring interviews and discussions — while music radio
stations broadcast one particular type of music: Top 40, hip-hop, country, etc. Radio
broadcast companies have become increasingly consolidated in recent years.
National Public Radio is the nation’s primary public radio network, but most radio
stations are commercial and profit-oriented.
The beginning of commercial radio broadcasts in 1920 brought a new source
of information and entertainment directly into American homes. President Franklin
Roosevelt understood the usefulness of radio as a medium of communication: His
‘fireside chats’ kept the nation abreast of economic developments during the
Depression and of military maneuvers during World War II.
The widespread availability of television after World War II caused radio
executives to rethink their programming. Radio could hardly compete with
television’s visual presentation of drama, comedy, and variety acts. Many radio
stations switched to a format of recorded music mixed with news and features.
Starting in the 1950s, radios became standard accessories in American automobiles.
The medium enjoyed a renaissance as American commuters tuned in their car radios
on the way to work.

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The expansion of FM radio, which has better sound quality but a more limited
signal range than AM, led to a split in radio programming in the 1970s and 1980s.
FM came to dominate the music side of programming, while AM has shifted mainly
to all-news and talk formats.
Barely in existence 40 years ago, talk radio usually features a host, a celebrity
or an expert on some subject, and the opportunity for listeners to call in and ask
questions or express opinions on the air. The call-in format is now heard on nearly
1,000 of the 10,000 commercial radio stations in the United States.
Besides the 10,000 commercial radio stations, the United States has more than
1,400 public radio stations. Most of these are run by universities and other public
institutions for educational purposes and are financed by public funds and private
donations.
A new form of radio that is gaining popularity is satellite radio. The two
biggest subscriptions based radio services are Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite
Radio, which have recently both merged together. Unlike terrestrial radio, music
channels are commercial free and other channels feature very minimal commercials.
Satellite Radio also is not regulated by the FCC.
Magazines Thanks to the huge size of the English-speaking North American
media market, the United States has a large magazine industry with hundreds of
magazines serving almost every interest, as can be determined by glancing at any
newsstand in any large American city. Most magazines are owned by one of the large
media conglomerates or by one of their smaller regional brethren.
The US has three leading weekly newsmagazines: Time, Newsweek and US
News and World Report. Time and Newsweek are center-left while US News tends to
be center-right, although all three (in theory, at least) strive to provide objective news
reporting and limit personal bias to the opinion pages. Time is well-known for
naming a ‘person of the year’ each year, while US News publishes annual ratings of
American colleges and universities.
The first American magazines appeared a half century after the first
newspapers and took longer to attain a wide audience. In 1893, the first mass-

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circulation magazines were introduced, and in 1923, Henry Luce launched Time, the
first weekly news magazine. The arrival of television cut into the advertising
revenues enjoyed by mass-circulation magazines, and some weekly magazines
eventually folded: The Saturday Evening Post in 1969, Look in 1971, and Life in
1972. (The Saturday Evening Post and Life later reappeared as monthlies.)
Magazine publishers responded by trying to appeal more to carefully defined
audiences than to the public at large. Magazines on virtually any topic imaginable
have appeared, including Tennis, Trailer Life, and Model Railroading. Other
magazines have targeted segments within their audience for special attention. TV
Guide, Time, and Newsweek, for example, publish regional editions. Several
magazines are attempting to personalize the contents of each issue according to an
individual reader’s interests.
This specialization has brought an upswing in the number of magazines
published in the United States, from 6,960 in 1970 to 11,000 in 1994. The top two in
circulation were both aimed at retired persons: NRTS/AARP Bulletin (21,875,436)
and Modern Maturity (21,716,727). Rounding out the top five were Reader's Digest
(15,126,664), TV Guide (14,037,062), and National Geographic (9,283,079).
In 1993, Time became the first magazine to offer an on-line edition that
subscribers can call up on their computers before it hits the newsstands. In 1996,
software magnate Bill Gates started Slate, a magazine covering politics and culture
that was intended to be available exclusively on-line (Slates publisher soon decided
to add a print version). Meanwhile, a new hybrid of newspaper and magazine became
popular starting in the 1970s: the newsletter. Printed on inexpensive paper and often
as short as four to six pages, the typical newsletter appears weekly or biweekly.
Newsletters gather and analyze information on specialized topics. Southern Political
Report, for example, covers election races in the southern US states, and FTC Watch
covers the actions of the Federal Trade Commission. Newsletters can be the product
of small staffs, sometimes only a single reporter who produces the issue by computer.

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The newsletter has been joined by the zine, a highly personalized magazine of
relatively small circulation, sometimes with contents that are meant to shock. Afraid,
for instance, is a monthly zine devoted to horror stories.
The US also has over a dozen major political magazines, serving every part of
the political spectrum from left to right.
Finally, besides the hundreds of specialized magazines that serve the diverse
interests and hobbies of the American people, there are also dozens of magazines
published by professional organizations for their members, such as Communications
of the ACM (for computer science specialists) and the ABA Journal (for lawyers).

5.6. The National Holidays


There are a number of holidays in the USA. Americans share three national
holidays with many countries: Easter Sunday, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
Easter, which falls on a spring Sunday that varies from year to year, celebrates
the Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter is a day of religious
services and the gathering of family. Many Americans follow old traditions of
colouring hard-boiled eggs and giving children baskets of candy. On the next day,
Easter Monday, the president of the United States holds an annual Easter egg hunt on
the White House lawn for young children.
Christmas Day, December 25, is another Christian holiday; it marks the birth
of the Christ Child. Decorating houses and yards with lights , putting up Christmas
trees, giving gifts, and sending greeting cards have become traditions even for many
non-Christian Americans.
New Year’s Day is January 1. The celebration of this holiday begins the night
before, when theatres, night clubs, restaurants are crowded. At 12 midnight when the
ringing of bells, popping of champagne bottles and fire crackers announce the start of
New Year. People throw streamers and confetti, shake hands, exchange kisses and
embraces, and wish each other a “Happy New Year!”

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Two famous New Year’s Day festivals are shown for national viewing: the
Tournament of Roses and Mummer’s Parade. Both of these events have been
American traditions for more than half a century.
The Mummer’s Parade, which takes place in Philadelphia, is a ten – hour
spectacle. Swedish immigrants introduced it in the US. There are clowns, musicians,
dancers – all led by King Momus dressed in bright satin.
The Tournament of Roses takes place in Pasadena, California. Prizes are
awarded to the cities with the most unusual and attractive floral displays. After the
parade, the Rose Bowl football game, a struggle between two top — ranking college
football teams, is played. Those events attract thousands of tourists and millions of
TV viewers
Eight other holidays are uniquely American (although some of them have
counterparts in other nations). For most Americans, two of these stand out above the
others as occasions to cherish national origins: Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July.
Thanksgiving Day is the fourth Thursday in November, but many Americans
take a day of vacation on the following Friday to make a four-day weekend, during
which they may travel long distances to visit family and friends. The holiday dates
back to 1621, the year after the Puritans arrived in Massachusetts.
After a rough winter, in which about half of them died, they turned for help to
neighboring Indians, who taught them how to plant corn and other crops. The next
fall’s bountiful harvest inspired the Pilgrims to give thanks by holding a feast. The
Thanksgiving feast became a national tradition not only because so many other
Americans have found prosperity but also because the Pilgrims’ sacrifices for their
freedom still captivate the imagination. To this day, Thanksgiving dinner almost
always includes some of the foods served at the first feast: roast turkey, cranberry
sauce, potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Apple cider is the drink of the day. Before the meal
begins, families of friends usually pause to give thanks for their blessings, including
the joy of being united for the occasion. Thanksgiving was proclaimed a national day
of observance by Congress in 1941.

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There is Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Stores, classrooms, and
homes are decorated with turkeys, pilgrims, Indians, wreaths of dried flowers, and
vegetables. Horns of plenty are also very popular.
The Fourth of July, or Independence Day, honours the nation’s birthday —
the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. It is a day of picnics
and patriotic parades, a night of concerts and fireworks, open — air meetings and
speeches praising ‘Americanism, democracy, free enterprise’. The flying of the
American flag (which also occurs on Memorial Day and other holidays) is wide
spread. On July 4, 1976, grand festivals marked the 200th anniversary of the
Declaration of Independence across the nation.
Besides Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July, there are six other uniquely
American holidays.
Martin Luther King Day The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., an African-
American clergyman, is considered a great American because of his tireless efforts to
win civil rights for all people through nonviolent means. Since his assassination in
1968, memorial services marked his birthday on January 15. In 1986, that day was
replaced by the third Monday of January, which was declared a national holiday.
Martin Luther King is remembered in church memorial services, marches, and public
ceremonies. People also listen to his speeches, watch TV documentaries, and sing
spirituals and the civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome.” In schools, students read
about this leader, study his writings and celebrate his memory with special
programmes. Politicians and performers also participate in celebrations to honour
Martin Luther King.
Presidents’ Day Until the mid-1970s, the February 22 birthday of George
Washington, hero of the Revolutionary War and first president of the United States,
was a national holiday. In addition, the February 12 birthday of Abraham Lincoln, the
president during the Civil War, was a holiday in most states. The two days have been
joined, and the holiday has been expanded to embrace all past presidents. It is
celebrated on the third Monday in February.

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Memorial Day is celebrated on the fourth Monday of May, this holiday
honours the dead. Although it originated in the aftermath of the Civil War, it has
become a day on which the dead of all wars and the dead generally, are remembered
in special programmes held in cemeteries, churches, and other public meeting places.
People call this day Decoration Day or Poppy Day (Poppies are small red flowers).
Schools, clubs and churches decorate the cemeteries. They put up the flags on
the graves of the army, navy and airmen. They hold memorial services in churches,
halls, parks and cemeteries.
Labour Day is the first Monday of September. This holiday honours the
nation’s working people, typically with parades. For most Americans it marks the end
of the summer vacation season, and for many students the opening of the school year.
People go to the beach or mountains on picnics to enjoy the fine weather at the end of
the summer holiday season.
Columbus Day On October 12, 1492, Italian navigator Christopher Columbus
landed in the New World. Although most other nations of the Americas observe this
holiday on October 12, in the United States it takes place on the second Monday in
October.
Veterans Day Originally called Armistice Day, this holiday was established to
honour Americans who had served in World War I. It falls on November 11, the day
when that war ended in 1918, but it now honours veterans of all wars in which the
United States has fought. Veterans’ organizations hold parades, and the president
customarily places a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National
Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D. C.
This day reminds people of the courage and patriotism of all men and women
who serve their country.
President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as Armistice Day so
Americans would not forget the tragedies of war. In 1954 Congress changed the
name to Veterans Day to honor all United States veterans. It is also a day dedicated to
world peace.

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On this day, the radio and television broadcast services held at the National
Cemetery in Arlington. High officials come from Washington to attend these
services. They place a wreath of flowers at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. All
stand in silence for a few minutes at eleven o’clock to honor the memory of the
serviceman killed in the two World Wars.
Various ethnic groups in America celebrate days with special meaning to them
even though these are not national holidays. Jews, for example, observe their high
holly days in September. Irish Americans celebrate the old country’s patron saint, St.
Patrick, on March 17; this is a high-spirited day, on which many Americans wear
green clothing in honour of the “Emerald Isle”. The celebration of Mardi Gras
(Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday” in French) — the day before the Christian season
of Lent — is a big occasion in New Orleans, Louisiana. There are many other such
ethnic celebrations, and New York City is particularly rich in them.
Two other days of the year, while not holidays, inspire colourful celebrations in
the United States. On February 14, Valentine’s Day (named after an early Christian
Martyr), Americans give presents, usually candy of flowers, to ones they love. On
October 31, Halloween (the evening before All Saints or All Hallows Day),
American children dress up in funny or scary costumes and go “treat or treating”:
knocking on doors in their neighborhood. The neighbors are expected to respond by
giving them small gifts of candy or money. Adults may also dress in costume for
Halloween parties.

5.7. Sports in the USA


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.
American sports are quite distinct from those played elsewhere in the world.
The top three spectator team sports are baseball, American football, basketball and

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volleyball, which are all popular on both the college and professional levels.
Basketball and volleyball have been invented in America.
Baseball is the oldest of these. The professional game dates from 1869 and had
no close rivals in popularity until the 1960s; though baseball is no longer the most
popular sport it is still referred to as the ‘national pastime’. Also unlike the
professional levels of the other popular spectator sports in the US, Major League
Baseball teams play almost every day from April to October. American football
(known simply as ‘football’ in the US) attracts more viewers within the country than
baseball nowadays; however, National Football League teams play only 16 regular-
season games each year, so baseball is the runaway leader in ticket sales. Basketball,
invented in Massachusetts by the Canadian-born James Naismith, is another popular
sport, represented professionally by the National Basketball Association (or NBA).
Most residents along the northern tier of states recognise a fourth major
sport — ice hockey. The game is represented by the National Hockey League teams
(or NHL).
The top tier of stock car auto racing, NASCAR, has grown from a mainly
Southern sport to the second-most-watched sport in the US behind football.
Unlike in Europe, Africa, and Latin America, soccer has a relatively small
following, and is mostly popular in the more international cities with large immigrant
populations, like New York and Los Angeles. Generally few non-Hispanic American
adults appear to be attracted to this game as spectators, but the sport is widely played
by children of all backgrounds. Dramatic growth in youth participation, rather than
rising interest, has fuelled the national team’s steady rise in the quality of play over
the last two decades of the 20th century and the 2000s. Almost as many girls as boys
play youth soccer in the US, contributing to the women’s national team becoming
one of the world’s premier women’s sides.
Some unusual kinds of sports originated in America. They are windsurfing,
skate-boarding and triathlon. Triathlon includes swimming, bicycling racing and
long-distances-running. Now these are becoming more and more popular in Europe.

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In America, the extent to which sports are associated with secondary and
tertiary education is unique among nations. In basketball and football, high school
and particularly college sports are followed with a fervour equalling or exceeding that
felt for professional sports; college football games can draw six-digit crowds, the
college basketball championship tournament played in March draws enormous
attention, and for upper-tier schools, sports are a significant source of revenue.
Though student athletes may be held to significantly lower academic requirements
than non-athletes at many large universities, minimum standards do exist.
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. There are sports facilities
at every school.
Americans pay much attention to physical fitness. Many sports and sporting
activities are popular in the USA. People participate in swimming, skating, squash
and badminton, tennis, marathons, track-and-field, bowing, archery, skiing, skating
etc.
Opportunities for keeping fit and playing sports are numerous. Jogging is
extremely popular, perhaps because it is the cheapest and most accessible sport.
Aerobic exercise and training with weight-lifting machines are two activities which
more and more men and women are pursuing. Books, videos, and fitness-conscious
movie stars that play up the glamour of fitness have heightened enthusiasm for these
exercises and have promoted the muscular, healthy body as the American beauty
ideal. Most communities have recreational parks with tennis and basketball courts, a
football or soccer field, and outdoor grills for picnics. These parks generally charge
no fees for the use of these facilities. Some large corporations, hospitals, and
churches have indoor gymnasiums and organize informal team sports. For those who
can afford membership fees, there is the exclusive country club and its more modern
version, the health and fitness center. Members of these clubs have access to all kinds
of indoor and outdoor sports; swimming, volleyball, golf, racquetball, handball,

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tennis, and basketball. Most clubs also offer instruction in various, sports and
exercise methods.
Schools and colleges have institutionalized team sports for young people.
Teams and competitions are highly organized and competitive and generally receive
substantial local publicity. High schools and colleges commonly have a school team
for each of these sports: football, basketball, baseball, tennis, wrestling, gymnastics,
and track, and sometimes for soccer, swimming, hockey, volleyball, fencing, and
golf. Practices and games are generally held on the school premises after classes are
over. High schools and colleges recognize outstanding athletic achievement with
trophies, awards, and scholarships, and student athletes receive strong community
support.

5.8. American Sports


Baseball is a nine-a-side game played with bat, ball, and glove, mainly in the
USA. Teams consist of a pitcher and catcher, called the battery, first, second, and
third basemen, and shortstop, called the infield, and right, centre, and left fielders,
called the outfield. Substitute players may enter the game at any time, but once a
player is removed he cannot return.
The standard ball has a cork-and-rubber centre wound with woolen yarn and
covered with horse-hide. It weighs 148 g. and is approximately 23 cm in
circumference. The bat is a smooth, round, tapered piece of hard wood not more than
approximately 7 cm in diameter at its thickest part and no more than 1.07 m long.
The game is played on a field containing four bases placed at the angles of a
27.4 m square (often called a diamond): home plate and, in counter-clockwise order,
first, second, and third base. Two foul lines form the boundaries of fair territory.
Starting at home, these lines extend past first and third base the entire length of the
field, which is often enclosed by a fence at its farthest limits.
The object of each team is to score more runs than the other. A run is scored
whenever a player circles all the bases and reaches home without being put out. The
game is divided into innings, in each of which the teams alternate at bat and in the

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field. A team is allowed three outs in each half-inning at bat, and must then take up
defensive positions in the field while the other team has its turn to try to score.
Ordinarily, a game consists of nine innings; in the event of a tie, extra innings are
played until one team outscores the other in the same number of innings.
The players take turns batting from home plate in regular rotation. The
opposing pitcher throws the ball to his catcher from a slab (called the ‘rubber’) on the
pitcher’s mound, a slightly raised area of the field directly between home and second
base. Bases are canvas bags fastened to metal pegs set in the ground.
The batter tries to reach base safely after hitting the pitched ball into fair
territory. A hit that enables him to reach first base is called a ‘single’; a two-base hit
is a ‘double’, a three-base hit a ‘triple’, and a four-base hit a ‘home-run’. A fair ball
hit over an outfield fence is automatically a home run. A batter is also awarded his
base if the pitcher delivers four pitches which, in the umpire’s judgement, do not pass
through the ‘strike zone’ — that is, over home plate between the batter’s armpits and
knees; or if he is hit by a pitched ball; or if the opposing catcher interferes when he
swings the bat. To prevent the batter from hitting safely, baseball pitchers deliver the
ball with great speed and accuracy and vary its speed and trajectory. Success in
batting, therefore, requires courage and a high degree of skill. After a player reaches
base safely, his progress towards home depends largely on his team mates’ hitting the
ball in such a way that he can advance.
Players may be put out in various ways. A batter is out when the pitcher gets
three ‘strikes’ on him. A strike is a pitch that crosses the plate in the strike zone, or
any pitch that is struck at and missed or is hit into foul territory. After two strikes,
however, foul balls do not count except when a batter bunts — lets the ball meet the
bat instead of swinging at it — and the ball rolls foul. A batter is also out if he hits the
ball in the air anywhere in fair or foul territory and it is caught by an opponent before
it touches the ground. He is out if he hits the ball on the ground and a fielder catches
and throws it to a player at first base, or catches it and touches that base, before the
batter (now become a base runner) gets there.

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A base runner may be put out if, while off base, he is tagged by an opposing
player with the hand or glove holding the ball, or if he is forced to leave his base to
make room for another runner and fails to reach the next base before an opposing
player tags him or the base; or if he is hit by a team mate's batted ball before it has
touched or passed a fielder.
An umpire-in-chief ‘calls’ balls and strikes from his position directly behind
the catcher at home plate, and one or more base umpires determine whether runners
are safe or out at the other three bases.
The History of basketball, a game that started with 18 men in a YMCA
gymnasium in Springfield, Massachusetts, has grown into a game that more than 300
million people play worldwide. The man who created this instantly successful sport
was James Naismith.
Naismith’s invention didn’t come easily. His first intention was to bring
outdoor games indoors, i.e., soccer and lacrosse. These games proved too physical
and cumbersome. At his wits’ end, Naismith recalled a childhood game that required
players to use finesse and accuracy to become successful. After brainstorming this
new idea, Naismith developed basketball’s original 13 rules and consequently, the
game of basketball.
Naismith became famous for creating the game of basketball, a stroke of
genius that never brought him fame or fortune during his lifetime, but enormous
recognition following his passing in 1939. For his historic invention, Naismith’s
name adorns the world’s only Basketball Hall of Fame, a tribute that forever makes
James Naismith synonymous with basketball.
Hunting is very popular in the USA and is pursued over large areas, including
some close to the metropolitan centres. Where the climate and terrain permit, there
are many places set up for water-skiing, surfboarding, snowboarding and
mountain climbing. The one sport draws more participants than any other in
America is bowling. Men, women and children make up teams rolling heavy balls
down a hardwood-surfaced ‘lane’ towards ten standing ‘pins’.

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For the more adventurous there are wilderness trips deep into primeval
America by boat, on horseback or on foot.
In the USA football is the most popular game in autumn. The game originated
as a college sport. It is still played by almost every college and university in the
country. There are professional football teams in nearly all the major cities of the
United States. This ferocious game is quite unlike the game of the same name played
elsewhere. The players are dressed in plastic armour — helmets, face masks, bulky
shoulder-and hip-padding, because the game is rough. The matches are accompanied
by uniformed bands, cheerleaders, pretty girls dressed in short skirts, knee-high red
leather boots and military-looking white jackets who dance and lead the cheering and
rouse the crowd to noisy enthusiasm.

5.9. Religion in the United States


Religion in the United States has a history of diversity, due in large part to the
nation’s multicultural demographic makeup.
Among ‘developed nations’, the US is one of the most religious. According to
a 2002 study by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, the US was the only developed
nation in the survey where a majority of citizens reported that religion played a ‘very
important’ role in their lives.
Most US adult citizens adhere to Christianity (78.5%). A 2001 survey found
15% of the adult population to have no religious affiliation, still significantly less
than in other postindustrial countries such as Britain (44%) and Sweden (69%).
According to ARIS and other studies, non-Christian religions (including Judaism,
Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and others) collectively make up about 5.5% of the
adult population.
A new survey in 2008 found out that the US religious marketplace is extremely
volatile, with nearly half of American adults leaving the faith tradition of their
upbringing to either switch allegiances or abandon religious affiliation altogether.
Several of the original 13 colonies were established by English settlers who
wished to practice their own religion without discrimination: Pennsylvania was

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established by Quakers, Maryland by Roman Catholics and the Massachusetts Bay
Colony by Puritans. The United States was one of the first countries in the world to
enact a separation of church and state and freedom of religion. The framers of the
United States Constitution rejected any religious test for office, and the First
Amendment specifically denied the central government any power to enact any law
respecting either an establishment of religion, or prohibiting its free exercise. The
framers were mainly influenced by Enlightenment ideals, but they also considered the
pragmatic concerns of minority religious groups who did not want to be under the
power or influence of a state religion that did not represent them.
The largest religion in the US is Christianity, practiced by nearly 78.5% of the
total population. Roughly 51.3% of Americans are Protestants, 23.9% are Catholics,
and 1.7% are Mormons (the name commonly used to refer to members of the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), and 1.6% to various other Christian
denominations. Christianity was introduced during the period of European
colonization.
The French, Spanish and Irish brought Catholicism, while Northern European
peoples introduced Protestantism. Among Protestants, adherents to Anglicanism,
Baptism, Calvinism, Puritanism, Presbyterianism, Lutheranism, Quakerism, Amish
and Moravian Church were the first to settle to the US spreading their faith in the
new country.
Since then, American Christians developed in their own path. During the Great
Awakenings interdenominational evangelicalism, Pentecostalism and Christian
fundamentalism emerged, along with new Protestant denominations such as
Adventism, and new branches of Restorationism, particularly Jehovah’s Witnesses
and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also commonly referred to as
Mormonism. Today, with 16.6 million adherents (5.3% of the total population),
Southern Baptist is the largest Protestant denomination. Of the total population,
Evangelicals comprise 26.3%, and Mainline Protestants 16%. The strength of various
sects varies greatly in different regions of the country, with rural parts of the South
(except Louisiana and the Hispanic community, which both consist mainly of

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Catholics), having many evangelicals but very few Catholics, while urbanized areas
of the north Atlantic states and Great Lakes, as well as many industrial and mining
towns, are heavily Catholic, though still quite mixed. Mormons are predominant in
Utah, Idaho, and neighboring states.
Despite its status as the most widespread and influential religion of the US,
Christianity is undergoing a continuous relative decline. While the absolute number
of Christians rose from 1990 to 2001, the Christian percentage of the population
dropped from 88.3% to 78.5%.

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Lecture 6
American Culture

6.1. Theatre in the United States


Theatre of the United States is based in the Western tradition, mostly borrowed
from the performance styles prevalent in Europe. Today, it is heavily interlaced with
American literature, film, television, and music, and it is not uncommon for a single
story to appear in all forms. Regions with significant music scenes often have strong
theatre and comedy traditions as well. Musical theatre may be the most popular form:
it is certainly the most colourful, and choreographed motions pioneered on stage have
found their way onto movie and television screens. Broadway in New York City is
generally considered the pinnacle of commercial US theatre, though this art form
appears all across the country. Another city of particular note is Chicago, which
boasts the most diverse and dynamic theatre scene in the country. Regional or
resident theatres in the United States are professional theatre companies outside of
New York City that produce their own seasons. There is also community theatre and
showcase theatre. Even tiny rural communities sometimes awe audiences with
extravagant productions.
Early History The birth of professional theatre in America is usually thought
to have begun with the Lewis Hallam troupe which arrived in Williamsburg, Virginia
in 1752. However it is certain that theatre existed in North America before that. A
theatre was built in Williamsburg in 1715, and in January 1736, the original Dock
Street Theatre was opened in Charles Town. Thomas Kean played the part of Richard
III in New York City in 1750. (Amateur theater is recorded to have existed as early as
1665.)
In any case The Hallams were the first to organize a complete company of
actors in Europe (in London) and bring them to the colonies. They brought a
repertoire of the most popular plays from London, including Hamlet, The Recruiting

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Officer, and Richard III. The Merchant of Venice was their first performance shown
initially on September 15, 1752.
Throughout the 18th century there was widespread opposition to theatrical
performances. In the puritanical climate of the time, especially in the North, the
theatre was considered a ‘highway to hell’. Laws forbidding the performance of plays
were passed in Massachusetts (1750), Pennsylvania (1759), and Rhode Island (1761),
and it was banned in most states during the American Revolutionary War.
In the early 19th century, theatre became more common in the United States,
and many celebrity actors from Europe toured the United States. There were even a
few famous American actors, such as Edwin Forrest and Charlotte Cushman. The
Walnut Street Theatre (or simply The Walnut) is the oldest continuously-operating
theatre in America, located in Philadelphia, built in 1809.
Provincial theatres frequently lacked heat and even minimal props and scenery.
As the Westward Expansion of the country progressed, some entrepreneurs staged
floating theaters on boats which would travel from town to town.
American plays of the period are mostly melodramas, often weaving in local
themes or characters such as the heroic but ill-fated Indian. A popular form of theatre
during this time was the minstrel show, which may be regarded, to some extend, as
the first uniquely American style of performance. These shows featured white actors
dressed in blackface and playing up racial stereotypes. These shows became the most
watched theatrical form of the period.
Throughout the 19th century, many preachers continued to warn against
attending plays as being sinful. Theatre was associated with hedonism and even
violence, and actors especially female actors, were looked upon as little better than
prostitutes.
Burlesque became a popular form of entertainment in the middle of the 19th
century. Originally, it was a form of farce in which females in male roles mocked the
politics and culture of the day.

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The 20th century theatre Vaudeville was common in the late 19th and early
20th century, and is notable for heavily influencing early film, radio, and television
productions in the country.
By the beginning of the 20th century, theatre had become more sophisticated in
the United States, as it had in Europe. The stars of this era, such as Ethel Barrymore
and John Drew, were often seen as even more important than the show itself. The
advance of motion pictures also led to many changes in theatre. The popularity of
musicals may have been due in part to the fact the early films had no sound, and
could thus not compete. More complex and sophisticated dramas bloomed in this
time period.
After World War II, American theatre came into its own. Several American
playwrights, such as Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams, became world-
renowned. In the 60s experimentation in the arts spread into theatre as well, with
plays such as Hair including nudity and drug culture references. Musicals remained
popular as well, and musicals such as West Side Story and A Chorus Line broke
previous records.
American theater today Earlier styles of theatre such as minstrel shows and
vaudeville acts have disappeared from the landscape, but theatre remains a popular
American art form. Broadway productions still entertain millions of theatregoers as
productions have become more elaborate and expensive. Notable contemporary
American playwrights include Edward Albee, August Wilson, Tony Kushner, David
Henry Hwang, and Wendy Wasserstein. Smaller urban theatres still remain a source
of innovation, and regional theatres remain an important part of theatre life. Drama is
also taught in high schools and colleges, which was not done in previous periods, and
many become interested in theatre through this.

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6.2. Cinema in the United States
History The history of the cinema in the USA is sometimes separated into four
main periods: the silent era, Classical Hollywood cinema, New Hollywood, and the
contemporary period (after 1980).
In 1895, the American inventor Thomas Edison produced the peep-hole movie,
The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, at the same time that the brothers Auguste
(1861-1954) and Louis (1864-1948) Lumiere were completing the film Workers
Leaving the Lumiere Factory in France. These first three individuals, who
successfully adapted photographed moving images to a projection device, can be
considered the founding fathers of the film industry.
In the United States, the first exhibitions of films for large audiences typically
followed the intermissions in vaudeville shows. The first huge success of American
cinema was The Great Train Robbery, directed by Edwin S. Porter.
In early 1910, director D.W. Griffith went to the west coast with his acting
troop. They started filming on a vacant lot near Georgia Street in downtown Los
Angeles. The company decided while there to explore new territories and travelled
several miles north to a little village. This place was called ‘Hollywood’. Griffith then
filmed the first movie ever shot in Hollywood, In Old California, a melodrama about
California in the 1800s. Before World War I, movies were made in several US cities,
but filmmakers tended to move to southern California as the industry developed.
They were attracted by the mild climate and reliable sunlight, which made it possible
to film movies outdoors all the year-round, and by the varied scenery that was
available.
During the so-called Golden Age of Hollywood, which lasted from the virtual
end of the silent era in the late 1920s up to the end of the 1940s, movies issued from
the Hollywood studios like the cars rolling off Henry Ford's assembly lines. No two
movies were exactly the same, but most followed a formula: Western, slapstick
comedy, film noir, musical, animated cartoon, biopic (biographical picture), etc. And
one could usually guess which studio made which film, largely because of the actors
who appeared in it. Each studio had its own style and characteristic.

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Citizen Kane, directed by Orson Welles (1915-1985), was widely regarded as
one of the greatest movies of all times. The peak of the studio system may have been
the year 1939, which saw the release of such classics as The Wizard of Oz, Gone with
the Wind, Stagecoach, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Only Angels Have Wings,
Ninotchka, and Midnight. Among the other films in the Golden Age period that
remain classics to the present day: Casablanca, It’s a Wonderful Life, the original
King Kong, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
‘Post-classical cinema’ is a term used to describe the changing methods of
storytelling in the New Hollywood. The roots of post-classical storytelling may be
seen in film noir, in Rebel without a Cause (1955), and in Hitchcock’s storyline-
shattering Psycho. ‘Post-classical cinema’ is a term used to describe the period
following the decline of the studio system in the 50s and 60s and the end of the
production code. It is defined by a greater tendency to dramatize such things as
sexuality and violence.
‘New Hollywood’ is a term used to describe the emergence of a new
generation of film school-trained directors who had absorbed the techniques
developed in Europe in the 1960s. Filmmakers like Francis Ford Coppola, George
Lucas, Brian de Palma, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg came to produce film
material that paid homage to the history of film, and developed existing genres and
techniques. In the early 1970s, their films were often both critically praised and
commercially successful. While the early New Hollywood films like Bonnie and
Clyde and Easy Rider had been relatively low-budget affairs with amoral heroes and
increased sexuality and violence, the enormous success enjoyed by Coppola,
Spielberg and Lucas with The Godfather, Jaws, and Star Wars, respectively helped to
give rise to the modern ‘blockbuster’, and persuaded studios to focus more heavily on
trying to produce enormous hits.
In the 2000s, film types that were previously considered to have only a minor
presence in the mainstream movie market began to arise. These include foreign-
language films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero, and documentary

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films such as Super Size Me, March of the Penguins, and Michael Moore’s Bowling
for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11.
Cinemas In cities there are three main varieties of cinemas: so-called ‘first-
run’ movie houses, which show new films; ‘art theatres’, which specialise in showing
foreign films and revivals; and ‘neighborhood theaters’, which run films —
sometimes two at a time — after the first-run houses.
Many of New York’s famous large theatres have been torn down or converted
(in some cases into smaller theaters), and a new generation of modern theatres has
appeared to the north and east of the area. Most of them offer continuous
performances from around noon till midnight. Less crowded and less expensive are
the so-called ‘neighborhood theaters’, which show films several weeks or months
after the first-run theatres. There are several theatres that specialise in revivals of
famous old films and others that show only modernist avant-garde films. Still others,
especially those along 42nd Street, between the Avenue of Americas and Eighth
Avenue, run movies about sex and violence.
Foreign films, especially those of British, French, Italian and Swedish origin,
are often seen in New York, and several theatres focus on the showing of foreign-
language films for the various ethnic groups in the city.
Films Hollywood studios have always made an emphasis on escapist
entertainment. Nevertheless, the most successful films have always centered on the
lives of ordinary people. Their humanity makes these films so rich in their effect.
Among such films were The Death of a Salesman, the tragedy of an aging man who
realises he will never be successful; Marty, the simple story of two plain people who
find love; Our Town, a drama of life and death in a small town; The Yearling, a
tenderly told story of a small boy’s love for his pet deer; The Best Years of Our Lives,
embodiment of dreams and reality in the post-war world; Twelve Angry Men, the
story of what may happen in a jury room during a murder trial, and many others.
Genres The major film genres developed in the United States are: comedy,
musical, Western, gangster, horror, war, science fiction and detective suspense.

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Comedy Charles Spencer Chaplin became the most widely-recognised film
figure in the world, and it has been said that he was more universally known than any
living person in history. Chaplin emphasised the development of character and plot
structure, in contrast to the simple reliance on gags and gimmicks that characterized
the work of other comedy producers of the day.
Westerns The Western was the first American genre to be developed and has
remained a staple of the American motion-picture art and industry. It has been
estimated that one quarter of US films have been westerns. However, today most
American westerns are made in Italy and are called ‘spaghetti westerns’.
Musicals The musicals of the late 1920s and the early 1930s consisted of a
series of ‘numbers’ by established stars of Broadway, vaudeville and radio. Later
manifestations of the form were the biographical musicals, often highly fictionalised,
about great composers, musicians, singers, providing an opportunity to string together
some of their most popular hits. The transferring of musicals from the Broadway
stage became almost automatic at the beginning of the 1950s, and includes
Brigadoon (1954), Oklahoma (1955), The King and I (1956), South Pacific (1958),
West Side Story (1961), My Fair Lady (1964), The Sound of Music (1965) and many
more recent productions.
Gangster films While the Western deals with a mythical American past and the
musical with a fantasy land, the gangster film is closely tied to a real facet of
American life. In earlier films, the gangster had risen to the top to enjoy wealth,
power, beautiful women, expensive homes and large cars, but before the end of the
film he was bound to be caught by law-enforcement officers, overthrown by fellow
gang members, or killed. Such punishment was considered obligatory. By 1971,
however, The Godfather showed how far the genre has evolved: Marlon Brando, in
the title role, dies of old age.
War films have evolved into a major American genre, since wars have
occupied so much of contemporary American history. World War II has been the
subject of the greatest number of American films in this genre.

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 112
Horror films In the 1920s the creation of a monster who gets out of control or
is coming to life from non-human beings who survive by killing the living provided
the basic story lines of countless horror films, e. g. Frankenstein (1931), Dracula
(1931). These films also have dealt with supernatural forces that manifest themselves
as an unseen power rather than in individual form, e. g. The Birds (1963), The
Exorcist (1973). A third major kind of horror film deals with people who are insane
or in the grip of psychological powers beyond their control (Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,
1908, 1941).
Horror films as a genre is associated with the name of Alfred Hitchcock. Like
Walt Disney with cartoons, Alfred Hitchcock was thought not just to have invented a
film genre but to have patented it (hence Hitch, another name for a horror film).
Disaster films are another type of popular films depicting serious misfortunes,
e. g. earthquakes, crash of planes, etc. Earthquake, the Towering Inferno, the
Poseidon Adventure are examples of this genre.
Detective, thriller and spy films are films telling exciting stories of crime,
violence, spies and detectives trying to find out who the murderer is and why the
murder happened. These include first of all the James Bond series: Gold finger
(1964), Thunderbolt (1965). Hitchcock’s films of this genre feature ordinary people
who accidentally become involved with spies or other evil doers: Vertigo (1958),
North by Northwest (1959).
Science fiction — films about imaginary future developments in science and
their effect on life — often concerned with space travel. After World War II science-
fiction films increasingly suggested that the dangers of the future stemmed from what
human beings were doing in the present: On the Beach (1959), Planet of the Apes
(1968). In 2001 man breaks through the confines of both time and space. In Star
Wars the emphasis is on the technology employed. Cocoon is an example of science-
fiction fantasy. Visitors from another planet return to Earth to retrieve a secret hidden
on the ocean floor thousands of years ago and find love and adventure.

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 113
6.3. Music of the USA
Almost all American composers of note belong to the 20th century and include
such names as Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, Roger Sessions and
Virgil Thompson. Edgar Varese and John Cage have gained fame as experimental
composers.
It is through the development of popular music of the previous century that
the USA has dominated the western world. Jazz, a style of music created at the
end of the 19th century by black Americans out of their gospel and blues songs,
was being played all over the USA by both black and white musicians by the 1920s
and influenced the development of both dance music and popular songs in the 1930s
and 1940s.
After World War II, jazz and popular music developed in separate directions.
Black musicians created a more sophisticated style called bebop. The rhythm and
blues music that derived from jazz, combined with aspects of country and western
music, developed into rock’n’roll in the 1950s with the music of Bill Haley, Chuck
Berry, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and others. In the 1960s some British groups,
especially the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, became internationally famous and
for a brief period popular music was dominated by developments in Britain. Since
that time, rock has incorporated folk music, soul music has developed, and many
social phenomena, such as drug culture, the civil rights movement and the peace
movement, have found their expression in rock music.
The musical has also made an important contribution to popular music.
Developing from the British music hall and American vaudeville early in the 20th
century composers such as George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Rodgers and
Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein on Broadway, and Ivor
Novello, Noel Coward and more recently Andrew Lloyd Webber in Britain, have
made the musical one of the most important forms of popular music.
Forms of Music Various forms of folk music developed in different parts of
the USA such as cowboy songs, country music, Negro music, including spirituals,
blues, work songs and the more sophisticated late 19th century ragtime also thrived

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 114
in America. These forms of music have come together in the form of jazz, which
itself takes many forms, and various kinds of popular commercial music such as
rhythm-and-blues and rock. In the US a rich mix of European, Negro, Jewish and
other cultural elements has produced a great wealth of popular music. The songs of
such men as Irving Berlin and Richard Rodgers, dances like the Charleston, boogie-
woogie rock’n’roll, all spring from folk culture, rural and urban. During the 60s
and 70s ‘folk’ became a branch of popular music, and singers like Pete and Peggy
Singer, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan produced versions — sometimes authentic,
sometimes sophisticated of traditional material.
By far the greatest contribution to American music was made by the Negro in
the South. American jazz (New Orleans style and St Louis style) was made popular by
Louis Armstrong, and ‘Duke’ Ellington. Even serious composers like Aaron
Copland, George Gershwin and Stravinsky were influenced by jazz.
Jazz began as the spontaneous expression of the musical ideas of the Negro in
the American South, influenced by French and Spanish folk music. This was
further enriched by ideas taken from Protestant religious music. Another element
was the ‘Blues’, a fragmentary bit of yodel, half sung, half yelled, which originated
in the work songs of the Negroes. All of these elements blended together and
synthesised by the American Negro musician led to the popular American musical
idiom known as jazz. The origins of jazz lie hidden in the folklore of lowly groups
of musicians in New Orleans, St Louis, Chicago and other centers where American
Negroes were forced to lead a segregated life but were exposed to influences from
the musical traditions of every part of the world.
Until the 1950s America had two distinct worlds of popular music. ‘Pop
music’ was the name given to songs featured in movies and on the big network
radio shows.
In the other world of popular music, the songs were sung to the plucking of
strings (both heart and guitar), in voices always sincere but always sweet, and their
words were rhymed with the frank, imaginative wit of country folk. These songs
were known in the music trade as ‘country music’. About 1950, the wall

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 115
between the two music worlds began to disintegrate. As vast numbers of
country people moved to the cities, they asked city record shops for the songs
of their favorite country stars. Suddenly country songs began to dominate the
lists of best-selling popular music. The dam of the commercial mainstream had
been broken, creating one great river of truly popular American music. Pop music
has become big business. Retail sales of discs and tapes amount to billions of
dollars. Pop music is America’s most widely-spread art form. It wakes the people up
in the morning, it rides along in their cars, and it accompanies them through the day.
In the astonishing musical outburst of the 60s, pop be came rock and
dictated the rhythms of a generation. Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys and Elvis Presley
electrified and amplified the basic black and folk roots of American popular music.
The civil rights movement of the 1960s was rising with We Shall Overcome. The
songs of protest were heard at anti-war rallies all over the nation. The music festival
at Woodstock, NY, has become associated with the US young generation protesting
against the Establishment. Over 400,000 young people gathered here in 1969 to
listen to rock music. A few months later a similar festival called ‘Woodstock West’
was held near San Francisco.
Pop music is the most spontaneous reflection of America’s times and
experiences. Bing Crosby crooned for a simpler time that wanted a white Christmas
and pennies from heaven. Frank Sinatra sang for a time that wanted the witchcraft
of romance after the weariness of hot and cold wars Dylan warned the people of
the US that something new was blowing in the wind. The minstrels of Woodstock
chanted anthems of togetherness and protest.
Famous composers The folk inspiration of the songs and dances in such
popular musical plays as Oklahoma!, Bloomer Girl and Sing Out, Sweet Land is
obvious. Composers such as Copland end Thompson have all used folk music as
a basis for major works. And most historians treat jazz as a folk-developed music.
Two of the best-known composers are Aaron Copland, whose ballets Billy the Kid
(1938), Rodeo (1942) and Appalachian Spring (1944) have the flavour of folk
Americana, and Virgil Thompson, who used Anglo-Celtic themes in his music for the

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 116
ballet Filling Station (1937) and for documentary films such as Louisiana Story
(1948).
An important contribution to world music has been made by American
composers of another type of music called ‘popular’ — the songs produced for
commercial use in musical comedy and dance bands. Some of these songs, like Ol'
Man River, Night and Day, and Tea for Two are well known in the USA.
For every American who has actually sat through a programme of John
Cage’s experimental music, there are probably hundreds who prefer the music and
lyrics of American musicals. The contribution of America to this ‘semi-classical’, or
‘classical popular’ musical form has been enormous, from Oklahoma, and West Side
Story to Hair and A Chorus Line. Film versions, stage revivals, and sound tracks
continue to have great popularity. The music of Gershwin and Bernstein has become
a standard part of most orchestra’s repertoires.
Music Centers While New York is almost overpowering in its cultural
offerings, it is just the major, not the only cultural center in the United States.
The fact that three times as many Americans attend symphony concerts as go to
baseball games can be explained by the fact that there are some 1,500 orchestras
throughout the country (Los Angeles supporting about 20). Some three dozen
orchestras in the United States can be termed ‘major’, or world-class. Of the five
American symphony orchestras which are usually included among the worlds ten or
so, only one is from New York (the Philharmonic), the other four being from
Boston, Chicago, Cleveland and Philadelphia.
School and university ensembles and orchestras play a very important role
throughout the country. They act as training academies for musicians and dancers.
There are hundreds of city, state and nationwide music competitions. University
schools of music, theatre and dance provide scholarships and professional training. In
addition, the universities provide cultural offerings in many areas of the nation,
especially in smaller cities, which would otherwise find it difficult to support a
major symphony, theatre, or concert season on their own. The University of

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 117
Wisconsin at Madison, for example, offers around 300 musical recitals each year in
the community. Most of the university-sponsored concerts and recitals are free.
The community open-air concert which is free for all also has a long tradition
in America. The Central Park concerts in New York City, for example, are famous
for their variety, with everyone from the Philharmonic to Simon and Garfunkel
willing and wanting to appear. Similar open-air concerts in other cities attract tens
of thousands throughout the nation. The so-called serious music, on the one hand,
has the tradition of quality associated with Menuhin, Stern, Horowitz and
Rubenstein, or Tucker, Merrill, and Price. On the other hand, it has the promise of
future quality with the large number of musicians, singers and dancers being
trained. The American tradition from Aaron Copland to John Cage is thus being
strengthened.

6.4. Painting in the USA


Early American painting was a provincial copy of European art, although the
portraits painted by Benjamin West and J.S. Copley are ‘American’ in their frank
naturalism. Benjamin West, John Copley and Gilbert Stuart were among the first
internationally known American artists.
Realism was the dominant esthetic credo of the 19th century painting.
However, American realism took many forms, and in the first half of the century it
was modified by idealism, which resulted in a romantic view of nature. American
landscapes developed, particularly in the work of the Hudson River school, whose
pictures showed wide romantic views idealizing the Hudson River in the state of
New York.
In the latter part of the 19th century, John Singer Sargent, James Abbot
McNeil Whistler and Mary Cassat achieved international reputations. These three
highly skilled American painters of the late 19th century all worked in Europe.
The tradition of naturalism (an artistic attempt at completely lifelike
representation) was developed by Thomas Eakins and Winslow Homer. Winslow
Homer, Thomas Eakins and Albert Ryder, all of whom were active in the late 19th

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 118
and early 20th centuries, are considered to be the ‘old masters’ of American
painting. During the opening years of the century, new and challenging forces
made themselves felt in American painting. The first truly American style was the
factual realism of the Ashcan school, led by Robert Henri and George W.
Bellows.
The depression of the 1930s brought a period of realism in art: the
Regionalist Group (concerned with different regions) led by Grant Wood and
Thomas Hart Benton painted realistic studies of American provincial life. Ben Shan
combined realism with social protest.
During the 1940s, a large group of American painters took the forms of
abstraction and expressionism, tore up their European roots and gave the US a
movement called Abstract Expressionism.
The leading abstract expressionist was Jackson Pollock who was one of the
prime movers of abstract art, painted his pictures splashing paint about over
immense surfaces. He painted by standing over a canvas and letting paint drip on it:
He even slapped the canvas with his paint-dipped palms.
The catch phrases associated with the late 50s and 60s0 — pop art, op
(optical) art, minimal art, neo-Dada — covered work in different media, even
extending into film, dance and theatre. Most of this work still involved objects of
some kind, like Andy Warhol’s pop-art soup cans or Donald Judd’s minimal metal
slabs.
More recent styles have been the abstract op (optical) art, kinetic art
(sculptures where parts are put in motion by machinery or air currents) and minimal
art. These kinds of painting are not always separate: the names are the invention of
critics and journalists rather than of artists themselves and give no more than a
rough guide through the confusing variety of modern American painting.
The major exhibitions now reveal a continuing drive to a big scale and to areas
still unknown for the art. The art’s range expanded to unforeseen limits — an artist’s
work could be an empty gallery or a 540-mile drawing cut into the Nevada desert.

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 119
Whether it be Robert Smithson’s earth work in the Texas ranch lands, Gene
Davis’ street painting in Philadelphia, or Walter DeMaria’s forest of lightning rods
set out in the Arizona desert to capture energy from the heavens, American art is
advancing into regions where art has never gone before.
These different kinds of art bear catch-phrase names of their own — earth
art, conceptional art, performance art, body art, process art.

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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 120

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Baranovski, L., Kozikis D. Hello, America/L. Baranovski, D.Kozikis. –
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Bodnar, J. The Transplanted: A History of Immigrants in Urban America/J.
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Briggs, J. An Italian Passage: Immigrants to Three American Cities, 1890-
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Daniels, R. Coming to America/R. Daniels — 2nd ed. — Yale University
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Daniels, R. Guarding the Golden Door: American Immigration Policy and
Immigrants since 1882/R. Daniels. — Yale University Press, 2005. – 570 c.
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The World Book Encyclopedia. – World Book Inc., 1997. – 20 т. — 430 c.
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Артемов В.И. American and British studies. The USA and American people today 121

Учебное электронное издание

Артемов Валерий Иванович

AMERICAN AND BRITISH STUDIES.


THE USA AND AMERICAN PEOPLE TODAY

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