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МИНИСТЕРСТВО ОБРАЗОВАНИЯ РОССИЙСКОЙ ФЕДЕРАЦИИ

ТОМСКИЙ ГОСУДАРСТВЕННЫЙ УНИВЕРСИТЕТ

THIS IS AMERICA TODAY

УЧЕБНОЕ ПОСОБИЕ

Составители: С . К . Г у р а л ь , В . М . С м о к о т и н

Допущено Министерством образования


Российской Федерации в качестве учебного пособия
для студентов высших учебных заведений,
обучающихся по специальности
«Лингвистика и межкультурная коммуникация»

ИЗДАТЕЛЬСТВО ТОМСКОГО УНИВЕРСИТЕТА


2006
УДК 378.144+802.0 (075.8)
ББК 74. 261 Англ.
Т 44

THIS IS AMERICA TODAY: Учебное пособие / Сост.


Т 44 С.К. Гураль, В.М. Смокотин; Под ред. С.К. Гураль. –Томск:
Изд-во Том. ун-та, 2006. – 394.

ISBN 5-7511-2070-6

Учебное пособие представляет собой фундаментальный курс по истории


и культуре США, состоящий из аутентичных текстов, самостоятельных эссе,
материалов периодической печати, Internet-публикаций и т.д. Тексты относят-
ся к разным функциональным стилям, что дает студентам возможность позна-
комиться с многообразием речевых и стилистических особенностей изучаемо-
го языка.
Каждый текст сопровождается предтекстовым и послетекстовым зада-
ниями, а также вопросами для проверки понимания текста, что способствует
эффективному усвоению лексического материала
Пособие имеет культурологическую направленность и предназначено для
подготовки студентов по специальностям «Лингвистика и межкультурная
коммуникация», «Перевод и переводоведение», а также для аспирантов выс-
ших учебных заведений.
Печатается по решению НМС по преподаванию иностранных языков при
Министерстве гособразования РФ от 25 октября 2001 г.

УДК 378.144+802.0 (075.8)


ББК 74. 261 Англ.

Рецензенты:

И.А. Цатурова, зав. кафедрой лингвистического образования


ТРТУ, доктор пед. наук, профессор; кафедра теории препода-
вания иностранных языков Московского государственного
университета им. М.Ю. Ломоносова

ISBN5-7511-2070-6 © С.К. Гураль, В.М. Смокотин, 2006


CONTENTS
4 Introduction
9 UNIT I. Pages from American History
63 UNIT II. The U.S. Politics
95 UNIT III. Americans and Ways of Life
in America
143 UNIT IV. Education
211 UNIT V. Mass Media
261 UNIT VI. Sports and Recreation
311 UNIT VII. America of the Future
ПРЕДИСЛОВИЕ

This is America Today представляет собой курс по ис-


тории и культуре США, рассчитанный на студентов и
аспирантов языковых факультетов университетов, а так
же на широкий круг лиц, занимающихся изучением анг-
лийского языка самостоятельно и достигших уровня,
достаточного для работы с аутентичными материалами.
Основной целью данного пособия является ознаком-
ление с различными явлениями культурной жизни США
на основе обучения на аутентичных текстах, взятых из
различных источников (публикации в прессе и Интерне-
те, самостоятельные эссе, отрывки из монографий и т.д.).
Культурологическая направленность пособия выра-
жена в акцентировании культурного (в широком смысле)
аспекта, т.е. всего того, что формирует национальный
менталитет, национальный характер: образ жизни, мо-
ральные ценности и принципы, жизненная философия
изучаемого языкового сообщества. Все эти моменты
чрезвычайно важны для успешной межкультурной ком-
муникации, для понимания другого народа как носителя
иной культуры.
Достижение вышеуказанной цели предусматривается
посредством решения целого ряда задач, а именно:

4
1. Совершенствования навыков чтения на основе ау-
тентичных материалов, которые широко используются
носителями языка.
2. Развития устной речи и, в частности, отработки
жанра публичного выступления, где требуются аргумен-
тация и умение убеждать.
3. Отработки навыков письменной речи посредством
выполнения творческих заданий на основе изучаемых тем.
Структура пособия отвечает целям и задачам, постав-
ленным составителями. Каждый из разделов объединен
одной темой и раскрывает один из аспектов культурной
жизни США. Пособие открывается разделом, посвящен-
ным некоторым фактам истории США, вызывающим
споры В заключение представлен раздел о будущем Аме-
рики. Каждый раздел, в свою очередь, логически разбит
на подразделы (А, В, С и т.д.), содержащие ряд информа-
тивных текстов, расположенных в хронологическом по-
рядке. Каждый подраздел включает следующие элементы:
предтекстовые вопросы и обсуждение; собственно тексты
и глоссарии к ним; вопросы на проверку понимания тек-
стов. В качестве завершающего этапа работы над темой
предлагаются обобщающие вопросы, а также индивиду-
альные и групповые задания. Предтекстовые вопросы
опираются на уже имеющиеся знания студентов по дан-
ному предмету и подготавливают их к работе над предла-
гаемой темой, к расширению и углублению знаний на ос-
нове последующих текстов. Единый формат всех разде-
лов пособия облегчает учебный процесс и имеет целью
оказать положительный психологический эффект на обу-
чаемых: знакомая структура снимает чувство страха, соз-
дает спокойный «настрой» и уверенность в успешном
преодолении трудностей.
5
В зависимости от уровня чисто языковой и культуро-
логической подготовки студентов при работе с пособием
может потребоваться различное время аудиторной и вне-
аудиторной работы. Кроме того, пособие может быть
использовано и при изучении отдельных разделов в ка-
честве культурологического материала.
Изучение каждого раздела пособия рекомендуется
начинать в условиях аудитории без предварительной ра-
боты с новым языковым материалом.
На основе предтекстовых заданий, включающих в се-
бя вопросы для обсуждения и знакомящих с общей про-
блематикой блока, студенты готовятся к последующей
работе с текстами и выполнению коллективных заданий.
Роль преподавателя при этом заключается в фокусирова-
нии внимания студентов на наиболее важных аспектах,
представленных в текстах проблем.
Работу с текстом рекомендуется проводить во внеау-
диторное время в качестве домашнего задания. Индиви-
дуальная работа с текстом позволяет студенту совершен-
ствовать навыки самостоятельной работы. Кроме того,
студент сам выбирает темп и порядок работы над новы-
ми текстами, что немаловажно, учитывая различный
словарный запас и индивидуальные особенности овладе-
ния новым материалом. Домашнее задание предусматри-
вает также работу с вопросами, помогающими узнать,
правильно ли понят текст
Послетекстовые упражнения рекомендуется начинать
с проверки усвоения студентами нового лексического
материала и новых реалий. Все тексты пособия сопро-
вождаются глоссариями, способствующими пополнению
запаса фоновых знаний студентов, а также снятию воз-
можных языковых трудностей, возникающих при работе
6
с текстами. При проверке домашнего задания в аудито-
рии преподаватель должен убедиться в том, что студен-
ты понимают не только отдельные элементы текста, но и
фоновую информацию, представленную в глоссарии.
Последующая работа носит творческий характер и
осуществляется в малых группах (3-4 человека). При
изучении некоторых тем групповая работа предусматри-
вает выполнение студентами домашнего задания по сбо-
ру дополнительного материала по обсуждаемым про-
блемам с использованием средств массовой информа-
ции, Интернета и справочной литературы.
Работа в малых группах позволяет значительно уве-
личить эффективность в усвоении нового лингвистиче-
ского и культурологического материала. При обсужде-
нии изучаемых тем у студентов больше возможностей
продемонстрировать и более детально представить свою
точку зрения по отдельным вопросам, чем в больших
группах.
При возникновении языковых трудностей студенты
обращаются к преподавателю за помощью. Работа в ма-
лых группах логически переходит к обсуждению общих
проблем всей группой. Участники малых групп знакомят
весь состав группы с результатами обсуждения темы в
своих группах и отвечают на вопросы. Преподаватель
подводит итог обсуждению и дает рекомендации по вы-
полнению индивидуального задания. После дотекстового
и послетекстового обсуждения проблем, связанных с
изучаемой темой, студенты, как правило, имеют доста-
точно материала для написания короткого эссе или со-
чинения по теме раздела, что дает возможность препода-
вателю оценить их работу.

7
Кроме формата дискуссионного клуба, групповая ра-
бота часто предусматривает ролевые игры, которые по-
зволяют студентам проявить свои таланты не только в
области публичных дискуссий, но и в форме газетного
репортажа, драматического представления, судебного
заседания и т.д.
Эффективность работы над пособием в значительной
степени зависит от самого студента. Культура страны
изучаемого языка может быть успешно усвоена лишь
при высоком уровне активности обучаемых на всех эта-
пах работы, включая как и индивидуальные задания, так
и деятельность в группах.

8
Unit I
PAGES FROM AMERICAN HISTORY

A. Early America

Discussion The United States has its origins in the


Questions: colonial beginnings in the 16th century, when
the first European explorers arrived. But long
before the start of colonization, America was
inhabited by peoples, who were at various
stages of cultural and social development.
Note down the following points:
1. What do you know about the culture and
ways of life of Native Americans in the
pre-Columbian period?
2. How did the first Americans reach
America?

Reading You are going to read Texts I through IV


Exercises: adapted from an article by the American
anthropologist Mark Rose for the Encarta
Yearbook. As you are reading, note down the
following:
1. the first discoveries which led to the
scientific investigation into the life of
Native Americans before the coming of
Europeans;
2. the problems that arose in the search for
the first Americans;
the methods used in the study of the
migration routes and ways of life of the
Paleoindians.

9
Text I

The Search for the First Americans

Archaeologists and anthropologists continue to ponder the


mysteries of the first Americans just as Thomas Jefferson did in
the 18th century. Also known for his amateur archaeological
work, Jefferson was one of the first to suggest that Native
Americans originated in Asia. While most scholars agree that the
first people to reach the New World came across a now
submerged land bridge between Siberia and Alaska, two centuries
of debate have not settled who they were, when they arrived, or
how they went on to colonize the hemisphere. Today,
archaeologists have been joined in the search for the first
Americans by linguists, physical anthropologists, geneticists,
geologists, paleontologists, and others.
Despite the uncertainty, most researchers believe that the first
Americans are descended from people who lived in Asia and
crossed the Bering land bridge connecting Siberia and Alaska
toward the close of the last ice age, possibly following herds of
large game animals such as woolly mammoth and bison. These
people quickly spread from North to South America, adapting to
new environments.
The first major discovery in the search for the first Americans
was made near Folsom, New Mexico, in 1926, when a stone point
was found at the site but moved before an archaeologist could
verify its association with the bones. In August 1927 another
point was found near Folsom with the remains of a type of bison
that became extinct before the end of the ice age some 10,000
years ago. The carefully crafted point was proof that humans had
been in the region at least 10,000 years ago.
In 1937, near Clovis, New Mexico, larger points were found
with mammoth bones in a deposit beneath a layer containing
Folsom points and bison skeletons. Now called Clovis points,

10
the larger points were recognized as even older than the Folsom
points. The site names, Clovis and Folsom, are used to refer to
the peoples represented by these specific artifacts, but the
general term Paleoindian is used to refer to all of the first
Americans.
Until the development of radiocarbon dating methods in the
late 1940s, the exact age of these Paleoindian finds was unknown.
Carbon dates are a statistical best guess of where the true age lies
and are usually given in years “before present” (BP).
By the mid-1960s most scientists had accepted the view that
Clovis Paleoindians – mobile big-game hunters pursuing the ice
age megafauna (mammoth, mastodon, and extinct bison) – were
the first Americans. In 1964 University of Arizona archaeologist
C. Vance Haynes linked carbon dates obtained for Clovis sites
with evidence about glacial conditions in North America. The
distinctive Clovis points had been found throughout the
continental United States, all in archaeological sites dated from
about 11,500 to 11,000 BP, and none before 12,000 BP, the date
when geologists believe an ice-free corridor opened up in the
north, permitting southward migration from the Bering land
bridge.
Haynes proposed a very rapid occupation of the Americas,
with Paleoindians virtually sweeping across the continents. The
Clovis people carried the types of stone used in tool-making long
distances from the source of the stone, often more than 320 km
(200 mi). More recent evidence, however, indicates people may
have reached the New World before the Clovis culture. Artifacts
at an archaeological site near Monte Verde, Chile, indicate that it
was occupied about 12,500 BP, a thousand years before Clovis
points were used.

– by Mark Rose

11
BACKGROUND NOTES

anthropologists: specialists engaged in the scientific study of


the human race, including its different types
and its beliefs, social habits and organization

archaeological the place of archaeological excavation


site:
archaeologists: specialists engaged in the scientific study of
historic or prehistoric peoples and their
cultures by analysis of their artifacts,
inscriptions, monuments and their remains

artifact a handmade object belonging to an earlier


(or artefact): time or cultural stage, especially a tool,
weapon, or decorative object, found at an
archaeological excavation

bison: a North American buffalo, having a large


head and high, humped shoulders. By the end
of the 19th century the bisons became almost
extinct. At present, they can be found only in
some National Reserves in the U.S.A. and
Canada.

BP, Before (in radiocarbon dating) in a specified amount


the Present: of time or at a specified point in time before
AD 1950

game (animals): wild animals, including birds and fishes, such


as are hunted for food or taken for sport or
profit

the Last Ice Age: the geologically recent period, which began
about 50,000 years ago and ended about
10,000 years ago

12
mammoth: a large hairy elephant which lived on Earth
during the early stages of human deve-
lopment. The remains of the animal were
first found in permafrost regions of northern
Siberia in Late 17th century.

mastodon: an elephantlike animal, now extinct,


distinguished from true elephants by their
tooth structure

megafauna: the large animals of a given region or period


considered as a whole
New World: the Western Hemisphere, that is, North,
Central and South America
Paleoindians: members of the American Indian people who
lived on the American continent in the period
of some 22,000 to 6,000 years ago
paleontologists: specialists engaged in the scientific study of
the forms of life existing in former geological
periods, as represented by their fossils
(preserved remains)

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What scientists, apart from archaeo-
Questions: logists, have joined in the search for the
first Americans?
2. Where were the first discoveries of stone
points made which opened the search for
the first Americans?
3. What method is used to determine the age
of the Paleoindian finds?
4. Where was the first evidence found which
showed that people may have reached the
New World before the Clovis culture?

13
Text II
Migration Routes into the Americas
Paleoindians first reached the Americas by crossing the land
bridge connecting Siberia and Alaska that was above sea level by
25,000 BP and remained so until about 11,000 BP. The route
south from the land bridge, which was more than 1450 km (900
mi) wide from north to south, has been a matter of considerable
debate. Some archaeologists favor an inland route along the
eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains, while others propose a
coastal route that may have involved the use of boats. Blocking
both routes, however, were the massive Laurentide ice sheet,
which covered much of northeastern North America, and the
Cordilleran glacier, which straddled the Canadian Rockies.
Most scholars believe the coastal route was blocked from at
least 20,000 BP and the eastern route from 30,000 BP. Only
about 13,000 years ago, after the ice had retreated, did both routes
open. Could the first Americans have skirted the ice earlier than
13,000 years ago by following the coast in boats? Although some
pockets along the shore may have been ice free, affording landing
places, the Cordilleran glacier covered some 1900 km (1200 mi)
of coast, making such a journey virtually impossible.
Archaeologist Knut Fladmark of Simon Fraser University in
Vancouver, Canada, has suggested that some pockets along the
Pacific Coast were unglaciated refuges open to plants, animals, and
people. Fossilized remains of an extinct dwarf species of caribou on
British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands off the Pacific Coast
indicate that animals were able to move onto the islands during a
period of cooler temperatures. Today the islands are separated from
the mainland by 70 to 150 km (44 to 93 mi) of open water.
Sometime before 9000 BP the sea level was 33 m (108 ft) lower,
which would narrow the distance to the islands to about 5 km (3 mi),
making it possible for animals or people to reach them. Recent
investigations have found evidence supporting the existence of ice-

14
free refuges in the Alexander Archipelago of southeastern Alaska
during the height of the last glaciation. Brown bears, and perhaps
other large mammals, have continuously inhabited the archipelago
for at least 40,000 years, so habitable refuges were therefore
available throughout the last glaciation.
While these studies provide no direct evidence of humans
occupying coastal islands that long ago, brown bears and people
are both omnivores (feeding on both animal and vegetable matter)
and have similar habitat requirements. If bears could survive
there, so could humans.
Do Clovis points mark the arrival of the first Americans, or
were they developed later? Clovis and other fluted points have
been found throughout the Americas, but Alaskan Clovis points
are not among the oldest, as one might expect if they arrived with
the first Americans. Were stone points first made in the south,
later spreading back north to Alaska?
Archaeologists have claimed to find several Paleoindian sites
older than the Clovis site, including Meadowcroft in
Pennsylvania, Pedra Furada and Pedra Pintada in Brazil, and
Monte Verde in Chile.
While there is not enough evidence of earlier human
habitation at the Meadowcroft, Pedra Farada and Pedra Pintada
sites, there can be little doubt, however, that Monte Verde, Chile,
a waterlogged site with excellent preservation, was inhabited
before Clovis. The carbon dates from the site's main level
indicate it was occupied about 12,500 BP, a millennium before
Clovis. The site, meticulously excavated and documented by
archaeologist Tom Dillehay of the University of Kentucky from
1977 to 1987, yielded stone tools (but no stone points), bones,
and even remnants of mastodon flesh, abundant plant remains,
evidence of rectangular huts, and even a human footprint.
Complete results of the excavation will end any question about
the reality of a pre-Clovis occupation of the New World.
– by Mark Rose

15
BACKGROUND NOTES
Clovis points: the stone points (handmade tools for hunting
used by prehistoric people) first found near
Clovis, New Mexico. The word Clovis came
to be used to refer to a North American
prehistoric culture dated 10,000 – 9,000 BP,
which was characterized by the use of such
implements.
Cordillerian the glacier that covered the Cordilleras (the
glacier: entire chain of mountain ranges parallel to
the Pacific coast, extending from Cape Horn
to Alaska)
Laurentide ice the giant glacier (an extended mass of ice)
sheet: that covered the Laurentian Mountains (a
range of low mountains in eastern Canada
between the St. Laurence River and the
Hudson Bay) during the Last Ice Age
Queen Charlotte a group of islands in British Columbia (a
Islands: province in western Canada) off the western
coast of Canada
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What are the two opposing scientific
Questions: views concerning the migration routes of
Paleoindians south from the land bridge
connecting Siberia and Alaska?
2. Why do scientists believe that human
habitation was possible in some isolated
areas along the Pacific coast during the
Last Ice Age?
3. What evidence has been found to support
the view of the reality of a pre-Clovis
occupation of the New World?

16
Text III
Daily Life of Paleoindians
A number of archaeological sites have provided a great deal
of information about the daily life and diet of Paleoindian people.
Monte Verde has given the most complete look into a Paleoindian
camp. Located on Chinchihuapi Creek, a tributary of the Rio
Maullín in south-central Chile, Monte Verde was inhabited by
perhaps 20 to 30 people over the course of one or more years,
according to excavator Dillehay.
The ancient camp has 12 rectangular huts, 9 of which are
arranged in rows, that originally had wood frames covered, at
least in part, by mastodon hide. Small pits inside the huts may
have held embers to warm the structures, while larger communal
hearths were located outside. Near one of these an imprint of a
human foot and two other possible footprints were preserved. The
water-logged conditions of the site preserved wooden
implements, including spears, mastodon bone and ivory tools,
and numerous stone artifacts. Most of the stone tools were simple
cobblestones with a few flakes removed to make a usable edge,
but there are a few long, narrow points that are unfluted and quite
different from Clovis points.
Some sites afford glimpses of the small hunting camps in
which Paleoindians lived. The Page-Ladson site in Florida was a
small camp used only for a few generations about 10,000 years
ago. Among the artifacts are a variety of flaked stone tools made
of locally available flint and chert, and antler flakers used in
making them. There are at least three or four hearths – clusters of
fire-cracked limestone pieces with charcoal beneath them.
Sharpened wooden pegs found at the site may have anchored hide
structures.
Spectacular megafauna kill sites, such as those with bison and
mammoth, still color our view of Paleoindians as big-game
hunters. Many of the 13 mammoths excavated at Clovis were

17
associated with points or other artifacts. Remains of 13 more
mammoths were also found with Clovis points and other tools at
the Lehner site in Arizona. At Murray Springs, Arizona, remains of
11 bison and 1 mammoth were found with Clovis points. These
early hunters specialized in killing large game at ponds and other
water sources. As the climate became warmer and drier, bison
herds flourished on the expanding grasslands. Later Paleoindians
orchestrated mass kills, as at the Olsen-Chubbuck site in Colorado,
where 200 bison were driven into a steep-sided arroyo, or at
Bonfire Shelter, Texas, where they were driven over a bluff.
There was, however, considerable diversity in the Paleoindian
diet. At Lehner, for example, thousands of charred rabbit bones
were also recovered. Clovis digs at Kimmswick, Missouri,
yielded 23 species of animals, such as deer, snakes, rodents, and
turtles as well as mastodon. At Clovis itself several turtles were
found stacked up in a roasting pit, and at Little Salt Spring,
Florida, remains of an extinct giant land tortoise were found
along with a wooden spear used to kill it. Hanson, a Folsom site
in Wyoming, had remains of mountain sheep, deer, marmot, and
rabbits. Other sites have yielded fish and plant remains including
hackberry, blackberry, hawthorn, plum, and grape seeds.
Other evidence points to a more settled Paleoindian culture. In
a Nevada rock shelter known as Spirit Cave, a partially
mummified body that was recently carbon-dated to 9415 BP, was
found in 1940 with well-preserved leather and textile goods. The
textiles show that Paleoindians were accomplished weavers. The
body had been placed on a fur blanket dressed in a twisted skin
robe and belt and moccasins made of three pieces of leather sewn
together with sinew and cordage. Nevada State Museum
anthropologist Amy Dansie believes that the time it took to gather
the fibers and weave them into mats indicates a more settled, less
nomadic, life than was previously believed.
– by Mark Rose

18
BACKGROUND NOTES
arroyo: a steep-sided watercourse; usually dry except
after heavy rains
big-game hunters specializing in hunting large animals
hunters:
Clovis dig: an archaeological site where Clovis points
are found during excavation
communal a fireside shared by all people living together
hearth:
flaked stone stone tools which were made by removing
tools: flakes (small, flat, thin pieces)
kill site: a place where the game animals (hunted
animals) are killed
settled culture: a culture that is based on activities
demanding permanent residence in one place
or locality, rather than leading a nomadic
way of life, that is, wandering from place to
place in search of pasturage or food
unfluted points: points without flutes, that is, without grooves
specially made to attach a point to a wooden
shaft. All the Clovis points are fluted
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. Where has a Paleoindian camp been found
Questions: which gives the most complete look into
the daily life of Paleoindians?
2. What methods of hunting did the Paleo-
indians use, as suggested by the specta-
cular megafauna kill sites?
3. What evidence is there to suggest that the
Paleoindian diet was considerably diverse?
4. How can we prove that there was a more
settled Paleoindian culture?

19
Text IV
Who Were Paleoindians? When Did They Arrive?
If Clovis Paleoindians were not the first to arrive in the
Americas, who was? Did more than one group migrate to the
New World? Experts in language, dentition (the characteristics of
teeth), and genetics are pursuing the answers.
Linguist Joseph Greenberg of Stanford University in Stanford,
California, proposed in the 1950s that all Native American
languages, which number more than 1000, belong to just three
language families, which he called Amerind, NaDene, and
Eskimo-Aleut. In his study Greenberg examined 300 words,
focusing on pronouns and names of body parts. Linguists believe
these words do not change quickly in languages and can be used
to track language families.
The number of differences between the three Native American
language families convinced Greenberg that Paleoindians arrived
in roughly three separate migrations. He also estimated the time at
which the individual languages known today split from the parent
Amerind, NaDene, and Eskimo-Aleut tongues. This gave dates of
more than 11,000 years ago for Amerind, between 5000 and 9000
years ago for NaDene, and about 4000 years ago for Eskimo-Aleut.
Assuming the divergence from the three parent languages began
shortly after their speakers entered the Americas, these dates would
indicate when people speaking each parent language crossed over
from Asia in three migrations beginning with the Amerinds.
In addition to language analysis, researchers can also examine
the unique attributes of teeth to track connections between
populations. Numerous dental characteristics are transmitted
genetically, and because they change very slowly they can be used
to trace populations over time. Arizona State University
bioarchaeologist Christy Turner analyzed such dental attributes to
develop dental profiles of populations. On this evidence he found
Asian populations had two distinct dental patterns, which he called

20
Sundadont (found throughout Southeast Asia) and Sinodont (found
in northern Asia and in Native Americans). Turner subdivided
Native Americans into three groups: Eskimo-Aleut, Northwest
Coast (including the Southwest Athapaskan speakers, the Navajo
and Apache), and all other American Indians. Eskimo-Aleut and
American Indians have the least similar teeth, according to Turner,
with Northwest Coast people falling somewhere in between.
According to the evidence, Turner believes the three Native
American groups are descended from a parent population of
northern Sinodonts that existed some 20,000 years ago. The
Amerinds, he concluded, split about 13,500 BP, the Eskimo-Aleut
about 11,500 BP, and the Northwest Coast people sometime later.
Despite some inconsistencies, Turner’s three Native American
groups roughly correspond to Greenberg’s language families. The
case for a three-migration model gained wide acceptance by the
mid-1990s. Linguistic, dental, blood-type, and genetic evidence
all indicated that three principal groups migrated across the
Bering Strait from Asia: Amerinds about 30,000 years ago,
NaDene about 10,000 years ago, and Eskimo-Aleuts within the
last 7000 to 5000 years.
In the early 1990s genetic support for the three-migration
model was found in a series of studies by scientists at Emory
University in Atlanta, Georgia. An initial examination of Native
American DNA – deoxyribonucleic acid, the basic unit of
heredity that is found in every living thing – revealed four
common basic lineages. Assuming that DNA changes at a
predictable rate, which has been estimated at 2 to 4 percent per
million years, Torroni and Schurr concluded that Amerind
speakers entered the New World between 42,000 and 21,000
years ago and the NaDene between 10,500 and 5250 years ago.
In addition to the many scientific challenges, researchers who
study the first Americans face a new obstacle now – the Native
American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). The
1990 law provides for the repatriation to tribes of Indian skeletons

21
and ceremonial and mortuary artifacts. Despite the good intentions
of NAGPRA, the process is not working as it should. Disposition of
remains is often determined by negotiation between local tribes and
federal agencies without sufficient investigation or allowance for
study before reburial. If the situation does not change, scientists may
lose much information about the first Americans.
Despite the flood of new evidence from many different
sources, the answers to basic questions about the peopling of the
Americas remain elusive. Archaeologists must find links between
the evidence and past events and ancient cultures. Can they track
the movements of ancient peoples through studies of modern
languages, biological characteristics (dental markers or genetic
makeup), or the shapes of stone tools? Beyond that is the question
of how to integrate evidence from such different sources as
genetics and dental patterns.
Efforts must be made in several directions if scientists are to
solve the questions about how and when people came to the
Americas. The search for early sites will continue, spurred on by
the final publication of Dillehay’s findings at Monte Verde. The
surprising early diversity of South American Paleoindians will be
explored and explained, but other regions such as Siberia and
Panama need to be investigated intensively.
Even so, there has been substantial progress. Current theories
on Paleoindian history are substantially different from the long-
held belief that the Clovis people were the first Americans. Most
researchers believe that between 25,000 and 11,000 years ago,
Paleoindians and perhaps Mongolians split from a single parent
population in Asia to cross the Bering land bridge when it was
above water. Related groups may have crossed the bridge for
several thousand years in a single ongoing migration. The earliest
groups spread across North America, through Central America
into the Amazon and south along the Andes Mountains, reaching
Monte Verde by 12,500 BP, and became the first Americans.
– by Mark Rose

22
BACKGROUND NOTES
Amerind: the indigenous (native) languages of the
Americas, taken collectively or as a
hypothesized linguistic family
Eskimo-Aleut: a family of languages consisting of the
Eskimo languages (Inuit and Yupik) and
Aleut (Aleut is the language of people
inhabiting the Aleutian islands and the
western Alaska peninsula)
mortuary objects used in burial rituals
artifacts:
NaDene: a proposed genetic grouping of American
Indian languages that includes the Athabaskan
family, Tlingit, and Haida. The word was
coined by Edward Sapir in 1915 from
assumed reflexes of a single NaDene root
(reflex is an element in a language, as a sound,
that has developed from a corresponding
element in an earlier form of the language)
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What method was used by American
Questions: linguists to divide more than 1,000 Native
American languages into just three
language families?
2. Why did the three-migration model gain
wide acceptance in late 20th century?
3. In which way has the Native American
Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of
1990 affected the ongoing research into
the Paleoindian culture?
4. What Paleoindian mysteries remain
unsolved and demand further research?

23
Group One of the unresolved questions of the
Activities: Paleoindian studies is the way the first
Americans penetrated onto the American
continent.
In small groups of three to four students
discuss possible migration routes of the first
Americans. The first stage of their activity
involves the use of maps and information
about the Last Ice Age and its effects on the
glaciation of the North American continent.
The first stage may involve doing some
homework, in order to gather more material
for discussion. At the final stage, the students
present the results of their discussion to the
bigger group.
Individual Write a short essay of some 250 words about
Work: the ways of life of the Paleoindians.

B. THE DISCOVERY AND THE EXPLORATION OF


AMERICA
Discussion Arguments continue as to who, when and
Questions: how “discovered” America. Note down the
following points:
1. What do you know about the way the New
World was discovered and explored?
2. What effect made the discovery and the
exploration of America on the lives of the
peoples inhabiting both the New and the
Old Worlds?
Reading You are going to read three texts about the
Exercises: story of the Columbus’ voyage, which led to
the discovery of the New World, and the
exploration of the American continents, which
eventually led to the colonization of the

24
Western Hemisphere by European settlers.
The texts are based on the book Alistair
Cooke’s America by the famous BBC
correspondent Alistair Cooke known for his
Letters from America broadcasts. As you
read, note down the following:
1. the circumstances of the first voyage;
2. the cultural interaction of the New and
Old Worlds that followed the Columbian
voyages.

TEXT V
The First Voyage
While there is evidence that the first voyages leading to the
discovery of America by Europeans at the turn of the second
millenium were connected with the names of the Norse kings Eric
the Red and his son Leif, it was only the first voyage of
Christopher Columbus at the end of the 15th century that went
down in world history as a decisive event which was destined to
change the fortunes of the world in a comparatively short period of
time. This voyage brought to the whole of Europe, in the following
century, the first shock of recognition that the American continent
existed; and it started the adventure that has never stopped since –
the exploration, conquest, and settlement of this new-found land.
In 1453, there was a decisive turn in the centuries of warfare
between the Christians of Europe and the Moslems of Asia. The
Turks conquered Constantinople (now Istanbul), and in so doing
shut off the commerce between East and West, the exchange of
the cloth, leather, wines, and sword blades of Europe for the silks,
jewels, chessmen, and spices of Asia. Today only fastidious
housewives and food critics for fashion magazines regard spices
as fundamental to human survival. But in the 15th century the
spices – and pepper more than anything – were what made food
edible. Salt was available – and the only known preservative –
but it didn’t do much for food cooked in smoky, open fireplaces.

25
Spices came from the Spice Islands, now known as the
Molucass, which lie east of Borneo and south of the Philippines.
Modern history, you could say, began with the problem of how to
bypass Turkey and still get to the Spice Islands of Indonesia – or
more simply still, how to get pepper by sea.
There was a man who believed it could be done, and that he
had been providentially chosen to do it. This man was
Christopher Columbus, a native of Genoa, Italy. A giant of a
redhead, six feet tall at time when the average virile male was
about five foot four, he was also a fast-talking, obsessive
egomaniac who combined in curiosity, romantic stubbornness,
and sense of mission something of Galileo, Don Quixote, and
John the Baptist.
In the late 1470s he began to tramp round Europe, looking for
a royal sponsor. He was turned down by the king of Portugal; his
brother had no better success with the kings of France and
England. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain passed his
proposals on to royal councils. They called in expert witnesses
and three times concluded that the adventure was impractical and
expensive. His enterprise was also unacceptable to the royal court
of Spain on account of a set of extraordinary demands put
forward by Columbus. He must be entitled Admiral of the Ocean
Sea. He must have ten percent of all the treasure, the gold, the
loot he scooped up along the way. The governorship of the Indies
and of every country and island he discovered must pass through
his eldest son to his heirs “for evermore.” But as Columbus was
on his way from Spain, where his plan was rejected, to France for
another appeal at the French court, he was stopped on a bridge at
Pinos, six miles north of Granada, and brought back: the Queen
was disposed to change her mind. This time Columbus delivered
his final eloquent plea, his plan was accepted, a contract was
concluded and signed, and, with the royal blessing and a letter to
the Grand Khan of China, he was commissioned to prepare for
his expedition “in search for a new way to the Indies.”

26
Columbus needed three ships, but only two had to be built.
The third, already in port, was owned by Juan de la Cosa, the man
who eight years later was to draw the first map of the New
World. It was bought for Columbus and became his flagship, the
Santa María. Only of one hundred tons displacement and seventy-
five feet long, the Santa María was not one of the big ships of the
time, but it was what was needed – a rough maneuverable ship,
sturdy enough to withstand roaring storms and agile enough to
take quick shelter in the shallow channels of the imagined
Atlantic islands. The two accompanying ships, the Pinta and the
Niňa, were made over into square-riggers. They were all
equipped with a gun or two against the unlikely risk of pirates,
and among the more interesting provisions was red wine, the
standard laxative, but to the amount of two and a half liters per
man per day – which sounds like a very generous ration, though it
could well have been meant to keep them all philosophical if the
worst happened.
There were forty men – one Portuguese, another Italian, and
the rest all Spaniards – aboard the flotilla, including a surgeon
and a royal controller of accounts. There was also a converted
Jew who spoke Arabic, which was thought to be very similar to
Chinese, he would be the interpreter. On the evening of August 2,
1492, the entire crew went ashore for confession, and on the next
morning they set sail from Palos.
They sailed through August and September, and the crews
grew weary, then anxious, then panicky. After a bout with the trade
winds, they were close to mutiny. The captains of the two other
ships at last signaled for a rendezvous and begged Columbus to
turn back. He promised the captains that, if they were still in open
sea forty-eight hours later, he would turn back. He didn’t tell them
that the log he showed them had been faked to reduce the record of
the miles they had gone from Spain. On the night of October 11, as
Columbus told later, he “prayed mightily to the Lord.” Whether by
luck or divine intervention, on the following day he sighted, as he

27
believed, the mainland of Asia or one of its offshore islands. We
know it as Samana Cay in the Bahamas. He went on to explore
Haiti and then Cuba, which he soon decided was Marco Polo’s
Zipangu (Japan). He was puzzled by the absence of cities, but there
were spices, and cotton, and weird birds, and coppery-colored
natives, who kept assuring him that inland, always farther inland,
there were mountains of gold.
Columbus never knew that he had discovered a new continent.
He hurried back to Spain with a display of what he thought were
the products of the Orient: exotic plants, brilliant parrots, an
alligator, prize natives got up like show horses, a little gold. He
was met with triumph on his return to Spain, and for his second
voyage he had already a fleet of seventeen ships and fifteen
hundred men ready to explore the wonders of Asia, as well as
priests to sanctify the expedition and convert the potential slaves.
– by Alistair Cooke
BACKGROUND NOTES
the Bahamas a group of islands in the western Atlantic
(Bahama Ocean, Southeast of Florida. Columbus first
Islands): saw an island of the Bahamas, which he
called San Salvador. Now the scientists
believe that in reality he saw Samana Cay, a
small, uninhabited island in the central
Bahamas.
confession: a religious term for a service at which someone
tells their faults to a priest. The word is also
applied to a religious group with its own
organization and a shared system of belief.
Constantinople: the capital of the Byzantine Empire (the
Eastern Roman Empire). It was founded in
AD 324 – 330 by the Roman Emperor
Constantine I.

28
controller of a government official who superintends
accounts: financial accounts and transactions
displacement: the weight or the volume of fluid displaced
by a floating or submerged body, as a ship
Eric the Red: born AD c. 950, Norse (medieval Scan-
dinavian) mariner, explorer and colonizer of
Greenland c. 985
Ericson, Leif: son of Eric the Red, continued the
exploration voyages of his father
the Orient: the countries of Asia, especially East Asia
spices: any of various vegetable products, like
pepper, nutmeg or cinnamon, used for giving
a taste to other foods
square-rigger: a ship having square sails as the principle
sails

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. Why did the first voyage of Christopher
Questions: Columbus go down in history even though
there is evidence of earlier voyages to the
American continent?
2. What gave an impulse to the search of
new way to the Orient?
3. What were the extraordinary demands set
forward by Columbus as a condition for
his voyage?
4. Describe the three ships that Columbus
used in his first voyage.
5. What was the first land in the New World
seen by Columbus during his first voyage?
6. How was Columbus met on his return to
Spain after first voyage?

29
Text VI
European Exploration
In the century before Columbus sailed to America, Western
Europeans were unlikely candidates for worldwide exploration.
The Chinese possessed the wealth and the seafaring skills that
would have enabled them to explore, but they had little interest in
the world outside of China. The Arabs and other Islamic peoples
also possessed wealth and skills. But they expanded into
territories that were next to them – and not across uncharted
oceans. The Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople in 1453 and
by the 1520s had nearly reached Vienna. These conquests gave
them control over the overland trade routes to Asia as well as the
sea route through the Persian Gulf. The conquests also gave them
an expanding empire to occupy their attention.
Western Europeans, on the other hand, were developing the
necessary wealth and technology and a compelling need to
explore. A group of new monarchs were making nation-states in
Britain and in continental Europe – states with unprecedentedly
large treasuries and military establishments. The population of
Western European nations was growing, providing a tax base and
a labor force for new classes of large landholders. These “elites”
provided markets for goods that were available only through
trade with Asia. When the expansion of Islam gave control of
eastern trade routes to Islamic middlemen, Western Europeans
had strong incentives to find other ways to get to Asia.
They were also developing sailing technology and knowledge
of currents and winds to travel long distances on the open sea.
The Portuguese led the way. They copied and improved upon the
designs of Arab sailing ships and learned to mount cannons on
those ships. In the 15th century they began exploring the west
coast of Africa – bypassing Arab merchants to trade directly for
African gold and slaves. They also colonized the Madeira Islands,

30
the Azores, and the Cape Verde Islands and turned them into the
first European slave plantations.
The European explorers were all looking for an ocean route to
Asia. Christopher Columbus sailed for the monarchs of Spain in
1492. He used the familiar prevailing winds to the Canary
Islands, off the northwest coast of Africa, and then sailed on. In
about two months he landed in the Caribbean on an island in the
Bahamas, thinking he had reached the East Indies. Columbus
made three more voyages. He died in 1506, still believing that he
had discovered a water route to Asia.
The Spanish investigated further. Italian navigator Amerigo
Vespucci sailed to the northern coast of South America in 1499 and
pronounced the land a new continent. European mapmakers named
it America in his honor. Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa
crossed the Isthmus of Panama and in 1513 became the first of the
European explorers of America to see the Pacific Ocean. That same
year another Spaniard, Juan Ponce de León, explored the Bahamas
and Florida in search of the fountain of youth.
The first European voyages to the northern coast of America
were old and forgotten: The Norsemen (Scandinavian Vikings)
sailed from Greenland and stayed in Newfoundland for a time
around 1000. Some scholars argue that European fishermen had
discovered the fishing waters off eastern Canada by 1480. But the
first recorded voyage was made by John Cabot, an Italian
navigator in the service of England, who sailed from England to
Newfoundland in 1497. Giovanni da Verrazzano, in 1524, and
Jacques Cartier, in 1534, explored nearly the whole Atlantic coast
of the present United States for France. By that time, Europeans
had scouted the American coast from Newfoundland to Brazil.
While they continued to look for shortcuts to Asia, Europeans
began to think of America for its own sake. Spain again led the
way: Hernán Cortés invaded Mexico in 1519, and Francisco
Pizarro did the same in Peru in 1532 – nearly a full century
before English or French colonization began.
– by Alistair Cooke

31
BACKGROUND NOTES
the Azores: a group of islands in the northern Atlantic,
West of Portugal. Politically, the islands are a
part of Portugal.
Canary Islands: a group of mountainous islands in the
Atlantic Ocean near the northwestern coast
of Africa, comprising now two provinces of
Spain.
Cape Verde a group of islands in the Atlantic, West of
Islands: Senegal in Western Africa. Formally an
overseas territory of Portugal, it gained
independence in 1975.
Caribbean Sea: a part of the Atlantic Ocean bounded by
Central America, the West Indies, and South
America
Fountain of a fabled spring whose waters were supposed
Youth: to restore health and youth. The Fountain of
Youth was sought in the Bahamas and
Florida by the Spanish explorers of America.
Greenland: the largest island in the world situated
Northeast of North America
Madeira Islands: a group of eight islands off the Northwest coast
of Africa belonging to Portugal. The word
Madeira is also associated with the fortified
amber-colored wine from these islands.
Newfoundland: a large island in eastern Canada. As a
province of Canada, Newfoundland includes
also the Labrador peninsula.
Ottoman Turks: Turkish citizens of the Ottoman Empire – the
Turkish state that was founded about 1300 by
Osman and existed for over six centuries
until it collapsed after World War I.

32
Vespucci, (1454 – 1512), an Italian explorer who,
Amerigo: unlike Columbus, was not a captain of a ship,
but just a member of a number of Spanish
and Portuguese expeditions in 1499 – 1504 to
the coasts of South America. His book in
Latin about these voyages was called “About
the New World.”

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. Why were Western Europeans unlikely
Questions: candidates for worldwide exploration in
the century before Columbus?
2. Which of the European countries was
leading at first in the exploration of the
open sea?
3. Why was America named after Amerigo
Vespucci, a junior officer of some of the
expeditions to the Americas after the
voyage of Columbus?
4. When was the first recorded voyage made
to the shores of North America?
Text VII
Cultural Interaction: The Columbian Exchange
What was to become American history began in a biological
and cultural collision of Europeans, Native Americans, and
Africans. Europeans initiated this contact and often dictated its
terms. For Native Americans and Africans, American history
began in disaster.
Native Americans suffered heavily because of their isolation
from the rest of the world. Europe, Africa, and Asia had been
trading knowledge and technologies for centuries. Societies on all
three continents had learned to use iron and kept herds of domestic
animals. Europeans had acquired gunpowder, paper, and
navigational equipment from the Chinese. Native Americans, on

33
the other hand, had none of these. They were often helpless against
European conquerors with horses, firearms, and – especially –
armor and weapons.
The most disastrous consequence of the long-term isolation of
the Americas was biological. Asians, Africans, and Europeans had
been exposed to one another’s diseases for millennia; by 1500 they
had developed an Old World immune system that partially protected
them from most diseases. On average, Native Americans were
bigger and healthier than the Europeans who first encountered them.
But they were helpless against European and African diseases.
Smallpox was the biggest killer, but illnesses such as measles and
influenza also killed millions of people. The indigenous population
of Mexico, for example, was more than 17 million when Cortés
landed in 1519. By 1630 it had dropped to 750,000, largely as a
result of disease. Scholars estimate that on average the population of
a Native American people dropped 90 percent in the first century of
contact. The worst wave of epidemics in human history cleared the
way for European conquest.
Europeans used the new lands as sources of precious metals
and plantation agriculture. Both were complex operations that
required labor in large, closely supervised groups. Attempts to
enslave indigenous peoples failed, and attempts to force them into
other forms of bound labor were slightly more successful but also
failed because workers died of disease. Europeans turned to the
African slave trade as a source of labor for the Americas. During
the colonial periods of North and South America and the
Caribbean, far more Africans than Europeans came to the New
World. The slave trade brought wealth to some Europeans and
some Africans, but the growth of the slave trade disrupted
African political systems, turned slave raiding into full-scale war,
and robbed many African societies of their young men. The
European success story in the Americas was achieved at
horrendous expense for the millions of Native Americans who
died and for the millions of Africans who were enslaved.
– by Alistair Cooke

34
BACKGROUND NOTES
bound labor: an involuntary servitude when people are
forced to work without wages and against
their will
Columbian the exchange between the New and Old
exchange: Worlds following the discovery of America
by Christopher Columbus. Apart from
positive results of such exchange, there were
also some negative effects, particularly
exposing Native Americans to the diseases of
the Old World.
slave raiding: raiding, that is, attacking someone’s positions
with the aim of taking captives to be sold into
slavery. European slavers used to buy slaves
from the African middlemen who conducted
the slave raids into the interior from the
coastal kingdoms of present-day Togo and
Benin.

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. Why did Native Americans suffer heavily
Questions: as a result of the cultural interaction of the
New and Old Worlds?
2. What was the most disastrous consequence
of the isolation of the Americas?
3. Why did European settlers turn to slave
trade?
Group In groups of two to three students discuss the
Activities: positive and negative aspects of the cultural
exchange between the New and Old Worlds
following the discovery of America by
Christopher Columbus. As a preliminary stage,
the students may collect some relative

35
information using reference books, news-
papers, magazines, the Internet resources, etc.
At the final stage, the students share the results
of their findings and discussion in the
conditions of the whole group.
Individual Write a short essay of some 200 – 250 words
Work: about one of the aspects of the discovery and
the exploration of America.

C. THE COLONIAL PERIOD


Discussion Note down the following points:
Questions: 1. Where and how were the first English
colonies founded in America?
2. Who were the first colonists, and what
brought them to the American soil?
3. What was the social, economic and
political life like in America during the
colonial period?
Reading You are going to read three texts about the
Exercises: colonial period in America. As you read, note
down the following:
1. the relations that developed between the
colonies and the mother country;
2. the reasons for the growth of the colonies;
3. the way slave labor came to be used on a
large scale.
Text VIII
The American Colonies and The English Government
The English had colonies before they had a colonial policy or
an empire. The English government had little interest in directly
governing its colonies. The government was, however,
mercantilist: It wanted colonial economic activity to serve
England. The Navigation Act of 1651 stipulated that imports into

36
British harbors and colonies could be carried only in British ships
or those of the producing country. A second Navigation Act in
1660 decreed that colonial trade could be carried only in English
ships, and that crucial commodities such as tobacco and sugar
could be sent only to England or another English colony. Further
Navigation Acts in 1663 and 1696 regulated the shipment of
goods into the colonies and strengthened the customs service. For
the most part, the Navigation Acts succeeded in making colonial
trade serve England. They also made the colonists accustomed to
and dependent upon imported English goods. But the acts did not
amount to a colonial administration. Private companies, wealthy
proprietors, and the settlers themselves did what they wanted
without official English interference.
King James II tried to change that. In 1684 he revoked the
charter of the Massachusetts Bay Company. Then in 1686 he
created the Dominion of New England from the colonies of
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Plymouth, and
Connecticut (all colonies that had been derived from the original
Massachusetts Bay colony), along with New York and New Jersey.
The king sent Sir Edmund Andros to be royal governor of this
huge area. However, the king had problems at home. He was a
Catholic, and he threatened to leave the throne in the hands of his
Catholic son. In 1689 England’s ruling elites deposed James II and
replaced him with his sister Mary and her husband, a militant
Dutch Protestant, William of Orange. As part of the agreement that
made him king, William issued a Bill of Rights that ended
absolutist royal government in England. The ascension of William
and Mary is known in English history as the Glorious Revolution.
American colonists staged smaller versions of the Glorious
Revolution. Massachusetts and New York revolted against the
Dominion of New England. At the same time, the Protestant
majority in Maryland revolted against Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron
Baltimore, and his Catholic elite. William could have punished
all these rebels and re-established the Dominion of New England.
Instead, he reorganized Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland
as royal colonies with elected legislative assemblies and royally

37
appointed governors. By 1720 William had transformed all the
mainland colonies along these lines except for Pennsylvania,
Maryland (William restored Protestant proprietors in 1716), and
Delaware. The Glorious Revolution ended absolutism in England,
and it ensured that government in the mainland colonies would be
both royal and representative.
– Microsoft Encarta 2000
BACKGROUND NOTES
Bill of Rights: the document issued by William of Orange in
1689 confirming the rights and liberties of
the people
Charter of the the document issued by King Charles I to the
Massachusetts English company (Massachusetts Bay
Bay Company: Company) set up in 1629. According to the
charter, the authority for the colony’s
government resided in Massachusetts, not in
England.
Glorious the events of 1688 – 1689 in England by
Revolution: which an end was put to the absolute power
of the English kings. King James II was
expelled and the sovereignty was conferred
on William and Mary.
James II: (1633 – 1701), king of England, Ireland, and
Scotland in the period of 1685 – 1688.
James II, the son of Charles II, tried to
restore the absolute monarchy and
Catholicism, and was deposed as a result of
the Glorious Revolution.
William of (1650 – 1702), king of England in the period
Orange of 1689 – 1702; William III was invited to
(William III): take over the English throne with his wife,
Mary II, in the course of the Glorious
Revolution

38
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What was the purpose of the Navigation
Questions: Acts issued by the English government in
the second half of the 17th century?
2. Why wasn’t King James II satisfied with
the way the American colonies were
administered, and what changes did he try
to introduce?
3. In which way did the Glorious Revolution
benefit the American colonies?
Text IX
The Growth of American Colonies
Permanent English settlement began in the Chesapeake Bay
area in 1607 and in Massachusetts in 1620. The histories of the
two regions during their first century and a half are almost
opposite. Virginia began as a misguided business venture and as a
disorderly society of young men. Massachusetts settlers were
Puritans. They arrived as whole families and sometimes as whole
congregations, and they lived by laws derived from the Old
Testament. Over time, however, Virginia was transformed into a
slave-based tobacco colony where slaves were carefully
disciplined, where most white families owned land, and where a
wealthy and stable planter-slaveholder class provided much of the
leadership of revolutionary and early national America. New
England, on the other hand, evolved into a more secularized and
increasingly overpopulated society based on family farms and
inherited land – land that was becoming scarce to the point that
increasing numbers of whites were slipping into poverty.
The colonies over which the English were beginning to
exercise control were growing rapidly. In 1700 approximately
250,000 Europeans and Africans were living in what would
become the United States. In 1775 there were approximately

39
2.5 million. Much of the increase was due to immigration: the
forced migration of enslaved Africans, and the willing migration
of English, Scots-Irish, and Germans.
The middle colonies were much more diverse than the
northern colonies. The English majority contended with a variety
of European settlers, with a large Native American presence on
the western edges, and with a significant minority of African
slaves. In Maryland and Virginia, the early English settlers had
been joined, particularly in the western counties, by Scots, Scots-
Irish, and Germans. In the eastern counties, African slaves –
many of them natives of Africa – often outnumbered whites.
South Carolina and Georgia had white populations as diverse
as those in the Chesapeake, and their slave populations were
African-born and ethnically diverse. One historian has noted that
a slave would have met more different kinds of Africans in one
day in South Carolina rice fields than in a lifetime in Africa.
By far the greatest source of population growth, however, was
a phenomenal birth rate and a relatively low death rate. Americans
in the 18th century had many children, who in turn survived to
have children of their own. American population growth in these
years may have been unprecedented in human history.
The household was the central institution of colonial society.
In Puritan society in particular families were the cornerstone of
godly government. As one historian put it, Puritans experienced
authority as a hierarchy of strong fathers – beginning with God,
descending down through government officials and ministers, and
ending with the fathers of families. These families were
patriarchal: Fathers ruled households, made family decisions,
organized household labor, and were the representatives of God’s
authority within the family. Fathers passed that authority on to
their sons. Puritan magistrates inspected families to ensure that
they were orderly, and it was a capital crime (at least in the law
books) to commit adultery or to strike one’s father.
Households in other 18th-century colonies may have been less
godly, but they were almost equally dominated by fathers, and

40
most white men had the opportunity to become patriarchs. Land
was relatively abundant, and Americans seldom practiced
primogeniture and entail, which gave oldest sons their fathers’ full
estates and prevented men from dividing their land. Fathers tended
to supply all of their sons with land (daughters received personal
property as a dowry). Thus most American white men eventually
owned their own land and headed their own households.
As populations grew and as colonial economies developed,
however, that independence based on property ownership was
endangered. Good farmland in the south came to be dominated by
a class of planters, while growing numbers of poor whites
became tenants. The pressure of a growing population on the
supply of farmland made tenancy even more common in New
Jersey and Pennsylvania (research puts the proportion at about 25
percent by mid-century), while in New England more and more
fathers found themselves unable to provide for their sons. On the
eve of the American Revolution (1775 – 1783), American white
men prided themselves on a widespread liberty that was based on
economic independence. Meanwhile, the land ownership that
upheld that independence was being undermined.
– Microsoft Encarta 2000

BACKGROUND NOTES

Chesapeake Virginia and Maryland were named


colonies: Chesapeake colonies after the Chesapeake
Bay – an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, where
the original settlements were established

entail: the rule of descent settled for an estate.


Entailing land or other property on somebody
means that the property can be given over
only to certain persons.

41
middle colonies: the American colonies lying between New
England (northern colonies) and southern
colonies. Middle colonies in the initial period
included Pennsylvania, New York and New
Jersey.

primogeniture: inheritance by the firstborn, specifically the


eldest son

Puritan a Protestant movement that arose in the 16th


movement: century within the Church of England. The
Protestants demanded the simplification of
doctrine and worship and greater strictness in
religious discipline. The Puritan movement
eventually led to the English Revolution of
1642 – 1649.

southern South Carolina and Georgia and the


colonies: Chesapeake colonies of Virginia and
Maryland

tenancy: the possession and use of a room, land,


building, etc., for which rent is paid

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES

Comprehension 1. Which of the groups of American colonies


Questions: was less diverse in its ethnic structure?
2. What was the most important source for
the population growth in the 18th century?
3. How was Puritan society organized?
4. Why were primogeniture and entail
seldom practiced in American colonies?

42
Text X
The Use of Slave Labor
In the first half of the 18th century, the mainland colonies
grew dramatically but in very different ways. The Chesapeake
and the Carolinas grew plantation staples for world markets –
tobacco in the Chesapeake and North Carolina, rice and indigo in
the coastal regions of South Carolina and Georgia – and they
were committed to African slave labor. Fully 70 percent of South
Carolina’s population was black; nearly all Africans were
imported directly to the colony in the 18th century. The numbers
were so huge and the malarial wetlands they worked on were so
unhealthy that masters encouraged slaves to organize their own
labor and to work unsupervised. Because so many slaves lived
and worked relatively unsupervised in this area, African cultures
– language, handicrafts, religious experience and belief, and more
– survived most fully among American slaves in South Carolina.
Rice planters of South Carolina permitted this cultural
independence because it was easier and because the slaves made
them lots of money. South Carolina’s lowland planters were the
wealthiest group in the mainland colonies.
Further north, the tobacco colonies of Virginia and Maryland
were equally committed to slave labor, but slaves led somewhat
different lives here than in the deep South. The African
population in these colonies began to replace itself through
reproduction as early as 1720 (compared with 1770 in South
Carolina). Still, Chesapeake planters continued to import new
slaves from Africa; about 70,000 went to Virginia in the 18th
century and about 25,000 to Maryland. Slaves in these colonies
tended to live and work in smaller, more closely supervised
groups than slaves further south, and their cultural memory of
Africa, though often strong, was less pervasive than that of
Carolina slaves. In addition, white Virginians and Marylanders
were turning to wheat as a secondary crop, a development that

43
required mills and towns, and thus slave labor in construction,
road building, and some of the skilled crafts.
–Microsoft Encarta 2000
BACKGROUND NOTES
cultural memory: the collective memory of a population group
separated from their cultural heritage even
though their original language may be lost
malarial lands with wet and spongy soil, as a marsh,
wetlands: swamp, or bog, which often turn into a
breeding ground for malaria-carrying
mosquitoes
plantation the principle crops cultivated on a plantation
staples:
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. How was slave labor organized on the
Questions: wetlands of South Carolina?
2. Where did African culture survive most
among the black slaves?
3. What necessitated the building of roads,
mills and towns in the Chesapeake
colonies of Virginia and Maryland?

Group In the colonial period, the American colonies


Activities: experienced a rapid growth on account of a
number of favorable factors. In groups of two
to four students discuss the various factors
which contributed to the growth and
prosperity of American colonies at that period
and present the results of your discussion to
the full group.

44
Individual Write a short essay of some 250 words about
Work: the development of one of the groups of
American colonies during the colonial period,
and illustrate it with a hand-drawn map.
D. The Revolutionary War
Discussion Note down the following points:
Questions: 1. What were the causes of the War of
Independence that American colonies
waged against their mother country?
2. Why did American revolutionary army
win the revolutionary war, which it had to
wage against a superior enemy?
Reading You are going to read four texts about the way
Exercises: American colonies won their independence
from Britain. As you read, note down the
following:
1. the policies of the British government that
led to the revolutionary events of the 70s
of the 18th century, and, finally, to the
War of Independence;
2. the beginnings of the conflict between the
American colonies and the Crown;
3. the advantages Americans had that helped
them win the war;
4. the role of Virginia in leading the
revolution to victory.

Text X
The Road to Independence
In the 60s of the 18th century, following the French and Indian
War, Britain introduced a number of measures aimed at
tightening its control over the colonies. Most serious in its effects
for the American colonies proved to be the financial policy of the
British Government.

45
In 1764 Parliament passed the Stamp Act, which required all
legal documents, licenses, commercial contracts, newspapers,
pamphlets, dice, and playing cards to carry a tax stamp. The
Stamp Tax raised revenue from thousands of daily transactions in
all of the colonies. In addition, those accused of violating the act
would be tried in Vice-Admiralty Courts – royal tribunals without
juries that formerly heard only cases involving maritime law. The
colonial assemblies petitioned the British, insisting that only they
could tax Americans. The assemblies also sent delegates to a
Stamp Act Congress, which adopted a moderate petition of
protest and sent it to England. Other Americans took more
forceful measures. Before the Act went into effect, in every large
colonial town, mobs of artisans and laborers, sometimes
including blacks and women, attacked men who accepted
appointments as Stamp Act commissioners, usually forcing them
to resign. American merchants also organized nonimportation
agreements, which put pressure on English merchants, who in
turn pressured the British government.
In spring 1766 a newly elected Parliament repealed the Stamp
Tax, believing it had been unwise. Parliament did not, however,
doubt its right to tax the colonies. When it repealed the Stamp
Act, Parliament passed the Declaratory Act, which reaffirmed
Parliament’s right to legislate for the colonies “in all cases
whatsoever.”
In 1767 a new ministry led by chancellor of the Exchequer
Charles Townshend addressed the North American situation.
Townshend drew up new taxes on imports (tea, lead, paper, glass,
paint) that Americans could receive only from Britain. The
revenue from these duties was to be used for the salaries of
colonial governors and judges, thus making them independent of
the colonial assemblies. He also strengthened the organization
responsible for enforcing customs duties and located its
headquarters in Boston, the center of opposition to the Stamp Act.
Finally, he moved many units of the British army away from the
frontier and nearer the centers of white population.

46
Clearly, the Townshend Acts were meant not only to tax the
colonies but also to exert British authority. When colonial
assemblies protested the duties, Townshend dissolved the
assemblies. Americans rioted. They also agreed to boycott all
imported British goods – particularly tea. The British responded
by landing troops at Boston (the center of resistance) in October
1768. Tensions between townspeople and soldiers were constant
for the next year and a half. On March 5, 1770, tensions exploded
into the Boston Massacre, when British soldiers fired into a mob
of Americans, killing five men.
In England on the day of the Boston Massacre, Parliament
repealed all of the Townshend Duties except the one on tea – a
powerful reminder that it would never relinquish its right to tax
and govern Americans. The Americans, in turn, resumed imports
of other goods, but continued to boycott tea.
The Tea Act of 1773 maintained the tax on tea and gave the
English East India Company a monopoly on the export of that
commodity. The company’s tea ships ran into trouble in American
ports, most notably in Boston, where on December 16, 1773,
colonials dressed as Native Americans dumped a shipload of tea into
the harbor. This event went down in history as the Boston Tea Party.
Britain responded to this Boston Tea Party with the
Intolerable Acts of 1774, which closed the port of Boston until
Bostonians paid for the tea. The acts also permitted the British
army to quarter its troops in civilian households, allowed British
soldiers accused of crimes while on duty in America to be tried in
Britain or in another colony, and revised the Massachusetts
Charter to abolish its elected legislature.
At the same time, the Québec Act organized a British
government in Canada that frightened many Protestant,
libertarian Americans: It allowed the Catholic Church to remain
established in French Canada, and it established a government
with fewer liberties than Americans enjoyed. Some Americans
saw the act as a model for what the British had in mind for them.

47
Along with the Intolerable Acts and the Québec Act came clear
signs that Britain would use whatever military force it needed to
subdue the Americans.
– Microsoft Encarta 2000
BACKGROUND NOTES
Boston Massacre: the result of the antagonism between the
British troops in Boston and Boston citizens,
when, what began as a harmless snowballing
of British soldiers degenerated into a mob
attack. Even though only five men died, the
incident was dubbed by American patriots as
the “Boston Massacre” and it was pictured as
a proof of British heartlessness and tyranny.
Boston Tea Party: the event that finally led to a break with
Britain, when a group of American colonists
disguised as Mohawk Indians and led by the
American radical Samuel Adams boarded
three ships in the Boston harbor and dumped
their tea cargo into the sea.
chancellor of the the minister of finance in the British
Exchequer: government
colonial elected legislative organs in American
assemblies: colonies, which represented the interests of
American colonies and opposed the arbitrary
rule of governors appointed by the king
the French and the seven year war (1754 – 1763) that Britain
Indian War: waged against France and its Indian allies in
American colonies. Even though the war was
fought over the question of American
possessions, most of the hostilities took place
in the Eastern Hemisphere. In the Peace of

48
Paris, signed in 1763, France gave up all of
Canada, the Great Lakes and the upper
Mississippi Valley to the British.
Stamp Act and the acts by the British government in the 60s
the Townshend of the 18th century that caused resistance of
Acts: the American colonists to the British rule,
and finally led to the Revolution. The Stamp
Act tried to impose an internal tax on
American colonists, while the Townshend
Acts tried to impose an external tax on the
colonies through duties on imported goods.

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What measures were introduced by the
Questions: British government following the French
and Indian War to strengthen its control
over the colonies?
2. In which way did the Stamp Act differ
from the Townshend Acts?
3. What was the reaction of the British
government to the Boston Tea Party?

Text XI
The First Battles in the War
In September 1774 every colony but Georgia sent delegates to
the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The
Congress refused to recognize the authority of Parliament and
instead sent a petition to the king. The petition stated the principle
that Parliament could not legislate for the colonies without their
consent and extended this principle beyond taxation to any
legislation.
While the British army occupied Boston, Massachusetts
established a provincial congress that met in Concord. The new
congress became the de facto government of Massachusetts. The

49
British responded by sending an army out from Boston to seize arms
and American leaders at Concord. They were met by Massachusetts
militiamen, and colonial protest turned into revolutionary war at the
battles of Lexington and Concord in April 1775. A Second
Continental Congress met the following month and proclaimed the
militia that had routed the British in the countryside a Continental
Army, with George Washington as its leader. In August, King
George III proclaimed the colonies to be in rebellion. The British
army, after a costly victory at the Battle of Bunker Hill, left Boston
and sailed for Nova Scotia. With that, there was virtually no British
military presence in the rebellious 13 colonies.
Through 1775 and into 1776, the Americans fought without
agreeing on what the fight was about: many wanted
independence, while others wanted to reconcile with the king but
not with Parliament. The pamphlet Common Sense by Anglo-
American philosopher Thomas Paine presented powerful
arguments opposing kings and supporting a pure republic. It
changed the minds of many colonists.
The British hired about 30,000 German mercenaries (Hessians)
to help put down the Americans, and that, too, convinced some
Americans that there could be no reconciliation. Congress
appointed a committee to draft a declaration of independence.
Thomas Jefferson, a congressman from Virginia, took on the job of
writing the first draft. Congress voted for independence on July 2,
1776, and signed the formal declaration two days later.
The Declaration of Independence was primarily a list of
grievances against the king. But the opening paragraphs
amounted to a republican manifesto. The preamble declared (and
committed future generations of Americans to the proposition)
that “all men are created equal,” and that they possess natural
rights that include “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Perhaps most important, the declaration insisted that governments
derive their powers only from the consent of the governed.
Protest against British colonial rule had been transformed into a
republican revolution.
– Microsoft Encarta 2000

50
BACKGROUND NOTES
the Battle of the first major battle in the Revolutionary
Bunker Hill: War on June 17, 1775 at Bunker Hill just
outside Boston. American forces suffered
high casualties against the better trained and
armed British soldiers.
the Battles of the first armed clashes between the American
Lexington and Minutemen – so named because they were
Concord: said to be ready to fight in a minute – and the
British soldiers on April 19, 1775. Both
Battles were the results of a military operation
by a detail of British soldiers sent to
confiscate the munitions of the Massachusetts
colonists at the town of Concord.
colonial militias bodies of citizen soldiers that were set up in
(militiamen): American colonies to resist the British
attempts to rule the colonies with military
force. Militiamen, unlike professional
soldiers, were called out periodically for drill
but served full time only in emergencies.
the First the meeting of representatives of all American
Continental colonies except Georgia on September 5, 1774
Congress: in Philadelphia. At the Congress no decision
was yet reached to seek independence from
Britain, but the “Continental Association” was
formed to supervise the observation of the
trade boycott of British goods.
Paine, Thomas: (1737 – 1809), the U.S. patriot and political
writer, who was born in England. With his
pamphlet “Common Sense” Thomas Paine
helped Americans in their struggle against
the English monarchy at the time when the
republican views were only forming in
American colonies.

51
the Second the meeting of representatives of American
Continental colonies which opened on May 10, 1775 in
Congress: Philadelphia following the first battles with
the British troops at Lexington and Concord.
By May 15, the Congress voted to go to war,
inducting the colonial militias into
continental service and appointing Colonel
George Washington of Virginia as
commander-in-chief of the American forces.

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What are the major differences in the
Questions: decisions of the First and Second
Continental Congresses?
2. Who led the American militia into battle
with the British soldiers at Concord in
April, 1775?
3. What was the first major battle in the
Revolutionary War and what were its results?
4. In which way did the English-born
philosopher Thomas Paine contribute to
the American Revolution?
5. Why could the Declaration of Independence
be regarded as a republican manifesto?
Text XII
The American Revolution
In 1776 the prospects for American victory seemed small.
Britain had a population more than three times that of the
colonies, and the British army was large, well-trained, and
experienced. The Americans, on the other hand, had
undisciplined militia and only the beginnings of a regular army or
even a government. But Americans had powerful advantages that
in the end were decisive. They fought on their own territory, and

52
in order to win, they did not have to defeat the British but only to
convince the British that the colonists could not be defeated.
The British fought in a huge, hostile territory. They could
occupy the cities and control the land on which their army stood,
but they could not subdue the American colonists. Two decisive
battles of the war – Saratoga and Yorktown – are cases in point.
At Saratoga, New York, a British army descending on the
Hudson Valley from Canada outran its supply lines, became
tangled in the wilderness, and was surrounded by Americans. The
Americans defeated a British detachment that was foraging for
food near Bennington, Vermont, then attacked the main body of
the British army at Saratoga. The British surrendered an army of
about 5,800.
More important, the American victory at Saratoga convinced
France that an alliance with the Americans would be a good
gamble. The French provided loans, a few troops, and – most
important – naval support for the Americans. The French alliance
also turned the rebellion into a wider war in which the British had
to contend not only with the colonials but also with a French navy
in the Caribbean and on the American coast.
In the battle of Yorktown, the climactic campaign of the war,
the vastness of America again defeated the British. In 1781 Lord
Charles Cornwallis led an army through Virginia almost without
opposition, then retreated to a peninsula at Yorktown. There he
was besieged by George Washington’s army and held in check by
the French navy. Unable to escape or to get help, Cornwallis
surrendered an entire British army. His defeat effectively ended
the war. In the Treaty of Paris of 1783, the British recognized the
independence of the United States and relinquished its territory
from the Atlantic to the Mississippi.
Colonial elites – large landholders and plantation masters –
benefited most from American independence: They continued to
rule at home without outside interference. Below them, property-
holding white men who became full citizens of the American

53
republic enjoyed the “life, liberty, and property” for which they
had fought. White women remained excluded from public life, as
did most white men without property. But the Americans for
whom the legacy of revolution proved disastrous – or at best
ambiguous – were Native Americans and African American slaves.
After the war, Native Americans – who had not been defeated –
ignored maps drawn by whites and continued to fight through the
1790s. Native American military power east of the Mississippi
was not broken until 1815. The key to that defeat was the fact that
the independent American republic was now expanding without
opposition from either France or Britain.
The results of the American Revolution for American slaves
were ambiguous. Early in the war, the governor of Virginia, Lord
Dunmore, had promised freedom to any Virginia slave who
joined the British army. Thousands took the offer, and many
more thousands seized wartime opportunities to disappear. On the
other hand, thousands of blacks (primarily in the North) fought
on the patriot side.
American independence also had differing effects on blacks.
On the one hand, it created an independent nation in which
slaveholders wielded real power. On the other hand, the ideology
of natural rights that was fundamental to the Revolution was
difficult to contain. Many whites, particularly in the North, came to
see emancipation as a logical outcome of the Revolution. Vermont
outlawed slavery in its constitution, and in the 1780s and 1790s
most Northern states took steps to emancipate their slaves. Even
Chesapeake planters flirted seriously with emancipation. Perhaps
most important, slaves themselves absorbed revolutionary notions
of natural rights. Following the Revolution, slave protests and
slave rebellions were drenched in the rhetoric of revolutionary
republicanism. Thus American independence was a short-term
disaster for the slaves, but at the same time, it set in motion a chain
of events that would destroy American slavery.
– Microsoft Encarta 2000

54
BACKGROUND NOTES
the Battle of one of the most important victories of the
Saratoga: American continental army headed by George
Washington, when an army of loyalists and
Indians under the command of the British
General John Burgoyne had finally to surrender
on October 17, 1777 after unsuccessful attempts
to break through the siege by American soldiers
at Saratoga, New York.
the Battle of the final battle in the War of Independence
Yorktown: which ended in a surrender of the British
Army under the command of General
Charles Cornwallis to joint American and
French forces at York Town, Virginia on
October 19, 1781.
the French a treaty that was signed by the American and
Alliance: French governments (official name “the
Treaty of Alliance”) on February 6, 1778. The
Treaty of Alliance was the only bilateral
defense treaty signed by the United States
until 1949. The treaty stipulated that if France
entered the war, neither country would lay
down its arms until America won its
independence, that neither would conclude
peace with Britain without the consent of the
other, and that each other guaranteed the
other’s possessions in America.
the Treaty of Paris the treaty that put an end to the War of the
of 1783: American Colonies for their independence. The
peace talks began in early 1782 and on April 15,
1783 Congress approved the final treaty, and
Great Britain and its former colonies signed it on
September 3, 1783. The peace settlement
acknowledges the independence, freedom and
sovereignty of the 13 former colonies, now states.

55
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What was the most powerful advantage
Questions: that Americans had in their Revolutionary
War?
2. How did the British defeat at Saratoga
change the course of War?
3. What contributed to the victory of
Americans in the last battle of the War at
Yorktown?
4. What were the main stipulations in the
Treaty of Paris of 1783?
5. Who were the winners and losers in the
American Revolution?

Text XIII
From Williamsburg to Philadelphia:
Virginia’s Role in the Revolution
A period of great significance for Americans began on May
15, 1776, and ended on July 4. It began in Williamsburg, Virginia
and closed in Philadelphia.
May was a month of sweeping rebellious ferment. More than
a year had passed since the blood of minutemen first flowed on
Lexington Green.
The British army, under patriot siege, had been forced to
evacuate Boston. Independence was in the air.
North Carolina delegates to the Continental Congress in
Philadelphia had received instructions from home to support
independence. Other colonies stood more or less ready to second
the motion – if someone would take the lead.
Virginia took the lead. In the Capitol building in
Williamsburg came the first in a chain of actions that led directly
to the Declaration of Independence on July 4.
The remarkable events here during 1776 resulted from a slow
evolution: loyal British subjects becoming American patriots.

56
Crucial to this resolution of loyalties was the vital “Decade of
Decision” just before the Revolution, starting in 1765 when the
House of Burgesses, meeting at the Capitol in Williamsburg,
adopted Patrick Henry’s defiant resolves against the British
imposed Stamp Act.
Three years later the legislators again declared that Parliament
had no right to tax the colonies, not even through such
unorthodox methods as the hated Townshend Acts. The royal
governor reacted by dissolving the assembly, and the lawmakers
marched to the Raleigh Tavern on Duke of Gloucester Street to
meet as private individuals. There George Washington presented
George Mason’s proposed boycott of all English goods, and 94 of
the 116 burgesses concurred. The boycott in Virginia and
elsewhere proved effective, and the following year Parliament
repealed all the new duties except on tea, keeping that as a
symbol of its right to tax the colonies.
In 1775 the torch moved even closer to the powder keg of
open rebellion. The burgesses, fearing intervention by the royal
governor, Lord Dunmore, if they met in Williamsburg, held a
March session in Richmond made memorable by Patrick Henry’s
“give me liberty or give me death” oration.
Less than a month later, during the night of April 21 – 22,
Lord Dunmore, alarmed over the possibility of an armed uprising,
seized gunpowder from Virginia's reserve in the Magazine on
Williamsburg’s Market Square. Only a promise to repay the
colony for its loss prevented bloodshed as Patrick Henry led a
force of armed volunteers to within fifteen miles of
Williamsburg.
The governor’s subsequent branding of Henry as an outlaw
only served to increase the fiery patriot’s popularity.
Shortly after the second Continental Congress convened its
May session in Philadelphia, where Randolph was again elected
president, Lord Dunmore made a final effort to reach a
compromise with the burgesses. He called them into session on

57
June 1 in Williamsburg and tendered the British proposal that
England would not tax the colonists if they would agree to tax
themselves in accordance with quotas sent from London. Perhaps
sensing that his offer was “too little, too late,” only a week
thereafter under the cloak of night, Lord Dunmore and his family
fled Williamsburg. His abrupt departure marked the end of
British rule in Virginia.
Virginians continued their preparations for the decision of
1776. On June 15, 1775, George Washington became commander
in chief of the Continental Army, and in September the
Continental Congress reconvened in Philadelphia.
Lord Dunmore opened military operations in the Hampton
Roads communities, and Virginia militiamen had their first taste
of combat before the year’s end. If the events of 1775 seemed fast
moving to Virginians, those of 1776 would accelerate at an even
greater pace.
When 1776 began – with the New Year’s Day bombardment
and subsequent gutting of two-thirds of the city of Norfolk – the
average Virginian was committed to an uncertain but obviously
stormy future.
Meanwhile, at Bunker Hill in Boston, and at Quebec, where
the Americans tried to carry out an offensive, the British were
learning that the rebellion was not going to be easy to put down.
But the great decision to declare for independence if necessary
had not been made.
Thus the stage was set for the May 6, 1776, gathering of
delegates to the Virginia Convention, one of the most remarkable
legislative sessions in this country’s history.
The mood was determined and defiant, the air charged with
excitement. Tempers held in check during the decade of
controversy with the crown and Parliament were close to
explosion.
During the days and nights of work in Williamsburg as
historic resolutions were drafted, debated, and passed, and the

58
framework of Virginia was built, Edmund Pendleton, who headed
the Virginia Convention, wrote to Thomas Jefferson in
Philadelphia, “We build a Government slowly, I hope it will be
founded on a rock.”
On May 15, after a humble appeal to God, that “Searcher of
Hearts,” the delegates unanimously instructed the Virginians at
the Continental Congress in Philadelphia not only to support but
to propose independence.
The new Continental flag – the Grand Union – rose over the
Capitol cupola, replacing the British Union flag. Spontaneous
enthusiasm rocked the city. Capitol Square, crowded with horses,
men, and vehicles, was the scene of tumultuous celebration.
Some of the gentry provided a purse “for the purpose of
treating the soldiery,” and musket and artillery fire followed each
of the historic toasts – The American Independent States... The
Grand Congress of the United States and their respective
legislatures… General Washington, and victory to the American
arms.
And, in the Continental Congress at Philadelphia on June 7, a
tall, lean, red-haired Virginian rose to offer the vital motion.
Richard Henry Lee, at 44 the senior member of the delegation
and an orator to rival Patrick Henry, read these words:
Resolved, That these United Colonies are,
and of right ought to be, free and
independent States, that they are absolved
from all allegiance to the British Crown,
and that all political connection between
them and the State of Great Britain is, and
ought to be, totally dissolved.
Congress approved Lee’s motion on July 2, and two days later
addressed to the world a formal Declaration of American
Independence.
That eloquent statement of belief in man’s liberty and equality
grew directly from the decision taken on May 15 in

59
Williamsburg. It had even been penned by a young man well
known in Williamsburg – Thomas Jefferson.
Back in Williamsburg, meanwhile, events had moved even
faster than in Philadelphia. Two related decisions, also taken by
the Virginia Convention, bore fruit before the end of June, both
largely the work of George Mason, the forgotten man of
American liberties.
His Declaration of Rights, adopted unanimously on June 12,
contained ringing statements of individual liberty and the right of
self-government, and is today regarded not only as one of the
great state papers of history, but also as one of the noblest
expressions of mankind’s aspirations toward a full society.
The Convention of 1776 adjourned. Delegates who had
entered the capital as British subjects took their leave of
Williamsburg as citizens of a new commonwealth.
Thus, in the summer of 1776, one Virginian had given to
America and the world a Declaration of Rights and constitution
for the new commonwealth. Another had written the Declaration
of Independence for the new American nation. Still another led
the armies to make these rights respected and independence an
actuality.
And with dramatic appropriateness, the freedom of the
American states was to become assured in Virginia – at
Yorktown in 1781.
Later, in an America whose independence had been won,
George Mason was to look back on the achievements of those
momentous days of 1776 in Williamsburg and remark, “We seem
to have been treading on enchanted ground.”

– Colonial Williamsburg’s Bicentennial


Commemorative Broadside

60
BACKGROUND NOTES
House of the popular branch of the colonial legislature
Burgesses: of Virginia or Maryland. The word burgess
was used in American colonies of Virginia
and Maryland as “a representative.” In older,
British usage, the word meant “a free man of
a city or country, having the right to elect
representatives to the government.”
Manson, George: (1725 – 1792), American statesman, who
played an important role in drafting the United
States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In
1759 he was elected to the Virginia House of
Burgesses, and at the state’s constitutional
convention in 1776 he drafted the historic
Declaration of Rights and a large portion of
the constitution itself. He was a delegate to the
federal constitutional convention in
Philadelphia in 1787 and helped to draft the
constitution. The Bill of Rights that was added
later to the Constitution was based on his
Declaration of Rights.
Norfolk, a seaport in southeast Virginia, a naval base
Virginia:
Philadelphia: a city in southeastern Pennsylvania, on the
Delaware River. It played a key role in the
War of Independence. From 1790 to 1800 it
served as the capital of the United States.
Williamsburg: a city in southeastern Virginia, colonial
capital of Virginia; now restored to its
original pre-Revolutionary style
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What role did Virginia play in starting the
Questions: chain of events that led to the Revolution?
2. What action did the Virginian lawmakers
take in response to the Townshend Acts?

61
3. How did Virginian representatives at the
Continental Congress in Philadelphia on
June 7, 1776 contribute to the movement
for independence?
4. What part did George Manson play in the
American Revolution?
5. Who were the three great Virginians that
played an important role in the American
Revolution and what was their
contribution to the cause of independence?
Group Even though the American Revolution was an
Activities: event which took place comparatively not
long ago, the causes of the War as well the
reasons for the victory of Americans continue
to be a matter of heated debate.

In groups of three to four students organize a


discussion of the causes and effects of the
War of Independence. It may be found useful
to allow students gather more information
through a home assignment. The sources may
include history books, mass media resources,
encyclopedias and the Internet. At the final
stage, the results of the discussion are
presented to the bigger group.
Individual Write an essay of some 300 words about some
Work: of the aspects of the American Revolution.
Suggested topics:
1. the Great American Revolutionaries;
2. the main events of the Revolution;
3. the causes and effects of the War of
Independence;
4. the winners and losers in the Revolution;
5. the main American documents: the
Declaration of Independence and the
Constitution.

62
Unit II
THE U.S. POLITICS

A. The Roots of the American Political System

Discussion 1. Note down what you know about the


Questions: origins of democracy and federalism in
America.
2. What features of the two basic American
documents, that is The Declaration of
Independence and The Constitution,
make them important not only for
American democracy, but for the world
in general?
Reading Read Text I (The Constitution and the Bill of
Exercises: Rights) and note down how the foundations of
American democracy and federalism were laid.

Text I
The Constitution and the Bill of Rights
In 1776, the thirteen weak British colonies in America came
together, stood up, and told what was then the world's greatest
power that from now on they would be free and independent
states. The British were neither impressed nor amused, and a
bitter six-year war followed, the Revolutionary War (1776-83). It's
hard to appreciate today, over two centuries later, what a
revolutionary act this was. A new republic was founded, turning
into reality the dreams and ideals of a few political philosophers.
Americans broke with an age-old tradition, and so sent shock waves
back across the ocean: they decided that it was their right to choose

63
their own form of government. At that time, the statement that
governments should receive their powers only "from the consent of
the governed" was radical indeed. Something new was under the
sun: a system of government, in Lincoln's words, "of the people, by
the people, for the people."
The former colonies, now "the United States of America," first
operated under an agreement called the Articles of Confederation
(1781). It was soon clear that this loose agreement among the
states was not working well. The central, federal government was
too weak, with too few powers for defense, trade, and taxation. In
1787, therefore, delegates from the states met in Philadelphia. They
wanted to revise the Articles, but they did much more than that.
They wrote a completely new document, the Constitution, which
after much argument, debate, and compromise was finished in the
same year and officially adopted by the thirteen states by 1790.
The Constitution, the oldest still in force in the world, sets the
basic form of government: three separate branches, each one
having powers ("checks and balances") over the others. It specifies
the powers and duties of each federal branch of government, with all
other powers and duties belonging to the states. The Constitution has
been repeatedly amended to meet the changing needs of the nation,
but it is still the "supreme law of the land." All governments and
governmental groups, federal, state, and local, must operate
within its guidelines. The ultimate power under the Constitution is
not given to the President (the executive branch), or to the Congress
(the legislative branch), or to the Supreme Court (the judicial branch).
Nor does it rest, as in many other countries, with a political group or
party. It belongs to "We the People," in fact and in spirit.
In this way, Americans first took for themselves the liberties and
rights that elsewhere were the privileges of an elite few. Americans
would manage their own affairs in their own interests. They would
elect their own representatives and make their own laws. And, of
course, they would make their own mistakes.

64
They stated in the first ten Constitutional Amendments,
known together as the Bill of Rights, what they considered to be the
fundamental rights of any American. Among these rights are the
freedom of religion, speech, and the press, the right of peaceful
assembly, and the right to petition the government to correct
wrongs. Other rights guarded the citizens against unreasonable
searches, arrests, and seizures of property, and established a
system of justice guaranteeing orderly legal procedures. This
included the right of trial by jury, that is, being judged by one's
fellow citizens.
The great pride Americans have in their Constitution, their
almost religious respect for it, comes from the knowledge that these
ideals, freedoms, and rights were not given to them by a small ruling
class. Rather, they are seen as the natural "unalienable" rights of
every American, which had been fought for and won. They cannot
be taken away by any government, court, official, or law.
The federal and state governments formed under the
Constitution, therefore, were designed to serve the people and to
carry out their majority wishes (and not the other way around). One
thing they did not want their government to do is to rule them.
Americans expect their governments to serve them and tend to
think of politicians and governmental officials as their servants. This
attitude remains very strong among Americans today.
Over the past two centuries, the Constitution has also had
considerable influence outside the United States. Several other
nations have based their own forms of government on it. It is
interesting to note that Lafayette, a hero of the American Revolution,
drafted the French declaration of rights when he returned to
France. And the United Nations Charter also has clear echoes of
what once was considered a revolutionary document.
– by K. Janda, J. Berry and J. Goldman,
“The Challenge of Democracy”

65
BACKGROUND NOTES

the Articles of the first constitution of the 13 American


Confederation: states, adopted in 1781 and replaced in 1789
by the Constitution of the United States
the Bill of Rights: a formal statement of the rights of the people
of the United States, incorporated in the
Constitution as Amendments 1 – 10, and in
all state constitutions
checks and limits imposed on all branches of a
balances: government by vesting in each branch the
right to amend or void those acts of another
that fall within its preview
the Constitution: the fundamental American document
embodying the principles by which the
nation is governed. The U.S. Constitution
was framed in 1787 and put into effect in
1789.
the Declaration of the public act by which the Second
Independence: Continental Congress, on July 4, 1776,
declared the Colonies to be free and
independent of England
the Executive the branch of a government having
Branch: administrative or supervisory authority
“the government the famous quotation from the Gettysburg
of the people, by Address – a short speech made by Abraham
the people, for Lincoln on November 19, 1863, at the
the people”: dedication of the national cemetery at
Gettysburg
the Judicial the branch of government having the powers
Branch: of the highest court in the country

66
(Marquis de) a French statesman, 1757 – 1834; during the
Lafayette: War of Independence fought at the side of
the American revolutionists in the rank of a
general
the Legislative the branch of government having the
Branch: function of making laws
the Revolutionary the American Revolution, that is, the war
War: between Great Britain and its American
colonies, 1775 – 1783, by which the colonies
won independence. Officially the war began
in 1776, though the first battles of the
American Revolution at Lexington and
Concord (Massachusetts) were fought in
April of 1775.

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES

Comprehension 1. Why did the first constitution of the


Questions: United States fail?
2. What system makes it possible for three
independent branches of government to
work together?
3. Name some of the fundamental rights of
the American people stated in the Bill of
Rights.
4. What important historical documents
were written under the influence of the
Declaration of Independence?

Group The Constitution of the United States is the


Activities: oldest still in force in the world, which proves
that it is viable. What makes the American
Constitution so effective?

67
In groups of 3 – 4 students discuss the main
requirements to make a national constitution
effective. What rights should be incorporated
into the Constitution?

Following the discussion of the problems


connected with a viable and effective
constitution, spokesmen from each group
present the results of their discussion to the
bigger group.

Individual Write an essay of some 250 – 300 words


Work: about the most important constitutional rights
that should be included in any national
constitution in the world.

B. The American Government

Discussion Note down forms of government you know,


Questions: including monarchical, dictatorial and
democratic. How are the executive,
legislative and judicial powers incorporated
in different forms of government?

Reading Read Text II and Text III and note down the
Exercises: fundamental principles of the American
Government, the main functions of the three
branches of the Government in the United
States, and the way the system of checks and
balances works.

68
Text II
§1. The Fundamental Principles
The governmental systems in the United States – federal, state,
county, and local – are quite easy to understand. They are quite easy
to understand, that is, if you grew up with them and studied them in
school. One foreign expert complained, for example, that the
complexity of just the cities' political and governmental structure
is "almost unbelievable." The "real Chicago," he explained, "spreads
over 2 states, 6 counties, 10 towns, 30 cities, 49 townships, and 110
villages. Overlaid upon this complex pattern are 235 tax districts
and more than 400 school districts..." There are, however, several
basic principles which are found at all levels of American
government. One of these is the "one person, one vote" principle
which says that legislators are elected from geographical districts
directly by the voters. Under this principle, all election districts
must have about the same number of residents.
The principle of separation of powers means that the three
governmental branches – the executive, legislative and judicial –
are generally independent of one another, and have the authority
to check or balance each other.
Another fundamental principle of American government is
that because of the system of checks and balances, compromise in
politics is a matter of necessity, not choice. For example, the House
of Representatives controls spending and finance, so the President
must have its agreement for his proposals and programs. He cannot
declare war, either, without the approval of Congress. In foreign
affairs, he is also strongly limited. Any treaty must first be
approved by the Senate. If there is no approval, there's no treaty.
The rule is "the President proposes, but Congress disposes." What a
President wants to do, therefore, is often a different thing from what
a President is able to do.

69
§2. Congress
Congress, the legislative branch of the federal government, is
made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. There
are 100 Senators, two from each state. One third of the Senators are
elected every two years for six-year terms of office. The Senators
represent all of the people in a state and their interests. The House has
435 members. They are elected every two years for two-year terms.
They represent the population of "congressional districts" into
which each state is divided. The number of Representatives from
each state is based upon its population. For instance, California, the
state with the largest population, has 45 Representatives, while
Delaware has only one. There is no limit to the number of terms a
Senator or a Representative may serve.
Almost all elections in the United States follow the "winner-take-
all" principle: the candidate who wins the largest number of votes
in a Congressional district is the winner.
Congress makes all laws, and each house of Congress has the
power to introduce legislation. Each can also vote against legislation
passed by the other. Because legislation only becomes law if both
houses agree, compromise between them is necessary. Congress
decides upon taxes and how money is spent. In addition, it
regulates commerce among the states and with foreign countries. It
also sets rules for the naturalization of foreign citizens.
§3. The President
The President of the United States is elected every four years
to a four-year term of office, with no more than two full terms
allowed. As is true with Senators and Representatives, the
President is elected directly by the voters (through state electors).
In other words, the political party with the most Senators and
Representatives does not choose the President. This means that
the President can be from one party, and the majority of those in

70
the House of Representatives or Senate (or both) from another.
This is not uncommon.
Thus, although one of the parties may win a majority in the
midterm elections (those held every two years), the President
remains President, even though his party may not have a majority
in either house. Such a result could easily hurt his ability to get
legislation through Congress, which must pass all laws, but this is
not necessarily so. In any case, the President’s policies must be
approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate before
they can become law. In domestic as well as in foreign policy, the
President can seldom count upon the automatic support of
Congress, even when his own party has a majority in both the
Senate and the House. Therefore, he must be able to convince
Congressmen, the Representatives and Senators of his point of
view. He must bargain and compromise. This is a major
difference between the American system and those in which the
nation's leader represents the majority party or parties, that is,
parliamentary systems.
Within the Executive Branch, there are a number of executive
departments. Currently these are the departments of State,
Treasury, Defense, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce,
Labor, Health and Human Resources, Housing and Urban
Development, Transportation, Energy, and Education. Each
department is established by law, and, as their names indicate, each
is responsible for a specific area. The head of each department is
appointed by the President. These appointments, however, must be
approved by the Senate. None of these Secretaries, as the
department heads are usually called, can also be serving in
Congress or in another part of the government. Each is directly
responsible to the President and only serves as long as the
President wants him or her to. They can best be seen, therefore, as
Presidential assistants and advisers. When they meet together, they
are termed "the President's Cabinet." Some Presidents have relied
quite a bit on their Cabinets for advice, and some very little.

71
§4. The Federal Judiciary
The third branch of government, in addition to the legislative
(Congress) and executive (President) branches, is the federal
judiciary. Its main instrument is the Supreme Court, which watches
over the other two branches. It determines whether or not their
laws and acts are in accordance with the Constitution. Congress
has the power to fix the number of judges sitting on the Court, but
it cannot change the powers given to the Supreme Court by the
Constitution itself. The Supreme Court consists of a chief justice
and eight associate justices. They are nominated by the President
but must be approved by the Senate. Once approved, they hold
office as Supreme Court Justices for life. A decision of the Supreme
Court cannot be appealed to any other court, so neither the
President nor Congress can change their decisions. In addition to the
Supreme Court, Congress has established 11 federal courts of
appeal and, below them, 91 federal district courts.
The Supreme Court has direct jurisdiction in only two kinds of
cases: those involving foreign diplomats and those in which a state is
a party. All other cases which reach the Court are appeals from
lower courts. The Supreme Court chooses which of these it will
hear. Most of the cases involve the interpretation of the
Constitution. The Supreme Court also has the "power of judicial
review," that is, it has the right to declare laws and actions of the
federal, state, and local governments unconstitutional. While not
stated in the Constitution, this power was established over time.

72
Text III
Checks and Balances
The Constitution provides for three main branches of government
which are separate and distinct from one another. The powers given
to each are carefully balanced by the powers of the other two. Each
branch serves as a check on the others. This is to keep any branch
from gaining too much power or from misusing its powers. The
chart below illustrates how the equal branches of government are
connected and how each is dependent on the other two.

73
Congress has the power to make laws, but the President may
veto any act of Congress. Congress, in its turn, can override a veto
by a two-thirds vote in each house. Congress can also refuse to
provide funds requested by the President. The President can appoint
important officials of his administration, but they must be approved
by the Senate. The President also has the power to name all federal
judges; they, too, must be approved by the Senate. The courts have
the power to determine the constitutionality of all acts of Congress
and of presidential actions, and to strike down those they find
unconstitutional.
The system of checks and balances makes compromise and
consensus necessary. Compromise is also a vital aspect of other
levels of government in the United States. This system protects
against extremes. It means, for example, that new presidents cannot
radically change governmental policies just as they wish. In the
U.S., therefore, when people think of “the government,” they
usually mean the entire system, that is, the Executive Branch and the
President, Congress, and the courts. In fact and in practice, therefore,
the President (i.e. “the Administration”) is not as powerful as many
people outside the U.S. seem to think he is. In comparison with other
leaders in systems where the majority party forms “the
government,” he is much less so.
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”
BACKGROUND NOTES
midterm the elections to Senate and House of
elections: Representatives in the United States held two
years after and two years before the
presidential elections. These elections are
also called congressional or off-year
elections. When the president is chosen every
fourth year, the election year is identified as a
presidential election.

74
naturalization principles and procedures of conferring upon
rules: an alien the rights and privileges of a citizen
“the President a paraphrase of the Latin proverb “Homo
proposes, but proponit, sed Deus disponit” (Man proposes,
Congress but God disposes.
disposes”:
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What are the fundamental principles of
Questions: American government?
2. How are the seats in Congress distributed
among the congressional districts?
3. What are the terms of service of the
members of Congress?
4. What are the main differences between the
presidential and parliamentary systems?
5. What departments are included into the
President’s Cabinet?
6. How are the justices of the Supreme Court
selected and how long can they stay in
office?
7. In which cases does the Supreme Court
have direct jurisdiction?
8. Explain how the system of checks and
balances works.
Group In a comparatively short time in history the
Activities: United States grew from a group of thirteen
weak colonies with agricultural economies
into the world superpower. American
politicians explain the successful development
of the United States by its system of
government based on the Constitution and Bill
of Rights. Is there a connection between a

75
democratic form of government and strict
observance of the rights of citizens, and the
economic prosperity of a country?
In groups of 3 to 4 students discuss
advantages and disadvantages of different
forms of government. Finally, the results
reached during the discussion in small groups
are shared and explained in the bigger group
under the supervision of the teacher.

Individual Write a short essay of about 200 words


Work: expounding your views on the best form of
government.
B. Political Parties and Elections
Discussion What is a political party, and in which way
Questions: do political parties differ from interest
groups?
Reading You are going to read two texts dedicated to
Exercises: the political parties and elections in the USA..
As you read, note down the peculiar features
of the two-party system in America. Be ready
to compare the two-party system in the
United States with the two-party systems of
Great Britain and New Zealand.

Text IV
Political Parties in the U.S.A.
The Constitution says nothing about political parties, but over
time the U.S. has in fact developed a two-party system. The two
leading parties are the Democrats and the Republicans. There are
other parties besides these two, and foreign observers are often

76
surprised to learn that among these are also a Communist party and
several Socialist parties. Minor parties have occasionally won
offices at lower levels of government, but they do not play a role in
national politics. In fact, one does not need to be a member of a
political party to run in any election at any level of government. Also,
people can simply declare themselves to be members of one of the
two major parties when they register to vote in a district.
Sometimes, the Democrats are thought of as associated with
labor, and the Republicans with business and industry. Republicans
also tend to oppose the greater involvement of the federal
government in some areas of public life which they consider to be
the responsibility of the states and communities. Democrats, on the
other hand, tend to favor a more active role of the central
government in social matters.
To distinguish between the parties is often difficult, however.
Furthermore, the traditional European terms of "right" and "left," or
"conservative" and "liberal" do not quite fit the American system.
Someone from the "conservative right," for instance, would be
against a strong central government. Or a Democrat from one part
of the country could be very “liberal,” and one from another part
quite “conservative.” Even if they have been elected as Democrats
or Republicans, Representatives or Senators are not bound to a
party program, nor are they subject to any discipline when they
disagree with their party.
While some voters will vote a “straight ticket,” in other words,
for all of the Republican or Democratic candidates in an election,
many do not. They vote for one party's candidate for one office, and
another's for another. As a result, the political parties have much less
actual power than they do in other nations.
In the U.S., the parties cannot win seats which they are then free
to fill with party members they have chosen. Rather, both
Representatives and Senators are elected to serve the interests of
the people and the areas they represent, that is, their
"constituencies." In about 70 percent of legislative decisions,

77
Congressmen will vote with the specific wishes of their
constituencies in mind, even if this goes against what their own
parties might want as national policy. It is quite common, in fact, to
find Democrats in Congress voting for a Republican President's
legislation, quite a few Republicans voting against it, and so on.
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”
BACKGROUND NOTES
Conservatives: generally, those people whose political
ideology favors a narrow scope for
government in economic life and social
welfare, and more powers in maintaining law
and order

constituency: 1. all the voters in a district represented by


an elective officer;
2. the district itself.
The word is also used to refer to any group of
supporters or customers.

the Left: the individuals or groups advocating liberal


reform or revolutionary change in the social,
political or economic order

Liberals: generally, those people whose political


ideology favors a broad scope for
government in the economic sphere and
social welfare, and less emphasis on
maintaining law and order

major party: a political party able to gain periodic control


of the government or to offer significant
opposition to the party in power

78
minor party: a political party with so little electoral
strength that its chance of gaining control of
the government is slight

multiparty an electoral system based on proportional


system: representation, which allows for several
parties to build up enough voting strength
nationwide to elect some minimum number
of candidates on its party list

the Right: the individuals or groups advocating


maintenance of the established political,
social, or economic order

straight ticket: a list of candidates of a political party


without any changes

two-party system: an electoral system in which only two major


parties can get control of the government.
The system is based on majority
representation, when single winners are
chosen by a simple plurality of votes.

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What are the main differences in the
Questions: policies of the two major parties in the
United States – the Democrats and the
Republicans?
2. Why don’t the traditional European terms
of “right” and “left”, or “conservative” and
“liberal” quite fit the American system?
3. Does the party discipline play any role in
the way congressmen vote? What
influences the way congressmen vote?

79
Group The first political parties in the world
Activities: appeared in the United States, and now it is
difficult to imagine any democratic system
without political parties contesting elections to
win control over the government.
In groups of 2 to 4 discuss the following
points:
1. Can a democratic country do without
political parties and party machines to run
the elections?
2. Which of the two electoral systems – two-
party or the multiparty – is more
applicable in the conditions of burgeoning
democracy in Russia?

Text V
Elections
Anyone who is an American citizen, at least 18 years of age,
and is registered to vote may vote. Each state has the right to
determine registration procedures. A number of civic groups, such as
the League of Women Voters, are actively trying to get more people
involved in the electoral process and have drives to register as
many people as possible. Voter registration and voting among
minorities have dramatically increased during the last twenty years,
especially as a result of the Civil Rights Movement.
There is some concern, however, about the number of citizens
who could vote in national elections but do not. In the national
election of 1984, for instance, only 53.3 percent of all those who
could have voted actually did. But then, Americans who want to
vote must register, that is put down their names in a register before
the actual elections take place. There are 50 different registration
laws in the U.S. – one set for each state. In the South, voters often
have to register not only locally but also at the county seat. In

80
European countries, on the other hand, "permanent registration" of
voters is most common. Of those voters in the United States who did
register in the 1984 presidential elections, 73 percent cast their
ballots.
Another important factor is that there are many more elections in
the U.S. at the state and local levels than there are in most
countries. If the number of those who vote in these elections
(deciding, for example, if they should pay more taxes so a new main
street bridge can be built) were included, the percentage in fact
would not be that much different from other countries. Certainly,
Americans are much more interested in local politics than in those at
the federal level. Many of the most important decisions, such as those
concerning education, housing, taxes, and so on, are made close to
home, in the state or county. The national presidential elections really
consist of two separate campaigns: one is for the nomination of
candidates at national party conventions. The other is to win the
actual election. The nominating race is a competition between
members of the same party. They run in a succession of state
primaries and caucuses (which take place between March and
June). They hope to gain a majority of delegate votes for their
national party conventions (in July or August). The party convention
then votes to select the party's official candidate for the presidency.
Then follow several months of presidential campaigns by the
candidates.
In November of the election year (years divisible by four, e.g.
1992, 1996, 2000, etc.), the voters across the nation go to the
polls. If the majority of the popular votes in a state go to the
Presidential (and Vice-Presidential) candidate of one party, then that
person is supposed to get all of that state's "electoral votes." These
electoral votes are equal to the number of Senators and
Representatives each state has in Congress. The candidate with the
largest number of these electoral votes wins the election. Each state's
electoral votes are formally reported by the "Electoral College." In

81
January of the following year, in a joint session of Congress, the new
President and Vice-President are officially announced.
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”
BACKGROUND NOTES
caucus: a closed meeting of the members of a
political party to decide upon questions of
policy and the selection of candidates

civic group a group of citizens united for action on some


(also “citizen political, social or other issues regardless of
group”): their professional occupations

Civil Rights political mobilization of the people – black


Movement: and white – to promote racial equality. In the
United States, the Civil Rights Movement is
associated with the activities of Dr. Martin
Luther King, jr. in the sixties, which led to
the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

county seat: the seat of government of a county. In the


United States, a county is the largest local
administrative division in most states.
drives: political campaigns

electoral college: a body of electors chosen by the voters in


each state to elect the president and vice-
president of the U.S.A.

National Party a gathering of delegates of a single political


Convention: party from across the country to choose
candidates for president and vice-president
and adopt a party platform

82
nominating race: a contest in nominating, that is, proposing
candidates for appointment or election to an
office

politics and politics (used with a sing. or plur. v.) is a


policies: more general term meaning the science or art
of political government, as well as the
practice or profession of conducting political
affairs. Policy (plur. policies) is a course of
action adopted and pursued by a government
or group.

registration the course or mode of action in registering


procedures: voters for elections at all levels. Although the
U.S. was the first country in the world to
introduce mass suffrage (right to vote), the
franchise was far from universal.

state primaries: preliminary elections in states in which


voters of each political party nominate
candidates for office, party officers, etc.

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. Can one say that American citizens have
Questions: mass suffrage? What requirements are
there for voter registration at present?
2. How many different registration laws are
there in the United States?
3. How high is the voter participation in the
United States?
4. How are the national presidential elections
held?
5. What is the difference between the
popular votes and electoral votes?

83
Group Organize a role play “Political parties and
Activities: elections”. Two members of the group will be a
panel of political scientists and experts, who
will judge the results of the party activities.
The other members of the group break up in
subgroups (depending on what electoral system
is chosen, there may be two larger “parties” or
more smaller ones). The next step is for the
“parties” to prepare their “party platforms” and
be ready to present them to the panel of
experts. The final stage of the role play is the
party platform presentations and campaign
speeches. The teacher facilitates the students in
providing the necessary information and in
answering questions. The panel of experts
makes up its decision on which of the parties is
the winner in the election.

D. Federalism: State and Local Governments


Discussion Note down the following points:
Questions: 1. Which form of national control is more
effective – a strong central government
controlling most of the activities both in
the center and in all the country, or a
division of powers, with the central
government not interfering in local
affairs?
2. What matters should be given over to the
federal control, and what responsibilities
could be better carried out on the local
level?
Reading Read Text VI (Federal and States’ Rights)
Exercises: and note down the way the Federal and State
governments distribute responsibilities
between themselves.

84
Text VI
Federal and States’ Rights
The fifty states are quite diverse in size, population, climate,
economy, history, and interests. The fifty state governments often
differ from one another, too. Because they often approach political,
social, or economic questions differently, the states have been
called “laboratories of democracy.” However, they do share certain
basic structures. The individual states all have republican forms of
government with a senate and a house. (There is one exception,
Nebraska, which has only one legislative body of 49 “senators.”)
All have executive branches headed by state governors and
independent court systems. Each state also has its own constitution.
But all must respect the federal laws and not make laws that interfere
with those of the other states (e.g., someone who is divorced under
the laws of one state is legally divorced in all). Likewise, cities and
local authorities must make their laws and regulations so that they fit
their own state's constitution.
The Constitution limits the federal government to specific powers,
but modern judicial interpretations of the Constitution have expanded
federal responsibilities. All others automatically belong to the states
and to the local communities. This has meant that there has always
been a battle between federal and states’ rights. The traditional
American distrust of a too powerful central government has kept the
battle fairly even over the years. The states and local communities
in the U.S. have rights that in other countries generally belong to the
central government.
All education at any level, for example, is the concern of the
states. The local communities have the real control at the public
school level. They control administration of the schools. They elect
the school board officials, and their local community taxes largely
support the schools. Each individual school system, therefore,
hires and fires and pays its own teachers. It sets its own policies
within broad state guidelines. Similarly, there is no national police

85
force, the FBI being limited to a very few federal crimes, such as
kidnapping. Each state has its own state police and its own criminal
laws. The same is true with, for example, marriage and divorce laws,
driving laws and licenses, drinking laws, and voting procedures.
In turn, each city has its own police force that it hires, trains,
controls, and organizes. Neither the President nor the governor of a
state has direct power over it. By the way, police departments of
counties are often called "sheriffs' departments." Sheriffs are
usually elected, but state and city police officials are not.
There are many other areas which are also the concern of cities,
towns, and villages. Among these are the opening and closing hours
for stores, street and road repair, or architectural laws and other
regulations. Also, one local community might decide that a certain
magazine is pornographic and forbid its sale, or a local school board
might determine that a certain novel should not be in their school
library. (A court, however, may later tell the community or school
board that they have unfairly attempted to exercise censorship.) But
another village, a few miles down the road, might accept both. The
same is true of films.
Most states and some cities have their own income taxes.
Many cities and counties also have their own laws saying who may
and may not own a gun. Many airports, some of them international,
are owned and controlled by cities or counties and have their own
airport police. Finally, a great many of the most hotly debated
questions, which in other countries are decided at the national
level, are in America settled by the individual states and
communities. Among these are, for example, laws about drug
use, capital punishment, abortion, and homosexuality.
A connecting thread that runs all the way through governments
in the U.S. is the “accountability” of politicians, officials, agencies,
and governmental groups. This means that information and records
on crimes, fires, marriages and divorces, court cases, property taxes,
etc., are public information. It means, for example, that when a
small town needs to build a school or buy a new police car, how

86
much it will cost (and which company offered what at what cost)
will be in the local newspaper. In some cities, meetings of the city
council are carried live on radio. As a rule, politicians in the U.S. at
any level pay considerable attention to public opinion. Ordinary
citizens participate actively and directly in decisions that concern
them. In some states, such as California, in fact, citizens can
petition to have questions (i.e., “propositions”) put on the ballot in
state elections. If the proposition is approved by the voters, it then
becomes law. This “grass roots” character of American democracy
can also be seen in New England town meetings or at the public
hearings of local school boards.
Adding this up, America has an enormous variety in its
governmental bodies. Its system tries to so satisfy the needs and
wishes of people at the local level, while at the same time the
Constitution guarantees basic rights to anyone, anywhere in
America. This has been very important, for instance, to the Civil
Rights Movement and its struggle to secure equal rights for all
Americans, regardless of race, place of residence, or state voting
laws. Therefore, although the states control their own elections as
well as the registration procedures for national elections, they
cannot make laws that would go against an individual's
constitutional rights.
– by K. Janda, J. Berry and J. Goldman,
“The Challenge of Democracy”
BACKGROUND NOTES
capital punishment by death according to law; the
punishment: death penalty. In the United States, as a result
of division of powers between the Federal
government and the states there is no
universal approach to the application of the
capital punishment as well as the form of
execution when it is applied.

87
city council: a municipal body with legislative and
administrative powers in local matters
grass roots: ordinary citizens, especially as contrasted
with the leadership or elite
income tax: a tax levied on the annual incomes of
individuals and corporations
Federal Rights: the rights conferred on the Federal
government by the Constitution and by the
rulings of the Supreme Court
Sheriff’s police departments in the United States on
Departments: the level of state counties
States’ Rights: the idea that all rights not specifically
conferred on the national government by the
Constitution are reserved for the states

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What basic structures are shared by the
Questions: fifty states in America?
2. Name some of the rights of the states and
local communities in the United States
that in other countries generally belong to
the central government.
3. What does the accountability of politicians
mean in the United States?
4. Is public opinion taken into account in the
United States when politicians make their
decisions?
5. Why has the variety of governmental
bodies proved to be important to the Civil
Rights Movement in the United States?

88
Group In groups of two to four students discuss the
Activities: following points:
1. the principle of federalism and division of
powers between the central and local
governments;
2. the responsibilities that could better be
shouldered by the local governments.
The results of discussion in smaller groups are
eventually presented on the level of the whole
group.

E. Americans and Politics


Discussion Are people in Russia interested in political
Questions: matters? Why do some people regard politics
as an arena for intrigues and dirty tricks?

Reading Read Text VII (Special Interest Groups) and


Exercises: note down the following points:
1. What campaigns may be carried on by
different special interest groups?
2. In which way are the wishes of many
different constituencies put into effect?

Text VII
Special Interest Groups
Americans, always concerned that their politicians represent
their interests, often form "pressure" groups, political lobbies,
public action committees (PACs), or special interest groups
(SIGs). Such groups seek to influence politicians on almost any
imaginable subject. One group might campaign for a nationwide,
federal gun-control law, while another group opposes it. Tobacco
companies in North Carolina are not too happy about the strong

89
health warnings that must be put on their products. Some religious
groups call for pupils being allowed to pray, if they wish, in school,
or they campaign against state and federal money being given for
abortions. Ethnic groups often want certain foreign policies put into
effect with their friends or foes. Tax payers in a number of states
have protested against rising taxes and initiated legislation setting
limits to taxation. Some labor unions want illegal immigration
controlled. And, not surprisingly, some pressure groups want
pressure groups stopped and lobby against lobbyists.
Such groups of citizens have also helped to weaken the
political parties. Each individual politician must pay close attention
to the special concerns and causes of his voters. What is amazing is
how well so many different governmental groups, with their many
ethnic and cultural and business and geographical interests, do seem
to manage the affairs of those they were chosen to represent. But
then, the great variety of local, regional, and state governments does
help to fulfill the wishes of the many different constituencies. If
New Yorkers want their city-owned university to be free to any
city resident, that is their business. If a small town in the mountains
of Colorado decides that snowmobiles have the right-of-way on
city streets, that's theirs. And if a county in Arkansas decides that
fireworks or hard liquor will not be sold within its limits, well, that's its
right, too.
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”
BACKGROUND NOTES
gun-control law: the legislation limiting the ownership and use
of firearms by members of public. The
second amendment to the Constitution of the
United States provides the right of the people
“to keep and bear arms”. This amendment is
used by all those opposing the introduction of
any effective Gun-control bill.

90
hard liquor: a distilled beverage with a high alcohol
content, as brandy, whiskey or vodka, as
distinguished from fermented beverage, as
wine or beer
political lobby: a group of persons who try to influence
legislators or other public officials to vote or
act in favor of a special interest
pressure group: an interest group that attempts to influence
legislation through the use of lobbying and
propaganda
right-of-way: a path or route that may lawfully be used.
Right-of-way is also used as a right granted
to a vehicle, as an airplane or boat, to
proceed ahead of another

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What groups are formed by American
Questions: citizens to influence legislators?
2. Enumerate some of the nationwide
campaigns undertaken by special interest
groups in America.
3. What effect have special interest groups
had on the political parties in the United
States?
Group 3. Organize a role play “The Just Cause”.
Activities: The group is divided into smaller groups
each of which chooses itself an important
issue to be put before the public. These
“interest groups” then discuss in which
way they could present their case most
convincingly. At the final stage, the
“interest groups” present their campaigns
before the whole group, and the results are
discussed.

91
Reading Read Text VIII (Political Attitudes) and note
Exercises: down what Americans think of their
government at all levels and government
officials and experts.

Text VIII
Political Attitudes
It’s often been said and does seem to be true: Americans seem
almost instinctively to dislike government and politicians. They
especially tend to dislike “those fools in Washington”, who spend
their tax money and are always trying to “interfere” in their local
and private concerns. Many would no doubt agree with the
statement that the best government is the one that governs least. In a
1984 poll, for example, only a fourth of those asked wanted the
federal government to do more to solve the country's problems.
Neighborhoods, communities, and states have a strong pride in
their ability to deal with their problems themselves, and this
feeling is especially strong in the West.
Americans are seldom impressed by government officials (they
do like royalty, as long as it's not theirs). They distrust people who
call themselves experts. They don't like being ordered to do anything.
For example, in the Revolutionary War (1776-83) and in the Civil
War (1861-65), American soldiers often elected their own officers.
In their films and fiction as well as in television series, Americans
often portray corrupt politicians and incompetent officials. Anyone
who wants to be President, they say with a smile, isn't qualified.
Their newsmen and journalists and television reporters are known
the world over for “not showing proper respect” for governmental
leaders, whether their own or others. As thousands of foreign
observers have remarked, Americans simply do not like authority.
Many visitors to the U.S. are still surprised by the strong
egalitarian tendencies they meet in daily life. Americans from
different walks of life, people with different educational and social

92
backgrounds, will often start talking with one another “just as if
they were all equal.” Is everybody equal in the land that stated - in
the eyes of God and the law – that “all men are created equal?” No,
of course not. Some have advantages of birth, wealth, or talent.
Some have been to better schools. Some have skins or accents or
beliefs that their neighbors don't especially like. Yet the ideal is
ever-present in a land where so many different races, language
groups, cultural and religious beliefs, hopes, dreams, traditional
hates and dislikes have come together.
All in all, what do Americans think of their system of
government? What would “We the People” decide today? One
American, a Nobel Prize winner in literature, gave this opinion: “We
are able to believe that our government is weak, stupid,
overbearing, dishonest, and inefficient, and at the same time we are
deeply convinced that it is the best government in the world, and
we would like to impose it upon everyone else.”
Of course, many of today’s 270 million Americans would
disagree in part or with all that statement. “Who is this one
American,” they might ask, “to speak for all of us?”
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”
BACKGROUND NOTES
egalitarian inclinations having or showing the belief that
tendencies: all people are equal and should have equal
rights

neighborhood: (Am. E.) a group of people and their homes


forming a small area within a larger place
such as a town

“We the People”: the opening words of the Constitution of the


U.S.

93
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES

Comprehension 1. What feelings do Americans express about


Questions: their government and government
officials? Prove your point of view by
quoting examples from Text VIII.
2. Are egalitarian tendencies in American
society a proof that all Americans are
equal?

Group In groups of two to four discuss the


Activities: differences between the way the government
and government officials are treated in the
United States and other countries of the world,
including Russia. Be ready to present the
results of your discussion to the whole group.

Individual Write an essay of 250 words about the


Work: political system of the United States, paying
particular attention to the basic principles of
American government at all levels.

94
Unit III
AMERICANS AND WAYS OF LIFE
IN AMERICA
A. Americans As a New Nation
Discussion Note down the following points:
Questions: 1. What do we mean when we say “the
average American”?
2. Can one speak about Americans as a
nation regardless of their different ethnic,
racial and cultural backgrounds?

Reading In the two texts of Section A an attempt is


Exercises: made to give a general picture of the
“average American” and “typical forms of
behavior” in America. As you read, pay
attention to different ways of describing how
different nationalities and ethnic groups have
come to form a new nation.

Text I
The “Average American”
The variety of ethnic identities, immigration experiences, and
cultural choices that have gone into making Americans is so
complex, however, that describing the “average American” is
very difficult. Our “average American” might be white, but
Americans are not "normally" white. Most Americans are
Christians, but America cannot be called “a Christian country.”
And a majority of Americans might claim European ancestry, but

95
this description also does not define Americans in general.
Neither, in fact, does language.
The United States is one of the few countries that has no
“official” national language, or languages. English is the common
language by use, but it is not the national language by law. About
30 million Americans speak a language other than English at
home. This means, for example, that if you meet an American in
New Mexico who speaks Spanish as his first language, he could
be a recent immigrant, having arrived in the U.S. only a few years
ago, or his grandparents could have arrived in the United States a
hundred years ago. It could also be that his ancestors had been
living in the area years before the thirteen British colonies were
established on the East Coast. A so-called foreign accent does not
necessarily mean that an individual is (or even was) a foreigner.
Of all the many different nationalities and ethnic groups
which have gone into the making of America, some have quickly
assimilated. They have largely lost or intentionally given up
many of those specific markers, which would make them much
different from their neighbors. This process of assimilation, or
“Americanization,” – becoming part of the “melting pot” – has
characterized the immigrant experience in American history.
Other Americans have, while becoming American in other ways,
maintained much of their ethnic identities. In this sense, U.S.
society has been likened to a “salad bowl.” It does not follow,
however, that these Americans are any less aware or proud of
their American nationality. Japanese-Americans provide a well-
known example. Although their loyalty in World War II was
doubted by many of their fellow countrymen, as a group they
became the most highly decorated American soldiers fighting in
Europe. Perhaps a better metaphor for American society than
either “the melting pot” or the “salad bowl” would be that of a
“pizza” (which has become, by the way, the single most popular
food in America). The different ingredients are often apparent

96
and give the whole its particular taste and flavor, yet all are fused
together into something larger.
Still another factor to consider in describing “the American”
is that the face of America is constantly, and often very rapidly,
changing. According to the census data, by the year 2000, for
instance, Hispanics (a term including all Spanish-speaking
Americans, such as Mexican-Americans or “Chicanos,” Cubans,
Puerto Ricans, etc.) had become the largest “minority” in the
United States. In a number of cities Hispanics represent now the
majority of citizens.
Crèvecoeur’s old and often repeated question – “What then is
the American, this new man?” – cannot be answered simply or
conclusively. At best, we can say that an American is someone
who meets the legal requirements of citizenship and who
considers himself or herself to be an American. And, any person
born on American soil automatically has the right to American
citizenship. Significantly, the older categories of nationality
brought from the Old World – race, language, religion, and
parents’ ancestry – have become relatively unimportant in
America. They can be used to describe an American, but not to
define one.
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”

BACKGROUND NOTES

ancestry: a person’s ancestors considered as a group or


as a continuous line

Crèvecoeur, (1735 – 1813), French writer, known for his


Michel works in both French and English describing
Guillaume Jean life in the American colonies around the time
de: of the American Revolution (1775 – 1783).

97
The best known of his works are Letters from
an American Farmer (1782), which he wrote
under the pseudonym of J. Hector St. John.

fellow people belonging to the same country


countrymen:
“melting pot”: a country, locality, or situation in which a
blending of races, peoples, or cultures takes
place

“salad bowl”: a mixture of different ethnic groups in a


country when the ethnic groups retain their
ethnic identities

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES

Comprehension 1. Why is it difficult to give a definition of


Questions: the term the “average American”?
2. What is the meaning of the term the
“melting pot,” and why cannot this term
be applied to the way immigrants are
assimilated in America?
3. What is the difference in the terms the
“salad bowl” and “pizza,” which are used
to describe the U.S. society?
4. How can one answer Crèvecoeur’s
question – “What then is the American,
this new man?”?

98
Text II
Typically American?
Few of us like to be told that we’re average, and Americans are no
exception. Far worse, however, is to be told that we, or the things we
do, are typical of our nation. “Oh, that’s so typically American (or
British, or French, etc.),” is the kind of statement most of us object to.
Generalizations about nationalities (Americans are incurable optimists,
Germans are professional pessimists, and Italians are amused by both)
are usually not welcomed, even when they’re basically accurate.
With Americans, this reaction may even go deeper. One
generalization often made about Americans is that they value their
individualism quite highly. They place great emphasis on their
individual differences, on having a great number of choices, and on
doing things their own way. This is perhaps why general statements
about American lifestyles are frequently resented by Americans.
Part of being an American is not being, and not wanting to be, typical.
There are other difficulties with summarizing American ways of
life and attitudes. Whereas, for example, Italians or Germans form a
largely homogeneous society, white, Christian, and speaking one
language, Americans do not. And whereas a country like Britain
exhibits considerable variation in climate and landscape, the differences
across the continental U.S. are extreme. Such difficulties, which stem
from the enormous variety of America and Americans, should be rather
obvious. Less apparent at first thought is that much of what was once
said to be typically American is often no longer just American.
Largely since the Second World War, more and more American
social and cultural habits have taken hold in Europe, from cornflakes
and the televised news for breakfast to the evening barbecue or grill
party.
In the early 1960s, for instance, it was still possible for an
American to quip that “in the U.S., we take a shower every day and go
food shopping once a week – in Europe, they do it the other way
around.” Today, of course, this is no longer the case. American

99
habits have not changed that much, but European ones have, along
with the increase in supermarkets and shopping centers, the number
of cars, and the modernization of housing. So-called convenience and
frozen foods are now as popular in Europe as they are in America.
Similarly, to talk about a car culture, the so-called throw-away culture,
or the generation gap as exclusively American concerns makes little
sense today. Such concerns are now as familiar to most Europeans as are,
well, traffic jams and beer cans, pollution control or “walkman” radios.
For their part, Americans are now buying smaller cars, and walking
more. More and more of them are cooking “from scratch” instead of
using prepared foods. And, certainly, Italian fashions and French wines
(as well as French fashions and Italian wines), German cars, and Dutch
cheese are selling well in the U.S. Yet overall, trends in lifestyles have
moved and still move across the Atlantic from west to east. Another
generalization, this one European, says it well: “What they’re
doing in California today we’ll probably be trying in Europe
tomorrow.”
As a result, there are at least two generalizations that can be
safely made. First, Americans tend to be trend-setters in lifestyles.
And, secondly, what is thought to be typically American today
probably won’t be so for long. Most interesting, therefore, are those
habits and attitudes, customs and conventions which have been
consistently observed among Americans over time.
The corny greeting, “Howdy, stranger!” is familiar to most
Americans even though it’s not used a lot. Rather, Americans have
heard it used in countless Westerns and frontier epics. It’s the
friendly greeting which a local gives the stranger who is “just passin’
through”. It implies “sit down for a while and tell us who you are,
where you’ve been, and where you’re going.” Certainly
Hollywood’s view of life on the frontier often doesn’t reflect
historical fact. But in this case, it’s not far off.
Many of the most stable features of American life – those
mentioned again and again by generations of foreign visitors – can
be traced to the frontier experience, to the settlement of a vast, raw

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land by succeeding waves of people moving westward. Three
American “national characteristics” which are most frequently
mentioned do indeed recall the frontier experience. These are a
friendliness to strangers, a strong sense of community and
neighborliness, and a general informality.
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”
BACKGROUND NOTES
barbecue or grill a meal, usually outdoors, at which pieces of
party: meat, poultry, or fish roasted over an open
fireplace with the use of a grill (a metal grate
for broiling food over a fire) or a spit (a
pointed rod for skewering and holding meat
over a fire)
car culture: the ways of living based on a wide use of
cars in every day life. The phenomenon of
car culture was first observed in the United
States, where $1 out of $6 is spent on cars
and everything that supports their use.
Americans have about 35% of the world’s
560 million motor vehicles, and an average
American male spends more than 1,500
hours per year on his car, driving it, earning
enough to pay for the vehicle, the tolls, the
tires, the insurance and highway taxes.
convenience any packaged food, as frozen food or instant
food: cereal, that can be prepared quickly and
easily
frontier epic: a story of the adventures of the frontier
heroes, that is, of men living on the border
between settled and wild country. Such

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stories are very often told in a poetic,
elevated style.
generation gap: a lack of communication between one
generation and another, especially between
young people and their parents
throw-away the ways of living and mentality based on a
culture: wide use of disposable products, like greased
paper wrappings, polystyrene containers,
paper caps, etc. The consequences of the
throw-away culture make people change
their ways and demand new, more
environmentally friendly products that could
allow of recycling waste and other methods
of bringing the negative impact on
environment to a minimum.
trend-setter: a person that establishes a new trend or
fashion
Walkman (radio): trademark, a small portable stereo cassette
player, radio or cassette player and radio
used with headphones
Western: a story, movie or television play about the
U.S. West of the 19th century. Jokingly, this
genre is often called the horse operas.

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. Why do Americans frequently resent
Questions: general statements about their lifestyles?
2. What American social and cultural habits
have taken hold in Europe and other parts
of the world?
3. Do the social and cultural habits of
peoples from Europe and other parts of the
world take root on American soil?

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4. What are the three American national
characteristics which are most frequently
mentioned by foreigners visiting America?
Group America has been variously referred to as the
Activities: “Melting Pot,” the “Salad Bowl,” and the
“Pizza.” Organize a discussion of the ways
immigrants from all over the world are
integrated into the American culture and
become Americans in the second or third
generations. At the preliminary stage, the
students should be given home assignments to
search for more information about the life of
different immigration communities in the
United States. At the second stage, working in
groups of two to three the students discuss
various aspects of acculturation (adopting the
cultural traits or social patterns of the
dominant culture) in the United States. The
results of discussion in small groups are
presented to the whole group and evaluated.
Individual Make up a list of American social and cultural
Work: habits which have been taken over all over the
world and in this country.
B. Some of the National Characteristics
of Americans
Discussion Note down the following points:
Questions: 1. What are the most typical national
characteristics of Americans as presented
in books, films, mass media, etc.?
2. Can one rely on the stereotypes of people
of different nations as well as ethnic and
racial groups in judging about the true
nature of these people? Substantiate your
opinion by giving examples from your
own experience and from literature.

103
Reading You are going to read two texts about some
Exercises: of the most interesting features of American
national character. As you read, note the
conditions which brought about the
appearance of some of the American national
characteristics.

Text III
American Friendliness and Hospitality
A report consistently brought back by visitors to the U.S. is how
friendly, courteous, and helpful most Americans were to them. To
be fair, this observation is also frequently made of Canada and
Canadians, and should best be considered North American. There
are, of course, exceptions. Small-minded officials, rude waiters,
and ill-mannered taxicab drivers are hardly unknown in the U.S. Yet
it is an observation made so frequently that it deserves comment.
For a long period of time and in many parts of the country, a
traveler was a welcome break in an otherwise dreary existence.
“Bleak” is the word often used to describe frontier life. Monotony
and loneliness were common problems of the families who
generally lived distant from one another. Strangers and travelers
were welcome sources of diversion, and brought news of the
outside world.
The brutal realities of the frontier also shaped this tradition of
hospitality. Someone traveling alone, if hungry, injured, or ill, often
had nowhere to turn except to the nearest cabin or settlement. It was
not a matter of choice for the traveler or merely a charitable
impulse on the part of the settlers. It reflected the harshness of
daily life: if you didn’t take in the stranger and take care of him,
there was no one else who would. And someday, remember, you
might be in the same situation.
Today there are many charitable organizations, which specialize
in helping the weary traveler. Yet, the old tradition of hospitality to

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strangers is still very strong in the U.S., especially in the smaller
cities and towns away from the busy tourist trails. “I was just
traveling through, got talking with this American, and pretty soon
he’d invited me home for dinner – amazing.” Such observations
reported by visitors to the U.S. are not uncommon, but are not
always understood properly. The casual friendliness of many
Americans should be interpreted neither as superficial nor as
artificial, but as the result of a historically developed cultural
tradition.
As is true of any developed society, in America a complex set of
cultural signals, assumptions, and conventions underlies all social
interrelationships. And, of course, speaking a language does not
necessarily mean that someone understands social and cultural
patterns. Visitors who fail to “translate” cultural meanings properly
often draw wrong conclusions. For example, when an American
uses the word “friend,” the cultural connotations of the word may
be quite different from those it has in the visitor’s language and
culture. It takes more than a brief encounter on a bus to distinguish
between courteous convention and individual interest. Yet, being
friendly is a virtue that many Americans value highly and expect
from both neighbors and strangers.
Similarly, Americans are also taught to be polite when, as
travelers or guests, they are asked that standard question: “How do
you like it here?” As children, many were taught that in such
situations, “if you can’t find something nice to say, then don’t say
anything at all.” Other cultures have other norms of politeness (“we
try to be honest”). Yet when these other norms are applied in
America, Americans naturally interpret them through their own
(“how rude!”). They are taken as a sign of bad manners.
In the past, newcomers were made welcome, and neighbors
would help wherever they could with the difficult job of building
a home, raising a barn, breaking the soil, or starting a business.
Today, most American neighborhoods still function through a
casual yet complex network in which tools, help, and advice are

105
offered, asked for, and exchanged. Your neighbor’s lawnmower just
broke down, so he borrows yours. You use his extension ladder (and
his experience) to put up the new television antenna. The woman
across the street has a copying machine in her office at work. Might
it be possible for her to “xerox off” a few pages for your daughter’s
school play? Your daughter or son will be happy to baby-sit for her
kids again this Saturday night. That tree in the backyard is getting
far too big. Didn’t Jack, down the street, buy a new chainsaw last
winter to cut his firewood with? I wonder if he’s using it this
weekend...? A new family moves in, and after a few days (“let them
get settled in a bit”), neighbors stop by to say “hi!” Whether or not
they will eventually be friends, it’s the friendly thing to do. Such
casual coming and going, borrowing and lending, offering and
receiving of help among neighbors is typical of most Americans.
As would be expected, this is more the case in small and
medium-sized cities and the suburbs than it is among the inner city,
apartment-living population. In fact, many Americans left smaller
cities to get away from the atmosphere of a close community where
everyone seems to know what everybody else is doing. In the big
cities, there was more anonymity and privacy, or, seen differently,
more isolation and alienation. Today many people seem to be
looking once more for a way of life symbolized by the small town.
There are, then, two sides to this tradition of neighborliness. In
a land where people move frequently and freely, socially as well
as geographically, they have become adept at making new
acquaintances and forming new friendships.
However, most American homes are separated from one
another by fences, hedges, or, in some parts of the country such as
New England or the Southwest, by walls. Even where there are no
physical barriers, where the lawns go on unbroken from one
house to the next, the mental barriers are well-understood and
respected. Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall” brings out both
sides of the American attitude. One neighbor thinks, “Something

106
there is that doesn’t love a wall,” while the other says, “Good fences
make good neighbors.”
Most Americans would be shocked if they thought that a
neighbor could die, and his death go undetected for months by the
other neighbors.
Such things happen, they would probably say, only in the big,
cold cities “like New York.” But certainly “not here,” that is, in the
suburbs and smaller cities where most Americans live. There is a
delicate balance between two views. One is to be friendly to your
neighbor. The other is to keep your nose out of his or her business.
The line drawn is fine, but like the line that separates one family’s
grass from the next, it’s there, even when you can’t see it.

– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”

BACKGROUND NOTES

(log) cabin: (the U.S. history) a small house of simple


design and construction in which the
pioneers lived in the early days of the
Westward expansion

cultural signals, the symbols on which the culture is based


assumptions and and which are used to adjust to changes in
conventions: the surrounding world. These symbols are
abstract ways of referring to and
understanding ideas, objects, feelings or
behaviors. Culture as the human system of
evolutionary adaptation has evolved or
changed by means of “extensions” –
language, institutions, tools.

107
frontier: (the U.S. history) the area of the country
between settled and wild lands during the
Westward expansion in the 19th century. In
early 19th century, the territory of the original
thirteen states spread from the Atlantic to the
Mississippi River. At that time, the
Mississippi and the Ohio River valleys were
becoming a great frontier region. As the
United States acquired new territories in the
West and in the South, mostly from France,
Spain and Mexico, the frontier moved rapidly
to new territories. By mid-19th century the
Westward expansion was practically
complete.
Frost, Robert: (1874 – 1963), American poet, who drew his
images from the New England countryside
and his language from New England speech.
In being both traditional and skeptical,
Frost’s poetry helped provide a link between
the American poetry of the 19th century and
that of the 20th century. Frost won the
Pulitzer Prize in poetry four times (1924,
1931, 1937 and 1943).

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What helped shape the American tradition
Questions: of hospitality?
2. Why is speaking the language not enough
in America to understand social and
cultural patterns?
3. In what parts of America are the traditions
of neighborliness still strong?
What barriers exist between American homes
despite the traditions of neighborliness?

108
Text IV
American Sense of Humor and the Extremes
in American Life
Like the British, Americans have a love for the intricate
practical joke, the pun, and the understated quip. American college
students give ample proof of the first. Titles in newspapers and
newsweeklies, especially Time, bear witness to the second, and the
very subtle humor of The New Yorker is perhaps the best-known
example of the third. American humor has also been deeply
influenced by Jewish storytelling traditions, for example the self-
mocking “look what happened to me” story and joke. There is also a
tradition of “slapstick,” “the pie-in-the-face”, “the banana peel on
the floor”. These varieties of American humor can usually be
spotted, if not always understood, by the foreigner. A different type of
humor which is very American often is neither noted nor understood.
In popular terms, this form of humor is called “kidding around,”
or “putting someone on.” It is part of the daily life of many
Americans, and often serves as background to normal
conversations. Yet joking around verbally, exchanging banter and
verbal witticisms is not just amusing. It is often quite serious, a way
of socially testing people, or of making a point. Many Americans
find it revealing how people react to kidding at their expense. At
other times, if something is conveyed indirectly, through joking
or other “light” humor, face can be saved or arguments prevented.
Some students of American humor have traced the “put on” to the
frontier as well. The so-called tall tale told with a sincere, straight
face to the naive traveler from the East (or Europe) was and still is a
favorite form of amusement. The point of such tales is that the
tenderfoot is never quite sure if he is being put on or not, but
everyone else knows that he is. The intentionally exaggerated lie is a
more apparent and cruder version of such humor. When a used-
car salesman today, for example, says that a car “was driven only
on Sunday afternoons by a shy ballet dancer,” Americans know,

109
of course, that he’s joking and probably making another point
(perhaps, “I’m in the business of selling used cars, what do you
want me to tell you, that they’re all in perfect condition?”).
A lot of American joking must, therefore, be constantly
interpreted and reinterpreted. “That sure is a nice tie you’re
wearing,” said to а со-worker, does not mean that the speaker thinks
it is or is not. Rather, one would only joke like this with friends.
The intentional understatement takes a similar approach. “I play a
little tennis now and then,” or “I pick up a book whenever I get a
chance,” have different meanings when the first speaker is a very
good player and the second a professor of literature. In general,
Americans like to appear to be less than they are, to disguise their
abilities and achievements, or to joke about them, and then see how
others react. The rules of this game are difficult to learn, especially
for people who aren’t even aware that it’s being played.
Needless to say, this can sometimes cause misunderstandings. For
example, the American songwriter Randy Newman once found
himself explaining to European viewers that his song “Short
People” was not making fun of people who were short. Nor was
the song “Rednecks” racist, and the words in “Political Science”
were not really a call for Americans to drop atomic bombs on
European cities. Many listeners, especially those outside the U.S.,
had obviously not realized the black humor and satiric intent of
these songs.
The media in the U.S. and abroad concentrate, quite
understandably, on the extremes in America and American life. Items
about crime and corruption, the weird and the way-out make more
interesting stories than do the concerns of everyday life.
Consequently, much of the information foreign observers get and
many of the attitudes and views they form are based on the
sensational and extraordinary in American society rather than on
the everyday and ordinary.
Taking a look, for example, at such a simple statistic as the
number of pets in the U.S. – not in itself of any fundamental

110
significance – does nevertheless give us an insight into what
everyday interests many Americans have. It may come as a surprise
to many that Americans have more dogs and cats per capita than, for
example, the French or the British. Similarly, the fact that some 33
million American households had their own vegetable gardens in
1985 does not seem to fit the image of an urban population. Yet, a
large number of Americans spend their free time digging and
planting, weeding, or worrying about the moles undermining the
lawn. In a “nation of farmers” now moved to the cities and suburbs,
it is logical that most Americans would have taken their love for
gardens, animals, and the outdoors with them.
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”

BACKGROUND NOTES

making a point: stating something important or drawing


attention to something important

Newman, Randy: (born 1944), American pop singer, song


writer and pianist whose satirical songs have
earned him a loyal following. His albums
include Good Old Boys (1974) and Land of
Dreams (1988). One of his biggest hits was
the single Short People from the album Little
Criminals (1977).

practical joke: a playful trick, often involving some physical


action, in which the victim is placed in an
embarrassing or disadvantageous position

putting teasing or deceiving someone. (E.g.: Stop


(someone) on: putting me on.)

111
redneck: an uneducated white farm laborer, especially
from the South
slapstick comedy: a broad (indelicate or indecent) comedy
characterized by violently boisterous (rough
and noisy) action. The comedy got its name
from the meaning of slapstick as a stick used
by comic performers or characters for
striking each other. The slapsticks are made
to produce much noise and cause little injury.
tall tale: an exaggerated or improbable story
tenderfoot: a raw, inexperienced person, a novice. In
American usage the word tenderfoot came to
be used to refer to a newcomer to the
ranching and mining regions of the western
U.S., unused to hardships
understated quip: a witty remark which is based on
representing something less strikingly or
strongly than it is in reality. Understatements
and understated quips are a characteristic
feature of English and American humor,
which may be traced back to the famous
character, Little John, from the ballads of
Robin Hood.

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. Which part of the American population is
Questions: particularly fond of making intricate
practical jokes?
2. In which way has American humor been
influenced by Jewish story telling?
3. What are the main features of the slapstick
comedy?

112
4. Under what circumstances is the form of
humor called “kidding around” or “putting
on” used?
5. Whom are the tall tales targeted at?
6. What national feature is revealed in the
intentional understatement in America?
7. Why has American pop singer Randy
Newman been frequently misunderstood
both in the United States and abroad?
Group Organize an English language club party
Activities: dedicated to American Humor. Depending on
the interests of the students as well as their
talents, the event may limit itself to some
forms of humor, like joke, anecdotes, satire
and parody, tall tales in folklore, burlesque,
limericks, or it may be more varied and
combine many humor forms. At the
preliminary stage, the students, working in
smaller groups as a home assignment, browse
through different sources, including
multimedia and the Internet in search of
different forms of American humor. The
American Humor party must take a form of a
concert or a performance, where songs, jokes,
fragments from radio, TV or musical shows,
etc. are presented. To ensure the success of
the party, the students must make a thorough
study of the linguistical material and idioms
chosen for the presentation.
Individual Write an essay of 300 words about one of the
Work: forms of American humor, or about the works
of one of the American writers, actors, singers
or artists known for their great sense of
humor.

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C. Family and Social Life in America
Discussion Note down the following points:
Questions: 1. What do you know about the way
Americans arrange their activities in their
homes?
2. How do the children help with the family
chores?
3. What are the most popular forms of social
life?
Reading You are going to read three texts about the
Exercises: ways Americans organize their family, social
and religious lives. As you read, pay attention
to the differences and similarities between the
American ways of life and ways of life in the
other countries of the world, including
Russia.

Text V
House and Home
The lives of most Americans revolve around their homes and
houses. The percentage of Americans owning the houses (and
apartments) they live in is the highest among western nations.
Most Americans still live in “single-family dwellings,” that is,
houses which usually have a front and backyard. Contrary to a
common belief, only about 5 percent of all Americans live in
mobile homes. For all practical purposes, most of these homes are
not actually mobile but function as prefabricated housing units in
stationary settings.
Most of America has a more or less four-season climate, and
the rhythms of life around the house tend to follow the seasons.
Spring means that the storm windows must be taken down in those
areas where it gets cold in winter. The screen windows, so

114
intended to keep out insects, need to be cleaned or painted and
installed. After the winter, the garden needs a lot of work. In
summer, the lawn must be mown every week or so. It's a good time
to scrape and paint whatever is wood on the house. The car gets
washed every week or so, usually in the driveway. As soon as
autumn leaves begin to fall, they must be raked, and the storm
windows need to be gotten ready and put up again. In winter, the
walks and driveways must be kept clear of ice and snow. What you
wanted to do – put in a new patio, or build on a new room, or
finish the attic or basement – will have to wait until next summer.
It’s cold and the furnace just broke down. There is always
something that needs to be done around the house, and most
American homeowners do it themselves.
Shopping, that is, the big food shopping, is usually done once a
week at the local supermarket. One advantage of a service-oriented
economy (and one that foreigners frequently comment on) is that
many businesses, with employees working in shifts, stay open late
to provide services and possibilities for shopping. Most Americans,
like most people everywhere, are always trying to keep their
budgets under control, and always going over. The food will often
be paid for by check. It’s convenient and, moreover, as all checks
are returned by the bank, you have a record of everything spent.
Most stores will pack your groceries for you, and many still take
them out to your car. The big brown bags traditionally provided
can be reused later for a lot of things, from masks for the children
to garbage bags and wrapping paper for packages. By the way,
plastic bags are making their entry, but being resisted by many
shoppers. The young men and women who pack the groceries are
almost always neighborhood teenagers who work part-time.
In many American families children are expected to help
around the house. They are assigned “chores” which might
include, for instance, vacuuming the rugs, washing and waxing
floors, cleaning windows, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow,
keeping the car(s) clean, looking after the pets, and so on. Some
families give a small amount of money, an allowance, in exchange

115
for these and similar chores. Other families simply expect such
work to be shared by everyone in the family (“Do you pay me to
wash your clothes?”).
At the same time, many American middle-class families expect
their children to find part-time jobs, especially as they enter their
teens. This might be working at the local supermarket or service
station, mowing lawns, delivering newspapers, or babysitting. In
fact, about 75 percent of high school seniors work during the
average school week. Most of these teenagers aren’t working
because their families can’t afford to buy things for them. Rather,
the idea seems to be that the work experience is (as parents are so
fond of telling their children) “good for you.” One effect on
American society is that middle-class children can do menial work
without losing face. Sometimes, in fact, it’s a way of gaining
status. This has a subtle effect on customer-employee relations; the
kid who just packed your groceries or filled your gas tank could
well be your neighbor’s son or daughter. In general, Americans
feel that young people should appreciate the value of work and
learn how to stand on their own two feet.
Most Americans expect their children to leave home at an
earlier age than do parents in many other western countries.
Beyond a certain age, they are often expected to contribute to, or
pay for things that go beyond food, clothing, and shelter.
The image that American teenagers “get whatever they want”
from their parents comes from a time when the standard of living
was much higher in the U.S. than it was elsewhere. Many high
school students have their own cars. But most of them were paid
for by the students themselves (along with the necessary
automobile insurance which, by the way, is particularly expensive
for teenagers). The common meal of the day is usually eaten in the
evening. This varies in time according to family traditions and
depending upon each family member's schedule. It’s usually the
only time of the day when everyone is home. If both parents work,
all are off to school or work in the morning (or still sleeping from a
night-shift job). Most Americans drive to work, and most children

116
walk to school or take public transportation. Those yellow school
buses serve primarily rural areas and schools with children from
widely scattered areas.
Most Americans today work no more than eight hours a day,
five days a week at their jobs. In 1986, 31 percent of all employed
Americans put in a work week of less than 40 hours. About 44
percent of all companies offered “flextime,” that is, variable
working schedules, or “job-sharing.” In the same year, about 70
percent of all American women between the ages of 20 and 44
were working. The wide availability of child-care centers and the
fact that children attend school until three or four in the afternoon
and eat lunch there have helped many women with children to take
jobs outside the home.
In the average American home, there is an enormous amount of
activity, of coming and going, seemingly all happening at once.
For the parents, there are perhaps courses at the local evening
school or college. There are bridge and bowling clubs and golf
leagues. There are public service organizations, lodges, temples,
and clubs which sponsor a host of activities, many of them related
to charitable work. There are РТА (Parent Teacher Association)
meetings. The church or synagogue is having a bake sale, a car
wash, or a “potluck” dinner (everyone contributes a dish, of
course). The senior class is having a “slave auction” (they rent
their services for house and yard work to the highest bidder) to
raise money for the class trip. There’s a softball game Thursday
afternoon between the team sponsored by the local police
department and the team that has “Blue Moon Bar and Grill” on its
jackets and jerseys.
Many American children take (or are made to take) piano or
other music lessons, dancing or ballet lessons, horseback riding,
swimming, skiing, golf, tennis, and just about anything else that
parents think will be good for their children. The social life is often
hectic as well. One child is off to a party, another to the library,
another to see a film. Neighbors drop by, and the telephone keeps
ringing. Messages (often put on the refrigerator door) remind one
family member to do this or that, to pick up Marilyn on Monday

117
for her violin lesson (her father has to umpire at the Little League
baseball game), or to bake that cake for the church dinner.
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”
BACKGROUND NOTES
attic: a room built right under the roof of the house
basement: a story of a building, partly or wholly
underground
bridge and clubs for playing the card game of bridge or
bowling clubs: the game of bowling. Bowling, the game in
which a heavy ball is rolled down a wooden
alley at wooden pins, first appeared in
Germany in the Middle Ages, and in the 20th
century it became a popular sport all over the
world.
middle-class: a class of people intermediate between those
of higher and lower economic or social
standing, generally characterized by average
income and education, conventional values,
and conservative attitudes
PTA (Parent a national child and youth advocacy
Teacher volunteer group. At present, Parent Teacher
Association): Association is the largest organization of its
type with more than 7 million members. It
was set up in 1897 in Washington, D.C. with
the aim of supporting and speaking on behalf
of children and youths in schools and on the
community and before governmental
agencies. PTA also aims at assisting parents
in developing the skills they need to raise and
protect their children, and at encouraging
parental and public evolvement in public
schools.

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patio [´pa:ti:ou]: a courtyard of a house enclosed by low
buildings or walls. In the United States the
word patio is often used for an open area in
front of the house, used for outdoor lounging,
dining, etc.
potluck dinner: a meal, especially for a large group of
people, to which participants bring food to be
shared. The word potluck means “a meal that
happens to be available without special
preparation or purchase.”
prefabricated standardized housing parts or sections ready
housing units: for quick assembly and erection as buildings
softball: a form of baseball played on a smaller
diamond (baseball field) with a larger and
softer ball
stationary fixed, unchangeable surroundings
settings:
storm window a supplementary window sash (framework)
(storm sash): for protecting a window against bad weather
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What kind of housing is particularly
Questions: popular in the United States?
2. How do the rhythms of life around the
house tend to follow the seasons?
3. In which way do Americans do their
shopping?
4. What chores are American children
assigned in their families?
5. Why do American teenagers often find
themselves part-time jobs?
6. When is the common meal of the day
usually eaten in American homes?
7. Describe the most common every-day
activities going on in the average
American home.

119
Text VI
Social Life in America
Many adults and teenagers are involved in volunteer work.
According to a recent Gallup poll, about 84 million Americans,
that is, almost one out of every three Americans, donated some
part of their time as volunteers. More than half of them did over
100 hours of volunteer work during the year. Some of this work
is done through so-called service organizations and clubs such as
the Lions and Rotary clubs, or the Shriners, all of whom raise
money for charitable purposes. Some of the volunteer work is on
a personal basis. Teenagers, for example, often volunteer to work
in hospitals – so-called “candy-stripers,” from their striped
uniforms. Many law firms give their employees free time so that
they can give legal aid to worthy public causes.
In addition, there are so many other activities and clubs,
groups, volunteer organizations, courses, and hobbies, that most
Americans are involved in several at the same time. And, of
course, there’s always work and school, and the things that need
to be done around the house (like that blasted furnace).
Americans also talk about stress. Life is hectic, the pressure is on
at work and school. The competition is intense. And working
hard, Americans often have schedules that leave little room to
just sit and do nothing. They are usually on the go most of the
week, and have full weekends as well. Americans also take
shorter and fewer holidays and vacations than most people in
other industrialized societies (a notable exception being Japan).
They are under pressure to do well on their examinations and get
into a good university, to get a better and better paying job, to
improve themselves, to get fitter or slimmer, or even to relax.
Still, this emphasis on the stress of American daily life is
frequently overdone, often by Americans who sometimes delight
in telling others how busy they are.

120
In fact, in the past decade there has been a sharp decline in
stress-related health problems such as heart attacks. A better diet
and a radical change in exercise habits has meant that the number
of heart attacks among American businessmen is going down,
although they are still on the increase in other western nations.
Also, the rules for competition in the U.S. are well understood.
There are enough vivid descriptions of the “rat race” so that those
who don’t want to take part can step back and watch the others
run. Once more, one extreme in American life is matched by
another. In this case, it is the “laid back” lifestyles of the 1960s
that came of age in the 1970s and 1980s.
For every American who stays up late, trying to keep up with
the competition, there’s another who, earning as much as he
wants to, shuts the office door and takes a walk. Or he takes a
gentle jog, or fixes a drink and finds a novel, or gets a beer and
watches a baseball game on TV. True, the American belief that
just about anyone can make it with hard work and persistence
puts great pressure on those who can't, or can't take the pace.
With more opportunities for success, there are also more
opportunities for failure. But most Americans understand this –
Death of a Salesman is a well-known play, after all. And often
there are second or third chances. The availability of education
programs as well as the tradition of social, occupational, and
geographic mobility can sometimes mean that a stop in one place
can be a start in another. As Americans say about sports, “you
can’t win them all,” but then, you don’t need to.
Americans have always been concerned with making the
chores of everyday life less tiresome and distasteful. Inventors,
businessmen, designers, neighborhood initiatives and interest
groups, public officials and private citizens – all seem to be trying
to make things better, more efficient, more readily available,
more convenient. From mail-order shopping to drive-in banking,
from durable-press materials for clothes to computerized services
and take-out food Americans have shown their preference for a

121
comfortable and convenient lifestyle. In many communities the
mail carrier conveniently picks your mail, saving you a trip to the
nearest mailbox. And why carry all that cash around if a plastic
card will do equally well? In dress, too, Americans tend to favor
comfort and convenience over convention and “propriety.”
One feature of American life that some European observers
have often commented on, is the frequent display of flags and
other national symbols in the U.S. The pride of Americans in
their country is perhaps not much different from that in other
countries, but it seems more apparent.
The “Star-Spangled Banner” and the flags of the states are
found in many places and displayed on many occasions,
including, it should be noted, demonstrations against the
government. Advertisements, too, sometimes cater to a shared
sense of national pride. To Americans, patriotism is largely a
natural response to the nation’s history and its ideals. America
does not celebrate her Independence Day with massed parades of
tanks and troops. Throughout its history, the U.S. has only had a
democratic form of government, in good times and bad. As a
result most Americans do not associate a public display of
patriotism with totalitarian systems.
The general picture given above is, of course, a
generalization. A homeowner in Arizona might not have any
grass, but rather a gravel “lawn” and a rock garden (for one
doesn’t waste precious water). Other people don’t have to change
their storm windows, because their climate is mild, or because the
entire house is air-conditioned. When it gets to be 90 degrees
(Fahrenheit) and 90 percent humidity week after week, you
wouldn’t want to live there without it. Some children come home
to empty houses or apartments. Others learn their lessons at high
cost in the streets. The pleasures and worries of a construction
worker in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, or a wheat farmer in Kansas
are often different from those of a lawyer in Connecticut, a

122
divorced mother of three in Chicago, or a medical doctor in
Southern California.
Some Americans detest all clubs and organized activities and
wouldn’t think of attending a PTA meeting. Some couldn’t care
less about their neighbors or the neighborhood. Some Americans
may not go in for kidding and subtle humor. Some haven’t been
to a church since they were married, and won’t again until they
die. Some wouldn’t marry in the first place, as this can lead to
children. Some teenagers can’t find any jobs, part-time or full-
time, and some children from wealthier families wouldn’t try.
Some Americans seem content to spend their days at everyday
jobs and their weekends fishing. Others feel trapped and bitter
because the chance they needed never came, or took one look and
went the other way. Most Americans look forward to the
Christmas season, or getting together with the family at
Thanksgiving, or even remember Halloween as children and the
excitement of “trick or treating.” Others dread holidays as the
loneliest times of the year. And many Americans do not care
much for public displays of patriotism: flag-waving and parades
leave them cold.
Overall, though, the generalization holds as true as most can
for the variety of America and Americans. It’s a more or less
middle-class life, in American terms, with everyday concerns.
The extremes frequently seen in films and on television have little
in common with the lives of the vast majority of people, or what
average Americans are and dream. They look forward to the
summer vacation, but in the meantime, the dog is sick and the
furnace needs to be fixed.

– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”

123
BACKGROUND NOTES
Death of a a play by the American playwright, Arthur
Salesman: Miller, the winner of the prestigious Pulitzer
prize. The play was staged in 1949, and
represents a family drama written in the
traditions of the Norwegian dramatist Henrik
Ibsen.
drive-in banking: banking services offered to clients in their
automobiles. Drive-in restaurants and
motion-picture theaters appeared in America
in late twenties of the 20th century, followed
later by other drive-in services, including
even drive-in churches.
Gallup poll: a representative sampling of public opinion
or public awareness concerning a certain
subject or issue. Gallup polls were first
introduced by American statistician George
Horace Gallup in 1935, when he founded the
American Institute for Public Opinion.
Lions Club: a local club belonging to the worldwide
organization of business and professional
people founded in 1917 and devoted to
serving the community and promoting peace
Rotary Club: a local club of business and professional
people belonging to a worldwide
organization of similar clubs (Rotary
International) devoted to serving the
community and promoting world peace
service organizations of businesspersons or
organizations and professionals, dedicated to the general
clubs: welfare of its members and the community

124
Shriners: members of a fraternal order, the Ancient
Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine,
that is an auxiliary of the Masonic order
“Star-Spangled the national flag of the United States, also
Banner”: called the Stars and Stripes. The expression
the Star-Spangled Banner is the national
anthem of the U.S., based on a poem written
by Francis Scott Key on September 14, 1814.
It was officially adopted by the U.S.
Congress as the national anthem in 1931.
take-out food: the meals intended to be taken from the point
of sale and consumed elsewhere. In America
alongside with take-out it may also be said
carry-out meals.

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What are the ways of getting involved in
Questions: volunteer work in the United States?
2. Why has there been a decline in stress-
related health problems in America in the
past decade?
3. In which way have Americans shown their
preference for a comfortable and
convenient lifestyle?
4. What are the roots of American
patriotism?
5. Why is it difficult to make generalizations
about the American ways of life?

125
Text VII
Religious Life in America
Looking at religion in the U.S., we are once more faced with a
typically American contradiction. From its very beginnings as a
nation, Americans have been extremely careful to separate church
and state, religion and government. The Constitution, specifically
the First Amendment, forbids the government to give special
favors to any religion or to hinder the free practice of any
religion. As a result, there are no church taxes in the United
States, nor is there an official state church or a state-supported
religion. There are no legal or official religious holidays.
Christmas, for example, is an important religious holiday for
Christians. However, Congress cannot proclaim it, or any other
religious observance, to be an official or legal holiday. To do so
would violate the Constitution. There are no political parties in
the United States that have “Christian” in their names. There is no
longer even the assumption that America is, or should be, “a
white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant” (WASP) nation. Yet surveys
show that religion continues to be quite important to many
Americans, especially when compared with people in other
countries. While 58 percent of Americans feel that religion is
“very important” in their own lives, it is hard to say to what
extent religious beliefs affect their daily lives. However, a study
done by Gallup International in 1986 seems to show that attention
to religion, at least, is increasing in the United States. Some
48 percent of those surveyed felt that the influence of religion on
American life was greater than it was five years before (but, of
course, 52 percent did not think it was greater).
Also, about half said they were more interested in “spiritual
and religious matters” than they were five years earlier.
Throughout American history, there have been periods of
religious revivals which come and go. If there is in fact a “return
to religion” at present, then it is associated with the more

126
“fundamentalist” denominations. These church groups are usually
more conservative and orthodox in their religious beliefs and
practices. Membership in the less conservative, so-called
“mainline” Protestant churches in the U.S. has actually fallen in
the last ten years by about 8 percent. Furthermore, church
attendance by (Roman) Catholics has dropped by about a third
during the same period. By contrast, membership in the
fundamentalist Christian churches has gone up by 35 percent, and
orthodox Jewish congregations have increased by as much as
100 percent. The increase in the fundamentalist Christian groups
has attracted much public attention. One reason is that many of
these church groups actively publicize their beliefs and try to
influence public life and political processes. Many have their own
radio or television stations which they and their members finance.
Yet overall the fundamentalist churches still represent a minority,
even if a very active one, of all American church groups and
members.
Since Americans are free to form and follow any religious
belief or religion they wish, there are a great many beliefs,
denominations, and churches in the United States. The Roman
Catholic church is by far the single largest, with about 52 million
members. Although there are approximately 78 million
Americans who might call themselves “Protestants,” they are
distributed among many different, independent churches. There is
no one church or church group that speaks for all Protestants or
would be listened to by all. Each group, rather, supports itself. It
employs its own ministers, builds its own buildings, and follows
its own beliefs. In the 20th century, with the changes in
immigration patterns, the other major religions of the world,
notably Judaism and Islam, increased their following in the
United States, and continue to grow. Thus, as America entered
the new millenium, the number of Muslims there reached
7 million.

127
Although religion plays an important role in the personal lives
of many Americans, it has relatively little real influence in
political matters. This is especially true at the national level.
Some Americans, for example, were afraid that conservative,
religious supporters of President Reagan would be able to affect
national policies in the 1980s. As the subsequent event showed
those fears proved to be largely exaggerated. The size of
America, the tradition of religious toleration, and the separation
of church and state by law, as well as the extreme variety of
religious backgrounds of Americans have prevented religion from
gaining much influence on politics. Especially in comparison
with many other western countries, the influence of religion on
public and political institutions in the United States is minimal.

– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”

BACKGROUND NOTES

(Roman) Catholic the largest single Christian body, composed


Church: of those Christians who acknowledge the
supreme authority of the Bishop of Rome,
the Pope, in matters of faith. According to
tradition, the Roman Catholic Church was
founded by Apostle Peter.

Christianity: the Christian religion, including the Catholic,


Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox churches.
The central theme of all Christian teachings
is the advent of Christ, who is recognized as
the Messiah (God’s messenger) prophesied in
the Old Testament

128
fundamentalism: a movement in American Protestantism that
arose in early part of the 20th century in
reaction to Modernism and that stresses the
infallibility of the Bible not only in matters
of faith, but also as a literal historical record.

Islam: the religion of the Muslims based on the


Koran, that teaches that there is only one
God, Allah, and that Muhammad is His
prophet. Islam was founded by prophet
Muhammad in Arabia in the 7th century and
gradually spread around the world as a result
of Arab conquests.

Judaism: the monotheistic religion of the Jews, based


on the precepts of the Old Testament and the
teaching and commentaries of the rabbies as
found chiefly in Talmud.

(Eastern) the Christian Church that emerged as a result


Orthodox of the split of the Roman Empire in 395 AD
Church: into the Western and Eastern Roman
Empires. The final schism (division) of the
Christian Church into the Catholic and
Orthodox Churches took place in 1054. At
present, unlike the Catholic Church, which
acknowledges as its head the Roman Pope,
the Orthodox Church is represented by a
number of autocephalous (independent)
national churches with their own heads
(patriarchs).

Protestant the Christian Church which emerged as a


Church: result of the movement of Reformation in the

129
16th century. The Protestant Church consists
of a number of independent religious
movements, the most well-known of which
are the Lutheran, the Calvinist, the Baptist,
and the Adventist Churches. The Protestant
Church rejects the supremacy of the Roman
Pope as well as the traditional church
hierarchy. The religious services do not
include the use of icons, saints, or any
religious writings, except the Holy Bible.

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What is the most important contradiction
Questions: in the American attitude to religion and
religious practices?
2. What changes have been taking place in
religious movements in America
throughout American history?
3. Which of the religious groups has
attracted much public attention and why?
4. What are the reasons for preventing
religion in America from gaining much
influence in politics?
Group The ways Americans arrange their family,
Activities: social and spiritual lives change with time. In
groups of two to three students, browse
through the available resources, including
multimedia and the Internet, to highlight all
the most important changes in American lives,
the causes of such changes and their possible
consequences. This part of activity could be
first planned in classroom and carried out at
home as a home assignment. The next stages

130
of the group activities should include a
preliminary discussion of the results of above
research in smaller groups with subsequent
presentation of the main conclusions on the
level of the whole group.
Individual Write an essay of 300 words about the role of
Work: religion in the personal and political lives of
ordinary Americans.

D. The American Dream and The American


Way of Life
Discussion Note down the following points:
Questions: 1. What is the meaning of the expression the
American Dream?
2. How is the American Dream connected
with the so-called American Way of Life?
Reading You are going to read two texts based on
Exercises: American mass media, in which different
aspects of Americanism and American Way
of Life are presented. As you read, pay
attention to differences and similarities in the
views of different authors.

Text VIII
The Americaness of the American Musical
The American Dream is the dominant theme of the American
musical theatre. It is the essential binding ethos that makes an
“American Musical” distinctly “American” even when it is
written by a Frenchman and an Hungarian. But in “The American
Dream” we have the by-products of the ethos rather than its
substance. To fully understand how and why the philosophy came

131
about we have to go back to America’s earliest dreamers, namely,
the first settlers, Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers.
The first settlers or the Old Comers, who were only later
known as the “Pilgrim Fathers”, came over on The Mayflower in
1620. These hundred or so colonists brought with them from
Europe an essentially Calvinist tradition. At the heart of Calvinist
belief is that to labor industriously is one of God’s commands.
Thrift, efficiency and hard work to these first settlers were simply
signs of an individual’s eternal salvation. To them, and their
many descendants, to be prosperous was a mark of God’s favor.
This belief in industrious endeavor is more commonly called the
Protestant work ethic. It became, and still is, a guiding principle
of the American Dream. We have then the first essential
ingredient of America’s great dream ethos. In a word it is
success.
Over a hundred and fifty years after the first settlers arrived at
Plymouth Rock, another early dreamer, Thomas Jefferson, wrote
“all men are created equal and independent, [and] ... from that
equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among
which are the preservation of life, and liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness”. The phrase “the pursuit of happiness” from The
Declaration of Independence, signed 4 July 1776, has become
part of the American way of life.
Jump fifteen years from 1776 to 1791 and we have the First
Congress of the United States where the first ten amendments to
the Constitution (drafted by the founding fathers) were ratified
and became adopted as a single unit known as The Bill of Rights.
The Bill of Rights stresses the rights of the individual such as free
speech, the right of assembly and the forbidding of unreasonable
searches. The famous 'Fifth' provides that no person shall be
compelled to testify against himself. These points develop the
right of all men to be “independent” in The Declaration of
Independence. What we have then is an emphasis on the
individual, the third main ingredient of the American Dream

132
ethos. It is the stress on the individual rather than the collective
that essentially distinguishes a Liberal philosophy from a
Socialist philosophy. It is also “I” and not “we” that differentiates
the Protestant Creed from the Catholic Creed. Success, happiness
and the emphasis on the individual are the most distinct hallmarks
of the American stage musical genre, which reflects the ethos of
the American Way of Life where an individual is expected to live
his or her life to the full.
The citizen of America though is not just expected to simply
sit back and be an individual. No, they must be proactive. It was
JFK who famously said, “Ask not what your country can do for
you – ask what you can do for your country.” At the EPCOT
center young American minds are told, “If you can dream it, you
can be it.” You may succeed or you may fail in what you do but
only if you go for the dream will American musical theatre
consider you a suitable subject for a musical.
In many American musicals, however, the heroes go for the
dream but try as hard as they might for success, happiness is
denied them. The sad fact of life is that these two goals are not
always mutually compatible for our individuals. In essence, the
dramatic conflict of the “American Musical” is the contradiction
at the heart of the American Dream: personal happiness and
career success rarely walk hand in hand. The dramatic dilemma
of many shows becomes simply which of these two seemingly
incompatible goals should the individual choose?
The resolution of the American Dream dilemma has two basic
categories. First, the need-for-success-always-loses-out-to-
personal-happiness category. Here the pursuit of ambition has its
price and the price ranges from madness, death, despair, self-
hatred, emptiness, self-delusion, bitterness, and loss and this can
be seen in such shows as Follies, Sunset Boulevard, Funny Girl, I
Can Get it For You Wholesale, Barnum, Pal Joey, Merrily We
Roll Along, and Mack and Mabel. Second, the eventual-triumph-
of-personal-values-and-happiness-over-the-push-for-success.

133
Here drive and aspiration gives way to love or self-sacrifice. Such
shows include Allegro, Oklahoma!, Guys and Dolls, The Music
Man, The Rink, Applause, Annie Get Your Gun, Damn Yankees
and Hello, Dolly! where being a rich doctor, a cowboy, a
gambler, a fraudulent salesman, an owner of a skating rink, an
actress, a top shooter, a baseball hero, a millionaire with a cash
register all give way to love. In both categories here are included
only these shows with a specific American setting. However, the
American dream ethos is not limited by geographical boundaries.
Open up the categories to foreign settings and to the first category
can be added Sunday In The Park With George, Evita and Stop
The World, I Want To Get Off and to the second Victor/Victoria,
Nine and Silk Stockings. Some more allegorical musicals are
more difficult to place. And quite right too. Musicals are like
butterflies; their joy is found in their freedom to roam free rather
than being pinned down in a box and labeled. However, my point
is that the dilemma that is often at the center of the “American
musical” is crucially tied up with the twin aspirations of the
American Dream: the need for the individual to achieve both
success and personal happiness. Even if the resolution is not clear
cut – one could argue that Allegro could fit in either category –
the dilemma still remains the same. The thread is there.
Allegro is a bittersweet tale taking us through the ups and
downs of one man’s life story. There are other musicals such as
Show Boat, Love Life and A Chorus Line that follow a similar
pattern. Show Boat traces the pursuit of happiness and of riches of
Magnolia and Gaylord from the 1880’s to the 1920’s. Love Life,
which does something similar to Show Boat except its time span
is from 1791 to 1948, is the story of one couple’s trials and
tribulations. A Chorus Line, although set in one day, actually in
song order follows the life of a dancer from the early dreams at
the ballet to leaving the theatre and kissing today goodbye. What
also links each show, apart from this trek across a whole life
story, is some sort of never-ending image: in Show Boat it is the
river that keeps on rolling along; Love Life is not only the story of

134
a couple that never ages but also a show that has the form of a
vaudeville show, and we all know that the show must go on, and,
finally, A Chorus Line's final image is not really final at all
because like the river, like the timeless couple, it too never stops.
In some ways it is as if the quest of the first settlers only
really began after they landed in the New World. Perhaps all
Americans are on this never ending journey. Most classic story
structures involve a journey where along the way an original goal
is displaced by an alternative goal, usually incompatible to the
original goal, leading eventually to some sort of choice. What
makes the American Dream musicals so distinct is that the two
seemingly incompatible goals of success and happiness have been
part of the American psyche from the very moment the American
journey began over two hundred years ago.
– by Steve Nallon
BACKGROUND NOTES
American Dream: 1. the ideas of freedom, equality and
opportunity traditionally held to be
available to every American;
2. a life of personal success and material
comfort as sought by individuals in the
United States
American a theatrical production in which songs and
Musical: choruses, instrumental accompaniments and
interludes, and often dance are integrated into
a dramatic plot. The genre was developed
and refined in the United States, particularly
in the theaters along Broadway in New York
City, during the first half of the 20th century.
The musical was influences by a variety of
19th century theatrical forms, including
operetta, comic opera, pantomime, minstrel
show, vaudeville, and burlesque. The first
musicals were written by composer Jerome

135
Kern in the twenties, but the quintessential
American musical Oklahoma! which is still
shown on Broadway was first staged in 1943.
The scores (music) and lyrics for the show
were written by composer Richard Rodgers
and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II. The most
successful American Musicals in recent
history also include A Chorus Line (1985),
Miss Saigon (1991), The Kiss of the Spider
Woman (1992) and others.
American Way of a mode of life based on the traditional
Life: American values as expressed in the
Declaration of Independence, the
Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The most
important principles of the American Way of
Life are democracy, pursuit of happiness,
personal success, individual rights, and
patriotism. The propaganda of the idea of the
American Way of Life began at the peak of
the Cold War as an attempt to oppose the
spread of the Socialist and Communist ideas.
Calvinist the tradition based on the teaching of John
tradition: Calvin, French theologian and reformer in
Switzerland. Calvin’s ideas emphasized
predestination, the sovereignty of God, the
supreme authority of the Scriptures and the
irresistibility of grace.
EPCOT center, a unique international exposition with
Orlando, Florida: informational exhibits on a broad range of
historical, scientific, and cultural topics. The
EPCOT center is a part of the Walt Disney
World in Orlando, Florida.
Founding the framers of the American Constitution
Fathers:

136
JFK: John F. Kennedy, (1917 – 1963), 35th
president of the United States. Famous
people in the English language countries are
often referred to by using the initials of their
names, like FDR (Franklin D. Roosevelt),
GBS (George Bernard Shaw).
Pilgrim Fathers: the group of Puritans who founded the
colony of Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620
psyche [‘saiki:]: the mental or psychological structure of a
person, especially as a motive force. The
word psyche is also used when speaking
about the human soul, spirit, or mind.
suite [swi:t] in a set of rooms in Hotel Bel-air. Bel-air hotels
Bel-air: are known for their colonial style and
elegance.
top shooter: a shooter of high class in some sports where
a high precision is required at shooting the
ball or the puck through the goal (like
basketball, ice hockey, football, etc.)
vaudeville show: a light theatrical piece interspersed with
songs and dances. In the United States, the
vaudeville shows as a popular form of
entertainment were staged in the period
between late 19th century and the twenties of
the next century.

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What is the essence of the Calvinist
Questions: tradition that was brought to America by
the Pilgrim Fathers?
2. In which way did Thomas Jefferson, the
author of the Declaration of Independence,
contribute to the American Dream?

137
3. What is the third ingredient of the
American Dream based on the Bill of
Rights?
4. Why cannot the heroes of many American
Musicals achieve happiness as they go for
the American Dream of personal success?
5. What are the two basic categories of the
resolution of the American Dream
dilemma?
6. In which way can musicals be compared
to butterflies?
7. What makes the American Dream
musicals so distinct?

Text IX
Eleven Concepts Shaping the American Way of Life
1. Control of Environment. Americans usually conceive of
nature as something to be conquered and made over to suit
man’s needs. Activity is good, and any sign of reluctance to
get things done is interpreted as laziness or indifference. In
contrast many non-Western cultures accept the world as they
find it, supporting the view that man works with nature rather
than attempting to conquer it.
2. Progress. Change is an inevitable part of life, but societies
differ in their attitudes toward it. Non-Western people tend to
seek guidance from tradition. Americans are more inclined to
make decisions in terms of an anticipated future and to view
change and material progress as unquestionably desirable. For
the American, achievement and progress are the inevitable
results of effort and mastery of self and nature.
3. Materialism. Americans typically seek tangible results that
can be measured. Many non-Western people are more likely

138
to find satisfaction in aesthetic or spiritual values which
involve the inner experiences of man. Americans stress
material comfort and convenience: it is not unusual for them
to judge other nations by the presence or quality of their
plumbing or refrigerators. It is no accident that the American
attitude stresses control, progress and materialism, the three
interact with one another to constitute the dominant behavior
pattern of American society.
4. Personal Success. Social status is a key dimension in
understanding human motivation. The members of a
traditional society are likely to regard their role as fixed and
not to be questioned. In contrast, Americans' self- esteem is
closely tied to their personal success and “natural” desire to
get ahead; the competitiveness of American life is a by-
product.
5. Autonomy. In American culture, where individual
responsibility is stressed, it is assumed that the locus of
decisions resides within the individual. In non-Western
cultures decisions are more likely to be made by a group or
someone in authority. A difference between American culture
and many others is the degree to which individuals should by
cultural standards take action on their own initiative or seek
authorization from others.
6. Puritanism. The persevering influence of the Puritan ethic-
formality, responsibility, impersonal service to others – is in
sharp contrast to the relaxed, spontaneous, personalized
behavior of non-Western people. Non-Western people often
do not understand Americans' sharp separation of work and
play or, in another sphere, their impartial sense of duty and
service to others.
7. Moralistic Orientation. The characteristic missionary spirit of
Americans to win over other people to their way of thinking,

139
and the tendency to evaluate conduct in universal impersonal
terms, is a direct manifestation of a strong moralistic attitude.
Americans, more than most people, tend to make clear-cut
ethical distinctions that affect all equally and impersonally.
People in non-Western nations tend to have less urge to
convert others or to make impersonal moralistic judgments.
8. Humanitarianism. Interwoven with Americans’ moralistic
and egalitarian outlook is a motivation of generosity and
compassion, which is particularly noticeable in their
supportive attitude and action toward the underdog. In
developing nations this motivation is also present, but it is in
a more paternalistic, more personal, less organized form. Lack
of concern with those outside one's family or clan is an aspect
of other cultures of which Americans are inclined to be
critical and which they are often unable to accept.
9. Time Orientation. Americans are generally very time-
conscious, treating time as a material thing (“time is money”)
that should be actively mastered, or manipulated to best
advantage, out of a sense of duty and responsibility (note the
interrelationship with other American values). Non-Western
people usually measure time on a completely different scale,
regarding it as a phenomenon to be passively accepted and,
perhaps, enjoyed.
10. Scientific Orientation. The Western world has adopted
empirically based scientific reasoning as the unquestioned
way of understanding the physical world. The people of other
nations are not necessarily as ready to accept scientific
explanations as the most rational or to reorganize the need for
careful disciplined analysis. Having had less experience with
the fruits of scientific knowledge, they are more likely to be
guided in their behavior by mysticism, authority, or tradition.

140
11. Interpersonal Behavior. Cross-cultural misunderstandings
often result from a difference in the rules of interpersonal
relationships with regard to such things as etiquette, gestures,
mannerisms, and demeanor. This category reflects various
other values that are manifested primarily in direct person-to-
person interaction. Perhaps the most frequent cause of
difficulty is the contrast between the American’s openness
and friendliness on brief acquaintance, and the formality and
face-saving manner of many other peoples, especially those of
Oriental culture.

– “Where in the World am I?”,


AFS Orientation Activity
BACKGROUND NOTES
aesthetic and the values based on the sense of beauty and
spiritual values: on the activities of the human mind and
psyche
empirically based the process of forming conclusions,
reasoning: judgments or inferences based on experience
or experiment without using scientific
methods or theory
humanitarianism: the ethical doctrine that humanity’s
obligations are concerned wholly with the
welfare of the human race
mannerism: marked or excessive adherence to unusual or
particular manners, especially when affected
non-Western traditional cultures of regions which are not
cultures: part of Europe or America. The most notable
representatives of the non-Western cultures
are the cultures of the countries of Asia and
the Middle East.

141
Puritan ethic: (also called work ethic) a belief in the moral
benefit and importance of work and its
inherent ability to strengthen character.
Puritan work ethic was developed by the
English Protestants of the 16th century, who
demanded the simplification of doctrine and
worship and greater strictness in religious
practices.
traditional societies adhering to tradition as authority,
societies: especially in matters of religion

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What are the main concepts of the
Questions: American Way of Life concerning the
relations of Man and environment?
2. How are the decisions made in American
culture as opposed to non-Western cultures?
3. What is the essence of the Puritan work
ethic?
4. Why are there often cross-cultural
misunderstandings in interpersonal rela-
tionships?
Group The American Way of Life continues to be the
Activities: object of much debate and criticism both in
the United States and abroad. In groups of two
to three discuss different aspects of the
American Way of Life, particularly the
differences of American cultural behavior and
the peculiarities of American mentality. The
results of discussion in smaller groups are
presented on the level of the full group and
evaluated.
Individual Write an essay of 250 words about the roots of
Work: the American Way of Life.

142
UNIT IV
EDUCATION
A. History of Education in the U.S.A.
Discussion 1. Drawing on your earlier experience
Questions: (books, newspaper and magazine
articles, films, video, TV programs)
express your view on the role of
education in American culture. Was
education a leading factor in
transforming America into the world
superpower?

2. Note down the main problems of


educational reforms in Russia both in the
past and at present.

Reading Read the following text on the history of


Exercises: American education, noting down the
following points:
a) the general outline of the development of
American education since early colonial
times until the present stage;
b) the attitude of Americans towards
education.

143
Text I
History of American Education
Americans have shown a great concern for education since early
colonial times. Among the first settlers, in fact, there was an
unusually high proportion of educated men. In the Massachusetts
Bay colony in the early 1600s, as the British historian Rowse has
pointed out, "there was an average of one university man to every
40 or 50 families - much higher than in Old England." Some of
these men, many of them graduates of Cambridge, came together
and in 1636 founded Harvard College, 140 years before American
independence. Other early institutions of higher learning were the
College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, established
in 1693, and Yale, founded in 1701. Before the Revolution in 1776,
nine colleges had already been opened in the colonies, most of them
later becoming universities.
From the 1640s on, Massachusetts required all towns with more
than 50 families to provide a schoolmaster at public expense.
Other colonies also made provisions for free public schools. In the
course of the 17th century, for instance, free schools had been
established in a number of places such as New Haven, Hartford,
New London, and Fairfield. Many academies (schools offering a
classical education as well as more practical training) opened
throughout the next century, including the one established by
Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia in 1751.
The importance of education in American life was also reflected
in the Ordinances of 1785 and 1787 which set guidelines for
organizing the new lands to the west. They provided for one square
mile of land in each township to be reserved for public schools.
The movement for free public schools gained its greatest
momentum in the 1830s, however. By 1850, every state had
provided for a system of free public schools open to all and paid for
by public taxes.

144
By the same year, state-supported colleges and universities had
already been established in many states. These included recently
settled states such as Florida, Iowa, and Wisconsin which were
admitted to the Union in the late 1840s. In 1862, Congress passed a
law which provided states with public (federal) lands to be used for
higher education, especially for the establishment of agricultural and
mechanical-arts colleges. As a result, many “land-grant colleges”
were established. These new state-supported institutions joined the
large number of older, well-established, and well-to-do privately
funded universities. They were important in the democratization of
higher education in the United States.
By 1900, there were almost a thousand institutions of higher
education in the U.S. Among them were law and medical “schools”
and hundreds of small, four-year liberal arts colleges. One of the
latter, Oberlin College in Ohio, was the first to admit women on
an equal basis with men, in 1837. There were many other
institutions of higher learning which emphasized everything from
the training of teachers to the pulling of teeth.
Today, there are some 43 million pupils and students in public
schools at the elementary and secondary levels, and another 6 million
in private schools throughout the country. In other words, 88
percent of American children attend public schools and 12 percent
go to private schools. Four out of five of the private schools are run
by churches, synagogues, or other religious groups. Any year, about
12 million Americans are enrolled in the over 3,000 colleges and
universities of every type: private, public, church-related, small
and large, in cities, counties, and states. Close to 80 percent of the
college students attend public institutions, while a little over 20
percent are enrolled in privately supported universities and
colleges. All told, just over 50 percent of all high school graduates
enter colleges and universities. The early emphasis given to
education remains today. United Nations figures (1980) show that in
the amount spent on education per capita, the U.S. is in the ninth

145
place in the world (behind Qatar, Sweden, Norway, the
Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Switzerland, and Canada).
Most historians agree that a great deal of the economic,
political, scientific, and cultural progress America has made in its
relatively short history is due to its commitment to the ideal of equal
opportunity. This is the ideal of educating as many Americans as
possible, to the best of their abilities. From the early times on,
especially in the northern and western states, the public policy was to
produce an educated people. In these states, the large majority of
adults were literate at a time when an education was still denied to
most Europeans. There can be little doubt that American education
in its aim to provide equality of opportunity as well as excellence has
raised the overall level of education of Americans. It has
encouraged more Americans than ever before to study for advanced
degrees and to become involved in specialized research. The belief
that the future of society depends on the quantity and quality of its
educated citizens is widely held. It explains why a great many
Americans are still willing to give more money to education, even
during times of economic difficulty.
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”
BACKGROUND NOTES
advanced degrees higher academic titles granted by
(also graduate universities, including master’s and doctor’s
degrees): degrees in both arts and sciences. On
graduation after a four-year course of study,
the students are offered a Bachelor of Arts
(BA) degree in such subjects as history,
languages and philosophy, or a Bachelor of
Science (BS) degree in physics, chemistry or
other scientific subjects.
Arts: 1. also humanities – those subjects of study
at a university that are not considered to
be part of science, such as history and
language;

146
2. (Liberal Arts) – academic college courses
providing general knowledge and
comprising the humanities, natural
science, and social science.
Cambridge: one of the two oldest and most prestigious
universities in Great Britain founded in 1209.
In the United States, Cambridge,
Massachusetts is the seat of the oldest and
most prestigious American university named
after its benefactor, John Harvard. Harvard
university was founded in 1636 as a college.
equal policies and practices in education and
opportunity: employment that bar discrimination based on
race, color, age, sex, religion, mental or
physical handicap, or national origin.
land-grant a college (or university) originally granted
college land and funds from the federal government
(or university): provided that it teaches agriculture and
engineering; now mostly state supported
Massachusetts the colony founded in North America on
Bay Colony: Massachusetts Bay in 1630 by a grant from
King Charles I. The colony supported and
developed further the Puritan traditions of the
Pilgrims (the first settlers on the
Massachusetts Bay who had come there in
1620 aboard the Mayflower)/
public school: 1. a private fee-paying British and
especially English secondary school
where children usually live as well as
study;
2. in the United States and Scotland – a free
local school, controlled and paid for by
the state, for children who study there but
live at home.

147
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What influenced a great concern shown
Questions: by Americans since early colonial times?
2. What measures of the colony of
Massachusetts in the 17th century set up a
tradition of free public schools in
America?
3. In which way did the policy of the
Federal Government contribute to the
processes of democratization of higher
education in the United States in the 19th
century?
Group Discuss the following questions in groups:
Activities: 1. Does the early emphasis given to
education in the United States remain
today? Prove your point of view.
2. Most American historians agree that a
great deal of the economic, political,
scientific, and cultural progress America
has made is due to its commitment to the
ideal of equal opportunity. Do you agree
with this opinion?
3. Does the system of education in Russia
provide equal opportunity to the Russian
citizens?
Individual Compare the educational systems of the
Work: United States, Great Britain and Russia and
make up a list of the most striking similarities
and differences.
B. Control of Education in the U.S.A.
Discussion 1. Note down the most effective ways of
Questions: controlling education at all levels in
order to achieve better results.
2. What are the most important criteria for
assessing the quality of education in any
given country?

148
Reading Read the following text on the control of
Exercises: education in the U.S.A., noting down the
following points:
a) the functions of the Federal Department
of Education in the U.S.A.;
b) the variety and flexibility in elementary,
secondary, and higher education
throughout the nation;
c) the way the financial support for school
education is provided in the United
States.
Text II
Control of Education in the U.S.A.
There are two significant influences on American education
which give it its present character, its size, and its great variety at
all levels. The first influence is legal, or governmental. The
second is cultural.
The United States does not have a national system of
education. Education is considered to be a matter for the people of
each state. Although there is a federal Department of Education, its
function is merely to gather information, to advise, and to help
finance certain educational programs. Education, Americans say, is
"a national concern, a state responsibility, and a local function."
Since the Constitution does not state that education is a
responsibility of the federal government, all educational matters
are left to the individual states. As a result, each of the 50 state
legislatures is free to determine its own system for its own public
schools. Each sets whatever basic, minimal requirements for
teaching and teachers it judges to be appropriate.
In turn, however, state constitutions give the actual
administrative control of the public schools to the local
communities. There are some 16,000 school districts within the 50
states. School boards made up of individual citizens elected from
each community oversee the schools in each district. They, not the
state, set school policy and actually decide what is to be taught.

149
There is, then, a very large amount of local control. In 1986, an
average of 50 percent of the funds for elementary and secondary
education came from state sources, 43 percent from local funds,
and only about 6 percent from the federal government. Here, too,
there are great differences among the states. In New Hampshire,
more than 80 percent of the costs were paid from local funds,
while in California, on the other hand, the state paid more than 85
percent of the costs. Yet overall, the public schools are very much
community schools. They must have local public support, because
citizens vote directly on how much they want to pay for school
taxes. They must represent local wishes and educational interests,
as those who administer the schools are elected by the community.
The question whether private schools, church-supported or not,
should receive public money is still hotly debated in the U.S. Two
1985 Supreme Court decisions have prohibited public school
teachers from going into private religious schools to teach
courses with funds supplied by public sources.
There are a great many city or county-owned colleges and
universities, and many are supported by the states. In general, colleges
and universities, whether state or private, are quite free to determine
their own individual standards, admissions, and graduation
requirements. Both schools and universities have self-governing
groups, associations or boards which "accredit," that is, certify
schools and universities as meeting certain minimum standards. Yet
membership in such groups is voluntary and they have no official,
governmental status.
The major result of this unusual situation is that there is an
enormous amount of variety and flexibility in elementary,
secondary, and higher (university) education throughout the
nation. For example, although all states today require that
children attend school until a certain age, it varies from 14 to 18
years. Or, as another example, in about 60 percent of the states,
local schools are free to choose any teaching materials or
textbooks which they think are appropriate. In the remaining

150
states, only such teaching materials may be used in public schools
which have been approved by the state boards of education. Some
universities are virtually free to residents of the state, with only
token fees. Others are expensive, especially for out-of-state
students, with tuition fees in the thousands of dollars each year.
Some school systems are, like their communities, extremely
conservative, some very progressive and liberal. These and other
substantial differences must always be considered when
describing American schools.
Because local and state taxes support the public schools, there
are also significant differences in the quality of education.
Communities and states that are able or willing to pay more for
schools, buildings, materials, and teachers almost always have
better educational systems than those that cannot or do not. Thus,
for example, the average expenditure per pupil for elementary
and secondary education in the U.S. was $4,000 in 1986. But
some states (such as Alaska, New Jersey, New York, and
Wyoming) spent more than $5,000 per pupil. The average public
school teacher in the U.S. earned $25,250 in 1986. But teachers
in South Dakota made an average of only $18,100, while those in
Alaska earned just under $41,500 a year. At the same time, states
such as California, Michigan, Rhode Island, or New York paid
their teachers an average annual salary of around $30,000.
Attempts by the federal government to provide special funds to
poorer areas and school districts have helped to some degree, but
the basic differences remain. Also, some Americans are worried
that more federal help could lead to less independence and local
control of their schools.
On the other hand, local control of the schools has also meant
that there is a great deal of flexibility. There is much opportunity
to experiment and to fit programs to local wishes and needs.
Typically, local high schools will offer courses of study which
they feel best reflect their students’ needs. Students at the same
school will commonly be taking courses in different areas. Some

151
might be following pre-university programs, with an emphasis on
those academic subjects required for college work. Others might
well be taking coursework which prepares them for vocational or
technical positions. Still others might enroll in a general program
combining elements of the academic and vocational. The range of
courses available in high schools throughout the U.S. is
enormous, including everything from computers in the
elementary schools to car design and construction in the
vocational programs. Just about anything, from Portuguese to
pole-vaulting is being taught somewhere by someone.
State-supported universities and colleges also to some degree
tailor their courses of study to the needs of the states and the
students. States with strong agricultural economies will often
support major departments in related sciences. States with strong
technological interests, for example California and Massachusetts,
will often give much support to technological and scientific
research institutions.
What makes American education at the secondary level so
different from most other countries is that all such programs,
whether academic, technical, or practical, are generally taught
under one roof. The American high school is therefore best seen
as if it were a combination of all the various types of schools
which are usually separated and kept in separate buildings in
other countries. As often as possible, too, handicapped children
attend the same schools that anyone else does. Although most
high school students in America are following different “tracks,”
or courses of study, Americans feel that they should be kept
together as long as possible. They feel that students pursuing
different educational goals should learn together and thereby
learn to get along together. A common error in comparing
American secondary education with that of other countries,
therefore, is to compare all American high school students with
only the small proportion of students – usually an elite – who
attend higher secondary schools in, for instance, European

152
countries. An American high school includes all of the students
within the age group, not just those with the highest academic
achievement or interests.
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”
BACKGROUND NOTES
academic subjects pertaining to areas of study that are
subjects: not primarily vocational or applied, as the
humanities or pure mathematics.
annual salary: a fixed compensation paid to a person for
regular work or services for one year.
Board of an appointive or elective body that directs
education: and administers the primary and secondary
public schools in a town, city, country, or
state.
community a nonresidential school supported in part by
school: the local government funds.
handicapped children with mental or physical disabilities
children:
high school: a school attended after elementary school or
junior high school and usually consisting of
grades 9 or 10 through 12.
out-of-state students from another state of the United
students: States. Out-of-state students of state
universities have to pay higher tuition fee
than the residents of the state.
Supreme Court: the highest court of the U.S. Using its right “to
interpret the Constitution”, the Supreme Court
has made its decision in a number of important
cases connected with educational matters.
token fee: a small sum paid for a professional service
representing a much greater payment.

153
tuition fee: a sum charged or paid for instruction at a
private school or college or university.
vocational or jobs concerned with the mechanical or
technical industrial arts and the applied sciences.
positions:
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What are the two significant influences
Questions: on American education which give it its
present character?
2. Why do we say that the United States
does not have a national system of
education? What are the functions of the
Federal Department of Education?
3. Americans say that education is “a
national concern, a state responsibility,
and a local function”. Who and how
controls American education?
4. What is the main result of the
decentralization of American education
(that is, its freedom from the control of
the Federal Government)?
5. Describe the factors accounting for the
significant differences in the quality of
education in the United States.
6. What makes American education at the
secondary level different from most other
countries?
Group Divide your group into small groups of two or
Activities: three persons and organize discussion (10 – 15
min) in each subgroup on the advantages and
disadvantages of the principle of
decentralization in education. Each subgroup
should present the results of their discussions
through spokespersons before the full group.

154
Individual As a member of the State Board of Education
Work: you are given an assignment to make an
inspection of a public school. Make up a short
plan of the inspection tour.

C. Goals of Education
Reading Read Text III (Goals of Education) and
Exercises: prepare to speak about the main goals of
American education apart from that of equal
opportunity.

Text III
Goals of Education
The cultural influences on American education are just as
important, but more difficult to define. Basically, Americans have
always aimed for equal opportunity in education, regardless of
social class, national origin, or racial or ethnic group. A high
general level of education has always been seen as a necessity in
this democratic society. Education in America has also
traditionally served the goal of bringing people together, that is, of
"Americanization." Schools in the U.S. served (and still serve) to
bring together the hundreds of various cultural and linguistic
groups, religions, and social and political backgrounds represented
by the millions and millions of immigrants.
For the past several decades, nonetheless, public policy and
legal decisions have increasingly emphasized special rights for
ethnic and linguistic minorities in the area of education. For
example, the Bilingual Education Act as well as recent court
decisions have meant that children whose first language is not
English must be taught in their mother tongue, be it Spanish,
Navaho, or Cantonese. One result is that some 3.6 million students
with limited ability to speak English received help given in their
native languages in 1983. Another is that around 80 languages are
being used for instruction in American schools.

155
The view that education should help lessen differences in social
background as well as those of ethnic or racial origin was and is
widely accepted. This explains some of the special characteristics of
the American system of education. One of these, for example, is the
"busing" of children. The goal is to have in each school the same
proportion of children from various racial or ethnic groups that exist
in the city's population overall. Such programs also reflect the
American view that education should help to reform society.
But largely, education has been seen as a way of "bettering
oneself," of "rising in the world," as a fundamental part of the
American Dream. Thus the millions of immigrants coming to
America often tied their hopes for a better life to a good education
for themselves and, most importantly, for their children. The social
and economic mobility of Americans, which has so often been
commented on by foreign observers, comes largely from the easy
access to education that most Americans have enjoyed. The first
step up – whether the ultimate goal was money, status, power, or
simply knowledge – usually started at the school door.
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”
BACKGROUND NOTES
American Dream: 1. the ideals of freedom, equality, and
opportunity traditionally held to be
available to every American;
2. a life of personal success and material
comfort as sought by individuals in the
U.S.
busing: the transporting of students by bus to public
schools outside their neighborhoods,
especially in an effort to achieve racial
balance. It was introduced in American
schools in the sixties as a result of the ruling
of the Supreme Court to end school
segregation.

156
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What was the purpose of the Bilingual
Questions: Education Act?
2. How many languages are used for
instruction in American schools?
Group Education in America is seen by many as a
Activities and fundamental part of the American Dream – as
Individual a way of “bettering oneself”, of “rising in the
Work: world”. What, in your opinion, should be the
main goal of education in Russia? State your
opinion in written form (5 – 10 min) and be
ready to present it before your group. Engage
your groupmates in discussion in an attempt to
reach a consensus.

D. Elementary and Secondary Education


Reading Read Text IV (Elementary and Secondary
Exercises: Education in the United States) and prepare
to speak on similarities and differences of the
school systems of the United States, Great
Britain and Russia.

Text IV
Elementary and Secondary Education
in the United States
Because of the great variety of schools and colleges, and the
many differences among them, no one institution can be singled
out as typical or even representative. Yet there are enough basic
similarities in structure among the various schools and systems to
permit some general comments.
Most schools start at the kindergarten level. There are some
school districts that do not have this beginning phase, and others

157
which have an additional "pre-school" one. There are almost
always required subjects at each level. In some areas and at more
advanced levels, students can choose some subjects. Pupils who
do not do well often have to repeat courses, or have to have
special tutoring, usually done in and by the schools. Many
schools also support summer classes, where students can make up
for failed courses or even take extra courses.
In addition to bilingual and bicultural education programs,
many schools have special programs for those with learning and
reading difficulties. These and other programs repeat the emphasis
of American education on trying to increase equality of
opportunity. They also attempt to integrate students with varying
abilities and backgrounds into an educational system shared by all.
At the same time, many high school students are given special
advanced coursework in mathematics and the sciences. Nationwide
talent searches for minority group children with special abilities
and academic promise began on a large scale in the 1960s. These
programs have helped to bring more minority children into
advanced levels of university education and into the professions.
Like schools in Britain and other English-speaking countries,
those in the U.S. have also always stressed "character" or "social
skills" through extracurricular activities, including organized
sports. Because most schools start at around 8 o'clock every
morning and classes often do not finish until 3 or 4 o'clock in the
afternoon, such activities mean that many students do not return
home until the early evening. There is usually a very broad range
of extracurricular activities available. Most schools, for instance,
publish their own student newspapers, and some have their own
radio stations. Almost all have student orchestras, bands, and
choirs, which give public performances. There are theater and
drama groups, chess and debating clubs, Latin, French, Spanish,
or German clubs, groups which meet after school to discuss
computers, or chemistry, or amateur radio, or the raising of prize
horses and cows. Students can learn flying, skin-diving, and

158
mountain-climbing. They can act as volunteers in hospitals and
homes for the aged and do other public-service work.
Many different sports are also available, and most schools
share their facilities – swimming pools, tennis courts, tracks, and
stadiums – with the public. Many sports that in other countries
are normally offered by private clubs are available to students at
no cost in American schools. Often the students themselves
organize and support school activities and raise money through
“car washes,” baby-sitting, bake sales, or by mowing lawns.
Parents and local businesses often also help a group that, for
example, has a chance to go to a state music competition, to
compete in some sports championship, or take a camping trip.
Such activities not only give pupils a chance to be together
outside of normal classes, they also help develop a feeling of
“school spirit” among the students and in the community.
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”
BACKGROUND NOTES
character or special abilities in retaining one’s integrity
social skills: and in establishing and maintaining contacts
and relations with individuals and groups.

extracurricular school or university activities outside the


activities: regular program or courses

prize animals: animals of exceptional qualities, which make


worthy of a prize

professions: 1. a form of employment, especially one that


is possible only for an educated person
after training (such as law, medicine, or
teaching) and that is respected in society
as honorable;

159
2. the whole body of people in a particular
profession.
public-service a service to the public rendered without
work: charge
skin diving: underwater swimming and exploring with a
face mask and flippers and sometimes with
scuba (self-contained underwater breathing
apparatus).

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. Are there required subjects in American
Questions: schools at all levels of instruction?
2. How are students with varying abilities
and backgrounds integrated into the
American educational system?
3. What extracurricular activities are
available at an average American school?
Group Working in small groups (2 – 3 students),
Activities: make up lists of required subjects for four
levels (pre-school, elementary, junior high,
high). Each subgroup, having completed their
discussion, should present and defend their
lists to the whole group. Discussion in
subgroups should not take up more than 15 –
20 min.

E. Higher Education
Reading Read Text V (Higher Education in the
Exercises: U.S.A.) and note down the ways and means
American universities solve the problem of
training highly qualified specialists for the
national economy.

160
Text V
Higher Education in the U.S.A.
The American ideal of mass education for all is matched by
an awareness that America also needs highly trained specialists.
In higher education, therefore, and especially at the graduate
schools (those following the first four years of college), the U.S.
has an extremely competitive and highly selective system. This
advanced university system has become widely imitated
internationally, and it is also the one most sought after by foreign
students. Thirty-six percent of the more than 340,000 foreign
students in the United States in the academic year 1984/85 were
enrolled in graduate programs.
While the American education system might put off selecting
students until much later than do other systems, it does
nonetheless select. And it becomes increasingly selective the
higher the level. Moreover, because each university generally sets
its own admission standards, the best universities are also the
most difficult to get into.
Some universities are very selective even at the undergraduate
or beginning levels. In 1984, for example, some 15,600
individuals sought admission to Stanford University, a private
university in southern California. Because these individuals must
pay a fee to even apply for admission, these were “serious”
applications. Of that number, only 2,500 (about 16 percent) were
admitted for the first year of study. It is interesting to note that 70
percent of those who were accepted had attended public - not
private - schools. Many state-supported universities also have
fairly rigid admission requirements. The University of California
at Berkeley, for example, admitted about 65 percent of all
"qualified" applicants in 1984. For Harvard, the figure is 17
percent (1984). Admission to law or medical schools and other
graduate programs has always been highly selective. It is true, as
often stated, that children who wish someday to go to one of the

161
better universities start working for this goal in elementary
school.
Needless to say, those children who have attended better
schools, or who come from families with better educated parents,
often have an advantage over those who don't. This remains a
problem in the U.S., where equality of opportunity is a central
cultural goal. Not surprisingly, the members of racial minorities
are the most deprived in this respect. Yet, it is still a fact today, as
the BBC commentator Alistair Cooke pointed out in 1972, that “a
black boy has a better chance of going to college here than
practically any boy in Western Europe.”
In 1985, for instance, 19.4 percent of all Americans 25 years
and older had completed four years of college or more. However,
the figure for blacks was 11.1 percent and for Hispanics 8.5
percent. Compared with the figures from 1970, when the national
average was only 10.7 percent (with 11.3 percent for whites, 4.4
percent for blacks, and 7.6 percent for students of Spanish
origin), this does reveal a considerable improvement within just
14 years. Yet, the educational level is still relatively lower for
some groups, including women. While 23.1 percent of male
Americans had four years of college or more in 1985, only 16
percent of women had. The number of students who fail to
complete high school, too, is much larger among minority groups.
The national average of all 18 to 24-year-olds who did not
graduate from high school was 22.1 percent in 1985. For white
students it was 20.9 percent, for blacks 28.7 percent, and for
Hispanics the figure was as much as 45.8 percent. Many different
programs aimed at improving educational opportunities among
minority groups exist at all levels - local, state, and federal. They
have met with some, even if moderate, success.
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”

162
BACKGROUND NOTES
admission levels or degrees of academic quality that are
standards: considered acceptable in allowing applicant
to enter an educational establishment.
graduate schools: academic departments of universities
offering courses leading to degrees more
advanced than the bachelor’s degree. In
Great Britain the usual term for a graduate
school is a “postgraduate course”.
undergraduate levels of academic achievement corresponding
levels: to the courses leading to the first degree, that is,
a Bachelor of sciences or arts.

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. Why does the United States have an
Questions: extremely competitive and highly
selective system of higher education
despite the American ideal of mass
education?
2. What are the admission requirements in
leading American universities?
3. Why are the members of racial minorities
at a disadvantage when entering American
universities?
4. What is being done in the United States to
improve educational opportunities among
minority groups?
Group The American education system is known for
Activities: putting off selecting students until higher
levels are reached. In groups of 3– 4 students
discuss all the advantages and disadvantages
in postponing the choice of one’s major (that
is, one’s chief or special subject). The results
of discussion in smaller groups are later
presented to the whole group.

163
F. Standards in American Education
Discussion 1. Note down the problems in designing
Questions: effective standards for testing and
assessment of levels in different
subjects.
2. What role should testing in different
forms play at all levels of both
secondary and university educational
process? Can testing be reduced to a
minimum or altogether discarded?
Reading 1. Read Text VI (Standards in American
Exercises: Education) and note down the ways
standardized examinations are
administered at all levels of American
education.
2. What other problems are discussed in
Text VI apart from standardized
examinations?
Text VI
Standards in American Education
Those who believe that American schools are more play than
work overlook an important fact: a high school diploma is not a
ticket that allows someone to automatically enter a university.
Standardized examinations play a decisive role at almost every
level of education, especially in the admission to colleges and
universities. Students who wish to go to a good university but
only took high school courses that were a “snap,” or who spent
too much time on extracurricular activities, will have to compete
with those who worked hard and took demanding courses.
There are two widely used and nationally-administered
standardized tests for high school students who wish to attend a
college or university. One is the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test),

164
which attempts to measure aptitudes in verbal and mathematical
fields necessary for college work. The other is the ACT
(American College Testing program), which attempts to measure
skills in English, mathematics, and the social and natural
sciences. Both tests are given at specific dates and locations
throughout the U.S. by non-profit, non-governmental
organizations. The tests are used by universities as standards for
comparison, but are not in any way "official."
Each year, the SAT is taken by some two million high school
students. One million of these students are in their last year of
high school. Another million are in their next-to-last year. The
ACT, more commonly used in the western part of the U.S., is
taken each year by another million high school students. With so
many different types of high schools and programs, with so many
differences in subjects and standards, these tests provide
common, nationwide measuring sticks. Many universities publish
the average scores achieved on these tests by the students they
admit. This indicates the “quality” or level of ability expected of
those who apply.
Similar testing programs exist at higher levels, as well.
Someone who has already finished four years of university and
wishes to go to a law or medical school is also required to take
standardized tests. These tests have been agreed upon by the
various law and medical schools and are administered nationwide
at scheduled times. Like the SAT or ACT, these tests are not
official or governmentally controlled. Other examinations,
however, are official and usually quite difficult. For example,
even after someone has studied for many years and earned a
medical degree from a university, this still does not mean that he
or she can begin to practice in the U.S. The individual states
require still further examinations.
Other pressures also operate at the university level. Most
universities require mid-semester and final (end-of-semester)
examinations. It is possible, as a great many students have

165
learned, to “flunk out” of a university, that is to be asked to leave
because of poor grades. And most students who have scholarships
must maintain a certain grade average to keep their scholarships.
Since tuition fees alone can be rather high (ranging from over
$ 10,000 for an academic year at Harvard or Yale to under $
1,000 at small public institutions) at most colleges and
universities, a large number of students hold jobs besides
studying. These part-time jobs may be either “on campus” (in the
dormitories, cafeterias, students services, in research, and in
teaching and tutoring jobs) or “off campus” (with local firms and
businesses, in offices, etc.). In this way, for example, more than
half of all students at Stanford University earn a significant part
of their college expenses during the school year. In addition, there
are work-study programs at a number of universities, and
financial assistance programs which are provided by the states
and the federal government. At Alaska Pacific University, for
instance, about 71 percent of all students receive aid through the
university, and 15 percent work part-time on campus. At Harvard
about 40 percent of all students receive scholarships, and the
average scholarship at Stanford is $4,500 per year. Students who
must work as well as study are the rule rather than the exception.
Students also cannot simply move from one university to another,
or trade places with other students. Before changing to another
university, students must first have been accepted by the new
university and have met that university's admission requirements.
The competition and pressures at many universities,
especially at the higher, “graduate” levels, are not pleasant. Nor
are they evident in the popular picture of “campus life.”
However, this system has been highly successful in producing
scholars who are consistently at the top or near the top of their
fields internationally. One indication of this can be seen by
looking at the textbooks or professional journals used and read in
foreign universities and noting the authors, where they teach and
where they were trained.

166
Another indication, less precise perhaps, is the number of
Americans who have won Nobel Prizes. Americans have won
146 Nobel Prizes in the sciences – physics, chemistry, and
physiology or medicine - since the awards were first given in
1901. This represents 38.5 percent of all recipients. The next
closest country is Great Britain, with 63 Nobel Prizes. If the U.S.
is still distant from the aim of educating everyone well, it has at
least done a good job with many.
BACKGROUND NOTES
American trademark, a standardized test for admission
College Testing to American Colleges and Universities
Program (ACT): alongside with SAT. This test, apart from
verbal and mathematical skills, also tests
skills in social and natural sciences. The
ACT scores are measured on a 0-to-36 scale.
average scores: an arithmetic mean of the results of
performances on an examination or test,
usually expressed by a number of points.
grade average (or a measure of scholastic attainment computed
grade point by dividing the total number of grade points
average): received by the total number of grades taken.
high school a document certifying the successful
diploma: completion of a secondary school in
America. Unlike Great Britain, where the
secondary school students get their General
Certificates of Secondary Education
(Ordinary or Advanced levels), only as a
result of external examinations, in the United
States high school diplomas are issued by the
local school boards, and to enter a university
one must pass special standardized tests
administered by independent organizations.

167
Scholastic trademark, a standardized aptitude test for
Aptitude Test admission to higher educational establish-
(SAT): ments. The test measures verbal and mathe-
matical aptitudes rather than knowledge, and
it is required when entering a college or
university alongside with high school
records. In SAT the test results are scored by
computer on a 200-to-300 scale.
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. Is a high school diploma sufficient to enter
Questions: a university? What are the general
requirements for admission to colleges and
universities in the USA?
2. Which are the most widely used
standardized tests for high school students
who seek admission to a higher
educational establishment in America?
3. Describe the differences between the
Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the
American College Testing program (ACT).
4. Why do a large number of American
students hold jobs besides studying?
5. What jobs do American students have to
earn their college expenditures?
6. Give examples to prove that the system of
standards on all levels of higher education
in the United States has been highly
successful in producing scholars who are
at the top of their fields internationally.
Group In groups of 3 to 4 students discuss the
Activities: problem of standards in university education
in Russia. Is our system of standards in need
of reform? Following the discussion in
smaller groups during some 10 – 15 minutes,
spokesmen from each subgroup present the
results of their discussion to the whole group.

168
Individual Express your considerations concerning
Work: standards in school and university education
in written form. The length of the essay
should be about 200 – 250 words.

G. American Education in Need of Reform


Discussion Following World War II, American education
Questions: passed through a number of critical periods,
which resulted in fundamental changes in the
U.S. educational system. The first shock
came in 1954 with the ruling of the Supreme
Court that racial segregation in public schools
was unconstitutional. Even more profound
changes came as a result of the National
Defense Education Act of 1958.
What do you know about the nature of these
changes and the factors, both inside and
outside the United States, that made these
changes necessary?
Reading In the 80-s Americans subjected their
Exercises: educational system to a critical analysis and
found it wanting. The main features of the
new crisis in American education were
presented in the report by the U.S. Secretary
of Education under the Bush administration,
William J. Bennett.
Read Text VII (Nation at Risk) and note
down the following points:
1. the main signs of a crisis in American
educational system;
2. the problems that face American
educators in planning a reform of the
educational system.

169
Text VII
Nation at Risk
Americans have always placed great trust in the power of
education to improve their lives and the lives of their children.
Indeed, to secure and protect the very conditions of liberty,
America has counted on education. “No other sure foundation can
be devised”, – Jefferson wrote, – “for the preservation of freedom
and happiness”. Education, John Adams insisted, would be
central to the national project: “Education for every class and
rank of people down to the lowest and poorest”.
Through much of our history, this faith in our schools as the
prime engine of democracy, individual opportunity, and social
mobility has been well-rewarded. There has never been a country
whose system of education has served so many students so
successfully for so many years and for such diverse ends. Ours is
a tradition of educational achievement worthy of great pride.
Unfortunately, however, in recent decades our schools have
too often failed to accomplish what Americans rightly expect of
them. Though our allegiance to quality education remains firm,
our confidence in the ability of our schools to realize that ideal
has been battered by signs of decline: falling test scores,
weakened curricula, classroom disorder, and student drug use. In
mid-eighties, a Nation at Risk, the landmark report of the
National Commission on Excellence in Education gave eloquent
voice to the growing public sense of crisis about our children and
their schools. “The educational foundations of our society are
presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that
threatens our very future”, – the Commission warned. The
American people agreed, and they have remained keenly
interested in education reform as a national priority ever since.
By sounding a needed alarm and articulating sensible goals fop
improvement, “A Nation at Risk” helped focus and intensify a
vigorous popular movement for reform of American education.

170
American education has made some undeniable progress in
the last few years. But we are certainly not doing well enough,
and we are not doing well enough fast enough. We are still at
risk. Too many students do not graduate from our high school,
and too many of those who do graduate have been poorly
educated. Our students know too little, and their command of
essential skills is too slight. Our schools teach curricula of widely
varying quality. Good schools for disadvantaged and minority
children are much too rare, and the dropout rate among black and
Hispanic youth in many of our inner cities is perilously high. An
ethos of success is missing from too many American schools. Our
teachers and principals are too often hired and promoted in ways
that make excellence a matter of chance, not design. And the
entire project of American education – at every level – remains
insufficiently accountable for the result that matters most: student
learning.
A grave decline in student achievement between early sixties
and early eighties is best illustrated by a sharp drop in SAT
(scholastic aptitude test) scores during that period. According to
the data of the U.S. Department of Education between 1963 and
1980 combined average SAT scores fell 96 points. On the ACT
(American College Testing Program) examination, which
measures knowledge of English, mathematics, social studies, and
the natural sciences, in the same period scores fell 2 points from
20.4 to some 18.4 points.
Student performance in key skill and subject areas can also be
gauged from the National Assessment of Educational Progress
(NAEP) and other education surveys. Assessing the reading
ability of young Americans during the 1980s, a NAEP household
survey revealed that “sizable numbers appear unable to do well
on tasks of moderate complexity”. Whereas 96 percent of young
Americans read well enough to select a movie from television
listings, NAEP finds fewer than 40 percent able to interpret an
article by a newspaper columnist. And the situation is worse

171
among minorities: just one in ten black young adults and two in
ten Hispanic young adults can satisfactorily interpret the same
newspaper column. Fewer than 5 percent of in-school 17-year-
olds (eleventh graders, for the most part), as NAEP findings
show, possess “advanced” reading skills which are necessary to
comprehend material such as primary-source historical
documents, scientific reports, or financial and technical
documents – in other words, reading skills often needed to
achieve excellence in academic, business, or government
environments. Similar shortcomings were revealed in NAEP
studies of 17-year-old’s achievements in writing, literature,
mathematics, science, history, geography and civics.
A high school diploma is a prerequisite for adult success, and
graduation rates are a basic measure of school performance.
Judging by all available data, the dropout rate is alarmingly high,
particularly so among black and Hispanic males. While the
national high school completion rate average is 75 percent,
among blacks of ages 18 to 19 it is 10 percent lower. For
Hispanic youths the completion rate is even more disturbing –
only 55 percent.
But needed reforms in education, however popular, will not
take place overnight. Even those changes that are underway will
take time to show results. And future reforms face serious
obstacles. In the USA there are more than 100,000 elementary
and secondary schools, and the sheer magnitude of the system
creates a bureaucratic inertia that is difficult to overcome.
Above all, sound education reforms are threatened by the
determined opposition they elicit. That opposition has taken
various forms over the years.
The arguments of those who believe education reforms will
fail are: the education reform will take much more steadfastness
than the American people possess, much more money than they
are willing to pay, or a more fundamental transformation of
society than Americans are willing to bring about. More and

172
more the opposition to school reform is now manifested in the
narrow, self-interested exercise of political power in statehouse
corridors and local school board meetings. Those with a vested
interest in the educational status quo try to block reforms. And
too often the anti-reformers succeed.
– by William J. Bennett,
“Nation at Risk”
BACKGROUND NOTES
civics: (used with a sing. v.) a social science dealing
with the rights and duties of citizens, the way
government works, etc.
dropout rate: the number of students not completing their
education compared to the total number of
students.
ethos of success: the spirit of success; ethos is the moral
nature, set of ideas, or beliefs of a person or
group.
graduation rate: the number of students completing the full
course of an educational establishment
compared to the total number of students of
this establishment.
John Adams: the 2nd president of the U.S., 1797 - 1801
National a non-profit organization conducting
Assessment of systematic surveys of the quality of
Educational education in American schools.
Progress (NAEP):
Primary-source in the United States the most important
historical Primary-source historical documents are the
documents: Declaration of Independence and the
Constitution.

173
school (college, 1. the aggregate of courses of study given in
university) a school, college, etc.;
curriculum (pl. 2. the regular or a particular course of study
curricula): in a school, college, etc.
the National as a reaction to the launching of the first
Defense Soviet artificial satellite (“Sputnik”) the U.S.
Education Act of Congress adopted the National Defense
1958: Education Act of 1958, which envisioned a
reform of the U.S. national education in order
to increase its efficiency.
the U.S. Supreme in 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the
Court ruling in case of “Brown v. Board of Education” that
the Brown v. separate schools for white and black children
Board of are inherently unequal, and in 1955 it ordered
Education: desegregation “with all deliberate speed”.
Thomas the 3rd president of the U.S., 1801 – 1809, the
Jefferson: author of the “Declaration of Independence”.
vested interest: a share or right already held in something,
that is of advantage to the holder.
vested interests: all the people having a share or right in a
particular business or situation, which they
are unwilling to lose even for the good of
public.

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. Why have Americans attached great
Questions: importance to national education since the
Declaration of Independence? Invoke
American revolutionaries to prove your
point.
2. What are the signs of decline in American
education that made Americans sound
alarm?

174
3. How did the National Commission on
Excellence in Education characterize the
state of affairs in American education in
its mid-eighties report?
4. Using SAT and ACT scores illustrate a
grave decline in student achievement
between the 1960s and 1980s.
5. What were the findings of NAEP
concerning young Americans’ abilities in
reading?
6. Why are the data on the high school
completion rate alarming? Compare the
completion rate average with the completion
rates for black and Hispanic males.
7. What are the main obstacles to education
reform in the U.S.A.? Describe the
arguments of those who believe the
education reform will fail.
Group Organize a round-table conference on the
Activities: question of education reform in America.
Distribute the roles of pro-reform and anti-
reform activists among the students of your
group. Discuss the reasons for the crisis in
American education.
Individual Using the comprehension questions to the
Work: text, write an essay of about 500 words and
give it a title.

H. Guidelines for a Reform


Reading Read Text VIII (The Five Key Principles of
Exercises: the Educational Reform) and note down the
main guidelines for a reform put forward by
William J. Bennett, the U.S. Secretary of
education in the administration of George
Bush (1989 – 1993) in his report on
American education.

175
Text VIII
The Five Key Principles of the Educational Reform
American education can be made to work better and can be
made to work better now. Every reform measure recommended in
this report is already in place and working today in various
schools, communities and states. Each can be replicated in most,
quite possibly all, of our 50 states, 16 000 school districts, and
more than 100 000 schools.
The five key principles that should guide continued reform of
American education may be presented as follows: strengthen
content, ensure equal intellectual opportunity, establish an ethos
of achievement, recruit and reward good teachers and principals,
institute accountability.
Strengthen Content
What are the goals of a good program of high school study?
Despite varied emphases and possible disagreements over
particulars most Americans agree about the goals. We want our
students – whatever their plans for the future – to take from high
school a shared body of knowledge and skills, a common
language of ideas, and a common moral and intellectual
discipline. We want them to know math and science, history and
literature. We want them to know how to think for themselves, to
respond to important questions, to solve problems, to pursue an
argument, to defend a point of view, to understand its opposite,
and to weigh alternatives.
Some agree that our nation’s cultural and ethnic diversity
makes it impossible to construct a core curriculum appropriate for
all students and schools. This view is unduly pessimistic and it is
at odds with a basic tradition of American education. Despite
American pluralism and diversity, a general American consensus
does exist about the most compelling ideas and books and authors
our students should know. It can be best illustrated by the English

176
program described in “James Madison High School”, a model
high school curriculum published by the Education Department in
late 1987. The nucleus of this program corresponds to the books
which are repeated with remarkable regularity in the
recommendations of distinguished scholars, and the general
public: Homer’s “Odyssey”, the Bible, a few of Shakespeare’s
plays and sonnets, Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn” and novels
by Charles Dickens.
Almost all high school reading is done from textbooks; our
teachers depend on them to provide the foundation of their
lessons and their instruction. We need good books and we need
them in every subject. Teachers and principals all over the
country must be given a stronger voice in decisions about what
books they will rely upon in their classrooms.
Ensure Equal Opportunity
Education is important for its own sake, and its intrinsic
benefits are color-blind. But Americans have always also
believed in education for the social and economic advantages it
confers – as the key to success in adult life, and as one of the
surest paths out of poverty. For young blacks and Hispanics, as
well as whites, completing the last two years of high school
reduces by about 60 percent the likelihood of adult poverty. More
than 90 percent of all Americans with high school diplomas have
family incomes greater than twice the official poverty rate.
Too often we have not provided disadvantaged students with
the first-class elementary and secondary education they deserve.
Quality education is now the central civil rights challenge facing us
today. To realize the goal of equal opportunity generally, we must
provide our students with equal intellectual opportunity in school.
Still, wide ethnic and racial gaps remain on most measures of
student achievement, and persistent differences in the academic
programs that are offered to our students may help explain why.
Most American students study similar subjects in school, but they

177
do not yet study these subjects in the same depths. Our schools
cannot afford to provide an inferior academic program to those of
our students who most need improved educational opportunity.
And we needn’t accept this double standard when there are many
American schools that are providing disadvantaged and minority
children with first-rate instruction.
Today many able and eager American children are not
learning enough, and too often it’s because of an unwarranted
pessimism that leads to lower expectations for disadvantaged
children. Poor and disadvantaged children deserve an equal
chance at a solid education. Schools must do everything they can
to provide all their students with the best education possible.
Establish an Ethos of Achievement
Thomas Jefferson, listing for citizens of his day the essential
elements of a sound education, wrote of writing, calculation, and
geography – but also of “the improvement of one’s morals and
faculties”. This same blending of character and ethics with
knowledge and skills has a place in American education today –
or ought to.
How should such elements of good character be imparted by
schools? Most powerful moral lessons come from actual example
– exposing children to high character and from encouraging its
imitation. Our teachers and principals must be men and women
willing to articulate ideals and convictions to students, and, of
course, to conduct themselves accordingly. Teachers needn’t
preach about honesty. They might simply recount the tale of
Abraham Lincoln walking three miles to return six cents – and,
conversely, the fable of Aesop’s shepherd boy who cried wolf.
Important in establishing an ethos of achievement are order
and discipline. In national surveys Americans have named
disorder and indiscipline as the biggest problem facing American
schools. And there is a wide public support for sensible methods
of restoring order.

178
A large part of any school’s ethos derives simply from its
physical tone. A school with broken window panes, graffiti on its
walls, and littered floors is, strictly speaking, a school without
order. A disorderly school environment is bound to affect student
character and attitudes toward learning.
Even more basic to the establishment of a positive school
ethos is student discipline. Regular and prompt attendance,
respect for teachers, and good conduct go hand in hand with
academic success.
Behavior is learned, of course, a habit that comes of rules and
the routines that reinforce them. Students must be given clear
standards of conduct; they must know what is expected of them.
They should also know the consequences of wrongdoing.
Effective discipline is fair, predictable, consistently enforced, and
appropriate to the offense. And all disciplinary actions should
seek to involve the parents. Parents need to know when their
children are breaking rules.
But student discipline is not the end of education, it is only a
means. Schools must insist on order in and near their buildings,
not pay for it by abandoning what ought to be their ultimate goals –
good teaching and effective learning.
The work ethic has a large part in American tradition. It needs
to be strengthened – or revived – in American education.
Recruit and Reward Good Teachers and Principals
The critical situation in American schools calls for major
changes: higher standards for teacher education, higher salaries
based on performance, 11-month contracts, career ladders to
distinguish among beginning, experienced, and master teachers; and
the use of nontraditional personnel, especially those holding math
and science degrees, to solve pressing shortages in certain fields.
What are the attributes of a good teacher? First, a thorough
knowledge of the subject he or she proposes to teach. Second, the
ability and desire to communicate that knowledge to students. And

179
third, sound character. These attributes are to be found in individuals
from many walks of life – they include, but are by no means limited
to graduates of education schools.
Parents must have confidence in the knowledge and abilities of
their children’s teachers. We should test current teachers as well as
new teachers for competency, and the test must be demanding enough
to screen out those who have no business in our classrooms. Tests are
meaningless, however, if virtually anyone can pass.
The education reform presupposes changes in the way
teachers are paid. Until good teachers are paid more than bad
ones, our efforts to improve teaching and learning will be
frustrated. We must begin paying not simply for seniority or
paper credentials, but for actual performance – for how well our
teachers teach and for how much their students learn.
Good schools have good principals – leaders, who activate
clear goals, leaders who show the ability and authority necessary
to get teachers and students working toward those goals.
We need more good principals, and to get them we must look
beyond customary sources of recruitment. We must provide our
principals with better training, we must give them far greater
authority – and then we must hold them accountable for our
children’s success.
Institute Accountability
Accountability – holding educators responsible for the results
of their work – is not an abstract principle. It has four concrete
and imperative elements; spending wisely, providing choice,
monitoring productivity, and rewarding success.
The USA spends more than four percent of its Gross National
Product on education. American people as a whole are
extraordinarily generous when it comes to education. In truth, we
are spending enough on education to do the job well. The trouble
is not our level of investment; rather, it is the low rate of return
we get for it.

180
In a free market economy, those who produce goods and
services are ultimately answerable to the consumer; if quality is
shoddy, the consumer will buy someone else’s product. It doesn’t
work that way in public education, however. Even when armed
with adequate information about school quality, parents in most
places around the country cannot choose to shift their child from
a bad school to a good one.
Still, the idea of choice – allowing parents greater flexibility
to determine which schools their children will attend – has lately
been gaining public favor, despite opposition from much of the
organized education establishment. The idea of providing choice
has been tested in many school districts and proved successful.
Critics say choice can’t work in inner-city schools because
parents lack the necessary education to make informed choices.
But the children know and the parents know who the best
teachers are, and which are the best schools. They make
selections based on experience and word of mouth.
But there can be no accountability without accurate
information for evaluation. Principals have to know whether a
teacher is teaching well. Superintendents need reliable
information on district attendance, dropout rates, and student
achievement. Governors and state legislators need to know
where and how well their education budgets are being spent.
Parents need ready access to student performance data when
trying to determine which school has the best program for their
children.
Rewarding excellence is а commonsense management
principle too often ignored in our schools and communities.
Recognizing and rewarding extraordinary school employees is
one of the most important and direct ways of instituting increased
accountability. American schools are blessed with many
dedicated men and women who share their great talent and
affection with our children. For these people, fair salaries, merit
pay, or some form of career ladder are not special rewards, but

181
simply what is reasonable and that is due. But while we are
rewarding success, we must at the same time hold incompetent
teachers and unsuccessful administrators fully accountable.
– by William J. Bennett,
“Nation at Risk”
BACKGROUND NOTES
career ladders: means of rising in one’s profession to higher,
more influential, and better paid positions
civil rights: powers or privileges guaranteed to
individuals and protected from arbitrary
removal at the hands of government or
individuals
core curriculum: a school curriculum in which the subjects are
correlated to a central theme
disadvantaged children lacking the necessities and comforts
children: of life
Gross National the total monetary value of all goods and
Product (GNP): services produced in a country during one
year
national survey: a sampling, or partial collection, of facts,
figures or opinions on the scale of the whole
country. National surveys are used to indicate
the state of affairs in any given sphere of life
in a country.
official poverty the number of households living on incomes
rate: below the poverty level compared to the total
number of households
paper credentials: evidence of entitlement to rights, privileges,
etc. presented in written form
poverty level (or the minimum cash income that will provide
poverty for a family’s basic needs; calculated as three
threshold): times the cost of a market basket of food that

182
provides a minimally nutritious diet. In 1991,
the poverty threshold for a family of four was
cash income below $ 13,400.
school district: an area for which a local government unit
administers elementary and secondary school
programs
seniority: precedence or status obtained as the result of
a person’s length of service
student the action or manner of carrying out
performance: academic activities, both in routine class
work and in examinations
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What key principles did the U.S.
Questions: Department of education set forth as
necessary to make the education reform
work?
2. What are the goals of a good program of
secondary school study that most
Americans agree about?
3. Illustrate the point that despite American
pluralism and diversity, a general
American consensus exists about what the
students should know.
4. Using statistics, prove that education is a
key to success in the U.S.A.
5. How can equal intellectual opportunity be
ensured?
6. What did Tomas Jefferson have to say
about the essential elements of a sound
education?
7. How can the elements of good character
be imparted by schools?
8. Why are order and discipline important in
establishing an ethos of achievement?

183
9. What major changes in recruiting teachers
does the U.S. Department of Education
recommend to improve the critical
situation in American schools?
10. What are the attributes of a good teacher?
Do you agree with the U.S. Department of
Education here? State your opinion.
11. How can the competency of the personnel
be ensured? What is the main requirement
in testing for competency?
12. What are the ways of recruiting good
principals?
13. Why is accountability important in
carrying out the education reform?
14. What are the concrete and imperative
elements of accountability?
15. Are Americans generous when it comes to
education? Prove your point.
16. What are the ways, recommended by the
U.S. Department of Education, to make
public schools answerable to the consumer
in the conditions of a free market
economy?
Group Using the materials of Texts VII and VIII
Activities: (Sections G and H), organize a discussion
club in your group on the ways out of
educational crisis in the United States.
Distribute the roles of spokesmen for the U.S.
Department of Education, American parents,
Teachers Unions, School Boards, high school
students.
Individual Using comprehension questions to Text VIII,
Work: write a composition (an essay) of about 500
words and give it a title.

184
I. A New Educational Model
Discussion The ongoing educational reform in the United
Questions: States must lead, as its proponents claim, to a
new educational model, which takes into
account the profound changes in the world as
it enters the third millenium. The critics of
the traditional educational model say that it is
outdated and must be replaced.

Note down advantages and disadvantages of


experiments in education, as well as what
fundamental changes should be introduced
into the existing educational model to bring it
in line with the demands of the time.

Reading Read Text IX (Understanding Why Education


Exercises: Must Change) and note down the set of
beliefs which gives rise to the current system
of education, as well as the assumptions on
which a new educational model should be
built.

Text IX
Understanding Why Education Must Change
Why do people continue to say that education has to change?
And just exactly does “change” mean? Some voices tell us that
we need to go back to the basics. After all, reading, writing and
arithmetic have always been essential and continue to be just that.
Other voices call on us to make learning more flexible – to
include various learning styles for example, and make learning
more experiential and collaborative. Still others want both, and
we count ourselves in that third group.

185
Our ideas about the new model of education are shaped by the
emerging brain research and by what is happening to society as it
moves into the era where working with communication, rather
than working in factories, will be the future for most of the
students we teach. And the real truth is that at this moment very
few people know what schooling should look like in the
communications era. In addition, the process of moving from one
model of schooling to another that is as yet unknown is causing
both chaos and confusion as well as immense opportunity and
new possibilities.
The question is how to get there from here? In Education on
the Edge of Possibility we argued that we need to understand the
underlying process by means of which new systems and ways of
doing things emerge. More specifically, we suggest that a set of
very basic beliefs actually gave rise to the current system of
education.
We expressed that set of beliefs in the following way:
Only experts create knowledge.
Teachers deliver knowledge in the form of information.
Children are graded on how much of the information they
have stored.
If teachers and educators can take the time to reflect on their
own assumptions and beliefs, they will find that at the heart of
almost everything that is now taken for granted about education is
a belief in the three statements above. One implication, for
instance, is that teachers, administrators and some others are in
charge of knowledge and how it reaches students. Thus they are
in charge of dividing knowledge, on topics ranging from the
Egyptians to the Solar System, into appropriate “chunks” of
information given to students within appropriate time slots. All
this is done in fairy sterile buildings and rooms that house large
numbers of students, and the entire enterprise is monitored and
motivated by testing and grades.

186
Now the brain research doesn’t say that this approach is
necessarily wrong. It just reveals that this kind of approach is not
compatible with how the brain learns best. And the brain research
does provide a foundation for understanding ways to teach that
help students learn better and become healthier, happier learners
for life. For instance we now know that the brain processes parts
and wholes simultaneously, that we are all innately motivated to
search for meaning, that the search for meaning occurs through
patterning and is profoundly influenced by emotions, that we
have different forms of memory, that each brain is uniquely
organized and more. When the brain is fully engaged then
students acquire more than memorized surface knowledge. They
acquire knowledge that is dynamical – the sort of knowledge that
is naturally and spontaneously invoked in authentic interactions
in the real world.
Also, if we consider what technology in the information era
makes available to children and students, we find that trying to
control knowledge the way we are used to is beginning to look
like holding water in our hands. Information is available
everywhere and in multiple forms, from complex software to 500
television channels to the World Wide Web. Not all children have
access to everyone of these, but not having access is already
handicapping children now in school and will continue to do
severe damage to their futures as the school years progress. This
massive flow and availability of information, together with our
new appreciation of just how interconnected the human brain is,
will be for education to become much more complex. And that is
precisely what is needed if we are to teach for dynamical rather
than surface knowledge.
We cannot know exactly how things will turn out. But we
have to ground what we do on the best of what is known about
how people learn and how systems function. For those who work
with education extensively, a great deal of learning is needed. In
addition, one element is absolutely indispensable if the new forms

187
of education are to be available for all children, and that is that
the community as a whole needs to have an appropriate set of
fundamental assumptions about the nature of learning itself. The
systems that emerge will be the product of those assumptions.
So what does all this mean? We suggest that if the three
assumptions described above are changed, and if we take an
appropriate set of new assumptions seriously, then society will
get the system that it needs, even if we do not now know what it
will look like. Here, then, is our suggestion for new assumptions
that can guide us in the next century.
Dynamical knowledge (the sort of knowledge that is naturally
and spontaneously invoked in authentic interactions in the
real world) requires individual meaning making based upon
multiple sources of information;
The role of educators is to facilitate the making of dynamical
knowledge;
Dynamical knowledge is revealed through real world
performance.
The change involves everyone, and as yet (or perhaps never
again) no one has the exact answers. The world we are entering is
one of multiple answers and infinite possibilities. It looks
“messy” and trial and error is essential. But we must learn how to
live in that world. Because our children have no choice.
– by Renate Nummela Caine and Geoffrey Caine,
“Restructuring Education”
BACKGROUND NOTES
brain research: research into the ways the human brain
processes information
communications the era dominated by new, advanced
era: techniques in communicating information as
a result of computer revolution (Internet,
multimedia, satellite link, etc.)

188
dynamical the knowledge of the way the things in real
knowledge: world interact
surface the knowledge of facts and data without
knowledge: understanding of their interaction in the real
world
the Basics: the basic parts or principles of a subject,
process, etc. Thus, the basics of education are
reading, writing and simple arithmetic (the
so-called three R’s)
the World Wide the main system, uniting all information
Web (WWW): resourses of the Internet. The WWW system
is based on presenting information in the
form of a hypertext. The information is
provided through the use of key words.
Trial and Error: a way of getting satisfactory results by trying
several methods and learning from one’s
mistakes
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What are the sources of information in the
Questions: educational process according to the
current system of education, and
according to the new educational model?
2. What are the roles of the teacher in the
educational process?
3. How are the learners graded in the current
system of education and in the new
educational model?
Group Discuss the following questions in groups:
Activities: 1. What are the risks involved in fundamental
changes in educational models?
2. Do the demands put forward by the
changing society justify the introduction
of new educational models?

189
Individual Express your opinions in written form about
Work: the new educational model presented in Text
IX (some 250 words). Be ready to defend your
views in class.

J. Tougher Standards and the Quality of Education


Discussion One of the major demands of the reform of
Questions: national education in the U.S.A. is
accountability, which means introducing
tougher standards both for students and for
teachers. Those who oppose the reform point
out that focusing on higher results and
tougher standards might turn schools into
giant test-prep centers, effectively closing off
intellectual inquiry and undermining
enthusiasm for learning.
Note down the problems involved in placing
emphasis on higher scores and standardized
examinations.
Reading Read Text X (The Case Against “Tougher
Exercises: Standards”) and note down the main
arguments of the opponents of the
educational reform in the United States
against higher educational standards.
Text X
The Case Against “Tougher Standards”
A plague has been sweeping through American schools,
wiping out the most innovative instruction and beating down
some of the best teachers and administrators. Ironically, that
plague has been unleashed in the name of improving schools.
Invoking such terms as “tougher standards,” “accountability,”

190
and “raising the bar,” people with little understanding of how
children learn have imposed a heavy-handed, top-down, test-
driven version of school reform that is lowering the quality of
education in this country.
It has taken some educators and parents a while to realize that
the rhetoric of “standards” is turning schools into giant test-prep
centers, effectively closing off intellectual inquiry and
undermining enthusiasm for learning (and teaching). It has taken
even longer to realize that this is not a fact of life, like the
weather – that is, a reality to be coped with – but rather a political
movement that must be opposed.
People who talk about educational “standards” use the term in
different ways. Sometimes they’re referring to guidelines for
teaching, the implication being that we should change the nature
of instruction – a horizontal shift, if you will. (In the case of the
standards drafted by the National Council of Teachers of
Mathematics [NCTM] in 1989, for example, the idea was to shift
away from isolated facts and memorized procedures and toward
conceptual understanding and problem solving.)
By contrast, when you hear someone say that we need to
“raise standards,” that represents a vertical shift, a claim that
students ought to know more, do more, perform better. This can
get confusing because discussions about standards sometimes are
limited to only one of these meanings, sometimes flip-flop
between them, and sometimes involve an implicit appeal to one
in order to press for the other. Our concern here is primarily with
the second category; we’re not proposing that there shouldn’t be
any guidelines for what goes on in classrooms or that our current
approaches shouldn’t be changed.
Even the idea of vertical movement seems hard to argue with,
at least in the abstract. Don’t we want schools to be of high
quality, and students to be able to do many things well? Of
course. But the current demand for Tougher Standards carries
with it a bundle of assumptions about the proper role of schools,

191
the nature and causes of failure, and the way students learn.
That’s why a number of people (mostly educators) have come to
view with growing alarm what is now the dominant model of
school reform.
People from parents to Presidents have begun to sound like a
cranky, ill-informed radio talk-show host, with the result that
almost anything can be done to students and to schools, no matter
how ill-considered, as long as it is done in the name of “raising
standards” or “accountability.” One is reminded of how a number
of politicians, faced with the perception of high crime rates, resort
to a get-tough, lock-’em-up, law-and-order mentality. This
response plays well with the public, but is based on an
exaggeration of the problem, a misanalysis of its causes, and a
simplistic prescription that frequently ends up doing more harm
than good.
So too with demanding Tougher Standards in education. Back
in 1959, John Holt wrote that the main effect “of the drive for so-
called higher standards in schools is that the children are too busy
to think.” Today, it is almost impossible to distinguish Democrats
from Republicans on this set of issues – only those with some
understanding of how children learn from those who haven’t a
clue. The disagreement that plays itself out in boards of education
and state legislatures is pretty much limited to a clash between,
on one side, the champions of Tougher Standards (a constituency
that includes virtually all corporate groups, the President and the
Governors, the leadership of the American Federation of
Teachers, and most reporters who write about education); and, on
the other side, those on the extreme right wing whose suspicion
of anything involving the federal government leads them to
oppose national standards or testing. (They, too, tend to endorse
the idea of Tougher Standards, but insist on local control.) That’s
pretty much the extent of the public debate on the subject. Left
out almost entirely is the point of view of the students
themselves, and the impact on their learning.

192
The result is that, from California to New York, from
Michigan to Texas, from Virginia to Colorado, the kind of
teaching that helps students understand ideas from the inside out –
and that sustains their interest in understanding – is under siege.
One story can stand in for thousands:
Not long ago, a widely respected middle-school teacher
in Wisconsin, famous for helping students design their own
innovative learning projects, stood up at a community
meeting and announced that he “used to be” a good
teacher. The auditorium fell silent at his use of the past
tense. These days, he explained, he just handed out
textbooks and quizzed his students on what they had
memorized. The reason was very simple. He and his
colleagues were increasingly being held accountable for
raising test scores. The kind of wide-ranging and
enthusiastic exploration of ideas that once characterized his
classroom could no longer survive when the emphasis was
on preparing students to take a standardized examination.
The purveyors of Tougher Standards had won, and therefore the
students had lost.
– by Alfie Cohn,
PDF Reader
BACKGROUND NOTES
American a federation of trade unions of American
Federation of teachers. It opposes the ongoing educational
Teachers: reform in the United States, the main
objections being a trend to privatization of
public schools and preoccupation with
standards and tests.
Board of an appointive or elective body that directs
education: and administers primary and secondary
public schools in a town, city, county, or
state

193
community a meeting of people who reside in a specific
meeting: locality. These meetings are usually held in
the so-called community centers.
conceptual
understanding: understanding based on ideas, or images
corporate groups: united groups of people, like trade unions,
political organizations, parties, etc.
get-tough, lock- a way of thinking based on an exaggeratedly
’em-up, law-and- harsh attitude to crime
order mentality:
innovative the act of instructing or teaching based on the
instruction: use of new, more effective methods
intellectual seeking for truth and knowledge, using one’s
inquiry: intellect
middle school: a school encompassing grades five or six
through eight
radio (or TV) a person who introduces guests on a radio or
talk-show host: TV program. Talk shows usually invite
celebrities as guests. In Great Britain the talk
shows are called chat shows.
test-prep centers: places where students are drilled for tests and
examinations rather than provided with
quality education
top-down reform: a reform, proceeding from the top, that is,
from the leadership, very often without the
grass-roots support (support of ordinary
citizens)
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What are the two ways in which the term
Questions: “educational standards” is used?

194
2. Whose point of view on the question of
tougher standards in education is often
ignored?
3. Why did a respected middle-school
teacher in Wisconsin speak about his
successes in teaching, using the past
tense?
Group In groups of three to four persons discuss the
Activities: reasons why some people oppose educational
reform, even though these reforms are meant
to improve education and raise standards. Pay
attention to the fact that among the most
ardent opponents of the educational reform in
the United States are American teachers,
particularly the chief executives of the
American Federation of Teachers.
Individual You are a high school student who is
Work: dissatisfied with new requirements for higher
standards in education. Tougher standards
make learning uninteresting, turn education
into preparation for tests and examinations.
Write an article of 300 words in the school
newspaper in which you express the views of
students opposing the reform.

K. School Vouchers – For or Against?


Reading One of the most controversial elements of the
Exercises: current educational reform in the U.S.A. is
the school voucher plan, which, as the
Department of Education believes, will
improve American education by letting
schoolchildren choose their schools
themselves. The school vouchers are opposed
by many organizations and individuals on
various grounds.

195
You are going to read two texts on the
question of vouchers. Note down the
arguments both in favor and against the
system that is gaining ground in the United
States, and in other countries of the world.
Text XI
The Right to Choose a School
The state of Minnesota has led the country in letting people
choose what school to attend, now the state is one of the firsts to
introduce the system of vouchers.
The idea of using taxpayer money for private school tuition
has been around Minnesota since the 1970s, largely pushed by
Catholic school supporters and religious conservatives. In the
past few years, the idea has gained a hearing, but few victories, in
legislatures and on ballots across the country, including the 1995
Minnesota legislative session.
Arne Carlson, the governor of Minnesota, who once opposed
vouchers, has reversed himself and placed the question squarely
on the state’s agenda. He has all but declared that vouchers are
the answer to almost any question involving education: academic
achievement, parental involvement, work-force readiness, moral
character-building, discipline. Vouchers will even improve public
schools by providing competition, which Carlson sees as a much-
needed kick in the pants.
Carlson has breathed new life into vouchers and, buoyed by
increasingly positive public opinion polls, has picked up an
assortment of supporters along the way – business people, the
religious right and poor inner-city parents.
They say the time is right to start giving this new kind of
choice to Minnesota parents. In Minnesota as elsewhere public
perception is that schools aren’t producing competent graduates
who can succeed in life. Carlson constantly cites Minnesota

196
students’ performance on basic math and reading tests, especially
among minority youth.
Minnesota parents already have choice within the public
schools via open enrollment, charter schools, alternative schools,
magnet programs and a program through which high school
students can take college classes.
The state is recognized nationally for these innovations, which
have in common the belief that competition resulting from parent
choice improves all schools. To Carlson, vouchers represent the
logical extension of the idea – the more choice, the more
competition, the more school improvement.
Though few people know much about what effect vouchers
might actually have, they certainly have their opinions.
A 1995 poll conducted for the Center of the American
Experiment, a conservative think tank based in Minneapolis,
showed that about half of Minnesotans who have children in
public schools would send them to private or parochial schools if
it didn’t cost them any more money. Only 36 percent of Twin
Cities parents said they’d choose to send their children to public
schools over private if the costs were the same.
By opposing and suppressing various types of public school
choice, says Ted Kolderie, a St. Paul public policy consultant,
educators have prompted interest in alternatives outside the
public system.
Kolderie, a former Citizens League director with a longtime
interest in school choice, agrees with proponents that the current
public system needs competition and shaking up, but he believes
that can be accomplished through options within the public
system. First, he says, teachers, principals and superintendents
must change their attitudes. “They think they have rights to the
kids,” he said.
School officials and teachers have a history of opposing
legislation meant to foster more choice for students and their
parents. Thus, when in the eighties, open enrollment was

197
proposed – the idea that virtually any student could attend
virtually any public school – the Minnesota Education
Association predicted chaos. Though that didn’t happen, more
and more districts, citing full classrooms, are closing to open
enrollment.
Last year, superintendents from several districts pushed for
more restrictions on the Post-Secondary Enrollment Option
(PSEO) program that permits high school students to take college
classes. Colleges are intimidated from advertising the program,
Kolderie says, and a lot of high schools harass students who are
interested.
Charter schools – quasi-independent public schools that can
be started by parents, teachers, and others – are a great idea that is
prevented from working well by more needless barriers, Kolderie
says. Charter school starters must try to get the backing of their
local school board, which often is against the concept; there is a
limit to the number allowable in the state; and such schools are
handicapped by receiving only about half as much money per
pupil as regular schools spend.
Making these choices available has been good, Kolderie says,
because they caused public school improvement – high schools
have added college-level classes to discourage students in
participating in PSEO and various other programs to keep
students in their home districts, or to lure them away, Kolderie
says.
Allowed to operate unhindered, those choices should be
sufficient to generate the kind of competition, Carlson says,
vouchers can provide. “In the interest of saving public education,
it has to be broken up,” he says. “If the options are maintained,
improved and expanded, they will give the system the stimulus it
needs.”
– by Debra O’Connor,
Pioneer Planet Education, Minnesota

198
BACKGROUND NOTES

alternative schools having a flexible or nontraditional


schools: curriculum
character- a purposeful process aimed at formation in
building: children and young people of the positive
traits of character. It is a term used mostly by
educators when speaking about the part of
education that is known in Russia as
“vospitaniye”.
charter schools: public schools that are opened with
permission of the local boards of education
by any individual or group of individuals
developing a new concept in education
conceptual understanding based on ideas, or images
understanding:
(state) governor: the executive head of a state in the United
States
(legislature) a special session in a legislative assembly
hearing: where arguments are presented both for and
against a new law
inner city: the central and usually older part of a city,
densely populated, often deteriorating, and
inhabited mainly by the poor. The
phenomenon of the inner cities appeared in
the sixties of the twentieth century, when
people with higher incomes began to leave
cities and settle in suburbs.
kick in the pants: (slang) a strong message of encouragement
or demand. Unlike the Russian usage, slang
may be widely used in mass media to add
emphasis to one’s ideas

199
magnet schools: schools established to attract (hence the name
“magnet”) the local residents of school age,
and to prevent them from busing to a school
in another community. To live up to their
name the magnet schools strive to improve
the quality of teaching through the use of
better facilities, school programs and well-
trained teachers.
open enrollment: a system of school enrollment in which
schools are open to all applicants from the
community regardless of the place of
residence
parochial schools maintained by religious organi-
schools: zations
public opinion a sampling or collection of the attitudes of
poll: citizens concerning a given question or
questions. In the United States the most well-
known organization, conducting public
opinion polls, is the Gallup poll institute,
named after its founder, the U.S. statistician
George Horace Gallup (1901 – 1984).
public policy: a general plan of action adopted by the
government to solve a social problem,
counter a threat, or pursue an objective
school voucher: a document issued to a schoolchild as a form
of payment for educational expenses. School
vouchers, thus, give schoolchildren a right to
choose their schools freely.
students’ the scores on standardized tests registered as
performance on correct choices from multiple-choice
basic tests: exercises
think tank: a research organization employed to analyze
problems and plan future developments in
various areas

200
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. Did the idea of using taxpayers’ money for
Questions: private school tuition get enough support
when it first appeared in Minnesota?
2. How did the attitude of the state governor
to school vouchers change in the course of
time?
3. What are the results of public opinion
polls on the question of school vouchers?
4. What choice do Minnesota parents have
within the public school system?
5. In which way have school officials and
teachers in Minnesota opposed legislation
to allow more choice for students and their
parents?
6. Why have choices available for
schoolchildren in Minnesota contributed
to public school improvement?
Text XII
Target: Public Education
Having implemented its welfare agenda, the conservative
movement is taking aim at public education. The religious right
and the broader conservative movement have been organizing
and funneling money into voucher initiatives for decades,
particularly in the past ten years. So it was no surprise that a
recent Gallup poll found that 51 percent of Americans favor using
public tax dollars for tuition vouchers for any school, including
private and religious schools. Employing the seductive rhetoric of
“choice,” conservatives have put vouchers at the top of their
educational agenda. They have seized on legitimate discontent
with public schools, particularly in urban areas, to further their
goal of privatizing education and removing schools from public
oversight and responsibility.

201
Controversy over vouchers has centered on constitutional
concerns about the separation of church and state. With several
other cases pending, it is almost certain that the Supreme Court
will ultimately have to decide the issue. But if Milwaukee’s
experience is any indication, resolving the legality of vouchers
will not end the controversy. In Milwaukee, the state court’s
ruling has merely opened up a Pandora’s box of new issues.
Private schools, like private roads and private country clubs,
don’t have to answer to the public. That’s why they’re called
private. But what if the private schools get public dollars? Do
they have to follow the same rules as public schools? The answer
is particularly crucial in Milwaukee because even if 100 percent
of a private school’s students are funded by vouchers – that is, the
school doesn’t have a single student who privately pays tuition –
the school may still call itself “private” and operate accordingly.
Another issue is that some white parents in Milwaukee have used
private schools to escape desegregation. The Milwaukee public
schools, for instance, are approximately 60 percent African-
American. At some of the most popular Catholic high schools the
proportion is 35 percent.
The legal issues are particularly complicated because religious
schools can receive vouchers. Under the First Amendment, the
government may not “entangle” itself in the running of religious
institutions. Thus religious schools can fire teachers who violate
the schools’ religious views – a gay teacher, perhaps, or a teacher
who supports the right to abortion. Will religious schools that
receive vouchers also be able to teach that homosexuality is a sin,
that creationism is superior to the theory of evolution, that the
Jews killed Christ?
Voucher programs have been portrayed as a way to help poor
blacks trapped in underachieving public schools. But the African-
Americans who support and take part in voucher programs are the
public face, not the force behind the movement. The
conservatives who bankroll the movement have a different goal:

202
dismantling the democratically controlled public education
system and replacing it with a privatized one that would
inevitably favor money and privilege.
– by Barbara Miner,
Nation
BACKGROUND NOTES
creationism: the doctrine that the true story of the creation
of the universe is recounted in the Bible
Pandora’s box: a source of extensive and unforeseen troubles
or problems (a reference to a Greek myth
about Pandora, the first woman, created by
Hephaestus, who out of curiosity opened a
box and released all the evils that might
plague mankind)
school the ending of authorized segregation of
desegregation: schools. In the United States schools were
desegregated following the rulings of the
Supreme Court in 1954 and later on.
welfare agenda: a list, plan or outline of things to be done in
such matters as social security, health and
education, housing and working conditions
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What organizations have been organizing
Questions: and supporting voucher initiations in the
United States?
2. On which area has controversy over
vouchers centered at present?
3. How have some white parents in
Milwaukee used private schools?
4. Why are legal issues connected with
school vouchers particularly complicated?
5. What, in the opinion of the author of the
article, is the goal of the forces behind the
school voucher movement?

203
Group Drawing on information presented in Texts XI
Activities: and XII, organize a discussion of the problem
of school vouchers and privatization. The
role-play is a simulation of a state legislature
hearing. Distribute the roles of stakeholders
and experts, as well as members of the State
Legislative Committee on Education. In the
first stage of the role-play, the students work
in small groups, preparing their material
according to the roles they must play at the
State legislature hearing. In the final stage, all
the arguments, both in favor of the vouchers
and against, are presented to the panel of the
State Legislative Committee on Education,
and the panel makes its report to the general
assembly of the legislators.
Individual Can the concept of the school vouchers be
Work: applied in the conditions of the Russian
Federation? Write an essay of 300 – 350
words, presenting your point of view on the
matter.

L. American Education in the Changing World


Reading American educational system was subjected
Exercises: to severe criticism in the eighties for its low
standards, lack of discipline and
ineffectiveness. Has anything changed to the
better? You are going to read an article in The
Council Chronicle, the publication of the
NCTE (National Council of the Teachers of
English), in which the author argues that the
popular press is wrong in continuing its
criticism of the American public schools.
Note down the main changes that have taken
place in American education during the last
decades of the twentieth century.

204
Text XIII
Top Ten Myths about Public Education in America
For those of us working in education, it’s depressing to hear
the drumbeat of dismal news in the popular press about the
failures of our students. All this gloom and doom just doesn’t
match my experience.
After surveying the research, I have data to support my
observations of classrooms across our country. Allow me to
separate the myths from the reality:

Myth №10: "More students than ever are dropping out of


school."
In 1993, 86% of 19- to 20-year-olds had earned a high school
diploma. According to the National Education Goals Panel, that’s
a 4% improvement since 1972 and nearly double the rate of pre-
1940 America, when less than half of all students graduated.

Myth №9: "Teachers are poorly qualified and overpaid."


More than 53% of all public school teachers in 1990 held a
master’s degree or higher, reports the National Education
Association. That’s a sharp increase from 1971 when only 37%
held a master’s degree or higher. The National Council of
Teachers of English reports that more than 63% of its 70,000
members hold a master’s degree or higher. Professionals with
similar levels of education make 20 to 100% more than the
average teacher. Clearly, most teachers choose their profession
from a sense of public service.

Myth №8: "The U.S. spends more than any other country on
education."
The U.S. ranked 14th out of sixteen major industrial nations in K-
12 per pupil expenditures as a percent of per capita income,
report Edith Rasell and Lawrence Mishel in Shortchanging

205
Education: How U.S. Spending on Grades K-12 Lags Behind
Other Industrialized Nations.

Myth №7: "Increasing school funding won't improve


education."
In The Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Fraud, and the Attack on
America’s Public Schools, David Berliner and Bruce Biddle
conclude that higher levels of school funding are indeed
connected to improved school quality and higher levels of
students achievement; studies also found that adults who
graduated from well funded schools earned more over a lifetime
than people who attended poor schools.

Myth №6: "Parents and students have lost faith in our public
schools."
According to a 1994 survey by Metropolitan Life, nearly 80% of
public school parents and 75% of students believe that their local
schools provide an excellent or good education. In a 1995 Phi
Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll, 65% of parents gave the school their
oldest child attends a grade of A or B.

Myth №5: "Today's students are unambitious slackers."


Today’s students concentrate more on academics than students a
decade ago, reports the National Center for Educational Statistics.
The percentage of high school graduates who earned the
academic units recommended by the National Commission on
Excellence in Education, including four units of English, jumped
34 points from 1982 to 1993. The percentage of students taking
the SAT climbed 8% between 1983 and 1993 without a decline in
the percentage of high scorers. Since 1984, the proportion of
students taking Advanced Placement exams has more than
doubled, and two-thirds of the students taking the exam in 1992
earned college credit. Despite skyrocketing college costs, more

206
than 60% of high school graduates in 1992 enrolled in college, a
nearly 10% increase over 1982

Myth №4: "Students use computers as a crutch and never


learn to spell or write well on their own."
Studies show that when students write on computers, they write
longer pieces, make fewer mistakes, and are more likely to
correct mistakes, concluded Ilana Snyder in the journal
Educational Research. When students work cooperatively on
computer networks to create projects, such as a newspaper for
parents, they write better papers and perform better on
standardized tests, reports Margaret Riel in the Journal of
Research on Computing in Education. “Computer technology in
the hands of good teachers was an extremely effective tool for
reshaping the educational process,” concluded Riel.

Myth №3: "American students reading scores are an


international disgrace."
Among nine-year-olds tested for reading proficiency in 31
nations, U.S. students ranked second in 1992, reports the
International Association for the Evaluation of Educational
Achievement. Among 14-year-olds, U.S. students tied for eighth
out of 31 countries, only 14 points (on a 600-point scale) behind
second place France.

Myth №2: "Kids aren’t learning to read because teachers don't


teach phonics."
Good teachers have never abandoned the teaching of phonics, the
sound-letter relationships used in reading and writing, but they
also know that it is just one part of the reading process.
Constance Weaver, author of Reading Process and Practice,
reports that when phonics is taught in the context of reading
favorite stories and poems, elementary students develop and use
phonics knowledge better than when it is taught in isolation.

207
Myth №1: "More and more high school graduates today can't
read and write."
More young people can read and write today than at any time in
our history. Five commercial achievement tests, including the
Iowa Test of Basic Skills, have reported significant annual gains
in reading since the 1970s. According to the National Assessment
of Educational Process (NAEP), the average writing proficiency
of 4th and 8th graders showed marked progress since 1990, while
the scores of 11th graders have held steady since 1984. In 1993,
NAEP reported that the majority of U.S. 12th graders have
reached the basic literacy level, meaning that they could do such
things as develop interpretations from a variety of texts,
understand overall arguments, and use documents.

Behind all the myths you hear about education is the worry that
our students won’t have the skills they need to survive and thrive
in the coming century. America’s English language arts teachers
share that concern. That’s why the National Council of Teachers
of English and the International Reading Association released
Standards for the English Language Arts in March. These
voluntary standards call for a new, higher level of literacy. Just
being able to read and write is not enough. The new literacy
requires students to think critically, to draw conclusions, and to
solve complex, real-world problems. The English language arts
standards will prepare students for a changing workplace and a
changing world. Let’s stop tearing down our schools and start
building a worldclass English language arts education for all our
students.
– by Beverly Ann Chin,
NCTE, The Council Chronicle

208
BACKGROUND NOTES
academic units: units, that is, quantities of educational
instruction of academic character, that is
purely theoretical, and not vocational or
applied
advanced the exams that students take elsewhere and
placement exams: that allow them to get college credits at a
higher academic level
college credit: a completed unit of a student’s work that
forms part of a college course
(grades) K-12: in American public schools there are twelve
grades from elementary to high school. K
(kindergarten) is used to refer to pre-school
level in education
Language arts: verbal and written skills taught in elementary
and secondary schools to improve
proficiency in using language
Phi Delta Kappa: a national honor society composed of U.S.
College graduates of high academic
distinction. In the United States there is a
tradition to give Greek letter names to
students’ societies (so called fraternities and
sororities). The oldest and most famous
greek-letter society is Phi Betta Kappa
founded in 1776.
public service: 1. the business of supplying an essential
commodity, as electricity, or a service, as
transportation, to the general public;
2. government employment, civil service;
3. a service to the public rendered without
charge.
In the context of this article the term “public
service” is used to emphasize the
disinterested nature of the work of American
public school teachers.

209
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. Does the dismal news in the popular press
Questions: about the failures of American students
match the experience of the author of the
article?
2. What are the figures reported by the
National Education Association and the
National Council of Teachers of English
concerning the qualification of public
school teachers in America?
3. Is the claim that the U.S. spends more than
any other country on education true?
4. What are the results of research into the
influence of increasing school funding on
the quality of education?
5. Are today’s students unambitious
slackers? Prove your point, using
information from the article.
6. How has the use of computers reflected on
the way students write and spell?
7. How are the American students ranked for
reading proficiency by International
Association for the Evaluation of
Educational Achievement?
8. What are the requirements of the new
literacy standards released by the National
Council of Teachers of English?
Group Use the material of the unit on education in
Activities: America to organize a round table discussion
on the issue of education in America and
Russia. Summarize the results of the
discussions in the form of a Draft Program of
the Reform of Russia’s educational system.
Individual On the basis of the activities in sections A
Work: through L of Unit IV write an essay of about
500 words about the advantages and
disadvantages of American educational system.

210
UNIT V
MASS MEDIA
A Newspapers
Discussion What do you know about American mass
Questions: media?
Note down the following points:
1. Which of the American mass media
enjoy the greatest popularity and
influence both inside the United States
and abroad?
2. When looking through a fresh
newspaper, what section are you looking
through first – editorial, news report,
weather forecast, sports, humor, report
by newspaper’s own correspondent,
television programs, advertisements,
death notice, etc.?

Reading You are going to read a text about American


Exercises: newspapers (Text I). Note down the
differences in the way newspapers are
functioning in the United States as compared
with other countries of the world, including
Russia.

211
Text I
American Newspapers
When it comes to American newspapers, a lot of people outside
the United States think of that slender, serious paper, the
International Herald Tribune, said to be on the daily reading list
of many world leaders. The Herald Tribune, however, is not really
an American paper. It is published in Paris (and printed
simultaneously in Paris, London, Zurich, Hongkong, Singapore,
The Hague, Marseille, and Miami) as an international digest of
news, most of it taken from its much larger parents, The New York
Times and The Washington Post. Many people in America have
never heard of it. And few Americans would read it when they can get
the real thing, that is, the full-sized daily newspapers.
At present, more than 9,000 newspapers (daily, Sunday,
weekly, etc.) appear in 6,516 towns in the United States. Most of the
daily newspapers are published rain or shine, on Christmas,
Thanksgiving, or the Fourth of July (Independence Day). Including
the 85 foreign-language newspapers published in 34 different
languages, the daily newspapers in the United States sell over 63
million copies a day. The 762 Sunday papers are usually much larger
than the regular editions. The record for a Sunday paper registered in
the Guinness Book of Records is held by The New York Times. One
issue on September 14, 1987 contained 1,612 pages, and weighed 12
pounds (5.6 kg). Reading the Sunday paper is an American tradition,
for some people an alternative to going to church. Getting through all
of the sections can take most of the day, leaving just enough time for
the leisurely Sunday dinner. The Sunday newspapers have an
average circulation of 57 million copies. There are also more than
7,000 newspapers which are published weekly, semi-weekly or
monthly.
Most daily newspapers are of the "quality" rather than the
“popular” (that is, non-quality) variety. Among the twenty
newspapers with the largest circulation only two or three regularly

212
feature crime, sex, and scandal. The paper with the largest
circulation, The Wall Street Journal, is a very serious newspaper
indeed.
It is often said that there is no "national press" in the United States
as there is in Great Britain, for instance, where five popular followed
by three quality newspapers dominate the circulation figures and
are read nationwide. In one sense this is true. Most daily
newspapers are distributed locally, or regionally, people buying
one of the big city newspapers in addition to the smaller local
ones. A few of the best-known newspapers such as The Wall Street
Journal can be found throughout the country. Yet, one wouldn't
expect The Milwaukee Journal to be read in Boston, or The Boston
Globe in Houston. There has been one attempt to publish a truly
national newspaper, USA Today. But it still has only a circulation of
1.2 million and, in its popular form, can only offer news of general
interest. This is not enough in a country where state, city, and local
news and political developments most deeply affect readers and
are therefore especially interesting to them.
In another sense, however, there is a national press, one that
comes from influence and the sharing of news. Some of the largest
newspapers are at the same time news-gathering businesses. They
not only print newspapers, they also collect and sell news, news
features, and photographs to hundreds of other papers in the U.S. and
abroad. Three of the better-known of these are The New York
Times', The Washington Post's, and the Los Angeles Times' news
services. In one famous example, an exposé of the CIA published
in The New York Times also appeared in 400 other American
papers and was picked up or used in some way by hundreds more
overseas. "Picked up" is not quite right. Such stories are
copyrighted and other newspapers must pay for their use. Often
newspapers try to avoid paying for this news by using the original
newspaper's story and quoting the story indirectly ("The
Washington Post reported today that..."). Because so many other
newspapers print (or "borrow") news stories from the major

213
American newspapers and magazines, they have great national and
international influence. This influence spreads far beyond their own
readers.
In addition, these newspapers and others such as The Christian
Science Monitor, The (Baltimore) Sun, the St. Louis Dispatch or The
Milwaukee Journal are frequently mentioned among papers of
international excellence. In a large international survey of
newspaper editors, The New York Times was ranked by most as
“the world’s top daily”.
Syndicated columnists, journalists whose articles are sold by an
agency for simultaneous publication in a number of newspapers,
have much the same effect. Serious editorial columnists and news
commentators from the major newspapers appear daily in hundreds
of smaller papers throughout the nation. This allows the readers of
a small town daily to hear the opinions of some of the best national
and international news analysts. Many newspapers also use
syndicated columnists as a way of balancing political opinion. On
the so-called op-ed pages (opposite the editorial page) of
newspapers, columns from leading liberal and conservative
commentators are often printed side by side.
Political and editorial cartoons are also widely syndicated. Well-
known political cartoonists such as Oliphant or MacNelly are known
to most American and many foreign newspaper readers. Comic
strips from Jules Feiffer, Garry Trudeau, or the creator of
"Garfield" are similarly distributed. Satire and humor columns
often have international reputations as well. The humor of Art
Buchwald or Erma Bombeck is enjoyed from New Mexico to New
Delhi, although the first writer is at home in Washington, D.C., the
latter in Arizona.

214
Largest Daily U.S. Newspapers
Newspaper circulation (in 1990)
The Wall Street Journal 1,985,000
(New York) Daily News 1,275,000
USA Today 1,168,000
Los Angeles Times 1,088,000
The New York Times 1,035,000
The Washington Post 781,000
The Chicago Tribune 760,000
The New York Post 751,000
The Detroit News 650,000
The Detroit Free Press 645,000
The Chicago Sun Times 631,000
(The Long Island) Newsday 582,000
The San Francisco Chronicle 554,000
The Boston Globe 514,000
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”
BACKGROUND NOTES
comic strip: a sequence of drawings relating a comic
incident, an adventure, etc., often serialized
in daily newspapers. The comics (sections in
newspapers featuring comic strips) are a
source of ideas for Hollywood characters like
Superman, Batman, Dennis the Menace, etc.
copyright: the exclusive ownership of and the right to
make use of a literary, musical or artistic
work, protected by law for a specified period
of time
editorial an article in a newspaper presenting the
(or a leading views of the newspaper owners or managers
article):

215
exposé a public revelation of some shocking
[´ekspou΄zei]: information
mass the process by which individuals or groups
communication: transmit information to large, heterogeneous,
and widely dispersed audiences
mass media: the means employed in mass communication,
often divided into print media and broadcast
media. In the late 20th century there appeared
a new, powerful part of mass media –
Internet.
newspaper a drawing symbolizing, satirizing or
cartoon: caricaturing some action, subject or person.
The word “cartoons” came also to be used in
the meaning of “comic strips” in the papers
and drawn motion pictures.
newspaper an agency that buys articles, stories,
syndicate: photographs, etc., and distributes them for
simultaneous publication in a number of
newspapers or periodicals. A newspaper
syndicate may maintain a chain of
newspapers itself.
news service: (Am. E.) news agency, that is, a business
organization that gathers news for transmittal
to newspapers, magazines, broadcasting
stations, and other subscribers.
popular newspapers that are interested more in high
newspapers: circulations than in quality reporting. These
newspapers are made about half the size of
an ordinary newspaper (therefore, they are
also called “tabloids”); they are heavily
illustrated, and often concentrating on
sensational or lurid news.

216
quality newspapers that maintain a high standard of
newspapers: excellence in presenting news and other
features. They avoid publishing material of
dubious or scandalous character.
syndicated a journalist writing articles for a syndicate
columnist (or rather than for a newspaper. These articles
journalist): are published simultaneously in hundreds of
newspapers across the United States.
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. Why is the most well-known American
Questions: newspaper The International Herald
Tribune not really an American paper?
2. On what days do American newspapers
appear in larger editions? Can you give
an example of the largest newspaper in
the world from the Guinness Book of
Records?
3. What is the difference between the
“quality” and “popular” newspapers in
America?
4. Why is it often said that there is no
“national press” in the United States?
5. What other business are the largest
newspapers in America engaged in apart
from publishing newspapers?
6. Which American newspaper has been
ranked by a panel of newspaper editors as
“the world’s top daily”?
7. What can you say about newspaper
syndicates and syndicated columnists?
8. In which way do the so-called op-ed
pages in newspapers contribute to
objective reporting?
9. What comic strips have been used to
make some of the popular Hollywood
motion pictures?

217
Group Organize a role-play in English – “publishing
Activities: a newspaper”. Distribute roles among the
students: the editor-in-chief, news reporters,
section leaders. Discuss what sections your
newspaper should include. In your role-play
you may choose the situation like reporting
about some important events in the world or
in your town, or university. The role-play may
require homework assignments, using
computers for word-processing and computer
graphics. The results of such collective work
may be published at the end of the semester.
Individual Write a newspaper article reporting news in a
Work: typical newspaper style. This work
presupposes a good acquaintance with
newspaper articles. Therefore, first read
attentively at least three or four different
newspaper reports in English language
newspapers.

B. News Agencies
Reading You are going to read a text about the leading
Exercises: news agencies in the United States (Text II).
Note down the ways in which American news
agencies maintain their international
reputation and success.
Text II
The Leading News Agencies in the United States
American newspapers get much of their news from the same
sources which serve about half of the people in the world, that is, the
two U.S. news agencies AP (Associated Press) and UPI (United
Press International). These two international news agencies are

218
the world’s largest. Like the largest British international news
agency Reuters, neither is owned, controlled, or operated by the
government. AP is the oldest agency internationally (founded in
1848) and the largest. It maintains reporters and cameramen at 122
domestic and 65 foreign news bureaus. It has some 10,000
subscribers - newspapers, radio and television stations and other
agencies which pay to receive and use AP news and photographs -
in 115 countries. UPI is the second largest, with 92 domestic and
81 foreign bureaus in over 90 countries. It is estimated that
altogether, around 2 billion people get most of their news directly
or indirectly through AP and UPI. It is also said that one reason
why there seems to be so much “American” news internationally is
that both agencies have their headquarters in the U.S.
A basic characteristic of the American press is that almost all
editors and journalists agree that as so much as possible news should
be very clearly separated from opinion about the news. Following
tradition and journalistic ethics, young newspaper editors and
reporters are taught that opinion and political viewpoints belong on
the editorial and opinion pages. They are aware that the selection of
what news is to be printed can cause a bias, of course. But an attempt
must be made to keep the two separate. Therefore, when a news
story appears with a reporter's name, it means that the editors
consider it to be a mixture of fact and opinion.
There is also a very good economic reason for this policy of
separating news and opinion. It was discovered in the late 19th
century that greater numbers of readers trusted, and bought,
newspapers when the news wasn't slanted in one direction or another.
Today, it is often difficult to decide if a paper is Republican or
Democrat, liberal or conservative. Most newspapers, for example,
are careful to give equal and balanced news coverage to opposing
candidates in elections. They might support one candidate or the
other on their editorial pages, but one year this might be a
Republican, and the next a Democrat.

219
AP and UPI owe their international reputation and success to this
policy. Only by carefully limiting themselves to the news – who said
what and what actually happened how, when, and where – are they
trusted and consequently widely used. To protect their reputations for
objectivity, both AP and UPI have strict rules. These prevent
newspapers from changing the original AP and UPI news stories
too much and still claiming these agencies as their source. In
addition to selling news, AP and UPI make available a dozen or so
photographs and political cartoons for any major story each day.
These give different views and show anything from praise to
ridicule. Subscribers are free to choose and print those which suit
them best.
Just as there is no official or government-owned news agency
in the U.S., there are no official or government-owned newspapers.
There is no state censorship, no “official secrets act,” nor any law
that says, for example, that government records must be kept secret
until so many years have passed. The Freedom of Information Act
allows anyone, including newspaper reporters, to get information
that elsewhere is simply “not available.” Courts and judges cannot
stop a story or newspaper from being printed, or published.
Someone can go to court later, but then, of course, the story has
already appeared.
Government attempts to keep former intelligence agents from
publishing secrets they once promised to keep – from “telling it
all,” as the newspapers say – have been notoriously unsuccessful.
One of the best-known recent examples was when The New York
Times and The Washington Post published the so-called “Pentagon
Papers.” These were "secret documents" concerning U.S. military
policy during the war in Vietnam. The newspapers won the
Supreme Court case that followed. The Court wrote (1971): “The
government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the
press would remain forever free to censure the government.”
The tradition of “muckraking” – digging out the dirt and
exposing it for all to see – is still extremely strong, and

220
investigative reporting is still a large part of a journalist's work. This
is one reason why so many younger Americans are attracted to
careers in journalism as a way of effecting change in society. Even
small-town newspapers employ reporters who are kept busy
searching for examples of political corruption, business
malpractice, or industrial pollution. They are assisted by court
decisions which make it harder for “public figures” to sue for libel
or slander. Almost anyone who is well known is a public figure,
whether they be politicians, judges, policemen, generals, business
leaders, sports figures, or TV and movie personalities.
Needless to say, some Americans are not happy with this
strong tradition of investigative reporting. They say that it has gone
too far, that it gives a false impression of the country, that it makes
it almost impossible to keep one's private life private. The press, they
say, is not and should not be part of government. The American
press responds by quoting their constitutional rights and proudly
repeating Thomas Jefferson's noble words: "Our liberty depends on
freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being
lost." They perform a public service that is necessary for a healthy
democracy, they claim. Less nobly, they also know, of course, that
when something which has been hidden behind closed doors is
moved to the front pages, it can sell a lot of newspapers.
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”

BACKGROUND NOTES
Associated Press one of the largest news agencies in the
(AP): United States founded in 1848 with
headquarters in New York. The AP is a
cooperative of newspaper editors.
business a dereliction (failure) of professional duty, as
malpractice: by a physician or lawyer, through

221
reprehensible ignorance or negligence or
through criminal intent, especially when
injury or loss follows
the Freedom of the U.S. law confirming the rights of
Information Act: American citizens to any information except
military secrets
intelligence spies, that is, people employed by a
agents: government to collect secret information
about another, usually hostile country
muckraking: searching for and exposing real or alleged
corruption or scandal, especially in politics.
The term was popularized by Theodore
Roosevelt in 1906 in a speech alluding to the
Man with the Muckrake in John Bunyan’s
book The Pilgrim’s Progress
Official Secrets the law prohibiting the publication of the
Act: documents revealing state secrets
Reuters: the largest British International news agency,
founded in London in 1851 by Baron de Paul
Julius Reuter, an English businessman born
in Germany
state censorship: the act or practice of governmental
examining literature, news media, etc., for
the purpose of suppressing or deleting parts
deemed objectionable on moral, political,
military, or other grounds
United Press one of the largest news agencies in the
International United States with headquarters in
(UPI): Washington, founded in 1907 under the name
of “United Press Associations”. In 1958 it
merged with International News Service and
assumed its present name.

222
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What are the largest news agencies in the
Questions: world and who controls them?
2. What is the basic characteristic of the
American press?
3. Are American newspapers subjected to
state censorship?
4. Why are many younger Americans
attracted to the careers in journalism as a
way of effecting change in society?
5. What did Thomas Jefferson have to say
about the freedom of the press in
America?
Group One of the problems of keeping the public
Activities: well informed is objectivity in reporting,
keeping news separate from opinions. In
groups of two to three students discuss the
issue of the influence of the views and
opinions of the journalists on their reporting.
Is it possible, or is it necessary for reporters,
to conceal their own attitude to the news
stories they report?
The final results of the discussion are
presented to the bigger group.

C. Magazines and Books


Discussion Note down the role the magazines play in
Questions: widening the readers’ outlook and in
promoting knowledge of the world.
Reading Read Text III (American Magazines) and
Exercises: note down the main points which make the
American magazines popular and influential
all over the world.

223
Text III
American Magazines
There are over 11,000 magazines and periodicals in the
United States. More than 4,000 of them appear monthly, and over
1,300 are published each week. They cover all topics and
interests, from art and architecture to tennis, from aviation and
gardening to computers and literary criticism. Quite a few have
international editions, are translated into other languages, or have
“daughter” editions in other countries. Among the many
internationals are National Geographic, Reader's Digest,
Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Time, Newsweek, Scientific American, and
Psychology Today.
The weekly newsmagazines – the best known are Time,
Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report – serve as a type of
national press. They also have considerable international impact,
above all Time. This newsmagazine appears each week in several
international editions. There are some for various parts of the
United States, for the Far East, for Australia, for Europe, and so
on. Time claims that although the advertising changes in each
edition, the content remains the same internationally. This is not
quite true: in the U.S. editions, for instance, there is no section
called “European Notes.” In any case, no other single news
publication is read so widely by so many people internationally,
as is Time.
There are two other reasons why Time has such international
influence. First, several other newsmagazines were modeled on
Time. Among these are the leading newsmagazines in France,
Germany, and Italy. Secondly, Time also sells news, news
features, interviews, photographs, graphics, and charts to other
publications throughout the world. Feature stories that first
appear in Time are therefore echoed in many other publications in
many other countries.

224
The newsmagazines are all aimed at the average, educated
reader. There are also many periodicals which treat serious
educational, political, and cultural topics at length. The best
known of these include The Atlantic Monthly, Harvard
Educational Review, Saturday Review, The New Republic,
National Review, Foreign Affairs, Smithsonian, and, of course,
The New Yorker. Such widely read periodicals, along with the
hundreds of professional journals, provide a broad and substantial
forum for serious discussion. Again, a lot of what first appears in
these publications is often reprinted internationally or in book
form. Many of the long The New Yorker essays, for example,
have later appeared in shortened form in publications – such as
England’s The Observer Magazine or Germany’s Die Zeit.
There is a strong market for such serious publications.
National Geographic has an average circulation of over 10
million, Consumer Reports some 3 million, Smithsonian
(published by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.)
over 2 million copies, Scientific American (U.S. edition) over
700,000, and Saturday Review and The New Yorker over half a
million each. More popular and less demanding publications,
such as Family Circle, Woman's Day, or National Enquirer, of
course, have a huge readership and sell over 4.5 million copies of
each issue. Altogether, there are about 60 magazines in the
United States that sell over 1 million copies per issue each, and
roughly the same number with more than 500,000 copies per
issue.

– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”

225
BACKGROUND NOTES
newsmagazine: a periodical, usually issued weekly, that
specializes in reports and commentaries on
current events. In this meaning the word
appeared in the English language only in the
twenties of the 19th century with general
growth of public interest in political events.
The word “magazine” itself was taken into
English from Arabic via Italian and French.
Its original meaning is “a storehouse”. In the
meaning of “a storehouse of information”,
that is, a periodical that contains essays,
stories, poems, and often illustrations, the
word “magazine” appeared in the English
language in mid-17th century.
Smithsonian a science research and cultural institution and
Institution: national museum in Washington, D.C.,
founded in 1846 with a grant from James
Smithson, the English chemist and
mineralogist

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What is a range of topics covered by
Questions: American magazines?
2. Name some of the most important
American magazines that have
international editions and are published in
other languages.
3. Which of the American newsmagazines is
the best known and most influential in the
world?
4. What American magazines treat at length
serious educational, political, and cultural
topics?

226
Group For a magazine to survive in the conditions of
Activities: stiff competition, it is necessary to increase
the readership through broadening the range
of topics and improving the quality of the
printed material.
In groups of two to four students discuss the
problems of running a successful magazine
with a wide readership. What range of topics
would you choose and what would you do to
raise the informative value of your magazine
as well as its graphics?
Individual Write a letter of some 250 words to the editor
Work: of a very well-known American magazine
expressing your opinions on some of the
topics treated in the recent issues of the
magazine.

Reading Read Text IV (American Books) and note


Exercises: down the reasons why book publishing in
America continues to be a thriving business
despite the spread of electronic media,
especially radio and television.
Text IV
American Books
Despite fears that the so-called electronic media – especially
radio, television, and videos – might damage book publishing, the
opposite seems to be true. Book sales since the introduction of
television have increased considerably, well beyond the increase
in population. In fact, the U.S. leads in the number of books read
per capita. These books range from the most recent best seller or
biography to histories, gardening and cookbooks, or technical
volumes and encyclopedias.

227
Several reasons have been offered to account for this fact.
First, American schools have traditionally stressed and tried to
develop a “love of reading,” to make it a habit. This general
educational emphasis has been successful. One notes how many
people are reading books – not only newspapers or magazines –
in city buses, airports, during lunch breaks, or on the beach.
Secondly, public libraries have always been very active in
communities throughout the country. Here, too, the general
policy has been to get books to people rather than to protect the
books from people. A favorite way of raising money for libraries
is to have thousands of used books donated by the community
and then to have a book sale (“Any five for $1!”). The money
made in this fashion goes to buy new books for the library. Such
popular community fund-raising activities also increase the
feeling among people that the library is theirs.
The third and probably most important reason is that there are
no laws which protect book sellers or fix prices. Anyone can sell
new and used books at discount and sale prices, and just about
everyone does. Very early, books were sold everywhere, in drug
stores and supermarkets, department stores and 24-hour shops,
through book clubs and by colleges as well as in regular book
stores. Many university book stores are student-owned and run.
They operate on a nonprofit basis, that is, all profits go towards
keeping the prices of books down, for paying the student
employees, and often to support student scholarships and other
financial aid. Then, there are the large “paperback supermarkets”
located in most shopping centers, which sell mainly paperback
books on a variety of subjects. These, too, have done a great deal
to keep the book trade healthy and growing. Nationwide radio
and television shows, new movies, and filmed versions of books
have often helped to create spectacular book sales.
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”

228
BACKGROUND NOTES
at a discount at a reduced price
price:
on sale: sold at a special low price. In this meaning
sale is a synonym of discount, and we may
say “at discount and sale prices”. However,
sale hasn’t lost its main meaning that is “act
of selling”, for example, “for sale” means
“available for purchase”.

paperbacks: books bound in a flexible paper cover. Books


are usually issued first in small circulation in
hardcover editions. Large circulations of
paperbacks usually follow if the books sell
well (the so called “bestsellers”).
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What are the reasons that book publishing
Questions: in America has survived and continued to
flourish despite the wide spread of radio,
television and motion pictures?
2. Why are university bookstores so
successful in maintaining large sales at
reasonable prices?

Group Many parents and educators complain that


Activities: children spend too much time on watching TV
and playing computer games. How can we
develop in children a “love of reading”?

Discuss this problem in small groups, and


present your ideas on the level of the bigger
group.

229
D. Radio and Television
Discussion As mass media, both radio and television
Questions: began to be applied on a massive scale only
in the 20th century. Note down the ways the
mass communications changed with the
appearance of these powerful news media.

Reading You are going to read Texts V through IX


Exercises: about Radio and Television in the United
States. Note down the following points:
1. the laws and regulations controlling radio
and television in the United States;
2. the variety of American Radio and
Television;
3. the differences between commercial and
public television programming;
4. the role of television in the lives of
ordinary Americans;
5. the way the Russian branch of the Voice
of America carries out its broadcasting.

TEXT V
Regulation of Radio and Television in the United States
The problem of describing American radio and television is
simply this: there's so much of it, so many different types, and so
much variety. In 1990, there were over 9,000 individual radio
stations operating in the United States. Of this number, over
1,000 were non-commercial, that is, no advertising or
commercials of any type are permitted. These public and
educational radio stations are owned and operated primarily by
colleges and universities, by local schools and boards of
education, and by various religious groups.

230
At the same time, there were close to 1,200 individual
television stations, not just transmitters that pass on programs. Of
these TV stations, just under 300 were non-commercial, that is
non-profit and educational in nature and allowing no commercials
and advertising. Like the non-commercial radio stations, the non-
commercial television stations are supported by individual
donations, grants from foundations and private organizations, and
funds from city, state, and federal sources. In short, if someone
wanted to describe what can be heard and seen on American
radio and television, he or she would have to listen to or watch
close to 10,000 individual stations. There are similar types of
stations, but no one station is exactly the same as another.
All radio and television stations in the United States, public or
private, educational or commercial, large and small, must be
licensed to broadcast by the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC), an independent federal agency. Each license
is given for a few years only. If stations do not conform to FCC
regulations, their licenses can be taken away. There are several
regulations which should be noted.
Although the FCC regulates radio and television
transmissions, it has no control over reception. As a result, there
are no fees, charges, taxes, or licenses in the United States for
owning radio and television receivers or for receiving anything
that is broadcast through the air. This also means that, for
example, anyone who wishes to build his or her own satellite
receiving antenna – that metal dish now seen in many gardens or
on rooftops of houses – may simply do so. No permission is
needed and no fees are paid.
Laws prohibit any state or the federal government from
owning or operating radio and television stations (stations such as
Voice of America may only broadcast overseas). There is also no
governmental censorship or “reviewing” of programs and
content. There are no governmental boards or appointed groups
which control any radio or television broadcasting. Rather, the

231
FCC ensures that no monopolies exist and that each area has a
variety of types of programming and stations. It also regulates
media ownership: no newspaper, for example, may also own a
radio or TV station in its own area, nor may a radio station also
have a television station in the same area. No single company or
group may own more than a total of 12 stations nationwide.
These and other FCC policies work to prevent any single group
from having too much influence in any area and to guarantee a
wide range of choices in each.
With this “something-for-everyone” policy, even
communities with only 10,000 or so people often have two local
radio stations. They may broadcast local stories and farming
reports, weather and road conditions in the area, city council
meetings, church activities, sports events and other things of
interest to the community. They also carry national and
international news taken from the larger stations or networks and
emphasize whatever might be the “big story” in the small town.
The big cities, by contrast, are served by a large number of
local radio stations, often by more than 25. People who live in
cities such as New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles, for instance,
have a choice of up to 100 AM and FM stations and many
different “formats.”
There is also a great variety among television stations,
although there are fewer overall. Smaller cities and areas have
one or two local stations, and the larger cities ten or more. In Los
Angeles, for example, there are 18 different local television
stations. Ninety percent of all American homes can receive at
least six different television stations, and more than 50 percent
can get 10 or more without cable, without paying a fee, or any
charges of any type.

232
“Formats”
Most commercial radio stations follow a distinctive format, that
is, a type of programming that appeals to a certain listening
audience. Some of the most common radio formats are given
below with the approximate number of stations in the U.S. for
each type (some stations have more than one format). To change
from one format to another, stations need permission from the
FCC.
Format Number of stations
Middle-of-the-road/ contemporary music about 3,000
Country-and-Western about 2,500
Top-40 hits about 1,200
Progressive, hard rock about 680
Light instrumental music about 600
Golden oldies, hits from the past about 320
Classical music about 300
Rhythm & blues, soul music about 280
Jazz about 250
Religious, religious music about 900
Talk, interviews, discussions, phone-in, etc. about 400
All news about 300
Agricultural and farm news about 200
Big Band, Swing about 130

– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”

233
BACKGROUND NOTES
dish (or dish a dish-shaped reflector used especially for
antenna): receiving satellite and microwave signals

Federal an independent federal agency that regulates


Communications interstate and international communication
Commission by radio, television, telephone, telegraph,
(FCC): cable, and satellite

radio and a group of transmitting stations linked by


television wire or microwave relay so that the same
network: radio or television program can be broadcast
by all

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. Who owns and operates non-commercial
Questions: radio and television stations in America?
2. How are the non-commercial radio and
television stations supported?
3. What organization regulates the activities
of all radio and television stations in the
United States?
4. In which way does the FCC ensure that no
monopolies exist and that each area has a
variety of types of programming and
stations?
5. What are the laws regulating
governmental control of radio and
television stations in America?
6. What formats are most popular among the
American commercial stations?

234
Text VI
Variety of American Radio and Television
Broadcasting
Allowing just about everyone “a piece of the air” has resulted
in a tremendous variety. It has meant, for example, hundreds of
foreign-language radio stations including those broadcasting in
Chinese, French, Japanese, Polish, and Portuguese. About 160
radio stations throughout the U.S. broadcast only in Spanish.
About half a dozen or so radio stations are owned by American
Indian tribes and groups. There are some 400 radio stations
operated by university students. Many of these stations are
members of a nationwide university broadcasting network which
enables them to share news and views.
The National Public Radio network (NPR) is an association of
public radio stations, that is, of non-commercial and educational
broadcasters. NPR is known for its quality news and discussion
programs. Another public radio network, American Public Radio
(APR), created The Prairie Home Companion. This commentary
and entertainment program quickly became a national cult
program, and a book growing out of this series, Lake Wobegone
Days, was an enormous best seller in 1985.
The largest television network is not CBS, NBC, or ABC. Nor
is it one of the cable networks such as CNN (Cable News
Network), which carries only news and news stories, ESPN, the
all-sports cable network, or even MTV, which is famous for its
music videos. Rather, it is PBS (Public Broadcasting Service)
with its over 280 nonprofit, non-commercial stations sharing
programs. The growth of public television in the past two decades
has been dramatic. This is especially noteworthy when one
considers that these stations must often survive on very limited
budgets, on viewers’ donations, and on private foundations. Their
level of quality, whether in national and international news,
entertainment, or education, is excellent. Children and parents in

235
many parts of the world are familiar with Sesame Street, a series
that was a breakthrough in children's programming, The Muppet
Show, or Reading Rainbow.
The majority of commercial television stations receive most
of their programming, roughly 70 percent, from the three
commercial networks. The networks with their financial and
professional resources have several advantages. They are able to
purchase the distribution rights, for example, to the most recent
films and series. They can attract the best artists and performers.
Above all, they are able to maintain large news-gathering
organizations throughout the nation and throughout the world.
They also have a considerable income from selling news and
video material to other international television systems.
All of the networks have nationwide news programs which
also stress feature stories in the mornings, throughout the week.
All have regularly scheduled news series. Among the most
popular are CBS’s Sixty Minutes and PBS’s The MacNeil/Lehrer
Newshour. The world’s most durable TV show is NBC's Meet the
Press which has been aired weekly since 1948. This show, in
which important political figures or leaders are interviewed by
journalists, now has imitators in virtually every other country.
Local television stations also have their own news teams,
reporters and film crews. Usually, local television stations will
offer between half an hour to two hours of local, city, and state
news, weather and business information in addition to the
national network news programs. In a city where there are three
stations, for example, viewers will also have a choice of three
local, city, and state news reporting programs and series. The
local stations are also in competition with one another for getting
the most recent news. If their programs are watched by many
people, they are more likely to attract more money from
advertisers.
– by K. Janda, J. Berry, J. Goldman,
“The Mass Media”

236
BACKGROUND NOTES
distribution the licensing of motion pictures, television
rights: programs, and other media to someone who
distributes the finished products to various
exhibitors

feature story: a full-length story about a person or event


with a personal slant

private institutions financed by a donation or legacy,


foundations: as to aid research, education, or the arts

radio and the planning, arranging, and scheduling of


television programs for broadcast, cable television,
programming: MMDS (Multiple Multipoint Distribution
Service), DBS (Direct Broadcast Satellite),
and so on

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What is the level of quality of national and
Questions: international news broadcasting in
America?
2. Enumerate the main advantages of the
commercial networks with their financial
and professional resources.
3. Name some of the most popular TV shows
in America.
4. In which way do local TV stations share
broadcasting time with the national
network news programs?

237
Text VII
Commercial Television in America
Numerous books, studies, and popular articles have been
written about American commercial television and its programs,
their quality or lack of it, their effects, real and imagined, their
symbols, myths, and power. There are enough pressure groups in
the U.S., however, – religious, educational, and those
representing advertisers – so that what does appear on
commercial television programs probably represents what the
majority of people want to see. Most of the commercial series and
programs which have been successful in the United States have
also been successful internationally. They have been regularly
purchased and shown even in nations that only have government-
financed or controlled television systems. No commercial
network in the U.S. thinks that Dallas, for example, is fine drama.
But they've watched foreign television companies such as the
BBC and ITV fight over the broadcast rights, and others hurry to
make their own imitations. They conclude, therefore, that such
popular entertainment series are in fact popular.
There is less concern today than there once was about how
much influence advertisers might have on television
programming. The U.S. liquor industry did not stop the
commercial stations from voluntarily banning all liquor
advertising and commercials from TV in the early 1950s. And the
strong tobacco lobby could not stop cigarette ads being banned
either. All three commercial networks gave extensive, and
strongly critical coverage to the war in Vietnam. The Three Mile
Island nuclear accident was widely reported in depth, as were and
are airplane crashes or industrial pollution stories. The
commercial networks have discovered what the newspapers did
earlier: good critical investigative reporting on important issues
will attract viewers. If one advertiser is offended, another will not
be.

238
Commercials take up about ten minutes of every 60 minutes
during “prime-time” viewing. This is the period in the early
evening when most viewers are watching television.
Commercials range from those that are witty, well-made, and
clever to those that are dull, boring, and dumb. Advertisers have
learned that unless their commercials are at least amusing,
viewers will either switch to another channel or use commercial
“breaks” to get up and do something else.
With the rising popularity of public television and
commercial-free cable TV, viewers can, if they wish, turn to
stations that do not have commercials. Experience in those
countries which lead in the amount of television programs
available – Canada, the United States, and Japan, in that order –
seems to indicate that even with other choices available,
commercially-produced programs are still popular with many
people. Here it is interesting to note that Britain’s commercial
ITV channel now attracts more viewers than does the BBC. Many
Americans, who pay no fee for either commercial or public TV,
simply accept commercials as the price they have to pay if they
choose to watch certain programs.
At present, no one seems quite sure what will come out of the
cable television, video, and satellite or pay television
“revolutions.” There is no nationwide system or policy on cable
television. Local communities are free to decide whether or not
they will have cable television. There are many different types of
schemes, systems, and programs. Some offer top-rate recent
movies on a pay-as-you-watch system, some offer opera and
symphonic music. All are willing to provide “public access”
channels where individuals and groups of citizens produce their
own programming. It does not appear, however, that the hopes
once voiced for cable television will be realized. Cable firms
must be able to offer something special to get many people to pay
for what they can normally see free of charge through regular
public and commercial stations. It will also be difficult to get

239
people receiving satellite programs with the help of dish antennas
to pay for all the programs they simply grab out of the air.
– by K. Janda, J. Berry, J. Goldman,
“The Mass Media”
BACKGROUND NOTES
BBC a national broadcasting organization. It was
(British founded in 1927 under governmental control
Broadcasting in London. Since 1936 it broadcasts also
Corporation): television programs
cable television: a communications system that delivers
broadcast and other signals to a subscriber
for a fee. The term is usually synonymous
with community antenna television, CATV,
and cable TV
commercial a radio or television program that is paid for
program: by a sponsor or by the sale of time for
commercial matter
ITV (Independent a system of British television companies
Television): supported by advertising
prime time: the time period in television from 8 p.m. to
11 p.m. (or Sundays from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.).
The prime time is in general the time when
television is viewed or listened to by the
greatest number of persons.
public access a specially designated, noncommercial cable
channel: television channel available to the public on a
first-come, nondiscriminatory basis
radio or a radio or television announcement that is
television paid for, as opposed to service
commercial: announcement. Commercials on radio and
television are often made in the form of a

240
motion picture, and may include any
narration, dialogue, songs, jingles, or other
matter that depicts or mentions the
advertiser’s name, product, or service.
television the extent and slant of television reporting of
coverage: an event
the Three Mile an island in the Susquehanna River in
Island: Pennsylvania, where a nuclear plant accident
took place in 1979

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. Are American commercial programs,
Questions: which have been successful in the United
States, also successful internationally?
2. Why is there less concern today than there
once was about the influence advertisers
might have on television programming?
3. What is the average ratio of commercials
to television broadcasting during prime
time viewing?
4. Is there any nationwide system or policy
on cable television in America?
5. What is the fundamental difference in
access to cable television channels and
other forms of television broadcasting?
Text VIII
The Impact of Television on the Way of Life
A few remarks on how much television that “typical
American” watches should be added. Obviously, there is a lot to
watch and a great variety of it. Live sports events are televised at
full length and attract a lot of viewers. Recent full-length movies
are popular and there is always at least one station that has the

241
“Late Late Movies,” often old Westerns or Japanese horror films
that start after midnight and go on until 3 or 4 a.m. And quite a
few viewers in the United States and elsewhere enjoy the many
television series and made-for-television specials which
seemingly never end. Statistics show that the number of hours
spent watching television is highest for women over 55 years of
age, and lowest for young men between 18 and 24 years.
The popular press is often not very careful when reporting
statistics of television-viewing times. The U.S. statistics
published each year tell how long a television set in a typical
American household is, on the average, turned on each day (and
night), not how long an American is actually watching television.
Such differences are important. The household might include
parents who watch the local and national news programs each
evening. The older children might watch a program, say the Bill
Cosby Show, the most popular show in 1986. The teenager might
then switch to the cable MTV, the famous channel featuring rock
and modem music videos. What is counted, then, is the total time
the TV set is turned on (now just over 6 hours a day). In fact, the
number of hours of television the so-called average American
watches has been stable for the past three years at around 4.5
hours a week. Furthermore, a Gallup poll found that while 46
percent of Americans chose television as “their favorite way of
spending an evening” in 1974, only 30 percent did in 1994.
Television sets in America are turned on in much the same
way and for the same reasons that radios are, as background
music and noise. Life does not stop in either case. Many morning
and daytime programs are only viewed intermittently, while other
things are going on and demand one’s attention. The television is
only watched, in other words, when something interesting is
heard. If our typical American were actually “glued to the tube”
an average of six or seven hours a day, seven days of the week,
very few would be going to school, earning university degrees,
raising families, working, running businesses, or even getting

242
much sleep. And few would have time to read all those
newspapers, magazines, and books.
– by K. Janda, J. Berry, J. Goldman,
“The Mass Media”
BACKGROUND NOTES
American a group of individuals occupying a house,
household: apartment, group of rooms, or single room
that is considered a housing unit by the
Bureau of the Census
housing unit: defined by the U.S. Bureau of the Census as
a group of rooms, or a single room that is
occupied as separate living quarters. Housing
units do not include institutions, barracks,
dormitories and other group quarters.
made-for- television programs that are not carried on a
television regular basis. This term is also applied for a
specials: news story filed by an out-of-town
correspondent.
MTV a concept or performance video of single
(Music recordings made by contemporary artists
Television):
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What American television programs
Questions: attract great numbers of viewers in the
United States of America?
2. Among what categories of population in
the United States is the number of hours
spent watching television the highest?
3. Why are the popular press reports about
the statistics of television-viewing times in
America not reliable?

243
4. In American households, television sets
are turned on some 7 hours a day, but
when is television really watched?
Group Organize a role-play on the basis of “typical
Activities: American television programs”. First, the
group is divided into subgroups of two to
three students, and each subgroup is given an
assignment to prepare a piece of television
broadcasting of a certain genre. The
distribution of tasks must take into account the
interests and leanings of the students
themselves. The full television program must
contain the following items: news of the
world, including business news and weather
reports; a feature story, a theatrical or musical
piece, etc.
The next stage is work in small groups which
may take 15 to 20 minutes. Finally, the small
groups join their efforts in presenting the
composite program before the whole of the
group.

Individual American television has often been criticized


Work: for its negative influence on the young minds
by showing violence, sex and horror on the
television screens.
You are a concerned parent of a teenager, who
spends too much time watching television.
Write a letter of some 300 – 350 words to
your state’s congressional representative,
explaining to him or her your concern over the
educational values of American television and
asking for some resolute legislative action.

244
E. Internet and World Wide Web
Discussion As the world approached the third millenium,
Questions: a new powerful medium of mass communi-
cation was discovered – the Internet – which
has revolutionized the way people communi-
cate. Note down the following points:
1. The origins of the Internet. What led to
the discovery and development of the
Internet and World Wide Web?
2. What are the most important features of
the new medium which make it different
from the other media of mass
communication?

Reading You are going to read Texts IX and X based


Exercises: on the article by Bruce Sterling about the
history and development of the Internet
which was published in the Science Column
of the F&SF magazine. As you read, note
down the following points:
1. When and how did the history of the
Internet begin? What was the original
purpose of the Internet?
2. What standards for communications have
been used in developing the Internet?
3. Why has the Internet spread so fast to
become the world’s information
superhighway?
4. What are the main functions of the
Internet?

245
Text IX
Short History of the Internet
Some thirty years ago, the RAND Corporation, America’s
foremost Cold War think-tank, faced a strange strategic problem.
How could the US authorities successfully communicate after a
nuclear war?
Postnuclear America would need a command-and-control
network, linked from city to city, state to state, base to base. But
no matter how thoroughly that network was armored or protected,
its switches and wiring would always be vulnerable to the impact
of atomic bombs. A nuclear attack would reduce any conceivable
network to tatters.
And how would the network itself be commanded and
controlled? Any central authority, any network central citadel,
would be an obvious and immediate target for an enemy missile.
The center of the network would be the very first place to go.
RAND mulled over this grim puzzle in deep military secrecy, and
arrived at a daring solution. The RAND proposal (the brainchild
of RAND staffer Paul Baran) was made public in 1964. In the
first place, the network would have no central authority.
Furthermore, it would be designed from the beginning to operate
while in tatters.
The principles were simple. The network itself would be
assumed to be unreliable at all times. It would be designed from
the get-go to transcend its own unreliability. All the nodes in the
network would be equal in status to all other nodes, each node
with its own authority to originate, pass, and receive messages.
The messages themselves would be divided into packets, each
packet separately addressed. Each packet would begin at some
specified source node, and end at some other specified destination
node. Each packet would wind its way through the network on an
individual basis.

246
The particular route that the packet took would be
unimportant. Only final results would count. Basically, the packet
would be tossed like a hot potato from node to node, more or less
in the direction of its destination, until it ended up in the proper
place. If big pieces of the network had been blown away, that
simply wouldn’t matter; the packets would still stay airborne,
lateralled wildly across the field by whatever nodes happened to
survive. This rather haphazard delivery system might be
“inefficient” in the usual sense (especially compared to, say, the
telephone system) – but it would be extremely rugged.
During the 60s, this intriguing concept of a decentralized,
blastproof, packet-switching network was kicked around by
RAND, MIT and UCLA. In 1969, the Pentagon’s Advanced
Research Projects Agency (ARPA) decided to fund work on this
project in the USA. The nodes of the network were to be high-
speed supercomputers (or what passed for supercomputers at the
time). These were rare and valuable machines which were in real
need of good solid networking, for the sake of national research-
and-development projects.
In fall 1969, the first such node was installed in UCLA. By
December 1969, there were four nodes on the infant network,
which was named ARPANET, after its Pentagon sponsor. The
four computers could transfer data on dedicated high-speed
transmission lines. They could even be programmed remotely
from the other nodes. Thanks to ARPANET, scientists and
researchers could share one another’s computer facilities by long-
distance. This was a very handy service, for computer-time was
precious in the early ’70s. In 1971 there were fifteen nodes in
ARPANET; by 1972, thirty-seven nodes. And it was good.
By the second year of operation, however, an odd fact became
clear. ARPANET’s users had warped the computer-sharing
network into a dedicated, high-speed, federally subsidized
electronic post-office. The main traffic on ARPANET was not
long-distance computing. Instead, it was news and personal

247
messages. Researchers were using ARPANET to collaborate on
projects, to trade notes on work, and eventually, to downright
gossip and schmooze. People had their own personal user
accounts on the ARPANET computers, and their own personal
addresses for electronic mail. Not only were they using
ARPANET for person-to-person communication, but they were
very enthusiastic about this particular service – far more
enthusiastic than they were about long-distance computation. It
wasn't long before the invention of the mailing-list, an
ARPANET broadcasting technique in which an identical message
could be sent automatically to large numbers of network
subscribers.
Throughout the ’70s, ARPA’s network grew. Its decentralized
structure made expansion easy. Unlike standard corporate
computer networks, the ARPA network could accommodate
many different kinds of machine. As long as individual machines
could speak the packet-switching lingua franca of the new,
anarchic network, their brand-names, and their content, and even
their ownership, were irrelevant.
The ARPA’s original standard for communication was known
as NCP, “Network Control Protocol,” but as time passed and the
technique advanced, NCP was superceded by a higher-level,
more sophisticated standard known as TCP/IP. TCP, or
“Transmission Control Protocol,” converts messages into streams
of packets at the source, then reassembles them back into
messages at the destination. IP, or “Internet Protocol,” handles
the addressing, seeing to it that packets are routed across multiple
nodes and even across multiple networks with multiple standards.
As early as 1977, TCP/IP was being used by other networks
to link to ARPANET. ARPANET itself remained fairly tightly
controlled, at least until 1983, when its military segment broke
off and became MILNET. But TCP/IP linked them all. And
ARPANET itself, though it was growing, became a smaller and

248
smaller neighborhood amid the vastly growing galaxy of other
linked machines.
As the ’70s and ’80s advanced, many very different social
groups found themselves in possession of powerful computers. It
was fairly easy to link these computers to the growing network-
of- networks. As the use of TCP/IP became more common, entire
other networks fell into the digital embrace of the Internet, and
messily adhered. Since the software called TCP/IP was public-
domain, and the basic technology was decentralized and rather
anarchic by its very nature, it was difficult to stop people from
barging in and linking up somewhere-or-other. In point of fact,
nobody wanted to stop them from joining this branching complex
of networks, which came to be known as the “Internet.”
Connecting to the Internet cost the taxpayer little or nothing,
since each node was independent, and had to handle its own
financing and its own technical requirements. The more, the
merrier. Like the phone network, the computer network became
steadily more valuable as it embraced larger and larger territories
of people and resources.
In 1984 the National Science Foundation got into the act,
through its Office of Advanced Scientific Computing. The new
NSFNET set a blistering pace for technical advancement, linking
newer, faster, shinier supercomputers, through thicker, faster
links, upgraded and expanded, again and again, in 1986, 1988,
1990. And other government agencies leapt in: NASA, the
National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, each of
them maintaining a digital satrapy in the Internet confederation.
ARPANET itself formally expired in 1989, a happy victim of
its own overwhelming success. Its users scarcely noticed, for
ARPANET’s functions not only continued but steadily improved.
The use of TCP/IP standards for computer networking is now
global. In 197l, there were only four nodes in the ARPANET
network. Today there are hundreds of thousands of nodes in the
Internet, scattered over forty-two countries, with more coming

249
on-line every day. Millions of people all over the world use this
gigantic mother-of-all-computer-networks.
The Internet is especially popular among scientists, and is
probably the most important scientific instrument of the late
twentieth century. The powerful, sophisticated access that it
provides to specialized data and personal communication has
sped up the pace of scientific research enormously.
– by Bruce Sterling
BACKGROUND NOTES
ARPANET: the network of the Advanced Research
Projects Agency (ARPA), the prototype of the
Internet. ARPA was established in 1957 by
the then American President Dwight
Eisenhower as a response to the launch of the
first Soviet satellite (“Sputnik”).
dedicated the lines set aside only for transmission of
transmission information
lines:
hardware: (computers) the mechanical, magnetic,
electronic, and electrical devices composing a
computer system
MIT one of the leading technical universities of the
(Massachusetts United States, founded in 1861 in Cambridge,
Institute of Massachusetts
Technology):
NASA (National the governmental organization set up by the
Aeronautics and American government in 1958 to conduct
Space space research and development
Administration):
network nodes: centering points of a network’s component
parts

250
packets: (computers) short segments of data
transmitted as a unit over a network
RAND the RAND (Research and Development)
Corporation: Corporation is a science research unit based in
Santa Monica, California. Though it is not a
unit of the Pentagon, most of its research has
been connected with the matters of defense
and national security.
software: (computers) programs for directing the
operation of a computer or processing
electronic data
TCP/IP the Internet protocols for receiving and
(Transmission sending data. Introduced as a standard in
Control Protocol 1983. It was first used for local
based on Internet communications by the U.S. Ministry of
Protocol): Defense.
UCLA the Los Angeles branch of the University of
(University of California, a leading university in the United
California, Los States, founded in 1868
Angeles):

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What nonstandard solution did the RAND
Questions: Corporation arrive at for the problem of
communication after a nuclear war?
2. Where was the concept of decentralized
network first tested?
3. What did the users of the first in the world
computer-sharing network turn it into?
4. Name the standards which were used in
computer communication. Which of these
standards is a higher level one?

251
5. Why was it fairly easy for different social
groups to join the Internet, which at first
was meant only for military
communication?
6. How did the Internet become a major tool
of communication for scientists? What
scientific organizations set a pace for
technical advancement using the Internet?
7. Why does the Internet prove to be the
most important scientific instrument in the
new millenium?

Text X
The Internet Now
The Internet’s pace of growth in the 1990s and at the turn of
the century is spectacular, almost ferocious. It is spreading faster
than cellular phones, faster than fax machines. The number of
“host” machines with direct connection to TCP/IP has been
doubling every year since 1988. The Internet is moving out of its
original base in military and research institutions, into elementary
and high schools, as well as into public libraries and the
commercial sector.
Why do people want to be “on the Internet?” One of the main
reasons is simple freedom. The Internet is a rare example of a
true, modern, functional anarchy. There is no “Internet Inc.”
There are no official censors, no bosses, no board of directors, no
stockholders. In principle, any node can speak as a peer to any
other node, as long as it obeys the rules of the TCP/IP protocols,
which are strictly technical, not social or political. (There has
been some struggle over commercial use of the Internet, but that
situation is changing as businesses supply their own links).
The Internet is also a bargain. The Internet as a whole, unlike
the phone system, doesn’t charge for long-distance service. And

252
unlike most commercial computer networks, it doesn’t charge for
access time, either. In fact the “Internet” itself, which doesn’t
even officially exist as an entity, never “charges” for anything.
Each group of people accessing the Internet is responsible for
their own machine and their own section of line.
The Internet’s “anarchy” may seem strange or even unnatural,
but it makes a certain deep and basic sense. It’s rather like the
“anarchy” of the English language. Nobody rents English, and
nobody owns English. As an English-speaking person, it’s up to
you to learn how to speak English properly and make whatever
use you please of it (though the government provides certain
subsidies to help you learn to read and write a bit). Otherwise,
everybody just sort of pitches in, and somehow the thing evolves
on its own, and somehow turns out workable. And interesting.
Fascinating, even. Though a lot of people earn their living from
using and exploiting and teaching English, “English” as an
institution is public property, a public good. Much the same goes
for the Internet. Would English be improved if the “The English
Language, Inc.” had a board of directors and a chief executive
officer, or a President and a Congress? There’d probably be a lot
fewer new words in English, and a lot fewer new ideas.
People on the Internet feel much the same way about their
own institution. It's an institution that resists institutionalization.
The Internet belongs to everyone and no one.
But what does one do with the Internet? Four things,
basically: mail, discussion groups, long-distance computing, and
file transfers.
Internet mail is “e-mail,” electronic mail, faster by several
orders of magnitude than the US Mail, which is scornfully known
by Internet regulars as “snailmail.” Internet mail is somewhat like
fax. It’s electronic text. But you don’t have to pay for it (at least
not directly), and it’s global in scope. E-mail can also send
software and certain forms of compressed digital imagery. New
forms of mail are in the works.

253
The discussion groups, or “newsgroups,” are a world of their
own. This world of news, debate and argument is generally
known as “USENET.” USENET is, in point of fact, quite
different from the Internet. USENET is rather like an enormous
billowing crowd of gossipy, news-hungry people, wandering in
and through the Internet on their way to various private backyard
barbecues. USENET is not so much a physical network as a set of
social conventions. In any case, at the moment there are some
2,500 separate newsgroups on USENET, and their discussions
generate about 7 million words of typed commentary every single
day. Naturally there is a vast amount of talk about computers on
USENET, but the variety of subjects discussed is enormous, and
it’s growing larger all the time. USENET also distributes various
free electronic journals and publications.
Both Netnews and e-mail are very widely available, even
outside the high-speed core of the Internet itself. News and e-mail
are easily available over common phone-lines, from Internet
fringe-realms like BITnet, UUCP and Fidonet. The last two
Internet services, long-distance computing and file transfer,
require what is known as “direct Internet access” – using TCP/IP.
Long-distance computing was an original inspiration for
ARPANET and is still a very useful service, at least for some.
Programmers can maintain accounts on distant, powerful
computers, run programs there or write their own. Scientists can
make use of powerful supercomputers a continent away. Libraries
offer their electronic card catalogs for free search. Enormous CD-
ROM catalogs are increasingly available through this service.
And there are fantastic amounts of free software available.
File transfers allow Internet users to access remote machines
and retrieve programs or text. Many Internet computers – some
two thousand of them, so far – allow any person to access them
anonymously, and to simply copy their public files, free of
charge. This is no small deal, since entire books can be
transferred through direct Internet access in a matter of minutes.

254
Now there are over a million such public files available to anyone
who asks for them (and many more millions of files are available
to people with accounts). Internet file-transfers are becoming a
new form of publishing, in which the reader simply electronically
copies the work on demand, in any quantity he or she wants, for
free.
The headless, anarchic, million-limbed Internet is spreading
like bread-mold. Any computer of sufficient power is a potential
spore for the Internet, and today such computers sell for less than
$2,000 and are in the hands of people all over the world. ARPA’s
network, designed to assure control of a ravaged society after a
nuclear holocaust, has been superceded by its mutant child the
Internet, which is thoroughly out of control, and spreading
exponentially through the post-Cold War electronic global
village. The spread of the Internet at present resembles the spread
of personal computing in the 1970s, though it is even faster and
perhaps more important. More important, perhaps, because it may
give those personal computers a means of cheap, easy storage and
access that is truly planetary in scale.
The future of the Internet bids fair to be bigger and
exponentially faster. Commercialization of the Internet is a very
hot topic today, with every manner of wild new commercial
information-service promised. The federal government, pleased
with an unsought success, is also still very much in the act.
NREN, the National Research and Education Network, was
approved by the US Congress in fall 1991, as a five-year, $2
billion project to upgrade the Internet “backbone”. NREN is some
fifty times faster than the fastest network available before,
allowing the electronic transfer of the entire Encyclopedia
Britannica in one hot second. Computer networks worldwide will
feature 3D animated graphics, radio and cellular phone-links to
portable computers, as well as fax, voice, and high-definition
television. A multimedia global circus!

255
Or so it’s hoped – and planned. The real Internet of the future
may bear very little resemblance to today’s plans. Planning has
never seemed to have much to do with the seething, fungal
development of the Internet. After all, today’s Internet bears little
resemblance to those original grim plans for RAND’S post-
holocaust command grid. It’s a fine and happy irony.
How does one get access to the Internet? Well – if you don’t
have a computer and a modem, get one. Your computer can act as
a terminal, and you can use an ordinary telephone line to connect
to an Internet-linked machine. These slower and simpler adjuncts
to the Internet can provide you with the Netnews discussion
groups and your own e-mail address. These are services worth
having – though if you only have mail and news, you're not
actually “on the Internet” proper.
If you’re on a campus, your university may have direct
“dedicated access” to high-speed Internet TCP/IP lines. Apply for
an Internet account on a dedicated campus machine, and you may
be able to get those hot-dog long-distance computing and file-
transfer functions. Some cities, such as Cleveland, supply
“freenet” community access. Businesses increasingly have
Internet access, and are willing to sell it to subscribers. The
standard fee is about $40 a month – about the same as TV cable
service.
As the new millenium proceeds, finding a link to the Internet
will become much cheaper and easier. Its ease of use will also
improve, which is fine news, for the savage UNIX interface of
TCP/IP leaves plenty of room for advancements in user-
friendliness. Learning the Internet now, or at least learning about
it, is wise. At the turn of the century, “network literacy,” like
“computer literacy” before it, has forced itself into very texture of
your life.
— by Bruce Sterling

256
BACKGROUND NOTES
backyard out-of-door parties often held in backyards at
barbecues: which meat is prepared on a metal frame over
an open fire

BITNET a computer network set up in 1981 as a


(Because It’s network for IBM computers. This network
Time Network): can use the Internet mode of addressing
messages.

CD-ROM a compact disc on which a large amount of


(Compact Disc – digitized read-only data can be stored
Read Only
Memory):
FidoNet: noncommercial, free system of electronic
mail. It got its name from a popular name for
yard dogs in America.

holocaust: a great or complete devastation or destruction,


especially by fire

host machine the main computer in a network, which


(host computer): controls or performs certain functions for
other connected computers

Inc. formed into a corporation, that is, an


(Incorporated): association of individuals, created by law and
having an existence apart from that of its
members as well as distinct and inherent
powers and liabilities

multimedia: (used with a singular verb) the combined use


of several media, as sound and full-motion
video in computer applications

257
newsgroup: (computers) a discussion group on a specific
topic, maintained on a computer network

social rules, methods, or practice established by the


conventions: usage; custom

3D representing something in three dimensions


(three-
dimensional):
user-friendliness: the quality of equipment making it easy to
operate and use the given systems

UUCP exchange of files between UNIX-systems


(Unix-to-Unix (UNIX – Uniplexed Information and
CoPy): Computing System – trademark; a multiuser,
multitasking computer operating system)

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What is the main reason for the popularity
Questions: of the Internet determining its fast pace of
growth?
2. Does the Internet charge for long-distance
service and access time?
3. In which ways can the anarchy of the
Internet be compared to the anarchy of the
English language?
4. What are the main functions of the
Internet?
5. Which of the functions of the Internet are
most effective in reaching great masses of
people like newspapers, radio and
television?

258
6. Why is the spread of the Internet now
more important than the spread of
personal computing in the 1970s?
7. What are the prospects for the future of
the Internet?
8. How does one get access to the Internet?
9. Why is learning the Internet technologies
important now?

Group 1. Ideally, the best way of organizing group


Activities: activities on studying the section about
Mass Media is to work in a computer
room with at least seven to ten computer
terminals.
In this case, in small groups of 2 to 3
students different applications and usages
of the Internet are best illustrated and
explained. Among these exercises:
a. organizing a chatroom, with students
using the Internet for discussing all
the problems connected with the fast
growth of the Internet and all the
advantages as well as hidden dangers
of using this medium;
b. browsing the Internet for answers to
some important questions.
The results of such work may later be
reported to the whole group, including the
demonstration of the downloaded files.

2. If, for a number of reasons, activities in


the computer room cannot be carried out
right now, one should organize a
discussion of the problems of the Internet

259
due to the absence of any governmental
control. In small groups discuss all the
consequences of the anarchical state of the
Internet, leading to the appearance of the
so-called dark corners of the Internet, that
is, websites which terrorists, criminals and
irresponsible persons may use for their
nefarious activities. There is also the
problem of publishing rights: a lot of
material downloaded from the Internet can
be used in violation of copyright laws. The
results of such discussions are later
presented to the whole group.

Individual Write a short essay of 300 – 350 words on the


Work: fast development of the Internet and its
prospects.

260
UNIT VI
SPORTS AND RECREATION
A. The Sporting Nation

Discussion The United States is one of the major


Questions: sporting nations of the world, as the results of
the world championships in many kinds of
sports and the Olympic games show.
Note down the following points:
1. What do you know about the most
popular sports in America?
2. In which sports are American athletes
leading at world sports championship?
3. Name some of the greatest American
athletes, the gold medallists of Olympic
games and other world sports
championships. What world records in
different kinds of sports have been set by
American athletes?

Reading You are going to read two texts (Text I and


Exercises: Text II) about the most popular spectator and
participant sports in America. As you read,
note down the following points:
1. What spectator sports are “typically
American”?
2. In which way have American sports
influenced sports life in other countries?
3. What role is played by money in
promoting sports in America?

261
Text I
All-American Sports?
In 1911, the American writer Ambrose Bierce defined Monday
as “in Christian countries, the day after the baseball game.” Times
have changed and countries, too. In the U.S. of today, football is
the most popular spectator sport. Baseball is now in second place
among the sports people most like to watch, except, that is, in
Japan, where it has become the most popular sport. Both baseball
and football are, or course, American developments of sports
played in England. But baseball does not come from cricket, as
many people think. Baseball comes from baseball. As early as
1700, an English churchman in Kent complained of baseball being
played on Sundays. And illustrations of the time make it clear that
this baseball was the baseball now called “the American game.”
Baseball is still very popular in the U.S. as an informal,
neighborhood sport. More than one American remembers the time
when he or she hit a baseball through a neighbor's window (nice
neighbors return the ball...).
What makes football in the U.S. so different from its
European cousins, rugby and soccer, is not just the size, speed,
and strength of its players. Rather, it is the most “scientific” of all
outdoor team sports. Specific rules state what each player in each
position may and may not do, and when. There are hundreds of
possible "plays" (or moves) for teams on offense and defense.
Because of this, football has been called "an open-air chess game
disguised as warfare." Those who don't understand the countless
rules and the many possibilities for plays miss most of the game.
They are like people who, watching a chess game for the first
time, conclude that the purpose is to knock out as many pieces as
possible. One reason for the growing popularity of American
football in several European countries is that the rules of the
game are beginning to be better understood.

262
Baseball and football have the reputation of being “typically
American” team sports. This is ironic because the two most
popular participant sports in the world today are indeed American
in origin - basketball and volleyball. The first basketball game
was played in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1891. It was
invented at a YMCA there as a game that would fill the empty
period between the football season (autumn) and the baseball
season (spring and summer). Volleyball was also first played in
Massachusetts, and also at a YMCA, this one in Holyoke, in
1895. During the First and Second World Wars, American
soldiers took volleyball with them overseas and helped to make it
popular. Today, of course, both basketball and volleyball are
played everywhere by men and women of all ages. They are
especially popular as school sports.
Professional and collegiate basketball games in the U.S.
attract large numbers of fans (some 50 million spectators a year
during the 1990s). Most of the important games are televised live.
By the way, it’s not always true that professional basketball
players must be at least six feet and seven inches (two meters)
tall. At present, one of the most popular professionals is a player
who is only five feet and seven inches.
There is an enormous amount of live broadcasting of all
different types of sports events, professional and amateur, at state,
national, and international levels. Americans are used to having
baseball and basketball, college and professional football games,
golf, tennis, and auto racing, swimming meets and the Olympics
carried live and at full length. In season, college football games
are shown live all day Saturday. On Sundays, there are live
television broadcasts of the professional teams. Usually one or
two games are broadcast throughout the land, and many others
only to regions where the teams have most of their fans.
Surprisingly, this live broadcasting of sports events has not only
increased interest in the sports, it has also increased actual
attendance at the stadiums or arenas.

263
Hockey (ice hockey, that is, the other kind is largely a
women’s sport in the U.S.), baseball, football, and basketball are
the “four major sports.” Their seasons now often overlap. Some
football games are still being played in January in the snow and
ice. Pre-season baseball games start in warm, sunny regions like
Florida and Arizona about the same time. In the fall of the year,
all four come together. Some people think that having four very
popular sports at the same time is “a bit much.” But they
shouldn’t bother the rest of us, please, during the games.
There are many other sports and sports activities in America
which attract millions of active participants. Among them are
golf, swimming, tennis, marathons, track and field, bowling,
archery, skiing, skating, squash and badminton, rowing and
sailing, weight-lifting, boxing, and wrestling. A survey in 1983,
for example, showed that 44 percent of all Americans took part in
some athletic activity once a day. And statistics for 1990s reveal
that swimming, bicycling, fishing, jogging, calisthenics or
gymnastics, and bowling (in that order) are Americans’ favorite
participatory sports.
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”
BACKGROUND NOTES
amateur sport: a sport whose participants never compete for
payment or for a monetary prize
archery: the art or sport of shooting with a bow and
arrow
badminton: a game like tennis played by two or four
people who hit a small feathered object
(shuttlecock) over a high net with a racket
baseball: a game involving the batting of a hard ball.
The game is played by two teams of nine
players each on a large field with a diamond-
shaped circuit defined by four bases, to

264
which batters run and advance to score runs.
To score a run, the batter must hit off the ball
thrown by the pitcher of the other team,
circle the bases and return to the home base.
The rules of the game as it is played now
were finally established by 1900, though the
first matches were played in the first half of
the nineteenth century. Baseball season starts
in April, and by October, when the “World
Series” – the all-American baseball
championship – are held, more than forty
million tickets to baseball matches will be
sold. On the average, one baseball match
gathers 20,000 spectators.
bowling: a game in which players roll balls at standing
objects or towards a mark. Usually a heavy ball
is rolled down a wooden alley at wooden pins.
cricket: an outdoor game, popular in Britain, for two
teams of 11 members each that is played on a
field having two wickets 22 yards (20 m)
apart. The object of the game is to score runs
by batting the ball far enough so that one is
enabled to exchange wickets with the batman
defending the opposite wicket before the ball
is recovered.
football: 1. association football (soccer) – a game
that is played between two teams of 11
players using a round ball that is kicked
but not handled;
2. (Am. E.) American football – an
American game played between two
teams of 11 players using an oval ball
that can be handled or kicked;
3. rugby football – a form of football played
between two teams of 15 members each
(rugby union). Unlike soccer, the rules of
rugby allow the freedom to carry the ball,

265
block with the hands and arms, and tackle
(to get the ball by holding the opponent
and bringing him down). Like American
football, the game is played with an oval
ball.
golf: a game in which clubs are used to hit a small
ball into a series of holes, usually 9 or 18,
situated at various distances over a golf
course, the object being to get the ball into
each hole in as few strokes as possible. Each
new attempt at driving the ball into a hole
begins with hitting the ball at the teeing
ground (or tee) in the form of a mount of
earth or a peg.
(field) hockey: a field game in which two teams of 11
players each use hockey sticks to try to drive
a small ball into a netted goal
(ice) hockey: a game played on ice between two teams of
six skaters each, the object being to score
goals by shooting a puck into the opponents’
cage using a stick with a wooden blade set at
an obtuse angle to the shaft
marathon: a foot race over a course measuring 26 miles
385 yards (42 km 195 m). The term is an
allusion to Pheidippides’ run in 490 BC from
the Marathon plain to Athens to carry news
of the Greek victory over the Persians.
participatory a sport that attracts a great number of active
(or participant) participants rather than spectators
sport:
professional a sport in which the athletes compete for
sport: payment or for a monetary prize. As the
popularity of such spectator sports as baseball,
basketball, football and others grows,
professional sports become a booming industry
bringing in billions of dollars in profits.

266
spectator sport: a sport that is watched as a form of
entertainment without taking part
squash: a game played in a four-walled court by
usually two people with rackets (smaller than
for tennis) and a small rather soft rubber ball.
The game is similar to another popular
American game “racquets”.
tennis: a game for two players or two pairs of
players who use rackets to hit a small soft
ball backwards and forwards across a low net
dividing a specially marked level court
track and field: a sport performed indoors or outdoors and
made up of several events, as running, pole-
vaulting, shot-putting, and broad-jumping
YMCA (Young a religious organization aiming at educating
Men’s Christian young men in Christian principles. YMCA
Association): involves young people through offering a
large network of sports camps, hotels, etc.

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What are the most popular spectator sports
Questions: in America?
2. Why has American football been called
“an open-air chess game disguised as
warfare”?
3. What are the most popular participatory
sports in America?
4. Has the live broadcasting of sports events
affected the interest of Americans in the
spectator and participatory sports?
5. What are the other sports in America apart
from the four major sports, that is
baseball, football, hockey and basketball?
6. How many Americans take part in some
athletic activity at least once a day?

267
Text II
The Variety of the U.S. Sports
The question remains why so many sports are so popular in
the United States. One reason may be that the variety and size of
America and the different climates found in it have provided
Americans with a large choice of (summer and winter) sports. In
addition, public sports facilities have always been available in
great number for participants, even in sports such as golf, tennis,
or skating. The fact that the average high school, too, offers its
students a great variety of sports, often including rowing, tennis,
wrestling, and golf, may have contributed to the wide and varied
interest and participation of Americans in sports. This, in turn,
may explain why Americans have traditionally done well
internationally in many of these sports.
Another reason might be that Americans like competition, by
teams or as individuals, of any type. It’s the challenge, some say.
Others point out that American schools and colleges follow the
tradition of all English-speaking societies in using sports
activities as a way of teaching “social values.” Among these are
teamwork, sportsman-ship (when they win, American players are
expected to say, “well, we were just lucky”), and persistence (not
quitting “when the going gets rough”). As a result, being
intelligent and being good in sports are seen as things that can go
together and, as an ideal, should. While there are colleges where
sports seem to be dominant, there are many others which have
excellent academic reputations and are also good in sports.
Stanford, UCLA, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Harvard, and Yale are
among them.
Others conclude that Americans simply like sports activities
and always have. They like to play a friendly game of softball at
family picnics, and “touch football” (no tackling!) games can get
started on beaches and in parks whenever a few young people
come together. “Shooting baskets” with friends is a favorite way

268
to pass the time, either in a friend's driveway (the basket is over
the garage door) or on some city or neighborhood court. And on a
beautiful autumn afternoon – the sun shining in a clear blue sky,
the maple trees turning scarlet and the oaks a golden yellow – it is
fun to go with friends to a football game. And go they do.
In the 1990s, an average of more than 100,000 people
attended each of the University of Michigan’s football games.
Ohio State University, located only about 150 miles away, had its
Saturday games sold out for years (an average of almost 90,000
per game). Across the country, in California, Stanford’s team
brought an average of over 50,000 into its stadium for each game,
and UCLA’s more than 53,000. Back East, Harvard and Yale
“only” attracted an average of 21,500 fans each. Altogether, there
are some 650 university and college football teams playing most
Saturdays across the nation. Around 50 of them have an average
of more than 40,000 people attending each game, although
professional football games are held the next day, Sunday.
Among the 28 professional National Football League (NFL)
teams, the average number of fans attending each game was close
to 60,000 in the 1990s. And, of course, there are the millions
watching the game on TV. By tradition there are always so many
parties which follow football games, win or lose, and these are
especially popular at universities. Some critics say that among the
millions of those attending football games are many who think
it’s the first part of the party (and our 85 research shows that this
might be correct). Friends and relatives often come together to
spend a Sunday having drinks, barbecuing, and, yes, watching a
game or two. But with or without parties, Americans do like their
sports, for whatever reason you care to choose.
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”

269
BACKGROUND NOTES
softball: a form of baseball played on a smaller
diamond with a larger and softer ball
sportsmanship: a spirit of honest, fair play
touch football: a kind of football in which a touch is used
instead of a tackle to stop the ballcarrier
wrestling: a sport in which two opponents struggle hand
to hand in order to pin or press each other’s
shoulders to the mat or ground, with the style
and rules differing greatly between amateur
and professional matches. Thus, in Greco-
Roman wrestling, which was part of the
Olympic games in Ancient Greece, and is
still practiced now, the contestants are
forbidden to trip, tackle or use holds below
the waist. On the other hand, in the American
professional wrestling there is the principle
“No holds are barred”.

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What are the reasons for a great number of
Questions: sports that are popular in the United
States?
2. Name American universities which have
excellent academic reputations and are
also good in sports.
3. How many fans attend on the average each
game of the National Football League
teams? Compare it with the attendance of
the University games held on Saturdays.
4. What are the traditions connected with
American football games?

270
Group Many American sports, while very popular in
Activities: the United States, are unfamiliar for most
other nations. So as to understand the spirit of
a nation better, one must understand also the
sports games which are most popular with the
people of this nation.
Divide your group into smaller groups with
each group choosing itself one of the most
popular American games and setting out to
study all the rules as well as all the language
idioms connected with this game. This may
require a homework to allow students time
and opportunity to look through the
newspapers and magazines, to browse in the
Internet, and to search through the multimedia
(for example, CD-ROMs with computer
games and encyclopedias like the Millenium
edition of the “Encarta”).
At the final stage, all the groups join together
to present their stories and to answer
questions.
Individual Write an essay of some 300 – 350 words
Work: describing one of the sports popular in
America which you like. Compare it with
similar kinds of sport in other countries,
including Russia.
B. Professionalism in Sport
Discussion Note down the following points:
Questions: 1. the role of sports as an industry of
entertainment, and as a means of
creating and maintaining individual and
community health;
2. the positive and negative aspects of
allowing big money into sports.
Reading Read Text III (Sports and Money) and note
Exercises: down the attitudes of Americans towards
money in sports.

271
Text III
Sports and Money
The money earned by some professional athletes does not
seem so impressive when one thinks that only a very few of the
best will ever make it to a professional team. And once there, at
best they will only have a few years to play, even in baseball and
basketball. They know that they will soon be replaced by
someone who is younger, faster, bigger, or better. Professional
players' organizations are therefore very concerned with such
things as retirement benefits and pensions. In recent years there
have been several players’ strikes about these. More and more,
they are also concerned with getting a good education, with
acquiring university-level skills that will allow them to find good
jobs when their playing days are over. Increasingly, universities
and sports officials have enforced rules which require athletes to
be properly enrolled in academic programs in order to qualify for
a university team. Recently, a new rule has been adopted which
states that all college athletes must meet set academic standards.
It they do not, they are not allowed to take part in sports. At
present, for example, among all professional football players in
the NFL, more than a third have earned university degrees. The
old image of the professional athlete being “as dumb as an ox” is
largely one of the past.
Intercollegiate sports and money have always been a hotly
debated topic. Rules prevent any college athlete from accepting
money. Whenever some basketball player is found to have
accepted “a gift,” the sports pages are full of the scandal. As a
result, some college teams whose members have violated the
rules are forbidden to take part in competitions. Several
universities like the highly respected University of Chicago do
not take part in any intercollegiate sports whatsoever. Many
others restrict sports to those played among their own students,
so-called intramural sports and activities.

272
Those who defend college sports point out that there are no
separate institutions or “universities” for sports in the U.S. as
there are in other countries. They also note that many sports
programs pay their own way, that is, what they earn from tickets
and so on for football or basketball or baseball games often
supports less popular sports and intramural games at the
university. Generally, however, sports and academics are
separated from one another. You cannot judge whether a
university is excellent or poor from whether its teams win or lose.
Most Americans think that government should be kept
separate from sports, both amateur and professional. They are
especially concerned when their tax money is involved. The
citizens of Denver, Colorado, for example, decided that they did
not want the 1976 Winter Olympics there, no matter what the city
government and businessmen thought. They voted “no” and the
Olympics had to be held elsewhere. The residents of Los
Angeles, on the other hand, voted to allow the (Summer)
Olympics in 1984 to be held in their city, but they declared that
not one dollar of city funds could be spent on them. Because the
federal government doesn’t give any money either, all of the
support had to come from private sources. As it turned out, the
L.A. Olympics actually made a profit, some $100 million, which
was distributed to national organizations in the U.S. and abroad.
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”
BACKGROUND NOTES
intercollegiate athletic activities taking place between
sports: different colleges

intramural sports sports and activities involving only the


and activities: students of the same school or college

273
sportsman and the word sportsman is used in a much wider
athlete: sense than “a person who practices athletic
exercises of competitive nature.” Very often
the word is used in the meaning of “the
person who engages in activity requiring skill
or physical powers” like hunting or fishing.
The word sportsman also has the meaning of
“a person who exhibits qualities of fairness,
courtesy, and grace in winning and defeat.”
Athlete, on the other hand, is free from the
meanings not associated with competitive
sports. It means “a person trained or gifted in
exercises or contests involving physical
agility, coordination, stamina or strength.”
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. Why are professional players’
Questions: organizations very much concerned with
retirement benefits and pensions?
2. Are there any rules in American colleges
regulating the balance between sports and
academic standards? Give examples to
illustrate your point of view.
3. Why do some American universities, like
the highly respected University of
Chicago, not take part in intercollegiate
sports?
4. What do Americans think about the
governmental participation in sports?
Group Can sports remain fair if the athletes are
Activities: allowed to compete for money, with prizes
sometimes reaching into seven-digit figures?
In groups of two to four discuss the ways of
saving sports from the corrupting influence of
money. The results of discussion in small
groups are later presented and explained on
the level of the whole group.

274
C. Recreation and Vacationing
Discussion Sports are very often associated with
Questions: recreation, though the latter stands for means
of enjoyable relaxation rather than activities
requiring skill or physical effort.
Note down the following points:
1. the best ways of incorporating sports in
leisure time in the vacation periods to
build up one’s health;
2. the kinds of sport that could be
recommended for recreation as well as
for vacationing.
Reading You are going to read Texts IV through VII.
Exercises: Note down the following points:
1. What are the most popular leisure sports
in the United States?
2. How has a new emphasis on physical
fitness changed the attitudes of
Americans to sports?
3. What role is played by the National and
State Parks in modern, urban world?
4. In which way do a great many
Americans spend their vacations?
Text IV
Leisure Sports
The attention given to organized sports should not
overshadow the many sporting activities which are a part of daily
American life. Most Americans who grow up in the North, for
example, also grow up with outdoor winter sports and activities.
Skating, certainly, is one widespread activity, with most cities,
large and small, flooding areas for use as skating rinks. Sledding
and tobogganing are equally popular. Students at snow-covered

275
campuses “borrow” the metal or fiberglass trays used in dining
halls and race downhill standing up on them (or trying to).
Fishing and hunting are extremely popular in all parts of the
country and have been since the days when they were necessary
activities among the early settlers. As a consequence, they have
never been thought of as upper-class sports in the U.S. And it is
easy to forget how much of the country is open land, how much
of it is still wild and filled with wildlife. New Jersey, for
example, has enough wild deer so that the hunting season there is
used to keep the herds smaller. Some 25,000 deer were taken by
hunters in that state in 1984. Wild turkeys have also returned to
the East and Midwest in great numbers. In Washington, D.C.,
commuters driving along the Potomac River can often see them
flying overhead. Even more remarkable is the return of the black
bear in the Northeast as the forests grow thicker again. New York
State has about 4,000, with most of them in the Adirondack,
Alleghany, and Catskill mountain areas. In the states of the
Midwest and West, of course, there is much more wild game, and
hunting there is even more popular.
Hunting licenses are issued by the individual states, and
hunting is strictly controlled. Some hunters don’t actually hunt, of
course. They use it as a good excuse to get outdoors in the
autumn or to take a few days or longer away from the job and
family. Indoor poker games are said to be a favorite activity of
many hunters who head for cabins in the woods. There is the
classic joke about a man who returns home after two weeks in the
woods and is asked if his hunting trip was successful. “Fine,” he
answers, “I won $75 from a guy who actually brought his hunting
rifle along.”
There are many more fishermen (around 42 million in 1980)
than hunters (17 million), and many more lakes and rivers than
bears. Minnesota advertises itself on its license plates as the land
of “10,000 lakes.” This, of course, is not quite true: there are
more. Aerial photographs and maps show that there are about

276
twice that number (each larger than 25 acres). Michigan not only
has a long coastline from the Great Lakes, it also has what
official descriptions simply call, without counting, “thousands of
lakes.” From Oregon to Southern California, Maine to Florida to
Texas are the ocean beaches. Finding enough water is no problem
for most Americans, and where there’s water, there are boats.
Overall (not including rowboats, canoes, or anything else
driven by paddles), there is about one boat for every 25 people in
the U.S. today. In Minnesota, one out of seven people owns a
boat and in Arkansas, one out of nine. In Arizona, a state usually
known for its mountains and deserts, there are still enough lakes
and reservoirs for over 10,000 boats.
As could be expected, all water sports and activities are very
popular, including swimming, skin diving, sailing, white-water
canoeing, water skiing, and powerboat and “off-shore” racing.
Many Americans, of course, just like to go to the beach on a hot
summer day, swim a bit, and then take a nap in the sun. Except
for a few areas, such as around New York City, the beaches are
not crowded, so long walks along the beaches, for example those
of Northern California or those of Lake Superior, are quite
relaxing. And, although the thousands of students who head for
Florida's beaches each spring get headlines, many more
thousands of other Americans enjoy small beach parties where
there’s no one else except a few friends, a fire, and the warm
summer night.
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”
BACKGROUND NOTES
the Adirondack a mountain range in northeastern New York;
Mountains: a part of the Appalachian Mountains
the Allegheny a part of the Appalachian mountains situated
Mountains: in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia,
and Virginia

277
canoe: a slender boat tapering at both ends,
traditionally built with a light frame covered
with bark, skins, etc., and now usually made
from molded aluminum or plastic. Canoes
are propelled by paddling, that is, using a
paddle rather than oar. (The main difference
between a paddle and an oar is that the
former is used freely, while the latter is held
in a position on the side of the boat.)
the Catskill a range of mountains in eastern New York, a
Mountains: resort area
license plate: a plate or tag, usually of metal, bearing
evidence of official registration and
permission for the use of a motor vehicle
off-shore racing: racing at a distance from the shore in a body
of free water
poker game: a card game played by one or two persons in
which the players bet on the value of their
hands, the winner taking the pool. (In card
games, the word “hand” means a set of cards
held by one player.)
the Potomac a river flowing southeast from the Allegheny
River: Mountains in West Virginia, along the
boundary between Maryland and Virginia to
Chesapeake Bay
powerboat (or a boat propelled by an inboard or outboard
motorboat): motor
Scuba-diving: diving with the use of Scuba equipment
(short for “self-contained-underwater
breathing apparatus”), that is, a portable
breathing device for free-swimming divers
skin-diving: underwater swimming and exploring with a
face mask and flippers and sometimes with
scuba

278
sledding and a sport in which sleds are used for coasting
tobogganing: down the slopes. Toboggan is a long, narrow,
flat-bottomed sled made of a thin board
curved upward and backward at the front.

white-water canoeing in frothy water as in whitecaps (a


canoeing: wave with a broken and foaming white crest)
and in rapids

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What outdoor winter sports and activities
Questions: are popular with students in the North of
the United States?
2. Why have hunting and fishing never been
thought of as upper-class sports in the
United States?
3. How can one judge about the popularity of
boating in America?
4. What water sports and activities are most
popular among the Americans?

Text V
Unusual Sports
There are several sports and sports activities in the U.S., all
having their strong supporters, which many people think are a bit
strange or at least unusual. For example, Americans will race just
about anything that has wheels. Not just cars, but also “funny
cars” with aircraft and jet engines, large trucks with special
motors, tractors, pick-up trucks with gigantic tires, and even
motorcycles with automobile engines. By contrast, several sports
are popular because they do not involve motors. The first
“people-powered” aircraft to cross the English Channel was

279
pedaled by an American. And the first hot-air balloon to make it
across the Atlantic had a crew from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
There are also several sports in the U.S. which were once
thought of as being "different," but have now gained international
popularity. Among these, for instance, is skate-boarding. Another
example is wind-surfing which very quickly spread in popularity
from the beaches of California and Hawaii. Hang-gliding became
really popular after those same people in California started
jumping off cliffs above the ocean. Those who like more than
wind and luck attached a small lawnmower engine to a hang-
glider and soon “ultra-light-weight” planes were buzzing around.
The most recent unusual sport that first reached popularity in
the U.S. before spreading elsewhere is the triathlon. This most
demanding sport came from a late-night discussion in a Honolulu
bar in 1977 about which sport was the most exhausting:
swimming, bicycle racing, or long-distance running. Someone
suggested that they all be put together. The result was the first
triathlon, the “Ironman,” in 1978, with 15 participants. This
contest was a 3.9-kilometer ocean swim, followed immediately
by a 180-kilometer bicycle race, and ending with a 42 kilometer
run. Five years later there were already 1,000 such competitions
throughout the U.S., and the triathlon is becoming more and more
popular in Europe, too.
Some Americans watching triathlons conclude that keeping fit
can't be that much fun. It is clear, however, that since the
publication of Cooper's book Aerobics (1968), sports in America
turned from an assortment of team activities to what one observer
called “a prescription for everyone's health.” The emphasis on
physical fitness has involved increasing numbers of Americans in
activities that provide the necessary physical conditioning and at
the same time offer enjoyment and recreation. Swimming,
jogging, cycling, and calisthenics can be done in company with
family members and friends, have no real age limits, and are
performed more for health and fun than for competition.

280
Everyone can participate in these activities. The widespread
public support for the Handicapped Olympics in the U.S., for
example, indicates that “everyone” does, indeed, mean everyone.
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”
BACKGROUND NOTES
aerobics: (used with a plural verb) any of various
sustained exercises, as jogging, calisthenics,
and vigorous dancing, designed especially to
stimulate and strengthen the heart. The idea
of aerobic exercises (aerobics for short) was
introduced and popularized by the American
doctor Kenneth H. Cooper in the sixties
when he published his first book about
aerobics.
calisthenics: 1. (used with a plural verb) gymnastic
exercises designed to develop physical
health and vigor;
2. (used with a singular verb) the art,
practice, or a session of such exercises.
hang gliding: the sport of launching oneself from a cliff or
a steep incline and soaring through the air by
means of a hang glider (a kitelike glider
consisting of a V-shaped wing underneath
which the pilot is strapped).
jogging: an aerobic exercise consisting in running at a
slow, steady pace
physical adapting one’s organism to higher physical
conditioning: loads, harsher conditions, etc. through a
system of physical exercises and exposure to
cold air and water
physical fitness: the state of being physically fit, that is,

281
physically healthy and strong

skate-boarding: riding a skateboard, that is, a device


consisting of an oblong board mounted on a
large roller-skate wheels

wind-surfing: a form of sailing in which a person stands on


a surfboard mounted with a flexible sail and
guides the craft by maneuvering the craft

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What ways are used by Americans to stage
Questions: races?
2. Name some sports which were at first
regarded as unusual, but have now gained
international popularity.
3. What is the most demanding sport that
only super trained people may engage in?
4. How did Cooper’s book Aerobics change
the attitude of Americans to physical
fitness?

Text VI
National Parks
According to the Economist, Walt Disney World in Florida is
now the world's greatest single tourist attraction. In 1984 alone,
Disney World had over 21 million visitors, most of them from
outside Florida and many from outside the U.S. This number puts
it just ahead of America's second most popular attraction, the
museums of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
People might make fun of Mickey Mouse, but an attraction that
brings in 6 million more visitors a year than the city of Paris is

282
taken seriously. Very successful Japanese and French versions of
the original Disneyland (California) already exist, and other
theme parks are to follow.
While this says something (we're not sure what) about
recreation in the U.S., Japan, France, and other countries, Walt
Disney and his imitators cannot compete in their man-made,
make-believe worlds with America's greatest natural attractions.
These are the National and State Parks, the Wildlife Sanctuaries,
and wilderness regions. These can neither be imported nor
exported, but only preserved and protected. Americans are very
lucky that very early a few of their countrymen insured that these
vast areas would remain much as they had always been.
The first National Park was established in 1872, when
President Grant signed a law creating Yellowstone National Park,
an area of more than 2 million acres (800,000 hectares), mostly in
Wyoming. This was the first of many similar laws which meant
that many of the great wilderness areas which still existed
throughout the U.S. would be protected and preserved. They
would be kept in their original state, as much as possible, while
allowing generations of Americans to visit their natural wonders.
This act also served as an international model. Since the
establishment of Yellowstone, some 100 other countries have
created similar national parks.
By the 1990s, the U.S. National Park System had grown to
include some 330 different areas from coast to coast, of which the
Grand Canyon, the Everglades, and the Sequoia National Parks
are just some of the best known. The system of National Parks
and National Preserves has an area of over 100,000 square miles.
This is an area larger than Oregon or Wyoming, or, alternatively,
the United Kingdom or West Germany. In addition to the
National Parks, there are also the many State Parks, wilderness
areas, protected seashores, and recreational areas.
Besides protecting natural wonders and preserving wildlife,
these National and State Parks give Americans unmatched

283
opportunities “to get away from it all,” to escape from the worries
and hectic life of the modern, urban world. Camping and hiking
have become extremely popular throughout the nation as a result.
Wilderness trails are found in all sections of the country. The
thousands of camping sites and areas have well-earned international
reputation for being inexpensive, uncrowded, and clean. Access to
the most popular parks and areas is, of course, strictly controlled and
limited. Visitors to the Grand Canyon, for example, are required to
take out of the canyon everything that they take in. And this means
everything, not just food, cans, and garbage.
Because Americans had lived so close to the wilderness for so
long, it is often said that they have a special love for, and need to
temporarily return to, the “great outdoors.” Whether this is true or
not, it remains a fact that for many Americans going to where
other people are not is still a very important part of their leisure.
Especially in the western parts of the nation, the ability to go a
few miles out of town, to leave the city, the farm, and even the
modern highway, is something people value deeply. This side of
America – its enormous parks and forests, lakeshores and
seashores, trails and wilderness areas – is the one that so
frequently awes, and surprises, foreign visitors.
– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”
BACKGROUND NOTES
the Economist: a prestigious British weekly dedicated to
world economic affairs

Everglades: a partly forested marshland in southern


Florida, mostly south of Lake Okeechobee.
Over 5,000 square miles (12,950 sq. km)

Grand Canyon: a gorge of the Colorado River in northern


Arizona, over 200 miles (320 km) long; 1

284
mile (1.6 km) deep
National Park: an area of scenic beauty, historical
importance, or the like owned and
maintained by a national government
Sequoia National a National Park in central California; it is
Park: called for its giant sequoia trees. (Sequoias
are large coniferous trees of California
belonging to the cypress family. The sequoia
trees have reddish bark and reach heights of
more than 300 feet / 91 m. One of the
varieties of sequoias, the redwood, gave a
name to another National Park in California –
the Redwood National Park.)
Walt Disney a theme park where the side shows feature
World: the characters from the animated cartoons
produced by Walt Disney, the American film
producer, who built the first such park in
California
wilderness area: a region whose natural growth is protected by
legislation and whose recreational and
industrial use is restricted
wildlife sanctuary a tract of land where wildlife can live and
(or a preserve): breed in safety from hunters
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What is the world’s greatest single tourist
Questions: attraction?
2. When and where were the first laws
creating National Parks and National
Preserves in the United States adopted?
3. How large is the system of National Parks
and National Preserves in the United States?
4. What activities are allowed in National
and State Parks in America?
Text VII

285
Vacations
There are no national or even state-wide dates for school
vacations. Each school district sets its own. Generally, “school’s
out” from around the first week in June until the last week in
August. However, many school districts sponsor “summer
school” for children who have fallen behind and wish to make up
work, or, alternatively, for pupils who want to take extra courses.
Most universities and colleges also have summer semesters.
The average American employee usually has three or four
weeks of paid vacation time during the summer, but this varies
considerably. Automobile workers who have spent several years
on the job, for example, can commonly expect around five weeks
of paid vacation. Some American families simply spend their
vacations at home, that is, the time is used to work (and play)
around the house. Others might own or rent a cottage near a lake
or in the mountains. Locations where swimming, fishing, and
other water activities are available are especially popular. A great
many Americans take to the road and “see America first.” The
widely available and inexpensive campgrounds throughout the
country also give younger families the chance to travel on a
limited budget. Every year more than 60 million Americans visit
their National Parks.
Some middle-class families send their children to summer
camps for a week or two. These camps are scattered throughout the
country and offer a wide range of activities. Some of the camps are
owned and operated by the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, or various
churches. Others are sponsored by the Red Cross and might teach
swimming, boating, and life-saving. Among the many summer
camps, private or nonprofit, are music camps, computer camps,
hiking and backpacking camps, tennis camps, and camps with
farms and ranches. There are also groups which organize low-cost
or free summer camps for inner-city children. Most cities and
communities provide special summer programs, from sports and

286
crafts to concerts and dances, for children who spend the summer
in the city. Quite often, however, American high school and
college students do not take (and do not expect) any vacation at all;
if they can find a summer job, they will work. But, of course, this
is not what they would rather do.

– by Douglas K. Stevenson,
“American Life and Institutions”
BACKGROUND NOTES
Boy Scouts: an organization of boys having as its goals
the development of self-reliance and
usefulness to others. The Boy Scouts
movement was started in early twentieth
century in Great Britain by Robert Baden-
Powell, the British general.
campground
(or campsite): a place for a camp or for a camp meeting
Girl Scouts an organization of girls which was
(or Girl Guides): established by Lady Agnes, the sister of
Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy
Scouts. In 1920, the World Organization of
the Scout Movement was set up with
headquarters in Geneva, which at present
unites about 20 million members from
120 countries.
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. How long, on the average, are vacations in
Questions: America for school and college students,
and for employees?

287
2. What are the favorite ways of spending
vacations in America?
3. What kinds of summer camps are
available for American schoolchildren?
Group Organize a role-play “Planning a vacation.”
Activities: First, in small groups of two to four persons
discuss various plans of spending summer
vacations. At this stage, it is recommended to
work through different materials like maps,
tourism and travelling sections in newspapers
and magazines, the Internet resources, etc.
This part of work should be done in the form
of homework.
At the next stage, when different ideas are
discussed in class in small groups, the
discussion continues on the level of the whole
group. Finally, the group selects the best
vacation project.
Individual Write an essay of 350 words about the
Work: contribution of American sports to the world
sports movement
D. American’s Best Recreation Trips
Discussion Note down the following points:
Questions: 1. What are the places in America known
through the world for their unique
geographical conditions and scenic
beauty?
2. What events in the history of the United
States have played a decisive role in the
development of the nation, and are now
regarded as important tourist attractions?

288
Reading You are going to read two texts based on a
Exercises: tourist and travelling guidebook. As you read,
note down the following points:
1. the diversity of cultural styles and
geographical regions in America;
2. the landmarks of historical development
of the United States presenting its
history of exploration and settlement of
the new, vast territories in the West and
the history of its War of Independence
and the struggle against slavery.

Text VIII
Cultural Regions and Scenic Beauty Spots
West
Olympic Peninsula and Northwest Coastline. North
America’s only rain forest bordering rugged Pacific Coast of
Washington and Oregon. The region’s unique landscape
complemented with a fascinating history, lumber camps, fur
trade, and a booming maritime industry still buzzes with activity.
California Wine Country and Pacific Coastline. You might
think yourself in the rolling Burgundy wine-growing region of
France as you explore the gentle Napa and Sonoma Valleys. For
contrast, the drive through redwood forests Pacific Coast
Highway stops in logging towns and picturesque coastal villages.
Pacific Coast Highway: Golden Gate. Waves crashing
against the rugged coast, seals besporting themselves in the
shallow waters of the Pacific coast, and echoes of literary giants
punctuate your journey down (or up) the Pacific Coast between
San Francisco and Los Angeles. Spanish Christian Missions, and
hopping Santa Barbara will make your day an adventure and
learning experience.

289
Southwest’s Four Corners. Some of the nation’s most
spectacular scenery resides at the intersection of Utah, New
Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona. Learn the history and cultures of
Navajo, and Pueblo Indian and the pioneer settlers who passed
through and settled in the stark but magnificent landscape.
Rocky Mountain Discovery. Colorado’s southwest corner
shows a less known side of the Rocky Mountain Range with the
Colorado River carving out canyons and vistas unrivaled in the
West. Sample cowboy culture and enter dinosaur country amid
Colorado fruit orchard belt.
Wyoming’s Majestic Wonders. The most majestic of western
landscapes accompanies you through this exploration of
Wyoming. Cowboy culture and the region’s vibrant Indian
communities add human touches to a string of national parks
including Yellowstone and Grand Teton.
Midwest
Badlands and Black Hills. Sacred to the region’s Plains
Indians, eastern Wyoming and western South Dakota once
formed part of the Great American Desert through which
California-bound pioneers had to pass. Fossil-hunters, geologists,
and history buffs all have a treat in store as they explore this
remarkable landscape.
Great River Road. Explore the northern half of the
Mississippi River as it snakes its way south through fertile
farmlands. You’ll learn the working and lore of the great
waterway, awaking dim memories of Mark Twain’s immortal
novels featuring Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
Get Your Kicks on Route 66. Once the only way to drive
from Chicago to L.A., Route 66 helped define America’s car
culture during the early years of the 20th century. Get a great taste
of what the trip was like for your grandparents as you make your
way from Tulsa in Oklahoma to Flagstaff, Arizona.

290
Northeast
Saint Lawrence Seaway. A journey from Cleveland to
Montreal will take you to some of the nation’s premier inland
waterways and the towns that grew up there. Follow the coast of
Lake Erie, stop to explore the Erie Canal, and marvel at Frank
Lloyd Wright’s architecture in Buffalo for a history-filled
excursion into the region’s past.
Colonial New England. Massachusetts and Rhode Island lay
claim to large chunks of colonial and Revolutionary War history
starting with Boston and heading south along the coast to the
whaling-mecca of Nantucket Island. Pilgrims, Puritans, and the
Salem witch trials come alive, as well as Yankee maritime lore.
Up the Hudson River to New York’s Adirondack Mountains.
A wealth of historical and scenic landmarks line the journey up
New York’s Hudson bay to the Adirondack Mountains, where
sparkling lakes and the 20th century millionaire “summer camps”
enrich your understanding of the state’s history. West Point and
Fort Ticonderoga evoke Revolutionary and later chapters of the
U.S. military history.
Southeast
Coastal North Carolina. Visit America’s first English colony
while driving along a string of barrier island noted for their
unique flora and fauna and historical landmarks such as the dawn
of flight at Kitty Hawk. North Carolina’s Outer Banks is both a
history buff’s and a naturalist’s paradise.
Blue Ridge Parkway: The Spine of American Mountain
Culture. Cutting a swath from the Maryland Border through
Virginia’s southwest Highland it is a homeland of the Cherokee
in North Carolina. The Blue Ridge Mountains once served as a
formidable barrier to western expansion. The national parks
stretching along the course and the towns nearby teem with
wildlife, lush vegetation, and glimpses of Appalachian history
and culture.

291
My Old Kentucky Home. Endless white fences enclosing
green pastures animated by racing horses, some of the nation’s
finest whiskey, and small towns filled with history stamp this
drive through central Kentucky something special. Memories of
Daniel Boone and Stephan Foster enliven your journey.
Natchez Trace Parkway. From Nashville to Natchez, a
network of frontier hunters’ trails has become a scenic parkway
that passes through Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. Along
the way, Native American history, the ante-bellum South, legends
of Davy Crockett and Elvis Presley, and the Civil War beckon
you to stop.
Louisiana’s Cajun Country. Nowhere else does French
culture hold on as in New Orleans and the surrounding counties
dominated by descendants of the region’s Cajun settlers who left
Canada for Louisiana. Plantation life along the Mississippi and
off-the-beaten-track towns where Creole and Cajun ways still
reign supreme add spice to the journey.
Florida Keys and Everglades Country. Varied wildlife and
vegetation complement the cultural riches of south Florida, from
jumping art-deco Miami through the Everglades to the narrow
band of land stretching west to Key West. A subtropical paradise
of banana and pineapple plantations, coral reefs, and maritime
lore await.
– “America’s Best Historic Trips”
BACKGROUND NOTES
West
dinosaur country: northeastern Utah and northwestern Colorado
have been nicknamed “dinosaur country” due
to massive discoveries of prehistoric animal
fossils. The site is officially known as the
“Dinosaur National Monument.”

292
Grand Teton a national park in northwestern Wyoming,
National Park: including a portion of the Teton Range (a
part of the Rocky Mountains)
lumber camps: camps of lumbermen, that is, persons who
work at cutting timber and preparing it for
market
Napa and the wine-growing center of the United States,
Sonoma Valleys: situated in western California. Wine-growing
was first started in Sonoma Valley. The
grapes grown in Napa and Sonoma counties
are now well-known around the world.
Navajo (or members of an American Indian people of
Navaho) Indians: the U.S. Southwest, now centered on a
reservation in northeastern Arizona and
adjacent areas of Utah and New Mexico
Olympic a peninsula in northwestern Washington
Peninsula: between the Pacific Ocean and Puget Sound
(Puget Sound is an arm of the Pacific). The
peninsula got its name from the Olympic
mountains – part of the Coast Ranges. The
highest peak of the mountains – Mount
Olympus – is 7954 feet (2424 m) high.
Pueblo Indians: members of an American Indian people of
the U.S. Southwest whose traditional way of
life includes residence in pueblos,
agriculture, and an annual cycle of
community rituals
Santa Barbara: a city on the southwestern coast of California
with a population of 85,000
Midwest
Badlands a national park in northwestern Wyoming,
National Park: including a portion of the Teton Range (a
part of the Rocky Mountains)

293
“Get your kicks the title of a song made popular by the
on route 66”: Rolling Stones. Kick is slang for a charge of
good feeling; pleasure of enjoyment from
something
Hot Springs: a city in central Arkansas. It adjoins the Hot
Springs National Park noted for its thermal
mineral springs.
Mississippi: the principal river of the United States,
flowing South from northern Minnesota to
the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi is 2,470
miles (3975 km) long.
Ozarks: the Ozark Mountains; a group of low
mountains in southern Missouri, northern
Arkansas, and northeastern Oklahoma
Saint Lawrence a river in Canada which forms a border with
River: the United States. The Saint Lawrence is
flowing from Lake Ontario and falls into the
Gulf of Saint Lawrence of the Atlantic
Ocean.
Northeast
Erie Canal: a canal in New York between Albany and
Buffalo, connecting the Hudson River with
Lake Erie. The canal was completed in 1825
and it is 363 miles (584 km) long.
Fort a fort in northeastern New York which was
Ticonderoga: taken over by Americans in 1775 during the
revolutionary war
Salem witch an isolated event in American history which
trials: provides a vivid window into the social and
psychological world of Puritan New
England. In 1692 a group of adolescent girls
in Salem village, Massachusetts accused
several women of being witches who
tormented them. The witch trials led to the
conviction and execution of more than 20
victims, including several men.

294
West Point: a military reservation in southeastern New
York on the Hudson River. West Point is the
site of the U.S. Military Academy.
Wright, Frank (1867 – 1959), the U.S. architect.
Lloyd: F. L. Wright is the founder of the organic
architecture in which buildings must be a part
of the natural environment.
Southeast
Ante-bellum the South of the United States before the
South: Civil War of 1861 – 1864
Blue Ridge a part of the Appalachian Mountains,
Mountains: extending from northern Virginia to northern
Georgia
Boone, Daniel: (1734 – 1820), American pioneer, especially
in Kentucky
Cajuns: members of the traditionally Roman
Catholic, French-speaking population of rural
southern Louisiana, descended from French
colonists expelled from Arcadia in 1755 –
1763. (Arcadia was a former province of
Canada, which was taken over by the
British.)
Cherokee members of an American Indian people
Indians: residing originally in the western Carolinas
and eastern Tennessee. At present the
surviving group of Cherokees live in
Oklahoma and North Carolina.
Crockett, Davy (1786 – 1836), U.S. frontiersman, politician
and folklore hero
Florida Keys: a chain of small islands and reefs off the
coast of southern Florida, about 225 miles
(362 km) long

295
Foster, Stephen (1826 – 1864), U.S. songwriter. Foster
(Collins): became famous for his songs in the style of
the “minstrel show.”

Kitty Hawk: a village in northeastern North Carolina


where the Wright brothers made the first
airplane flight in 1903

“My Old the state song of Kentucky. All American


Kentucky states with the exception of New York and
Home”: Pennsylvania have their own state songs,
which have been adopted by their legislatures
as state anthems. For example, “You are My
Sunshine” (Louisiana), “Tennessee Waltz”
(Tennessee), “Home on the Range” (Kansas),
etc.

Presley, Elvis (1935 – 1977), U.S. singer, performer of


songs in the style of rock’n’roll, blues, gospel

Text IX
Great Themes from the History of the United States
Lewis and Clark Trail. President Jefferson set Meriwether
Lewis and William Clark the task of mapping and exploring the
northwest quadrant of the United States. Starting in St. Louis,
trace the journey along the Missouri and Columbia Rivers to
Oregon on the Pacific Ocean.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition: East of the Mississippi.
The Lewis and Clark exploration of the Northwest had its start
and conclusion in Philadelphia, the city where Lewis went to gain
the skills and scientific learning needed to fulfill President
Thomas Jefferson’s plans for the Voyage of Discovery. Follow
the pilgrimage through Virginia, Kentucky and along the Ohio

296
River at key stops in the history of Lewis and Clark, before
arriving in St. Louis, the start of the Lewis and Clark Trail.
South’s Best Music. American country music emerged as
Eastern pioneers settled and expanded the nation’s western
frontier. Trace the origins and development of distinctive country
sounds from Washington to the heartland of the Mississippi Delta
blues south of Memphis.
Turning Points of American History. From Philadelphia,
Cradle of the Nation, to Baltimore and the Brandywine Valley,
site of a pivotal Revolutionary War battle, you will encounter
some of the East Coast’s loveliest rural landscapes and encounter
vivid reflections of nation’s legends such as Jefferson and
Lincoln, as well as meet the stalwart Amish in Lancaster Country.
Underground Railroad’s Journey to Freedom: Part I.
Follow the path taken by enslaved African Americans as they
sojourned from Georgia north through Virginia. The humble
heroism of those who sheltered and aided them comes alive as
you visit stops along the railroad, from white clapboard churches
to Quaker homesteads.
Underground Railroad’s Journey to Freedom: Part II. For
fugitive slaves abroad the Underground Railroad, crossing the
Virginia state line did not mean the journey’s hardships were
over. Bounty hunters armed with the authority of the Fugitive Act
had to be avoided en route to Canada. Famous Lincoln shrines
and the Frederick Douglass home in Washington start a
meandering path to freedom with aid coming from Quakers and
legendary abolitionists such as Harriet Tubman. The railroad
terminus in Niagara Falls, NY marks the spot where successful
escapees crossed over into Canada.
President Lincoln Trail. Follow Lincoln’s career from
childhood divided between Kentucky and Indiana to his
lawyering days in Illinois and the tumultuous years in
Washington when he restored the unity of the nation and ended
slavery in the South. Along the way encounter small-town

297
Midwest towns and pass through Kentucky horse country to the
East Coast.
A Revolutionary Journey. The first new Historic Driving
Tour of the Historic Hotels of America features in-depth and
interesting Revolutionary War locations starting in Abingdon,
Virginia continuing through North Carolina and ending in
Edenton, North Carolina. Travelers will be able to buy new travel
packages that insure a stay at all three hotels, complete with
museum admission, restaurants and other activities.
– “America’s Best Historic Trips”
BACKGROUND NOTES
Amish: members of the Amish Mennonites religious
group. The Amish oppose ritualism and wear
unadorned clothing.
Baltimore: a seaport in northern Maryland, on the
estuary near the Chesapeake Bay
bounty hunter: a person who hunts outlaws or wild animals
for the bounty offered for capturing or killing
them
Brandywine: a creek (a recess or inlet in the shore of the
sea) in Southeastern Pennsylvania and
northern Delaware
country sounds: the melodies typical to the country music.
Country music has its roots in the folk music
of the Southeast and the cowboy music of the
West.
Douglass, (1817 – 1895), American abolitionist and
Frederick: revolutionary publisher who called for a
revolutionary war against slavery. One of the
creators of the Underground Railroad.

298
Fugitive Act: the law that required that all fugitive slaves
should be returned to their masters in the
South
Lincoln, (1809 – 1865), the 16th president of the
Abraham: United States. The years of his presidency
(1861 – 1865) coincided with the Civil War,
which was fought between the North and the
South for the preservation of the Union.
Niagara Falls, a city in western New York on the falls
NY:
Philadelphia: a city in southeastern Pennsylvania, on the
Delaware River. The city was named by its
founder, the English Quaker William Penn.
During the Revolutionary War it was one of
the main centers of the struggle for
independence.
Quaker: a member of the Society of Friends, a
Christian denomination founded by George
Fox in 1650. Originally, the word quaker was
used pejoratively, alluding to the supposed
“shaking and quaking” of participants in
early Friends’ meetings.
St. Louis: a port in eastern Missouri on the Mississippi
River where Lewis and Clark started their
famous Lewis and Clark Trail in 1804 to map
and explore the northwest quadrant of the
United States.
travel package a completely planned vacation at a fixed
(or package tour): price arranged by a company, which includes
travel, hotels, meals, etc

299
Tubman, Harriet: (1820? – 1913), the black woman who
became famous as one of the heroes of the
Underground Railroad. Herself a former
escapee, she helped escape from slavery
hundreds of slaves.

Underground (before the abolition of slavery in the United


Railroad: States) a system for helping fugitive slaves
escape into Canada and other places of safety

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Group On the basis of Text VIII or Text IX organize
Activities: a role-play “Planning a vacation tour.” The
goal of the role-play is to learn more about
historical places of the United States, their
culture and life styles as well as the
opportunities these places may offer for
recreational activities.

The group is divided in smaller groups of two


to three students. Each of the smaller groups
chooses one of the “Best Historic Trips”
offered in the guidebook. The role-play may
require a homework stage, at which the
students could collect additional material
about the places they are going to visit during
their vacation. These materials may include
newspaper and magazine articles, CD-ROMs,
videos, books on history and culture of the
USA, etc. At the final stage, the students
present their vacation projects before the
bigger group, and the best vacation trip is
chosen.

300
E. Safety in Sports
Discussion Note down the following points:
Questions: 1. What are the most common hazards of
participating in sports which require
substantial physical effort?
2. Which of the sports you know are more
hazardous?
3. What instructions would you give to a
person who wants to take up a sport
which you consider hazardous?

Reading You are going to read three texts based on


Exercises: instructions for some of the most popular
participatory sports in America. As you read,
note down the risks involved in each
particular sport and the ways these risks may
be avoided or minimized.

Text X
A Brief Guide to Safe Walking, Jogging and Running
Choose a safe route. All routes are not created equal. Choose
a route that limits your vulnerability to motor vehicles, personal
attacks, dogs, and environmental hazards such as potholes.
Obey traffic laws. The most serious injuries to walkers and
runners result from collisions with motor vehicles. Don’t
challenge drivers for dominance of the road. And don’t jaywalk
to save time or run across a busy roadway to avoid having to
climb the stairs of a pedestrian overpass. Remember: you are
doing this for the exercise.
Get in condition. If you have not exercised for awhile, you
should see what condition you’re in before starting to run or walk
substantial distances. Now is the time to have that physical

301
you’ve been putting off. Also learn to stretch properly. And when
it comes to distances, don’t overdo it. Start off slowly, covering a
distance appropriate for your physical ability.
Pay attention. Don’t isolate yourself from street cues by
wearing an oversize hood or audio headphones. Using your
senses helps prevent collisions and can alert you to vicious dogs
or human predators. And don’t talk on a cell phone while walking
or running. If you want to make a phone call, take a break.
Use the proper equipment. With one important exception –
shoes – you do not need expensive equipment. But choose your
shoes carefully – and replace them after 300 miles, even if they
do not show signs of external wear. Expensive exercise clothes
are unnecessary. Just make sure you stay cool in the summer and
warm in the winter. If you jog with a stroller, spend the money
for a good one that is designed for jogging. The safety of both
yourself and your child depends upon it.
Stay hydrated. Drink water before, during, and after walking
or running. And don’t wait to drink until you feel thirsty, a
warning sign that you are already becoming dehydrated. Your
body will use the water much more efficiently if you drink before
you reach this state.
Don’t be compulsive. It is a good idea to exercise regularly,
but in some situations it can do you more harm than good.
Running or walking in extreme heat or cold, as well as rain,
snow, or icy conditions, can be hazardous. Wet or icy sidewalks
increase the risk of falls and collisions. Heatstroke can kill. If you
are running in hot weather and begin to feel overheated, drink
some water, find some shade, and rest. Or hop on a bus and go
home. And run for your health, not in spite of it. If you do not
feel well enough to run because of a mild medical condition, like
headache or minor injury, skip a day. Running and walking can
exacerbate migraines, injuries such as muscle pulls, and
conditions like bone spurs.
– SafetyTip.com, Inc.

302
BACKGROUND NOTES
bone spur: an abnormal bony growth or projection

compulsive urge: a strong, usually irresistible impulse to


perform an act, especially one that is
irrational or contrary to one’s will

dehydration: an abnormal loss of water from the body or


tissue

heatstroke: a disturbance of the temperature-regulating


mechanisms of the body caused by
overexposure to excessive heat, resulting in
headache, fever, hot and dry skin, and rapid
pulse, sometimes progressing to delirium and
coma

jaywalking: crossing a street heedlessly or at a place other


than a regular crossing

migraine: a severe, recurrent headache characterized by


pressure or throbbing beginning on one side
of the head and accompanied by nausea and
other disturbances

pedestrian a walkway or a bridge for persons who go on


overpass: foot providing access over another route

physical: physical examination, that is, a medical


checkup

street cues: sensory signals that elicit responses to


everything which may be dangerous while
moving on the street

303
stroller: a four-wheeled, often collapsible, chairlike
carriage in which small children are pushed

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What considerations must be taken into
Questions: account in choosing a safe route?
2. How do the most serious injuries to
walkers and runners occur?
3. What are the requirements to the
equipment?
4. How can one avoid dehydration and
overexposure in the process of walking or
running?

Text XI
A Brief Guide to Safe Cycling
Match your bike to your riding habits. Bicycles come in a
wide range of styles, which vary in tire width, shape of the
handlebars, and thickness of the frame. Most styles are designed
for safe riding under specific road conditions, so it’s important to
make your choice based on the type of riding you intend to do.
Tune up your cycle. When you take your bike out of the
basement or garage for the first time each season, make sure it’s
properly tuned. An inspection at bike shop can ensure that tires,
gears, and brakes are up to standard and that the bike is still the
correct size for you. Also be sure your cycle has all the
equipment you need. A rearview mirror attached to your
handlebars can give you “eyes on the back of your head.” And a
water bottle carrier attached to your frame enables you to stay
fully hydrated as you ride. Before every outing, check tire

304
pressure and make sure the wheels are tight. Test front and rear
brakes, too.
Protect your head. Wear a properly fitted and secured
helmet – whenever and wherever you ride – to dramatically
reduce the risk of bicycle injuries. Check to be sure that your
helmet is certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC) or the Snell Foundation, a helmet-testing organization
whose standards exceed those of the CPSC.
Stretch before you ride. For casual – and especially
occasional – bikers, doing leg, back, and other stretches before a
ride can reduce the severity of post-ride aches. The quadriceps
muscles in the front of your upper leg are the most likely spot for
those aches, but your lower back may also get sore if you spend
most of a long ride hunched over the handlebars. Serious riders
will want to spend even more time stretching out before a ride.
Ride by laws. By law, bicycles are vehicles, and riders must
observe the same rules of the road as drivers of cars, trucks, and
other vehicles. To avoid collisions, don’t run red lights or stop
signs, go the wrong way on a one-way street, or ride against the
traffic flow. Weaving around moving or parked cars puts riders at
great risk. And riding on the sidewalk can be dangerous for both
you and pedestrians; it is also illegal in some areas.
Let yourself shine. When you ride, it’s wise to wear bright-
colored reflective clothing so others can easily see you. If you
ride at night, equip your bike with rear red reflectors and white
side reflectors as well as a bright headlight.
Signal your moves. Whether you are riding during the day or
at night, use a horn or bell to alert pedestrians or other cyclists of
your approach, and use standard hand signals to indicate when
you intend to turn or stop.
Scan the road. Watch the road ahead so you can dodge
potholes. Loose gravel, water, or ice could send you into a skid,
so try to ride around such hazards. If you’re riding in a group,
alert your fellow bikers about potential hazards up ahead. For city

305
riding, always be prepared to move out of the way quickly if a
pedestrian steps off the curb and into your path, a driver pulls out
of a parking spot and cuts you off, or a car door suddenly opens
and blocks your way.
– SafetyTip.com, Inc.
BACKGROUND NOTES
bike: an American word which may be used
instead of a “bicycle,” “motorbike” or
“motorcycle.” Another word that may be
used instead of more formal words “bicycle,”
“motorcycle,” “tricycle” or the like, is
“cycle.”

gear: an apparatus, especially one consisting of


toothed wheels, that allows power to be
passed from one part of a machine to another
so as to control the power, speed, or direction
of movement.

sidewalk: an American word for “pavement.” In


America “pavement” means “a paved road,”
and not “a paved surface or path at the side
of a street for people to walk on” as in British
English.

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. How should one make one’s choice of a
Questions: bicycle?
2. What does an inspection of a bicycle
include?
3. How can one reduce the severity of post-
ride aches?

306
4. What are the major safety rules for
cycling?

Text XII
A Brief Guide to Safe Rock Climbing
Get into gear. Before you buy anything, try climbing a few
times (with an instructor who supplies the gear) to make sure you
like it. Then, go to a large sporting-goods store, specialty store, or
Internet site to purchase the special equipment you need. Be sure
to get carefully fitted for climbing.
Build yourself up. If you’ve decided you’re serious about
rock climbing, get into shape with strength, conditioning, and
flexibility training. You don’t have to be a perfect physical
specimen to be a climber, but out-of-shape climbers, especially
older ones, are most at risk for injuries on an expedition.
Climb the walls. Get a taste of the sport by visiting an indoor
climbing gym. These facilities offer certified instructors, along
with challenges for varying skill levels. Many allow you to either
pay by the day or enroll in a course. Remember, however, that
indoor climbing does not prepare you for every challenge you’ll
face outdoors, where you’ll need to learn how to set ropes, for
example. Hazards are also more complex on a real rock, so be
sure to get additional instruction on your first outdoor climb.
Keep a close watch on your equipment. Before and after
every climb, inspect all your equipment, as well as your partner’s,
to make sure it’s in good shape. Check ropes for wear, and check
knots to ensure they are tied correctly. Also check that all
carabiners are locked before you begin climbing, and make sure
your harness is properly worn.
Don’t climb without a belayer. Always climb with one or
more companions. If you are climbing with a rope, make sure at
least one person knows correct belaying – techniques to help you
in case of a fall. The belayer is usually below the lead climber but

307
may be stationed on top of the rock in some cases. Boulderers
should always climb with a spotter. Spotters help falling climbers
land on their feet, using a pad to cushion the impact.
Do your homework. In addition to visiting an indoor gym and
a sporting-goods store, read about the subject, talk to climbers
and instructors, and take a few lessons. Then, do some additional
climbing with experienced climbers. The best way to stay safe is
to be well informed.
Learn the lingo. Know the standard belayer-climber
commands which any gym instructor, or seasoned climber can
teach you. Many people get hurt because of poor communication.
To have more fun on the rocks, pick up some climber slang as
well.
– SafetyTip.com, Inc.

BACKGROUND NOTES
belayer: a person who belays, that is, fastens a rope by
winding around a pin or short rod

boulderers: mountaineers specializing in climbing


boulders, that is, detached and rounded or
worn rocks

carabiners: D-shaped rings with a spring catch in one


side, used for fastening ropes in
mountaineering

certified instructors who have passed special


instructors: examinations and have a license to practice

lingo: the language or vocabulary, especially the


jargon or slang, of a particular group or field

308
specialty store: a store specializing in the sale of articles
particularly dealt in, manufactured, etc.

spotters: an assistant to a person engaged in hazardous


activities whose duty is to watch and warn of
possible dangers

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. Where and how should one buy the special
Questions: equipment for rock climbing?
2. Why does a person going to engage in
rock climbing should first get oneself into
shape?
3. What are the functions of belayers and
spotters in rock climbing?
4. Why should one learn the lingo of the rock
climbers?

Group Section E deals with safety in three kinds of


Activities: participatory sports. In groups of two to three
students discuss safety requirements for some
of the participatory sports of their choosing.
The students could choose from among such
popular sports as roller-skating,
skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing,
windsurfing, swimming, etc. Some groups
could prefer a sport which they know well of,
but which is not included in the list.

When discussing safety ways of going in for a


sport, one should take into account all
important points, including the special
equipment, physical preparedness, preliminary

309
training, etc. At the final stage, spokespersons
from smaller groups present their brief guides
to safety in different kinds of sports to the
whole group.

Individual Write a brief guide to safety in one of the


Work: participatory sports you know. The volume of
the guide should be about 300 – 350 words.

310
UNIT VII
AMERICA OF THE FUTURE
A. Science and Technology
Discussion By the end of the 20th century the United
Questions: States became a leading scientific power. Its
contribution to the world science may be
judged by the fact that it holds the world
record in the total number of Nobel prizes for
scientific achievement.
Note down the following points:
1. In which fields of science and
technology is the United States of
America likely to continue its leadership
in the 21st century?
2. What problems does the United States
face in connection with the development
of new sciences and technologies whose
consequences for the future of the world
are unpredictable?

Reading You are going to read three texts about the


Exercises: future of the most impressive achievement in
genetic research – Human Genome Project.
The texts are based on a paper by American
researcher Joseph F. Coates on the human
and genetic engineering in the New
Millenium. As you read, pay attention to the
way the successful completion of the Human
Genome Project may affect the treatment and
prevention of disease in the 21st century as
well as human enhancement.

311
Text I
The Human Genome Project and the Treatment
of Disease in the Future
In the last 50 years, research has established the following:
● All heritable characteristics of living things are carried
by a class of chemicals called deoxyribonucleic acid
[DNA].
● This is a long chain made up of basically four
components, which one can consider as A, B, C, and D.
● Those components comprise a code.
● The code forms units, which are called genes, which
represent the heritable characteristics of the organism.
● That code has been deciphered. It leads, in the egg, to
the production of proteins. Those special proteins are
catalysts, or more properly, enzymes, which working
with the material in the immediate environment proceed
to restructure those materials into the organism that the
DNA is programmed to produce.
● We have learned to synthesize DNA.
● We have developed means for taking DNA apart, for
putting it back together, and for combining synthetic
DNA with natural DNA.
● We have learned that we can take DNA from any
organism and put it in any other organism, and if
circumstances permit the resulting organism will
manifest the newly transferred characteristics.
In brief, we have developed a technology of DNA.
About 4,500 human diseases and disorders are genetically based.
At the one extreme is Huntington’s disease, formerly called
Huntington’s chorea, which normally strikes its victim in the fifth
decade. Basically, mental functions are lost, physical functions
degrade, and over a period of several years the person dies a
thoroughly miserable death, miserable for himself or herself and

312
for the people in care and attendance. That is destiny implicit in
that gene. There are no ifs, ands, or buts. If you carry the gene
and live long enough, you will develop the disease.
On the other extreme, consider tuberculosis. There is no
human gene for tuberculosis, but there are genes that make us
more or less resistant. The likelihood of getting tuberculosis is
probabilistic. All of the thousands of diseases and disorders fall
somewhere on a spectrum from absolute certainty to probabilism.
The Human Genome Project, which is the most important
biologic project in the history of genetic research, had its origins
in medical concerns and has consequently, been primarily
focused on diseases and disorders. Its goal is to create the first
map of all of the human genes, which are collectively known as a
genome. Genome refers to both the collective genes of an
individual and the collective genes of a species. With that
information we should be in a better position to identify and
relate the structure of DNA to specific diseases and
susceptibilities. It is virtually daily news that a connection has
been made between some disease and its genetic base. Six
percent of breast cancer, X% of disease Y, unequivocal location
of gene for disease Z, and so on.
What are the consequences of this new knowledge? First and
most obviously, will be diagnosis. If a disease is known to be
genetic and is in your family, it is now fairly straightforward for
those diseases whose gene locus on the DNA has been identified
to determine whether or not you carry that gene.
Following diagnosis, but not following close behind, will be
attempts at prevention. That is, to intervene in some way or
another to prevent the genetically programmed disorder from
manifesting itself. Following that will be therapy. Therapy will
come in two primary forms: gene therapy and pharmacology.
First, since we are dealing with genetic disorders, strategies
involving replacing, neutralizing, or eliminating the defective
gene, generically called gene therapy, will undoubtedly dominate

313
the future of the treatment of disorders of genetic origin. Today,
there have been no outstanding, unequivocal, complete successes,
but one has to recognize that this is the earliest stage of a true
biomedical revolution. One has to be able to see the longer-term
future, not just focus on the partial successes and failures of
short-term basic research experimentation.
Gene therapy might work by several different mechanisms.
The easiest one to understand would use an organism, such as the
influenza virus, which attacks a specific tissue – the lungs. If the
genetic defect were one that affected the lungs, one would
remove the disease-causing portion of the virus, and attach to the
remaining now benign virus the gene that was absent or
defective. Then, one would literally attempt to infect the person
with that benign new virus, and thereby, deliver to the somatic
cells – the body cells – the genes necessary to effect correction in
a specific biological target, the lungs. Many variations on this, as
well as other strategies, are under extensive investigation.
The second strategy is less obvious, but in the short run – the
next 10 or 15 years – may have big consequences. Most diseases
are treated at their beginning or their end points. For example, we
give vaccines to prevent diseases. When a disease fully develops,
we have relief and therapy for that full-blown disease. Consider,
again, Huntington’s chorea. Some interesting biochemistry must
be going on for five decades before the disease shows itself.
There must be many unexplored opportunities to intervene
pharmacologically to prevent, arrest, or reduce the potential
intensity of the disorder. Pharmacology will expand over the next
one or two decades, as it begins to explore and find remedies at
the intermediate biochemical stages in genetically caused
conditions.

314
BACKGROUND NOTES
benign virus: a virus that is not dangerous to life, not
malignant

DNA: an extremely long, double-stranded nucleic


(deoxyribonucleic acid molecule arranged as a double helix
acid) (spiral) that is the main constituent of the
chromosome and that carries the genes as
segments along its strands

enzyme: a protein originating from living cells and


capable of producing certain chemical
changes in organic substances by catalytic
action, as in digestion

gene: the basic physical unit of heredity at the


nucleus of a cell, that controls the
development of all the qualities in a living
thing which have been passed on from its
parents

gene therapy: the treatment of a disease by replacing


aberrant genes with normal ones through the
use of viruses to transport the desired genes
into the nuclei of blood cells

Human Genome a joint international scientific undertaking,


Project: the goal of which is to gain a basic
understanding of the entire genetic blueprint
of a human being. This genetic information
is found in each cell of the body, encoded in
the chemical deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
The Human Genome Project began in the
United States in 1990 with the expansion of

315
funding from the National Institutes of
Health and the Department of Energy. In
June 2000 an important milestone in the
project was reached – decoding of the
human genome. Now the scientists are
engaged in the process known as mapping of
the genes, that is, finding the genes exact
location in the nucleus of the human cell.
The process is due to be completed by 2005.

Huntington’s a hereditary chorea (a disease of the nervous


chorea: system characterized by jerky, involuntary
movements), appearing in middle age,
characterized by gradual deterioration of the
brain and gradual loss of voluntary
movement

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES

Comprehension 1. What are the main characteristics of the


Questions: DNA?
2. How many human diseases and disorders
are genetically based?
3. What is the aim of the Human Genome
Project and what opportunities will it offer
to scientists when it is completed?
4. How can gene therapy work using the
results of the genetic research?

316
Text II
Biological Intervention into Human Beings
Since one of our major concerns is ethics, it is important to
recognize that the fundamental consequence of genetic research is
that it will radically alter our beliefs and actions about biological
intervention into human beings. Let’s take as a case,
Huntington’s chorea. Let’s say it is 1970. I am 24 years old, in
perfectly good health, but my father died of Huntington’s chorea.
Do I tell her, or do I keep it a secret? If I tell her, dare I ask her to
marry me? If she accepts, what kind of decisions do we make
about planning for the future and, more particularly, what kinds
of decisions do we make about childbearing? I cannot know if I
carry the gene but if I do, there is a 50-50 chance I will pass it on.
If I carry the gene, it is a one hundred percent certainty that I will
come down with the disorder in my 5th decade. We then make a
decision, although we cannot know whether I carry the gene. We
decide to have children and see what happens. Those children
come along. Do we tell them about their grandfather? Do we tell
them about the possible risk to their father?
Let’s jump ahead to a more recent decade – the early 1990s.
Now there is an absolute test as to whether I carry the gene. If I
take the test and I do not carry the gene, Huntington’s chorea is a
zero consideration in our lives. If I carry the gene, now we alter
our discussion, particularly with the regard to the decision to
marry. With that certainty, as opposed to uncertainty, how do we
plan for my personal disaster? If she says yes, when we get
around to children, we then have the question of “should we have
any at all?” There is a 50-50 chance each will carry the gene.
But that story changes. When she becomes pregnant, we can
sample some amniotic fluid fairly early in the term to determine

317
whether the fetus carries the gene. Now we are confronted with a
new ethical issue - to carry the fetus to term or to abort.
More recent developments carry us past that. The technology
of in vitro fertilization has developed. We do not have to go
through that horror of pregnancy and possible abortion. Fertilize
in the petri dish. Let the cells divide, two, four, eight cells. Select
one of them. Run the test on it. If it does not have the gene, we
have seven left to implant. If it does carry the gene, down the
drain and let’s start again.
It would be difficult to the point of impossibility for someone
in the 1960s, 70s, or even up to the 80s to be able to cogently
address the values or the ethical issues now connected with these
emerging capabilities.
What else is likely to happen? We all act with some
complacency about the disorders that we know have been in our
families. We each feel well. We do not think it is going to strike
us. But what happens when we have the capability to be
absolutely certain that we do or do not carry a misfortunate gene
or package of such genes? Many of us will choose to operate in
the dark, but increasing numbers of us will choose to find out. As
we find out, that will create pressures to organize, to reallocate
R&D budgets. It will create conflict among various public
interest groups. Should so much research be going to AIDS?
Should so much research be going to infectious diseases? Should
so much research be going to this, that, or another condition?
Where is the fair share for my disease? What is a fair share for
research on a disease?
Another consequence will be in business. Many businesses
will want to use genetic testing as a way to select employees, and
among those already employed to choose those for further human
resource investments. Imagine two recent graduates, A and B,
one from the Harvard Business School and one from INSEAD.

318
Each applying to Company X, they are roughly the same age,
they have all the same MBA credentials. As he sits in front of the
interviewers, A says, “Oh by the way, I have a genetic profile you
might want to look at.” This shows him as a near perfect
superman. B mentions nothing about his genetic profile. What
will the consequence be? Any intelligent interviewer is likely to
conclude that B has something he wants to hide. Should that be
permitted? It may well be the case that we will have to legislate
that a person will be forbidden in certain situations to put forward
his or her own genetic profile.
We already see insurance companies in the US attempting to
have the presence of a disease gene declared a preexisting
condition, even though the person has no manifestations of the
disorder. As I see it, 99% of these potential business or
organizational abuses of genetic information would be eliminated
by straightforward three-part legislation:
1. no one has the right to require a genetic test;
2. no one has the right to ask whether you have ever
had one;
3. no one in a work transaction has the right to accept
genetic information or a genetic profile.
That kind of legislation would then force close attention to the
few kinds of exceptions to the three rules that society may want
to allow. This legislation would in no way preclude the radically
beneficial new ranges of epidemiological and statistical analytical
research associated with using anonymous genetic information.

BACKGROUND NOTES
AIDS: acquired immune deficiency syndrome, a
disease of the immune system characterized
by increased susceptibility to infections. The
disease is caused by an HIV (human

319
immunodeficiency virus), and transmitted
chiefly through blood or blood products that
enter the body’s bloodstream, especially by
sexual contact or contaminated hypodermic
needles.

amniotic fluid: the watery fluid in the amnion (the innermost


membrane of the sac surrounding the
embryo) in which the embryo is suspended

Ethics: moral rules or principles of behavior


governing a person or a group

f(o)etus: the young of an animal in the womb,


especially in the later stages of development
(in a human being after the end of the second
month of gestation)

INSEAD: French abbreviation for European Institute


for Business Administration

in vitro a technique by which an ovum (egg cell) is


fertilization fertilized with sperm in a laboratory dish and
(IVF): subsequently implanted in a uterus (womb)
for gestation

MBA: master of business administration

petri dish: a shallow, circular, glass or plastic dish with


a loose-fitting cover over the top and sides,
used for culturing microorganisms

R&D: abbreviation for research and development

320
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What is the fundamental consequence of
Questions: genetic research?
2. In which way does the approach to genetic
diseases like Huntington’s chorea change
as a result of the genetic research?
3. What are the problems of reallocating
R&D budgets in connection with the
increased public interest in genetic
engineering?
4. Why must there be legislation banning the
use of anonymous genetic information?

Text III
Human Enhancement
The most interesting long-term consequence of genetics
research is human enhancement. The genetic knowledge that will
permit us to identify diseases and disorders will allow us to
identify the means and mechanisms for enhancing human
capabilities. Unfortunately, this is an area that has tended to
receive stupidly thoughtless automatic knee jerk, hostile, negative
responses, as if the capability to enhance people’s function must
lead to “The Boys from Brazil,” that genetic horror movie, or to
the rise of fascistic armies of clones prepared over a generation to
sweep the world with their great strength and power.
Almost all of the ethical and conjectural discussion that I have
seen fails to address the single most important and obvious action
in the development of new genetic capabilities. That is, what
ordinary people will do when confronted with the opportunity to
use specific genetics technologies.
I did an inventory of myself and I discovered I carry eight

321
nuisance genes. Obviously, I am nearsighted – you can tell by my
eyeglasses. I have dry skin. I itch and scratch for several months
of the year. I also have a hearing defect in which I have virtually
a zero memory for music. For years I had a thousand dollars
worth of stereo equipment and one cassette. Social pressure has
caused me to expand that and now the 40 cassettes are carefully
labeled “interesting,” “good after dinner,” “good to read by,”
“discard.” Wouldn’t it be nice if those nuisance genes did not
have to be carried forward to my descendants? That goal will be
practical in the future.
Nuisance genes are quite different from an average of eight or
nine lethal genes, which we each carry. Those lethal genes are so
dispersed through the population that they rarely come together to
create a deadly condition for a fetus or a child. There is good
evidence that the overwhelming majority of spontaneous
abortions have gross physical defects. Presumably they have
invisible biochemical and metabolic defects. Nature is wise at
being able to sort out and dispose of the unviable before full term.
A few years ago, low-cost human insulin became available. It
was made available and promoted as a way of treating children
who would be dwarves or midgets to have them to grow to fuller
stature, and presumably to an improved quality of life. No sooner
was that growth hormone available, than many parents whose
children were forecast to be in the low percentiles of ultimate
height (a boy 5’1”, a girl 4’6”, but otherwise perfectly healthy)
wanted their children treated with the growth hormone. They
fundamentally were convinced that being a few inches taller
would enhance the quality of their children’s lives. This is a
fundamental lesson in what ordinary people will be looking for,
seek, and find acceptable. Those children subject to that attempt
at human enhancement were otherwise perfectly healthy, but their
parents saw enhancement by a few inches as beneficial. Could

322
you realistically see otherwise?
Enhancement, however, may go in another direction coming
out of other developments in genetics. As you probably know,
there are now genomic projects going for all across the biota in
which indicator species are having their own genomes worked
out. One of the most striking conclusions coming out of that
unfolding work is enormous substantiation of organic evolution –
the theory of Darwin and Wallace. The same genes tend to
function in the same way across species as divergent as fruit flies,
mice, and people. If they do not perform the homologous
function, they often perform an analogous function. As we
discover capabilities in one species, one has to look at what the
implications are for other species. As you all know, many insects
can see in the ultraviolet. It would be fully reasonable to consider
adding to a human genome the capability to see in the ultraviolet.
What benefit would that have? Who knows? But let me suggest a
way to consider it. Suppose throughout your whole life you wore
green-tinted sunglasses, and then suddenly they were removed
and your world now looked strikingly different as you saw a full
color spectrum. Would you want to restore your permanent
sunglasses? A similar affect might occur if you could see in the
ultraviolet, except that you would presumably be born with that
capability.
The intelligent mice have been worldwide news. There is just
no question that mental functions of people are predominantly
bounded by genetics. While the numbers are controversial, and
often involve ideologically based preconceptions, one would be
safe in operating on the assumption that 60% of our mental
functions are genetically determined, and the rest
environmentally shaped. To use a metaphor, the genes determine
the size of the bowl, and the environment determines how full it
becomes.

323
Virtually all of the functions that one thinks of as mental,
cognitive, intellectual, personality, and so on are candidates for
genetic manipulation, including enhancement of the many well
established aspects of intelligence. It is unlikely that the
manipulation of human intelligence will take off initially in the
advanced nations, it is much more likely to occur in the second
tier countries, such as Korea. After its safety and efficacy have
been proven, then it will march forward as a growing movement.
Enhancement is not likely to begin so much as enhancement, as it
is to begin with corrections, as for example of my eight nuisance
genes, and then steadily and naturally slip into enhancement.
With experience over decades it will become more or less routine
to modify the human genome. Not just to modify a human
genome for a single person, but to modify the reproductive cells
so that the improvement can be carried to the next generation.

– by Joseph F. Coates,
Coates & Jarrant, Inc., Washington, DC
BACKGROUND NOTES
biota: the animals, plants, fungi, etc. of a region or
period
Darwin, Charles: (1809 – 1882), English naturalist, the author
of the theory of evolution, according to
which all existing organisms developed from
earlier forms by natural selection and
survival of the fittest
gene inventory: a complete list of all the genes in the
chromosome and their properties
human improving human capabilities with the use of
enhancement: genetic engineering. Unlike eugenics, a
science concerned with improving a breed of

324
the human species through influencing or
encouraging reproduction by persons
presumed to have desirable genetic traits,
human enhancement does not have racist
overtones.
insulin: a hormone produced by the pancreas (a large
gland situated near the stomach) that
regulates the metabolism of glucose and
other nutrients
lethal genes: the genes whose presence in the chromosome
causes considerable harmful effects and,
eventually, death of the organism
nuisance genes: the genes which, without causing any major
disruption in the living processes,
nevertheless produce in the organism some
minor harmful effects, like shortsightedness
or itchy skin
Wallace, Alfred (1823 – 1913), English naturalist who created
Russel: the theory of evolution simultaneously with
Charles Darwin. However, Wallance
recognized Darwin’s priority in developing
the new theory of development of life forms

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What kind of response has human
Questions: enhancement through genetic engineering
received so far?
2. In which way are the nuisance genes
different from the lethal genes found in
every organism?

325
3. Why might the parents of perfectly
healthy children look for the human
enhancement treatment?
4. How are human enhancement practices
most likely to begin?
Group The human genome project, which is now
Activities: underway, seems to offer new, unlimited
opportunities for treatment of disease and
human enhancement. But won’t a direct
biological intervention into human beings
bring about some of the worst scenarios like
in Hollywood horror films?
In groups of two to four discuss the various
ways of application of the genetic engineering
based on the Human Genome Project as well
as the ethical aspect of using human
enhancement practices.
As soon as the students in smaller groups have
discussed the problems of genetic engineering
in the New Millenium, they are expected to
present their views to the whole group.

Individual Write an essay of 300 words about the


Work: problems involved in the rapid advance in
sciences and technologies in the New
Millenium. The list of suggested topics may
include:
1. genetic engineering and manipulating
human organisms;
2. cloning as one of the ways of human
reproduction of the future;
3. colonization of Mars and other planets of
the Solar system.

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B. Economy and Finances
Discussion Note down the following points:
Questions: 1. What possible changes may take place in
the American economic and financial
system in the 21st century? Will America
retain its leading position in advanced
technologies and other branches of
economy?
2. What consequencies can the rapid
development of economy in the United
States have for the world ecology?
Reading You are going to read a text about a search
Exercises: for the fuel of the 21st century in America.
The text is based on a speech made by
Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns before the
National Conference on Ethanol Policy and
Marketing in 1999. Mike Johanns is an ardent
supporter of the use of ethanol as the
alternate fuel of the future. As you read the
text, note down the following:
1. the arguments in favor of the wider use of
ethanol as a fuel for car engines;
2. the near-term opportunities for increasing
ethanol use;
3. the longer-term opportunities for ethanol
use;
4. a constructive approach to the future.
Text IV
Searching for the Fuel of the New Millenium
Earlier this month, a leading auto expert on fuel cell vehicles,
said, “Methanol is the fuel of the future, capable of fulfilling the
requirements for sustainable, environment-friendly mobility in
the long term.” However, now that California experiences an

327
energy crisis more and more people are looking for an alternative
to methanol. Can ethanol replace methanol as the fuel of the
future? Are the ethanol supporters riding the wrong horse into the
new millenium? Will big oil do to the ethanol industry what John
D. Rockefeller did to Henry Ford, who believed his cars would be
powered by ethanol? Perhaps that auto expert who predicted a
victory for methanol-powered fuel cells should remember one
man’s sage advice, “We can predict everything except the
future.”
In the United States, the most passionate supporters of ethanol
as the oil of the Heartland are Midwesterners. When crisscrossing
Nebraska, the nation’s number three ethanol producer, one can
see what a homegrown industry that adds value to the state’s
crops can do for rural economies. Nebraska’s ethanol industry has
grown to the point where one of every seven bushels of corn is
converted to ethanol. Without the ethanol industry, the grain
surpluses and low commodity prices would be significantly
worse.
Now, the ethanol supporters challenge all of us to chart a
course where ethanol is the fuel of the next millenium. How can
we do this? First, we need to focus on near-term opportunities for
growth:
● At the top of the list is helping – not telling – Californians
with the very serious problems that have developed with MTBE
contamination of their water. A way out of the critical situation
can be found in the wider use of ethanol, and the Nebraska
Ethanol Board has already provided valuable assistance and
research as California officials assess the problem and potential
solutions.
Many American energy experts undoubtedly have advocated a
path for California officials to follow. Unfortunately, few can
agree on a course of action for California officials: Should
remedies be sought at the state level, or at the federal level?

328
Should all oxygen additives be removed from the state’s fuels, or
just one? Is the problem just leaking fuel tanks, or is there a more
pervasive problem? As California officials seek a solution to the
present problem, they must not overlook the immense potential
the state has for being a leader in renewable transportation fuels.
State officials have estimated that replacing MTBE with ethanol
would require more than 600 million gallons of ethanol each
year.
● As you know, California’s problem is not unique. Similar
MTBE water contamination problems are being faced in Texas
and in eight Northeastern states. The Midwestern state of
Nebraska is making a contribution to the solution. One of the
nation’s ethanol leaders, Todd Sneller of the Nebraska Ethanol
Board, serves on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Blue
Ribbon Panel that was created to help governors in the Northeast
come to grips with MTBE contamination problems. One should
not overlook the fact that eight Northeastern states consume far
more gasoline than California. If MTBE is replaced, that’s at least
another 600 million gallons of ethanol a year. This is another
near-term opportunity and challenge for the nation’s ethanol
industry.
● Any growth in the nation’s production of ethanol can go a
long way to resolving the current glutted inventory of corn and
low commodity prices. Every new plant that opens can use
millions of bushels of corn grown in the region.
● Consumer acceptance is another area of near-term
opportunity for increasing ethanol use. Last month, a survey by
the American Lung Association found that Americans are willing
to pay more for cleaner gasoline if it means cleaner air. Almost
70 percent of those who participated in the survey said they
would pay up to five cents more a gallon for cleaner gasoline.
And 91 percent in the survey said they would pay up to three
cents more a gallon. At least on one level, Americans are saying,

329
“tell me your gasoline is cleaner and better for the air and I will
buy it, even if it costs a little bit more.” Now, it is up to us to tell
consumers that gasoline with ethanol is better for the
environment and costs the same, or just a few cents more. We
must build on our efforts to find greater consumer acceptance.
One of the easiest ways to increase ethanol use is to make
consumers more aware of 85 percent ethanol – E85. Remember,
every gallon of E85 sold contains more than eight and a-half
times the amount of ethanol in reformulated gasoline or ten
percent blends. After years of hard work, the Big Three are now
producing America’s most popular cars, trucks and vans that can
operate on any percentage of ethanol-blended fuel. And best of
all, these models come at no extra cost to the buyer. The car and
truck makers have delivered a golden opportunity for us. An
announcement may be forthcoming from one of the Big Three
that soon an additional 250,000 E85 vehicles will begin rolling
off the assembly line. Could anyone here predict that in just a few
short years, the number of E85 vehicles traveling America’s by-
ways would leap from a few thousand to about a million?
America’s carmakers have taken these words to heart: “The best
way to predict the future is to invent it.” Working together, we
have created and invented a future where E85 is the predominate
alternate fuel. We have the opportunity to make our future a
reality.
● In the past few months, a new word has entered our
vocabulary: OxyDiesel. This new fuel is a blend of 15 percent
ethanol and diesel fuel. Because of the pioneering work done by
Pure Energy, the state of Illinois and others, ethanol could soon
be powering heavy-duty trucks and urban transit buses without
modifying vehicle engines or adding to the diesel fuel’s cost. This
breakthrough means that if oxydiesel captures as much of the
diesel market as the 10 percent blended fuel, more than 750

330
million gallons of ethanol will be needed to satisfy the diesel
engine market.
These are the near-term opportunities for increasing ethanol’s
share of the nation’s transportation fuels market. Achieving
success in one or more of these near-term opportunities could
easily create a market for more than three billion gallons of
ethanol, doubling today’s current production levels. Can we make
the most of these opportunities? The ethanol supporters say, let’s
seize the opportunities. “The future belongs to those who dare.”
Next, let us outline several longer-term opportunities where
ethanol could become an important player:
● Mike Bowlin, the Chief Executive Officer of ARCQ, one of
the world’s largest oil companies, said the world is entering “the
last days of the age of oil.” Furthermore, he said, “global demand
for clean energy – natural gas, renewables, electricity and new
energy technologies – will grow faster than overall demand for
energy, including oil and coal.” Bowlin added, “Ten or fifteen
years from now the market share for oil will diminish, as the
demand for other forms of energy grows.” He challenged the oil
industry to, “embrace the future and recognize the growing
demand for a wide array of fuels; or ignore reality and slowly –
but surely – be left behind.” Bowlin now joins executives at
Royal Dutch Shell and BP Amoco in predicting the end of oil’s
dominance in energy markets.
Here is yet another opportunity to promote ethanol use in the
future. If major oil companies see a growing role for renewables
in the world’s energy future, the ethanol supporters must involve
them as partners in the continued expansion of ethanol production
and use.
● Over the past several years, many of the governors in the
Ethanol Coalition have seen the opportunities in developing
international markets and foreign ethanol production. Thus,

331
Canada and Mexico are recruited as new members of the
Coalition. These nations, plus members Brazil and Sweden, will
explore import and export opportunities, increase public
awareness of ethanol’s benefits and create an economic climate
for ethanol’s expanded use.
● It must be said that the decisions on the formula for cleaner-
burning motor fuels Americans will be putting in their tanks in
the 21st century are being made now. As the Environmental
Protection Agency develops the formula for what is called “Phase
Two reformulated gasoline,” the ethanol supporters plan to
continue actively participating, in the process as they did before.
What is needed is fuel flexibility that will allow a role for ethanol
to be used to achieve the nation’s clean air goals.
● Few would call the worldwide collapse of commodity
prices and burgeoning surpluses an opportunity. The projections
for the near-term look equally daunting. Yet it is during difficult
economic times that many important gains are achieved.
Hardship opportunities make us examine the fundamentals of
production and business operations in new and different ways to
realize new efficiencies. Such an example is the High Plains
ethanol plant in York, Nebraska. The firm has found new ways of
operating that have reduced wastewater and related costs,
increased plant capacity without expansion costs and is now
exploring how fuel cells can cut energy costs and use.
● The last of the long-term opportunities is the most
important: continue to reduce ethanol production costs through
genetic engineering, feedstock diversity and technology
improvements. For the past several years, energy visionaries have
held out the promise of energy self-sufficiency to even the most
resource-impoverished nations. Though research in this area
continues, the march of progress can be painstakingly slow.
● The vision of cheap, inexhaustible biofuels must be
contrasted with an equally powerful reality: billions of dollars are

332
being gambled in a search for oil around the Caspian Sea. To
date, oil companies have spent billions even though getting the
oil out of this land-locked region may be politically and
economically impossible. Hardly a day passes without some
major story from these former Soviet states. What the press has
rarely reported is the increasing number of dry holes oil
companies are finding. Just a small portion of the billions of
dollars being gambled in the Caspian could be spent to further
ethanol research. That’s why there is a need to encourage
cooperative ethanol research and production ventures with
forward-thinking multi-national oil companies.
As one visionary said, “The future is not a result of choices
among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is
created – created first in the mind and will, created next in
activity. The paths are not to be found, but made.” If we want
ethanol to be the fuel of choice in the next millenium, we need to
make the opportunities I have outlined this morning a reality.
– by Mike Johanns, Nebraska Governor,
for National Conference on Ethanol Policy and Marketing, 1999
BACKGROUND NOTES
big oil: the largest oil companies, representing the
interests of oil industry
the Big Three: the three largest U.S. automobile companies:
General Motors, Ford and Chreisler
blue ribbon a group of experts selected for superior or
panel: unmatched quality or eminence. The
expression is borrowed from a blue ribbon
worn as a badge of honor by members of the
British Order of the Garter.
BP: British Petroleum, the British oil company
founded in 1909

333
bushel: a unit of capacity, especially for measuring
grain, vegetables and fruit. One bushel is
equivalent in the U.S. to 35.24 liters and in
the U.K. – to 36.38 liters (imperial bushel).
commodity prices of unprocessed or partially processed
prices: good, as a grain, fruit or vegetable, or a
precious metal
ethanol: ethyl alcohol or just alcohol, a colorless,
volatile, flammable (American word for
inflammable, that is, easily set on fire) liquid,
C 2 H 5 OH , produced by yeast fermentation
of carbohydrates or, synthetically, by
hydration of ethylene (a colorless, flammable
gas C 2 H 4 )
Ethanol a group of American states, the largest
Coalition: producers of ethanol, which advocate a wider
use of ethanol as a fuel of choice
Ford, Henry: (1863 – 1947), U.S. automobile
manufacturer, who set up the Ford Motor
Company in 1903, and was the first to
introduce mass line production in American
economy
fossil fuels: combustible (capable of catching fire and
burning) fuels derived from the remains of
former life. The most widely used fossil fuels
are oil, coal and natural gas.
methanol: methyl alcohol, a colorless, volatile,
poisonous liquid, C 3 H 6 O2 , used as a solvent,
fuel, and antifreeze; also called wood
alcohol.

334
MTBE: methyl tertiary-butyl ether, a gasoline
additive used to reduce carbon monoxide
(CO) emissions. MTBE belongs to a group of
fuel oxygenates (substances which enrich
fuels with oxygen).
Pure Energy: a U.S. research group working on the project
of the use of energy with minimal pollution
Rockefeller, John (1839 – 1937), the U.S. oil magnate and
D.: philanthropist and the founder of a large
financial group based on the Standard Oil
Company of New Jersey (since 1973 it was
renamed into Exon)
Royal Dutch the English-Dutch oil company founded in
Shell: 1907

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What are the major differences between
Questions: two types of fuel – methanol and ethanol?
2. Where in the United States is a support for
the expanded use of ethanol the greatest
and why?
3. What are the near-term opportunities for
the growth of ethanol production in the
United States?
4. Why is consumer acceptance important in
introducing ethanol as the fuel of the new
millenium?
5. How have the leading American
automobile manufacturers reacted to the
reorientation on ethanol as a fuel?
6. What are the longer-term opportunities for
the expanded use of ethanol as a fuel?

335
7. How can ethanol production costs be
reduced to make ethanol competitive?
Group As the resources of oil are limited and its use
Activities: leads to the problems of pollution of
environment and green house effect, the world
economies are looking for new pure and
renewable sources of energy. Ethanol is one
such source, which, experts say, may solve the
problems of energy sources for the automobile
users of the 21st century. But can ethanol
satisfy all the needs of the world economy?
In groups of two to four discuss the possible
solution for the prevention of the energy crisis
in the 21st century. The first stage may require
additional information about the energy
sources. This information may be found in
reference books and in the Internet during
homework. The final results of the discussion
should be presented to the bigger group.

Individual Write an essay of 250 words about the ways


Work: of solution of the problem of pure and
economical sources of energy.

Reading You are going to read a text based on the


Exercises: article by an expert in finance, Roger
Langrick. Roger Langrick is worried by the
“forever increasing private and government
debt.” As the United States enters into the
New Millenium, the growing private and
government debt has become a major
obstacle for the further economic growth.
As you read, note down the following points:

336
1. What are the main dangers of the growing
private and government debt?
2. How was the Industrial Revolution
financed as a result of the invention of
John Law?
3. What solutions for the problem of
growing debt does the project for a
monetary system for the New Millenium
put forward?
Text V
A Monetary System for the New Millenium
The Debt Engine is a phrase to describe unrelenting, forever
increasing private and government debt. The need to stay ahead
of escalating debt fuels practically everything we do; it forces us
out of bed in the morning to go to jobs that most of us despise.
Corporations make all their decisions around first how to service
their snowballing debt, and secondly around profit. Governments
spend all their time worrying about how to meet their social
agendas while at the same time service the increasing debt load of
deficit spending.
As a motivating force, the Debt Engine now exceeds all others
in the insane dash of the planet towards self-destruction.
Universal unrepayable debt creates a social environment in which
certain types of behavior flourish and inhibits or destroys any
tendency towards long term concerns and nourishment.
Unrepayable Debt is different than the everyday debt of
normal life. Unrepayable Debt is an actual built-in flaw of our
present monetary system: the Fractional Reserve System. It
benefits no-one except those intimately connected with the
banking industry and in spite of its devastating .repercussions, it
is a flaw that can be fixed.
Our money supply isn’t created by the government; a brilliant
idea doesn’t make money and neither does hard work (unless you

337
happen to be in the counterfeiting business). Our money is a
national accounting system of who owes what to whom, and it is
a system that is owned and operated by the private banking
industry. Money flicks in and out of existence as credit and debit
balances; the money supply swells and contracts continuously as
loans are created and then destroyed. Money is simply a
bookkeeping system; a man created device.
The man who invented the monetary system which we use
today was a Scotsman, John Law, who lived during the 18th
century. He invented a new type of money to replace the old one
of specie (the use of coins). In doing so he created the mechanism
to finance the industrial revolution, and ultimately our modern
technological world.
Here was the problem which John Law solved. In the early
1700’s the newly industrializing nations of the world were in a
perpetual state of economic crisis because their coinage system of
money could not keep up with demand. Governments tried
everything to increase the money supply. One trick was to make
new coins much smaller than the old thereby getting more per
ounce, but it was a stopgap measure at best.
To grasp the magnitude of the problem, try to imagine
building just one modern skyscraper using only gold coins as
finance. The industrialists of the Industrial Revolution were faced
with a similar problem; how to build their factories, mills and
railroads using only scarce gold coins.
John Law’s solution was to create a national paper money
supply; banknotes that would be officially recognized as “real
money.” The advantages were obvious. Paper money could be
expanded indefinitely and was much cheaper than specie to make.
To get and keep initial public confidence, Law suggested a
fraction of gold be always kept on hand for the few people who
wanted to redeem their notes.
Through a process of trial and error it was found that specie
could support about ten times its value in paper money. That is, a

338
bank which held $10 in gold could safely print and loan out about
$100 in paper money. The gold held in reserve was obviously a
mere fraction of the banknotes which it supported and so the
system became known as the Fractional Reserve System. The
private banking industry was chartered by government to create
the new money supply of paper notes. Until earlier in this
century, banks literally printed their own supply against their own
gold reserves with their name on each note, and lent them out to
the public and government. Now the federal government has
taken on the printing job but the notes are still drawn on private
banks.
In the 1930’s the convertibility of bank notes was dropped but
the Fractional Reserve System is alive and well today, albeit in a
more sophisticated form. Cheques or credit cards have largely
replaced paper money but the principle remains the same; the
banking industry creates the money which government and
society then borrows.
John Law’s method of money creation is still the dynamo that
powers our present world. By replacing specie with a simple
national accounting system of credit and debit, he made money
infinitely more flexible, able to be contracted or expanded to
meet any situation.
However, using the Fractional Reserve System has not been a
universally happy experience. It has a built-in mechanical flaw
that always keeps total national and private debt ahead of the
money available to repay it. In fact the more a nation expands, the
more it automatically goes into debt to the system over and above
the money that it borrows.
To explain, imagine the first bank which prints and lends out
$100. For its efforts it asks for the borrower to return $110 in one
year; that is it asks for 10% interest. Unwittingly, or maybe
wittingly, the bank has created a mathematically impossible
situation. The only way in which the borrower can return 110 of

339
the bank’s notes is if the bank prints, and lends, $10 more... at
10% interest.
The result of creating 100 and demanding 110 in return is that
the collective borrowers of a nation are forever chasing a
phantom which can never be caught; the mythical $10 that were
never created. The debt in fact is unrepayable. Each time $100 is
created for the nation, the nation’s overall indebtedness to the
system is increased by $110.
The only solution at present is increased borrowing to cover
the principle plus the interest of what has been borrowed. The
business or government that cannot expand its borrowing every
year is seized by its increasing debt load and dragged under.
In John Law’s day, the need to continuously expand to meet
growing debt repayments was seen as a minor problem of no
consequence. Today however we all know the planet cannot
sustain unlimited growth. Even so, we are stuck with a monetary
system that demands continuous expansion or face the chaos of
total economic collapse.
The consequences of the Debt Engine are everywhere.
Political and business leaders are sacrificing the planet to stay
ahead of bankruptcy. Technology is not being used to create a
sane and sustainable lifestyle for us all but is being channeled
into the most narrow band of activity: the market place activity of
“making” money. Just as governments are forced into ignoring
vital social and environmental questions in their efforts to balance
the books, so many corporations are putting to one side such
things as resource depletion and the destruction of the ecosystem
in their frantic efforts to remain economically alive.
But the situation is not completely bleak. Just as John Law
found a way around the impasse of coinage, so there are solutions
for the problem of unrepayable debt. Obviously the first thing to
do is to make sure that the ratio of credit to debt is always the
same. Under the Fractional Reserve System, $100 credit is
created and $110 debt is demanded in return; that is, there is

340
always more debt than credit. This equation should be $100 credit
equals $100 debt.
The mechanics of how to achieve this were proposed over one
hundred and fifty years ago. It was proposed that the nation’s
money be created by two agencies: the banking industry and
government.
Instead of taxes, government would be empowered to create
money for its own expenses up to the balance of the debt
shortfall. Thus, if the banking industry created $100 in a year, the
government would create $10 which it would use for its own
expenses. Abraham Lincoln used this successfully when he
created $500 million of “greenbacks” to fight the Civil War.
A government which creates its own money supply becomes
independent and the most important result of freeing government
from its present debtor relationship to the banking industry would
be to make it more able to respond to social pressures for reform.
A financially independent government would be able to pursue
long term agendas for the betterment of society. For instance, a
twin source of money creation could not only rapidly reduce
taxes, but create additional funding for other initiatives. A
government having the same right of issue as is now monopolized
by the banking industry could fund vital job creating initiatives
such as environmental repair and sustainable technology on a
scale that is hard to imagine.
America has the resources to lead the world into a sustainable
future. But it needs a monetary system which will allow for its
resources to be mobilized towards a greater destiny than
marketplace superiority. Such a new monetary system with all of
its potential would require a dramatic upgrading of society’s
consciousness and understanding of money. We have to move
from a simplistic belief in money having an intrinsic value of its
own and see it as a bookkeeping system of the real wealth of our
nations. Ultimately our money is not dependent on gold in Fort
Knox but on the human and natural resources which it represents.

341
The world has passed beyond an age of scarcity and the
challenge of the new era is not about solving problems of want,
but dealing with abundance and how to use it to create a
sustainable future. Above all we need the visionaries able to point
the way.
With computerization, robotics, advances in genetics and food
growing, we have the potential to turn the planet into a
sustainable ecosystem capable of supporting all. We have the
technology to genuinely contemplate colonizing the solar system.
A new monetary system with enough government control to
ensure funding of vital issues could unlock the creative potential
of the entire nation. By redirecting the focus of our national
economy, a new monetary system would enable men and women
who can think in terms of abundance not only for themselves but
how also to use it for the benefit of the entire planet.
– by Roger Langrick
BACKGROUND NOTES
to balance the (a financial term) to reach a state wherein
books: debits (records of money spent or owed)
equal credits (the amount of money in a
person’s bank account)

deficit spending: the practice of spending funds in excess of


income, especially by a government, usually
requiring that such funds be raised by
borrowing, as from the sale of long-term
bonds

Federal Reserve a U.S. federal banking system that is under


System: the control of a central board of governors
(Federal Reserve Board) with a central bank
(Federal Reserve Bank) in each of 12

342
districts and that has wide powers in
controlling credit and the flow of money
Fort Knox: a military reservation in northern Kentucky
where the American gold reserves are kept
Fractional the banking system under which banks can
Reserve System: issue paper money exceeding many times
their gold and currency reserves
greenbacks: U.S. legal-tender notes (paper money),
printed in green on the back; originally,
greenbacks were issued against the credit of
the country and not against gold or silver on
deposit
interest: a sum of money in percentage of the amount
borrowed to be paid over a given period,
usually one year
social agenda: a plan to improve the quality of life of
society’s citizens, including social welfare,
free medical service, education, etc.
specie: money in the form of gold and silver coins
stopgap measure: a temporary solution to a problem
trial and error: experimentation or investigation in which
various means are tried and faulty ones are
eliminated in order to find the correct
solution or achieve the desired results

QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES


Comprehension 1. What is the meaning of the phrase “the
Questions: Debt Engine” and why is the Debt Engine
the main destructive force?
2. How does the Fractional Reserve System
work?

343
3. What was John Law’s invention which
helped finance the industrial revolution
and our modern technological world?
4. Why can the Fractional Reserve System
no longer serve America’s present
financial needs?
5. What is the main idea of a monetary
system for the New Millenium which can
stop the Federal Government’s
dependence on deficit spending?
6. When was the system based on two
agencies issuing money used in America
for the first time?
7. What are the advantages of the new
monetary system apart from eliminating
the growing government debt?
Group The governments play an ever increasing role
Activities: in the economic life of the countries of
different political systems. The monetary
system proposed in the article you have just
read means giving the Federal Government of
the United States even a much greater role and
influence in the economic and political life of
the country. Will it not lead to the abuse of
power and arbitrary rule by governmental
bureaucrats?
In groups of two to four students discuss all
the positive and negative aspects of the new
system and present the results of your
discussion to the whole group.
Individual Write an essay of 250 words about the role of
Work: money and the way it is spent on different
levels – beginning from the family and ending
with international projects.

344
C. Marriage and Family in the New Millenium
Discussion All areas of American society are undergoing
Questions: vast upheavals as the world has entered the
New Millenium. In the face of such
significant change, many Americans believe
that marriage and family of the future will
have to change as well to adapt to new
conditions.
Note down the following points:
1. What do you know about the problems
of the American family today as well as
the institution of marriage?
2. Will marriage and family survive in the
future? What forms can the family of the
future take to be viable?

Reading You are going to read three texts about the


Exercises: marriage and family in America of the future.
The first text is based on an article by Cheryl
Wertzstein published in The Washington
Times in late 1999. The second and the third
texts are based on the article by Dr. Deborah
Anapol in the publication of the Sacred Space
Institute.
As you read the texts, note down the
following:
1. the changes that are expected to take
place in the marriage and family as
institutions;
2. the new form of the family of the future
envisioned by Dr. Deborah Anapol.

345
Text VI
Researchers See Marriage as a Weakening Institution
One hundred years from now, says Houston futurist Sandy
Burchsted, Americans will marry at least four times and have
extramarital affairs with no public censure. Marriage, she adds,
will be viewed as a “conscious, evolutionary process”
Does this mean that till-death-do-us-part monogamous unions
will become a thing of the past? Not if “human nature” has its
way, said marriage-watchers who spoke at a Capitol Hill forum
on the future of marriage held in October, 1999. The new Beverly
LaHaye Institute, named for the founder of Concerned Women
for America, sponsored the forum, which included social analyst
Francis Fukuyama as one of two keynote speakers.
Dr. Fukuyama, a professor at George Mason University, said
there is “some bedrock point” beneath which humans will not go
in reordering their relationships. But due to “the different
technological and economic conditions of our age,” he added, it is
“extremely unlikely that anything like a return to Victorian values
will take place.”
The author of “The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the
Reconstitution of Social Order” said the introduction of the birth-
control pill and women moving into the paid labor force are key
forces behind social upheaval and family breakdown that began
in America in-the mid-1960s. Neither of these watershed events
is likely to be reversed and the family will not “roll back to the
1950s,” he told the Capitol Hill forum. However, “evidence is
growing that the ‘great disruption’ has run its course and that the
process of renorming has already begun,” he said, citing the
popularity of “Dr. Laura” Schlessinger’s radio show as a sign of
this “renorming.”
As for the future of traditional, monogamous marriage, Dr.
Fukuyama told the forum that it depends on “human nature.”
Which is why syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher believes

346
that lifelong, monogamous marriage will rebound. “The story that
we’ll fall in love, go through a little ceremony and after awhile
we will part is not the story that people want,” said Miss
Gallagher, who attended the forum. Instead, there is “amazing
power” to the story that says “two people meet, they fall in love,
they make love, they make a family and they live together and
take care of each other, happily.”
Ms. Burchsted, who runs Prospectiva in Houston and is
writing a book about marriage in the year 2100, doesn’t see such
a fairy tale ending. Based on her research on current megatrends,
she sees denizens of the next century moving through at least four
kinds of marriages. The first union will be “the icebreaker
marriage” in which couples learn how to live together and
become sexually experienced, says Ms. Burchsted, who spoke on
the subject at a World Future Society conference in July.
Icebreaker marriages are likely to last no more than five years
and be somewhat “cut and dried,” she says. The other marriage
unions will gradually develop more stable relationships. The
marriage institution is going to change, but it will survive as an
important part of human society.
– by Cheryl Wetzstein,
for The Washington Times, 1999
BACKGROUND NOTES
(the) Beverly La the research arm of the Concerned Women
Haye Institute: for America, providing research into the
factors affecting women now and into 21st
century

Concerned Women a national politically active women’s


for America: organization, promoting Christian values
and morality in public life and public
policy

347
“Dr. Laura” the radio and television show which is
Schlessinger’s known for its negative portrayal of Gay and
radio and TV show: Lesbian communities
extramarital affairs: sexual relationships outside marriage
futurist a specialist in the study or forecasting of
(futurologist): trends or developments in science,
technology, political or social structure,
etc.
icebreaker a marriage which is regarded only as a test
marriage: to gain enough experience for a more
serious type of marriage
marriage watcher: an analytic observer of trends, events,
changes, etc. in marriage as an institution
monogamy: the practice or condition of having only one
spouse (one’s husband or wife) at a time.
The monogamous marriage has been the
dominating type of matrimonial relations
since the collapse of the primitive
communal system.
Prospectiva: a non-profit, research institution for studies
of trends or developments in society
“till death do us a traditional pledge (promise) to be faithful
part”: given by the betrothed (engaged to be
married) during the marriage ceremony in
church
Victorian values: the values of the period of the reign of
queen Victoria of Great Britain (1837 –
1901). The most typical of the Victorian
values were expressive propriety or
modesty and strict observance of the
conventionalities.

348
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. How may marriage be viewed one
Questions: hundred years from now according to
American futurist Burchsted?
2. What was the opinion about the marriage
of the future expressed by social analyst
Francis Fukuyama?
3. Who were the keynote speakers at the
Capitol Hill forum on the future of
marriage and what was their attitude to the
life-long monogamous marriage?

Text VII
The Future of the Family and the Fate of Our Children
The majority of today’s adults were raised in nuclear families
where Dad was the breadwinner and Mom was the homemaker.
Imperfect, yes, but at least it provided most children with a full-
time, committed caretaker. With less than seven per cent of
today’s children growing up in this kind of family, who will fill
the roles of housewife and mother?
Current socioeconomic conditions have not been kind to
families. Neither have they benefited children, who now comprise
the largest class of people living below the poverty line. These
days, time is money, and time spent with children rarely produces
much in the way of dollars.
The nuclear family is a fragile organism. Created for the
Industrial Age, it has been viewed in economic terms as a
mechanism whereby the husband’s wages subsidized the unpaid
support services provided by his wife. Today this subsidy has
been withdrawn. Vulnerable to the stresses of the Information
Age and no longer financially viable, for better or worse the two
parent/one wage earner family is losing ground. What will
replace it? What should replace it?

349
Ask a group of conscientious parents what kinds of conditions
are optimal for raising children today. They will unfailingly
mention plentiful, unhurried time with nurturing adults, lots of
love and physical affection, freedom and space to roam and
presence of extended family or other caring adults. Any
reasonable person who gave the matter sufficient thought would
agree that these should be our design criteria for the 21st century
family.
In fact, the above conditions may be more than desirable, they
may be essential. The research of psychologists such as Dr. James
Prescott suggests that children who have not received sufficient
touching, cuddling and carrying in early life may sustain
permanent brain dysfunction or damage leading to depression,
violence and substance abuse in adulthood.
What kinds of conditions are typical today? Two-career
families, single-parent families, blended families, abortion, infant
day care and latchkey children. While the old nuclear family was
as often violent, authoritarian and abusive as it was peaceful and
supportive, these modern adaptations leave a lot to be desired.
As sociologist Arlie Hochschild demonstrates in her recent
book, The Second Shift, women are still doing the lion’s share of
housework and childcare, but now they are trying to squeeze it in
on top of full time work outside the home.
Many of the modern cultural experiments were initiated by
women desperate to overcome second class status in a male-
dominated culture. In that regard we have been modestly
successful. Women are no longer a rarity in business,
government, professions and skilled trades. Sexual harassment
and affirmative action regulations have had an impact on the
workplace. There’s a long way to go, but the gap between men’s
and women’s earnings is slowly closing.
With women struggling for equality largely by conforming to
the priorities and strategies of the authoritarian dominator culture,
children have been left in a lurch. This is not to criticize women

350
for neglecting their duty as mothers. In many cases women have
sought power outside the home precisely because they were
concerned with the fate of our children. And men, too, bear equal
responsibility for the next generation. These failed experiments
are not the product of our best efforts to design a family that
works for everyone, rather they are an accidental by-product of
the war between the sexes. We can and we must do better.
What kinds of family situations are optimal for raising
children? What alternatives are there? What kinds of family
structures meet our design criteria? How creative can we be in
finding answers?
While there may be many possibilities, let us consider one of
them, which offers a solution. This solution incorporates
traditional family values into a new cultural form which not only
holds great promise for children, but could meet the needs of
today’s men and women, and the planet, too. This form may be
called a “combination family” simply, “combos.” The combo
family concept goes a long way towards making lots of things
work that currently aren’t working.
Let us describe what a combo family is and how it functions.
Three to eight adults, of any mutually agreeable age and gender
mix, form a marriage-type partnership. Possibly they incorporate
or form a family trust, since there is no legal means of marriage
for more than two people in the United States. They live with
their co-parented children in one large or several adjacent houses
or flats. They share domestic and economic responsibilities, just
as an old-fashioned family does, but there are more hands to join
in the work and the fun! Impossible? Too complicated?
Unworkable? No more so than our current arrangements!
The combo family has the potential of utilizing a group
synergy not found in single-parent or two-parent families. Even
more significantly, it transforms humanity’s polygamous nature
from a liability to an asset. Combo families may seem like a big

351
leap on the evolutionary path, but consider the advantages for
children.
First, with three to eight adults per household, one or two
would very likely be willing and able to stay home and care for
the family. This might be a younger person not yet decided on a
career path, or an older person ready for a timeout. Or an earth
mother/father type who prefers full-time homemaking.
Alternatively, each adult could take one or two days a week or a
few hours a day of “mother duty.” Furthermore, as any parent can
tell you, raising children is one of the toughest jobs around.
You’re on call three hundred and sixty-five days a year, twenty-
four hours a day, with no vacation and no sick leave. Sharing the
load of rearing children with several people means less stress and
less burnout without losing any of the rewards. It also means
more loving, hugging and lap sitting, and higher quality parenting
for the kids.
A combo family could also provide siblings for those who
would otherwise be the only child of a couple. And it would
provide a safe and inexpensive alternative for infertile couples.
Combo families would make it easier for women to give birth to
children during their prime childbearing years without totally
sacrificing education or career, and without depriving the child
the value of more mature parents. Combo families would benefit
children financially. With both, multiple wage earners and full
time parents, a combo family could earn more and spend less,
resulting in a higher standard of living for the entire group. Many
consumer items could be shared and others purchased at quantity
discounts. Group bank accounts would command better terms for
borrowing as well as saving. If one parent died or became
unemployed or disabled, other members of the combo family
would still be able to provide for the children.
Communal living is also ecological, so more people could live
better while using fewer resources, preserving the planet for
future generations. Living intimately with a group would give

352
children (and adults) the best hands-on education in cooperation,
tolerance and sharing. Additionally, the combo family might
make it possible for families to once again settle permanently in a
community and put down roots. Multiple wage earners would
allow combo family members to refuse employer-generated
relocation. Individuals who choose temporarily relocate for career
opportunities could leave without disrupting everyone else and
still return to a home base.
Children could be much better educated in combo families as
well. With a larger number of adults pooling their resources and
their expertise, children would have direct access to a diverse
group of tutors as well as educational software, videos and
databases. The greater resources of the combo would make home
schooling or private schooling a viable option, as well as making
adequate funds for college more available. Emotional
development would also be enhanced as children gained more
exposure to a variety of personalities and coping styles. Multiple
parents and siblings could defuse the often unhealthy intensity of
the one-on-one parent-child bond, reducing the incidence of
symbiosis, child abuse and adolescent rebellion.

BACKGROUND NOTES
affirmative a policy to increase opportunities for women
action: and minorities, especially in employment

asset: a useful and desirable thing or quality

blended families: families which are formed as a result of a


break-up of other families

committed a person who provides care, such as a parent,


caretaker: teacher or nurse and who is loyal to his
occupation

353
communal living: living in a commune, that is, in a small group
of persons sharing possessions, work,
income, etc.
earth mother: a sensuous (readily influenced through the
senses), maternal (having the qualities of
mother) woman. Correspondingly, earth
father type is the type of a person having all
the qualities to make him an ideal father.
employer- a change of place of work and living as a
generated result of the business moving to another part
relocation: of the country
extended family: a kinship group consisting of a married
couple, their children, and various close
relatives
hands-on education based on active personal
education: participation of the students in the educative
process
Industrial Age: the historical period which began with the
Industrial Revolution in England about 1760
and continued until the invention and wide
application of computer technologies
infant day care: a supervised daytime care for preschool
children, usually provided at a center outside
the home
Information Age: the period in history which began in late 20th
century with the reorientation of society on
the accumulation, storage and retrieval of
information rather than producing goods. The
Information Age was ushered in by the great
advances in computer technologies and their
application in all spheres of human activities.

354
latchkey children: children who must spend part of the day
alone and unsupervised, as when the parents
are away at work. This term is based on the
practice of supplying such children with keys
to get into the house.
liability: something disadvantageous and undesirable.
Liabilities in money relations is a term
opposed to assets, that is, the amount of debt
that must be paid.
nuclear family: a social unit composed of father, mother and
children
polygamy: the practice or condition of having more than
one spouse (husband or wife)
sexual unwelcome sexual advances (actions or
harassment: words intended to be sexually inviting)
two-career families in which both husband and wife
families: follow an occupation or profession as their
lifework
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. When was the nuclear family created, and
Questions: what led to its disintegration?
2. What kinds of conditions are optimal for
raising children today?
3. What kinds of family conditions are
typical today?
4. In which way has the workplace changed
as a result of women entering the labor
force?
5. What alternatives are there for the present
state of affairs in family conditions?
6. How do the family values differ in the
traditional family and the combination
family?

355
7. What are the major advantages of the
combination family according to its
advocates?

Text VIII
Adult Relations in the Combination Family of the Future
So far, we’ve been focusing on the benefits of combo families
for children, but this kind of family has many attractions for
adults as well. We’ve already mentioned a higher standard of
living at lower cost, the support of several parents, and more role
flexibility.
The combo family offers an opportunity to create a better
family design for maximizing the beneficial aspects of adult
relationship as well as for raising children. Currently, monogamy
is the only love style considered legitimate by our culture, even
though the evidence clearly indicates that humans are not
monogamous by nature. The reality is that the majority of
husbands and wives have extramarital affairs and often get
divorced as a result. In fact, one form of polygamy, often called
serial monogamy, is now the most common form of relationship
found in our culture. But divorce and remarriage are extremely
stressful for children as well as their parents. Might there not be a
better way?
Monogamy has not always been the only sanctioned form of
marriage. Group marriage was favored in the ancient goddess
cultures. In biblical times, polygamous arrangements were
permitted for highly placed males; while faithful 19th century
Mormons were encouraged to take as many wives as they could
support. This practice was also common in China and Southeast
Asia until fairly recently and continues in the Moslem world
today. In Tibet, women can have multiple husbands, but
polygyny has been far more frequent than polyandry in cultures
where male dominance is the rule. Infidelity destroys

356
relationships by lies and deceit, while polygamy for men only
discriminates against women. What if we make available
relationship designs which offer both men and women a good
measure of security and freedom, of choice and commitment, of
stability and excitement, of depth and diversity? What if we
combine sexual honesty with equal opportunity?
One such design is called polyfidelity. In this relationship
form, a small group of emotionally mature adults agrees to limit
their relationships to their group of primary partners. There are no
special subgroups, such as a couple, within the group. New
partners can be added only with everyone’s consent. A
polyfidelitous design conserves and multiplies the powerful
energies of the group. This abundant loving energy can then be
used to nurture the family's children or directed toward service in
the outside world. Abuse, particularly sexual abuse, of children
would be unlikely in a polyfidelitous family.
Wouldn’t jealousy be a problem in such families? As
professional experience suggests, jealousy is far less likely to
cause trouble in polyfidelitous families than in would-be
monogamous couples or in open relationships. Couple boundaries
often give rise to conflict in communal living environments, and
stop the flow of energy within the group. The “open relationship”
design, where individuals are encouraged to form liaisons outside
the primary partnership, offers more freedom but often bleeds off
energy from the group. Consequently, “open relationships”
sometimes excite jealousy rather than creating synergy. In
contrast, the polyfidelitous design provides a secure and
supportive atmosphere in which to overcome any lingering fears
about infidelity. Multiple committed partners make possible a
rich variety of quality relationship experiences without the need
for promiscuity. Particularly now, with the threat of AIDS,
polyfidelitous combo families provide a safe and wholesome
alternative to clandestine affairs and casual sex. And this type of
relationship may turn out to be a better design than the nuclear

357
family for the majority of men and women whose behavior
indicates that they are polyamorous at heart.
It’s true that the only conclusive test of the combo family
concept would be to integrate it into our culture on a large scale
and observe the results over several decades. This glorious
experiment has yet to get underway, but a handful of pioneers
have begun to blaze the trail. We may welcome this evolution of
the family or we may resist it, but we must begin consciously
choosing sustainable family structures which support the welfare
of our children, or we risk the very survival of humanity.
BACKGROUND NOTES
open relationship: a relationship between persons who are not
officially married and have no confirmed
obligations to be loyal to each other

polyamorous: inclined or disposed to love without


attachment to any particular person

polyandry: the practice or condition of having more than


one husband at a time

polyfidelity: loyalty in marriage shown by having sexual


relationships within a group rather than with
one’s husband or wife

polyfidelitous a family based on the conditions of


family: polyfidelity

polygyny: the practice or condition of having more than


one wife at a time

promiscuity: sexual behavior characterized by having


numerous sexual partners on a casual basis

358
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What is the most common form of
Questions: relationship found in the western culture at
present?
2. In what cultures are polygyny and
polyandry practiced alongside
monogamy?
3. Why wouldn’t jealousy be a problem in a
polyfidelitous family?
4. What family atmosphere does the
polyfidelitous design provide?
5. Why might the combo family turn out to
be a better design than the nuclear family
for the majority of men and women?
Group Throughout history, marriage has been the
Activities: foundation upon which the superstructure of
family is built. But in an age of promiscuous
sex – both heterosexual and homosexual –
there is a breakdown of the moral boundaries.
Some changes in the marriage and family
traditions are the natural result of evolution of
society, but the disintegration of the family as
an institution is seen by many as a danger to
our society.
Organize a panel discussion on the topic of
the marriage and family of the future. At the
preliminary stage, students working
independently on home assignments collect
information about the marriage and family.
Here, they are expected to use a wide range of
resources, including multimedia systems and
the Internet. At the next stage, the students
work in groups of 2 to 4 persons on the
various aspects of the problem. The results of
the discussion are finally presented to the
whole group and evaluated.

359
Individual Write an essay of 250 words about the
Work: evolution of the family in the American
society.

D. The September 11th Attack and the War


of the 21st Century
Discussion On September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on
Questions: the World Trade Center and the Pentagon
cast a shadow on the prospects of achieving a
lasting world peace in the nearest future. On
that day some of the worst apocalyptic
visions came true, as America found itself in
a state of war with a new enemy – the world
terrorism.
Note down the following points:
1. What were the fundamental sources of
conflict between nations in the past? On
the examples of military conflicts in
ancient, modern and recent history
highlight the underlying causes of war.
2. What do you know about terrorism and
about groups and political movements
that use violence and threats of violence
for political purposes?
Reading You are going to read four texts published in
Exercises: the U.S. mass media in connection with the
reaction in America to the September 11th
terrorist attacks on New York and
Washington.
As you read, note down the history of
terrorism in America and the way America
changed and is likely to change as a result of
these attacks.

360
Text IX
Terrorism: the Issue at a Glance
Terrorism is not new to America, but now it has struck at the
soul of the American people as never before. The Sept. 11 attack –
aimed at symbols of U.S. military and financial might – was the
worst act of terrorism in modern history, and it left Americans
feeling stunned and vulnerable. The damage seemed
unimaginable, even after repeated watchings of news videotapes:
hijacked airliners were crashed into the World Trade Center
(WTC) and the Pentagon, leaving more than 5,500 dead or
missing. The outpouring of grief eclipses even the deeply felt
response to the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 – itself an
unimaginable act, until it happened.
Almost overnight, the “war on terrorism” became the nation’s
№1 priority. President Bush targeted terrorist groups with a
“global reach.” He mobilized the military for possible retaliation,
called up the reserves, froze assets of terrorist groups and began
assembling an international coalition for a campaign that could
span years.
But it’s a war unlike any other in America’s history: The
enemy is not so easily defined. While the State Department
identifies some countries as sponsors of terrorism, many of the
rogue organizations that commit violence against the U.S. operate
without respect to international boundaries.
The United States has struggled with the different manifestations
of terrorism for years. This was not the first attack on the nation’s
capital. In 1954, four armed pro-independence Puerto Rican
terrorists opened fire from the House of Representatives visitors’
gallery, wounding five members of Congress. Even Wall Street was
a terrorist target as far back as 1920, when a massive bombing killed
30 people. Some of the older buildings in the financial district still
bear the shrapnel scars, more than 80 years later. While the
investigation centered on known Sicilian, Romanian and Russian

361
terrorist groups, the case was never solved. America also
experienced a spate of plane hijackings in the late 1960s and 1970s
that led to the placement of armed undercover guards known as “sky
marshals” on the nation’s airliners, an idea that’s been revived in the
nation’s current war on terrorism.
The deadly bombing of the American embassy in Beirut in
1983 marked the beginning of a sustained attack of violence
against U.S. targets by various terrorist organizations based in the
Mideast. And the 1995 bombing of the federal building in
Oklahoma City, in which 168 people died, raised the frightening
specter of homespun terrorism.
The world has seen terrorism become a weapon of war in
domestic, regional and international disputes, sometimes linked
to a specific conflict, as in Northern Ireland or the Basque
separatist movement in Spain, or sometimes aimed at a broader
target, as in Osama bin Laden’s campaign against the United
States and western influence in the Middle East.
For Americans, though, the Sept. 11 terrorist attack was a
defining moment.
The end of the Cold War, and the breakup of the Soviet
Union, changed the very nature of many terrorist organizations.
The Soviet bloc was believed to have provided considerable aid
to terrorist organizations and nations that supported them.
Terrorists were forced to find other sources of funding, which
reportedly have included such activities as drug trafficking,
underground banking systems and money laundering. Osama bin
Laden, whose Afghanistan-based al Qaeda organization is
considered the prime suspect in the recent attacks on the U.S., has
at his disposal an estimated $300 million in personal wealth.
The problem of concerted terrorist activity is not limited to
the Mideast, as seen in the rise of violent attacks in South Asia
and the Pacific Rim, particularly in Sri Lanka. But, for the U.S.,
the current threat is distinctly rooted in the Mideast among
Islamic extremists, and the stakes have been raised by the

362
proliferation of chemical and biological weapons and fears that
terrorists might get their hands on nuclear devices.
A recent report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research
Service said the current focus on Muslim terrorist groups raises
the question of “how to condemn and combat such terrorist
activity, and the extreme and violent ideology of specific radical
groups, without appearing to be anti-Islamic in general.”
For the United States, the issue of terrorism has been
something of a foreign-policy netherworld often ruled by
realpolitik. Alliances shift – yesterday’s foe becomes today’s
friend – and infiltrating the world of terrorism sometimes requires
dealing with people who have blood on their hands.
Five of the seven nations on the U.S. State Department’s list
of countries that sponsor terrorism are in or near the Middle East:
Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Sudan (Cuba and North Korea round
out the list). Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon and Yemen also
have been cited as centers of major terrorist activity.
Now, however, Pakistan is playing a key role in U.S. plans for
military action against Afghanistan, and Washington is seeking to
bring Iran and Syria into its anti-terrorism coalition.
The U.S. also finds itself in conflict with former allies. The
U.S., for example, aided the Islamic radicals who now rule
Afghanistan when they were fighting the Soviet occupation.
Saddam Hussein received American support when Iraq was
engaged in its decade-long war with Iran.
Officially, Washington says it will not negotiate with
terrorists. As a practical matter, though, that policy has been
waived with regard to the Palestinian Liberation Organization and
the Irish Republican Army as an inducement to peace talks.
President Bush has mobilized the military for what he says
will be a long-term campaign against terrorists. In his address to a
joint session of Congress, President Bush announced the creation
of a cabinet-level homeland defense office. One of its key
missions will be improving coordination between the FBI, the

363
CIA and other investigative agencies. There have been a number
of reports that potential clues to an impending attack on the U.S.
may have fallen through the cracks because of poor coordination
of investigative efforts.
Among other policy proposals to deal with terrorism:
● The Bush administration wants to expand the government’s
ability to use wiretaps and is taking steps to make it easier to
detain legal immigrants for questioning.
● There have been calls for a more aggressive
counterterrorism program with more covert activity, including
assassinations of terrorist leaders.
● Tougher economic sanctions have been urged for nations
that harbor or aid terrorists, along with a worldwide campaign to
crack down on banks that launder money for terror groups.
● Some members of Congress want federal employees to take
over the job of airport security, although the administration has
expressed concern about the potential cost. In the near term,
travelers will encounter tougher security measures at the nation’s
airports.
● Others have recommended better disaster preparedness,
coupled with efforts to combat cyber terrorism; an international
court to try terrorism cases; and making homeland defense the
key mission of the National Guard.
The administration has warned that military action against
terrorist organizations could entail significant casualties. On the
home front, there are also concerns that civil liberties could be
eroded if law enforcement is given more leeway to conduct
searches, detain suspects, install wiretaps, deploy high-tech
surveillance and perform racial and ethnic profiling
“U.S. leaders must find the appropriate balance by adopting
counterterrorism policies which are effective but also respect the
democratic traditions which are the bedrock of America’s
strength,” the National Commission on Terrorism wrote in a
report to Congress last year.
– Public Agenda Special Edition: Terrorism

364
BACKGROUND NOTES
(the) CIA: the Central Intelligence Agency, the United
States government agency created in 1947 to
gather information and conduct secret
operations to protect the country’s national
security. The information that the CIA gathers
is known as intelligence, and is used to
provide the president with recommendations
on the U.S. foreign policies.
civil liberties: the fundamental rights, such as freedom of
speech, guaranteed to an individual by the
laws of a country
drug trafficking: trading or dealing in illegal drugs
(the) FBI: the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the
agency of the United States Department of
Justice. The FBI is the principal federal
investigative agency, whose functions
include investigating violations of federal
law, namely espionage, sabotage, subversive
actions and other actions related to national
security, organized crime and drug
trafficking, terrorism and white-collar crime.
high-tech a watch kept over someone or something
surveillance: with the use of highly sophisticated
equipment and advanced engineering
techniques, as microelectronics, genetic
engineering, or telecommunications
(plane) hijacking: seizing on airplane by threat or force,
especially for ransom or political objectives
money disguising the source of illegal profits or
laundering: secret funds by transmittal through a foreign
bank or a complex network of intermediaries

365
National Guard: a state military force that is subject to call by
the state or federal government in
emergencies
(the) Oklahoma the bombing of the federal building in
City Bombing: Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, which was
the worst act of terrorism in the United States
history until the September 11, 2001 attacks.
In June 1997 former U.S. soldier Timothy
McVeigh was found guilty of the bombing
and given a sentence of death.
(the) Pacific Rim: a group of countries bordering on the Pacific
Ocean, especially the industrialized nations
of Asia
(the) Pentagon: a building in Arlington, Virginia, built in the
form of a pentagon and containing most of
the offices of the U.S. Department of
Defense. The word Pentagon is also applied
to the Department of Defense itself, and to
the military establishment of the United
States.
racial and ethnic the practice of security and law-enforcing
profiling: agencies to single out persons of certain
racial and ethnic groups as primary suspects
realpolitik: political realism or practical politics,
especially politics based on power rather than
ideals
rogue regimes (a term used by the U.S. State Department)
(rogue states): countries whose governments sponsor world
terrorism. The U.S. State Department’s list of
rogue states includes Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria
and North Korea.
sky marshal: a secret agent placed aboard an airplane with
a purpose of thwarting any possible attempts
at hijacking
terrorism: the use of violence and threats of violence to
intimidate or coerce, especially for political
purposes. Terrorist organizations seek to

366
magnify their influence and power to effect
political change on either a local or an
international scale through publicity and fear
generated by their activities.
Terrorist acts date back to at least the 1st
century, when the Zealots, a Jewish religious
sect, fought against the Roman occupation of
what is now Israel. In the 18th century
terrorists generally acted from religious zeal.
Beginning in the 19th century, terrorist
movements acquired a more political and
revolutionary orientation. In the late 19th and
early 20th centuries, anarchists in Italy, Spain
and France used terrorism.
In the latter half of the 20th century acts of
terror multiplied, driven by fierce nationalism
and ideological motivations and facilitated by
technological advances in transportation,
communications, microelectronics, and
explosives.
The conflict between Arab nations and Israel
following the end of World War II in 1945
produced successive waves of terrorism in
the Middle East. In the 70s, Middle Eastern
terrorist organizations spread to Europe and
later to America.
wiretapping: connecting secretly into the telephone or
telegraph wires to gather information or
evidence
the WTC: (the) World Trade Center, the world’s largest
rentable office complex situated in New
York City, the USA with 1,114,800 m2 of
rentable space in the seven buildings,
including 406,000 m2 in each of the twin
towers. The 110-storey twin towers of the
WTC were built in early 70s of the 20th
century, and housed some 500 offices with
about 50,000 employees.

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QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What was the worst act of terrorism on
Questions: American soil before the September 11
attacks on New York and Washington?
2. Enumerate the main steps made by
President Bush to counteract terrorism.
3. Why did the very nature of many terrorist
organizations change with the end of the
Cold War?
4. What countries are considered by the U.S.
State Department as the centers of major
terrorist activity?
5. Why is forming alliances in waging a war
on terrorism unreliable and must be ruled
by realpolitik?
6. What are the key missions of the newly
created homeland defense office in the
American cabinet?
7. Name some of the main proposals to deal
with terrorism which were put forward by
President Bush.
8. In which way could the military action
against terrorist organizations endanger
civil liberties in America?

Text X
Bleak New World
September 11, 2001 ended a unique era of American
optimism as the exposure of American vulnerability revealed a
new and bleaker world. The United States is now in a state of war
with those who attacked New York and Washington, and with
those states that, as President Bush said, “harbor them.”
The politics of the United States have been transformed.

368
More so than his father, and certainly Bill Clinton, George W.
Bush will be judged on his national security performance. He
starts with strong national and international support but his course
will be more difficult than Desert Storm.
The unique era of optimism that the United States enjoyed
since 1991 was due not only to a brilliant economic performance
but also a strong sense of security. The major powers that might
do America harm were needy of its goodwill and wealth while
the minor powers did not dare a confrontation. For the first time
since the late 1930s, foreign policy and national security fell far
down the list of American priorities.
There were other reasons to be confident. The U.S. seemed to
have perfected a new kind of warfare. We could attack others but
not be attacked ourselves. The anti-American terrorists generally
restricted their actions against Americans abroad, fitting their
geopolitical objectives, and the suicide bombers hurled
themselves against U.S. embassies (Kenya and Tanzania), troops
(Khobar Towers), or ships (U.S.S. Cole). And even the first
World Trade Center attack was not committed by the suicidal.
All of this confidence evaporated in the fire and smoke of the
September 11th attack. In an era when we face minimal danger
from other major powers, the U.S. was attacked in a way not seen
since 1812 when a British fleet bombarded New York City and
burned Washington, D.C. Suicidal agents committed this new
assault on the headquarters of American financial, military, and
political power. The specific political purposes of the September
11th attack are not clear. We can conclude only that the objective
was to demonstrate American vulnerability while killing the most
Americans possible. In this they surely succeeded. America’s
international supremacy now carries a price measured in blood.
The scale and nature of the targets are therefore not terrorism
in the classic sense of attempting to intimidate through violence
but rather an attempt to bleed and, in doing so, panic and defeat
American leadership. Americans across the political spectrum

369
have correctly defined it as war although it is a war unlike any
other in history.
War means that the United States’ tactics will change,
spelling the end of the current judicial-legal approach to the
terrorist groups and their state helpers. Until now, the U.S. sought
to capture suspects, try them in a court of law, attempt to sustain
a capital criminal case, then sentence them accordingly.
Washington also imposed economic sanctions on states deemed
terrorist. These methods relieved successive administrations of
acute problems: how to deal with the states harboring terrorists;
how not to disrupt American life and commerce; the always
perilous issue of coordinating various agencies, civilian and
military.
Much of this approach will now be abandoned. September 11,
2001, like December 7, 1941, means first and foremost a
stupendous intelligence and security failure. After all, the plot
must have taken many people and many months if not years to
execute, yet the U.S. did not know of it. Four airplanes were
hijacked from several airports and several airlines all about the
same time on the same day. Both knowledge and vigilance were
missing in action.
By describing the new situation as war, the U.S. has signaled
its intention to use military rather than legal methods to settle
various accounts. A jury of the President and his national security
team will review the evidence and deem it conclusive. Sentences
will not usually include prison terms. There will be no appeals.
This change of strategy brings with it important consequences
in our relations with other states. The first task will be to find the
enemy. Clearly this was a special group of operatives. They knew
how to coordinate times and places, penetrate airport security,
hijack aircraft, fly them and be willing to commit suicide. Men
with such qualities are in very short supply and would be noticed
by governments highly sensitive to their security.

370
Other nations will be rated for their cooperation with the war.
Various leaders in the Middle East and elsewhere are in a delicate
position both for what they knew and when they knew it, what
they did and what they failed to do. Chief among them is Yasser
Arafat. Not many Americans will subscribe to the idea that a pro-
Palestinian policy might have spared the attack, or that it is
something worth doing now, especially after months of
disdaining U.S. appeals to contain terrorism against Israel.
Others more friendly to the U.S. also face difficulties. The
Egyptian, Saudi, and Jordanian governments, already troubled by
anti-Israeli and anti-American agitation, will now be called upon
to cooperate fully; there may be embarrassing revelations.
Pakistan is its own special case, its military deeply involved with
various Afghan organizations. Others further afield, such as
Russia, will be called upon to influence Iran with whom Moscow
does important business.
Rhetoric will not suffice now when the U.S. decides to make
war on specific targets. Washington will be using its own power
and the authority of an international coalition to force strategic
choices on governments in Syria, Iran, Sudan, and others who
have not paid much of a price for aiding terrorists in the past. As
for Iraq (or the Taliban in Afghanistan), only hot lead and cold
steel are likely to make any impression.
The attack itself, its classification as an act of war, and the
change of strategy have transformed politics in Washington. The
first change concerns the presidency itself. Bill Clinton, although
a frequent deployer of military force abroad, was primarily a
domestic president; his political fortune rose and fell on that
performance; and his international crises were handled far from
the United States with few casualties. But September 11th
catapulted George W. Bush from a man who fought a campaign
primarily on domestic issues into a different rank. His political
future and his mark on history will be determined now by his
performance on national security.

371
The new American priorities also settle the defense budget.
The Congress will vote higher levels with enthusiasm. Moreover,
the President will be borne aloft by a genuine patriotic consensus
that will give him considerable leeway in doing what he wishes to
do. As always happens in wartime, the Commander-in-Chief
expands his role while the Congress recedes.
Missile defense is another issue affected by the attack. The
President’s claim that the country was vulnerable to attack by
these weapons has surely been vindicated. Militarily, the
airplanes were supercharged cruise missiles launched against
their targets under civilian colors to achieve surprise. It is true
that had the attackers’ intentions been known, it would not have
required a sophisticated missile defense system to destroy them.
But the attack itself indicates that “rogues,” whether states or
private groups, are willing to assault the U.S. even if they know
we will react. The argument for the missile system thus receives a
critical boost: deterrence as we have known it during the Cold
War did not work.
President Bush has used broad support to organize the
government for an unprecedented war, focusing first on the
narrow matter of killing or capturing those responsible and
second on the longer-term struggle against terrorism.
Simultaneously he must improve the public’s sense of security,
which may not be so easy given the normal up and down of
warfare. Bush and his team will also have to determine how the
U.S. will “settle accounts” with those judged to harbor terrorists,
using the international coalition in formation.
But there can be no substitute for a military victory to
galvanize everything else.
– by Harvey Sicherman,
Foreign Policy Research Institute

372
BACKGROUND NOTES
Bleak New the Bleak New World is a reference to the
World: expression the Brave New World which has
its origin in the title of the novel by the
English writer Aldous Huxley. The novel
was first published in 1932, and gained
popularity as an anti-utopia of a paradise of
the future based on total control by means of
scientific methods. The expression Brave
New World is used to refer to the future
world of great changes and expectations.
The September 11th, 2001 attacks on New
York and Washington, D.C. showed that the
hopes for the Brave New World in America
were illusory.
Commander-in- according to the Article II, Section 2 of the
Chief: Constitution, Commander-in-Chief of the
American armed forces is the President of
the United States of America
(the) December 7, the surprise attack by Japan on the U.S.
1941 attack: naval base of Pearl Harbor near Honolulu in
Hawaii. In the devastating attack, in which
the Japanese used carrier-based planes,
nineteen U.S. ships and about 150 U.S.
planes were destroyed and more than 2,300
soldiers, sailors and civilians were killed. On
December 8, Congress declared a state of
war with Japan, three days later, Germany
and Italy declared war on the United States.
(operation) the American led campaign of the Persian
Desert Storm: Gulf War in early 1991, which succeeded in
liberating Kuwait from occupation by Iraqi
forces. The political observers have drawn a

373
parallel between the operation Desert Storm
during the presidency of George Bush and
the operation Enduring Freedom ordered by
President George W. Bush in his war on
terrorism following the September 11, 2001
attacks against the United States.
(the) Kenya and the terrorist attacks on August 7, 1998, when
Tanzania Islamic militants from al Qaeda organization
bombing: headed by Osama bin Laden blew up the
American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. More than 200
people died in the terrorist attack. The
suspects were extradited to the United
States, put on trial, found guilty, and now
serve life terms in American jails.
(the) Khobar the terrorist attack against the U.S. military
Towers bombing: base in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia in 1997, in
which 19 U.S. servicemen died. The terrorist
bombing was carried out by the militants of
al Qaeda, who were later tried in Saudi
Arabia and beheaded.
(the) Missile a missile defense shield proposed by
defense system: President George W. Bush to protect the
United States and its allies against the so-
called rogue regimes, that is, the nations
sponsoring terrorism
(the) nuclear the concept of using nuclear weapons as a
deterrence: means of deterring, that is, discouraging or
preventing any outside aggression
the Taliban: the Islamic fundamentalist movement in
Afghanistan that was created in August 1994
by a senior mullah (Islamic priest),
Mohammed Omar Akhund, in the southern

374
Afghanistan town of Kandahar. The Taliban
military forces by 1996 had taken under
their control most of Afghanistan, including
its capital Kabul, and driven the opposition
forces of the Northern Alliance to the
Northern provinces, bordering on Tajikistan
and Uzbekistan. One of the reasons for the
military successes of the Taliban is the fact
that they are based on the ethnic majority in
Afghanistan, the Pushtans, while the
Northern Alliance is made up of the ethnic
minorities of Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras.
By inviting the World terrorist number one,
Osama bin Laden to take residence in
Afghanistan and allowing him to use
Afghanistan as the main center of terrorist
activities in the world, the Taliban
authorities became directly responsible for
the September 11, 2001 attacks on New
York and Washington, D.C.
(the) U.S.S.Cole the terrorist attack against the U.S. military
Bombing: ship Cole on October 12, 2000 during its
refueling in Aden, Yemen. 17 sailors died in
the attack. The bombing was masterminded
by Osama bin Laden.
(the) War of 1812: the war America waged against Great
Britain in the period of 1812 – 1814. The
war of 1812 is often referred to as the
Second War of Independence. It was during
this war that the British navy bombarded
New York in 1812 and a British
expeditionary force stormed into
Washington, D.C. and left it in flames.

375
(the) World Trade the first terrorist attack against the World
Center (WTC) Trade Center on February 26, 1993, in
bombing: which a car bomb was used. Six people died
and hundreds were wounded in the attack
which was carried out by a group of Islamic
terrorists, all of whom were later arrested
and found guilty as charged.
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. Why did foreign policy and national
Questions: security fall down the list of American
priorities in the era of American optimism
which lasted till September 11, 2001?
2. Give a list of terrorist attacks against
American interests prior to the September
11, 2001 attacks on New York and
Washington, D.C..
3. In which way did the terrorist acts of
September 11, 2001 differ from classical
terrorist attacks?
4. What are the main principles of the
judicial-legal approach to terrorist groups?
5. What changes take place in the U.S.
approach to terrorism?
6. Describe the problems the United States
faces in building up a coalition of nations
to wage a war against terrorism.
7. In which way have the September 11,
2001 attacks affected the role of the
President of the United States and the
American political life?

376
Text XI
Not a Time to Emulate Hamlet
Hamlet, the “melancholy Dane” of William Shakespeare’s
famous play, was renowned for his self-absorbed indecision. He
was a young man plagued with existential questions to which he
had few definitive answers. After the murder of his father, the
King of Denmark, Hamlet was conflicted about his course of
action. Should he attempt to avenge his father? Should he do
nothing? Or should he bide his time and wait for future events to
suggest the most propitious moment to act? In short, Hamlet was
too philosophical for his own good. He was, as the French actor
Jean-Louis Barrault said of him, a “hero of unparalleled
hesitation.”
A similar philosophical indecision grips many of our
colleagues on the Left (I am, of course, excluding the unrepentant
America-haters on the far Left who are decidedly not frozen by
indecision; they are the ideological blood brothers of
Osama bin Laden, as dedicated to the destruction of the West as
the Saudi exile himself). Since the September 11 terrorist attacks
on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, many liberal
writers have churned out a steady stream of sanctimonious,
mealy-mouthed appeasement masquerading as “thoughtful”
analysis. These commentators tell us that the attacks were the
result of legitimate cultural grievances. Most importantly, they
tell us that we have to understand the “underlying root causes” of
terrorism and comprehend the “pain of poverty” that leads to
violence.
A clear example of this type of rhetoric was furnished by
former Hillary Clinton’s guru Michael Lerner. Writing in Tikkun
magazine, Lerner asserted that, “We may tell ourselves that the
current violence has ‘nothing to do’ with the way that we’ve
learned to close our ears when told that one out of every three
people on this planet does not have enough food... We may tell

377
ourselves that the suffering of refugees and the oppressed have
nothing to do with us... But we live in one world, increasingly
interconnected with everyone, and the forces that lead people to
feel outrage, anger and desperation eventually impact on our own
daily lives.”
This is patent nonsense. Contrary to critics such as Lerner, the
Islamic fundamentalists dedicated to destroying the United States
are not fighting for the oppressed. They are anything but men
ground down by abject poverty. They are anything but
individuals without food to eat or shelter over their heads. In fact,
many of them come from the elite of Muslim society.
Osama bin Laden, for instance, is the multi-millionaire scion of a
wealthy Saudi family. Many of his followers, moreover, are well-
educated men from the upper rungs of Islamic culture, individuals
who have won life’s lottery. Many more are middle class. And
many of the financial backers of bin Laden are wealthy Muslims
of varying nationalities – Saudis, Algerians, Iraqis, Yemenis, and
members of the United Arab Emirates, among others – who want
to eradicate Western modernity, not uplift the oppressed of the
world.
Other writers suggest that the greatest danger confronting
Americans is ignorance of Islam. A columnist for the British
journal The Independent makes the case that “ignorance of Islam
... may prove to be the deadliest thing we have to fear.” This is
equally nonsense. In reality, Islam has little to do with the current
crisis, and whether we are well-versed in Islam or ignorant of it is
irrelevant. This isn’t a time to bury our noses in the Koran in an
attempt to “understand” the intricacies of Islamic theology; it
isn’t a time to delve into the mystical epiphanies of Sufism; nor is
it a time to ponder over the flowery prose of Omar Khayyam’s
The Rubaiyat. Such gestures will amount to nil when the
terrorists unleash against us the nuclear, chemical, and biological
weapons they are rushing to get hold of. It is a time for moral

378
clarity. We are being attacked by an enemy that wants to kill us –
by whatever means necessary.
I am not, of course, suggesting that we are in a war with
Islam. Quite the contrary. Many Muslim states are just as fearful
of bin Laden and his fanatical followers as we are. And when
hostilities commence, we will undoubtedly receive help from at
least some of these states (even if much of it is covert). No, the
enemies – those dedicated to our destruction – are
Osama bin Laden and others like him (such as the Taliban), who
use a perverted and fanatical form of Islam, called Wahhabism, to
further their twisted political and ideological ends. They are
motivated by a rabid hatred of the West, especially America,
which they characterize as the “Great Satan.” It is a hatred that
directs them to murder men, women, and children. It is a hatred
that burns so hotly – so incandescently – that suicide attacks are a
legitimate form of warfare, and teaching young children that it is
glorious to seek a martyr’s death is a legitimate form of
socialization. That’s what we need to understand. This is a global
culture war that pits Western values – of openness, individuality,
democracy, and tolerance – against the values of an essentially
nihilistic mindset that respects terror, force, and intimidation.
It is a culture war in the fullest sense of the term. Bin Laden is
motivated by hate, fear, and humiliation. He hates the West,
especially America, for its success, its wealth, and its values, and
views terrorizing America as a religious obligation, a point he
made clear in a speech he gave in 1996. He fears the West
because he views Western values and ideals as dangerous and
polluting to his version of Islam. In the same 1996 speech, he said
“after the end of the Cold War, America escalated its campaign
against the Muslim world in its entirety, aiming to get rid of
Islam itself.” And, perhaps most importantly, he feels humiliated
by the West. As Bernard Lewis, professor emeritus of Near
Eastern Studies at Princeton University, contends in his article
The Roots of Muslim Rage, many of the Muslim militants,

379
bin Laden among them, are driven by a “feeling of humiliation –
a growing awareness, among the heirs of an old, proud, and long
dominant civilization, of having been overtaken, overborne, and
overwhelmed by those whom they regarded as their inferiors.”
In order to prevail in this war – and it is indeed a war – we
must comprehend these basic facts. And, unlike the Prince of
Denmark, we must be decisive. We must not let existential
thoughts – of root causes and the like – cloud our judgment. We
must see the enemy for what it is: A group of fanatics dedicated
to the West’s destruction, to our destruction. Indeed, if new
reports about bin Laden’s attempt to acquire components for
weapons of mass destruction from Russian mobsters are true, the
urgency to confront Osama bin Laden and his ilk – not
“understand” them – is greater than ever before.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a tragedy; this chapter of American
history need not be – if we follow the right course of action and
don’t succumb to paralyzing rationalizations.
– FrontPage Magazine,
October 5, 2001
BACKGROUND NOTES
Barrault, Jean- (1910 – 1994), French actor, director and
Louis: producer, who is especially noted for his
work in pantomime. His range as director
and actor has extended from Shakespeare
and the French classics to experimental
avant-garde works such as his own Rabelais
(1968). He conducted productions for the
Metropolitan Opera Company, New York
City, and his companies have toured the
United States. His books, expressing his
dedication to theater as a total emotional and
intellectual experience, include Reflections
on the Theater (1959), and The Theater of
Jean-Louis Barrault (1961).

380
epiphanies of literary works of the Islamic mysticism
Sufism: which emerged as a reaction to the
worldliness and extravagance of the first
caliphs (religious and civil leaders of the
Islamic world). As literary works,
epiphanies present moments of revelation or
insight into reality.
Hamlet, the tragedy of revenge by English playwright
the Prince of William Shakespeare. Probably written in
Denmark: 1601, Hamlet is generally considered the
foremost tragedy in English drama.
Khayyam, Omar: (1050 – 1122), Persian mathematician,
astronomer, and author of one of the world’s
best-known works of poetry. Omar was one
of the most notable mathematicians of his
time. He is, however, most famous as the
author of The Rubaiyat. About 1,000 of
these epigrammatic four-line stanzas, which
reflect upon nature and humanity, are
ascribed to him. Omar’s poetry was first
translated into English by the English poet
Edward Fitzgerald in 1859.
Osama bin Laden: head of the terrorist organization al Qaeda,
who is suspected to have been the
mastermind of a series of terrorist attacks
against American interests around the world,
including the September 11, 2001 attacks on
the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Osama bin Laden was born in 1957 in the
city of Riyadh, the son of a Saudi millionaire.
He studied management and economics in
King Abdul Aziz University in Jedda. During
the war in Afghanistan even before the entry

381
of the Russian troops, bin Laden established
in Pakistan first Mujahideen training camps
and later took part in a number of battles in
Afghanistan against the Russian forces. He
lost his Saudi citizenship when his terrorist
activities and his extreme views were
exposed, and, finally, found refuge in
Afghanistan ruled by the Taliban.
Osama bin Laden’s personal wealth is
estimated at $300 million, and apart from
collecting funds for his terrorist activities
through non-government organizations
around the world posing as charity funds, he
and his associates are involved in the
legitimate business of selling honey.
the Left: those individuals or organized groups
advocating liberal reform or revolutionary
change in the social, political and economic
order. During the 60s of the 20th century, in
the United States emerged the political
movement that is known as the New Left.
The New Left, unlike the Old Left, that is the
movement represented by Soviet-style
Communism, rejected one party control of
the political and economic life in the country.
Their main goal in the United States is
participative democracy rather than the U.S.
system of representative democracy.
Participative democracy presupposes that all
citizens share in solving national problems.
At present, many of the New Leftists have
become activists in the environmentalist
movement, women’s movement, the
consumer protection movement, and in local
political organizations.

382
Wahhabism: an Islamic movement founded by
ibn Abd al-Wahhab, who preached an
extreme form of asceticism. The followers
of Abd al-Wahhab rejected all luxury,
dancing, gambling, music and the use of
tobacco. The movement reached its peak in
the 18th century when Wahhabism spread
rapidly as a nationalist religious movement,
gaining ascendancy throughout Arabia. In
1818, the armies of the Turkish sultan
Mahmud II defeated Wahhabi warriors and
put an end to the spread of Wahhabism in
the Islamic world. At present, Wahhabism is
confined to the Arabian Peninsula, where the
number of Wahhabis probably exceeds
8 million.
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What is the approach of the American Left
Questions: and some liberals to the September 11,
2001 terrorist attacks?
2. Are the Islamic fundamentalists fighting
for the oppressed of the world? Explain
your point of view.
3. Why is ignorance of Islam and the Koran
not the greatest danger confronting
America?
4. What form of Islam is used by
Osama bin Laden and his followers to
advance their political and ideological ends?
5. What are the main differences between the
Western values and the values of the
terrorist organization headed by
Osama bin Laden?
6. Why is it not a time for Americans to
emulate Hamlet?

383
Text XII
Sensitive Men Need Not Apply
Just prior to the new day of infamy, September 11, 2001, the
Wall Street Journal ran a front-page piece on a new trend for
men: hairless chests. Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz worried us
when he took to the bald chest in 1972 for aerodynamic purposes.
Now men covet the smooth, silky look. Male models are told to
show up with hairless torsi. Imagine Ulysses Grant, Ike, or
Douglas MacArthur booking some tanning bed time and a chest
wax.
I miss real men. Marshal Dillon men. Men with hair on their
chests and in their ears. Men like Eliot Ness. Sensitive man is
king, or head of an autonomous collective, as sensitive man
would say.
Sensitive man is warm, politically correct and passive, much
like Mr. Rogers. Never a cross word. Gleeful in his patience with
childhood tutorials.
But, I don’t trust sensitive man. This figment of enlightened
imagination seems to be inches away from snapping. When the
camera light went off, Fred Rogers probably flung his cardigan,
hurled a blue tennis shoe at the crew, and sent a cloud of
obscenities over Pittsburgh that consumed the steel plants’ black
smoke.
But, Mr. Rogers and that King Friday perhaps single-
handedly fueled the box office for Stallone and Schwarzenegger
movies. Men raised on PBS loons needed the comfort of martial
arts and reassurance of weapons.
Real men are relegated to fiction and B movies. Constrained
by the looming death penalty for sexual harassment, the prissy
demands for diaper changing tables in men’s public restrooms
and the condemnation of language patrols, real men wither and
eunuch sensitive man emerges.
Over the past few weeks, the linguistics police have been busy

384
suppressing a threatened emergence of real men. President Bush,
with evidence of an evolving real man swagger, has taken a
beating for saying aloud of Mr. bin Laden, the likely mastermind
behind the WTC massacres, “Wanted: Dead or Alive.” The
chattering class, well, chattered, about this real man faux pas,”
What kind of message does this send to the world?” One hopes
this: “Mr. Rogers and the chest-waxing thing aside, we mean
business.”
Mr. Bush also took some chin hits for using “crusade.”
Sensitive man may have a soul mate, but religion is taboo. God
can bless America all he wants, just don’t expect organized
religion in return. Sensitive man theorists tittered about the
morally offensive Crusades and touted their age-old bunk:
religion has cost the world more lives than war. Ignoring the
obvious goal differences with the Crusades, such as the United
States having no interest in conquering Afghanistan (the welfare
alone would break the lock box), one can use “crusade” as a non-
proper noun to mean, “a cause pursued with zeal.”
Then, Fran Lebowitz, one of those funky NYC literati,
appeared with Brian Williams on MSNBC and declared that she
likes nothing President Bush has said since the WTC collapse.
Her shallow observation, at the root of her sensitive man ire, was
that the President called the terrorists “folks.” She scolded and
clucked that “folks” is a term used when you have people over,
not for terrorists. Her literal literary mind missed the charm.
Calling bin Laden et al. “folks” has a certain wit. It’s real men’s
wit – sort of folksy.
Real men don’t self-censor. Their language reflects the
swagger. But, we’ve beaten the swagger out of men so that we
have grovelers and blubberers. Dan Rather, sensitive man writ
satellite, sobbed his way through an appearance on David
Letterman. This picture of the American male ought to send the
terrorist folks scurrying.

385
Afghanistan, with two working tanks and 16 aircraft, two of
which are cannibalized for parts for the others, shows no fear in
going to war with the United States, for they have seen sensitive
man. Over 6,000 innocent lives were taken on our soil and the
days since have been spent apologizing to Arab Americans,
correcting phraseology and debating whether we should give
peace a chance.
The terrorist folks have also witnessed 140 protests at
campuses around the country demanding a “nonviolent”
resolution. Tom Brokaw can now write: “The Most Sensitive
Generation.”
Negotiating with those who have already infiltrated your
country is sensitive man military strategy. Giving bin Laden a
good tongue-lashing is not going to break up worldwide terrorist
cells. A sample of sensitive man negotiations: We promise to
surrender the stock market if you promise to give us your box
cutters and pilot licenses.
The sensitive man at war. Constrained in his language.
Restrained in the use of force. Fretting over collateral damage.
However, I did see marines preparing to ship overseas. Their
biceps defied the sleeves of their fatigues. Combat boots in lieu of
blue tennis shoes. And just beneath white T-shirts at their nearly
neckless shoulders, I saw hair peeking out from chests.
They cut a wide swath, these men on a crusade to rid us of
some nasty folks, dead or alive. One said, “Bring it on.” Well
said, real man.
– by Marianne M. Jennings,
professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University

386
BACKGROUND NOTES
B movie a low-budget, usually mediocre motion
(B picture): picture made especially to accompany a
major feature film on a double bill (for one
admission price)
Brokaw, Tom: (born in 1940), American television
journalist, the longtime author of the NBC
Nightly News. One of his most famous on-
site reports was the report on the fall of the
Berlin Wall in 1989. In 1998 he published
The Greatest Generation, a book that looks
at the generation of Americans that came of
age in the 1930s and 1940s, during the Great
Depression and World War II.
chattering class: well-educated members of the upper-middle
or upper class who freely express liberal
opinions or judgments on current issues and
events
chest hair: in many cultures chest hair is a symbol of
virility (manliness). In the English language
countries it is reflected in the expression “it
will put hair on your chest,” meaning that
some activity (like eating, or drinking, or
physical exercise) will make you physically
stronger and give you all the attributes of a
real man.
chest wax: a special remedy to prevent chest hair
growth. A chest wax is one in a set of
different kinds of body wax, like leg wax,
eyebrow wax, lip wax, chin wax and so on.
The cosmetics manufacturers cash in on the
craze for men to have “silky smooth skin”
and advertise body waxing for men which
would keep their skin hairless for weeks.

387
Grant, Ulysses: (1822 – 1885), Union general, the 18th
President of the U.S. (1869 – 1877). During
the American Civil War Ulysses Grant
headed the Armed Forces of the North and
became famous for a number of brilliant
victories.
Ike: nickname of general Dwight Eisenhower
(1890 – 1969). Dwight D. Eisenhower was
the supreme commander of the Allies in
Europe during World War II and the first
supreme commander of the North Atlantic
Treaty Organization (NATO) forces. He was
also the 34th president of the United States.
King Friday: a character from the TV show “Mister
Rogers and his neighborhood.” King Friday
is an authoritative but kindly ruler of his
make-believe land, who insists that you say
Correct as usual, King Friday, whenever he
makes a statement.
language patrol: a special police group that passes regularly
through a specific route or area in order to
ensure that no obscene or foul language is
used
Letterman, David: (born in 1947), American television
entertainer and talk-show host, star of a
long-running late-night talk-show since
1982. His unconventional show is marked
by offbeat (unusual) humor and is popular
among young adult viewers.
MacArthur, (1880 – 1964), American general who
Douglas: commanded allied troops in the Pacific
during World War II, supervised the postwar
occupation of Japan, and led the United
Nations forces during the Korean War

388
Marshal Dillon: the leading character from the longest-
running television series Gunsmoke. The
filming of Gunsmoke series began in
January 1955, and went on until 1975.
Marshal Dillon’s character was created by
actor James Arness, who also starred in five
made-for-television Gunsmoke movies in the
early eighties.
martial arts: any of the traditional forms of East Asian
self-defense or combat that utilize physical
skill and coordination, as karate or judo,
often practiced as a sport
Mr. Rogers the television host of the popular puppet
(Fred Rogers): show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood which
began in 1967 and ran successfully for 34
years. The last program in the show was
broadcast on August 31, 2001. Mister
Rogers’ Neighborhood characters include
King Friday XIII, Queen Sara Saturday,
Prince Tuesday, Lady Elane, Daniel Striped
Tiger and others. Most of the puppets are
voiced by Fred Rogers, who is also one of
the human characters. Mr. Rogers’ message
is: “I like you just the way you are.” His
famous sayings include: “You are special
and so is everybody else in the world.”
MS NBC: a 24-hours news, talk and information
network and Internet service
Ness, Eliot: character from the popular adventure film
The Untouchables (1987) representing a
United States Treasury agent who fought
organized crime in Chicago, Illinois, in the
1920s. The role was performed by
Robin Costner.
NYC literati: New York City intellectuals. Literati is
usually applied to persons of scholarly or
literary attainments.

389
politically correct: conforming to the ideas, beliefs and forms of
behavior that are considered to be
progressive, especially in the matters of
race, religion, women’s rights, etc.
PBC: Public Broadcasting Service, network of
American public television stations with
staff members in Alexandria, Virginia, New
York City, and Los Angeles. It is owned and
directed by nearly 350 member public-
television stations operated by community
organizations, state and local agencies and
universities around the country. PBC
emphasizes children’s, cultural and
educational programs, as well as programs
on nature, news, public affairs, science and
avocational activities. PBC is also a leader
in the use of television technology, including
satellite transmission.
Rather, Dan: (born in 1931), American television reporter,
author and five-time Emmy Award winner,
known for his confrontational style at news
conferences. Dan Rather established a
national reputation when he covered the
assassination of President John F. Kennedy
in 1963. In 1981 he became anchor (the
main broadcaster) and managing editor of
CBS Evening News with Dan Rather.
Schwarzenegger, (born in 1947), Austrian-born bodybuilder,
Arnold: who became an American motion-picture
star. As a bodybuilder he won the
Mr. Universe title three times and the
Mr. Olympia title seven times. As a major
box-office attraction his fame was
established with sword-and-sorcery movies
Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Conan the
Destroyer (1984). Then he developed a
prominent position in the genre of futuristic

390
action films with science fiction film the
Terminator (1984). He continued to
specialize in action/adventure productions,
including Predator (1987), Total Recall
(1990), Terminator 2: Judgement Day
(1991), Last Action Hero (1993), True Lies
(1994) and others.
sexual unwelcome sexual advances, especially
harassment: when made by an employer or superior,
usually with compliance as a condition of
continued employment or promotion
Spitz, Mark: American swimmer who has won nine gold
medals in Olympic games, which is the
greatest number of men’s gold medals ever
to have been won by one swimmer
Stallone, (born in 1946) American motion-picture
Sylvester: actor, noted for his portrayals of heroes in
action-adventure movies. The most popular
of the motion pictures with
Sylvester Stallone starring in the role of an
army Green Beret (a member of the U.S.
Army Special Forces) is the series that
included First Blood (1982), Rambo: First
Blood Part II (1985), and Rambo III.
tanning bed: a boxlike bed having a hinged cover and
equipped with sunlamps to produce a suntan
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Comprehension 1. What new trend for men was reported by
Questions: the Wall Street Journal on the eve of the
September 11th terrorist attacks?
2. Why is Mr. Rogers, the host of the
television program Mister Rogers’
Neighborhood, “sensitive man”?
3. What was the effect of Mr. Rogers and
King Friday on the Stallone and
Schwarzenegger movies?

391
4. Where can one find real men in the United
States?
5. What things did President Bush say in
connection with the September 11th
attacks that American literati didn’t like?
6. Why can Tom Brokaw now write a book
The Most Sensible Generation?
7. Describe the problems of “sensitive man”
at war.
Group The United States approached the 21st century
Activities: as the only superpower in the world, confident
of its future as a nation leading the world in
science, economy and military power. The
September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks showed
the vulnerability of America, and the
uncertainty of its future. The American Way
of Life itself with its emphasis on openness,
democracy and individual rights was put in
question.
In groups of three to four students organize a
discussion club session on the future of
America as a superpower as well as the
changes in America itself as a result of the
challenges of the world terrorism. At the first
stage of these activities, it is useful to
envisage the students’ independent work with
the mass media and multimedia sources and
the Internet with the purpose of collecting
enough information for the discussion in class.
The results of the discussion should be
presented to the whole group.
Individual On the basis of the texts in this section and the
Work: materials you have gathered in mass media
write an essay of 350 words on the changes
that are taking place and will probably take
place in America in the wake of the
September 11th attacks.

392
У ч е б н о е и з д а н и е

THIS IS AMERICA TODAY

Составители:
Светлана Константиновна Гураль,
Владимир Михайлович Смокотин

Редактор В.С. Сумарокова


Компьютерная верстка Ю.А. Сидоренко

Лицензия ИД 04617 от 24.04.2001 г. Подписано в печать 09.11.2006 г.


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