maturitní otázky, seminárky a referáty
Angličtina - USA 2005
Autor: Pavla Bartoszová
The USA are situated in southern part of North America. They´re surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean from the east and by the Pacific Ocean from the west. Its neighbours are Canada on north and Mexico on south. Also Alaska belongs to the USA. The border with Canada is partly made by the Great Lakes Area (Lake Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, Ontario). Central plains are bordered by the Rocky Mountains and the Coastal Mountains to west, the Appalachian Mountains to east and alluvial plains around the Gulf of Mexico on south. The highest mountain is Mount McKinley in the Alaska Range. The largest rivers are the Mississippi and the Missouri. Temperatures change from the arctic cold in northern Alaska to subtropical warmth of Hawaii.
The main industry is manufacturing steel, car industry, electronics and clothing. The main agriculture products are corn, wheat, cotton, tobacco, cattle breeding, fruit and vegetables. Exploited are coal, lead, uranium, gold, iron and oil.
The population of the USA is about 300 millions of people. There are many ethnic groups. America is sometimes called the „melting pot“ or the „salad bowl“ because people living here are of all possible origins and all the races can mix here together. The main language spoken here is American English but various ethnic minorities speak their original languages (Chinese, Spanish etc). American English differs from British English in vocabulary, pronunciation and spelling.
Indians had been the only inhabitants untill a great demand for spices, textilles and also a navigation error brought Christopher Columbus to the Caribbean Sea insted to Asia. The first English colony was founded in Virginia in 1607. In 1620 the ship named Mayflower brought the Pilgrim Fathers (people who wanted a reformation of the Church of England - Puritans) to northeastern region where they found the colony called Plymouth. In winter half of them died. In spring they planted corn and other plants with help and advice from the Indians and in October 1621 they celebrated good harvest and held a feast with much food. They called this day the Day of Thanksgiving. During the 17th century many colonists, mostly British but also French, German, Dutch and Irish settled in the country, mainly along the eastern coast. African slaves were first brought to Virginia in 1619.
In 1773 the colonists refused to pay taxes to the Great Britain so British soldiers were sent to Boston. In 1775 the War of Independence began. The command of a Continental Army took George Washington. On July 4th 1776 was published the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson. The Declaration defended the American revolution against the British king George III. and explained that all men are created equal and have a natural right to life, liberty and happiness. The War lasted till 1783 when Britain recognized the USA.
Many northern states abolished slavery, but southern economy was based on large plantations where slaves were used to grow cotton, rice, tobacco and sugar. This led to the Civil War between the North and the South which lasts from 1861 to 1865. President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, which granted freedom to all slaves. After the Civil War an industrial growth started and the USA became the world´s leading industrial power.
In 1917 the USA helped France and England against Germany in the World War I. Then arise the Great Depression after the stock market crash and it lasted till the beginning of the World War II. The War was declared against Japan in 1941 and president Harry Truman ordered the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
After the World War II. there were the Cold War and several war conflicts f. e. Korean War against spreading communistic regime, the Vietnam War and wars as a prevention of terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The USA with the President as the head of state is a federation of 50 states which are represented by 50 white stars on a flag. The red and white stripes symbolize the original 13 states which used to be the British colonies. The President and 13 executive departments represented the executive branch. The president is elected every 4 years and he can be chose to only two terms. The legislative branch is made by The Congress which is divided into The House of Representatives and The Senate. There are two parties - The Democratic Party and The Republican Party.
The capital of the USA is Washington D.C. It was the first city in the world especially planed and built as the capital. It´s the legislative, administrative and judical center of the USA. The most important buildings in the USA are situated here. The White House - the residence of the American President, the Capitol - the seat of the Congress, the Pentagon - the centre of military forces. Tourists usually begin their tour at the Mall - a long parklike area. Other important places to visit are the Washington Monument (dedicated to the memory of the first American President), the Jefferson Memorial (standing bronze statue), the Lincoln Memorial (seated marble statue), the J. F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (a national cultural centre), Arlington National Cemetery (the nation´s most sacred place - here are burried veterans represented every war the USA has fought), Vietnam Veterans Memorial (the names of almost 60 000 people who gave their lives in the Vietnam War are inscribed on the polished black granite walls which look like a huge open book). There is no industry in Washington.
In 1609 Henry Hudson reached against the stream of the Hudson River at the place of today´s NY. In 1626 some Dutchman bought Manhattan from the Indians and called the town New Amsterdam. Now it´s called NY and it´s the largest city of the USA and the financial centre with Wall Street. It´s divided into 5 parts - Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Richmond. The town is built on modern plan of streets and avenues running diagonally. The only exception is Broadway, an old Indian way through Manhattan. It´s the centre of theatrical life. The most beautiful are Fifth, Madison and Park avenues. The largest park in NY is Central Park called the lungs of NY. There are skating ring, open air theatres...
Points of interests in NY are the Statue of liberty standing on Liberty Island (it´s a present of France to the USA; in her head there is the observation gallery, in one hand she holds the tablet showing the Declaration of Independence, in the other the burning torch), the United Nations Building, Lincoln´s Center with the Metropolitan Opera, Rockefeller Center with Radio City and Music Hall, City Hall, St. Patrick´s Cathedral and skyscrapers as Trump Tower, Pan American, Chrysler, Empire State Building and Ground Zero as remainder of World Trade Center. The most famous museum is the Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art.
Besides the US capital and New York there are many places worth seeing, such as national parks and large urban areas. On western coast there are Los Angeles with the famous film centre Hollywood and luxurious quarters as Beverly Hills and San Francisco famous for its hilly relief, cable cars, the Golden Gate and Serpent Lane.
In the South there is Florida with long beaches on Miami and Cape Canaveral where spaceships are launched off.
In the North there is Chicago and its highest skyscraper in the USA Sears Tower.
Also Las Vegas as the centre of gambling is often the target of many tourists.
There are many national parks in the USA - Glacier NP, Yellowstone NP, Yosemite NP, Rocky Mountains NP, Grand Canyon NP....Niagara Falls between lake Erie and Ontario and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota famous for busts of 4 presidents (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt) inscribed into the rock.