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Society and Culture of English Speaking Countries 1.

History of Irish State The Emerald Island (mild climate, warm Gulf Stream). 70,282 sq km Highest mountain - Carrantuohill, 1,041 m, Longest river Shannon- 340 km, Largest lake Lough Neagh. Ireland was separated from the mainland after the Ice Age. Forests (pine, spruce). Bog-moss species. Seabird colonies and migratory waterfowl. Birds from Greenland and Iceland in winter. Salmon,trout; red deer, fox, badger, rabbit. Celts arrived in 1000 BC, gave the Irish the basis of their language and culture. The Vikings arrived from Scandinavia (8c),founded Dublin and Cork. The Normans (12c), but were in turn conquered by the Irish spirit (became more Irish than the Irish). The British (17 c)-took the land from the Irish owners, gave it to British Protestants, who brought their own workforce with them. Irish Catholics homeless, emigration to N.America. British passed the laws which obliged Catholic landowners to divide their land among their sons. Irish had large families, they owned small farms Irish Catholics were excluded from parliament, the law and public life. 1845,1851 famine, caused by a disease in potato crop (million died, more emigrated). The British imposed their own language and laws and the 2 countries were in conflict until the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed in 1921. 26 of its 32 counties becoming Irish Free State; the other 6 became Nothern Ireland (part of Britain or Ulster) In 1949 IFS became the Republic of Ireland Nationalists and Unionists (Peace Agreement in 1998). Ireland has been inhabited since the Stone Age. People moved westwards from the continent (Celts , Vikings, Normans, English - a mixture of traditions) 6 per cent of the population lives in cities (Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford) Pop = 4. 58 mill. Christianity introduced in the 5th c. by Saint Patrick. Ireland became independent in 1922. Remained neutral during WW II. Does not belong to any military alliance. The Irish language the 1st official language, the English as a second official. The name of State is IRE (Ireland). 2. Government of Ireland Ireland is a parliamentary democracy. The president (Michael D. Higgins, who was elected on 29 October 2011 ) is the Head of State, people elect the president by direct vote (no Vice-President). Mary McAleese was elected in 1997 for 7 years and was re-elected for one further term. The president acts on the advice of the Government, he appoints the Prime Minister (Enda Kenny). Parliament - House of Representatives (166) elections every 5 years. Senate (60), 11 are nominated by the PM, 43 are elected from five panels of candidates Cultural & Educational, Agricultural, Labour, Industrial & Commercial, Administrative); 6 - by the universities (National University of Ireland and the University of Dublin). Political Parties - The Republican Party is well represented in urban and rural Ireland. Since 1932 the largest party. The Labour Party is affiliated to the Socialist International Party. The progressive Democrats develop the role of the State in the economic and social life of the country. The Green Party - think globally, act locally. Sinn Fin - an Irish republican party: reunification of Ireland. Local Government - Housing and building, road transportation and safety, water supply and sewerage, environmental protection, agriculture, education, health and welfare. Funded partly by central government and partly by local sources (taxes,rents). The Courts - The president appoints judges on the advice of the Government. Minor civil cases are dealt with by the District Court, more serious cases by the Circuit Court, the most serious crimes by the High Court. The court of final appeal is the Supreme Court.
Constitution - Adopted in 1937. All legislative, executive and judicial powers of Government derive from people. It sets out the form of government and defines the powers of the President (Michael D. Higgins) and the parliament. Defines the structure and powers of the Court. Sets out the fundamental rights of citizens. Monetary Policy - In May 1998, Ireland qualified as one of the first round participants to adopt he new EU currency euro. Industry: electronics, software, data processing. Companies: Intel, Oracle, Dell. Agriculture: cattle raising and dairying; barley, wheat, sugar beet, potatoes, mushrooms Fishing: salmon, trout, mussels, lobsters. Education - Compulsory education from 6-15. Directed by the Department of Education and Science. Most secondary schools are managed by religious orders, boards of governors or by individuals. Schools receive allowances from the State. Vocational schools by Vocational Education Committees. Universities, technological colleges and colleges of education - 4 unis: the Univ. Of Dublin (Trinity College), the National Univ. of Ireland (NUI), the Univ. of Limerick, the Dublin City University, The Dublin Institute of Technology.

3. Symbols and the Flag of Ireland FLAG - Tricolour green, white and orange (1916). Green: represents the older Gaelic and Anglo-Norman element in the population. Orange: represents the protestants, supporters of William of Orange. White: represents the lasting 1

truce between the Orange and the Green. Harp= the official symbol or coat of arms of Ireland. Anthem= the Soldiers Song (1926). A colourful heritage of mythical and historical stories (Celtic beliefs). Saints cure illnesses and provide food for the people in time of need (Saint Patrick and Saint Brigid (Bridget)). Beliefs are associated with death and burial. Ireland was converted to Christianity in the 5th c., introduced by St Patrick. Patrick came of a noble Scottish family. At the age of 16 he was captured by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. He served his master for 7 yrs as a swineherd, escaped and reached Italy. He was made a bishop and sent back to Ireland to convert the heathen. St Patricks day is on 17 March (shamrock). Wetting the shamrock. Parades of bands and floats. After the parade, a street ceili (kay-lee), a traditional dance. St Brigid - The patron saint of milkmaids. St Birgids day is February 1. She was sent milking for butter-making, B. gave milk to the poor and prayed. The butter doubled itself and B. gave the extra butter to the poor. B. became a nun- the 1st nun in Ireland and built for herself a little cell under an oak-tree (Kil-dara (the cell of the oak)). Other nuns came to join her, the cell developed into a nunnery - the city Kildare.
Irish Literature - Written lit in Old Irish dates from the 6th c. (prose sagas, commentaries on biblical texts, lyrical poetry). Writing in English since 18th c.: Jonathan Swift (Gullivers Travels), Oliver Goldsmith, Richard Sheridan, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce. Conclusion of Ireland - Gaelic is still the first lg in some parts of Ireland (Gaeltachts (Gale-tocks)). Gaelic is taught in all schools. The secret of Irelands success is a young and highly educated population, who speak English. EU has contributed to improve Irelands infrastructure and modernise farms. Dublin- an important financial centre.

4. Provinces and Territories of Canada 10 provinces & 3 territories: province of lakes 1) British Columbia (Victoria) most densely populated province vast mineral and forest resources Toronto- Cs financial centre Vancouver is Cs window to the Pacific (capt George 6) Quebec (Quebec) Vancouver) ~80% French-speaking 2) Alberta (Edmonton) largest province Rocky mountains textiles, paper, clothing, shoes, forestry, furs Dinosaur Park with its dinosaur fossils Montreal- Mont Real, mount royal) Calgary McGill University 3) Saskatchewan (Regina) 7) Newfoundland (St John) Capital named in honour of Queen Victoria (Lat Englands oldest colony, Cs newest province regina) 8) New Brunswick (Fredericton) gives half of Cs annul production of wheat; bi-lingual breeds beef cattle potatoes, fisheries, pottery rich in gold, silver, copper 9) Prince Edward Island fur farming (Charlottetown) Saskatoon The name honours Edward, father of Q.Victoria 4) Manitoba (Winnipeg) In 1864 the 1st meeting of the Br colonies in North rapeseed, wheat America took place in Carlottetown to discuss the mining (gold, silver, copper) union. furs and forestry industry Agriculture, fishing, tourism many lakes-Lake Winnipeg 5) Ontario (Toronto) 10) Nova Scotia (Halifax) - iron, steel manufacturing The Yukon Territory (Whitehorse) The Northwestern Territory (Yellowknife) Nunavut (Iqaluit) Summers hot and short, winters long and cold. Soil is good. Mining (gold, silver, copper). Furs (mink, beaver, coloured foxes). Fisheries. In Ellesmere Island Eskimo culture 5. National Anthem and Flag of Canada National Emblem: the maple leaf, provinces and territories have their own National anthem: O Canada, approved by Parliament in 1967, adopted under he National Anthem Act in 1980. O Canada! Our home and native land! True patriot love in all thy sons command. National flag: Adopted on Feb 15, 1965 by Parliament and proclaimed by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II Flag is red containing a white square in its centre and a single red maple leaf. Anthem: 2

O Canada! Our home and native land! True patriot love in all thy sons command. With glowing hearts we see thee rise, The True North strong and free! From far and wide, O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. God keep our land glorious and free! O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. 6. Government of Canada French first to colonize (1608-1783) British rule - 1783- 1931. British North America Act July 1, 1867 created the Dominion of Canada. Independence was established in 1931 by the Statute of Westminster. A central government was established, based on British parliamentary system, with the monarch represented by a Governor - General (His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston) System of government: constitutional monarchy and federal state with democratic parliamentary representation. The parliament located in Ottawa (PM Stephen Harper) - House of Commons (elected) and the Senate (appointed). The Government of Canada, formally Her Majesty's Government, is the system whereby the federation of Canada is administered by a common authority; in Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council. In both senses, the construct was established at Confederation, through the Constitution Act, 1867, as a constitutional monarchy, wherein the Canadian Crown acts as the core, or "the most basic building block," of the kingdom's Westminster-style parliamentary democracy. The Crown is thus the foundation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Canadian government. Executive power - The government is defined by the constitution as the Queen acting on the advice of her privy council. Legislative power - Canada's bicameral legislature, located on Parliament Hill in the national capital of Ottawa, consists of the sovereign, the House of Commons, and the appointed Senate. The governor general summons and appoints each of the 105 members of the upper house on the advice of his or her prime minister, while the 308 members of the lower house are directly elected by eligible voters in the Canadian populace, with each Member of Parliament representing a single electoral district for a period of not more than four years. Judicial power - The sovereign is responsible for rendering justice for all her subjects, and is thus traditionally deemed the fount of justice. However, she does not personally rule in judicial cases; instead the judicial functions of the Royal Prerogative are performed in trust and in the Queen's name by officers of Her Majesty's courts. Federalism - The powers of the parliament of Canada are limited by the constitution, which divides legislative abilities between the federal and provincial governments; in general, provincial legislatures may only pass laws relating to topics explicitly reserved for them by the constitution, such as education, provincial officers, municipal government, charitable institutions, and "matters of a merely local or private nature," while any matter not under the exclusive authority of the provincial Legislatures is within the scope of the federal parliament's power. 7. Education in Canada Education: 8 yrs primary school, 4-5 secondary sec, 3-4 higher education. Education has two main goals: to give individuals the opportunity to develop themselves, and to provide society with the skills it needs to evolve in its best interests. Education in Canada consists of ten provincial and three territorial systems, including public schools, 'separate' (denominational) schools, and private schools. Children are required to attend school from the age of 6 or 7 until they are 15 or 16. Non-private education through secondary (high) school is publicly funded. A couple of colleges are also publicly funded. Canada has no federal educational system. Each provincial system reflects its particular region, history and culture. The provincial departments of education set standards, draw up curricula, and give grants to educational institutions. Responsibility for the administration of elementary and secondary schools is delegated to local elected school boards or commissions. The Canada Student Loans Program - assists over 350 000 Canadian post-secondary students each year. Canada's universities are internationally know for the quality of their teaching and research. Canada ranks among the world's leaders in per capita spending on public education. 3

Kindergarten - age 4, elementary - age 6. High school programs consist of two streams. The first prepares students for university, the second for postsecondary education at a community college or institute of technology, or for the workplace. Special programs for students unable to complete the conventional courses of study. In most schools, individual schools set, conduct and mark their own examinations. In some provinces, students must pass a graduation examination in certain key subjects in order to proceed to the post-secondary level. University entrance depends on course selection and marks in high school. Some provinces have legislation that permits the establishment of separate schools by religious groups. Some Roman Catholic, e.g., offer a complete parochial curriculum from kindergarten through the secondary level. 8. Commonwealth of Australia. States and Territories. Island continent Composed of 6 states (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia) and 2 territories (Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and the Northern Territory). Population of approx 22.7 million (2% Aborigines). Capital is Canberra (in ACT) meeting place. People - Aboriginal population - Australias first inhabitants arrived from Asia. They had no written history (stories, cave paintings record their past). Culture was/is based on strong spiritual life and traditions. People are born of spirit which inhabits the land, on dying they will return to the soil to be born again. ~ 600 Aboriginal tribes. Aboriginal people lived near the sea. Diseases were brought by Europeans, many Aborigines were killed because they had no immunity to such infections. In the 2nd c. AD a Greek mathematician Ptolemy sketched a huge unknown land. TERRA AUSTRALIS INCOGNITA (the unknown southern land). Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch expansion to Asia. In 1770 Captain James Cook sighted the east coast of the continent. England showed no interest at first only aprox 20 years later the convicts were brought to Australia. The First Fleet of English convicts, sailors and officers arrived in Australia in 1788. When Australia was first settled by Europeans, they claimes that Australia was terra nullius owned by nobody. The convicts cleared the land, built houses. The oldest surviving building is Cadmans Cottage, built in 1815. The society changed dramatically in 1851 with the discovery of gold in New South Wales (further discoveries in Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland). Gold brought colony much wealth, population grew rapidly. After WW II the need to increase the nations population became obvious: Populate or Perish. Migrants from: Ireand, Holland, Malta, Baltic States, in 1960s: Greece, Italy, Ukraine, in 1980s: Vietnam, South Africa, Poland, in 1990s: China, Hong Kong. The Commonwealth of Australia came into being on 1 January 1901. We have a continent for a nation and a nation for a continent. A federal parliamentary state presided over by a constitutional monarchy. Voting is compulsory and citizens who do not vote are fined. Governor General Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce Each state has a governor. Prime Minister is The Hon Julia Gillard. The House of Representatives (for 3 yrs), the Senate (for 6 yrs). Australia is looking forward to the possibility of becoming a republic, with a president as its head of state. 9. Symbols and Flag of Australia Advance Australia Fair 1st verse: Australians all let us rejoice, For we are young and free; We've golden soil and wealth for toil, Our home is girt by sea; Our land abounds in Nature's gifts Of beauty rich and rare; In history's page, let every stage Advance Australia fair! In joyful strains then let us sing, "Advance Australia fair!" Replaced God Save the Queen in 1984 The flag still demonstrates the link with Britain as it has the Union Jack in the top left-hand corner. The rest is dark blue background with white stars. These stars consist of the southern cross a well-known constellation of stars seen in the night skies over Australia and a large seven-pointed white federation star representing 6 states and the territories. No official native emblems. (The Red Kangaroo and Emu appear on Commonwealth coat of arms). The Golden Wattle also appears on the coat of arms and is taken to be the national floral emblem. 4

Uluru the Heart of Australia (Ayers Rock) the largest single rock in the world.
Waltzing Matilda - The words written by the poet A.B. Banjo Paterson in the 1890s, tell the story of a swagman. The music written by Christina Rutherfoed Macpherson. Men had no choice but to travel on foot around the country looking for work. They carried a canvas bag or swag on their backs hence the label swagman. His only companion was a blanket (Matilda). He is chased by police for stealing a sheep which he had planned to eat. Rather than being caught and punished for the crime, he commits suicide by jumping into a billabong (waterhole) and drowning. The song suggests that the ghost of the swagman still haunts that particular billabong.

10. Peculiarities of Australian language. The Strine. Billabong: A waterhole. Billy: A can or small kettle used to boil water for tea. Coolabah tree: A type of native tree in Australia. Jumbuck: A sheep. Matilda: commonly referred to the great army coats or blankets that soldiers rolled into a swag and tossed over their shoulders while marching. Squatter: At one time, squatters claimed (seized) land for themselves in addition to land that they had been granted. Eventually through the continuous occupation of the land, their claims were legitimised in the eyes of the law. Swagman: Someone who lives on the open road. A hobo. The term came from the canvas bag that they would carry their bedroll and/or belongings in. Trooper: In Australia's early days, there was no police force. The colony was protected by and policed by soldiers and even when a police force was eventually formed, they were still referred to as 'troopers'. Tucker bag: A knapsack or bag for storing food in the bush. Arvo - afternoon Squatter - the owner of a large area of land Aussie - Australian Station - big farm Barbie - barbeque Amber fluid - beer Beaut - beautiful Bonzer - very good Footy - football Crook - ill G'bye - goodbye Deadhead - a stupid person G'day - hello (good day) Dinky-di - genuine Mozzie - mosquito Good on yer - well done or goodbye Oz - Australia Lollies - sweets Postie - postman Lolly water - non-alcoholic, sweet drink Ta - thank you Mate - friend Tazzie - Tasmania Matilda - a blanket roll carried by a swagman Uni - university Pom - an English person Bush - countryside awat from towns and cities Seppo - an American Dingo - a wild dog Sheila - a young woman Jackaroo - a man who works on a big farm Tucker - food Jumbuck - a sheep 11. USA facts and figures. Flag. Great Seal. Anthem. Government type: federal republic; strong democratic tradition Capital: Washington, DC Population: 313,149,000 President - Barack Obama Vice President - Joe Biden Speaker of the House - John Boehner Chief Justice - John Roberts Administrative divisions: 50 states and 1 district*; Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia*, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming Holidays: New Year's Day (January 1) Martin Luther King's Birthday (third Monday in January) Washington's Birthday, sometimes called "Presidents' Day" (third Monday in February) 5

Memorial Day (last Monday in May) Independence Day (July 4) Labor Day (first Monday in September) Columbus Day (second Monday in October) Veterans' Day (November I l) Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday in November) Christmas Day (December 25) The anthem ("The Star-Spangled Banner") was written by Francis Scott Key, an American lawyer who while on a mission to recover a prisoner, was detained by the British and forced to watch the bombardment of Fort McHenry (in North Maryland) in September 1814, during the War of 1812-1815 between the US and GB. The sight of the flag still floating over the fort at dawn inspired Key's verses. The tune, composed by John Stafford Smith, was taken from an English song, "To Anacreon in Heaven". This tune officially became the national anthem by a presidential order in 1916, confirmed by Congress, 1931. The Great Seal of the US. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress appointed a committee consisting of Benjamin Franklin, John Adamns and Thomas Jefferson "to bring a device for a seal of the USA." After many delays, a verbal description of a design by William Barton was finally approved by Congress on June 20, 1782. This emblem of the US seen on coins, official documents, etc. shows an American bald eagle with wings spread facing left with a scroll bearing the Latin words "E pluribus unum (= one out of many) in its beak. The eagle carries a shield with stars and stripes on its breast and holds a laurel branch (symbolising peace) in its right talons and a sheaf of arrows (symbolising the military might of the country) in its left talons. The Flag of the US - the stars and stripes The 50-star flag of the US was raised for the first time officially on July 4, 1960 in Baltimore. The 50th star had been added for Hawaii. The true history of the Stars and Stripes has become so difficult, and in some cases impossible, to established. For example, it is not certain who designed the Stars and Stripes, who made the first such flag, or even whether it ever flew in any sea fight or land battle of the American Revolution. On thing all agree on is the the Stars and Stripes originated as a result of a resolution offered by the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress at Philadelphia and adopted June, 1777. It read: the flag of the US be 13 stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation. The widely publicized legend is that Mrs Betsy Ross made the first Stars and Stripes in June 1776, at the request of a commitee composed of George Washington, Robert Morris, and George Ross, although historians have been unable to find a historical record of it. The US national flag has 13 stripes (alternate red and white) that symbolize the original 13 states of the Union and the 50 white stars in a blue field stand for the present states. It is believed that the design may have been suggested by the coat of arms of the Washington family, which contains both the stars and stripes. The US flag is colloquially known as "Old Glory", the "Stars and Stripes", or the "Star-spangled Banner". The latter name is derived from the title of the American national anthem, beginning "Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light.. the star-spangled banner..".
Origin of the US national motto. IN GOD WE TRUST, designated as the US National Motto by Congress in 1956, originated during the Civil War as an inscription for the US coins. In 1955, the Congress ordered it placed on all paper money and all coins. The Declaration of Independence. A committee of 5 was appointed to express the purpose of the resolution in a declaration of independence (Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman). Drafting the Declaration was assigned to Thomas Jefferson. The Congress suggested a number of changes. The Lea-Adams resolution of independence was adopted by 12 years July 2 the actual date of the act of independence. The declaration, which explains the act, was adopted July 4, 1776.

12. US Government. Constitution of the USA. Origin of the constitution. The war of independence was conducted by delegates from the original 13 states, called the Congress of the USA and generally known as the Continental Congress. In 1777 the Congress submitted the legislatures of the states the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. the states delegated only those powers they could not handle individually, such as power to wage war, establish a uniform currency, make treaties with foreign nations and contract debts for general expenses. The president under the Articles signed himself "President of the US in Congress assembled", but here the US were considered in the plural, a cooperating group. When the war was won it became evident that a stronger federal union was needed to protect the mutual interests on the states. Alexander Hamilton asked delegates from all states to meet in May 1787 "to render the Constitution of the Federal Government adequate to the exigencies of the union". The convention met, George Washington was chosen president. The work was done by 55 delegates, 39 acutally signed. Four principles - federalism (the division of powers between the national, or federal, government and the state governments, because of this, Americans have always lived under two governments and to systems of law - federal and state), separation of powers within the federal government (a system of checks and balances on these powers, to keep any branch of goverment from 6

becoming too strong, the legislative, executive and judicial powers must be kept separate), protection of the liberties of individuals (individual rights are not absoulte, the rights of an individual exist in relation to the rights of others), adaptibility of the Constitution to changing times and circumstances (amendments have altered certain provisions of the Constitution and added others). The Constitution of the USA: Preamble: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this CONSTITUION for the United States of America. Article I: Section 1. All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. Article II: Section 1. The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America... US Government The governmental systems in the United States - federal, state, county, and local. "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. 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. Congress - Congress, the legislative branch of the federal government, is made up of the Senate and the House ol 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. The House of Representatives meets in the left wing of the Capitol, and the Senate occupies the right wing. 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 terrns 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 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. 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 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. 7

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. 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 diplmats 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. 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. 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-thrids vote in each hose. 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 comprimise and consensus necessary. Compromise is also a vital aspect of other levels of government in the US. The system protects against extremes. It means, for example, that new presidents cannot radically change governmental policies just as they wish. Political Parties - The constitution says nothing about political parties, but over time the US has in fact developed a two-party system. The two leading parties are the Democrats and the Republicans. There are other parties beside these two, 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. Even if they have been elected as Democrats or Republicans, Representatives or Senators are not bound to a party program. 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 US 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, Congressmen will vote with the specific wishes of their constituencies in mind, even if this goes agains whate 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. 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. There are 50 different registration laws in the US - one set for each state. In the south, voters often have to register not only locally but also at the county seat. 13. Education and National Tests in the USA. Children attend school until a certain age, it varies from 14 to 18 years. In about 60 per cent of the states, local schools are free to choose any teaching materials or textbooks which they think are appropriate. In the remaining states, only such teaching materials may be used in public schools which have been approved by the state boards of 8

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. 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. 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 contol of the schools has also meant that there is a great deal of flexibility. There is much more 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 might be following pre-university programs, with emphasis on those academic subjects required for college work. Others might well be taking coursework which prepares them for vocational or technical positions. Many schools 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 in 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 US have also always stressed "character" or "social skills" through extracurricular activities, inculding 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 eary in the 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 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. Standards - Standarized 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 those 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 standarized tests for high school students who wish to attend a college or university. One is the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test), 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 the skills in English, mathematics, and the social and natural sciences. Both tests are given at specific dates and locations throughout the US 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 US, is taken each year by another million high school students. 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 standarized tests. These tests have been agreed upon by the various law and medical schools and 9

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 the he or she can begin to practice in the US. The individual states require still further examinations. Other pressures also operate at the university level. Most universities require mid-semester and final examinations. It is possible, as a great many students have 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 at most colleges and universities, a large number of students hold jobs besides studiying. These part-time jobs may be either "on campus" or "off campus". In addition, there are workstudy programs at a number of universities, and financial assistance programs which are provided by the states and the federal government. 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.