24 de agosto de 2011


The United States of North America is a young country. Its written history is only a few hundred years old. It is sometimes, in fact, called the "New World". Over the last four hundred years millions of people have come to start a new life in this "New World".

Americans are not afraid of new ideas. They built the first skyscrapers and they put the first man on the moon. They like to be modern. They like exciting, modem cities, new houses, and new cars. At the same time, Americans love old things. They like to visit historic houses and museums. They build old pioneer towns and remember the days of the "Wild West". Americans are interested in old traditions, but they are good at making new traditions too. 

The people of the United States are a mixture of many different nationalities. In one city you can find people whose parents, grandparents or great-grandparents came form China, Africa, South America, Southeast Asia, and every European country. These different people brought to their new land a wonderful mixture of customs and traditions. The Germans brought Christmas trees. The Irish brought St. Patrick's Day celebrations. The Scots brought Hallowe'en. Americans still celebrate the festivals of the Old World. Sometimes, in fact, the old celebrations are more important in the U.S. than in the countries they came from. American children have more fun at Hallowe'en than Scottish children do in Scotland.

American Government

The federal system

The American Constitution divides power between the federal govern­ment and the governments of the indi­vidual states. Each state has its own laws and system of government. The federal government deals with national issues such as economic and foreign policy.

There are three branches of federal government: the executive branch (which is led by the President); the legislative branch (Congress, which is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives); and the judicial branch (the Su­preme Court and other federal courts). Laws are made by Congress, but the President can veto a law, and the Supreme Court can say that it is unconstitutional.


Each state is allowed to elect two senators to the Senate, and a number of representatives to the House of Representatives (the exact number depends on the size of its population). Elections for representatives are held every two years; one third of the senators are also elected every two years. The President is elected directly by the people, and presidential elections are held every four years. 

American Weather

The Americans have much more exciting weather than the British. If you're looking for "inter­esting weather" the USA is the place to go. In the mid-West there are tor­nadoes or whirl­winds (or "twist­ers" as the Yanks insist on calling them) following Spring and Summer storms. These occur be­cause warm air coming up from the Gulf of Mexico comes up against the Rockies (or something like that). The East Coast (i.e. Florida and the Carolinas) doesn't miss out on the fun – there they get hurricanes in late Summer. In the Northeast the winter cold can reach -30°C

Finally, in San Francisco they very suc­cessfully organize smog . The Americans very democratically organize these things to disprove the idea that all natural disasters happen in the Third World.

Of course,  US weather will have changed in ten years time because of the Green House Effect, El Niño or  the hole in the Ozone Layer.

American festivals and traditions

There are new American festivals and traditions as well as the old ones. Only Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July. Rodeos and high school homecomings only happen in the U.S. 

  • Fourth thursday of November. Thanksgiving. In 1621 William Bradford, the Governor of Massachusetts, decided to have a thanks­giving dinner for all the people. He wanted to thank God for many things. It was a difficult year, but the people still had food to eat. He wanted a way to share this good fortune with the American Indians who helped them. That meal lasted three days. Today the traditional Thanksgiving meal is similar to the first. Usually there is turkey, sweet potatoes, corn, and pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving is a special day for families to get together.
  • Last Monday of May. Memorial Day.This special day is for people to remember those who died in wars. Many people remember their dead friends and relatives on this day too.
  • Fourth of July. Independence Day.On this day in 1776, the United States declared her independence from England. It was the beginning of a new nation. On the Fourth of July families and friends celebrate, and every town and city has parades, games, and sports with prizes. There are picnics and barbecues, and in the evening there are big firework displays. 


    In the nineteenth century thousands of cowboys worked on big ranches in the west. Often they spent weeks away from the ranch house, "rounding up" cattle and taking them to the markets or railway yards. At the end of a round-up they held competitions to see who was best at roping a cow, riding a wild horse or bull, or shooting. These competitions were called rodeos. Rodeos became more popular toward the end of the century. They are still popular today —there are around five hundred rodeos each year in the U.S. Modern rodeos have brass bands, singing cowboys, and clowns. The largest rodeo is Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming, and it lasts for one week.

    High school homecomings

    "Homecoming" is held every fall by many high schools and colleges, especially in small towns. It is a week-long celebration for all the former graduates and present students of that particular high school or college. On the first night there may be a school show with funny plays and music. Then the homecoming queen is crowned. She is chosen by the students of the school. Over the next few days the homecoming queen rides in the parade and opens the sports event —usually a football game. There are parties, dances, and dinners for the old and new students and their friends and parents.  

    Sports in the United States is an important part of American culture. The four most popular team sports are ones that developed in North America: American football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey. The major leagues of these sports, the National Football League (NFL), the Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) enjoy massive media exposure and are considered the preeminent competitions in their respective sports in the world. 

    Each of these leagues besides  the NFL have teams that play in Canada, and all four among    the most lucrative sports leagues in the world. Soccer  (association football) is less popular as a spectator sport in the United States than it is in many other countries, though it has wide amateur participation, particularly among youths.

    Professional teams in all major sports operate as franchises within a league. All major sports leagues use the same type of schedule with a playoff tournament after the regular season ends. In addition Professional teams in all major sports operate as franchises within a league. All major sports leagues use the same type of schedule with a playoff tournament after the regular season ends. In addition to the major league-level organizations, several sports also have professional minor leagues.

    Sports are particularly associated with education in the United States, with most high schools and universities having organized sports. College sports competitions play an important role in the American sporting culture. In many cases college athletics are more popular than professional sports, with the major sanctioning body being the NCAA.

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