Category: USA

The Political System

The United States is an indirect democracy— that is, the people rule through representa­tives they elect. Over time, the vote has been given to more and more people. In the be­ginning, only white men with property could vote. Today any citizen who is at least 18 years old can vote. The Constitution The United States […]


The ivy walls of Harvard University Just across the Charles River from Boston is Cambridge, America’s most famous student town. Cambridge is sometimes called the birth­place of American intellectual life: It has the nation’s oldest university, Harvard University, founded in 1636. Cambridge remains a center of intellectual life, especially since it’s also home to MIT, […]

The Nation’s Capital

A view of Washington, D. C. in 1830 (detail)   Building a New City With its grand neoclassical buildings and its tree-lined avenues, Washington, D. C. strikes the visitor as a lovely and formal city. Wash­ington wasn’t always this way. When it was decided that the new coun­try needed a new city for its capital, […]

The Indians of the Great Plains

In the Black Hills of South Dakota there are two huge monuments carved from moun­tains. One is the Mount Rushmore National Monument. It shows the faces of four Amer­ican presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. The other is the Crazy Horse Mon­ument. In progress since 1947, it will show the famous […]

Yellowstone National Park

For almost seventy years, no one believed the stories about Yellowstone. The first white per­son to explore the area was fur trapper John Colter. In 1807, when he described the hot water and steam shooting into the air and the bubbling, boiling pools of mud, people just laughed at him in disbelief. In 1869, members […]