About United States
Great pride exists in the hearts of Americans for natural beauty of their country, its noble heritage and the overwhelming success of its institutions. As a country, it arose out of the most humble circumstances. The Revolutionary War, fought against Great Britain, then the world's greatest military power, was waged without money, provisions, and almost without soldiers. The final victory been viewed as both a fluke of fortune or, alternately, a miracle. Much is owed to George Washington, revolutionary Commander-in-Chief and first President, for this accomplishment. Read the inspiring and wrenching story as documented by Washington Irving in his Life of George Washington.
After the war was over, many at home and abroad doubted if the new country, recognized as an experiment in freedom, could stand. Never before in the history of the world had such a large nation attempted to be governed as a republic. The Constitution was ratified in 1788, years after the Declaration of Independence of July 4th, 1776. When asked what sort of government it was, Benjamin Franklin replied, "A republic, if you can keep it." Keep it we have, and the experiment has been declared a success. With the underlying principle that the people are sovereign, their right to freedom of speech, bear arms, assemble and control property is recognized as divinely instituted. Government is limited by a system of checks and balances between Federal and State governments, to prevent abuse of its power. The resulting unprecedented industrial revolution has enriched the whole world. A steady creep of usurpations has unfortunately weakened the United States in its advanced stages and its liberties and prosperity have suffered correspondingly.
Perhaps the love of freedom, and the government which protects it, has given Americans an extra degree of love for the land they inhabit. Or perhaps the developments in transportation have given them the chance to fully appreciate it. At any rate, travel is a favorite American pastimes and one of its major industries. Modern highways access almost every corner, and massive tracts of splendid scenery are preserved in parks, monuments and national forests.
What to See in the United States
The United States covers 3,537,441 square miles in fifty states. Forty-eight states stretch “from Sea to Shining Sea,” from the Atlantic Ocean on the east, to the Pacific Ocean on the west. European settlers first landed in the fertile, humid regions of the east coast, then crossed the Appalachian Mountains and settled the Mississippi River Valley. Then the west coast caught their attention, and they moved on to California and Oregon. The harsh climates of the Rocky Mountains were settled by hardy Mormon pioneers, and the Great Plains filled in afterwards. Gems of scenic and natural wonder are showcased in the National Park System, while the rustic beauty of farmland and villages can be seen almost anywhere. It is with great pride and pleasure that we present these tours of a land which is the product of so many people, great and simple, working together in freedom.
The United States has 12,380 miles of coastline—on the Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic Oceans, and the Gulf of Mexico. Visit the Atlantic Coast at St. Augustine Beach in Florida. At Savannah, Georgia, you can also take a walk along an old railroad grade turned into a nature path that parallels the Savannah River near its mouth. At Santa Cruz you can visit the Pacific Coast at Seabright Beach and other nearby stretches of cliff-lined Pacific Coast. In Sitka, Alaska, Indians built totem poles on the Pacific coast at Totem Park.
America boasts one of the tallest mountains in the world, Mount McKinley in Alaska, which, unfortunately, isn’t available in this photographic tour. But, visit California’s Sierra Nevadas at Yosemite National Park; Mount Rainier, the massive volcano of Washington; the San Francisco Peaks, tallest mountains in Arizona; or the beautiful Bear River Mountains of Idaho. Numerous other lesser-known mountains can provide wonderful vacation spots.
Some people like deserts, believe it or not. They have the advantage of being uncrowded, and the scenery is unobstructed by forests. Death Valley boasts the hottest and driest climate in America, as well as the lowest elevation, at 282 feet below sea level at Badwater Basin. The Sonoran Desert covers parts of southern Arizona, and can be seen at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and Saguaro National Park. See the Salt Flats of western Utah, remnants of ancient Lake Bonneville, where land speed records are set.
Yellowstone National Park, home of thousands of geysers, hot springs, and mudpots, was the world's first National Park, sitting in an ancient volcanic caldera. The mile-deep Grand Canyon, home to some of the most stunning vistas in the world forms an almost impassable barrier to travel except for modern bridges like the Navajo Bridge. The United States has an extensive park system, with something for everyone.
For More Information
The United States' official website can be found at www.USA.gov. Wikipedia's United States article also provides much information. To read about the philosophies of freedom which inspired the founders of America, read the Federalist Papers. and the writings of Thomas Paine.