Країнознавство США І семестр - ПЛАНИ-КОНСПЕКТИ УРОКІВ - 2016 рік


LESSONS 9-10 Lecture and practical training "Administrative division of the USA"

Aims and objectives:

- to introduce and practice vocabulary;

- to develop reading and speaking skills;

- to develop logical thinking;

- to widen the students' outlook.



Greeting. Introducing the topic

T. Good morning! Today we’re going to work on the topic “Administrative division of the USA”.

Warm up

Task 1. Answer the questions.

1. What is the primary division of the USA?

2. How many states are there in the USA?

3. How old is the US Constitution?



Task 2. Read the text and choose from the sentences (A-H) the one that best fits each gap (1-7). There is one extra sentence that you do not need to use.

A Counties have varying degrees of political and legal significance.

B The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution reinforces this idea of parallel sovereignty, declaring that the powers not delegated to the federal government are retained by the states.

C In some states, such as Michigan, state universities are constitutionally autonomous jurisdictions, possessed of a special status somewhat equivalent to that of metropolitan municipality.

D Counties and county equivalents may be further subdivided into townships.

E In New England, towns are a principal form of local government, providing many of the functions of counties in other states.

F The primary political unit of the United States is the State.

G The exceptions are Alaska where main subdivisions are the boroughs, and Louisiana which is divided into county-equivalents that are called parishes.

H The 13 original states Thirteen Colonies declared independence from the British Empire in 1776.


Political division of the United States is the various governing entities that together form the United States.


1. ...

The United States Federal and State governments operate within a system of parallel sovereignty, so states are not technically “divisions” created from the United States, but rather units that, together with the federal district and other territories administered by the Federal government, compose the United States.

According to numerous decisions of the United States Supreme Court, the 50 individual states and the United States as a whole are each sovereign jurisdictions.

2. ...

In 1777, they established a government under the Articles of Confederation. The United States Constitution replaced the Articles in 1789. The Constitution establishes the authority of the Federal government of the United States, which includes the power to coin money and conduct foreign policy. The Constitution also maintains the sovereignty of each state.

3. ...

The 37 additional states were admitted to the Union by acts of the United States Congress, beginning with Vermont in 1791 and ending with Hawaii in 1959.


The states are divided into smaller administrative regions, called counties in all but two states.

4. ...

Counties exist to provide general local support of state government activities, such as collection of property tax revenues (counties almost never have their own power to tax), but without providing most of the services one associates with municipalities.

5. ...

In some states, mainly in New England, they are mainly used as judicial districts. In other states, counties have broad powers in housing, education, transportation and recreation.

Towns and Townships

Towns and townships are subdivisions of counties. The terms townships and towns are closely related. However, the power granted to towns or townships varies considerably from state to state.

6. ...

In California, by contrast, the pertinent statutes of the Government Code clarify that “town” is simply another word for “city”, especially a general law city as distinct from a charter city.

Some townships have governments and political power, others are simply geographic designations. Townships in the United States are generally the product of the Public Land Survey System.

Municipalities and other subdivisions There are approximately 30,000 incorporated cities in the United States, with varying degrees of self-rule.

7. ...

That is, as bodies corporate, they operate as though they were municipalities but their autonomy from most legislative and executive control makes them equally comparable to administrative divisions of the state, equal or superior to counties.

Task 3. Mark the statements (1-12) as T (true) or F (false).

1. The primary division is the county.

2. States are units that, together with the federal district and other territories administered by the Federal government, compose the United States.

3. The United States of America is a federal republic consisting of 50 states and a federal district.

4. The United States Constitution came into force in 1769.

5. The 13 original states declared independence from the British Empire in the 18th century.

6. Each state has the power to coin money and conduct foreign policy.

7. The United States Federal and State governments operate within a system of parallel sovereignty.

8. The states are divided into smaller administrative regions, called boroughs.

9. Counties have the power to tax.

10. Towns are a principal form of local government in each state.

11. Towns and townships are subdivisions of states.

12. Incorporated cities have varying degrees of self-rule.

Task 4. Read the text below. Choose from (A-G) the one which fits each space (1-5). There are two choices you do not need to use.

A including an elected mayor and city council

B do not have any additional subdivisions

C which is under the direct authority of Congress

D can vote in presidential elections

E other divisions include the federal district

F over the city

G ceded by Virginia


District of Columbia

A separate federal district, the District of Columbia, (1) ... , was formed from land ceded to the Federal Government by the states of Maryland and Virginia; however, the territory (2) ... was returned to that state in 1846. The District does not form part of any state and the United States Congress exercises “exclusive jurisdiction in all cases whatsoever”, (3) ... . However, the District of Columbia Home Rule Act provides for limited home rule, (4) ... . Residents of the District (5) ... , as the twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution grants the District three electors in the Electoral College.

Reading and Grammar

Task 5. Read the text and think of the word which best fits each gap. Use only one word in each gap.


Insular areas

The insular areas of the United States are those jurisdictions that are (1) ... a part of one of the 50 states nor the federal district. Unlike within (2) ... States, sovereignty over insular areas rests not with the local people, but in Congress. In most cases, however, Congress has granted considerable self-rule through an Organic Act, which functions (3) ... a local constitution. Insular areas (4) ... administered by the Federal Government through the Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs.

The insular areas include a number of territories (5) ... the sovereignty of the United States and three sovereign nations in free association with the United States. Territories incorporated within the provisions of the US Constitution (6) ... designated incorporated territories. Territories not so incorporated are designated “unincorporated”. Territories may also (7) ... organized, if granted by an Organic Act of Congress or unorganized (8) ... direct authorization of self-government by such an act).

Task 6. Read the text and decide which answer a, b, c or d best fits each space.


American Indian Reservations

American Indian reservations are (1) ... of land managed by an American Indian tribe under the United States Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian (2) ... . There are about 310 Indian reservations in the United States. Tribes (3) ... limited tribal sovereignty over the land in their reservation. As a result laws on tribal lands may (4) ... from the surrounding area. The tribal council, not the county or state government, generally has (5) ... over reservations. Different reservations have different (6) ... of government, which may or may not replicate the forms of government found outside the reservation. Most Indian reservations were (7) ... by the federal government; a limited number, mainly in the East, owe their origin to state recognition.

Residents of a reservation may vote as (8) ... of a state and are required to pay federal taxes. The special (9) ... of reservations has created both opportunities (such as gambling in states that normally disallow it) and challenges (such as the unwillingness of some companies to do (10) ... in an area where they are not certain what laws will apply to them).


a) fields

b) areas

c) spheres

d) territories


a) activities

b) businesses

c) affairs

d) matters


a) possess

b) have

c) maintain

d) own


a) change

b) differ

c) vary

d) range


a) authority

b) jurisdiction

c) administration

d) control


a) systems

b) structures

c) arrangements

d) organizations


a) set

b) put

c) formed

d) established


a) inhabitants

b) citizens

c) residents

d) dwellers


a) position

b) place

c) status

d) state


a) employment

b) work

c) occupation

d) business


Task 7. Answer the questions.

1. What does the expression parallel sovereignty mean?

2. What can you say about a separate federal district?

3. What are American Indian Reservations?

Home assignment

What state would you choose to live in? Why?

Additional material to the topic "Administrative division of the USA"

Task 8. Read the text and answer the questions.


Through their constitutions or laws, all states establish mechanisms by which local governments are created. Some are created by direct state action — through a charter, for example — but most are created because state statutes authorize citizens in a particular geographic area who need or desire local services to form a local unit of government. States also determine how much authority each type of government may exercise.

The United States has one of the greatest complexity of local government laws in the world. While municipal systems among many states are similar in policy, method, and practice, there are numerous variations, exceptions, and differences in form and function. These differences may even exist within states.

The Census Bureau designates two categories of local government, General Purpose and Special Purpose.

1. What is the mechanism of creating local governments?

2. How is the level of authority determined?

3. Are municipal systems among states the same?

4. Do local governments have the same forms and functions in different states?

5. What are the categories of local government?

Task 9. Read the text below. For questions (1-5) choose the correct answer (a, b, c or d).



Early state constitutions originally created counties to serve as the administrative arms of state government, performing state- mandated duties, including property assessment and record keeping. Historically, counties were established without the consent of the voters, possessed no charter or legislative powers, performed no business or proprietary functions, and shared immunity with the state from suit. As populations grew and suburbs formed across the nation post-World War I, the role of local government was strengthened. After World War II, the urban populations began to spread beyond city boundaries into sububia, and county governments were increasingly called upon to provide services like child welfare and consumer protection. County governments began to receive greater autonomy from the states, generate increasing revenues, and accept stronger political accountability. As a result, the number of counties that have their own charter has grown tremendously to 3,033 in 2007. Organized county governments are found in every state except Connecticut and Rhode Island — which have geographic regions called counties but without functioning county governments — and the District of Columbia. Counties are known as boroughs in Alaska and parishes in Louisiana. There are also limited portions of other states in which certain county areas lack a distinct county government. Priorities and service delivery responsibilities vary considerably from among counties, as does their size and number. In general, counties have more mandates, less discretionary funds, and are more vulnerable to state budgetary action.

1. Which of the following is stated in the text about the counties?

a) Counties used to perform business and proprietary functions.

b) Counties were created to serve as the administrative arms of state government.

c) The number of counties hasn’t changed since World War II.

d) Organized county governments are found in every state.

2. What is TRUE about the counties in the United States?

a) Counties are known as boroughs in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

b) Counties provide only one or a limited number of designated functions.

c) The District of Columbia has no organized county governments.

d) Priorities and service delivery responsibilities are similar among counties.

3. Which of the following is NOT TRUE according to the text?

a) Counties were established without the consent of the voters.

b) Counties shared immunity with the state from suit.

c) Counties possessed no charter or legislative powers.

d) Counties were created to replace state government.

4. According to the text, why has the number of counties with their own charter grown?

a) Counties began to receive greater autonomy from the states and generate increasing revenues.

b) The number of states has grown.

c) Some boroughs have become states.

d) Counties have had more discretionary funds.

Task 10. Mark the statements (1-12) as T (true) or F (false).



There are more than 19,000 municipal governments across the fifty states, but they vary widely according to quantity (Hawaii and the District of Columbia each have 1, Illinois has 1,299), designation (they may be called cities, towns, boroughs, districts, plantations, and villages), and incorporation requirements (Florida requires 1.5 persons per acre). Despite these variations, municipalities generally have similar powers and perform similar functions. Geographically, municipalities lie within counties, although they may cross county boundaries. Historically, towns and cities were distinguished by their distinct methods of deliberation. For example, all qualified citizens in a town deliberate and vote together, while cities have representatives who vote. Today, the distinction between towns and cities, and similarly with the other nomenclature, is one of population size.

1. The number of municipalities is the same in the fifty states.

2. Municipal governments vary widely according to designation.

3. Municipal governments have similar powers and perform similar functions.

4. Municipalities always lie within counties.

5. The methods of deliberation are the same in cities and towns.

6. The distinction between towns and cities depends on population size.

Task 11. Read the text below and think of the word which best fits each gap.

Use only one word in each space.



Township governments are distinct (1) ... municipal governments because they (2) ... established to govern areas without a minimum population concentration. The 2007 Census of Governments counted approximately 3,000 fewer townships (3) ... municipalities across only twenty states, including New York, Maine, Illinois, and Kansas. Within (4) ... twenty states, there are different kinds (5) ... townships: the municipal or the civil, the incorporated or unincoporated, and the school, the judicial, and congressional.

Town government in (6) ... classic form is distinguished from township government, as the former (7) ... governed by an annual town meeting. Townships, if similar to municipalities, have (8) ... municipal form of government. Otherwise, townships are commonly governed by an elected board of three (9) ... five part-time trustees and rely almost exlusively (10) ... property taxes for revenue. New England, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania townships, for example, enjoy broad authority and perform functions similar (11) ... municipalities. (12) ... New England townships govern schools, and midwestern townships typically perform limited government functions.

Task 12. Read the text and answer the questions.


Special Districts

Special districts, as defined by the US Census, are local entities “authorized by state law to provide only one or a limited number of designated functions, and with sufficient administrative and fiscal autonomy to qualify as separate governments; known by a variety of titles, including districts, authorities, boards, and commissions”. These districts number over 37,000. As described, these districts are local governing units that vary widely in authority, function, and structure. Their functions range from street lighting to a large port authority with a large staff and project portfolio. All special districts are governed by a board, but their governance structures vary; some boards may be elected by the public while the majority are appointed by the states, counties, municipalities, or townships that have joined to form the special district. Some local governments that cannot finance public improvements without increasing taxes will rely on special districts because special districts have several sources of revenue, and some have more than one source. They may have the authority to levy property taxes, impose service charges, depend on grants, share taxes with other areas, or rely on other special assessments or taxes. In addition, federal and state governments have required the creation of special districts in order to receive some types of grant monies. Because of this variability, the special districts may operate in very different intergovernmental political and fiscal frameworks.

1. What are special districts?

2. How many special districts are there in the USA?

3. What are their functions?

4. How are boards elected?

5. Why do local governments have to rely on special districts?

6. What are their sources of revenue?

Task 13. Read the texts below. For questions (1-6) choose the correct answer (a, b, c or d).


School Districts

The 14,561 public school systems in the United States are either defined as independent or dependent systems. The 13,051 independent school systems are also known as school districts, or local entities (1) ... public school for which state law determines they have sufficient administration and fiscal autonomy to qualify as separate (or special purpose) governments. These entities (2) ... similar to a city in that they are accountable for the service they provide, and may exercise the powers of eminent domain and taxation, except in Virginia. More than 80 percent of these independent school systems (3) ... by a nonpartisan elected board called a school board, board of trustees, board of education, or school committee. This governing body of 5 to 15 members is typically elected by direct popular vote but may (4) ... by other governmental officials. While the board may share power with a (5) ... institution, such as the local department of education, it is responsible for setting education policy and appointing a professional superintendent to manage school administration. There are (6) ... independent school districts in the District of Columbia, Alaska, Hawaii, Maryland, or North Carolina.

Dependent school systems, of which there are 1,510 in 17 states and the District of Columbia, are not counted (7) ... as separate governments. These entities are instead classified as agencies of the local, county, or state government and are (8) ... paid for, in part or in whole, by taxes.

There is a mix of independent and dependent school systems in 15 states, (9) ... the public schools are operated in (10) ... areas by independent school districts and elsewhere by a county, municipal, town or township, or state government.


a) to provide

b) provided

c) provides

d) providing


a) operate

b) operating

c) operates

d) are operating


a) governed

b) are governed

c) have governed

d) has governed


a) appointed

b) be appointed

c) appoint

d) have appointed


a) large


c) largest

d) largely


a) neither

b) nor

c) no

d) none


a) like

b) as

c) for

d) how


a) accordingly

b) according

c) accorded

d) accord


a) what

b) when

c) whose

d) where


a) any

b) some

c) many

d) much

Task 14. Read the text. Match the words (1-8) to their synonyms (A-H).



As metropolitan areas (1, encompass) multiple counties and cities, or straddle state lines, governance becomes more (2, complex). The need for coordination and (3, cooperation) among the local governments challenges public policymaking authority and service provision leading to the (4, development) of cross-jurisdictional organizations called regional government, regional councils of local government, and regional multi-purpose or (5, single) purpose authorities. These regional (6, structures) are independent legal entities operating at the substate (7, level) with a governing board whose (8, members) represent the region rather than the member municipalities.

A collaboration E particular

B representatives F complicated

C layer G systems

D enclose H evolution

Task 15. Read the text below. Choose from (A-H) the one which best fits each space (1-6). There are two choices you do not need to use.

A as defined by state constitutions

B from the millions of residents of New York City and Los Angeles

C that cannot finance public improvements

D counties are divided into townships

E the federal government and state governments share power in countless ways

F began to receive greater autonomy from the states

G are generally organized around a population center

H such as school districts or fire protection districts


Local governments generally include two tiers: counties, also known as boroughs in Alaska and parishes in Louisiana, and municipalities, or cities / towns. In some states, (1) ... . Municipalities can be structured in many ways, (2) ... , and are called, variously, townships, villages, boroughs, cities, or towns. Various kinds of districts also provide functions in local government outside county or municipal boundaries, (3) ... .

Municipal governments — those defined as cities, towns, boroughs (except in Alaska), villages, and townships — (4) ... and in most cases correspond to the geographical designations used by the United States Census Bureau for reporting of housing and population statistics. Municipalities vary greatly in size, (5) ... to the 287 people who live in Jenkins, Minnesota.

Municipalities generally take responsibility for parks and recreation services, police and fire departments, housing services, emergency medical services, municipal courts, transportation services (including public transportation), and public works (streets, sewers, snow removal, signage, and so forth).

Whereas (6) ... , a local government must be granted power by the state. In general, mayors, city councils, and other governing bodies are directly elected by the people.

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