On November 6, the citizens of the United States voted for their next president. Barack Obama, the current president of the country, won the elections and will continue as president for another four years.
Presidential elections are held every 4 years in the United States. A person has to be a citizen of the country and must be at least 18 years old to vote. People submit their vote according to where they live in the United States (the 50 states or Washington DC, the capital of the country). Each state and the capital is assigned a fixed number of votes (called electoral votes) according to the population of the area. If a presidential candidate gets the most votes in a state, the candidate is given the number of electoral votes assigned to the state. If you add up all the electoral votes given to the states and the capital, the total is 538 electoral votes. A candidate needs to win at least 270 electoral votes to become the president. The actual number of votes a candidate gets from the citizens of the country is called the popular vote. In the United States, it is possible for a person to become a president without winning the popular vote.
Obama was born in 1961 in Hawaii, United States. His father was a black Kenyan and his mother was a white American. He was raised partly in the United States and partly in Indonesia. He studied to be a lawyer, became a politician, and went on to become the president in 2009. Obama was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to have a world without nuclear weapons and to encourage countries to cooperate and communicate.
Four years ago, electing Obama was quite a historic moment for the United States. He was the first African-American to be elected President of the United States. To understand the significance, let’s take a step back to 1961 – the year Obama was born. Back then, blacks were not treated properly simply because of the color of their skin. In some parts of the United States, it was illegal for a white person to marry a black person, black and white students could not study in the same classroom, and blacks could not eat in the same restaurant as whites. In electing Obama as president, America has come a long way!
The United States is a country known for having invented numerous new products. You probably use many of these regularly – blue jeans, zippers on your pants, coca-cola, crayons, band-aid, bubble-gum, scotch-tape, vacuum cleaners, popsicles, photocopiers, the computer mouse, chocolate chip cookies, iPods, cell phones – the list is quite endless!
Here is a video of some American inventions.
Did you know: Puerto Rico (a group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean) is a territory of the United States. On November 6, the people of Puerto Rico got to vote on what political status they would like for their islands. The majority chose for Puerto Rico to become a state of the United States.
Image Credits: USA Govt for Obama picture