I have difficulty understanding the following sentence from President Barack Obama's 2009 inaugural address.
For as much as government can do, and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.
I am facing two comprehension problems on this sentence:
(1) What does the "as much as" section mean and grammatically function?
According to my English usage book, "as" and "though (mostly British usage)" can be used in a special structure after a noun, both denoting "although"--therefore this section could be virtually the same with "much as government can do..." And it says that "as...as" is common in American English.
As such, I have assumed this section means "although government can do and must do much." Is this understanding right?
(2) Is the main clause "it is...upon which..." considered as a cleft sentence?
According to the usage book, the structure "it is (the words to be emphasized) that..." is used to make a cleft sentence.
Excluding the emphasis placed, the main clause seems to mean "this nation ultimately relies upon the faith and determination of the American people." So, I guess this is a cleft sentence, although I am quite unsure whether "it is...upon which..." can ever be used in producing a cleft sentence.
For a non-native speaker, it is very challenging to fully comprehend such a sophisticated and complicated sentence.
Thank you for your invaluable knowledge.