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United States of America's name derives from the states that united together
in the Americas to fight British rule in the 1770s. This name first appears at this
time and was mentioned in the United States' Declaration of Independence of
Although in many countries the current culture and way of life is the result of
a long history and small alterations to the people, the United States'
culture is based on a couple major events that forever altered the people, the culture,
and the way of life.
Despite the aboriginal people's historic way of life, which revolved around
their local crops, animals, and landscape, these people and their culture were all
but destroyed with the arrival of the Europeans in the
1400s and 1500s. The arrival of the Europeans destroyed the local people through
disease and later through war and sheer numbers. These aboriginal people believed
the land could not be owned, but rather that people only used it temporarily. The
European immigrants believed land was to be owned and conquered as they pushed westward,
destroying the way of life of the aboriginals. Today these original inhabitants
maintain some elements of their historic culture, but this is severely limited geographically.
The red, white, and blue
of the American flag are taken from the Union Jack flag of the United Kingdom, but
today are said to represent loyalty, devotion, truth, justice, and friendship (blue),
courage, zeal, and fervency (red), and purity and rectitude of conduct (white).
The thirteen strips represent the thirteen original colonies and each star represents
a state, so today there are fifty stars on the flag.
Name: United States of America
Independence: July 4, 1776
Capital: Washington D.C.
Currency: U.S. Dollar
Population: 316,668,567 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: European, African, & others
Language: English, Spanish, & Others
Religion: Christian & others
As the Europeans arrived so too did their attitude, culture,
and way of life as settlement dominated and a desire to gain financial power and
religious or political freedom became the ideals that the country was soon based
on. Perhaps the only country in the world based on an idea, not an ethnicity, the
United States soon recognized the widening differences between
themselves and the United Kingdom, leading to
a war of independence in the late 1700s.
Since independence the United States has continued to grow
and thrive on the idea of freedom as opposed to any unified ethnicity, language,
or religion. The definition of being an American is defined with a passport, nothing
else and this has led to great immigration and diversity. While most of this immigration
was voluntary, much was also forced as slavery brought in Africans,
whose descendants today form a large group of Americans.
Despite the earlier rift from the United Kingdom,
through the 1800s until today relations between the two countries have improved
and form perhaps the United States' greatest ally. This
has led to great technologic changes as the Industrial Revolution quickly arrived
to the United States from Britain and trans-Atlantic trade
became an important and integral aspect of the country's economic markets.
With the economic improvements, came poor working conditions and a widening gap
between rich and poor. This altered the culture and way of life as people moved
from farms to cities for jobs as people began to turn to politics to seek changes
they desired, most notably in form of working conditions and workers' rights.
This shift in the way of life also spread disease and increased the rate of immigration
as laborers were needed in the 1800s. Varying people arrived to varying regions
as Germans tended to become farmers in the Midwest, the
Irish and Poles settled in
cities, and the Scandinavians pushed further
It wasn't until World War II when the United States was
truly unified as all people, no matter their ethnicity or language, became an "American"
as the country became a "melting pot." This war forced the people to unify
as one nation, not just as individuals seeking greater opportunities. This time
also proved the country's power as their weapon production, military prowess,
and scientific advances proved enough to win the war and become a world power.
What didn't change over time was the fact that the country was created on an
idea, one of opportunity. The immigrants arrived for many reasons, perhaps to escape
poverty or disease; perhaps just to try to gain a better life for themselves or
their children. Some came to escape religious or political suppression, others only
to make more money. Although this is what the country's culture is based on,
many people have forgotten this and take the opportunities present for granted.
Despite this change in attitude, the country is still based on capitalism and the
freedom to move up or down economically, socially, and politically. Due to this
past, respect is based on what you have accomplished, not what family you were born
into or your age. For some parents, the greatest dream is to see one's children
become more successful than they themselves are. Children rarely work for their
parents, but rather parents work to guarantee their children have more than they
did, whether than be more opportunities, or just more possessions.
American culture today is difficult to define as the only
unifying trait is nationality; diverse and unique, the people today have few unifying
links. Some people seem focused on entertainment and pop culture while others only
desire economic or social success; still for others', their priority is to feed
their families domestically or abroad. For some, their lives revolve around their
friends, while for others, family is all that matters. The differences between the
people are greatly dependent on where they are from, from a regional perspective,
a rural-urban perspective, and a perspective of upbringing and parenting.
The people in the United States today create and use technology
to an incredible degree as most adults own cars, computers, and large flat screen
TVs. The people quickly adopt new technologies, but still find time to socialize
at restaurants, bars, or a friend's house. Just as there is a widening economic
gap in the country, there is also a growing gap between those who create the technology,
start businesses, and grab opportunities and those who use these functions and others'
initiatives to ease their own lives, making them less motivated and less hard working.
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