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U.S.A.The 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 1776.

Introduction:

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. Of course, its relatively short history also contributes as do the American Indians, who have distinct cultures from the past and today.

Despite the American Indians' historic way of life, which revolved around their local crops, animals, and landscape, these people and their culture were nearly 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 westward expansion. These native 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 culture, mentality, and way of life of these people. Today these original inhabitants maintain some elements of their historic culture, but this is severely limited geographically. Even among these people the culture has changed significantly over time, particularly due to changes in technology.

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 their European forefathers, 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, little 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 percentage 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 west. Later immigrants from Asia settled the west coast, but there was no rule to immigration and people of all ethnicities can be found in every corner of the country today.

It wasn't until World War II when the United States was truly unified as one people, no matter their ethnicity or language. During this time each individual 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. It also symbolized the breakup of ethnic neighborhoods (to a degree) as foreign languages were abandoned in favor of learning English and marrying a person with a different ethnic background became more common.

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.

American culture today is difficult to define as the only unifying trait is nationality; diverse and unique, the people today have few unifying links other than a passport. Some people seem obsessed with 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.

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Map of the U.S.A.

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Information for the U.S.A. was last updated: April, 2013 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks