Analysis of American culture

American culture

For a country as vast as the United States of America (USA), it is only natural that it is the melting pot of cultures, ethnicities and heritages. The history of America goes back much further than Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World in 1492. When Columbus reached the Bahamas, the island and the continent of America was already inhabited. Columbus called the native Americans as 'Indians'. Since then, America has undergone numerous changes and political upheavals which have helped create the United States of America (USA) of today. These political and historical upheavals have also helped create the modern American way of life and subsequently, its unique culture. 

Essential features of American culture

The plurality of American culture

The American culture is not just a single one, but a combination of cultures of people who have come and settled in the continent since the arrival of the Pilgrim Fathers. The roots of the 'white' Americans can be traced back to their European forefathers. They came and settled in the continent in search of better lives. Thus, their culture is a combination of various European cultures that have been handed down from one generation to the next.

Similarly, the 'black' Americans trace their roots back to Africa from where their forefathers were brought to America to work as slaves in cotton and sugarcane fields. Over the ages, many more races have immigrated to America and made it their home. This has resulted in America developing a unique culture which is derivative of many cultures, but at the same time, it is very much their own.

The American faith in freedom and independence

The Americans have played a crucial role in developing the idea of political liberty. Great American politicians like Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were involved in developing what is now perceived as democracy. With the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the foundation of a democratic United States of America was laid. The Declaration of Independence shows that Americans put a great emphasis on political freedom, individual opinions and faith. Political parties in the USA believe in letting people create their ideas about their Presidential candidates. People have complete access to different types of information, which subsequently ensures that their election process is transparent and free of any prejudice. 

As per the Declaration of Independence, every human being has been created as equal, and hence, there cannot be a master and slave relationship between human beings. This notion forms the cornerstone of American culture. American people are independent. Religious and racial prejudices do not affect Americans. Such discriminations if practised by anyone, then it is frowned upon by the American polity. There are laws in place to ensure that the grievances of a person victimized by such prejudices are redressed speedily. Thus, an essential part of the American culture is freedom, independence of thought and equality.

Time is money

This is a proverb coined by Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of America. As per the saying, everyone must work hard and make the maximum use of their time. This proverb is used often by Americans, which indicates that they strongly value time. According to Americans, time means an opportunity to do something new. Idleness is disliked by Americans, and they believe that hard work always produces the desired results. This is a notion that most Americans live by. American children are taught the importance of hard work by both teachers and parents.

They are also trained to take responsibilities for their actions from a very early age. This makes Americans responsible individuals who believe that there is no substitute for hard work. In America, no job is considered to be less or inferior. Labour is respected, and American children are taught to respect workers. Americans do not believe in wasting time, which is why some of the greatest innovators, scientists, literary personnel, politicians and social thinkers come from this continent.

Respecting other cultures and races

American children are taught to respect people belonging to different cultures and races. The primary reason for this is that America itself has been formed because people from various cultures, races and creeds came and settled in the country since the fifteenth century. Although they became part of the mainstream American culture yet, there remain subtle differences. American children are taught to respect these differences and individualities.

Moreover, America has seen people immigrating into the country over the ages. This immigration has resulted in America turning into a place where people of different religions and races have learnt to live harmoniously with one another. People belonging to nearly all religions are found in America. Since almost all religions are practised in Americans are tolerant individuals, and they have been taught to respect all beliefs from an early age.

Informality is a part of American culture

American people are also quite informal and friendly. People who visit America are often surprised by how they are greeted by store clerks, bank cashiers and waiters. Waiters of American restaurants often welcome guests by giving them their first names. This creates an informal atmosphere. This informality makes guests comfortable. This relaxed approach towards people is a part of the American culture. Youngsters in America are friendly and are quite interested in learning about other cultures. Foreign exchange students who have returned after spending some time in an American university often mention the informality and vivacious nature of American youth made them feel comfortable even in a foreign country. Americans are also very energetic and enthusiastic. This is often seen in the free and happy manner in which they greet one another.  

Thus, American culture is indeed a combination of various other cultures. Everyone settling down in America brings with him or her some of her heritage which slowly percolates into the society and becomes a part of the American culture. This, tooAmerican culture, then becomes a part of the American culture.

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Mar 13, 2020

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