All essays on American culture generally explore the customs and traditions of the USA, a country with distinct cultural background encompassing food preferences, language, religious affiliation and much more. American culture would be of great interest to everyone who is fond of learning new things about the world around. Current American culture essay will discuss the most peculiar aspects of the US customs and traditions. The following essay on American culture will deal with such elements of the US culture as language, religion, American style and food, music, sports and some others. The paper will start from providing general background to make it clear to the readers that American culture encompasses various aspects that will be briefly analyzed in the following essay about American culture. Let us discuss the key aspects distinguishing the culture of one of the world’s most developed countries – the United States of America.
- First, it is important to provide a few general facts about the USA. The United States is known as the third largest state in the world. Since the very beginning, the USA has been home to people with diverse cultural backgrounds. It is known that almost every region in the world has somehow contributed to the American culture, as this country has long been a country of immigrants, since the times when it was colonized by the British. Therefore, US culture has been changed and shaped by such nations as Native Americans, Africans, Asians and Latin Americans. It needs to be noted that America is widely considered a “melting pot” where diverse cultures have been interacting with one another and bringing something new to the local culture. Just like the nations across the world have greatly influenced the American culture, nowadays, the US nation influences the cultures of other countries all over the globe. Some immigrants coming to the USA keep some of their traditions and language, but integrate into the American lifestyle in a number of ways. At the same time, lots of immigrants bring something new to the American culture so that it continues to change and evolve.
- The next issue to be discussed is the language of the USA. According to the American government, the United States has no official language. This is because nearly every language of the world is widely used in the USA, including Spanish, French, German and Chinese. These are some of the most frequently used non-English languages that are widely spread across the USA. 90% of the whole population, however, understands and uses English language, and most of the official businesses are managed in English as well. It is estimated that over 300 languages are commonly used in the USA. These languages are divided into several groups according to their prevalence across the territory of the country.
- Another cultural aspect to be discussed is religion. The USA is known to practice almost every world religion, which is explained by the rights of US citizens to choose whatever religion they like. This phenomenon is known as religious freedom. Around 80% of the population identify themselves with Christian religion, while more than 10% of US citizens claim that they do not adhere to any religion at all. It was also found that the second most commonly identified religion in the USA is Judaism with nearly 2% of the population affiliating with it. At the same time, Islamic religion is not that common, with less than 1% of the population identifying themselves as Muslims.
- As for the American style of clothing, it varies according to the social status of a person, the region he/she lives in, his/her occupation and climatic conditions. Jeans, baseball caps, boots, sneakers and often cowboy headwear are among the pieces of clothing that are most commonly associated with the American style. Such American brands as Calvin Klein, Victoria Secret and Ralph Lauren have long become known all over the world being especially popular in their country of origin. American fashion is largely influenced by the style chosen by celebrities as well as the one reflected in mass media. The fashion sales in America reach nearly $200 billion a year.
- Another aspect to be analyzed is American food. This aspect raises concern among Europeans and other nations, because American food is known mostly for its unhealthy qualities and the use of genetic modification. Such American foods as hamburgers, potato chips, hot dogs and meat loaf are among the most widely known examples of traditional American meals. Apple pie is also very popular with Americans being an authentic part of the US cuisine. The types of foods vary depending on the region. Southern manner of cooking is commonly known as “American comfort food”. It includes such meals as fried chicken, corn bread and greens. The cuisine of Texas has been influenced by the Mexican and Spanish styles of cooking. It ranges from burritos to shredded cheese and chili. It is also common for Americans to eat various snacks such as dried meats and many more.
- As for such cultural aspect as sports, the United States is widely known as a sports-conscious state. Every region of the USA has thousands of fans who are fond of baseball, football, basketball and many other kinds of sports. It is common to consider that baseball is an inherently American kind of sports. It has been developed during the period of British colonization and has ever since become one of the most favorite pastimes for the American nation. It seems that the popularity of baseball in America will hardly ever wear out. In the USA, baseball is as popular as football in most European countries.
- Finally, there is a need to discuss the diversity of arts in the United States. The arts culture of the US extends far beyond television shows and movies. This can be proved by the fact that New York is known for being home to Broadway, and the whole American nation has a very distinct theatrical history. The folk art of Americans is revealed in the popularity of hand-made items. As for American music, it encompasses many styles and genres, including jazz, western and country music as well as rock ‘n’ roll and blues.
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For other uses, see American way (disambiguation).
The American way of life or simply the American way is the unique lifestyle of the people of the United States of America. It refers to a nationalist ethos that adheres to the principle of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. At the center of the American way is the American Dream that upward mobility is achievable by any American through hard work. This concept is intertwined with the concept of American exceptionalism, the belief in the unique culture of the nation.
Author William Herberg offers the following definition:
The American Way of life is individualistic, dynamic, and pragmatic. It affirms the supreme value and dignity of the individual; it stresses incessant activity on his part, for he is never to rest but is always to be striving to "get ahead"; it defines an ethic of self-reliance, merit, and character, and judges by achievement: "deeds, not creeds" are what count. The "American Way of Life" is humanitarian, "forward-looking", optimistic. Americans are easily the most generous and philanthropic people in the world, in terms of their ready and unstinting response to suffering anywhere on the globe. The American believes in progress, in self-improvement, and quite fanatically in education. But above all, the American is idealistic. Americans cannot go on making money or achieving worldly success simply on its own merits; such "materialistic" things must, in the American mind, be justified in "higher" terms, in terms of "service" or "stewardship" or "general welfare"... And because they are so idealistic, Americans tend to be moralistic; they are inclined to see all issues as plain and simple, black and white, issues of morality.
— William Herberg, Protestant, Catholic, Jew: an Essay in American religious sociology
Further information: individualism, dignity, humanitarianism, philanthropism, self-improvement, economic materialism, general welfare, moralism, and black and white thinking
One commentator notes, "The first half of Herberg's statement still holds true nearly half a century after he first formulated it", even though "Herberg's latter claims have been severely if not completely undermined... materialism no longer needs to be justified in high-sounding terms".
In the National Archives and Records Administration's 1999 Annual Report, National Archivist John W. Carlin writes, "We are different because our government and our way of life are not based on the divine right of kings, the hereditary privileges of elites, or the enforcement of deference to dictators. They are based on pieces of paper, the Charters of Freedom - the Declaration that asserted our independence, the Constitution that created our government, and the Bill of Rights that established our liberties."
- Herberg, William (1955). Protestant, Catholic, Jew: an Essay in American religious sociology. University of Chicago Press.