Culture of the United States of America

Culture of the United States of America

The USA culture is one of the most popular cultures around the world. Although it has strong European influences, American culture has become a unique cultural and social characteristic that is both racially and ethnically diverse due to immigration.

Early influences are from Irish and English settlers. British culture spread through its colonial ties which included the legal system, English language, and more. Other European influences include Italian, French, and German.

The first influential domestic critique would be Notes on the State of Virginia by Thomas Jefferson. Other elements include the Jeffersonian Democracy. Other original domestic culture include certain national holidays, military tradition, sports, entertainment, and the arts which area strong source of national pride.

American culture includes both liberal and conservative elements. Other characteristics include scientific and military competitiveness, risk taking, freedom of expression, political structures, materialism, and moral elements. Ideological principles include democracy, individualism, faith in freedom, and egalitarianism. Another characteristic is the permission of private gun ownership which contrasts sharply with most developed nations.

Other than European influences, Native American and other sub-cultures such as Latin American and African American elements play a part. As a result, the USA is a 'salad bowl' of pluralism and diversity. However, cultural affiliations in the USA depend on political orientation, social class, and demographics such as ethnic group, occupation, and religion.

Social class plays a huge factor in the USA. Although most people consider themselves as being middle class, socio-economic class structure is an important cultural influence as it combines occupation, education, income, consumer behaviour, lifestyles, values, interaction.

During the 18th and 19th century, many cultural cues were from Europe. In fact, freedom of expression can be traced to John Peter Zenger who was a German immigrant. However, by the middle of the 19th century, a uniquely American voice in literature started to emerge with the likes of Edgar Allen Poe, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Henry David Thoreau, Ernest Hemmingway, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Other than this, fundamental aspects of national character and experience were captured by these writers such as The Adventures of Hucklebery Finn by Mark Twain, Moby Dick by Herman Melville, and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerlad.

In more modern day culture, popular culture is express through sports, media, and cultural icons. However, Americans have also adapted elements of ethnic cultures such as in food with sushi, hibachi, hamburgers, nachos, tacos, and pizza all ingrained in popular culture.

In fashion, casual clothing such as motorcycle jackets, cowboy hats and cowboy boots are an emblem of specific American culture. Blue jeans such as the German immigrant, Levi Strauss, is America's primary contribution to fashion. However, it also is the headquarters of labels such as Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Marc Ecko, and Abercrombie and Fitch.

There is a thriving theatre tradition with comedy – however regions vary in terms of what is popular. New York City's Broadway is the largest in the country, while Cleveland is the 2nd largest. Chicago also boasts a diverse theatre scene. Although these may be in major cities, even small rural communities put on extravagant productions.

TV shows, films, and American music are played all over the world. American films are generalized as being from Hollywood even though they may be from other parts of the country. Iconic films include Star Wars, Rocky, Jaws, The Terminator, and The Godfather. In terms of music, many styles were developed in the USA such as rap, hip-hop, hous, techno, dance, jazz, swing, blues, funk, country, pop, R&B, metal, rock and roll, and many more.

Sports are an integral part of the culture. Popular sports in America include ice hockey, basketball, grid iron, and baseball. The major leagues of the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, National Football League, and Major League Baseball are followed all around the world. Competitive sports are influential in high schools and university. Some of these are even more popular to watch compared to its professional counterparts.