Free «American Culture and American Identity» Essay Sample


The United States of America consists of diverse cultures influenced by Western, Asian, Native American, African and Latin American tradition. The following paper analyzes American culture and identity.

Initially, Paleo-Indians visited America and started to practice their cultural ceremonies and rituals, such as music, gestures, dialect, cuisines and social habits. Soon, European and Asian communities immigrated to America and created multicultural identity. Multiculturalism is defined by the principle that several cultures can coexist peacefully and equitably in one country. The United States of America is one of the best examples of multiculturalism. It consists of people from different ethnic backgrounds including Asian, American Indian, White American, African American and Native Hawaiian. Multiculturalism has plenty of benefits. The fusion of several cultures promotes new technologies and cultural development. It enhances national unity enhancing cultural understanding and eliminating racism. Also, it boosts creativity. For instance, if a country does not appreciate multiculturalism, then the citizens would be alike with regard to different beliefs and actions, whereas multiculturalism inspires people to think differently. Thus, it helps to develop American culture at a distinct level (Belfield).

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Culture is defined by the human behavior pattern.  Currently, American culture is considered as the most diverse and renowned one in the world. American scholars and historians used the term culture to define customs, beliefs, history, art, religion, literature, music and knowledge of a community. The United States of America had a large-scale migration from various ethnic groups and communities in past decades. Initially, the European influence came from British, Scottish, Irish and Welsh culture. Great Britain made colonial ties with America during the 16th century. As a result, the English language became popular in America, and the legal system and official works started to  use it. In addition, the European influence came from Italy, France and Germany. European culture helped America to develop its official system and law enforcement departments. For example, Jeffersonian democracy guided American states to establish government rules, national holidays, military traditions, innovative arts and various American sports. Thomas Jefferson played a significant role in improving American culture by developing the nation’s infrastructure and cultural beliefs. Initially, the most obvious cultural changes were noticed in the families and   the communities of American states. For example, people from different ethnic backgrounds started to celebrate American holidays and became a part of national events and sports. Such cultural integration helped the country to create a diverse culture in a short time (Zimmermann).

Furthermore, American diverse subcultures help the country to build its cultural heritage. For example, in the early 16th century, thousands of African people were brought to America as slave labor. Later, they got independence from slavery and shared their old cultures and traditions with each other creating a new subculture. The new American culture includes both liberal and conservative elements. Also, it has a unique political structure and religious competitiveness. Currently, Americans use scientific, moral and materialist elements to improve their culture. Experts believe that it has different expressions due to its demographic diversity and geographical location. Studies show that the United States of America has distinct cultural universality. It consists of common rules of the society relating to the sphere of raising children, the concept of privacy in a family and having gender division of work. Such rules and regulations are divergent in America. For example, American culture and law provides independence and equal rights for both men and women. The U.S. citizens have equal political and social rights. American culture and political rules are guided by diverse demographic characteristics. Hence, people from different religious backgrounds, ethnic groups and occupations may have equal social, cultural and political rights (Belfield).

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Cultural Elements and Identity

American culture has different important elements that shaped a multicultural independent society.  These elements created a unique identity of the nation. It includes language, literature, religion, arts, music and dance. In past centuries, American people used different ethnic languages to share their cultural activities. However, currently, about 82 percent of American people use English language and about 10 percent use Spanish to communicate with each other. The majority of Americans speak English. Hence, it becomes easy for diverse communities to practice and understand foreign cultures and rituals. In addition, Americans have fundamental rights to choose a specific religion or to follow foreign cultural rituals. Thus, a large number of foreign festivals become popular in the USA. For example, the Chinese New Year, Brazilian Carnival and Indian festival of lights are the famous foreign festivals that Americans celebrate every year (Zimmermann).

Moreover, literature helped American citizens to develop their cultural backgrounds. For example, German immigrant, John Peter Zenger fought for the rights of American authors. His hard works helped international authors to discuss their cultural heritage and background. Some famous internationals authors wrote various books about their cultural practices. These books help people to understand a foreign culture and its rituals. International writers established a unique American literary landscape that attracted the whole world (Zimmermann).

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