America represents a unique culture and land shaped by historical and political traditions, social and cultural values of different nations. Culture is one of the main ways people express their identity and ethnicity. To some extent, culture reflects a person’s identity and helps him/her to preserve unique national values and rituals. The word ‘America’ means much more than a state or continent but unique traditions and way of life spread across the world. It means unique way of thinking and attitude towards the world, personal relations and life chances.
For American culture, the most prevalent items are ideas of freedom, personal worth and independence. America means a land of freedom and liberty, equal rights and opportunities. Ideas of freedom and liberty define America and its style of life influenced by historical events and struggle for independence. Long struggle against oppression has created some stereotypic impressions of American as liberals and fighters. The stereotype of the American is used in a variety of ways in reference to a number of social traditions and values. It embodies all aspects of human activities reflecting historical and social development of the nation. Americans develop the specific system of standards or rules a person attributes to the membership of the group as a result of her experience. A person's cultural preferences may contain several cultures which he/she attributes to different sets of other persons (Huntington, 2004).
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Less common are items of century old traditions and values of previous generations. America means the land of immigrants who come to America looking for better life and unique destiny. The Old World background made in new social surroundings created the role of environmental factors, and finally, the relation between institutional forms (social classes and authorities) and cultural values. The settlers created new social order in order to meet specific local conditions. The new comers were involved in public policy and social life, religious and political affairs. Probably, since that time, the national idea of the land and equality has been central in American culture. The new comers brought to America a common set of values affected church, state, and social order. It was amazing how much they changed in the American land bringing new religious traditions and values. The land symbolized unity of the nation and its traditions, resistance to foreign influences and interactions.(Huntington, 2004).
As for me, the moral values became a set of moral norms that rule society from ancient times. It determined such cultural values as hard work and individualism, friendliness and openness typical for most Americans. Americans operate under a double influence of Native American religion and the Puritans, between past and present, "us against the other". Using these facts, it is possible to say that the strength of the modern American character can be explained by strong influence of destiny and religious beliefs. Americans are able to accommodate themselves to any hostile conditions supported by strong faith and personal traits. America is interpreted as a land of innovation and technological discoveries which influence life style and values of people. Modern American lifestyle is influenced by industrialization and innovations coming from other countries. Thus, Americans value their old traditions and rituals adapting them to new social environment. In short, the American self, characterized by its diffuse nature or individual orientation, represents a self who lost its space to be free of the omnipresence of the social network in American society in return for being taken care of by its group. For me, the influence of culture is subconscious. The strong sense of belonging assures one materially a comfortable life at the individual level and stability and safety at the social level, making America relatively free of violent crimes. Americans manage to keep a sense of alienation to a minimum as it industrialized and urbanized by maintaining its virtually "village" mentality and social network. However, the value the American gain by observing the traditional code of conducts is material and psychological welfare, which is provided to members of American society more or less equally and fairly at the individual level, and public safety, which is provided at the collective level in America today.
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