American culture

Topics: United States, Culture, Alexis de Tocqueville Pages: 2 (530 words) Published: December 18, 2013
American culture is rich, complex, and unique. It emerged from the short and rapid European conquest of an enormous landmass sparsely settled by diverse indigenous peoples. Although European cultural patterns predominated, especially in language, the arts, and political institutions, peoples from Africa, Asia, and North America also contributed to American culture. All of these groups influenced popular tastes in music, dress, entertainment, and cuisine. As a result, American culture possesses an unusual mixture of patterns and forms forged from among its diverse peoples. The many melodies of American culture have not always been harmonious, but its complexity has created a society that struggles to achieve tolerance and produces a uniquely casual personal style that identifies Americans everywhere. The country is strongly committed to democracy, in which views of the majority prevail, and strives for equality in law and institutions. Characteristics such as democracy and equality flourished in the American environment long before taking firm root in European societies, where the ideals originated. As early as the 1780s, Michel Guillaume Jean de Crиvecoeur, a French writer living in Pennsylvania who wrote under the pseudonym J. Hector St. John, was impressed by the democratic nature of early American society. It was not until the 19th century that these tendencies in America were most fully expressed. When French political writer Alexis de Tocqueville, an acute social observer, traveled through the United States in the 1830s, he provided an unusually penetrating portrait of the nature of democracy in America and its cultural consequences. He commented that in all areas of culture—family life, law, arts, philosophy, and dress—Americans were inclined to emphasize the ordinary and easily accessible, rather than the unique and complex. His insight is as relevant today as it was when de Tocqueville visited the United States. As a result, American culture is more...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • A description of the immigrants struggle to adjust to the American culture in the 19th century. Essay
  • What Is American? Essay
  • American Values Research Paper
  • American Dream in Great Gatsby Essay
  • American Culture Essay
  • Latin American Working Women Essay
  • The American Dream Essay
  • Essay on Willy Loman : the Tragedy of the American Dream

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free