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American way of life - Реферат

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"American way of life"
The American way of life is an expression that refers to the "lifestyle" of people living in the United States. It is an example of a behavioral modality, developed during the 20th century. It refers to an nationalist ethos that purports to adhere to principles of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." It has some connection to the concept of American exceptionalism.
The culture of the United States is a Western culture, and has been developing since long before the United States became a country. Its chief early influence was British culture, due to colonial ties with the British that spread the English language, legal system and other cultural inheritances. Other important influences came from other parts of Europe, especially countries from which large numbers immigrated such as Ireland, Germany, Poland, and Italy; the Native American peoples; Africa, especially the western part, from which came the ancestors of most African Americans; and young groups of immigrants. American culture also has shared influence on the cultures of its neighbors in the New World.
The United States has traditionally been known as a melting pot, but recent academic opinion is tending towards cultural diversity, pluralism and the image of a salad bowl rather than a melting pot.
Due to the extent of American culture there are many integrated but unique subcultures within the United States. The culutral affliations an individual in the United States may have commonly depend on social class, political orientation and a multitude of demogrpahic charateristics such as race, ethnicity, sex and sexual orientation. The strongest influences on American culture came from northern European cultures, most prominently from Germany, Ireland and England. [2] It is, however, paramount to remember that there are great differences within American culutre which should therefore under no circumstance be seen as one large homogenous subject.
The American state of California (especially the Hollywood region) is home to a thriving motion picture industry, with prominent film studios such as Warner Brothers, Paramount, and MGM creating dozens of multi-million dollar films every year that are enjoyed around the world. American actors are often among the world's most popular and easily identified celebrities. It's worth noting that Hollywood also tends to attract many immigrant actors and directors from around the world, many of whom, such as actor Russell Crowe or director Ang Lee become just as famous and successful as American-born stars.
The United States was a leading pioneer of T.V. as an entertainment medium, and the tradition remains strong to this day. Many American television sitcoms dramas game shows and reality shows remain very popular both in the US and abroad. Animation is a popular US entertainment medium as well, both on the large and small screen. The characters created by Walt Disney and Warner Brothers animation studios remain very popular. In music, the United States has pioneered many distinct genres, such as country and western, jazz, rock music, hip hop and gospel. African-American cultural influences play a particularly prominent role in many of these traditions.
More than 97 percent of all the land of the United States is classified as rural. But much of the rural land is uninhabited or only lightly inhabited. About a fourth of all Americans live in rural areas.
Farms provide the economic basis of the nation's rural areas. But only about 9 percent of the country's rural people work on farms. Many other rural people own or work in businesses related to agriculture, such as grain and feed stores and warehouses. Mining and related activities and light industries also employ many rural people. Still other rural Americans work as teachers, police officers, salesclerks, or in other occupations. Many farmers hold other jobs for part of the year to add to their incomes.
American farmers of today lead vastly different lives from those of their grandparents. Machines have eliminated much backbreaking farm work. Farmers use machines to help them plow, plant seeds, harvest crops, and deliver their products to market. Many farms have conveyor systems so that the farmer no longer has to shovel feed to farm animals. Milking machines make morning and evening chores easier. In the home, farm families may have all the comforts and conveniences of city people. In the 1900's, the automobile, telephone, radio, and television have brought U.S. farm families into close contact with the rest of the world.
The steady decline in the percentage of the country's rural population has slowed since 1970. Although many people continued to move away from rural areas, others chose to move into rural towns and farm communities. Many of the newcomers wanted to escape the overcrowding, pollution, crime, and other problems that are part of life in urban areas and to take advantage of benefits of country living. Rural areas have lower crime rates and less pollution than urban areas. They are also far less noisy and crowded.
Because of their small populations, rural communities collect less tax revenues than urban communities do, and they generally cannot provide the variety of services that urban areas can. For example, rural communities have cultural and recreational facilities that are more limited than those available in urban areas. For many rural Americans, social life centers around family gath-erings, church and school activities, special interest clubs, and such events as state and county fairs.
Rural areas generally have less diversified economies than urban areas. Because there are fewer and a smaller variety of jobs to choose from, rural communities may experience more widespread economic hardships than urban communities. A single economic downturn-a drop in farm prices, for example, or the closing of a mine-can cause economic hardship for an entire rural area.
The nation's rural areas, like its urban areas, have wealthy, middle class, and poor people. For the most part, however, the gaps between economic classes are not as large in rural areas as in urban areas. Most rural Americans live in single-family houses. The majority of the houses are comfortable and in good condition. But some people, including many who live in parts of Appalachia-in the eastern United States-and other pockets of rural poverty, have run-down houses and enjoy few luxuries.
Religion plays an important role in the lives of millions of Americans. The country's churches provide people with moral guidance and places for worship. Many churches also serve as centers for social gatherings, such as a church picnic, above.
Religion. About 60 per cent of all the American people are members of an organized religious group. Among them, about 52 per cent are Protestants, 38 per cent RomanCatholics, 4 per cent jews, 3 per cent Mormons, and 3 per cent are members of Eastern Orthodox Churches. Relatively small numbers of Americans belong to other faiths, such as Islam and Buddhism. Roman Catholics make up the largest single religious denomination in the United States. About 56 million Americans are Roman Catholics. The country's largest Protestant groups are, in order of size, Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Lutherans, and Presbyterians.
Religion has played an important role in the history of the United States. Many people came to the American Colonies to escape religious persecution in other lands. The early colonists