( Seventeen minute read)
It would be fair to say that the stereotype American is the result of a lot more outside influences than the Russia stereotype.
All stereotypes are formed by opposing views from the outside and depend on who or what, and when they are being viewed.
Ivan the Cossack on his hunkers kicking his feet upwards against a ten gallon hat, spur, with come fuck me boot, brandishing an M-16, with a cigar, as portraited in Good morning Vietnam.
Both have their foundations in cinema and history.
Unlike Russia, more of us have visited the USA or have met an American in our life time.
Like Russia its vastness has shaped its culture (the third largest country in the world 3,794,100 square miles)
Unlike Russia its climate did not have any significant effected no its culture.
Unlike Russia there was no ruling class or aristocrats, royal claims or decrees.
Unlike Russia skin colour played significant part.
Like Russia it had a Rasputin (Rasputin symbolised everything that was wrong with imperial government) in the shape of a Puritan immigrant, god servant lawyer, named John Winthrop and another bloke called Benjamin Franklin.
Out of the many ideas put forth by JW that would later go on to influence all aspects of the development of American culture and politics, saying that there is no one religion that should be mandated.
Benjamin Franklin was a Founding Father. He helped to draft the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
This is perhaps the most important and still one of the most resonant aspects of any country culture, because the ideologies from different cultures can be traced back to ancient religious texts.
American culture, as characterized by individualism and egalitarianism, is a testament to its foundation on Puritan values.
Unlike Russia, America did not have a resident Tsar. (Nicholas II was in post-Soviet Russia canonised, along with his family, by the Russian Orthodox Church even thought he was detached from the plight of the Russian, resulting in millions of Russian death.)
Like Russia its history produced many leaders, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington (with his vast Virginia plantation, Mount Vernon, was run by more than 300 enslaved people and Kennedy of Irish decedent’s.
There were about 60.5 million people lived in the Americas prior to European contact.
Following Christopher Columbus’ arrival in North America in 1492, violence and disease killed 90% of the indigenous population — nearly 55 million people.
The genocide of its indigenous peoples:
It is said that most of the Native Americans died from disease, introduced by European but germs can no longer serve as the basis for denying American genocides. Even if up to 90 percent of the reduction in Indian population was the result of disease, that leaves a sizable death toll caused by mistreatment and violence.
The new state’s first priorities was to rid itself of its leftover sizeable Native American population, and it did so with a vengeance.
An estimated 100,000 Native Americans died during the first two years of the Gold Rush alone. (California only apologized for the genocide it carried out against its indigenous residents in 2019.)
Rages to riches were foraged by the gun.
America’s fascination with guns stems from the circumstances surrounding the country’s early history, The Colt 45 or the Winchester (the guns that won the west.)—circumstances that set the United States apart.
No other country matches America in firearms ownership because no other country began with its citizens venturing out into a massive frontier in the same way. United States citizens own a total of 393,347,000 firearms.
Weapons played a major role in the wars of colonization and independence fought on the continent.
Consequently, the early history of the United States proved unique in comparison to other nations in the world. And this early history has directly influenced modern gun culture.
In the hands of pioneers and explorers and cowboys and outlaws its expansion was made possible by individual citizens with guns.
There are three countries in the world with the right to own firearms enshrined in their constitutions: the United States, Guatemala, and Mexico.
With the most citizen-owned firearms of any nation in the world and a higher-than-average rate of gun-related deaths, America stands out from every other developed Western nation. Stemming from the American frontier of the nineteenth century, guns have become enmeshed with America in a relationship that persists through the new frontiers of the twenty-first century.
That said the core values of American society are historically and fundamentally based on concepts of Protestantism, capitalism, and republicanism. The Puritans believed that religious practices not stated in the bible should be abolished or reformed. They value an individual’s direct relationship with God. They believed that man is inherently sinful.
Although religious diversity and irreligion dominate American society today, rather than religious purity, the influence of Puritan values remains salient.
In New England, they established the society they believed in and practiced what they believed was aligned with God’s will.
In doing so, and perhaps without fully noticing, the Puritans formed an entirely new culture—the American culture of individualism, egalitarianism, and hard work.
These three attitudes serve as the foundation not just of American culture as we know it today, but also of American society that values freedom and democracy.
Puritans were separatists from the beginning, following the teachings of Calvinism. (Calvinism emphasizes God’s supreme authority and trust and obedience in God.) Puritans paved the way for constantly questioning the political and moral foundations from the very beginning. Notions of freedom, liberty, and the role of religion within the state have long since been at the forefront of national debates. When the Puritans considered such ideas, their thoughts and writings on the matter were never quite forgotten, only shifted and modified to suit the taste of contemporary concerns.
Their descendants who severed ties with the colonial powers fought with guns and their descendants living in newly independent nations inherited those guns and acquired new ones, so the American culture was a melting pot of Puritans immigrants with Guns.
The historic decisions made by those first settlers have had a profound effect on the shaping of the American character.
By limiting the power of the government and the churches and eliminating a formal aristocracy, the early settlers created a climate of freedom where the emphasis was on the individual.
The reasons stem from the experiences of the 17th-century European settlers who migrated to the USA seeking freedom in a land of opportunity. For example the 6 million odd Irish escaping the Great Hunger.
However Germans are the largest immigrant group in the USA – and yet are the least visible. There is virtually no other population group that has shaped the past of the USA quite as strongly as German emigrants, with almost seven million of them making their way to the New World over the course of four centuries. Once in the USA, the Germans initially established themselves as a respected immigrant group, classic “hyphen-Americans” with dual identity. No other group lost its public visibility to quite the extent of the German-Americans during the course of the 20th century.
But what really set the foundations of its culture was Cotton.
The enslaved and their descendants transformed Americanism to which they’d been brought into some of the most successful colonies in the British Empire.
In August 1619, the first ship with “20 and odd” enslaved Africans arrived on the shores of Virginia.
The institution of slavery usually tried to deny its victims their native cultural identity. Torn out of their own cultural milieus, they were expected to abandon their heritage and to adopt at least part of their enslavers’ culture.
But it would be historically inaccurate to reduce the contributions of black people to the vast material wealth created by Slavery.
Slavery in the US has led to an elaborate mythology of half truths and missing information.
A common myth about American slavery is that when it ended, white supremacy or racism in America also ended.
The truth is that long after the Civil War, white Americans continue to carry the same set of white supremacist beliefs that governed their thoughts and actions during slavery and into the post-emancipation era.
Slavery changed its colour to white woman in the North till the Haymarket Riots in Chicago in May 1886. The Haymarket Riot resonated in American life for years.
At the end of the day, it explains America today’
Then came the Columbian Exposition, fair held in 1893 in Chicago, Illinois, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus ’s voyage to America. Arguably the most significant world’s fair in U.S. history and one of the most important in the history of world expositions.
Slavery’s legacy is white supremacy.
The ideology, which rationalized bondage for 250 years, has justified the discriminatory treatment of African Americans for the 150 years since the American Civil War war of ended. The belief that black people are less than white people has made segregated schools acceptable, mass incarceration possible, and police violence permissible. The institution’s influence on American racism and its continued impact on African Americans is still felt today.
Generations later, there are still many people who believe the Civil War was about states’ rights and that slaves who had good masters were treated well. It has evolved into its modern form: mass incarceration. The United States has the highest prison population in the world. More than 2.2 million Americans are incarcerated; 4.5 million are on probation or parole.
Black Americans have also been, and continue to be, foundational to the idea of American freedom.
More than 40 million black people live in the United States, making up around 13% of the nation’s population.
The United States has 5 percent of the world population, yet approximately 25 percent of its prisoners more than 60 percent of the people in prison are people of colour.
The success, wealth and notoriety of African Americans like Oprah, Obama, Beyoncé and Michael Jordan masks the comparatively negative physical, psychological, and social health conditions of African Americans in general.
The average wealth of a white family is almost seven times more than a black family in the US.
The contemporary notions of collective responsibility for the past era of slavery and white privilege from the imposition racial inequality, however, is largely unacknowledged or resisted by most White Americans.
Black people never received reparations.
One interesting effect of the dominance of American culture in films and other media is that many people who have never been to the country nonetheless feel they have a good idea of what it is like to live there.
The stereotypes that American film and TV sell to their domestic public become the stuff of international opinion.
Gone with the Wind“ ‘Do the Right Thing’ (1989) Moonlight’ (2016) Dead Presidents’ (1995) In the Heat of the Night (1967) ’13th’ (2016) The Birth Of A Nation (1915) Lincoln (2012) Manderlay (2005) 12 Years A Slave (2013) Uncle Toms Cabin.
American culture tends to be individualistic, self-reliant, competitive and goal-oriented.
Americans see much of life as a race for success.
The phrase “going from rags to riches” became a slogan for the “American Dream.”
The “American dream.” It is so embedded in American culture that blame for the inability to improve one’s station in life is often attributed to the individual. Free from excessive political, religious, and social controls, they have a better chance for personal success. There was no support system to accommodate the new arrivals. As such, they had no choice but to work incredibly hard and to make a success of themselves and their situations. Throughout the history of the nation, certain groups of citizens have needed to wage campaigns to secure these rights.
The painting opposite by John Gast – “American Progress,” (1872) captures America.
The AK-47 and the Kalashnikov are responsible for deaths – numbering up into the millions than any stereotypes.
Those who are born into rich families have more opportunities than those who are born into poorer families.
American values such as equality of opportunity and self-reliance are ideals that may not necessarily describe the reality of American life. Race and gender are however still be factors affecting success.
The United States is more diverse and has more people than ever before but the stereotype of the clueless and uncultured American runs deep – and not just abroad. It is part of American culture itself – a kind of “in your face” pride at being down-to-earth and everyday.
The earliest Americans had singularly Siberian origins, crossing into the continent via the Bering land bridge.
The different cultures that we see around the world are primarily a response to the environments in which people live.
This examples of American, and Russian culture in the previous post demonstrate clear and unclear the connections between the culture and the environments in which these cultures are rooted.
We live in a world of excruciating inner yearning for life and self-expression.
If in some distant future, reason conquers our habit of self – destructive heroics and truth is recognized, the troubles of mankind would be over. But while we huddle within the defended fortress of character our desire for the best is the cause of the worst by projecting it onto the enemy.
The best we might hope for society at large is that the mass unconscious individual’s might develop a moral equivalent to war.
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