TEACHER’S TRAINING COLLEGE
OF NABEREZHNYE CHELNY
LOOKING FOR CULTURAL ROOTS OF AMERICANS.
WRITTEN BY A STUDENT
OF GROUP #002
LOOKING FOR CULTURAL ROOTS.
All societies must provide for the basic human needs of their members.
These include food, clothing, shelter, family organization, social
organization, government, security, belief system or religion, and
education. How a society provides for these needs depends on the
geography (climate), resources, and history of the society. Different
cultural values develop in different societies because of the variations
in these factors and how the people view them.
In order to understand why people behave as they do, it is necessary to
look at their geographical location and the historical events that have
shaped them as a group. Because the history of the USA is rather short
(relatively to most of the world), some of these influences are fairly
easy to understand.
Some visitors to the USA remain permanently baffled [about America and
Americans]. With despair and accuracy they point out endless paradoxes
in the typical American. Friendly on the surface, but hard to know
intimately. Hospitable and generous socially, but hard-driving and
competitive professionally. Self-satisfied, at times, to the point of
smugness but self-critical, at other times, to the point of masochism.
And so on.
They find the regional diversity of Americans confusing, too. What on
earth, they ask, can a Maine lobsterman have in common with a Dallas
banker, a West Virginia coal miner, a Hollywood producer, a Montana
sheep-herder, or a black school-teacher on a South Carolina sea-island?
And they give themselves a bleak and hopeless answer; not much.
But that answer is almost certainly wrong; these people share the
mysterious and powerful intangible called nationality. They are all
Americans and, however faint, a common denominator is there, an almost
invisible strand woven out of common history, a common heritage and,
underneath the surface differences, a common way of looking at things.
People never really escape from their origins. So, to understand an
American you should focus for a moment not on the modern American, but
on his ancestor, the 17th century settler who, having survived the grim
Atlantic crossing, found himself with his back to the sea facing a vast
and hostile wilderness that had to be tamed and conquered if he was to
survive. conquer it he and his descendants did, in a struggle so epic
that its memory lingers on in countless Western movies. Many of the
basic attitudes and characteristics formed in that struggle persist in
Americans today. You may find some admirable, and others less so. The
point is, they are.
Everywhere he looked, that early American was surrounded by problems. To
this day, by tradition, by training – almost by instinct– Americans are
problem solvers and solution seekers. In some parts of the world,
uncomfortable or unpleasant circumstances are endured because they have
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