USA – education
Education in the United States is largely decentralized and developed on the basis of local initiatives. The cultural and linguistic diversity of the great nation has therefore, in relation to national unity, become an increasingly central theme for education.
The idea of equality in particular has played an important role. Although most European countries in the 1800’s. had highly selective school systems, especially at the secondary level, and although many of the American schoolchildren of the century were inspired by this, in the United States it has never been so.
In the 1900’s. Educational thinking in the United States, in turn, has strongly influenced the educational development of the rest of the world. As examples, e.g. mention the reaction in the 1960’s to the Sputnik shock: the science-centered curriculum thinking that was to reduce the distance between science and school subjects, as well as the special preschool programs, Head Start, which included pedagogical support for preschool children.
The report A Nation at Risk from 1983, which contained a scathing critique of education in the USA, was followed by a quality debate that still characterizes pedagogical thinking all over the world, including Denmark.
The Federal Ministry of Education has no direct powers in the field of education. However, it indirectly affects the development, by supporting pedagogical research through the identification of special focus areas, eg access to education for ethnic minorities.
Each state has the main responsibility for education within its own territory. However, most of this responsibility is often delegated to the more than 15,000 local school districts (1999), which therefore show large differences. approximately 2/3 of the cost of public schools covered by local taxes, while the states pay 20 to 30%, and the federal government under 10%.
The courts also have an important function in the field of education, as several principled rulings on, for example, blacks’ access to education have triggered general reforms in the field of education.
Schooling is public and free in all states with 9-12 years of compulsory education, in most states from the age of six. The preschool, which in its final year is followed by approximately 92%, is organized as a nursery school, prekindergarten or kindergarten (1996). Then follows elementary school for 6-11 year olds. However, an increasing number of schools also have a middle school for 10-13-year-olds. Elementary school is followed by the six-year high school, which can be divided into a three-year junior high school and a similarly three-year senior high school, and which is completed by approximately 85%. approximately 11% of all high school students go to private institutions.
Just under half of the students who complete high school go on to higher education, most often college. The more than 3,000 (1999) higher education institutions in the United States constitute a motley crowd, from small local institutions to internationally highly esteemed private universities such as Harvard, Stanford and MIT. At this level, approximately 22% of all students in private institutions (1998).
OFFICIAL NAME: United States of America
CAPITAL CITY: Washington, DC
POPULATION: 308,700,000 (Source: COUNTRYaah)
AREA: 9,670,000 km²
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): English, Spanish and other immigrant languages, approximately 150 Native American languages, many of which are disappearing
RELIGION: Protestants 58%, Catholics 21%, other Christians 6%, Jews 2%, Muslims 2%, others el. no 11%
COIN: US dollars
CURRENCY CODE: USD
ENGLISH NAME: United States of America
POPULATION COMPOSITION: white 84% (of which 11% Hispanics), black 12%, Asians and Pacific 3%, Indians and Inuit 1%
GDP PER residents: $ 37574 (2007)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 75 years, women 80 years (2007)
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, HDI: 0.948
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, POSITION: 8
INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: .us – however, very rarely used as the special domains such as.com and.org are used
USA, United States of America, federal state in North America, by virtue of its political, military and economic leadership has been the most powerful and influential nation after the second world war.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: Find two-letter abbreviation for each independent country and territory, such as US which stands for United States.
While the current borders and overseas possessions have largely been fixed since 1900, there has been an explosive expansion of the country’s spheres of interest through military bases, alliances and co-operation agreements, while “the American way of life” has spread to almost every corner of world cf. Americanization.
The country’s motto, “In God We Trust”, is known from the 1860’s and became official in 1956.
The country’s economic strength is based on large raw material deposits, fertile soils and a highly innovative industry, which in certain key sectors is based on close cooperation between the federal government, research centers and private forms. The size of the population and the complex nature of it in several respects are the result of an immigration that is unparalleled in world history. With the personal freedoms enshrined in the Constitution, the United States has thereby developed into a multicultural and pluralistic society. The less flattering aspects of society include continued economic and social inequality, resulting in widespread crime and poverty, especially among ethnic minorities in the big cities. Regardless of class distinction and descent, Americans are characterized by a belief in personal freedom and success and a strong patriotism associated with the presidency and national symbols such as the bald eagle, the flag and the Statue of Liberty.
United States language
The dominant language is American-English, which approximately 88% have as mother tongue (2000). Over half of the rest are Spanish-speaking, making Spanish the second largest language in the United States. approximately 3/4 of the Hispanic, arising notably from Mexico, Puerto Rico and Cuba, are concentrated in the states of California, Texas, New York and Florida.
In addition, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Tagalog, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Arabic, Polish, Greek, and Portuguese. These languages, which represent larger immigrant groups, have to varying degrees developed special variants, cf. terms such as Louisiana Creole, which is a French-based Creole language, and Pennsylvania Sylvian. The African languages that the slaves brought with them have left their mark on a special variant of English, Black English.
The Native American languages survive to varying degrees; see North American languages. Navajo, the largest language, has flourished and is spoken by an estimated 150,000 people in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. But even here, only 17% of children can speak the language when they start school. In the state of Alaska, approximately 8% Inuit language.
English, despite its dominant status and especially the persistent efforts of Republican politicians, is not an official language at the national level, but only in 27 states (2006); see language policy. The fact that a declining proportion of the population speaks English as a mother tongue combined with the growing visibility of minority languages in the media in the 1990’s has raised concerns among many Anglo-Americans, and a proposal in Oakland, California, that black students learn standard English by comparison with ebonics, i.e. Black English, has created heated debate throughout the United States.
Religion in the United States
Polls show that over 90% of the American population believe in God, but there seems to be little agreement on what is believed about God. The supply in the spiritual market is great; there are (1999) more than 1500 different denominations, religious communities, sects or cults. approximately In 1990, 60% of the adult population described themselves as Protestants, 26% as Catholics, 2% as Jews, just over 5% belonged to other religions, while just over 7% were non-religious.
Churches occupy a more central and visible place in the social life of the population than is the case in most European countries. approximately 40% of the population participates in worship services every week, and the churches are committed to solving diverse social, cultural and educational tasks. Likewise, religious values play a more prominent role in political life than in most other Western countries.
Ecclesiastically and theologically, North America has been marked by the effects of the European Reformation, but the motive of emigration and freedom has given the ecclesiastical tradition a very special character. In the first half of the 1600’s, the American colonies were populated by freedom-seeking reformers, Lutherans, Anglicans, and Catholics, who, however, in several places established a form of state church. Later in the 1600’s. and in the 1700’s. America, especially Pennsylvania, became a haven for religiously persecuted groups from Europe such as Quakers, Mennonites, and Amish.
Spiritual revivals are another central part of the church tradition. The first great revivals, which swept across the country in the 1700’s, created new forms of church life and mission, and gradually drew American church life toward a more individualistic and experimental form of Christianity and away from the European heritage. In line with this, the American Constitution (The First Amendment of the Constitution, 1791) establishes religious freedom and the separation of church and state.
New spiritual revivals went hand in hand with the colonization of the West in the first half of the 1800’s. In the settler community, new forms of mission emerged, e.g. the tradition of camp meetings, large outdoor meetings, which gathered in hundreds of listeners; they were especially used by Baptists and Methodists, whose majority of members has since been preserved. Two of the “native” American denominations, the Mormon Church and the Disciples of Christ, have their origins in the spiritual growth of the early 1800’s.
Industrialization and the growth of big cities in the decades after the Civil War also affected the churches. The Social Gospel Movement influenced many pastors and church people with its moral-Christian critique of the social costs of development. In the 1920’s, two distinctive theological attitudes became visible, which persisted for the rest of the century: Liberal theology came to dominate the American establishment in the following decades. Conservative fundamentalism lost ground in the short term but retained its appeal in the longer term.
In the South, the Baptist denominations in particular in the 1950’s and 1960’s helped to create the organizational framework for the black Americans’ struggle for civil rights.
After the stability of the 1950’s followed the social and cultural revolt of the 1960’s, which caused liberal dominance to falter. Many young people turned their backs on both traditional politics and the established churches. The conservative, Protestant tradition became visible again in the 1960’s, when a new charismatic movement gained traction across denominations, and conservative churches with a fixed biblical view met new responsiveness. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, a number of television and radio preachers were successful in spreading ecclesiastically and politically conservative messages at the same time.
The period 1965-2000 is also characterized by new religious activity outside the established churches. New non-Christian or quasi-Christian societies, occultism and the New Age as well as religions such as Islam and Buddhism have gained ground with many in the post-war generation, which has been called a new generation of seekers.
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States was written in 1787 and entered into force in 1789. The first ten amendments (supplementary clauses) are called the Bill of Rights and state actual civil liberties such as freedom of religion, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. These ten amendments came into force in 1791. A further 17 amendments were adopted between 1795 and 1992; among them the abolition of slavery (13th Amendment 1865) and the introduction of income tax, the introduction of suffrage for all regardless of race (1870) as well as universal suffrage for all over 18 years (1971). The constitution can be changed by 2/3 majority in both Congress chambers or by a special convention and here subject to the approval of the state assemblies.
As a starting point, federal affairs are defined and delegated to the federal authorities, while the authority in all other matters belongs to the individual states. The Federal Government is responsible for foreign policy and shares responsibility for domestic policy with the individual states; it has over time increased its functions in the economic and social field in cooperation with the states, Cooperative Federalism.
Division of power
The Constitution divides power between the federal institutions that hold the legislative, executive, and judicial powers, with the United States Supreme Court in particular playing a central role in the U.S. political system. Each branch has its main area of authority, but the branches also have a certain amount of weight in each other’s areas, which entails competition, but also necessitates cooperation in order to govern effectively.
The legislature has the Congress, The Congress of The United States, which consists of two chambers. The Senate has 100 members, two from each state, elected for six years at a time with 1/3 election every two years. The House of Representatives has 435 members, who are elected in each state for two years at a time by direct election; number of members from each state depends on the population. Bills may be tabled in both chambers, with the exception of proposals concerning the revenue of the federal state; they must be presented in the House of Representatives first. In order to become binding, laws must be passed by both chambers in exactly the same form. However, the adoption may be blocked by the president’s vetoBut this can be overridden with a 2/3 majority in both chambers.
Executive power is exercised by the President, who, together with a Vice-President, is elected indirectly by an electoral assembly composed of delegates elected by majority vote in the individual states (see Electoral College). The election period is four years, and since 1951 re-election has only been possible once. The powers of the President are extensive. He is head of state as well as head of government, party leader, head of the armed forces and has extensive foreign policy powers, for example to negotiate and ratify treaties, the latter only with the approval of 2/3of Senate members. Unlike most European countries, political rule in the United States is not parliamentary: the president cannot be held politically accountable by Congress, but can only be ousted through a legal process that requires him to be guilty of abuse of office (see impeachment)..
The President, with the consent of the Senate, appoints the Heads, Secretaries, of the 14 Ministries, Departments. They constitute the government, The Cabinet, which, however, as such has no power of its own. In recent times, a number of new bodies in the President’s Secretariat, The Executive Office, have become very important, in particular The Office of Management and Budget, which prepares the President’s budget requests and controls expenditure, The Council of Economic Advisers, which advises on economic policy, and The National Security Council, which deals with defense and geostrategic issues.
The constitutions of the states
The 50 states of the United States all have independent constitutions. The elected governors have the executive, while the legislature has two chambers, except for Nebraska, which has a one-chamber assembly. The individual states have far-reaching tasks, e.g. promotion and regulation of trade, industry and agriculture, construction and maintenance of the road network, prisons, hospitals and facilities for the mentally ill, as well as construction and maintenance of institutions of higher education. Together with local units, counties, they are responsible for social welfare, employment services and other social services. All states have an independent judicial system.
United States – political parties
When the American Constitution was written in 1787, there were no organized political parties in the country, nor did the Constitutional Fathers consider them necessary for democracy. Yet a two-party system soon emerged.
Since 1856, the struggle for the presidency and seats in Congress has largely been a matter between the Democratic Party (founded in 1828) and the Republican Party (founded in 1854). These are, by their nature, broad coalitions, which often have to span regional, ethnic and religious contradictions.
Two factors have particularly benefited these two major parties: firstly, the electoral system of majority elections in single-member constituencies, where the winning party gets all the seats, and secondly, the fact that the possibility of running for president requires the candidate to run for the majority of 50 states of the United States. This necessitates a large organizational apparatus and a lot of money, which smaller parties rarely have.
Throughout the history of the United States, smaller parties such as the People’s Party, the Progressive Party, the American Party, the Reform Party and the Green Party have only exceptionally won representation in national elections, but they have indirectly had an influence because by taking votes from one of the major able to change the mutual power relationship.
The 2000 presidential election demonstrated that the US electoral system, in which voters do not vote directly for candidates but for voters, can still have concrete consequences for the outcome of the election: For the first time since 1888, it won by the candidates from the two major parties with the fewest votes from the electorate, but most votes in the Electoral College.
At the same time, the election demonstrated the crucial role that third parties can play in the United States when Democrats and Republicans are almost equal. Ralph Nader, the Green Party’s presidential candidate, received just 3% of the vote nationwide, but took enough votes from Democrat Al Gore of Florida, who became the decisive state, for the victory to go to Republican George W. Bush.
United States economy
The US underwent a rapid industrialization after the Civil War. A constant influx of labor as well as technological advances resulted in a sharp increase in production, and by 1900 the United States had become the world’s leading economy.
However, free competition had also resulted in a significant concentration of power among the large corporations; it threatened further development, which is why the government in the 1890’s implemented antitrust legislation to counter monopoly formation.
The public sector at the time played only a small role in the economy, but the federal government’s ability to regulate economic development expanded when the federal income tax was introduced under President William Howard Taft, who also in 1913 established the Federal Reserve System.
Economic prosperity abruptly ended with the stock market crash of 1929. This, together with trade protectionism, banking crisis and problems in agriculture (see Dust Bowl), led to a great depression, see the world crisis. 1929-33, the number of unemployed increased from 1.5 million. to almost 13 million. corresponding to almost 25% of the workforce.
With the New Deal, President Franklin D. Roosevelt assigned the public sector an active role in combating the crisis; there were launched public employment programs, provided subsidies to agriculture and provided social assistance to the unemployed. Furthermore, they sought to reduce the risk of stock market crashes and therefore imposed significant restrictions on the financial sector. This basic economic policy, based on John Maynard Keynes ‘ theory, prevailed in the United States until neoliberalism during Ronald Reagan’s presidency (1981-89).
The years after World War II were marked by a new boom, which was driven by private consumption and a real construction boom, subsidized by a deliberate low interest rate policy and favorable deduction options on bond loans. The role of the public sector in the economy has grown in recent years, mainly due to rising defense spending in the face of the Cold War.
The boom was only interrupted by the Korean War of 1953-54, when unemployment rose from 2.5% to 6% and inflation picked up, while there were minor recessions in 1957-58 and 1960-61.
The period 1961-69 was one long economic recovery. GDP doubled and unemployment fell from almost 7% to 3.5%. The significant involvement in the Vietnam War contributed to this, but the time was also marked by fiscal stimulus to the economy; an ongoing recovery was amplified by large tax cuts, just as high-tech production was favored through the tax system due to its security significance.
In the mid-1960’s, inflation began to pick up again. The development was not counteracted through tightening of economic policy, on the contrary, significant social reforms were implemented, including protection against unemployment and disease, which in combination with economic progress helped to reduce the country’s poverty problems significantly, but also contributed to a significant increase in the public sector indebtedness.
The 1970’s were generally characterized by low growth and relatively high inflation. This was due both to a much weaker development in productivity than in the 1960’s and rising oil prices in the wake of the oil crises. However, the period was also marked by greater uncertainty, as international monetary cooperation, which had existed since World War II with the dollar as the anchor currency, disintegrated at the beginning of the decade. The dollar was devalued, its gold redemption suspended, and the exchange rate floated against other currencies.
In 1979, the Federal Reserve began to pursue an anti-inflationary monetary policy with sharply rising interest rates, and the economy had to go through a severe downturn in 1980-82. The drug worked, and in 1986 inflation was reduced to below 2%, helped by falling oil prices and a marked strengthening of the dollar.
By 1981, Ronald Reagan had taken over the presidency, leading to a significant easing of fiscal policy. Rising military spending and tax cuts resulted in large deficits in public budgets, but also contributed to the 1983 economy regaining significant growth.
However, the financial sector, which in recent years underwent extensive liberalization, proved to be in a fragile state, and in 1985-90 the United States experienced a wave of bank failures. The dollar fell sharply in value, and in October 1987 the worst fall in the stock market since 1929 occurred.
After a new recession in 1990-91, the United States experienced until 2001 under President Bill Clinton (1993-2001) the longest economic recovery in the country’s history. The average growth in the 1990’s was 3.8% per year, and in the middle of 2000 unemployment had fallen to approximately 4% from almost 10% in 1992. The recovery has been largely driven by private consumption and investment in the private sector.
The development was supported not least in the late 1990’s by sharp rises in share prices, which created large fortunes in households with significant shareholdings. The boom also led to a clear improvement in public finances, which in 1998 showed profits for the first time in almost 30 years.
What is remarkable about the recovery, however, is that it has not led to inflationary pressures; this was not least due to the marked increases in productivity, especially in the IT sector. Furthermore, the economy benefited from a flexible labor market with high mobility across the Länder, just as there was great confidence in monetary policy, which was constantly at the forefront of inflationary developments.
After experiencing a historically long recovery from 1991 to 2000, the US economy came into recession in 2001. The downturn began when the so-called dotcom bubble burst in 2000; the following year, business investment virtually stalled, and companies began to reduce inventories.
Although both the Federal Reserve and the new George Bush -regering (2001) tried to counter the trend through substantial monetary and fiscal easing, it could not prevent the economy part probably a knock after the terrorist attacks on the US on Sept. 11, 2001.
From September 2001 to April 2002, approximately 1.3 million jobs, and unemployment rose from 4.9% to 6%. In the spring of 2002, there were signs that the bottom of the recession had been reached, and a new recovery was imminent. Several accounting scandals, around the energy company Enron and the telecommunications company WorldCom, shook investors’ confidence in the US economy. The turmoil in the financial markets continued with dramatic declines in the world’s stock exchanges and a marked weakening of the dollar against both the yen and the euro as a result.
In the wake of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a new recovery occurred with growth rates of around 4% in 2004 and 2005. Contributing factors were falling interest rates and tax cuts, which increased domestic demand. Large oil price increases from 2005 do not seem to interfere with growth, which in turn has not made a major dent in unemployment either (5% in 2005), as productivity has been rising.
With a modern service economy comprising almost 80% of employment and gross domestic product, the United States remains quantitatively and technologically the world’s leading power, although the lead has narrowed somewhat since World War II.
In the current political landscape, companies have considerable freedom of action, and incomes and career opportunities attract both low and highly skilled foreign labor, which maintains economic and technological development. The great inequality in income in European conditions and access to education and health care constitute what has been called an increasingly marked two-storey society; since 1975, virtually all income growth has accrued to the richest fifth of the population.
According to a traditional American view, success and failure are the result of personal qualities rather than of societal circumstances; this view has historically been challenged by the introduction of the New Deal concept, but a real confrontation with the polarization, for example in the form of free and equal access to education and health care, seems to be an unmanageable task for the American institutions.
The development in the age composition of the population alone will, with the current pension system from 2010, put great pressure on public finances, which have been in deficit since 2002, in 2005 as much as 16%, and public debt now accounts for 65% of GDP.
Another major economic problem relates to the development of the trade and payments balance. Since the 1980’s, the United States has built up an almost structural deficit on external balances; both trade deficits and external debt are the largest in the world. However, with the prospect of high returns on investments in the United States, the country has not had any problems financing the deficits through capital imports from e.g. Japan and Europe.
Apart from energy, where 2/3 of the huge oil has to be imported and justify many features of the country’s foreign and environmental policy, the United States is largely self-sufficient; foreign trade only corresponds to approximately 20% of GDP, but due to its economic size, the country still accounts for approximately 15% of world trade.
The United States’ main buyer countries (2005) are Canada, Mexico and Japan; the main suppliers are canada, china and mexico. In 1995, the United States and its two major neighbors founded the North American Free Trade Area, NAFTA. Other important trading partners are the EU countries as a whole. Agricultural products, despite the industry’s low share of employment, account for almost one tenth of exports.
In 2005, the USA was Denmark’s sixth most important trading partner; Denmark’s exports to the United States in 2005 amounted to DKK 33.0 billion. consisted mainly of medical and pharmaceutical products (26%), oil and power machines; imports from there of 12.9 billion. DKK consisted of of means of transport (aircraft) and instruments.
United States (Currency)
In 1786, Congress decided to introduce the currency one dollar at 100 cents. The first cents were minted in Philadelphia in 1792, and within a few years followed 5- and 10-cents (dime), 25-cents (quarter), half-dollars, and dollars in silver. Until 1964, coins of ten cents or more were minted in a silver alloy, while the Kennedy half-dollar was in silver until 1970. Coinage in gold has previously played a significant role in the United States, especially due to the large gold finds in the mid-1800’s. The high denominations of 10-dollar (Eagle, named after the eagle on the front of the coin) and 20-dollar (double eagle) were minted until the end of gold minting in 1933. Today (2001) the coins are minted as “sandwich coins”, ie. with a core of copper and an outer layer of copper-nickel. Sometimes several billion are minted annually. pieces of a coin.
From 1861, dollar bills were issued by the Union and valid throughout the United States. Earlier dollar bills from individual states or banks often ended up at a low rate or became worthless. The proliferation of the US currency as an internationally recognized means of payment has made it necessary to maintain stability in terms of motives and appearance. This is why, in the early 1990’s, US dollar bills were provided with security graphics that matched today’s requirements. The $ sign must be inspired by the Mexican peso from the 1700’s, where Heracles’ Supports were embossed on the back.
USA – social conditions
The USA is characterized by great social differences; the number of poor people understood as persons with an income below a statistically calculated minimum standard of living has in the 1990’s fluctuated between 30 and 35 million.
The US Social Security system consists of social insurance for the employed and includes loss of income due to illness, disability and old age, but not medical treatment. In addition, there is some protection against unemployment.
Most self-employed people have significant private insurance, often in connection with agreements with the employer, as well as voluntary social work and charity as well as private institutions, in many cases financed through project support from tax-funded funds set up by large businesses, such as the Ford Foundation or Rockefeller Foundation. or with the support of special government programs, such as the National Health Foundation.
In 1935, Congress passed the Social Security Act as part of the so-called New Deal, which with a number of subsequent amendments is still the most important national social security law; it contains sections on pensions for the elderly, the disabled and survivors, on unemployment benefits and on medical treatment for the elderly and the poor.
The pension and unemployment benefit schemes cover most employees and a number of groups of self-employed persons. Entitlement to a full old-age pension is obtained at the age of 65; a reduced pension can be obtained by earlier withdrawal from the labor market. The size of the pension depends on the size of the income from which contributions have been paid; the pension paid is reduced when income in addition to the pension exceeds a certain limit.
The pension schemes are financed through statutory contributions from the insured and the employer. The contributions are calculated on a progressive scale and are in the nature of earmarked taxes rather than insurance premiums.
Unemployment insurance is administered by individual states, however, the federal government has set certain minimum standards. Most employees are automatically insured, but there are significant exceptions, such as civil servants, certain agricultural workers and certain civil servants. Employers pay contributions to the insurance against tax deductions to the federal and state authorities.
For the many Americans who are below or close to the income minimum, there are a myriad of public, primarily state, and private assistance schemes that provide assistance in various forms. As a rule, being poor is not enough; poverty must have a plausible cause, which in principle must not be self-inflicted.
Public schemes can include cash benefits for families without dependents, for the elderly and for the severely disabled. A widely used form of aid is food stamps, which can legally only be used to buy food. The private aid schemes are to a large extent actually charity.
Attempts to help people out of poverty began in 1964 under President Lyndon B. Johnson as part of the great campaign against poverty, see Great Society. The effort, which is federally funded, includes in particular employment projects for the long-term unemployed; around 2000, appropriations have fallen sharply. Check youremailverifier for United States social condition facts.
United States (Health Conditions)
Life expectancy in 1998 was 74.6 years for white men and 67.8 years for black men. For women, the corresponding figures were 79.9 and 75.0. Native Americans and Inuit have a significantly lower life expectancy than the average population; Americans of Asian descent are above average.
In 1998, infant mortality for all population groups was 7.2 per 1000 live births, but for the black population 14.1. The ethnic differences in health status are predominantly caused by social and economic conditions, just as differences between rich and poor among whites give rise to differences.
In 1998, heart disease caused 32% of all deaths, and cancer 23%. Mortality from AIDS has fallen since 1994, reaching 0.6% in 1998, while homicide was the cause of 0.7% of all deaths.
approximately 13.5% of GDP is spent on health care, which is more than in any other industrialized country and about twice as much as in Denmark. In 1998, 46% of expenditure was covered by public funds. Patients covered 17% of the cost of direct payment, 32% came through health insurance systems, and the remainder from other private sources, including charity.
Under President Johnson, Medicare and Medicaid were implemented; these federal programs cover basic health care costs for the elderly and poor. In addition, they cover public health expenses for military personnel and former military personnel (veterans), and there is a health service for Indians. There are also hospitals run by states and local authorities.
In 1998, 44 mill. Americans have no health insurance and either have to pay for health care themselves or are dependent on charity or the relatively few public clinics and hospitals.
Most Americans are covered by health insurance, which is most often taken out as part of an employment relationship. The employer pays the premium; usually also covers spouse and minor children.
Insurance premiums were rising sharply in the 1970’s and 1980’s, which has led to attempts to reorganize the insurance system in the form of Managed Care, ie. organized treatment. For example, the Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) are part of a system in which the insured are linked to a group of general practitioners and hospitals who are either employees of or exclusively contracted with the organization. The insured receive all health services from these doctors and hospitals, which are paid in advance by an agreed piecework amount. Normally, patients are free to choose a doctor, but the doctor has restrictions regarding the choice of examinations, treatment and referral to hospital, etc. in accordance with the insurance company’s regulations. The same applies to the hospitals’ dispositions at admission.
Managed Care in the form of various systems covers in the early 2000-t. the vast majority of health insured. Administrative expenses are significant (12-20% of companies’ costs), but health care costs seem to have stopped rising. Managed Care is subject to strong criticism. Patients complain that they are not getting the optimal treatment. Doctors and hospitals complain about the administrative burden and the fact that they cannot offer their patients the best treatment.
President Clinton tried approximately 1995 to implement a comprehensive reform of the US health care system with a much stronger financial commitment to the public sector, but without success; the private hospitals, the American Medical Association, and the insurance system effectively opposed the proposal.
In 1996, the United States had 4.0 hospital beds per 1000 residents, which was a halving from 1970. In 1997 there were 2.7 doctors and 8.3 nurses per. 1000 residents
United States legal system
As in other legal systems that bear the mark of the English common law model, in the USA great emphasis is still placed on case law. In an increasing number of areas, however, case law is supplemented by statute law. The rules of law are divided into rules that apply to the whole country (federal law) and rules of law that are created by and only apply in the individual states (state law). The U.S. Constitution divides power and responsibility between federal authorities and states in such a way that Congressin Washington only has the power to regulate and legislate on certain specific matters, such as the collection of taxes, the defense, bankruptcy and trade between the states. Furthermore, the Federal Congress has the right to pass laws that the executive must use to manage its tasks. The remaining and very extensive legislative competence belonging to the individual Länder includes, for example, the regulation of most issues within criminal law, family law, contract law, tort law and property law. However, in many areas, legislation can be enacted both federally and at the state level. This applies, for example, to labor law, social law and environmental law.
As the ordinary jurisdiction belongs to the states, the content of most US legal rules varies from state to state. In some areas of law, however, the Federal Constitution sets a limit to the differences that are allowed. The US Supreme Court has, for example, interpreted the union’s constitution as meaning that it greatly limits the ability of individual states to restrict women’s right to have an abortion. By contrast, the Supreme Court until now (2016) is not considered death penalty (capital punishment) for “cruel and unusual punishment” and therefore unconstitutional unless the punishment is a minor or mentally retarded, or when the death penalty would be disproportionate to the actual crime. Therefore, in principle, it is still up to the individual state whether a given serious crime (capital crime, most often murder) can be punished with death. In the commercial field, Congress has generally been reluctant to encroach on state sovereignty. As a result, Congress has only to a lesser extent used its power to pass federal legal rules governing and harmonizing trade between states. Conversely, the Länder themselves have achieved a great deal of commercial legal unity, by assisting in the drafting and imitation of model legislation.
The judiciary is divided between the federal courts and the courts of each state. Cases decided by federal law in federal courts may be brought in one of the 90 U.S. District Courts at first instance (trial courts). From here, a decision can be appealed to one of the 13 federal courts of appeal (US Courts of Appeal), whose decision can be appealed to the country’s highest court, the United States Supreme Court., however, often only if special permission has been given from this body (certiorari). Each state also has its own court system. A decision made by a state court of first instance (trial court) can usually be appealed to a higher state court (state court of appeal) and then possibly. to the state supreme court, which is, as a general rule, the highest court, appealing to the United States Supreme Court only in special cases.
In both the federal courts and the states’ courts, the parties have, in principle, the right to have both criminal and civil cases decided in the first instance with the participation of juries (trial by jury). However, the parties may waive this right, which is often the case in commercial cases. The main task of the juries is to decide the evidentiary issues of the case, while the judge must decide the legal issues of the case. If a decision made at first instance by a federal court or a state court is appealed to a higher court, it will only be a review of the legal issues of the case, as the US appellate courts use the lower instance’s assessment of evidence, regardless of whether the case is decided with or without juries. Only in a few cases will there be a completely new lawsuit.
A number of procedural rules are contributing to a very large number of civil cases being brought in the United States. For example, the losing party will not be obliged to pay the other party’s legal costs unless there is special legal authority, and this applies regardless of whether the case has been heard by a federal court or a state court. Furthermore, American lawyers can be paid on a “contingency fee” basis, so that the plaintiff’s lawyer only receives fees if the case is won (no cure, no pay), and then as a certain part, eg 25%, of the compensation awarded. In some cases, the compensation awarded includes “punitive damages”, a form of financial punishment. In addition, there are rules on “discovery”, which give the plaintiff wide access to find the evidence that the defendant may be in possession of.
The regulation of the bar is a purely state matter. In contrast to, for example, the legal system in the United Kingdom, there is no distinction in the United States between barristers and solicitors. In order to become a lawyer, most states require a university degree, of which the last three years are the law school itself, as well as passing a written test (bar examination). Thus, a person who, for example, has become a lawyer in New York and later wants to become a lawyer in California, must also pass a bar exam there.
United States (Military)
The Armed Forces is (2006) 1,473,960 military personnel. The US Army is at 502,000, the Navy at 376,750, the US Air Force at 379,500, the US Marine Corps at 175,350 and the US Coast Guard at 40,360. In addition, 10,126 civilians with 3376 in the special forces and 6750 in the Coast Guard. The reserves are 1,290,988, of which the Army 676,150, the Navy 155,350, the Air Force 200,800, the Marine Corps 92,000, the Navy Air Force 11,592, the Marine Corps “Stand-by Reserve” 700, the Coast Guard 1546 and the Naval Reserve Force 152,850. The pressure on the regular units of the army and navy from the operations in Iraqand Afghanistan over the past few years have necessitated extensive use of the reserve as a relief and supplement. The armed forces are under the Ministry of Defense, with the exception of the Coast Guard, which is under the Department of Homeland Security. In addition, the 50 states have set up militias called the National Guard, which are available to the governors. The Air National Guard is the air military ‘militia’ with fighter jets.
The equipment in all four branches of defense includes the most modern in the world. In areas such as electronic equipment for monitoring and controlling operations, US military forces are uniquely ahead of everyone else in the world. The country’s long-range nuclear weapons force includes all the traditional elements: weapons on land-based missiles, on submarine-placed missiles as well as on long-range bombers. Around the year 2000, the United States is working intensively to develop and set up systems that can defend against missile attacks by smaller nuclear powers. Such systems are being considered in the Eastern European NATO countries.
The majority of all the Armed Forces’ regular units and reserve units are organized to operate in overseas operations. They are kept at a relatively high level of preparedness, so the first units can be sent with a few days notice. The aim is to maintain forces of all types with associated command structure on a high level of preparedness. Large parts of the armed forces are based abroad. Even with 121,600 in Iraq and 18,000 in Afghanistan, the sum of the US forces in Germany is small 70,000, in South Korea more than 65,000, in Japan more than 32,000 and in Italy more than 15,000. There are American forces or staff spread over approximately 50 countries and missions. It is the stated intention to concentrate the largest possible part of the forces on the domestic bases, partly to save resources, but also to make it easier to retain staff by giving it a slightly more stable family life. The prerequisite for concentrating the majority of the forces in the United States is that it succeeds in completing the development of more easily transportable, “competitive” weapon systems, so that, despite the greater distance, one can quickly reach all parts of the world with a powerful force.
Modern American research policy was created on the basis of the experiences with major research projects during and after World War II, eg the Manhattan project. It was considered crucial for a great power to be dominant in knowledge production, and research therefore became a crucial focus area. This resulted in the formation of large research organizations and federal research grants for private universities.
The fact that the United States has a number of the world’s most affluent universities and private foundations has helped attract leading researchers from around the world. Also political circumstances got in 1900-t. many researchers to continue their careers here, the Nazi persecution of Jews in Germany during World War II and later the Communists’ takeover of power in Eastern Europe.
Today, research is dominated by a number of large universities, such as MIT, Stanford and Harvard, whose wealth is often based on donations from rich people. In addition, there are a number of federally funded research institutes such as Brookhaven, Los Alamos and Livermore and the space research organization NASA. The National Institutes of Health, under the Ministry of Health, conducts, funds, and organizes medical research; The Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Energy run major research projects, e.g. in collaboration with private companies, and the National Science Foundation supports basic research.
United States Library Service
High priority given to citizens’ direct access to information and the use of new technical aids made the United States an early pioneer in the library field.
The research libraries were until approximately 1850 often small college book collections; then they grew tremendously in size and number. There are more than 3,000 research libraries, among them some of the world’s largest university libraries such as Harvard (13.6 million bd.) And Yale (10.5 million bd.).
Establishment of public libraries with free access for all took place in the 1800’s; until then, reading companies and other payment libraries had dominated. One of the first partially tax-paid public libraries opened in 1854 in Boston, Massachusetts, and since then other states followed suit and made it legal to operate public-funded libraries. Among the USA’s approximately 9000 public libraries are a couple of the largest New York Public Library (11.5 million bd.) And Chicago Public Library (8 million bd.).
The Library of Congress performs national library functions, but actual regulation is a state matter, and support and special functions are handled by a state library. There is a tradition of collaboration across library types on lending, database operation etc.
On private initiative, book collections or buildings have been donated and research libraries of great book historical significance have been established, such as The Henry E. Huntington Library in California, Folger Shakespeare Library, and The Pierpont Morgan Library.
The American Library Association (1876) is the world’s oldest library association, and a formal librarian’s education was founded as early as 1887 by Melvil Dewey; it was not until 1956 that the development of libraries was supported by legislation.
The individual states have their own archive institutions, and at the local level there are numerous archives.
The country’s National Archives, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), in Washington, DC, contains material from the 1700’s; it was founded in 1934 to replace older archives at each federal authority. The collections include archives from the three branches of central power. NARA has approximately 20 regional branches spread across the United States. A number of so-called presidential libraries with archives from the administration of individual presidents are subject to NARA.
USA – mass media
United States – Mass Media, The Print Press
There are no real nationwide newspapers in the United States. Exceptions are USA Today and the Wall Street Journal, but the best-known omnibus newspapers cannot be described as nationwide. The New York Times, one of the most influential newspapers in the United States, began printing satellites via satellite in all of America’s metropolitan centers in the mid-1990’s; however, there are still medium-sized cities where it cannot be purchased. Significant newspapers such as the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune are predominantly in their immediate area and therefore have less influence on the national political debate than the New York Times.
Until the mid-1900’s. it was common for every American metropolis to have two or three competing dailies. But since the mid-1970’s, newspaper chains like Gannett, Knight-Ridder and Newhouse have bought up several newspapers and merged competitors. It is a development that has created fears of monopoly formation and cast doubt on the independence of newspapers from political and economic interests. Many Americans distance themselves from the European model, where newspapers, in their view, serve political or economic groups. Until World War II, however, American dailies were closely associated with parties and large corporations.
The American journalistic tradition is different from the European one. Reporters present at least two sides of an issue and find suitable quotes to illuminate a topic. The ideal is an objective and nuanced treatment both in newspapers and in the major news magazines Time, Newsweek and US News and World Report.
The situation is different with opinion-forming weekly and monthly magazines, of which there is a varying supply in the United States. The political left is represented by The Progressive, The American Prospect and The Nation, the right by The National Review and Weekly Standard. In the middle is The New Republic. Magazines such as The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, and the New York Review of Books conduct journalism that is recognized as high quality. The Internet around 2000 did not have a significant negative impact on newspapers and magazines. On the contrary, they have understood how to take advantage of the new medium by creating websites with discussion forums and electronic archives.
The electronic media
In 1926, NBC, the first major radio station, began broadcasting from the east coast of the United States, and the following year it broadcast from coast to coast. It was a medium that quickly gained political significance; in the 1930’s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt communicated directly with the White House “fireplace passersby” population. In 1937-38, the first television broadcasts were made, and in 1940, Americans could watch party congresses on television. In 1951, CBS was the first television station in the United States to broadcast in color.
The United States has sponsored commercial television and radio and for many years was the only country that allowed individuals to own electronic mass media. However, owners of the printed press could not obtain a broadcasting license. Radio and television business is financed primarily by advertising.
Although the stations are subject to certain regulations, e.g. daily news coverage, the Federal Communications Commission has largely limited its activities to issuing licenses to new stations and discouraging monopoly formation. Previously, the market was dominated by three nationwide television networks: ABC, NBC and CBS, all of which broadcast via satellite. However, they have received competition from CNN as well as from Rupert Murdoch’s Fox TV, which has gained market share by focusing on sports, entertainment and talk shows.
It was not until 1967 that the United States got public service television and radio. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPS) receives annual grants from Congress and distributes the funds to partially listener- and viewer-funded radio and television stations throughout the country. The size of the appropriations depends on the political winds; after the Republican congressional victory in 1994, it was proposed to cut support to the CPS due to the institution’s allegedly left-wing line. However, this was never implemented. National Public Radio (NPR), founded in 1971, has strived for balanced political coverage in the late 1990’s and is considered the most reliable electronic news source in the early 21st century.
Cable TV was launched in the 1970’s, but only gained traction when the medium was liberalized by law in 1984. In 2000, 100 million had. households television, of which 65% subscribed to cable television. In addition, since 1994, satellite television has become widespread, especially in areas where cable television is not available. The two leading companies are DirecTV and USSS. Cable and satellite stations are required by law to broadcast for local and nationwide television stations. There are 10,000 commercial and 2,000 public service radio stations in the United States. Of the 1600 TV stations, approximately 350 non-commercial.
An American watches television for an average of seven hours every day, and 88% of the population consider it their primary source of news (2000). Since the mid-1990’s, the Internet has contributed to a significant drop in viewership, which has undermined the revenue base of television news.
USA – visual art
The article deals with American art from colonization onwards. For Native American art, see Native American art.
The English and French expeditions of the second half of the 1500’s. followed by a few early depictions of flora and fauna; the country’s native residents, the Indians, were characterized by a mixture of documentarism and idealism. From the 1600’s. are preserved tomb reliefs of anonymous artisans who have been active in Massachusetts and whose symbolism is closely linked to the life of the Puritans in New England. A portrait painting characterized by Dutch baroque gained ground in the first half of the 1600’s. via England and Holland.
In the first half of the 1700’s. the artists began to step out of anonymity with portraits of wealthy merchant families in New York and New England. These professional artists increasingly found outlets in artistic centers such as Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.
History painting as a new, significant genre was heralded by Benjamin West. Inspired by mythological motifs, he painted events from the recent American past, such as Penn’s Treaty of the Indians (1771, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia). As a teacher, he gained importance for several generations of artists, including John Trumbull, Gilbert Stuart, who created the famous portrait of George Washington (1796, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), and Charles Willson Peale. His son, Raphaelle Peale (1774-1825), performed a series of fine, delicate still lifes, a genre that was only recently appreciated by the new, able-bodied audience. West’s contemporary John Singleton Copley (1738-1815) was self-taught, but before settling in England in 1774, he made a series of portraits whose realism became stylistic.
Horatio Greenough and Hiram Powers heralded neoclassicism in the sculpture of the period. Both worked in Florence as opposed to a younger generation of sculptors studying in Rome. Some sculptors, such as John Rogers (1829-1904), broke with the ideals of neoclassicism and created sculptures in harmony with genre painting.
A crucial turning point came in the early 1800’s, when landscape painting was given the central role that history painting had previously played. The artists discovered the great, untouched nature of the country and found in it an unspoiled purity. The artists who sought motifs in the area along the Hudson River are collectively referred to as Hudson River School. The group represents some generations of painters whose romantic landscape painting idealizes the wilderness. Essential style features are based on a European tradition, but many also began to perform sketches and paint directly on site. The so-called luminists, among them Frederic E. Church, cultivated in particular the properties of light and poetic qualities at different times of the day. From the mid-1800’s. seen at William Sidney Mount and George Caleb Bingham an interest in depicting the lives of the settlers. Photographers such as Alexander Garner and Timothy Sullivan, who had followed the American Civil War, added a realism to the visual arts that left a decisive mark on the last half of the century.
In the late 1800’s. American artists increasingly turned to Europe; London was for several generations a staging post for Paris or Italy. John Singer Sargent was born in Florence, educated in Paris, and later lived only briefly in the United States. In his fashionable but also heretical portrait painting, he got some touch with French Impressionism. After studying in Europe and with knowledge of the Barbizon school and the techniques and methods of the French Impressionists, the American painters returned to a changing society, marked by industrialization and rapidly growing cities on the east coast. A group of American Impressionists of the same age, including Childe Hassam, formed in 1897 the association Ten American Artists to create greater awareness of their views. The group exhibited together annually until 1919. Modern city life became for many of them a preferred theme. The reactions to the National Academy’s restrictive exhibition policy led in 1908 to the formation of the group The Eight. In the early 1900-t. several trends were active, a late impressionism, realism, and a modernism that pointed to new horizons for American art.
1913 – 2006
In 1913, an exhibition was held in New York, which had a radical influence on the development of American art. The International Exhibition of Modern Art, also known as The Armory Show, with its over 1600 works aimed at introducing the audience to European modernist art, primarily French, and at the same time sharpening interest in the new American painting. AAAAAAAAAAAAA about visual art in the USA 1913-2006.
USA – crafts and design
In the 17th and 18th centuries, American craftsmanship was largely influenced by the English taste and style of the upper bourgeoisie. In furniture and silver work, role models from England are reflected, but also from the Netherlands.
The joy of patterns and colors was expressed in the floral embroidery and in the fabric print, which in the United States has had a rich period from the middle of the 19th century. In the 19th century, the shakers created a markedly simplified style based on an equally simplified way of life (see shakers), and their furniture has served as models for 20th century functionalism. The same goes for the popular quilted rugs, whose popularity has held up to this day.
With the industrialization of the first half of the 19th century, a number of art industrial companies emerged, which were reflected in the European, especially Anglo-French, art industry.
The pottery gradually liberated itself towards the end of the 19th century with products ranging from solid, reddish-brown pottery over historicizing, technically perfect porcelain to the artistic ceramics of the early 20th century.
The machine-pressed glass was an American specialty and was exported to all over the world. One of the leading art industrial firms was founded in 1837 by Charles Lewis Tiffany; his son, Louis Comfort Tiffany, became known for his iridescent glass works, “favrile glass”, as well as windows and lamps in glass mosaic.
It was not until the 20th century that the United States really made a name for itself internationally in the fields of art industry and industrial design. With Frank Lloyd Wright’s furniture, textiles, glass, etc., a parallel was created to the British Arts and Crafts movement.
In the 1930’s, many architects and industrial designers fled the German Bauhaus school to the United States, where they established the design school Institute of Design in Chicago and added new impetus to the expanding industry. In Japan, too, inspiration was found for a style of living that marked the entire Western world.
In parallel, Raymond Loewy developed his streamlined forms in refrigerators and cars, while Charles and Ray Eames and Eero Saarinen took advantage of new materials and new technology in their organic furniture.
Within glass, ceramics and wood, a trend away from the industrialized has characterized the period from approximately 1960. Sculptural forms and a vibrant coloration still characterize American studio ceramics.
In 1962, Harvey Littleton established a glass workshop, which became the beginning of a fruitful development in the field of studio glass, which has had international significance.
USA – architecture
From the beginning of the 17th century, architecture was characterized by the different building traditions that the country’s many immigrants brought with them. In the southwest, Texas, New Mexico, and California, Spanish missionaries built adobe buildings (sun-dried clay) in a simplified Spanish Baroque style.
However, it was especially the architecture of the English colonies, divided into an early (approximately 1600-1700) and a late Colonial style (approximately 1700-80), that gained importance for the development of American architecture.
In the early colonial style, small rural houses were built in New England, mainly in wood, while construction in the Southern States, such as the plantation owners’ houses, was more reminiscent of English country houses, such as Bacon’s Castle, Surry County, Virginia from 1655.
The widespread use of Christopher Wren’s English baroque style in the United States was not least due to James Gibbs ‘ books on Wren’s architecture. Peter Harrison (1716-75) was among the architects who brought English palladianism to the United States, which can be seen in his buildings in Newport, Rhode Island.
Neoclassicism gained a foothold in the United States in the aftermath of the American Revolution (1775-83), in New England as The Federal Style, heavily inspired by English neoclassicism and represented by Samuel McIntire (1757-1811) and Charles Bulfinch (1763-1844).
President Thomas Jefferson himself played an important role in its spread when he introduced a neoclassical idiom into the new, independent United States, stylistically based on Palladianism as well as French neoclassicism and ancient Rome.
Many government buildings were erected in this style, such as the Virginia State Capitol, Richmond, Virginia (1785-88), designed by Jefferson himself. Also a revival of Greek architecture, Greek Revival, became widespread in the years from around 1800 with buildings of Benjamin Latrobe (1764-1820), Robert Mills (1781-1855) and Thomas Ustick Walter (1804-87); the latter oversaw the completion in 1865 of the Capitol in Washington, begun in 1793.
In the second quarter of the 19th century, the Gothic Revival was cultivated, partly an Italian villa style, both with origins in English architecture. From approximately In 1880, in response to historicism, the so-called Shingle style was developed with wooden houses completely covered with shingles.
An independent American architecture really broke through in the late 1800’s, after it had succeeded in further developing the steel building technique, so that one could now build significantly higher than before.
The breakthrough was created by Louis Sullivan in collaboration with Dankmar Adler with the Wainwright Building in Saint Louis, Missouri (1890-91), which foreshadowed the next century American urban architecture.
Sullivan also had a decisive influence on a number of prominent architects, including William Le Baron Jenney (1832-1907) and Daniel H. Burnham (1846-1912), who together built most of Chicago’s business district and are known as the Chicago School.
The first skyscrapers were built in New York, where the Woolworth Building by Cass Gilbert (1859-1934) upon completion in 1913 was the then tallest building in the world; in 1930 it was surpassed by the Chrysler Building, which as early as 1931 had to hand over this rank to the Empire State Building.
Frank Lloyd Wright developed his Prairie style in the first years of the 20th century, based on the idea that a building should be experienced as an organic whole and its elements as free, plastic forms; half a century later, his Guggenheim Museum was built in New York (1956-59, designed 1943-46).
European functionalism, called The International Style by Philip Johnson and Henry-Russell Hitchcock (1903-87) in their influential book of the same name (1932), was introduced in the United States in the 1920’s by Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler and became widespread both before and after World War II.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe also worked in this style, who, like Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer, came from the German Bauhaus school to the United States in the 1930’s and gained great importance for American architecture.
Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House on Fox River, Illinois (1945-50) and Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaa, Connecticut (1949) – both single-family homes with large glass walls – are like the two architects’ skyscraper Seagram Building in New York (1954- 58) among the masterpieces of modernism; this also includes Skidmore, Owings and Merrill’s Skyscraper Lever House in New York (1952).
From the mid-1950’s, Eero Saarinen and Louis I. Kahn developed in buildings for Yale University a more sculptural and expressive architecture that broke with the international style; historicist features are seen in Minoru Yamasaki.
Postmodernism, advocated by Robert Venturi in 1966, was expressed in Charles Moore’s Piazza d’Italia in New Orleans (1975-78), the AT&T Building in New York (1978-84) by Philip Johnson and John Burgee (f 1933) and the Public Service Building in Portland, Oregon (1980-82) by Michael Graves.
Early modernism was taken up and further developed by the group New York Five with Richard Meier, who built the mighty cultural center Getty Center in Los Angeles (inaugurated 1997); like several other American architects, he has also been given major assignments abroad. Peter Eisenman, along with Frank O. Gehry, is one of the leading architects who have worked with a deconstructive form of expression.
USA – literature
American literary history traditionally tells of the arrival of the white man in America and the development of a literary unit culture. But there was an indigenous population with well-developed oral-literary cultures even before the arrival of the Puritan pilgrims in the early 1600’s.
Since then, American literature has evolved into a constant interplay between those who have voluntarily or involuntarily come to the New World and the literary tradition that the host country gradually established as its own and in the beginning with distinct European resonance. However, American literature enters character early on. It reflects a constant discussion of the values of a nation created by revolutionary secession from a colonial power, which has established itself through constant immigration and expansion, and where the possibilities of the individual have been a guiding principle. Since the mid-1900’s. American literary historians have been preoccupied with reassessing the history of literature in the perspective of the United States as a diverse culture:
Colonial literature up to 1800
The English-language literature of the New England colonies in the period between the first colonists’ arrival and establishment as an independent state was, both in terms of genre and content, marked by a religious starting point and the settler life’s challenges to community organization and everyday practical tasks. Reports, chronicles, biographies and sermons were thus the usual early genres. The poetry was cultivated, following contemporary English models, by Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor (approximately 1645-1729), both of Massachusetts. Literary expressions of strictly religious ideals as in Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards veg from the early 1700’s. for a more worldly-oriented literature that reflects an incipient secularization of American settler society, as is clearly seen in Sara Knight (1666-1727) and William Byrd (1674-1744).
The rationalist ideals of the Enlightenment took a marked political turn in the American colonies, spurred on by the growing dissatisfaction with colonial status. Benjamin Franklin’s diligent work as a publicist throughout most of the century created the framework for a lively literary diversity with the political debate as the central form. Noah Webster’s dictionary work in order to describe an American English points in the same direction. Franklin’s contribution to the political colonial debate paved the way for Thomas Paine’s philosophical and rhetorical defense of colonial secession and also for the considerations that Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay put forward in the 85 essays published 1787-88 as The Federalist Papersto pave the way for a constitution. The 1700’s preparation for and implementation of secession from Britain helped to polish the rhetoric of the political essay, and the American Revolution heralded the beginning of a real tradition in poetry and fiction, which admittedly leaned heavily on British role models, but specifically reflected U.S. affairs. “Yankee Doodle” quickly became a hit song with wide appeal in the War of Independence, and Philip Freneau’s poems about the war served as effective propaganda. His poetry was based on contemporary European neoclassicism, but with natural romantic elements from the American environment. American characters began to appear in drama with, admittedly, clear European genre role models,The Power of Sympathy (1789), which transplanted the prevailing European sentimental novel into American soil. The picaresque tradition found a practitioner in HH Brackenridge (1748-1816), and the Gothic in Charles Brockden Brown (1771-1810).
American Romanticism 1800-1840
The American romanticism had a more heterogeneous character than was the case in Great Britain and in the rest of Europe. The lyric of nature found a distinguished cultivator in William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), while the prose writer Washington Irving after a time as a satirist in sharp neoclassical style developed his own romantic vision under the influence of the German romantics and Walter Scott. Also influenced by Scott, James Fenimore Cooper wrote his Native American and settler novels, which secured him large readerships both in the United States and abroad. With Edgar Allan Poe, who added a credible psychological dimension to the Gothic narrative, and who can be said to have invented modern crime fiction, American literature became exportable. Not only did it find readers abroad, but was also of decisive inspiration, especially to the French symbolists and from there on into European literature and back to American modernism. During this period, the South also began to assert itself in literary terms with the depictions of the plantation culture of John Pendleton Kennedy (1795-1870) and with William Gilmore Simms’ (1806-70) historical novels about settler life.
The Beginning of an American Literature 1840-1880
With the election of Andrew Jackson in 1829, voters had marked their desire for a popular and democratically minded president who was responsible for the expansionary dynamics that became the epitome of American identity until the continent’s western border was reached by the end of the 1800’s. Although the literary expressions of these years were diverse, they shared their groundbreaking and identity-testing characteristics. It was about the humorists in the Northeast around James Russell Lowell, who put the established New England in the gallows, and it was about the humorists in the Southwest, such as Davy Crockett, whose wit embraced the settler culture in all its richness and lawlessness. Although Lowell was also a humorist, he had much in common with the so-called Brahmin writers in New England, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Oliver Wendell Holmes, who as professors at Harvard University were cultural cosmopolitans, but deliberately applied their knowledge and skill to American nature, culture, and experience.
The transcendentalists were given a very special status for both contemporaries and posterity. The transcendence concerns the transgression of the otherwise inclusive Unitarianism that was the prevailing religious confession in New England. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Margaret Fuller wanted to transcend any kind of norm and rationality in their attempt to reach the deepest truths. Their undogmatic revelatory religion was a kind of American romanticism that relied less on philosophical considerations than on a nature-related experience of human possibilities. The political reform winds that blew across the European continent in the 1840’s affected, among other things, the transcendentalists and helped create a need for genuine American historiography (George Bancroft (1800-91), John Lothrop Motley (1814-77), Francis Parkman (1823-93)). Otherwise, the American political debate now revolved around the right of individual states to decide. The movement for the liberation of slaves won and gained support in the poetry of J. Greenleaf Whittier (1807-92), but Harriet Beecher Stowes had the greatest literary effect at home and abroad in this respect.Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852). The imported slave laborers’ own literary activities were inherently few (George Moses Horton (approximately 1797-approx. 1883), William Wells Brown (approximately 1814-84), Frederick Douglass).
The decade leading up to the American Civil War was dominated literary by three figures: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Walt Whitman. Hawthorne’s preferred form was the allegory, in which he discussed basic existential issues such as evil and good, guilt and punishment, as in The Scarlet Letter (1850). These questions also occupied the symbolist Melville, whose Moby-Dick (1851) more than anyone else has become the central text of American novel literature, while Walt Whitman in his form-breaking, assertive, and enthusiastic worship of the common man in Leaves of Grass(1855) encountered much established thinking. After the Civil War, fiction with a strong local colorist touch emerged (Bret Harte, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Edward Eggleston (1837-1902)) and thus continued the pre-war humorists’ anchoring in the regional, as the still highly popular humorous literature increasingly focused on more universal human traits. Mark Twain united the humorous and local in his stories of life on and around the Mississippi, which have greatly helped shape the nation’s sense of identity.
The Great American Novel
A myth in American literary history
The notion of the exhaustive, all-embracing national novel has been alive in American literary consciousness since Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter (1850) and Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick (1851), viz. large-scale works with universally existential errands on a specific American background.
Many titles have run with or without the knowledge or desire of their authors. Together they form an unfinished and unfinished chain of literary statements about a country characterized precisely by the diverse and unstoppable. The greatness of the notion of The Great American Novel perhaps lies in the constant and impressively ambitious attempts to maintain American ideals and experiences in the midst of the diversity conditioned by time and place.
· Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)
· Theodore Dreiser Sister Carrie (1900)
· Henry James The Ambassadors (1903)
· Willa Cather O Pioneers! (1913)
· Edith Wharton The Age of Innocence (1920)
· Sinclair Lewis Babbitt (1922)
· F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby (1925)
· William Faulkner Light in August (1932)
· John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
· Robert Penn Warren All the King’s Men (1946)
· Norman Mailer The Naked and the Dead (1948)
· JD Salinger The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
· Saul Bellow The Adventures by Augie March (1953)
· Joseph Heller Catch-22 (1961)
· Thomas Pynchon Gravity’s Rainbow (1973)
· EL Doctorow Ragtime (1975)
· Toni Morrison Song of Solomon (1977)
· John Updike Rabbit Is Rich (1981)
· Alice Walker The Color Purple (1982)
· Tom Wolfe The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987)
· Don DeLillo Underworld (1997)
His interest in the local area greatly helped pave the way for American literary realism. William Dean Howells was directly influenced by Tolstoy in his prioritization of “the human over the artistic”. Even more radical everyday realism is seen in Hamlin Garland and Theodore Dreiser, with a particularly Darwinian twist in Jack London. A tendency toward a more French-naturalistic-inspired approach with particular interest in linguistic expression was cultivated by Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, and Edith Wharton. Henry James, who chose to settle in Britain, created a refined realism based on the processing of sensory impressions by the observing consciousness, and Willa Cather treated the lives of the settlers in a lyrical realism. In the area between literature and journalism, the special form of social criticism arose,the muckrakers, i.e. the scoundrels (Ida M. Tarbell (1857-1944), Lincoln Steffens), and who saw a task in uncovering criticisable conditions in both public and private sections of American society. Upton Sinclair had the same goal with his more traditionally landscaped novels, and in lyrical form Edwin Markham (1852-1940) and William Vaughn Moody (1869-1910) attacked working conditions and US foreign policy.
Not many poets from the time between Whitman and the American modernists are still read; Emily Dickinson’s hermit life and hermetically-symbolic, short lyrical texts have only been appreciated by a later, modernist-educated readership, as has Kate Chopin’s early-feminist narratives. A searching and culturally pessimistic tone is traced in Henry Adams’ autobiographical formative novel The Education of Henry Adams (1907) and anticipates, similarly to Dickinson, an American literary modernism marked by the need for reorientation after the end of the concrete goals and values of the pioneer era.
The reorientation appears not least in American drama, which in the past had largely imitated European role models or used very popular, farcical forms such as the vaudeville. Although the Little Theater movement also drew inspiration from new, realistic drama in Europe, it quickly established itself both culturally and commercially. Eugene O’Neill’s plays process an American reality with a diversity of techniques, and the interwar period’s desire for audience-popular drama experimentation is seen in a richly varied strip of plays by e.g. Elmer Rice (1892-1967), Lillian Hellman, Clifford Odets, Thornton Wilder and William Saroyan.
The poets and literary theorists TS Eliot and Ezra Pound, who both chose to live abroad in the same way as one of the American entrepreneurs of international modernism, Gertrude Stein, helped set the agenda for literary modernism in Europe and the United States. At the same time, an American modernist lyricism was built with strong national and regional ties (Edwin Arlington Robinson, Robert Frost, Vachel Lindsay, Carl Sandburg, Edgar Lee Masters, Hart Crane, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams). Race- and gender-specific experiences were formulated by African-Americans (James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938), Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen (1903-46)) and gender-politically conscious women (Edna St. Vincent Millay, Sara Teasdale), and the very lyrical medium was made the subject of the experiment (ee cummings, Marianne Moore, Robinson Jeffers). Eliot’s and Pound’s high modernism found a disciple in Archibald MacLeish, while the South formulated a poetics that was both traditional and modernist (John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate), whose literary theoretical implications were to have significant international influence as New Criticism.
Cultural critic HL Mencken was largely the birthplace of modern American fiction, such as Sherwood Anderson, who, like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sinclair Lewis, sought to explain aspects of contemporary American culture in a psychological framework that also contained a significant measure of societal critique. It was radicalized by James T. Farrell, John Dos Passos, Nathanael West and also came to include an increasing critical female consciousness (Tillie Olsen, 1912-2007). The so-called Harlem Renaissance (Nella Larsen (1891-1964), Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer (1894-1967), Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston (1903-60)), who established the consciousness of an African-American dimension in American literature, is a significant facet of the modernist upheaval. In these years, a tradition of Jewish-American literature was also created (Michael Gold (1894-1967), Henry Roth (1906-95), Anzia Yezierska (approximately 1885-1970)). The three great figures of American interwar fiction, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, and John Steinbeck, were all preoccupied with exploring the human condition and finding clues in a modern United States shaken by war and left to an unbridled belief in progress for better or worse.
World War II came to play a thematic role in American fiction long after its end (Norman Mailer, Irwin Shaw, James Jones, Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut). But it was the war as the beginning of a new world order with a balance of terror and the atomic bomb threat and as an occasion for a revision of life values that came to characterize the literature in the second half of the 1900’s. The highly modernist lyricism cultivated by Robert Lowell, who more than anyone else came to influence the poets of the post-war generation, Theodore Roethke, Richard Wilbur, James Merrill (1926-95) and WS Merwin (b. 1927), was replaced by lyricists who so the poetic process, not the finished poem, as central. It was about the poets of the Beat Generation (Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso (1930-2001), Gary Snyder) and the Black Mountain Group (Charles Olson (1910-70), Robert Creeley (1926-2005), Denise Levertov (1923-97)). Great personal openness and intensity characterized poets such as Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath and John Berryman. The so-called New York lyricists (Frank O’Hara (1926-66) and John Ashbery) had the city’s rapidly changing pulse in their lyrics.
While the bulk of fictional literature did not shy away from proven and commercially successful realism, the tendency in postmodern fiction was to respond to a threatening nonsense with either absurdity and black humor or to look at how reality could be seen as a cultural construction that could be reflected in the corresponding artificiality of the literary work. Symptomatic of this situation was the tendency of the literature to focus in part on the outsider, the maladapted, who sees through the established system and establishes his own norms, partly to present the literary text as in itself a construction. Often the two coincide as with the Russian-American Vladimir Nabokov and Thomas Pynchon, while the outsider motif is cultivated by Jack Kerouac, John Updike and JD Salinger, and the awareness of the culturally created text/reality is played virtuously with John Barth, Donald Barthelme (1931-89), Robert Coover (b. 1932), Paul Auster and Don DeLillo. Metafiction thrived side by side with new journalism (Hunter S. Thompson, Michael Herr, Tom Wolfe) that cultivated an alleged authenticity in unedited reality.
As new literary tools of cognition, both metafiction and new journalism were exhausted at the beginning of the 1980’s, and a literary minimalism with roots in Hemingway’s sober prose in particular has gained ground (Raymond Carver, Richard Ford). In Philip Roth, who together with Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, Grace Paley (1922-2007), EL Doctorow and the Yiddish-writing Isaac Bashevis Singer form a strong Jewish-American post-war tradition, the epistemological doubt is eminently intertwined with the theme of the more or less assimilated Jew in the United States. Southern fiction also came to the fore in the post-war era with Truman Capote and William Styron as ultra-realists, with Eudora Welty, Flannery O ‘ Connor and Carson McCullers as cultivators of the everyday grotesque and with Walker Percy to philosophically search for the general conditions of existence in the environment of the South, but with echoes of Soren Kierkegaard.
Tennessee Williams used the South as a symbol of amputated humanity in its drama. The fragility of close personal relationships is also a central theme of playwrights Arthur Miller and Edward Albee.
The post-war African-American fiction had as its general ambition to embrace the black experience in its entirety; it is expressed in James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison and forms the basis of prose writers such as Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, James Alan McPherson (b. 1943), Charles Johnson (b. 1948) and Randall Kenan (b. 1963). The consolidation of the black United States occurred simultaneously in poetry with names such as Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), Robert Hayden (1913-80), Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) and Maya Angelou, and in the drama Amiri drew Baraka and Ed Bullins (b. 1935) in the 1960’s and August Wilson (1945-2005) in the 1980’s the racial lines sharpened up.
While the African-American element had already taken hold in the interwar years and became part of the established literary scene up through the second half of the 1900’s, the American women’s movement marked itself literary with great impact as part of the 1960’s cultural upheaval. This applies both in prose (Erica Jong, Marilyn French, Ann Beattie (b. 1947), Gail Godwin (b. 1937), Alison Lurie (b. 1926) and Anne Tyler) as well as in poetry, where Adrienne Rich (1929-2012) in the early 1970’s set the agenda for a feminist lyric. The trend in American literature in the last few decades of the 1900’s has been a greater visibility of and greater awareness of the diversity of American culture of ethnic, geographical, social, gender, and political groupings,
USA – theater
The oldest theater tradition in the present USA is a Spanish-language folk theater, whose roots can be dated back to the late 1500’s. The tradition is still alive, in California, where the playwright Luis Valdez (b. 1940) in connection with a peasant strike in 1965 founded the theater troupe Teatro Campesino, which strengthened the cultural consciousness of the Spanish-speaking population and gained importance for the formation of trade unions.
An English-language theater started only slowly due to the Puritanism of the early colonists, but from the early 1700’s. the first British actors began touring in the New World, and in the 1720’s the first theater house appeared in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Towards the middle of the century and onwards until the Declaration of Independence in 1776, theatrical activity grew with the growth of cities. The repertoire was dominated by William Shakespeare and the British playwrights of the time.
Immediately after the secession from England, the theater met with new resistance from the Puritans, but from 1785 the company grew The American Company ‘s reputation, which with the support of George Washington gained a kind of monopoly on playing in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Annapolis.
Several British actors came to the United States, and rival companies sprang up. Large theater houses were built, Chestnut Street Theater in Philadelphia 1794 and Park Theater in New York 1798, both of which had 2,000 seats.
The American John Howard Payne (1791-1852) guest starred in 1813 on Drury Lane in London, but otherwise the current in the 1800’s, both in terms of repertoire and major actors, went from Europe to the United States, and the original American drama was written over European models.
However, in the first half of the 1800’s. the river showboats touring with vaudevilles and melodramas, and the special minstrel shows that brought the culture of the blacks to the stage.
Already at the beginning of the 1900’s, New York with 43 theaters was the dominant metropolis. However, the ensemble theaters, where they usually stayed together for a long time and gathered around a special repertoire line, disintegrated because theater syndicates bought and rented out the theater houses for more profitable, star-studded single productions, often initiated by the syndicates themselves.
Broadway became the center of major commercial theaters, and since then, American theater has been marked by this dominance and by reactions to it. Special non-commercial theater initiatives were created with the theater groups Provincetown Players (1916) and Theater Guild (1919), played by Eugene O’Neill and other contemporary playwrights.
Behind the Theater Guild’s extensive touring business was, among other things. the desire to democratize access to theater performances. Such democratization ideas, which also prevailed in Europe, led in 1935 to the Congress’ decision to establish the American National Theater and Academy (Anta) institution.
It serves as a hub for a network of non-commercial theaters and tours and was given its own stage in New York in 1950, but does not receive public support. A special initiative for the USA is based on the universities’ theater professional educations, which has led to the formation of a large number of university theaters beginning in 1915 at Harvard with 47 Workshops and Yale’s large theater from 1926. The universities also often work with the many local Community Theaters and theater groups., which has arisen everywhere.
Much of the American acting style is characterized by the acting technique Method Acting, which, based on the work of the Russian director and theater educator Konstantin Stanislavsky, became the backbone of the Actors’ Studio, founded in 1947.
In New York, the socially critical drama of Clifford Odets ‘, Arthur Millers and Tennessee Williams’ could still have premiered on Broadway, but after the 1950’s it became more difficult, and for example Edward Albee debuted on the Off-Broadway, which has emerged in opposition to Broadway together with a network of theater groups and street theaters.
At the same time, a group theater movement emerged which, with its violent style of play, its political commitment and an ongoing relationship with the audience, would revolutionize theater. Groups such as the Bread & Puppet Theater had a major influence on group theaters in Europe during international touring in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Where Broadway has had a central position as a hotbed of much significant drama of international significance, interest around the year 2000 gathers largely around amusements and musicals.
Recent American playwrights such as Sam Shepard, David Mamet and Nicky Silver have found their way to the stage and international recognition by other means.
USA – dance
Folk dance and classical ballet were part of the cultural baggage of European immigrants when the colonization of the North American continent in the 1700’s. seriously took off. In the latter part of the century, smaller dance companies regularly toured between the larger cities of the east coast with a mix of pantomimes and dance numbers.
In the first half of the 1800’s, French dancers were able to present a growing American audience with a series of brand new romantic works; for example, Mlle Celeste (Keppler, 1811-82) danced La Sylphide in 1835, and the American Mary Ann Lee (1823-99) presented in 1846 Giselle in Boston surrounded by her small American troupe.
However, the Civil War temporarily halted the importation of European dancers, and although New York in 1883 with the Metropolitan Opera got an opera house of international standard, it was not to show ballet. The popular music halls were the stage for several generations of American-trained ballet dancers.
It was also here that modern dance pioneers such as Loie Fuller, Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. were found. Denis and Ted Shawn, and characteristic of dance in the United States throughout the 1900’s. is this interplay between seriousness and showbiz. When Broadway’s entertainment king Florenz Ziegfeld (1869-1932) engaged the Dane Adeline Genée in 1907 for the first of her legendary Follies, a larger audience once again got their eyes open for classical ballet, which paved the way for guest appearances by stars such as Anna Pavlova and in 1916 by Serge Diaghilev ‘s Ballets Russes.
Significant choreographers such as Agnes de Mille and Jerome Robbins influenced both the major ballet companies and Broadway musicals in the middle of the century. The dance also plays a prominent role in Hollywood’s musical film with Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in the 1930’s, Gene Kelly in the 1940’s and 1950’s, and Bob Fosse’s choreographies in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Modern dance had moved west when Denishawn School started in Los Angeles in 1915. The exploration of dance’s ethnic roots and idiom that this set in motion has since spread across most of the United States, not least through the recruitment of dancers and choreographers from the universities’ theater and dance departments, which has shaped both the modern and the postmodern. and the classical dance.
Martha Graham founded her School of Contemporary Dance in New York in 1926 and at the same time created a choreographic language that has given rise to modern and postmodern choreographers such as Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Alvin Ailey, Twyla Tharp and others.
Classical ballet got its foundation when George Balanchine opened the School of American Ballet in 1933, which also became the basis for his style-creating efforts with the New York City Ballet, NYCB.
America’s second major classical company, American Ballet Theater, grdl. 1940, is oriented towards an international repertoire of both classical and new works. While NYCB has had the Dane Peter Martins as leader since 1983, a number of other prominent former Balanchine dancers characterize large companies such as the Dance Theater of Harlem and the San Francisco Ballet.
USA (Popular Music)
United States popular music reflects the composition of the nation, and its development is closely linked to the development of the mass media. The music expresses both uniqueness, eg country music is often associated with the Southern States, and local origin, which is often indicated in the name of the music, eg New Orleans jazz, Nashville and west coast rock. 1800’s European immigrants brought with them the musical traditions of their countries of origin. In isolated areas, a tradition-preserving music was then found, while alongside it, music emerged that became an expression of the new, dynamic common culture of immigrants and ethnic minorities. The Hillbilly music, later country & western, which had roots in the English ballad, became the music of the poor whites, just likethe blues music became the poor African Americans. Furthermore, string bands emerged that mixed European instruments such as violin, guitar, mandolin and the African-American banjo.
But a nation’s popular or entertainment music, no matter how composed the nation is, is not the vastly different ethnic or regional sounds, but what one has in common. In the cities, the legacy of the Strauss operettas was further composed; some of the first known American composers were immigrants from Eastern Europe who had been apprenticed in Vienna. And the language alone made the influence of the English music halls nearby. A careful use of the African-American sounds was traced in Stephen Foster’s plantation songs. From St. Louis spread Scott Joplin’s ragtime music to the other big cities. The particular American dynamic was expressed in John Philip Sousasmarcher. One of the first real Broadway stars, George M. Cohan (1878-1942), who could do it all, sing and dance and write his own material, liked to call himself just “song and dance man”, and thus hit a concept, which has been vital to American entertainment ever since. Cohan initially had to fight his way to Tin Pan Alley in New York, where the music publishers lived. Here, piano boxers beat the incoming notes in a confusing cacophony. Over the years, the Tin Pan Alley industry did not become so much a guarantor of the lowest common denominator as it ensured that at least the craft was in order. Every time some of it came to Europe, it was instantly considered typically American in the sense of vulgar. An upstart culture. It took time to get used to. Every time.
In the 20th century, popular music became largely a product of the interplay between black and white musicians in a competition between themselves, which only slowly developed into collegiality. Jazzalderenopened in 1917 when the white New Orleans Orchestra Original Dixieland Jass Band recorded their first record in New York. The showy jazz music quickly became a metropolitan phenomenon with export opportunities. Of crucial importance for the spread of ethnic music was the mass production of cheap gramophones (including Victrola), which made it affordable for groups of people who were either geographically or socially isolated to buy their own music. Talent scouts, often with transportable recording equipment or with access to primitive studios, were sent to remote areas to explore and cover the market. Black blues singers were often eaten away with a one-time fee. White country musicians like Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family, who already appeared on the radio, had more favorable conditions. That whites played alongside blacks was an impossibility both in the public eye and on the advertising-sponsored radio stations. That they still listened to each other across the racial barrier and influenced each other, appears from a record page from 1930, where Jimmie Rodgers is accompanied by the black trumpeter Louis Armstrong, who of course could not get his name on the label. After the Great Depression, the commercial interest in ethnic music slowly waned without disappearing completely.
Precisely Armstrong, both as an instrumentalist and singer, was to have a decisive influence on the 1930’s with his phrasing and his natural swing. Singers like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Bing Crosby all borrowed color from his spectrum. A veteran whom Al Jolsen had sung as if he were shouting up a hall. The improved microphone technique allowed Crosby to communicate intimately and croone, a method that went on to Frank Sinatra. Jazz’s mastery of entertainment music also shot side shots like Glenn Millerselegant dance orchestra. Of crucial importance were the musicals that were staged on Broadway and filmed in Hollywood. Part of the evergreens that eventually became The Great American Songbook was launched by the singing dancer Fred Astaire.
World War II became a time of exception, with movie and entertainment industry stars contributing to the mental rearmament at home and at the front without adding crucial news, and the Cold War and 1950’s were sung in by troubling voices such as Doris Days and Nat King Coles. Based in Chicago, the black rhythm’n ‘blues developed, using the almost overpowered electric guitar as the main instrument with a heavily insistent rhythm as a basis. Just as in 1917 it had been an inferior white band heralding the jazz age, it became a moderate white group, Bill Haley and his Comets, who in 1954 introduced a new concept, rock’n’roll, for the world. But it was a former Tennessee truck driver, Elvis Presley, who established the genre as something other and more than a passing fad. Growing up, Presley had intuitively acquired elements from black gospel and blues and white country & western. In the southern states, white and black music coexisted “equally, but separately,” as it was called with a euphemism. Presley, however, found an expression that was a synthesis between the two cultures. In particular, his physical appearance was so sexually challenging and sweaty that so far it had only been associated with African Americans and at first it was found offensive by a white soloist. In this way, he probably inadvertently paved the way for black artists with a related expression like Little Richard and James Brown.
Although Presley did not write his own material, but was largely supplied by experienced professionals in the industry, he gained colossal influence in posterity. Almost everything in America’s popular music in the coming generations can be derived from his pioneering activities, including the youth culture where it became common to be responsible for both lyrics, music and performance. The boy Robert Zimmerman from Minnesota dreamed of becoming a new Elvis Presley, but under the name Bob Dylan he went other ways when he joined the folk scene in New York. Here he went in the folk songs Woody Guthries and Pete Seegersfootprints, but also studied in depth Harry Smith’s record anthology of recordings from 1926-33 with all kinds of American folk music. From his debut, Dylan became the favorite of intellectuals, but at the same time developed into a catalyst for almost every conceivable impulse from America’s musical heritage. Before he himself really “became electric” and switched from folk to rock, he sang duet with country singer Johnny Cash, which was an extension of the tradition of The Carter Family. Dylan was a contributing factor to the fact that country & western in Europe was no longer considered an internal American affair. The black singer and pianist Ray Charles, who was rooted in jazz, blues and gospel, completed another successful fusion with country music. Later isWillie Nelson, who is predominantly a country singer, has gone the opposite way and has allied himself with well-known jazz musicians. Otherwise, country & western, headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, as the only one of the “classical” American music forms, has remained white to this day. This is due to an inherent conservatism rather than actual prejudice. Similarly, many bluegrass musicians make a virtue of using acoustic instruments such as violin, banjo and double bass instead of electric guitar.
Although British rock groups such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones drew on American role models, a fruitful interaction between the continents emerged at the beginning of the 1970’s. At the same time, the record industry developed almost limitless technical possibilities. The creative process was largely devoted to editing the many tracks of the audio tapes in the studio. It could be cut and mixed almost indefinitely, and the artificial sound image could be presented in a music video, which over time became an independent art form, which eventually got its own presentation forum with the TV station MTV. Eventually, it could be hard to determine what was rock and what was pop. The black record company Motownin Detroit, which under the name soul marketed a kind of worldly gospel, launched new stars like Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and The Jackson Five. After the British invasion, the United States quickly regained the leading position in international popular music. To the technical advances came the development of an ingenious PR apparatus that was eventually able to create everything from nothing. The marketing of especially female soloists like Whitney Houston, Madonna and Britney Spearstestifies to an efficiency never seen before. The record industry, which is constantly threatened by the Internet, has become a cynical but still deliverable anachronism. But music has never lost its close connection with the physical expression. The dance, which has been predominantly African-American inspired, from jitterbug and jive to hip hop, break dance and electric boogie, exciting from Harlem’s dance halls to the streets of the black ghettos, is music’s indispensable companion.
That the United States is still able to renew itself, the case of Michael Jackson shows. At his sudden and unexpected death as a 50-year-old in 2009, there was a global and prompt response. The blend of a well-crafted image, the androgynous Peter Pan attitude, the unwanted revelations from privacy, a gradual external transformation from black to white, all add up impeccably as a new high or low point in American pop culture that has never faded back for human sacrifices and posthumous canonization. But that does not deprive Jackson of the honor of being the latest radical innovator of the ‘song and dance man’ tradition. His television appearance in 1983 at Motown’s 25th anniversary show stated in an uncut, unmanipulated recording that a single artist on a stage could still catch up with probably so many overproduced music videos. With his puppet-like perfectionism, he was not exactly the puppet of a manipulative hinterland,Quincy Jones. The music was at once easy to understand and refined.
After the turn of the millennium, the United States continues to dominate the world of popular music. One can via the mass media dictate what the money-rich teenage audience will buy tomorrow. But also ethnic American music forms enjoy wide attention and connection around. Young people in other cultures have embraced the black rap music, and grown-up people dance line dance to country & western melodies. The United States constantly reserves the exclusive right to coronations: As has so far been unquestionably named The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, and The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, it stands ready to appoint new kings or – perhaps – queens of the World.
USA – film
Thomas A. Edison and William KL Dickson developed in 1888-89 the first film camera, kinetograph, and the first film projection apparatus, kinetoscope, thus laying the foundations for American film.
Thomas A. Edison’s film company behind early masterpiece The Great Train Robbery (1903, The Great Train robbing), directed by Edwin S. Porter, who did some of the first attempts to establish a film language. These efforts continued especially by DW Griffith with a wide range of films culminating in The Birth of a Nation (1915 A nation of birth).
Most films were initially made in New York, but as early as 1907, producers moved west, and during the 1910’s, Hollywood and the Los Angeles film industry became the new center of the film industry. Among the most important directors of the period were Cecil B. DeMille and Thomas H. Ince, and the movie stars include Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Rudolph Valentino, as well as comedians Buster Keaton and Charles Chaplin.
In the 1920’s, when American film became increasingly dominant in the Western world, traveling Europeans gained great importance, Erich von Stroheim with Greed (1924, Gold), FW Murnau, Victor Sjöström, Benjamin Christensen and actors such as Greta Garbo and Emil Jannings. The silent film culminated in masterpieces such as Fred Niblos (1874-1948), Ben-Hur (1925) and Murnaus Sunrise (1927, Sunrise).
Sound films, which emerged with Alan Croslands (1894-1936) The Jazz Singer (1927, Jazz Singer), caused great upheaval. The period 1930-45 is considered the classic Hollywood era.
Companies like Paramount, MGM, United Artists and Warner Bros. worked at a high professional level and with an effective commercial structure with stars such as Greta Garbo, Fred Astaire, Clark Gable, John Wayne and Shirley Temple and genres such as comedy, melodrama, western, gangster film and musical.
Among the most important works of the period were Howard Hawks ‘ Scarface (1932), Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs), John Ford’s Stagecoach (1939, The Diligence), Ernst Lubitsch’ Ninotchka (1939) and Orson Welles ‘ Citizen Kane (1941).
Most famous is Victor Fleming’s Gone With the Wind (1939, Gone With the Wind), which summed up the whole magic of Hollywood. During World War II, film noir flourished, with John Houston’s The Maltese Falcon (1941, The Knight Falcon) with Humphrey Bogart, as well as documentaries such as Frank Capra’s Why We Fight (1942-45).
In the post-war years, a more problem-oriented film art broke through, for example with William Wyler’s The Best Years of Our Lives (1946, The Best Years). But it was also a time of crisis for the film industry: Television became a serious competitor, in 1948 the so-called Paramount ruling forced film companies to sell their cinemas, and the communist persecution created unrest in the film community.
Hollywood tried both to imitate television with film versions of television drama, such as Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men (1957, Twelve Angry Men), as well as to fight it, among other things. with large-scale color and widescreen films such as DeMille’s The Ten Commandments (1956, The Ten Commandments).
In the 1950’s, youth film also emerged as part of the new youth culture with rock’n’roll and idols like Elvis Presley and James Dean. The so-called Method Acting also broke through, with Marlon Brando in Elia Kazan’s A Streetcar Named Desire (1951, Transition to Paradise).
Among the period’s main works were Douglas Cirk’s melodramas, Written on the Wind (1957, The Times of Foolishness), John Ford’s western, among others. The Searchers (1956, The Pursuit), Billy Wilders comedies, among others. Some Like It Hot (1959, Nobody’s Perfect) with Marilyn Monroe, Alfred Hitchcock’s thrillers, among others. Vertigo (1958, A Woman Shadowed) and Psycho (1960), as well as Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory (1957, The Road of Glory).
The 1960’s brought only a moderately young uprising, an actual new wave did not break through in American film. Veterans such as Ford, Hawks and Hitchcock continued, but at the same time the old study structure was disintegrating, and the star system was no longer dominant.
At the end of the period, there were new signals with Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde (1967, Bonnie and Clyde), Mike Nichols’ The Graduate (1967, Beautiful Adult World) and Dennis Hopper’s road movie Easy Rider (1969), all of which focused on bewildered youth.
In the 1970’s came a delayed breakthrough; new directors managed to undermine the classic film narrative, such as John Cassavetes with Husbands (1970, Husbands), Martin Scorsese with Taxi Driver (1976), Robert Altman with Nashville (1975), and old genres were renewed in films such as Bob Fosses Cabaret (1972) ), Francis Ford Coppolas The Godfather (1972), Roman Polanskis Chinatown (1974), Steven Spielbergs Jaws (1975, The Gap of Death), Woody Allen’s Annie Hall(1977, Me and Annie) and George Lucas’ Star Wars (1977, Star Wars). The Vietnam War received special attention, in Michael Ciminos’ The Deer Hunter 1978) and Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979, Doomsday Now).
The 1980’s were marked by the growing use of special effects, in successes such as Spielberg’s ET (1982) and James Cameron’s action film The Terminator (1984) with Arnold Schwarzenegger. But there was also alternative film art such as Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise (1984), David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986) and Steven Soderbergh’s sex, lies and videotape (1989, sex, lies and video).
In the 1990’s, the postmodernist mix of avant-garde and conventional film art continued, for example in Altman’s Short Cuts (1993), Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump (1994), Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (1994) and Joel Coen’s Fargo (1996), while more traditional film art with great audience success emphasized Hollywood’s undiminished position as the world’s entertainment industry with Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993) and Cameron’s Titanic (1997). Both films are also examples of the growing number of films that contain computer generated images, CGI (computer generated images).
This trend continued after the turn of the millennium, when CGI increasingly dominated the most popular films, such as Sam Raimis (b. 1959) Spider-Man (2002) and George Lucas’ Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005, Star Wars : Episode III – The Revenge of the Sith Princes), just like almost all feature film animated films were computer animated rather than hand-drawn.
USA – sports
Sports are an integral part of modern American culture. Some of the advertising industry’s favorite media people are sports stars, and more than half of the 25 most-watched TV shows in the United States are sporting events.
In colonial-era puritanical North America, sports were banned, and only with industrialization and urbanization in the early 1800’s. emerged organized sports. The urban population, especially the working class, attended equestrian, rowing and boxing competitions, while the better-off classes began to play tennis, croquet, golf and polo. However, baseball and American football, which remain the most popular national sports, grew fastest. Important were the university competitions, which began in 1852 with a romatch between Harvard and Yale and later spread to almost all sports.
Sports in the United States can be divided into three types of organization: professional sports, school sports, and sports on a voluntary basis.
The professional sport has made the sport a significant profession, comprising approximately 150 franchises (private companies competing within a league), approximately 15 sports tours (including PGA in golf) and hundreds of promoter initiatives, especially in boxing. Fitness activities also contribute to the profession.
School sports are the foundation of all sports in the United States, and high schools and universities compete in local, regional, and national tournaments, which are so important in terms of status and finances that professional coaches are hired and scholarships are created that can attract the best athletes regardless of academic potential..
On a more voluntary basis, recreational activities are offered by large national organizations such as the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association, YMCA), which was behind the creation of basketball and volleyball in the 1890’s.
In international sports, the USA has been a dominant participant due to its size, and The Olympic Games have been used as a showcase for national prestige and politics. The United States is the undisputed holder of most Olympic medals and has (2006) hosted the Olympics eight times.
United States cuisine is largely influenced by ethnic and regional traditions. From each of the many immigration groups and times, something has been preserved, which has led to a distinct and very varied mixed cuisine. The regional characteristics often form a picture of both the population composition and food production in the region, eg the southern states’ cajun and creole kitchens, where chili, vegetables, seafood from local production are essential ingredients.
Commonly used ingredients in most of the United States are corn, wheat, dried beans, fresh vegetables, beef and pork, cheese and dairy products. In general, the kitchen is high in calories, based on a high intake of animal protein and fat as well as a relatively low intake of fiber. In addition, large quantities of industrially produced low-calorie products are consumed, eg fat-free dairy products. A characteristic feature of the popular cuisine is the spread of the fast food culture as well as the extensive use of semi-finished and finished products.
US cuisine has a major impact on developments in other continents. A number of dishes and ingredients have, for example, been a trip via the USA before they have become popular in Europe, e.g. pizza, pasta, sushi, spring rolls, sandwiches and ice cream. Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, the refined restaurant cuisine in the United States gained great international recognition and set the tone in many respects, including due to its innovative nature.
USA developed in the last two decades to a significant wine country, and in 1999 there were approximately 2000 wineries. Commercial wine production takes place in 43 states, and from a total area of 330,000 ha, approximately 18 mio. hl of wine a year. It places the United States among the five largest wineries in the world. California accounts for almost 90%, but wine is also produced in New York, Texas, Oregon, Washington, Michigan and Idaho. The best wines are world class and are made especially from French grapes, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlot and pinot noir, as well as from zinfandel. In the United States, there are about 150 AVAs, American Viticultural Areas, which indicate the origin of the wine. See also California (wine) andNapa Valley.