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Introduction to American Society

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Introduction to American Society The Country and the People by Sigrid Brevik Wangsness 21 August 2013 Visions of the U.S.A. 1. Bruce Springsteen Born in the U.S.A ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Introduction to American Society


1
Introduction to American Society
The Country and the People by Sigrid Brevik
Wangsness 21 August 2013
2
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3
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4
Visions of the U.S.A.
  • 1. Bruce Springsteen
  • Born in the U.S.A. (1984)
  • Disillusionment, declining older industries,
    social problems

5
Visions of the U.S.A.
  • 2. Ronald Reagan (1980-88)
  • This great nation pride in the U.S.A.
    restored
  • Optimism, patriotism (including the U.S.A.s
    special mission and ability to set a good example
    for the rest of the world), opportunities

6
The Country and the People Diversity
  • Size, geography immense variety of landscape and
    climate
  • The population ethnic and racial diversity
  • Still many common traits, attitudes, values
  • Contradictory values?

7
The CountryMain Regions in the U.S.A.
  • 1. The Northeast
  • Two major parts New England and the Middle
    Atlantic States
  • Historical importance
  • Cultural centre higher education and research

8
The Northeast
  • Innovative business methods / high-tech
    production (vs. decline in heavy industries)
  • Urban, densely populated area social problems
  • Concentration of enormous economic power Wall
    Street

9
2. The South
  • Slavery and the Civil War (1861-1865)
  • Fertile region the old plantations
    (lowland/coastal plains)
  • Since 1950 a populous and dynamic region -
    industrialization

10
The South
  • Tourism - the "sun belt
  • Immigration from Spanish-speaking countries and
    Asia
  • Texas oil and gas

11
3. The Midwest
  • Two major parts
  • A. The Great Lakes area industry,
    e.g. car industry (the rust bowl)
  • B. The Central Basin the prairie states
  • and the great plains (the dust bowl)

12
The Midwest
  • The no. 1 agricultural region of the nation
    (corn, wheat, soybeans)
  • Vast open spaces, fierce climate
  • Also the second largest urban area in the nation.
    Chicago as the regions major city and cultural
    centre

13
4. The West
  • Three major parts the Mountain States (the
    Rockies), the Southwest, the Northwest
  • Cattle and sheep ranching
  • Farming (deserts transformed into farmlands),
    vineyards, fisheries, forestry
  • Mining and petroleum industries, uranium deposits
    atomic and space research

14
The West
  • High-technology industries prestigious
    universities
  • Tourism, gambling and entertainment industries
  • Largest Chinese population outside China
  • Large-scale immigration from Mexico
  • Alaska became the 49th and Hawaii the 50th state
    of the USA in 1959. Geographical extremes.
    Hawaiis population is 45 Asian .

15
The PeopleIs it possible to generalize about
Americans?
  • The U.S.A. is a multi-cultural and multi-racial
    society, consisting of five major groups of
    people (and numerous minor groups).
  • Americans of European origin are still the
    dominant group (around 70 of the population of
    316 million people).

16
The major groups of people in the USA
  • 1. Whites around 224 million
  • 2. Hispanics (Latinos) approx. 50 million
  • 3. African Americans approx. 39 million
  • 4. Asians approx. 15 million
  • 5. Native Americans (American Indians)3m
  • These figures are from the 2010 Census with a
    total US population of 308.7 million people.

17
Changing racial and ethnic diversity
  • Hispanics, African Americans, Asians and Native
    Americans are the largest minorities/ ethnic
    groups.
  • Native Americans First Americans
  • Tribes, reservations, government policy
  • Their situation today

18
African Americans
  • Until very recently the largest minority group in
    the USA
  • Two important decades in black history - a
    hundred years apart the 1860s and the 1960s.
  • The 1860s
  • The 1960s
  • Their situation today

19
The Country and the People Unity
  • Aspects that clearly make the U.S.A. one nation
  • The English language
  • Common ideals, symbols, history The American
    Dream (e.g. freedom, equality of opportunity),
    the Constitution, the flag
  • The political union the federal government, the
    President

20
The Country and the People Unity
  • Aspects that clearly make the U.S.A. one nation
  • A single economic unit
  • US education / schools
  • Mass media
  • A large degree of mobility
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