|American Unity has its Differences
Throughout the world, there are many different types of people, each of whom associates with a different culture, society, kin, or common identity. Within these groups, there is usually an underlying theme that allows members to relate to each other, and contributes to the common cohesiveness within the group. America, for example, is a nation united by several such themes, like patriotism or the common belief that America is home. These ideas gather us together and, in doing so, create American culture. United by a common culture, all Americans have similar unifying thoughts and beliefs, but the rest of their lives are filled with different views American thought is not ordinary, instead actively demonstrating its unique and individualistic patterns in a variety of different instances.
Throughout history, the concept of unique thinking and ideas has been as much a critical part of American history as pride and nationalism have been. This nation began with a unique thought which sparked the American Revolution during the 18th century. Not many back then dared cross the powerful nation of Britain, one of the main superpowers of the 18th century. When Britain colonized North America, the beginnings of the new nation did not take long to develop their own autonomous and distinctive desire for that which they did not have. Instead of sticking to the archetypal practice of people under rule: bending to the will of the declared leader, the new colonies responded to being held under Britain’s thumb, and being taxed for England’s wars without American representatives in parliament, by revolting. This act, which led to the creation of the United States of America, is an example of how American thought from the start has been unique and incomparable. Years later, American opinions would continue to evolve and Americans begin to challenge the custom of slavery, which had been held for ages; an activist notion that divided the nation and led to the American Civil War.
American Democracy, a fundamental concept, demonstrates uniqueness in that it is based on giving all Americans an equal opportunity in life. In other nations, like India for example, people are divided into social classes determined by birth, social position, economic status, and similar factors. However, although this type of freedom is an American ideal, it is not as firm as envisioned as it is in reality. Classes do exist in the United States, ranging from sub-poverty, to mid-class levels, to upper class and rich levels. Just as in other countries with more rigid social ranks, general treatment of different classes in America is noticeable. For instance, a celebrity, representative of the upper/elite class would in many cases be treated in a much more superior manner than a high school teacher, representative of the middle class. Markers of status, like clothes can intensify bring about this type of discrimination, like in a restaurant for instance. A server would be more likely to give more attention to an individual dressed in nice clothes and ordering expensive items, as they would be more likely to have more money and therefore leave a large tip. Unlike other countries, though, the individual has the ability to change social classes in America. Though someone may be born into poverty or even riches, it depends solely on that person’s actions and lifestyle to determine whether they remain in that lifestyle and class or not. If an individual possesses the drive and motivation to work hard and do what is necessary, like putting in extra effort at work to move up in job positions and earn a better salary, then it is entirely possible to move up to a higher social class. The same is true for higher-class individuals, who can go “from riches to rags” with poor decision-making and money management skills, like losing money to an addiction like gambling or alcohol.
America is also unique in the way variations of American culture continually surface and grow, with time, into subcultures. These subcultures each begin with a certain point and each point starts with a unique thought, one that challenges the ordinary and creates a new strain in the gene of American thought. In the 1950s, the music genre of rock and roll began to grow in popularity from its jazz and blues roots, appealing heavily to the young generation. Young adults brought meaning to the word “teenager” as they established their new unique thoughts and attitudes with their new colorful clothes, dance styles, and adolescent methods of having fun. The beatniks of the 1960’s began as a divergence from mainstream, middle-class thought; a subculture that strayed from the typical blue or white collared lifestyle and embraced the creative side of the human spirit through poetry and music. The beatnik generation in turn led to the hippie generation of the 1970s, which was another sect of the typical American culture. The hippie generation was characterized by alternate lifestyles, like different types of clothing, recreational drug usage, and a laid back, music-oriented lifestyle.
Throughout history, Americans have also used thoughts and ideas of other nations and incorporated them into American culture. For example, early American auto engineers drew on automobile designs created by Europeans to create their own line of vehicles. American automobile entrepreneur, Henry Ford, then took the idea of manufacturing cars and added to the process, creating the idea of a car assembly line that could make cars faster than by hand. Though the concept of the car was not originally American, it has since been heavily woven into American thought over the last century and is now an integral element in describing American culture. Since the concept of the gasoline car was an original idea of the 1900s and late 1800s, then it could possibly be inferred that American thought is ordinary and not unique because it duplicated the ideas of other nations. The problem with this, though, is that it assumes that the American recreation of the car was the same as in country or countries which it was copied from. Instead of being unoriginal, however, American engineers added their own ideas and thoughts to their car designs to create their own unique car concepts and manufactured cars that were exclusive to the United States.
Overall, American thought is anything but ordinary. America has proved this from the start as its first beginnings as a British colony, to severing the ties of British rule, to becoming the new nation of the United States and soon after abolishing slavery. The very concept around which the American government and image is built promotes individuality and encourages people to develop unique lifestyles and attitudes. Core components of democracy, like free speech, freedom of religion, and the pursuit of happiness ensure that people have the rights to become who they want and as unique as they please, so long as it is within reason of society and the law. Subcultures like the teenage community, the beatniks, and the hippies demonstrate how individuals and groups of people express uniqueness and contribute their ideas and views towards American thought. Bonded together as one nation under a common flag and country, Americans have many unifying views and ideas, yet at the same time just as many if not more diversities. And even though American thought has emulated many ideas of other countries and cultures, its alterations of these ideas and adoption of the newly created forms ensures that they are unique to America and are not the same as those in rest of the world. American thought may be criticized for many issues, but not having an American unique streak is indisputably and unquestionably not one of them.