Summary American Civilization: An Introduction

ISBN-10 0415822025 ISBN-13 9780415822022
300 Flashcards & Notes
19 Students
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This is the summary of the book "American Civilization: An Introduction". The author(s) of the book is/are Mauk, David C Oakland, John. The ISBN of the book is 9780415822022 or 0415822025. This summary is written by students who study efficient with the Study Tool of Study Smart With Chris.

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Summary - American Civilization: An Introduction

  • 1 The American context

  • How is the American society divided
    Although the government takes measures to try and unify the amercian people, they remain socially, religiously, politically, ethnically, divided. 
  • People inside and outside of the US have very varied and conflicting ideas and opinions, negative and positive,  about what it means to be an American and about the country and its culture. This is due to the many differences in  religion, political views, wealth and ethnical origins. 

  • What is the main motive for America's current foreign politics? How would you describe these politics, name a few  examples

    Proteciotism: nine eleven terrorist attacks, It is the aim of the US to protect their economical interests and to keep its citizens safe from terrorism. They have taken all kinds of actions to keep America (and the world) safe. They are much more strict at their borders and they have taken military actions in e.g. Afghanistan and Iraq. 

  • What makes the American community so diverse

    early migrations of people from all over the world (Asia, Vikings=)check and settlement of various European peoples, with specific social values,  religions and institutional structures.

  • What is exceptionalism?
    The Americans think that  their culture and their ideology is best and that they have a mission to teach and help protect the other countries in the world.
  • What is egalitarianism?
    equal rights for every cititizen, no matter what color, belief etc. 
  • What is utopianism
    striving for a perfect society where everyone is equal, has the same rights, noone is poor or deprived of anything. 
  • name 6 important central historical factors that have conditioned the American society
    large-scale immigration, treatment of native and african americans, ideologies, exceptionalism, Civil War, political polarisation, capitalism
  • What is capitalism
    an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods where prices, production, and the distribution of goods  are determined mainly by competition in a free market
  • What is idividualism
    a theory stressing the importance of political and economic independence of the individual and individual initiative, action, and interests
  • What was dominant religion of the first immigrants and what where their political principles and social principles
    white, anglo-american protestants; political principles: democracy, grassroots sovereignty, and skepticism about government; social principles: individualism, Protestant work-etchic, rule of the law
  • What is nativism
    discrimination against others by the indigenous population, racism
  • What is populism
    the political doctrine that supports the rights and powers of the common people in their struggle with the privileged elite
  • What do most Americans think of immigration nowadays
    They want to reduce legal immigration because they think they think all these different people with very different beliefs and cultures are a threat to American values, customs and the labour martket and they think illegal immigration should be stopped
  • what about the religious culture in Amercia
    has its routs in the ancient Native american beliefs and the religions of the various immigrants . Many immigrants came to America to be able to practice their religion and escape persecution in their homeland. . Their were periods when religious observance was low and there were great awakenings. When compared other states, in america there is strong religious belief, and a diversity of religions. The influece of religion on Amercian life causes debate. 
  • Which are the elements that shape (and bind) Amercan society  (politically speaking)
    the Constitution and the law
  • What sort of a government do the Americans want 
    They want minimal government, they want indiviualism, democracy
  • What is pluralism and what is the opposite
    Society in which members of diverse ethnic, racial, religious, or social groups  live next to each other, coexisting while maintaining  their traditional belief and customs, within the confines of a common civilization. the opposite is assimilation, where all different groups blend together to become one new group.
  • Name some of the most important issues of dissatisfaction 
     employment, racial and religious issues, issues such as immigration, abortion, gay marriage, death penallty and gun control, crime, healthcare, gap between rich and poor, decline of ethicas and moral
  • Name the pillars of the economic culture of the USA and name some consequences of this culture
    individualism and free enterprise, little or no government interferance, 
    tough competition, survival of the fittest. Disparaties of wealth, social inequalities and unequal life opportunities. 
  • What do Americans mean when they are skeptical of big business and big government.
    They do not want certain enterprises or the government to obtain too much power, this will lead to exploitation, abuse and corruption.
  • What is Americanization and what is the opposite
    assimilation of all different ethnic groups to one Anglo-America based identity, a national unity, a melting pot. Out o many one.  The opposite is diversity (ethnic pluralism), where different cultures coexist, more like a stew. Exceptance of diversity within national structures such as the law. 
  • What is bilingualism and where
    speaking two languages; in California 
  • What is the Star Spangled Banner
    the national flag, pledge of allegiance to the flag
  • How do they try to achieve unity, Americanness
    by emphasizing  shared aspects such as the pledge of allegiance to the flag, the constitution, the declaration of independence, 
  • Name some 'typical' aspects of Americanness
    self-reliance, democracy, distrust of government, independence, egalitarism, opportunity, respect for the law
  • Key feature of American life
    how to  cope with the tensions  resulting  from combing the traditional ideals  with the actual reality of American Society .
  • Name some 'American traits'
    Qualities that are said to be typically American are: restlessness, change and mobility, seeking new horizons and new experiences, believing in potential and progress, seeking self-improvement and self-definition. These characteristics are attributed to the early immigrants who kept moving the frontier further to the west. However they also respect formalities, laws and  order, traditions  and they communalism and charity  are also an important feature in Amercian life.
  • Who are the unifiers and the pluralists
    unifiers want assimilation , one American identiy, the pluralists want different cultures living next to each other, cooexisting , respecting each others different customs and attitudes. 
  • How do the Americans feel about their government
    they feel the people inWashington are out of touch with the people in the country.
  • What can you say about the Universities in America
    universities in Amercia are private institutions and incredibly expensive. This means that only the very rich can afford to send their children to university. Maybe if you have a exceptional talent in for instance sports you may get a scholarship.  
  • When you think of a Amercan national identity, what is  the problem?
    Because of the ethnic diversity, 
  • Why do others often have a strange and negative idea about who Americans are
    Because we get our idea from press, movies and television and they always show the extremes. 
  • What is the American Dream
    That is the promiss that every one can persue their potential and become what they want. One but; you are expected to do it by yourself. Selfsufficiency is essential. It's a hard society. 
  • Why is America a meritocracy
    Because the society is very competative and if you do not have a lot of money you need to be excellent in something or you are not likely to succeed and you may feel like a nobody.
  • What is secessionn
    that is the withdrawal of 11 states from the union in 1861
  • What is ethnic
    relating to or characteristic of a human group sharing the same race, religion etc. ,
  • consensus
    general agreement, often based on a 
  • What is the constitution 
     this is the document in which the fundamental rights and duties of citizens of a country are stated as well as  the authorities of the government and how  government is organised. 
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Latest added flashcards

What are the waves of immigrants to the USA?
First wave: Spanish and French
Why are the settlers who established the colonies named founders?
They created the customs, laws and instituitions to which later arrivals had to adjust
What caused the conflict between the Europeans and Native Americans?
European societies very diverse, so could not live together. 
Native American cultures were related, similar in broad outlines
What is the view of multiculturalism
Multiple traditions are the ideal and no cultural group receives priority
What is embodied by the sonnet 'The New Colossus'
Amercians' and the immigrants' core idealism, pride and naivety
What is the pluralistic view?
The nation should be a composite of many national backgrounds, races and cultures.
What is the Bracero program?
temporary importation of farm labor from Mexico due to wartime labor shortages
What were the 3 pull factors for the second wave immigrants?
1. appartently unlimited supply of land
2. work
3. discovery of gold in California
What were the 3 push factors for the second wave immigrants?
1. religious persecutions
2. Political unrest
3. Economic push factors
How many waves of immigrants were there and what were they called?
The first wave - colonial immigration
The second wave - the old immigrants
The Third wave - the new immigrants
The fourth wave - 1965 to the present