America and British Traditions in Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

So alike yet distinct did these early writers create, that they are now required reading in British schools (Duquette).

In terms of religion, American culture emulated Britain less than many of the early settler were reactionary against British conservatism. Several of the original 13 Colonies were established by English, Irish, and Scottish settlers who were fleeing religious persecution. By 1787, in fact, the United States became one of the first countries to place a freedom of religion code into law, even if it was only at the Federal level (Gaustad).

Thankfully, America has a taste for more exotic foods and cuisine than the British, but if we think of many of the celebrated Holidays, they either derive from or are part of the British tradition. Thanksgiving, for instance, is now a traditional American holiday evolving from the Pilgrim's plight during the first winter of their landing. Christmas, Easter, and Lent are Christian European holidays; St. Patrick's Day a celebration of Irish Immigration; Independence Day (July 4th) celebrates the anniversary of America's split with Britain; and Halloween is part of an ancient Druidic tradition, going back even before the Norman invasion of England.

In sports, America has taken soccer and rugby, and until recently, turned them into a frenetic fantasy for American football. Similarly, baseball is clearly all-American. In the visual arts, much like literature, there was a reaction to the Industrial Revolution and tradition from Britain as well. Theater became distinctly American in the early part of the 20th century, but has imported a number of British musicals that have risen to the stratosphere in America (Cats, Evita, Phantom of the Opera, etc.). Similarly, America has its own musical tradition, and American Jazz, Pop, and Swing are very popular in Europe. But it was the British invasion that established Rock-And-Roll as the predominant new music of the late 1950s and 1960s. In fact, because of the shared language, exposure to American troops during and after World War II, and a shared youth subculture of the late 1950s, that caused a new revival of a music that would change history: the Beatles, Herman's Hermits, the Dave Clark Five, The Animals, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Moody Blues, and Cream -- all developing out of American Rock and then back into American rock as the predominant British influence (The British Invasion).

It is interesting to note that when viewing the literature on American and British culture that a clear pattern emerges. First, British culture overwhelmed early American settlements and colonial times. Then, once America had her independence, Britain still exerted influences in literature, education, the arts, and even diplomacy. Then, as the British Empire pinnacled under Victoria, the entire political, social, and cultural makeup of the world changed. Two World Wars were fought, the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, and a five-decade spread of espionage and covert warfare with Britain and America aligned against the Soviet Union. During the 20th and into the 21st centuries, then, the British influence turned to more of a shared cultural heritage and use of the media to increase the speed and veracity of a sharing culture -- both sides continually influencing one another in fashion, the arts, movies, entertainment, and now, even politics (Gienow-Hecht).

REFERENCES

Ciment, J., ed. Colonial America: An Encyclopedia of Social, Political, Cultural, and Economic History. New York: Sharpe Reference, 2005.

Duquette, E. Loyal Subjects: Bonds of Nation, Race and Allegiance in 19th Century America. Trenton, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2010.

Gaustad, E. Proclaim Liberty Througout All the Land: A History of Church and State in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Gienow-Hecht, J. "A European Considers the Influence of American Culture." 1 Febuary 2006. America.gov - Engaging the World. .

"John Bull and Uncle Sam - Four Centuries of British-American Relations." 30 December 2005. Library of Congress. .

"The British Invasion." 2010. All Music.com. .

"The United States." 2010. CIA World Factbook. .

Turner, F.J. "The Frontier in American History." 1009. Project Gutenberg. .

Sources Used in Document:

REFERENCES

Ciment, J., ed. Colonial America: An Encyclopedia of Social, Political, Cultural, and Economic History. New York: Sharpe Reference, 2005.

Duquette, E. Loyal Subjects: Bonds of Nation, Race and Allegiance in 19th Century America. Trenton, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2010.

Gaustad, E. Proclaim Liberty Througout All the Land: A History of Church and State in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Gienow-Hecht, J. "A European Considers the Influence of American Culture." 1 Febuary 2006. America.gov - Engaging the World. .

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