The Sources of American Culture

There’s a cultural DNA that make Americans think and act. These cultural “genes” is what makes American culture so unique and often so puzzlingly, even frightening, to other cultures, and also to many Americans as well.

Individualism is a way of life which people place their own needs and comforts as being important, regardless of what the larger community may consider. This doesn’t always mean Americans have no concern for others, but it does mean that personal needs and ambitions are a higher priority.

This can create selfishness. Some researchers say that’s why Americans often enter into relationships only if their own needs are met first; and if they’re not satisfied, will end the relationship. This may be why fewer Americans are getting married.

The positive side is that people are encouraged to express themselves. And the culture of “individuality” allows imagination and innovation, which may be the reason many ideas and new technological comes from the USA.

You are what you do. When an American first meets someone for the first time the question they most often ask is: “So, what do you do?” Americans tend to define who they are by the work they do, not by family lineage, ethnic heritage, or religious belief. “You are what you do” is the basic element an American’s identity. Americans work more hours and have fewer vacation days than most Europeans.

Individual Choice describes the way Americans view spirituality and religion. There are many types of religious expressions in the USA, almost one for every taste and style Take your pick!

Of course, American culture is far more complex and diverse than what is documented here. But it’s three factors—individualism, work, and religion are often he most important factors that make American culture what it is, for better or worse.

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