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Travel & Tourism . Tourist Guide to the Country

US History and Culture




History
Before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in North America in 1492, the continent was inhabited by peoples thought to have been descended from nomadic Mongolian tribes who had travelled across the Barents Sea.
The first wave of European settlers, mainly English, French and Dutch, crossed the Atlantic in the 17th century and colonised the Eastern Seaboard.

The restrictions on political rights and the punitive taxation which the British government imposed on the American colonists led to the American War of Independence 񢅯�), with the Declaration of Independence being signed in 1776. The outcome was a humiliating defeat for the English King, George III.

The American Constitution which was born of this victory has been imitated by many other countries. By 1853, the boundaries of the United States were, with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii, as they are today, following a period of settlement, purchases from the French and Spanish and annexation of Indian and Mexican lands.
Economic activity in the southern States centred on plantation agriculture. Attempts by liberally–inclined Republicans, led by Abraham Lincoln, to put an end to slavery on which it depended were fiercely opposed.

The election of Lincoln to the Presidency in 1861 precipitated a political crisis in which seven southern States (joined later by three others) seceded from the Union, resulting in the American Civil War.
The more powerful and better–equipped Union forces prevailed after four years of fighting. After the war, the country entered a period of consolidation, building up an industrial economy and settling the vast interior region of America commonly known as the Midwest.
The mid– and late㪫th century also saw the formulation of an American foreign policy with two principal elements: formal diplomatic and trading links were established with the old colonial powers; while on the American continent, the USA sought to establish itself as the regional power – a policy espoused by the Monroe Doctrine 񢆞) which laid the basis for intervention in support of the USA’s ‘national interest’.

The latter has been a constant feature of US policy ever since. Successful diplomatic and commercial overtures were also made to Japan; this in turn paved the way for the growth of US power in the Pacific.
In Europe, US intervention in 1917 proved decisive for the allies, and signalled the emergence of the USA as a global power. Driven by free’market economic policies and innovative developments in technology and production methods – notably the growth of the motor industry – the USA had by this time undeniably become the world’s leading economy.
The USA entered World War II following the Japanese attack on the US fleet at Pearl Harbour, although its earlier neutrality had been decidedly favourable to the Allied Powers, especially Britain.

Culture
Today American culture often sets the pace in modern style. For much of its early history, however, the United States was considered culturally provincial and its arts second-rate, especially in painting and literature, where European artists defined quality and form.
American artists often took their cues from European literary salons and art schools, and cultured Americans traveled to Europe to become educated.


 

Acknowledgements: ASIATRAVELMART.COM








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