The United States of America (also called the United States, the U.S., the USA, America, and the States) is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district. The country is situated mostly in central North America, where its forty-eight contiguous states and Washington, D.C., the capital district, lie between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, bordered by Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. The state of Alaska is in the northwest of the continent, with Canada to the east and Russia to the west across the Bering Strait. The state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The country also possesses several territories in the Pacific and Caribbean.At 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km2) and with over 312 million people, the United States is the third or fourth largest country by total area, and the third largest by both land area and population. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT AMERICA
Indigenous peoples descended from forebears who migrated from Asia have inhabited what is now the mainland United States for many thousands of years. This Native American population was greatly reduced by disease and warfare after European contact. The United States was founded by thirteen British colonies located along the Atlantic seaboard. On July 4, 1776, they issued the Declaration of Independence, which proclaimed their right to self-determination and their establishment of a cooperative union. The rebellious states defeated the British Empire in the American Revolution, the first successful colonial war of independence. The current United States Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787; its ratification the following year made the states part of a single republic with a strong central government. The Bill of Rights, comprising ten constitutional amendments guaranteeing many fundamental civil rights and freedoms, was ratified in 1791.Through the 19th century, the United States displaced native tribes, acquired the Louisiana territory from France, Florida from Spain, part of the Oregon Country from the United Kingdom, Alta California and New Mexico from Mexico, and Alaska from Russia, and annexed the Republic of Texas and the Republic of Hawaii. Disputes between the agrarian South and industrial North over the expansion of the institution of slavery and states' rights provoked the Civil War of the 1860s. The North's victory prevented a permanent split of the country and led to the end of legal slavery in the United States. By the 1870s, its national economy was the world's largest. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a military power. It emerged from World War II as the first country with nuclear weapons and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union left the United States as the sole superpower. The country accounts for 41% of global military spending, and is a leading economic, political, and cultural force in the world. Flag The national flag of the United States of America (or the American flag) consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton (referred to specifically as the "union") bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars (top and bottom) alternating with rows of five stars. The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 states and the 13 stripes represent the thirteen colonies that rebelled against the British monarchy and became the first states in the Union. Nicknames for the flag include the "Stars and Stripes", "Old Glory," and "The Star-Spangled Banner" (also the name of the national anthem).
What Is the Meaning of the American Eagle Symbolism?
The American bald eagle has been closely associated with the United States since its inclusion as part of the Great Seal of the United States, adopted by the Continental Congress on June 20, 1782. The bald eagle was first suggested as part of the seal by William Barton, a Philadelphia lawyer with experience in heraldry and an assistant to the seal design committee. Barton explained, "The eagle displayed is the symbol of supreme power and authority, and signifies the Congress.
The Statue of Liberty
(Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture onLiberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886. The statue, a gift to the United States from the people of France, is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue has become an icon of freedom and of the United States.
Timeline of American History
United States War Casualties
Native Americans in the United States
are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-daycontinental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, andethnic groups, many of which survive as intact political communities. The terms used to refer to Native Americans have beencontroversial. According to a 1995 US Census Bureau set of home interviews, most of the respondents with an expressed preference refer to themselves as American Indians or Indians, and this term has been adopted by major newspapers and some academic groups.Since the end of the 15th century, the migration of Europeans to the Americas, and their importation of Africans as slaves, has led to centuries of conflict and adjustment between Old and New World societies. Europeans created most of the early written historical record about Native Americans after the colonists' immigration to the Americas. Many Native Americans lived as hunter-gatherersocieties and told their histories by oral traditions. In many groups, women carried out sophisticated cultivation of numerous varieties of staple crops: maize, beans and squash. The indigenous cultures were quite different from those of the agrarian, proto-industrial, mostly Christian immigrants from western Eurasia. Many Native cultures were matrilineal; the people occupied lands for use of the entire community, for hunting or agriculture. Europeans had patriarchal cultures and had developed concepts of individual property rights with respect to land that were extremely different. The differences in culture between the established native Americans and immigrant Europeans, as well as shifting alliances among different nations of each culture through the centuries, caused extensive political tension, ethnic violence and social disruption. The American Indians suffered high fatalities from the contact with infectious Eurasian diseases, to which they had no acquired immunity.Epidemics after European contact caused the greatest loss of life for indigenous populations. Estimates of the pre-Columbian population of what today constitutes the U.S. vary significantly, ranging from 1 million to 18 million. After the colonies revolted against Great Britain and established the United States of America, President George Washington and Henry Knox conceived of the idea of "civilizing" Native Americans in preparation for assimilation as United States citizens. Assimilation (whether voluntary as with the Choctaw, or forced) became a consistent policy through American administrations. During the 19th century, the ideology of Manifest destiny became integral to the American nationalist movement. Expansion of European-American populations to the west after the American Revolution resulted in increasing pressure on Native American lands, warfare between the groups, and rising tensions. In 1830, the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, authorizing the government to relocate most Native Americans of the Deep South from their homelands east of the Mississippi River to the West, to accommodate European-American expansion from the coastal United States. Government officials thought that by decreasing the conflict between the groups, they could help the Indians survive. American Indians have continued to live throughout the South. They have organized and been recognized as tribes since the late 20th century by several states and, in some cases, by the federal government.The first European Americans to encounter the western tribes were generally fur traders and trappers. There were also Jesuitmissionaries active in the Northern Tier. As United States expansion reached into the American West, settler and miner migrants came into increasing conflict with the Great Plains tribes. These were complex nomadic cultures based on using horses and traveling seasonally to hunt bison. They carried out strong resistance to United States incursions in the decades after the American Civil War, in a series of "Indian Wars", which were frequent up until the 1890s. The coming of transcontinental railroad increased pressures on the western tribes. Over time, the U.S. forced a series of treaties and land cessions by the tribes, and established reservations for them in many western states. U.S. agents encouraged Native Americans to adopt European-style farming and similar pursuits, but the reservation lands were often too poor and dry to support such uses.Contemporary Native Americans have a unique relationship with the United States because they may be members of nations, tribes, or bands of Native Americans who have sovereignty or independence from the government of the United States. Since the late 1960s, American Indian activism has led to the building of cultural infrastructure and wider recognition: they have founded independent newspapers and online media; FNX, the first Native American television channel (2011), community schools, tribal colleges, and tribal museums and language programs; Native American studies programs in major universities; and national and state museums. American Indian authors have been increasingly published; American Indians work as academics, policymakers, doctors and in a wide variety of occupations. Cultural activism has led to an expansion of efforts to teach and preserve indigenous languages for younger generations. Their societies and cultures flourish within a larger population of descendants of immigrants (both voluntary and involuntary): African, Asian, Middle Eastern, and European peoples. In 1924, Native Americans who were not already U.S. citizens weregranted citizenship by Congress.
The American Dream
The term “American Dream” is used in a number of ways, but essentially the American Dreamis an idea which suggests that all people can succeed through hard work, and that all people have the potential to live happy, successful lives. Many people have expanded upon or refined the definition of the American Dream, and this concept has also been subject to a fair amount of criticism. Many people believe that the structure of American society belies the idealistic goal of the American Dream, pointing to examples of inequality rooted in class, race, and ethnic origin which suggest that the American Dream is not attainable for all.The idea of an American Dream is older than the United States, dating back to the 1600s, when people began to come up with all sorts of hopes and aspirations for the new and largely unexplored continent. Many of these dreams focused on owning land and establishing prosperous businesses which would theoretically generate happiness, and some people also incorporated ideals of religious freedom into their American Dreams. During the Great Depression, several people wrote about an American Dream, codifying the concept and entrenching it in American society.For people who believe in the American dream, anything is attainable through hard work. The concept plays on the idea that American is a classless society, although it is obviously not, as any honest examination of the United States will reveal. The idealistic vision of the AmericanDream also assumes that people are not discriminated against on the basis of race, religion, gender, and national origin, another thing which is unfortunately not true in the United States.Critics of the American dream also point out that many versions of the dream equate prosperity with happiness, and that happiness may not always be that simple. These critics suggest that the American Dream may always remain tantalizingly out of reach for some Americans, making it more like a cruel joke than a genuine dream.People with a more skeptical view of the American Dream sometimes say that the AmericanDream represents the possibility of living better than your parents did, and a desire among parents for their children to lead happy lives. This is especially true in the immigrant community, as many immigrants have come from extremely difficult circumstances.Some one who manages to achieve his or her version of the American Dream may be said to be “living the dream,” and everyone has a unique interpretation of what the American Dreammight be. Fundamentally, the American Dream is about hope and the potential for change, and one could argue that people who enact change in some way, even a small way, are living thedream.
The United States is a multicultural nation, home to a wide variety of ethnic groups, traditions, and values. Aside from the now small Native American and Native Hawaiian populations, nearly all Americans or their ancestors immigrated within the past five centuries. Mainstream American culture is a Western culture largely derived from the traditions of European immigrants with influences from many other sources, such as traditions brought by slaves from Africa. More recent immigration from Asia and especially Latin America has added to a cultural mix that has been described as both a homogenizing melting pot, and a heterogeneous salad bowl in which immigrants and their descendants retain distinctive cultural characteristics. American culture is considered the most individualistic in the world. Though the American Dream, or the perception that Americans enjoy highsocial mobility, plays a key role in attracting immigrants, other developed nations offer greater social mobility. While the mainstream culture holds that the United States is a classless society, scholars identify significant differences between the country's social classes, affectingsocialization, language, and values The American middle and professional class has initiated many contemporary social trends such asmodern feminism, environmentalism, and multiculturalism. Americans' self-images, social viewpoints, and cultural expectations are associated with their occupations to an unusually close degree. While Americans tend greatly to value socioeconomic achievement, being ordinary or average is generally seen as a positive attribute.
The Family Meal / Family Together at the End of the Day
Although modern life seems to have overtaken The Family Meal in many areas, there are still many American Families that practice the Custom of either the Daily (evening) Family Meal or a Sunday Family Meal. Often, the Sunday Family Meal is a time for gathering children and grandchildren.
Talk over the Day's Activities
As hectic as Family schedules can be, sometimes the Family Meal is the only way to get everyone together to talk over the happenings of the day or discuss upcoming family plans or events. This is also a good setting to share Family Values through stories and discussions that inevitably will take place. It is important for parents to seize this opportunity to share values.
Many cultures have rituals associated with them that teach Values. 4th Of July picnics have become a Ritual in The United States for example. The meaning behind the Ritual is a celebration of Freedom. Religious Holydays have Rituals associated with them that reinforce Religious Values. Many Cultures teach History or Values through Ritual Meals. Significance is attached to every aspect of the Meal.
An American Family Ritual Meal
The below arrangement relates each Day of the week to a particular relationship of Food Group, Color, and Principle or Value. It is all tied together by a Ritual Meal where all of the Food groups, Colors and Principles and Values are celebrated. If one understands the significance of the Days of the week, Universal Principles, Human Values, and the Colors; the Ritual Meal carries with it significant lessons for life
Day of The Week
The 7 Days of the week are used to remember a particular human Principle or Value or to celebrate a Ritual Meal. Monday through Friday focus on 5 Human Values while Saturday focuses on the 2 Universal Principles of Life. Sunday is used to celebrate a Ritual Family Meal that recognizes the Principles and Values through the symbolism offered by Colors and Food Groups.
The 5 Food Groups consist of Grains, Vegetables, Fruits, Meat/Fish, and Dairy. The first 3 Food Groups are "Primary" Food Groups because they do not feed on other living things. The last 2 Food Groups are "Secondary" Food Groups because their sources feed on "Primary" Food Groups.
Principle or Value
The 2 Universal Principles are The Principle of Human Freedom and The Principle of Universal Harmony. The 5 Human Values consist of 3 "Primary" Human Values: Integrity, Self-Discipline, and Proactivity; and 2 "Secondary" Human Values: Empathy, and Humility. The "Primary" Values are prerequisites to the "Secondary" Values. Mastery of these Values is required before we can master those necessary to interact with other Human Beings.
The Candle In The Window / Family Tradition
The Tradition of placing a Candle in the Window goes back to the Colonial times in the United States and back much further in time for other cultures. It is a Tradition practiced throughout the year. It symbolizes the warmth and security of the Family hearth and signals loyalty to Familymembers and loved ones who are not present in the home. At Christmas Time it follows the tradition of The Colonial Williamsburg Christmas
Tie a Yellow Ribbon/ Family Tradition
Display of a Yellow Ribbon is a sign of loyalty to family, friends or loved ones who are welcome home. Customarily it is used to welcome home men and women who have been away for a long time under adverse or particularly difficult circumstances such as war or prison.
Marriage and Weddings Family Tradition
The United States is "a melting pot" of cultures each with their own unique Marriage Customs and Traditions. There has been a set of Customs and Traditions generally accepted as common to Marriage in The United States unless the marriage is a Common Law Marriage.Dating is the accepted pre-engagement practice between couples. Families generally establish requirements for the details of acceptable activities, time of day, single or group dating etc. The age, personality and maturity of dating children generally drive the conditions set by parents if the children are still at home.Love between the couples is believed to be a prerequisite to marriage.Proposal of marriage by the man and acceptance by the woman results in an Engagement. Couples enter into marriage with the belief that the relationship is permanent. The engagement is marked by the gift of an Engagement Ring from the man proposing to the woman accepting.A Marriage License is required by all States including a Blood Test and a prescribed waiting period.A Wedding Rehearsal Dinner is usually celebrated between the immediate families of spouses in the late afternoon the day before the wedding. The Groom's Family traditionally provides for this celebration.A Bachelor Party is held for the Groom and usually sponsored by The Best Man the night before the Wedding. A Bridal Shower is usually sponsored by The Bride's Maid. It has become very popular now for The Bride's Maid to also sponsor aBachelorette Party for the Bride. The Wedding Ceremony is most often performed as part of a religious ceremony each with its own specific customs and traditions. On the day of the wedding the Groom does not see the Bride until the actual ceremony. As Custom would have it from Victorian Times: the Bride wears Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and a Sixpence in her shoe.Rings are exchanged to mark the permanent commitment of the new spouses to each other.A Wedding Reception is usually held after the ceremony for all family and friends to celebrate. The Bride's Family usually provides for this celebration.A Honeymoon is taken by the Bride and Groom to a secret place where they go off for their first night together in Marriage. It is thought that the Honeymoon Custom was established to avoid the European Custom Charivari where family and friends banged on pots and pans outside the couple's bedroom their first night of marriage
U. S. National Holidays & Celebrations /Celebrates
Americans find many reasons to celebrate. On a National scale there are 10 Federal Holidays. Not all States recognize the same Holidays as the Federal Government. States and local governments have a separate list of Holidays which may be different from the Federal list. Holidays may have a religious or non-religious origin. One thing Holidays do have in common: most companies give us a paid day off to celebrate! There are many other Days with attached significance that provide us the opportunity to enrich our lives. In any case, Americans love any excuse to celebrate!
From The Office of Personnel Management:
Federal law (5 U.S.C. 6103) establishes the following public holidays for Federal employees. Please note that most Federal employees work on a Monday through Friday schedule. For these employees, when a holiday falls on a non workday -- Saturday or Sunday -- the holiday usually is observed on Monday (if the holiday falls on Sunday) or Friday (if the holiday falls on Saturday). Following are the Federal Holidays:
New Year's Day
Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
The melting pot is a metaphor for a heterogeneous society becoming more homogeneous, the different elements "melting together" into a harmonious whole with a common culture. It is particularly used to describe the assimilation of immigrants to the United States; the melting-together metaphor was in use by the 1780s.After 1970 the desirability of assimilation and the melting pot model was challenged by proponents of multiculturalism, who assert that cultural differences within society are valuable and should be preserved, proposing the alternative metaphor of the mosaic or salad bowl – different cultures mix, but remain distinct.In terms of immigrants to the United States, the "melting pot" process has been equated with Americanization, that is, cultural assimilation and acculturation. The "melting pot" metaphor implies both a melting of cultures and intermarriage of ethnicities, yet cultural assimilation or acculturation can also occur without intermarriage. Thus African-Americans are fully culturally integrated into American culture and institutions. Yet more than a century after the abolition of slavery, intermarriage between African-Americans and other ethnicities is much less common than between different white ethnicities, or between white and Asian ethnicities. Intermarriage between whites and non-whites, and especially African-Americans, has long been a taboo in the United States, and was illegal in many US states (see anti-miscegenation laws) until 1967.
American public education is operated by state and local governments, regulated by the United States Department of Education through restrictions on federal grants. Children are required in most states to attend school from the age of six or seven (generally, kindergarten or first grade) until they turn eighteen (generally bringing them through twelfth grade, the end of high school); some states allow students to leave school at sixteen or seventeen. About 12% of children are enrolled in parochial or nonsectarian private schools. Just over 2% of children are homeschooled. The United States has many competitive private and public institutions of higher education. According to prominent international rankings, 13 or 15 American colleges and universities are ranked among the top 20 in the world. There are also local community colleges with generally more open admission policies, shorter academic programs, and lower tuition. Of Americans twenty-five and older, 84.6% graduated from high school, 52.6% attended some college, 27.2% earned a bachelor's degree, and 9.6% earned graduate degrees. The basic literacy rate is approximately 99%. The United Nations assigns the United States an Education Index of 0.97, tying it for 12th in the world
The United States is officially a secular nation; the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion and forbids the establishment of any religious governance. In a 2002 study, 59% of Americans said that religion played a "very important role in their lives", a far higher figure than that of any other wealthy nation. According to a 2007 survey, 78.4% of adults identified themselves as Christian, down from 86.4% in 1990. Protestant denominations accounted for 51.3%, while Roman Catholicism, at 23.9%, was the largest individual denomination. The study categorizes white evangelicals, 26.3% of the population, as the country's largest religious cohort; another study estimates evangelicals of all races at 30–35%.The total reporting non-Christian religions in 2007 was 4.7%, up from 3.3% in 1990. The leading non-Christian faiths were Judaism(1.7%), Buddhism (0.7%), Islam (0.6%), Hinduism (0.4%), and Unitarian Universalism (0.3%).The survey also reported that 16.1% of Americans described themselves as agnostic, atheist, or simply having no religion, up from 8.2% in 1990
the United States has a capitalist mixed economy, which is fueled by abundant natural resources, a well-developed infrastructure, and high productivity. According to the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. GDP of $15.1 trillion constitutes 22% of the gross world product at market exchange rates and over 19% of the gross world product at purchasing power parity (PPP). Though larger than any other nation's, its national GDP is about 5% smaller than the GDP of the European Union at PPP in 2008. The country ranks ninth in the world in nominal GDP per capita and sixth in GDP per capita at PPP. The U.S. dollar is the world's primary reserve currency.
Science and technology
The United States has been a leader in scientific research and technological innovation since the late 19th century. In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell was awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone. Thomas Edison's laboratory developed the phonograph, the first long-lasting light bulb, and the first viablemovie camera. Nikola Tesla pioneered alternating current, the AC motor, and radio. In the early 20th century, the automobile companies of Ransom E. Olds and Henry Ford popularized the assembly line. The Wright brothers, in 1903, made the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight. The rise of Nazism in the 1930s led many European scientists, including Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, and John von Neumann, to immigrate to the United States. During World War II, the Manhattan Project developed nuclear weapons, ushering in the Atomic Age. The Space Race produced rapid advances in rocketry, materials science, and computers. IBM, Apple Computer, and Microsoft refined and popularized the personal computer. The United States largely developed the ARPANET and its successor, the Internet. Today, 64% of research and development funding comes from the private sector. The United States leads the world in scientific research papers and impact factor. Americans possess high levels of technological consumer goods, and almost half of U.S. households have broadband Internet access. The country is the primary developer and grower ofgenetically modified food, representing half of the world's biotech crops.
The world's first commercial motion picture exhibition was given in New York City in 1894, using Thomas Edison's Kinetoscope. The next year saw the first commercial screening of a projected film, also in New York, and the United States was in the forefront of sound film's development in the following decades. Since the early 20th century, the U.S. film industry has largely been based in and around Hollywood, California. Director D. W. Griffith was central to the development of film grammar and Orson Welles's Citizen Kane is frequently cited as the greatest film of all time. American screen actors like John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe have become iconic figures, while producer/entrepreneur Walt Disney was a leader in both animated film and movie merchandising. The major film studios of Hollywood have produced the most commercially successful movies in history, such as Star Wars and Titanic , and the products of Hollywood today dominate the global film industry. Americans are the heaviest television viewers in the world, and the average viewing time continues to rise, reaching five hours a day in 2006. The four major broadcast networks are all commercial entities. Americans listen to radio programming, also largely commercialized, on average just over two-and-a-half hours a day. Aside from web portals and search engines, the most popular websites are Facebook,YouTube, Wikipedia, Blogger, eBay, and Craigslist.
The rhythmic and lyrical styles of African-American music have deeply influenced American music at large, distinguishing it from European traditions. Elements from folk idioms such as the blues and what is now known as old-time music were adopted and transformed into popular genres with global audiences. Jazz was developed by innovators such as Louis Armstrongand Duke Ellington early in the 20th century. Country music developed in the 1920s, and rhythm and blues in the 1940s. Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry were among the mid-1950s pioneers of rock and roll. In the 1960s, Bob Dylan emerged from the folk revival to become one of America's most celebrated songwriters and James Brown led the development of funk. More recent American creations include hip hop and house music. American pop stars such as Presley, Michael Jackson, and Madonna have become global celebrities
Literature, philosophy, and the arts
In the 18th and early 19th centuries, American art and literature took most of its cues from Europe. Writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, and Henry David Thoreau established a distinctive American literary voice by the middle of the 19th century. Mark Twain and poet Walt Whitmanwere major figures in the century's second half; Emily Dickinson, virtually unknown during her lifetime, is now recognized as an essential American poet. A work seen as capturing fundamental aspects of the national experience and character—such as Herman Melville's Moby-Dick , Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn , and F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby —may be dubbed the "Great American Novel".Eleven U.S. citizens have won the Nobel Prize in Literature, most recently Toni Morrison in 1993. William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway are often named among the most influential writers of the 20th century. Popular literary genres such as the Western and hardboiled crime fiction developed in the United States. The Beat Generation writers opened up new literary approaches, as have postmodernist authors such as John Barth, Thomas Pynchon, and Don DeLillo.The transcendentalists, led by Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, established the first major American philosophical movement. After the Civil War,Charles Sanders Peirce and then William James and John Dewey were leaders in the development of pragmatism. In the 20th century, the work of W. V. Quine and Richard Rorty, built upon by Noam Chomsky, brought analytic philosophy to the fore of U.S. academics. John Rawls and Robert Nozickled a revival of political philosophy.In the visual arts, the Hudson River School was a mid-19th-century movement in the tradition of European naturalism. The realist paintings of Thomas Eakins are now widely celebrated. The 1913 Armory Show in New York City, an exhibition of European modernist art, shocked the public and transformed the U.S. art scene. Georgia O'Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, and others experimented with new styles, displaying a highly individualistic sensibility. Major artistic movements such as the abstract expressionism of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning and the pop art of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein developed largely in the United States. The tide of modernism and then postmodernism has brought fame to American architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Philip Johnson, and Frank Gehry.One of the first major promoters of American theater was impresario P. T. Barnum, who began operating a lower Manhattan entertainment complex in 1841. The team of Harrigan and Hart produced a series of popular musical comedies in New York starting in the late 1870s. In the 20th century, the modern musical form emerged on Broadway; the songs of musical theater composers such as Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, andStephen Sondheim have become pop standards. Playwright Eugene O'Neill won the Nobel literature prize in 1936; other acclaimed U.S. dramatists include multiple Pulitzer Prize winners Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, and August Wilson.Though little known at the time, Charles Ives's work of the 1910s established him as the first major U.S. composer in the classical tradition, while experimentalists such as Henry Cowell and John Cage created a distinctive American approach to classical composition. Aaron Coplandand George Gershwin developed a new synthesis of popular and classical music. Choreographers Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham helped create modern dance, while George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins were leaders in 20th century ballet. Americans have long been important in the modern artistic medium of photography, with major photographers including Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, and Ansel Adams. The newspaper comic strip and the comic book are both U.S. innovations. Superman, the quintessential comic book superhero, has become an American icon.
Baseball has been regarded as the national sport since the late 19th century, while American football is now by several measures the most popular spectator sport. Basketball and ice hockey are the country's next two leading professional team sports. College football andbasketball attract large audiences. Boxing and horse racing were once the most watched individual sports, but they have been eclipsed by golfand auto racing, particularly NASCAR. Soccer is played widely at the youth and amateur levels. Tennis and many outdoor sports are popular as well.
While most major U.S. sports have evolved out of European practices, basketball, volleyball, skateboarding, snowboarding, and cheerleadingare American inventions. Lacrosse and surfing arose from Native American and Native Hawaiian activities that predate Western contact. EightOlympic Games have taken place in the United States. The United States has won 2,301 medals at the Summer Olympic Games, more than any other country, and in the Winter Olympic Games, the second most