Electronic Database

National Mentalities:

Studies in the Context of Globalization and Interaction of Cultures

Edited by Anna Pavlovskaya and Grigory Kanarsh
The site was developed with the support of the Russian Foundation for the Humanities (project №13-03-12003).

Main/The Peoples of the West/

The National Character of the Americans (A. V. Pavlovskaya)

The United States of America is a unique country with a distinguishing national character. The American value system was originally based on the strong interaction with the European one that was reflected in the contradictory attitude of ‘love-hate’. Traditional and cultural Europe is often associated with conservatism and stagnation. Therefore, America worships everything new; the concepts of ‘manifest destiny’ and ‘American dream’ were formulated in the contrast to the old and the European. Desire to be happy (settlers’ motivation), optimism, success orientation and American smile in any situation are an integral part of American character and lifestyle.

The fundamental principles of equality in American society have led to numerous prejudices and, as a consequence, to the fact that everyone is fighting for their rights; and to the phenomenon of ‘political correctness’. The Americans are highly law obedient. This feature is associated with the phenomenon of information transfer to the authorities that is considered not as snitching, but as maintenance of ‘law and order’ in the country. The Americans are very hardworking, they are ‘workaholics’. They are too businesslike: even their religiousness is very practical, politicized and external. Being unable to rest and relax, the Americans can not live without comfort and convenience: everything should be familiar and easy. The important features of the Americans are simplicity and naïveté relating to categorical and hyperbole nature: their childish perception of the world in which there is only black and white, and there are no half-tones, and only American values are always true. ​​

Keywords: the American national character, the United States of America, immigrants, the American value system, the American lifestyle.

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