Americans, or American people, are the citizens of the United States of America. The country is home to people of different national origins. As a result, Americans do not equate their nationality with ethnicity, but with citizenship. With the exception of the Native American population, nearly all Americans or their ancestors immigrated within the past five centuries.
Despite its multi-ethnic composition, the culture held in common by most Americans is referred to as mainstream American culture, a Western culture largely derived from the traditions of Western European immigrants. It also includes influences of African-American culture. Westward expansion integrated the Creoles and Cajuns of Louisiana and the Hispanos of the Southwest and brought close contact with the culture of Mexico. Large-scale immigration in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries from Southern and Eastern Europe introduced a variety of elements. Immigration from Asia, Africa, and Latin America has also had impact. A cultural melting pot, or pluralistic salad bowl, describes the way in which generations of Americans have celebrated and exchanged distinctive cultural characteristics.
In addition to the United States, Americans and people of American descent can be found internationally. As many as 4 million Americans are estimated to be living abroad.
Famous quotes containing the word americans:
“All this stuff you heard about America not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of horse dung. Americans, traditionally, love to fight. All real Americans love the sting of battle.... Americans play to win all the time. I wouldnt give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. Thats why Americans have never lostand will never losea war, because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans.”
—Francis Ford Coppola (b. 1939)
“The Americans ... have invented so wide a range of pithy and hackneyed phrases that they can carry on an amusing and animated conversation without giving a moments reflection to what they are saying and so leave their minds free to consider the more important matters of big business and fornication.”
—W. Somerset Maugham (18741965)
“The establishment of democracy on the American continent was scarcely as radical a break with the past as was the necessity, which Americans faced, of broadening this concept to include black men.”
—James Baldwin (19241987)