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:
“The Americans never use the word peasant, because they have no idea of the class which that term denotes; the ignorance of more remote ages, the simplicity of rural life, and the rusticity of the villager have not been preserved among them; and they are alike unacquainted with the virtues, the vices, the coarse habits, and the simple graces of an early stage of civilization.”
—Alexis de Tocqueville (18051859)
“In the two centuries that have passed since 1776, millions upon millions of Americans have worked and taken up arms, when necessary, to make [the American] dream a reality. We can be proud of what they have accomplished. Today, we are the worlds oldest republic. We are at peace. Our nation and our way of life endure. And we are free.”
—Gerald R. Ford (b. 1913)
“It seems that American patriotism measures itself against an outcast group. The right Americans are the right Americans because theyre not like the wrong Americans, who are not really Americans.”
—Eric J. Hobsbawm (b. 1917)