Economic and cultural regions of the United States of America
The administrative structure of the USA. The main economic regions and their main industries: the Northeast, the Great Lakes, the South, the Plains, the Rocky Mountains, the Pacific Region. Cultural achievements: literature, philosophy, painting.
|Рубрика||География и экономическая география|
1. The main economic regions and their industries
1.1 The administrative structure of the USA
1.2 The main economic regions and their main industries
1.2.1 The Northeast
1.2.2 The Great Lakes
1.2.3 The South
1.2.4 The Plains
1.2.5 The Rocky Mountains
1.2.6 The Pacific Region
2. Cultural achievements of the country
2.1 Literature, philosophy, painting
The United States of America is the third largest country in the world in population, and it is the fourth largest country in area. Until the 1500s, what is now the United States was largely a wilderness. Small groups of Indians lived scattered over the land between the Atlantic and the Pacific. People in Europe saw in this vast "new world" a chance to build new and better lives. Through the years large numbers of immigrants from Europe and from almost every other part of the world settled in the country. Except for black Africans brought in as slaves, these immigrants came seeking the rights and the opportunities that had become part of the American way of life. As a result of this immigration, the United States today has one of the world's most varied populations. It has been called "a nation of immigrants".
Today the United States of America (commonly referred to as the United States, the U.S., the USA, or America) 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 Caribbean and Pacific.
At 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km2) and with about 309 million people, the United States is the third or fourth largest country by total area, and the third largest both by 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.
The USA is a country of great differences. At the same time, it has surprising similarities when one considers its size. The differences are partly a result of the geography. One cannot generalize about the weather, the landscape, or even the way of living because the nation occupies nearly half of a continent. In it can be found high mountains and the flattest of prairies, tropical heat and arctic cold, fertile valleys and deserts. There is a variety of natural resources. All sorts of products are raised, and there are industries of every kind. Some of the most densely and most sparsely populated areas of the world are found in the United States.
There are many large and modern cities, but a great proportion of the country consists of open land dotted with farm-houses and small towns. In some regions small communities are still provincial. In spite of this, however, and in spite of the size of the country, there are striking uniformities in the American scene that surprise foreign observers. There is an appearance of the country as a whole that might be said to be typically American. The usual town of average size, in any part of the United States, has its "main street", with the same types of stores selling the same products. Every town has the same type of drug-store and supermarket. There is some variety of architecture, due to the differences in climate, locality, and national backgrounds of the people. Yet, many American residential areas, especially new ones, tend to have a similar look. The similarities result from the extreme mobility of the population and the interchange of goods.
The topic of this course paper is rather actual one in the comprehensive study and attracts lively interest as it draws different ways of life in large and modern cities of the greatest country in the world. The country accounts for two-fifths of global military spending and is a leading economic, political, and cultural force in the world.
The course paper consists of two sections. The first section marks out and describes the main economic regions and their aspects. The second section shows the cultural way of life, the cultural achievements of the country in art, music, cinema, etc.
As the course paper deals with the economic features of the country so the aim is to mark out and inquire the main aspects of economic regions of the USA, to understand its role in the modern economic life of the USA.
On the one hand, "economic and cultural regions of the USA" is rather interesting and fascinating topic to chose, on the other hand it's rather difficult and complicated topic which requires solving different problems with the help of definite methods. So in my course paper I will try to perform all the tasks facing me.
1. The main economic regions and their industries
1.1 The administrative structure of the USA
At the Declaration of Independence, the United States consisted of 13 states, former colonies of the United Kingdom. In the following years, the number of states has grown steadily due to expansion to the west, conquest and purchase of lands by the American government, and division of existing states to the current number of 50 United States [7, p. 46] (Appendix A):
Alabama (AL) Montana (MT)
Alaska (AK) Nebraska (NE)
Arizona (AZ) Nevada (NV)
Arkansas (AR) New Hampshire (NH)
California (CA) New Jersey (NJ)
Colorado (CO) New Mexico (NM)
Connecticut (CT) New York (NY)
Delaware (DE) North Carolina (NC)
Florida (FL) North Dakota (ND)
Georgia (GA) Ohio (OH)
Hawai'i (HI) Oklahoma (OK)
Idaho (ID) Oregon (OR)
Illinois (IL) Pennsylvania (PA)
Indiana (IN) Rhode Island (RI)
Iowa (IA) South Carolina (SC)
Kansas (KS) South Dakota (SD)
Kentucky (KY) Tennessee (TN)
Louisiana (LA) Texas (TX)
Maine (ME) Utah (UT)
Maryland (MD) Vermont (VT)
Massachusetts (MA) Virginia (VA)
Michigan (MI) Washington (WA)
Minnesota (MN) West Virginia (WV)
Mississippi (MS) Wisconsin (WI)
Missouri (MO) Wyoming (WY)
1.2 The main economic regions and their main industries
The United States is the leading economic power in the world. It is a fully-developed industrial country with a very solid agricultural basis. Its people enjoy a high standard of living though there remain many important social problems which are to be solved. Highly-advanced technology provides a system of communications and transportation to tie the country and its people together.
The states of the United States can be grouped into regions that have common historical, economic and physical characteristics. From this point of view we can single out six major regions. They are: (1) the Northeast, (2) the Great Lakes, (3) the South, (4) the Plains, (5) the Rocky Mountains, and (6) the Pacific states. In some cases, these economic regions include the same areas as the major physical regions. [14, p. 79]
1.2.1 The Northeast
The Northeast is made up of the New England states and the Middle Atlantic states. The New England states generally lie east of the Hudson River valley. They are Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The Middle Atlantic States are New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland.
The manufacturing industry and trade have made the Northeast an urban region. About 80 percent of the people live in cities that produce goods like steel, clothing, and books.
The Northeast was the first region in the United States to industrialize. In the 1800's, factory owners used the fastmoving rivers flowing down from the Appalachian Highlands to power machinery for textile mills. Important resources of iron ore, coal, limestone, and timber provided for growth of industry. Today, manufacturing employs more people in the region than other activity.
The region's largest cities are ports built around good natural harbours. They are Boston, Providence, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. New York is the largest city in the country and of the major cities of the world with more than 7 million people. But the New York metropolitan area - the city with the closely connected suburbs and smaller cities - has over 9 million people. Baltimore and Philadelphia are among the largest cities in the country. Buffalo is an important river port and grain-milling centre. Pittsburgh produces steel and steel products and is also an important river port.
In addition to manufacturing and trade, about 20 per cent of the economic activity of the Northeast is connected with service. A service industry can include such activities as finance and banking, entertainment, education, insurance, government. Newark, New York, Hartford and Boston, for example, are cities where the country's largest insurance companies are situated. New York is a world centre of banking and entertainment. Boston has for long been one of the country's most important centres of higher education. Washington D. C, the nation's capital, has about half of its workers in government service.
As an agricultural region, the Northeast does not have large areas of good land. Small farms are numerous in this region. Most are around 81 hectares in size. In the Middle Atlantic states grains, fruits, and vegetables are grown. There is extensive farming in the New England states with one crop being grown. Maine is famous for potatoes. The Connecticut River valley is known for tobacco. Dairy and poultry farms are found in several areas. [14, p.81]
In addition to this farming, the Northeast is well known all over the United States for its fishing industry. This is quite natural because of the influence of the Atlantic Ocean. The Northeast has rich fishing areas along the Atlantic coast. The fishing industry developed rapidly here to compensate the rocky land and the poor soils. Today, large numbers of flounder, cod, herring, halibut and other fish are caught. The fishing rules are very strict, and the government takes very severe measures against those who do not observe the fishing regulations. This explains why it is possible to achieve good catches of fish, and at the same time preserve the fishing grounds with the necessary supply of fish. The fish are caught, processed and shipped both overseas and to other areas of the United States. The fish market in New York is famous not only in the United States, but all over the world both for the amount of fish sold and the different types of fish which satisfy the tastes of any buyer. (Appendix G)
1.2.2 The Great Lakes
The region of the Great Lakes includes the states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Lakes Superior, Huron, Michigan and Erie form the Northern part of the region. The Ohio river forms the southern border of the region, the Mississippi river -- its western border. Water routes by way of the rivers and lakes have contributed to the region's economic growth. Raw materials are shipped into the region for use in the factories. Finished goods are shipped out to other parts of the country and abroad to foreign markets.
The Great Lakes region is the industrial heart of the United States. The region's factories produce steel, heavy machinery, farm equipment, and automobiles.
The automobile industry was once concentrated in Detroit, but now it has decentralized to other cities within the region. Cars are assembled and parts are made in such cities as Akron, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Youngstown, Milwaukee and Indianapolis. Chicago and Gary are the centres of a large steel-making area along the south shore of Lake Michigan.
Chicago is the largest city in the region and the second largest city in the country. It has a population of about 3 million people.
The Chicago metropolitan area has some 7 million people. Its importance is tied to the same waterways that helped to develop the region. Chicago is located on Lake Michigan. It is also tied to the Mississippi River by way of canals. Chicago, as a result, is the country's busiest inland port. It is also the busiest railroad and airline centre in the country. [14, p.83]
In recent years, industrial growth has declined in the Great Lakes region. In part, this is because of the region's dependence on heavy industry when the greatest industrial growth is taking place in the new and newest industries, such as electronics.
Another important reason is due to growing competition from foreign countries, especially Japan. Competition is especially great in the areas of automobiles and steel. As automakers buy large amounts of steel, glass, rubber for making cars, a decline in the auto industry has a negative effect on other branches of the economy.
The Great Lakes region is also an important area for farming. Corn, wheat and dairy products are the most important agricultural items. Farmers often rotate soybeans and corn -- that is, planting corn in a field one year and soybeans the next. This rotation is needed to keep from wearing out the soil. The region has enough rainfall, which is very important for hay, grown to feed dairy cattle. Wisconsin is the most important dairy state in the region. (Appendix B)
1.2.3 The South
The region lies roughly south of the Ohio and Potomac rivers, and, with the exception of Louisiana and Arkansas, east of the Mississippi River. Those states along the Atlantic Coastal Plain -- Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia -- are known as the South Atlantic states. Those states in the Appalachian Highlands and along the Gulf Coastal Plain are known as the South Central states. They are West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Agriculture has long been the major economic activity of the South, although this dominance has become less in recent years. The moist, warm climate contributes to the extensive growth of tobacco in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The tobacco grown here is of high quality, and the tradition of growing it goes down to the early days of colonization. The Red Indians taught the white settlers the way to grow tobacco and they made tremendous profit out of this crop exporting it to Europe. Besides the above mentioned states it is also an important crop in Kentucky. [14, p.85]
Cotton is another important crop for southern farmers, especially in Arkansas and Mississippi. Pecans (very specific and tasty nuts) and peanuts are grown in Georgia and citrus fruits, vegetables in Florida. Soybeans is an important crop in Arkansas.
Some of the country's leading fishing areas are found along the Gulf coast. In fact, southern waters produce more than half the total national catch. Shrimp is important in the waters near Louisiana. Oysters and menhaden (American herring) are caught off the shores of Alabama and Mississipi. The waters around Florida are the source for turtles, sponges and groupers. Rivers in the South provide catches of such fish as the catfish.
Light industry, textile manufacturing, lumber mills, paper mills and the processing of food products make their contribution to industrial activity in the region. The pine forests of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana have trees for a wide number of wood products. Florida is a popular tourist area and thousands come to this beautiful place for rest and entertainment. This romantic state attracts a lot of retired people who like to enjoy their retirement in peace and warmth.
Atlanta is to the South what Chicago is to the Great Lakes region. It is a most important centre of railroad and airline transportation in the South. The city's population is more than 422,000 people, but the metropolitan area has just over 2 million people. In Florida the major urban centres are Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa and St. Petersburg.
Recent years indicate a large movement of people to this state, especially of retired people, who like the warm climate, and of immigrants from Latin America and the islands in the Caribbean Sea.
Mining and oil drilling are important economic activities in the South Central states. There is oil and natural gas in Louisiana. Some of the country's largest coal deposits lie in the states of West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. In fact almost three-fourths of United States coal production comes from the South Central States. The reserves of coal and iron ore near Birmingham have made the city an important steel centre in the South.
Leading cities of the South Central states include Memphis, New Orleans, Nashville, and Louisville. In addition to being an important river port, Memphis provides furniture and floor products for the whole country. New Orleans is an important trading port in the delta of the Mississippi river and a major banking centre of the South. Nashville is a centre for publishing and printing and a tourist attraction as the centre for the country's music industry. Louisville has the world's largest electrical appliance plant. (Appendix C)
1.2.4 The Plains
The region of The Planes is made up of those states between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains with the exception of Louisiana and Arkansas. The Northern Plains states are North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota. Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas make up the Southern Plains states.
The first American explorers of the Great Plains thought that this region was a desert. They even called it the "Great American Desert". They noted that there was a lack of trees and an almost endless sea of grass. Today, the region is considered the "American breadbasket". It yields great quantities of crops, especially wheat. Wheat is important in the states of Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, and the Dakotas.
Iowa is considered the richest of the farming states of the Northern Plains. Nearly 96 per cent of the land is arable, that is fit for cultivation. The average size of a farm in Iowa is 114 hectares. Since Iowa is situated in the eastern part of the plains, it receives more rainfall than the states in the west. Corn is grown instead of wheat. In fact, Iowa is the leading state in the USA in corn production. Because of the great amount of corn which is used for fodder, Iowa also leads the nation in the raising of hogs. [14, p.88]
The cities of the Northern Plains have developed as markets and food processing centres. The most typical ones are as follows: Minneapolis, St. Paul, Kansas City, and Omaha.
St. Louis, the largest city in the Nothern Plains, was founded as a trading centre in the 1700's. But in the last 150 years it became a major industrial city. Today, manufacturing is the most important economic activity. Among its products are metals, chemicals, airplanes and automobiles.
Oil is the most important natural resource in the Southern Plains. The growing demand for oil products brought great wealth to Texas and Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Dallas, and Houston.
In addition to oil, farming is important to the Southern Plains states. The farms in the state of Oklahoma grow wheat, sorghum, cotton, corn, and peanuts. However, the state has a serious problem with soil erosion. In order to overcome this problem much of the cropland has been converted to grass land. This change has given good results: cattle raising has become a major agricultural activity in Oklahoma.
Texas is one of the most important agricultural states in the region and the country. The average size of a farm in Texas is 270 hectares, which means that the farms are quite big. Many farms belong to large corporations. Such farms are much bigger than the usual ones. They have a size of 405 hectares or even more. Vegetables and citrus fruit are grown in south Texas, and wheat and cotton are grown in the north of the state. Texas leads the country in both the number of cattle and sheep.
Though Texas has more individual farmers than any other state, most of the people in the state live in cities of over 50,000 population. In recent years the growth of the population in Texas is rapid. Many people migrate to Texas from other states because of its warm climate and the availability of service jobs in the growing cities. [14, p.89]
Houston is among the largest cities of the USA with around 1,5 million people in the city and about 3 million in the metropolitan area. It is becoming the national centre for technology for space exploration, energy and medicine. Dallas is the second largest city in Texas with about 1 million people. The Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area has about 3 million people. Its economy is based on the manufacturing of electrical equipment, airplane parts, clothing, and the processing of food products. San Antonio is the third largest city in the state and among the largest cities of the country. Its population of about 800,000 people is engaged in food processing, manufacturing and government service. (Appendix D)
1.2.5 The Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountain region is made up of the states of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. The most striking feature of this region is the small population compared to other regions of the United States. Large parts of the region have few or no people. This is mainly due to the lack of water, which will continue to influence the development of the region in the future.
Farms in the dry areas of the region are situated along the water-ways or where there is irrigation. The main crops are cotton, potatoes, wheat, barley, and sugar beets. As there is lack of water, many farmers find it more profitable to raise livestock; the cattle and sheep require a lot of land on which to graze. Therefore many of the ranches in the region are very large. Their sizes can be as large as 900 hectares.
Though agriculture in the region has many problems because of lack of water and poor soils, the Rocky Mountains are rich in mineral and energy resources. Gold and silver were the first resources discovered in the century. Today, a number of minerals are mined such as copper, mercury, and molybdenum, which is used to strengthen steel. Coal and iron ore are mined in Arizona, Colorado, and Utah. On this basis a regional steel industry has developed.
Oil, natural gas, and coal are now of major importance to the Rocky Mountains region. It is believed that under much of Wyoming and Colorado there are large deposits of oil shale, that is rocks containing oil. From these rocks oil can be received. The Powder River Basin of Wyoming is now one of the most important coal mining regions of the country. [14, p.94]
The major cities of the region are Phoenix and Denver. Phoenix has about 800,000 people in the city and 1.5 million in the metropolitan area. It is an important producer of electronic products, computers, airplanes, steel, aluminium, and chemicals. Denver with about half a million people in the city and 1.6 million in the metropolitan area has an economy based on federal government service including a mint where they make coined money. Food processing and the making of transportation equipment are also important. (Appendix E)
1.2.6 The Pacific Region
The Pacific Region includes those states which are washed by the Pacific Ocean. They are Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington.
Due to its location on the ocean, the region has important fisheries. California holds the first place in the country for its catch. The most important fish caught are anchovy, tuna, and mackerel. Alaska and Washington are the main suppliers of salmon and halibut. Fishing in Hawaii is mainly for sport and recreation. [14, p.96]
California also leads the Pacific states in farming. It is the country's leading grower of fruits and vegetables. Much of California's farming is done in the Central Valley. The farms in the valley produce cattle, dairy products, cotton, grapes, tomatoes, and citrus fruits.
In Oregon and Washington, the Cascade mountains divide the states into two different farming zones. In the dry eastern zone, wheat is grown, and cattle is raised. West of the Cascade Mountains, in Oregon's Willamette Valley, for example, regular rainfall and a mild climate allow good yields of such crops, as beans, pears, onions, and corn. In Washington, cherries and apples are major fruits. Both states are among the most important sources of timber in the United States.
Some large-scale commercial farms in Hawaii grow sugarcane and pineapples. However, both Alaska and Hawaii must import most of their food from the mainland states.
Tourism plays a very important role in the economy of Hawaii. Alaska, which in the past depended mainly on fishing and timber, now receives great profit from oil production. Production began in 1959, the year Alaska became a state. In 1968, oil was discovered in North Slope of the Brooks Range near Prudhoe Bay. Today a pipeline takes oil pumped at Alaska's Prudhoe Bay in the the north to the port of Valdez in the south for further shipment. Construction of the massive pipeline over thousands of kilometres of wilderness had been delayed because of serious concerns for the environment. Completion of the pipeline has helped increase Alaska's profits. Today the state has the highest profits per capita, or per head of the population of the state.
The fastest growing industries in the Pacific region are in electronics and technical products. A large number of companies making electronics parts are found in an area around the city of San Jose. This area is known as the SiliconValley. It is named for the Silicon Chip, which is a basic part in modern electronics products.
Most of the region's large cities are ports. Los Angeles, the third largest city in the country, has a population of about 3 million people. There are some 7.5 million people in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Los Angeles and neighbouring Long Beach have very good harbours which are well protected behind 15 kilometres of break water. Together with several fine airports they serve as the West Coast's major gateways for trade with the countries of the Pacific Ocean. The Los Angeles area is a giant centre of aircraft production, computers, communications equipment, motor cars, cosmetics. It is also a major region of space technology. Los Angeles's position as a world centre of finance and industry has also stimulated the development of such services as health care, accounting, education, law. However, Los Angeles is also known all over the world as the city of entertainment because of Hollywood, which is the world capital of film production. In the 1940s, the peak years of movie making, Hollywood produced more than 400 films a year. Today TV is competing successfully with the traditional film industry, but Hollywood has also changed, producting quite a lot of films for American TV. Los Angeles is also a city of striking contrasts. There are many Hispanics, Asians, blacks living here.and these people in their majority have poorly paid jobs. Therefore social tension in many districts of Los Angeles is very high. It was no wonder that in 1992 there were mass riots in Los Angeles which shocked all America. [14, p. 99]
The other major city on the Pacific coast of the United States is San Francisco. It lies at the tip of land broken by the narrow channel of the Golden Gate. Through this Channel the tides of the Pacific pour into a great bay. The city has long been a centre of trade, finance, shipping, culture for more than three million people in the metropolitan bay area. Asian immigrants together with many waves of European settlers have made San Francisco a city of many nationalities and different cultures. Freight from ports all over the world is unloaded at a fine harbour, while long lines of freight trains bring into the city the fruit from the countryside. The transcontinental railroad connects San Francisco with the industrial and agricultural centres of the Midwest and the East, thus providing an interchange of goods and passengers. And at the city's airport, which is one of the largest in the United States, there are about 400,000 landings and takeoffs a year. Great streams of motor traffic cross the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge, which is 1.6 kilometres long, to the north shore.
In the first decade of the 20th century, this major city of the west was in ruin. In 1906 a great earthquake destroyed the city. But within three years, 20,000 new buildings were constructed, and in seven years, a new city had risen out of the ashes. Several years ago, another serious earthquake hit the city, but it did not cause much damage because the buildings were well protected against the forces of nature. (Appendix F)
2. Cultural achievements of the country: art, music, cinema, etc.
2.1 Literature, philosophy, painting
In the eighteenth and early nineteenth 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 Whitman were 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 (1851), Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), and F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (1925)--may be dubbed the "Great American Novel."
Eleven U.S. citizens have won the Nobel Prize in Literature, most recently Toni Morrison in 1993. Ernest Hemingway, the 1954 Nobel laureate, is often named as one of 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. O. Quine and Richard Rorty brought analytic philosophy to the fore of U.S. academics. John Rawls and Robert Nozick led a revival of political philosophy. [2, p.267]
In the visual arts, the Hudson River School was a mid-19th-century movement in the tradition of European naturalism. 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, and Stephen 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. [2, p.273]
Though largely overlooked at the time, Charles Ives's work of the 1910s established him as the first major U.S. composer in the classical tradition; other experimentalists such as Henry Cowell and John Cage created an American approach to classical composition. Aaron Copland and George Gershwin developed a unique 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.
In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, artists primarily painted landscapes and portraits in a realistic style. A parallel development taking shape in rural America was the American craft movement, which began as a reaction to the industrial revolution. Developments in modern art in Europe came to America from exhibitions in New York City such as the Armory Show in 1913. Previously American Artists had based the majority of their work on Western Painting and European Arts. After World War II, New York replaced Paris as the center of the art world. Since then many American Movements have shaped Modern and Post Modern art. Art in the United States today covers a huge range of styles.
After the Declaration of Independence in 1776, which marked the official beginning of the American national identity, the new nation needed a history, and part of that history would be expressed visually. Most of early American art (from the late 18th century through the early 19th century) consists of history painting and portraits. Painters such as Gilbert Stuart made portraits of the newly elected government officials, while John Singleton Copley was painting emblematic portraits for the increasingly prosperous merchant class, and painters such as John Trumbull were making large battle scenes of the Revolutionary War.[16, p.321]
America's first well-known school of painting--the Hudson River School--appeared in 1820. As with music and literature, this development was delayed until artists perceived that the New World offered subjects unique to itself; in this case the westward expansion of settlement brought the transcendent beauty of frontier landscapes to painters' attention.
The Hudson River painters' directness and simplicity of vision influenced such later artists as Winslow Homer (1836-1910), who depicted rural America--the sea, the mountains, and the people who lived near them. Middle-class city life found its painter in Thomas Eakins (1844-1916), an uncompromising realist whose unflinching honesty undercut the genteel preference for romantic sentimentalism. Henry Ossawa Tanner who studied with Thomas Eakins was one of the first important African American painters.
Paintings of the Great West, particularly the act of conveying the sheer size of the land and the cultures of the native people living on it, were starting to emerge as well. Artists such as George Catlin broke from traditional styles of showing land, most often done to show how much a subject owned, to show the West and its people as honestly as possible.
Many painters who are considered American spent some time in Europe and met other European artists in Paris and London, such as Mary Cassatt and Whistler. [16, p.322]
Controversy soon became a way of life for American artists. In fact, much of American painting and sculpture since 1900 has been a series of revolts against tradition. "To hell with the artistic values," announced Robert Henri (1865-1929). He was the leader of what critics called the Ashcan school of painting, after the group's portrayals of the squalid aspects of city life. American realism became the new direction for American visual artists at the turn of the century. In photography the Photo-Secession movement led by Alfred Steiglitz made pathways for photography as an emerging art form. Soon the Ashcan school artists gave way to modernists arriving from Europe--the cubists and abstract painters promoted by the photographer Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) at his 291 Gallery in New York City. John Marin, Marsden Hartley, Alfred Henry Maurer, Arthur Dove, Henrietta Shore, Stuart Davis, Stanton MacDonald-Wright, Morgan Russell, Patrick Henry Bruce, and Gerald Murphy were some important early American modernist painters.
After World War I many American artists also rejected the modern trends emanating from the Armory Show and European influences such as those from the School of Paris. Instead they chose to adopt academic realism in depicting American urban and rural scenes. Charles Sheeler, and Charles Demuth were referred to as Precisionists and the artists from the Ashcan school or American realism: notably George Bellows, Everett Shinn, George Benjamin Luks, William Glackens, and John Sloan and others developed socially conscious imagery in their works.
Following the first World War, the completion of the Santa Fe Railroad enabled American settlers to travel across the west, as far as the California coast. New artists' colonies started growing up around Santa Fe and Taos, the artists primary subject matter being the native people and landscapes of the Southwest. Images of the Southwest became a popular form of advertising, used most significantly by the Santa Fe Railroad to entice settlers to come west and enjoy the "unsullied landscapes." Walter Ufer, Bert Greer Phillips, E. Irving Couse, William Henry Jackson, and Georgia O'Keeffe are some of the more prolific artists of the Southwest.
The Harlem Renaissance was another significant development in American art. In the 1920s and 30s a new generation of educated and politically astute African-American men and women emerged who sponsored literary societies and art and industrial exhibitions to combat racist stereotypes. The movement showcases the range of talents within African-American communities. Though the movement included artists from across America, it was centered in Harlem, and work from Harlem graphic artist Aaron Douglas and photographer James VanDerZee became emblematic of the movement. Some of the artists include Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Charles Alston, Augusta Savage, Archibald Motley, Lois Mailou Jones, Palmer Hayden and Sargent Johnson.
When the Great Depression hit, president Roosevelt's New Deal created several public arts programs. The purpose of the programs was to give work to artists and decorate public buildings, usually with a national theme. The first of these projects, the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), was created after successful lobbying by the unemployed artists of the Artists' Union. The PWAP lasted less than one year, and produced nearly 15,000 works of art. It was followed by the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration (FAP/WPA) in 1935, which funded some of the most well-known American artists. Several separate and related movements began and developed during the Great Depression including American scene painting, Regionalism, and Social Realism. Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry, Grant Wood, Ben Shahn, Joseph Stella, Reginald Marsh, Isaac Soyer, Raphael Soyer, and Jack Levine were some of the best known artists.
In the years after World War II, a group of New York artists formed the first American movement to exert major influence internationally: abstract expressionism. This term, which had first been used in 1919 in Berlin, was used again in 1946 by Robert Coates in The New York Times, and was taken up by the two major art critics of that time, Harold Rosenberg and Clement Greenberg. It has always been criticized as too large and paradoxical, yet the common definition implies the use of abstract art to express feelings, emotions, what is within the artist, and not what stands without.
The first generation of abstract expressionists was composed of artists such as Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning, Mark Rothko, Franz Kline, Arshile Gorky, Robert Motherwell, Clyfford Still, Barnett Newman, Adolph Gottlieb, Phillip Guston, Ad Reinhardt, Hans Hofmann, James Brooks, Richard Pousette-Dart, William Baziotes, Mark Tobey, Bradley Walker Tomlin, Theodoros Stamos, Jack Tworkov and others. Though the numerous artists encompassed by this label had widely different styles, contemporary critics found several common points between them. [16, p.358]
Many first generation abstract expressionists were influenced both by the Cubists' works (black & white copies in art reviews and the works themselves at the 291 Gallery or the Armory Show), and by the European Surrealists, most of them abandoned formal composition and representation of real objects; and by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Often the abstract expressionists decided to try instinctual, intuitive, spontaneous arrangements of space, line, shape and color. Abstract Expressionism can be characterized by two major elements - the large size of the canvases used, (partially inspired by Mexican frescoes and the works they made for the WPA in the 1930s), and the strong and unusual use of brushstrokes and experimental paint application with a new understanding of process.
The emphasis and intensification of color and large open expanses of surface were two of the principles applied to the movement called Color field Painting. Ad Reinhardt, Adolph Gottlieb, Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still and Barnett Newman were categorized as such. Another movement was called Action Painting, characterized by spontaneous reaction, powerful brushstrokes, dripped and splashed paint and the strong physical movements used in the production of a painting. Jackson Pollock is an example of an Action Painter: his creative process, incorporating thrown and dripped paint from a stick or poured directly from the can; he revolutionized painting methods. Willem de Kooning famously said about Pollock "he broke the ice for the rest of us." Ironically Pollock's large repetitious expanses of linear fields are also characteristic of Color Field painting as well, and art critic Michael Fried pointed that out in his essay for the catalog of Three American painters: Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Frank Stella at the Fogg Art Museum in 1965. Despite the disagreements between art critics, Abstract Expressionism marks a turning-point in the history of American art: the 1940s and 1950s saw international attention shift from European -Parisian- art, to American -New York- art. [16, p.359]
Color field painting went on as a movement: artists in the 1950s, such as Clyfford Still, Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell, and in the 1960s, Jules Olitski, Kenneth Noland, and Helen Frankenthaler, sought to make paintings which would eliminate superfluous rhetoric with large, flat areas of color.
During the 1950s abstract painting in America evolved into movements such as Neo-Dada, Post painterly abstraction, Op Art, hard-edge painting, Minimal art, Shaped canvas painting, Lyrical Abstraction, and the continuation of Abstract expressionism. As a response to the tendency toward abstraction imagery emerged through various new movements like Pop Art, the Bay Area Figurative Movement and later in the 1970s Neo-expressionism.
Lyrical Abstraction along with the Fluxus movement and Postminimalism (a term first coined by Robert Pincus-Witten in the pages of Artforum in 1969) sought to expand the boundaries of abstract painting and Minimalism by focusing on process, new materials and new ways of expression. Postminimalism often incorporating industrial materials, raw materials, fabrications, found objects, installation, serial repetition, and often with references to Dada and Surrealism is best exemplified in the sculptures of Eva Hesse.  Lyrical Abstraction, Conceptual Art, Postminimalism, Earth Art, Video, Performance art, Installation art, along with the continuation of Fluxus, Abstract Expressionism, Color Field Painting, Hard-edge painting, Minimal Art, Op art, Pop Art, Photorealism and New Realism extended the boundaries of Contemporary Art in the mid-1960s through the 1970s.
Lyrical Abstraction shares similarities with Color Field Painting and Abstract Expressionism especially in the freewheeling usage of paint - texture and surface. Direct drawing, calligraphic use of line, the effects of brushed, splattered, stained, squeegeed, poured, and splashed paint superficially resemble the effects seen in Abstract Expressionism and Color Field Painting. However the styles are markedly different.
During the 1960s and 1970s painters as powerful and influential as Adolph Gottlieb, Phillip Guston, Lee Krasner, Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Richard Diebenkorn, Josef Albers, Elmer Bischoff, Agnes Martin, Al Held, Sam Francis, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Ellsworth Kelly, Morris Louis, Gene Davis, Frank Stella, Joan Mitchell, Friedel Dzubas, and younger artists like Brice Marden, Robert Mangold, Sam Gilliam, Sean Scully, Elizabeth Murray, Walter Darby Bannard, Larry Zox, Ronnie Landfield, Ronald Davis, Dan Christensen, Susan Rothenberg, Ross Bleckner, Richard Tuttle, Julian Schnabel, and dozens of others produced vital and influential paintings. [16, p.384]
Members of the next artistic generation favored a different form of abstraction: works of mixed media. Among them were Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) and Jasper Johns (1930- ), who used photos, newsprint, and discarded objects in their compositions. Pop artists, such as Andy Warhol (1930-1987), Larry Rivers (1923-2002), and Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997), reproduced, with satiric care, everyday objects and images of American popular culture--Coca-Cola bottles, soup cans, comic strips. Realism has also been popular in the United States, despite modernist tendencies, such as the city scenes by Edward Hopper and the illustrations of Norman Rockwell. In certain places, for example Chicago, Abstract Expressionism never caught on; in Chicago, the dominant art style was grotesque, symbolic realism, as exemplified by the Chicago Imagists Cosmo Campoli (1923-1997), Jim Nutt (1938-), Ed Paschke (1939-2004), and Nancy Spero (1926-2009).
Since the United States were settled largely by Europeans, it is not surprising that classical music and folk-songs were brought over from the continent. Scottish and Irish ballads, German folksongs have been sung in America by so many generations and so often that many Americans do not even know that these songs are of foreign origin. However, America produced its own music. Railroad workers, the men in lumber camps, cowboys had their songs about work, life and love. [12, p. 327]
American music has also assimilated the peculiar rhythm of African music growing into the American reality together with the Negro slaves. Negro music was greatly influenced by Puritan hymns, resulting in Negro hymns "spirituals", which are considered the highest achievement of American folk art. In the 19th century Negro lyric songs "blues" spread among the white population. Negro musical folklore preserved the rhythm and intonations of African music, but it was created in America and acquired new features. The usual themes of blues pieces are unhappy love, alienation, self-pity, or longing for home. Blues has had a great influence on the development of jazz, rock, and other types of modern music. The most popular modern blues musicians are Bessie Smith, Muddy Waters and B. B. King. [12, p. 328]
At the end of the 19th century the first symphonic orchestras were formed in the USA. At the turn of the centuries, the first opera house "Metropolitan Opera" was opened in New York. At the same time a new, truly American genre appeared -- the musical, which combined the best features of the European operetta and American music. It became very popular and over the years has shown its ability to exist side by side with other musical genres. Authors try to use the libretto, songs and dances to achieve a real dramatic effect. The best examples are Loewe's My Fair Lady and Bernstein's West Side Story. The latter is a good example of the new form. Although it was the old pattern of musical comedies -- love between a boy and a girl, the end is tragic -- the boy is killed. Set in New York City, it shows hostile relationships and clashes between Puerto Ricans and native New Yorkers, resembling the story of Romeo and Juliet, but with a modern racial colouring.
In the 20th century another break took place in American music, again under the influence of national music. Jazz was perhaps the Negro's greatest contribution to American music. It emerged as a result of all kinds of rhythmical and melodic experiments. Jazz was free of convention and written arrangements. It has been made popular all over the country by such men as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. Scott Fitzgerald called the 20s of this century the "Jazz Age". Even serious composers like George Gershvin in America, and Stravinsky and Ravel in Europe were influenced by American jazz. George Gershvin used Negro themes and jazz elements in symphonic pieces. Porgie and Bess (1935) is the best example of a true unity of national roots and professional culture. [1, p.168]
Thirty years after jazz another kind of popular music appeared -- big beat (big rhythm). In 1954 the disc jockey Alan Freed started to broadcast the Negro rhythm-and-blues records. He called this music Rock-and-roll after an old blues "My Baby Rocks Me in a Steady Roll". White musicians began to imitate this music. The big white stars were Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry. Rock-'n-roll conquered Europe. Among the imitators of Chuck Berry was a group from Liverpool who called themselves "The Beatles."
American "pop" music abounds in different trends and styles, but Americans have varied musical interests and at least 25 per cent are devotees1 of classical music. Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco symphony orchestras are famous all over the country and abroad. (Appendix H)
Folk music. Folk music in the United States is varied across the country's numerous ethnic groups. The Native American tribes each play their own varieties of folk music, most of it spiritual in nature. African American music includes blues and gospel, descendants of West African music brought to the Americas by slaves and mixed with Western European music. During the colonial era, English, French and Spanish styles and instruments were brought to the Americas. By the early 20th century, the United States had become a major center for folk music from around the world, including polka, Ukrainian and Polish fiddling, Ashkenazi Jewish klezmer and several kinds of Latin music.
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