A list of words and expressions regarding the USA, including explanations




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The Pilgrim Fathers
The Pilgrim Fathers was the pioneers of British colonization of North America. A group of 102 people led by English Puritans fleeing religious persecution sailed in the Mayflower and founded the colony of Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620.

The Mayflower
The ship in which the Pilgrim Fathers sailed from England to America.

The War of independence
The War of Independence was a war fought between Britain and the thirteen colonies in 1775 – 1783, in America. The war started because the Americans wanted to be independent from Britain, and led by George Washington that is what they accomplished.

The Declaration of Independence
The Americans declared themselves independent in 1776, but didn’t get their independence until after their victory over the British in 1783. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were some of the men who signed the historical document in Philadelphia 4th of July 1776.

The Founding Fathers
The Founding Fathers were the political leaders who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, or who in some way were a part of the American Revolution against the British rule. The most famous of the Founding Fathers are Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, John May, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. Several of these were actually earlier British colonists who were rebelling against the British ruling in the USA.

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The Confederacy
The Confederacy was a union consisting of seven southern states, established in 1861. These were states who wanted to keep slavery, in contrast to the northern states.

The Civil War
The Civil War was a war between the northern and southern states from 1861 to 1865. It was about slavery, whether to abolish it or not. The south wanted to keep slavery, while the north wanted to abolish it, or at least preventing it from spreading to other states. Abraham Lincoln, the president at the time, declared war as an attempt to get the country together again.

The Homestead Act
The Homestead Act gave 160 acres of land, free, to new settlers, on the condition that they would farm the land. This caused a lot of trouble, especially for the Indians. Because the land the American government was giving away for free was already occupied by the Indians.

The Depression
Up until 1929 the USA was a fast growing nation. But in 1929 the stock market crash occurred, otherwise known as “Black Tuesday”. This lead to a long depression, lasting to the beginning of the 1940’s. The stock market crash affected almost all countries in the world, especially the biggest cities around the world.

New Deal
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After the Depression the American people were up to their necks in debt, the president at the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt, introduced a new reform. The reform helped the banks, young unemployed and the farmers, among many others. Roosevelt was on a mission to rebuild the country.

Cultural Imperialism
Cultural imperialism is one culture dominating another by deliberate policy, economic or technological superiority. In today’s society the western culture is very dominant, especially the American culture. We can see this all over the world. McDonald’s, American music and American movies is to be found almost everywhere.

Melting pot
If a society is like a melting pot, the different cultures and traditions lose their distinct mark and they all melt together into one big “soup”. A melting pot is a more casual word than cultural assimilation.

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Salad bowl
If a society is like a salad bowl, the different cultures manage to live side by side, and they all keep
their distinct mark.

Assimilation
Assimilation, often in context with cultural assimilation, means that something or someone loses their distinct stamp and blends in. This is often talked about when it comes to immigrants who loses characteristics which make them stand out from the crowd, and that makes them special.

Federal
A system of government which consists of several states forms a unity but remains independent in internal affairs.

Psychology of Abundance
Psychology of abundance is a belief that resources and opportunities are limited, and that to promote fairness, government policies must grant or redistribute them. This belief started with the Pioneers who settled in the west, and who found everything they needed in the land. This turned into a way of thinking, and is leading to a deficit of recourses.

Individualism
Americans are supposed to be self-reliant persons who can take care of themselves and their family. For example: Americans pay little tax, which means that they have to pay their own hospital bills, among many other things. The pioneers who settled the west had to face the hardship of the land and climate on their own. Their success depended on their own efforts and not on their cooperation with others.

Volunteerism
Six of ten Americans are a member of a volunteer organization. The American people are a people full of “can – do – spirit”, and they use this spirit when they volunteer to help people who are worse off than themselves. Through volunteer organization or expensive dinners they collect money to help others.

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Checks and balances
The government in the USA is build up in a way that the different branches can’t do things without the other branches permission in a way.

The Executive
The Executive is the branch of a government responsible for putting decisions or laws into effect. This is the President.

The Legislative
The Legislate makes the laws which the Executive approves and the judicial judges by the laws.

The Judicial
The Judicial are the courts who judges by the laws the legislatives make.

Congress
A national legislative body, especially that of the US. The US Congress, which meets at the Capitol in Washington DC, was established by the Constitution of 1787 and is composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights was introduced in 1791, and the aim was to specify the rights of individual rights of individual citizens. Among these are the right to free speech, free religion and the right to own guns.