American History 1945-2007 essay

There is no person, who doubts political economical and cultural majesty of the United States nowadays. This country has become one of the most influential players on the modern political stage. Despite its strong positions the United States got the reputation of militaristic, industrious and expansionist state. Many specialists explain the growing power of this state through these factors. Such an approach does not illustrate true state of events and centers only on separate aspects of American external and internal policy and creates a wrong perception in the minds of people.

Moreover, such a description is inaccurate, since it does not reflect factors, which resulted in such a high position of the United States in the modern world. The United States of America has become the example of democracy for the rest of the world. Founded on the principles of freedom and equality, this country had a long process during which democratic principles have been established. Spanish American War, the Great Depression, War World I, and War World II proved the principles of democracy, which became the basic principles of the US Constitution. As stated NASA administrator Mike Griffin in his speech, “Those who think strategically about geopolitical issues measure a nation’s influence on world affairs through four fundamental metrics: economic influence such as the size of a nation’s economy and the pattern of its trade relations; military influence such as the ability to deploy army, navy, air and space forces around the world; political influence through diplomacy between countries or in coalitions of nations; and cultural influence with regard to how a country projects its values through various arts, media, and language” (Foust 112). It is evident that America has very strong positions in each of four fields mentioned above and it is one of the key factors of its success as a leading nation of the world.

  1. Political sphere

Political sphere is one of the most important spheres in life of every country. America using multi-dimensional  approach is able to spread democracy all over the world not using militaristic and expansionist methods. The political system of the USA is usually defined as an indirect democracy which means that people express their will and rule the country through the representatives they elect.

After the experience of the World War I the United States of America took preventive measures when the World War II broke out. Hostility of Japan and threat of Nazi regimes to democracy made the United States of America take active part in this war. Trying to keep neutral position the USA did not start war actions until the attack to Pearl Harbor. The United States of America took part in the WWII and helped to stop Nazism and helped to save democracy in the world. It is necessary to note that the most powerful countries then were the United States and the USSR and so they were taking the most important strategic decisions.

After the war the United Nations were created and America became one the five permanent members of the Security Council. The Cold War was another period in American foreign policy. This war was aimed to limit the USSR’s power all over the world and to find the balance and thus save the world from the power of dictatorship and tyranny. The US had established the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and got into close contact with China during that time. America was spreading its influence in every corner of the world, while the Soviet Union, being weakened after the war, was losing its power and might.

Kennedy wanted his country to be secured during the cold war and so he paid much attention to the military aspect in the international policy. At first stages of the Cold War the Soviet Union did not agree on any kinds of negotiations and so made a great threat for peace and security of all the world and the USA had nothing to do but to confront this power.

Nixon also paid a great attention to the international policy. His effort was aimed to reach a new level of relations with the USSR. In the year 1969, America removed an embargo on trade with China and took a number of measures to develop a bilateral contact. The negotiations lasted till the year 1972. In this year President Nixon visited Shanghai, Beijing and Hangzhou and, as a result, two countries signed to the Shanghai Communiqué. According to this agreement China and America stated that they shared their views on foreign policy. Its main aim was to normalize the relations between tow countries (Harding, 143). It was difficult to develop relations between such closed political, social and economical unit as China, but President Nixon put much effort to develop this relationship.

Reagan is famous for his federal policy of tax cuts and military policy.  His main aim was to end the Cold War without arm conflicts and he did his best in achieving this aim. Seeing the threat for all the democratic world from the Communistic USSR with its totalitarian principles Reagan tried to decrease USSR’s influence using peaceful democratic methods. He carried on negotiations with Mikhail Gorbachev, which were rather successful and helped to end the Cold War.

II Aesthetic influence of the United States of America

America has become one of the cultural centers of the modern world. Despite there are many other countries, which influence world art, culture and fashion, the influence of the United States of America is hard to overestimate.

Newest technological means and big number of talented artists have made this country the centre of modern popular culture. Being the major diplomatic and political force of the world, the United States has become the carrier of material culture. It can be explained by diverse cultural and aesthetic patters, which have a big appeal in the contemporary society. Nowadays, the United States gains new and new admires all over the world. Asian region can be a good example. Till recent time “Cultural, intellectual, and aesthetic influence has been less marked, largely because of the residual colonial cultural bias, the appeals of the new nationalism, fear of American psychological “neoimperialism,” and awe of America’s strength and wealth,” (Morling 321) but changes gradually occur in the minds of people and with the flow of time aesthetic influence of the Unites States in this region grows same as it does in the rest of the world.

American aesthetics speaks to all people, who are free and not conditioned by any prejudices. It is not an accident, that the United States of America became the motherland of rock’n’roll, which is the incarnation of freedom and liberty not only in music, but only in life in general. Jazz, blues and metal are other few music styles born in this country. American popular culture was born as a unique combination of sophisticated European art and domestic original art. Probably, that is one of the main reasons why it appeals to people of different races, genders, social backgrounds, etc. American culture is not a stable phenomenon. While it proves its position as one of the modern cultural leaders, it does not cease to absorb information from the rest of the world, thus expanding its cultural horizons. American artists are not afraid to bring elements of other cultures into their art and such an approach has double meaning. On the one hand, it expands American culture and makes it richer and, on the other hand, becomes additional factors of its success. As state some specialists, “this ability to easily absorb parts of other cultures and other languages is its greatest strength and helps American culture and language spread. Americans in general do not worry about protecting their “indigenous culture” but instead eagerly create and adopt new things and then change or modify to make them their own” (Bakhtin, 79).

Nowadays the United State of America is the biggest world producer of music, films, fashion and other elements of pop culture. Advanced technologies help to widespread quickly products of this culture all over the world. American aesthetics and style has become close and acceptable for the most countries of the world. American culture creates images, which appeal to people all over the world, and many pieces of this culture become international.

III Technological influence

Rapid temps of technological development have made the United States a recognized leader in technology. Great technological potential of the country and rational state policy resulted in quick temps of technological progress and modern world should be thankful to the United States for many technological advances we can not imagine our life without. Knowing the importance of the development of spaceflight field, the US put much effort in the development of this field. Regarding spaceflights as “a strategic capability for a nation”, it spent much time and money on the development of this sphere. Car production is another sphere of extra importance for the US. In our age of globalization transport industry is one of the most important ones and, knowing about this the United States, has become one of the leaders in this sphere. Many household devices have been developed by the American scientists.

American people like comfort and it is perfectly reflected in their lifestyle. Much effort was put in order to make everyday life more comfortable. Such an attitude to household is gradually widespread to other countries and cultures. Informational technologies and digital technologies are another sphere of attention of American specialists.

Growing temps of globalization assume quick communication and appliance of digital technologies and the United States became one of the first countries, who can propose it to the world.

The States is now on the post-industrial stage of the development, it means that informational technologies prevail there. Being one of the leading producers of high technology and automated equipment the USA is also the leading exporter of these goods. Among the American technologies computers and specially designed software are the most exported goods. It is obvious that there are certain rules on technology and weapon transfers to different countries of the world because without these strict rules foreign countries would be able to use them in their own interests and apply weapons to the military programs and so jeopardize the entire world.

IV Social Influence

Social policy of the USA has always been an example to follow for the rest of the world. America is famous for its social rights movements, feminist movements and others.

The Civil Rights Movement of the 50s and 60s was aimed to stop discrimination against African-Americans. It included sit-ins, for example Greensboro sit-in in 1960, boycotts, for example Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955-1956, and marches, for example Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965. It was the Civil Rights Movement which assisted in passage of such acts as the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Immigration Services Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968. They were important, as they were first legal anti-discriminatory documents. One of the most famous social leaders was Malcolm X, who fought for the rights of African-Americans.

Slave trade or serfdom, partially presented in the United States several centuries ago, now became the past. Families in America are based on equality and free will and social status does not play a significant role. Most people, both men and women in our era of democracy and equal possibilities try to realize their potential and so make a career.

While climbing the ladder under natural conditions of competition dual-earner couples tend to forget about their family and housekeeping. Today investigation of relations in dual-earner couples is of current importance because recent researches have shown that such couples have problems and conflicts and their relations are strained (Mintz, 1988).

V. Economic influence

Economic growth of the USA greatly depends on its exports because exports make one-quarter of the economy. “Nations can no longer sit within their borders and pursue policies incompatible with an increasingly integrated world economy. The types of services, manufacturing and entrepreneurship that generate national wealth are more mobile than ever, and they will forsake countries that shackle business and labor with unnecessary burdens” (Fisher, Cox). Nowadays all the developed and developing countries try to gain more space and open their own markets on the world arena. It goes without saying that the United States is the leading country on the world market and it produces a lot of American goods which are of great advantage on the international market.

Approximately 12 million American jobs are connected with export and depend on it and people who work in this sphere get wages 13 to 19 percent higher than those who work in the national sphere. The United States has great benefits from the NAFTA and the Uruguay Round as they encourage American businessman to make goods of higher quality, which would be available at lower prices. World rates prove economic leadership of the USA:GDP of the USA based on PPP share of world total in 2006 made 20,57%, while of China only 13,99%, India ”“ 6,17%, Germany – 4,11% and France ”“ 2,99% (Fisher, Cox). Such economic success of the country can be explained by favorable geographical position and clever governmental policy. America occupies large area, which is rich in numerous mineral resources. Nature is represented by lowlands, highlands, mountains, valleys, e.t.c. that contributes to excellent conditions of economic development. Geographical factor is one of the factors which explains such rapid and successful development of USA.

America, being the country of great opportunities, does everything to present goods of high quality on the international market. American economic growth depends on the exports and so the country is interested in the production of exclusive and high-quality goods and the process of Globalization gave America possibility to present thee goods for other countries. “It is clear that countries with solid policies will be more successful in the global economy, if our data demonstrate anything, it is that globalization prompts a race to the top by pushing countries to abandon policies that burden their economies in favour of those that fuel growth and economic opportunity.” (Cox, Fisher) They also add that some recent policies, such as favorable corporate taxes and openness of the world market contribute to the fast economic growth of the country.

VI. Military influence

American military superiority is determined by its economic strength, historical circumstances and high position of the country on the international arena. American military strategy is in no way aimed to colonize or oppress other countries, its main aim is to develop democracy and maintain stability and peace in the world. In the process of its development America came through a number of wars to prove its superiority in the world.

After the Korean War, in which the United States and the PRC were enemies the relations between these two countries became frozen. “The Soviet Union was more of a factor than the People’s Republic of China in instigating the 1950 North Korean invasion of South Korea. In response, the United Nations Security Council undertook to assist by military means the Republic of Korea” (Vogel, 167). All in all, this war has not had an official end but it has had a great impact on the relations between China and America. After it the relations became distanced, two countries had stopped any cooperation. Only after the 1960s the USA and China began active economical partnership. At the present moment they are major trading partners.

Vietnam War became the longest war in the contemporary American history. In this conflict the United States of America supported Vietnamese government in its fight against guerilla forces. So called Persian Gulf wars, which took place in the end of 20th and in the beginning of the 21st centuries included several countries of the Persian Gulf. America took part in these conflicts in order to withstand anti-democratic regimes represented by Iraq.

Those, who speak about expansionist policy of the United States do not take into account the main principles of the US  military, which are defined as ”˜protecting the United States, preventing conflict and surprise attacks, and prevailing against adversaries”. Such a policy assumes not hostile attitude towards other countries and nations but only attempt to defend the USA and its citizens. The United States of America is a recognized promoter of the defense of rights and freedoms all the people all over the world. Speaking about American military strategy we should also consider Geneva Convention, which provide tolerant attitude to prisoners of war. Geneva Convention gives us basic information about prisoners of war and their rights. What is especially important this convention states that tortures and repressive actions towards prisons of war are illegal and will be punished and that was the first step in the direction of democracy and human policy. This convention was signer out by the most civilized counties, which proclaimed the adherence to the ideals of humanism and democracy.


America is a powerful country with a developed market economy and great economic potential. American foreign policy has a great influence on the whole world. The main goals of America on the international market are to create a democratic world for American people and all other people. The era of globalization presumes the developed network of contacts with other countries and America is very successful in this aspect.

The United States of America is a comparatively young country but it has become an example of freedom and democracy for many countries of the world. This can be explained by many facts. First of all people came to these lands looking for freedom and that is the reason, it became the most precious treasure for them. So many efforts were put in order to save this treasure that even the most serious tests did not break these ideals. Those, who explain present success and popularity of the American culture, politics, economy and technology through its expansionist actions and use of power are not fully aware of the main principles, which make the basement of this country.

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