Midterm Essay 1

Midterm Essay 1



Midterm Essay 1


            The United States culture has predominantly been of a Western Culture, which has developed even before the creation of the country. This has been through historical transformations in dialect, arts, music, cuisines, social habits and folklore. At present, the United States is racially and ethnically diverse. The country has witnessed changes in the development of rights of an individual and pursuit of happiness. This has been possible through the movement of liberalism, which has been part of the last four hundred or so years. The movement constitutes belief in freedom and equality in rights. The US has positively improved on cultural development, fight for equal freedom and rights, pursuit of happiness while the state has been separated from the church in any nationalization.


            The early influences on the culture of the American society were based on the English and Irish colonial settlers. The British ties had the colonial influences from the language, formative influence on legal system and cultural inheritance. Different influences were achieved from the European effect during the early centuries. Over the years, the development of culture has been affected by the different migration and settlement cultures represented (Johnson et. al., 2013). There has been diversity and pluralism in the representation especially with integration of various subcultures within the country. Demographic factors, political orientation and social classes have helped shaped the society as it is today. Common demographic characteristics include occupations, religious backgrounds and affiliations, ethnic memberships and beliefs.  

            Historical development on the right of the individual has been highlighted by the liberalism movement. After the success of glorious revolution, which was instituted in England, the foundations of development and establishment of the bill of rights was realized (Daleck and McDougal, 2008). The declaration of independence signaled a principle in which all people are equal and deserve unalienable rights. These rights include liberty, life and pursuit of happiness. One of the foundational documents regarding human rights and liberalism was contained in the declaration of man’s rights and that of the citizen in France. A comprehensive movement formed against the old order heralded the questioning of old traditions on matters like the government and societies. It signified the birth of little interference on civil liberties.

            Classical liberalism was challenged by the downturns in growth of the economy. This had brought out the disparity between the rich and poor in the society. Other factors included unemployment, agitation in organized labor, deprivation realized in most industrial cities, growth in perception of poverty and its evils. The notion that an individual who was strong willed, talented and put in hard work could achieve happiness and social status began to seem implausible. Social balance and socialism became more important as a force for reform and necessary changes in the society. This was heavily critics through the advent of social injustice. The approaches developed were centered on equal opportunities for all in matters of success with pursuit of happiness.

            Separation of church and state refers to the common belief in the function and intent of clauses used in the American Constitution. Prendergast (2013) states that, the modern concept bases on the creation of a secular government on matters of sovereign reverence. It enabled the lawmakers to stave clear of making or establishing laws that respected religion and prohibited the free exercise of it. The statement was first heralded by Jefferson and was initially accepted as a declaration with authority on the scope and amendment effect. It is a matter of ongoing debate and subject of separation between the government and religion. Early immigrants into the country sought to worship freely while ensuring conformity on religion for financial reasons. Established church was responsible for relief in poverty thereby disadvantaging dissenting rivals.

            Under the constitution, there is provision that disallows qualification to holding of public office due to requirement of a religious test. Before the institution of the bill of rights in the documentation, there had been no other mention of religion (Prendergast, 2013). The separation of the church and state allowed for variety of different religions to exist in the country. There is belief that religion is firmly entrenched in the political society of the country. The separation is clarified to not having a denial of the political realm in matters of religious dimension. All individuals are expected to express their own conscience and fill their personal creeds.


            With the increase in settlement of people from diverse cultures and ethnicities, the cultural development of the American people has gradually transformed from predominantly western influence into diverse forms. This has been fostered through changes in dialect, arts, music, cuisines, social habits and folklore. Institution of the bill of rights was instrumental in the realization of developments in individual rights and pursuit of happiness. The liberalism and socialism movements channeled the possibility of social reform and balance. An individual can pursue happiness and success through hard work and determination in the society. Separation of the church from state was accepted as an approach through amendment in the constitution. It necessitated freedom in expression of religious dimension independent of government influence.


Dallek, R., & McDougal, L. (2008). American history. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell.

Johnson, J., Musial, D., Hall, G. & Gollnick, D. (2013). Foundations of American Education: Perspectives on Education in a Changing World Fifteenth Edition. New York: Pearson.

Prendergast, J. A. (2013). Hyperbole of the Red Fox: A fresh look at Thomas Jefferson’s “Wall of Separation”. New York: Harper.

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