The United States of America is still seen by many other nationalities as a prime place to immigrate to as can be noticed by the current influx of new immigrants. Although American ways have often been perceived by other people as distinct, Louis Wright’s article, The British Tradition in America in Retrospect, clearly shows that many of the attractive aspects of American culture are actually rooted in British tradition.
These aspects such as cultural conservatism, the practical view of religion, moral justifications even of unethical issues, individualism, the business culture, good academic education, fashionability of the English language and the beautiful laws in the United States are all rooted in British culture.
One of the most attractive aspects of American culture is the way it seems to break away from traditions. Many immigrants, especially those from developing countries, find novelty in the creative ways that Americans have been able to remodel British traditions to make it look new or non-conformist. US culture seems to encourage the freedom of expression that many artists desire. This freedom to create is usually limited in other countries because of its own traditions.
Another very prominent aspect of American culture that generates interest among interested immigrants is its perspectives on how to practice religion based on logic and what is profitable instead of theoretical. Although Americans believe themselves to have broken away from British conservative religious practice, the religion is still inherited from Britain.
The implementation of religion in the U.S. is merely loose compared to the very strict and binding religion of the British because of the new found freedom that the early settlers realized they had. Although Puritanism has made moral justifications on unethical issues before, Puritanism’s origins are traceable to Britain. The origins of this belief are rooted in the British culture and merely implemented on American soil.
One very basic attitude that Americans and British have in common is individualism. The “mind your own business” attitude is very attractive to other nationalities with many cultural family traditions that hinder individuals from completely achieving financial success. Developing countries mostly lack the business mind-set and are usually focused on familial ties and traditions. The American emphasis on commerce and trade (which are also rooted in British character) shows interested immigrants that success is easier to achieve in the United States if one is willing to work hard for it.
Another attractive aspect of the United States that is deeply rooted in its British heritage is education. Many foreigners seek to educate themselves within the universities of the U.S. because the academic curricula are based on classical knowledge translated within the bounds of ethical and moral principles. There are many Christian foreigners who fancy being educated in Harvard, Princeton, etc. because of the way these universities have been espousing great knowledge without totally going against spiritual beliefs.
Another very powerful attraction to the American continent is its language. American English, even if it is already very different from British language due to the influences of other nationalities is still fashionable almost all over the world. The American English language is a great communication tool among international students because of the many books written in this language. The media has been able to popularize the American culture and with it, the language. Many nationalities look up to their brothers who can master the American English tongue.
Above all, the American laws that espouse freedom and human rights are very attractive to cultures that are troubled by political problems. American laws, which have been derived from the British legal system, seem to encourage individual freedom and able to protect even the smallest individual from abuse. Gay’s rights, right to choice and other laws show how liberal but protecting the American legal system can be and this can be very attractive to immigrants.
American traditions and fashionable life is very popular because it always seems modern and novel to conservative cultures and developing countries. However, if one would really take away the hype and understand things the way Louis Wright does, it will become obvious that American have simply developed British systems and made some improvements before they called it their own.