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Old 01-06-2011, 10:25 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn, New York
3,739 posts, read 3,851,539 times
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The majority of Europeans think we have no history or culture. And yes, this is the consensus in ALL European countries.
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:06 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
13,036 posts, read 22,019,784 times
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A relatively young Nation seems to have managed to cram in a heck of a lot in a fairly short period of time and I for one find American History fascinating. American culture has pervaded aspects of all our lives around the world and it is interesting to understand the context of a such a rise.

The American Revolution, The Civil War, Civil rights movement , WW2, The Melting pot, Expansion of the West, Economic and cultural Imperialism, a changing place in our future economic future with the economic rise of China and India all make it all hugely fascinating and there are areas of great historical significance to us all .

However as an Archaeologist what truly entrances me is Native American history and Prehistory,its amazing array of cultures, languages and art. This is sadly a chapter most American history books seem to gloss over if it is mentioned at all and as someone who lived in the US I was appalled to see that Native American Culture and history had almost been erased out of History and negated , almost denied. So many Americans I met had no ideas about the sheer cultural variety of Native Cultures, Artistic achievements, far ranging trade links , had never heard of Cahokia and the Serpent Mounds for example or even of the superb Ancient Pueblos and settlements of the South-West.

That I find terribly sad. American history did not begin with the first European settlers. Some fascinating people, with great skills lived on American soil before the settlers , trappers and immigrants arrived. There is a cultural richness which is often shoved under the carpet out of sight.

America's "blossoming" if one takes it as a Western Nation ,forgetting entirely Native Culture and discarding earlier settlements "happened" mostly during the period of the Enlightenment and following settlements only a prelude to the main "event" of genuine and , closely followed by the movement of the Industrial Revolution and as such did not have to go through the long and complex process other Western countries had to.

The rise was so quick because in essence it happened at a crucially "hinge" moment of world history. It means American rose quickly and managed to by-pass a lot , condensing a lot in a very short period of time. Which makes it even more interesting to study.
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Sweden
23,762 posts, read 65,870,314 times
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I don´t care more or less about american history than another countries.
I have some basic knowledge as I also have about european history.
I know the most about swedish history.
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Old 01-07-2011, 09:06 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
17,249 posts, read 19,545,740 times
Reputation: 13008
Most people only really care about their local/regional history and culture. That's what I've seen in every country I've traveled to. Foreign cultures are at best a curiosity to people.

Europe obviously has far more history than the U.S. So, it's only natural that most Europeans won't think much of U.S. history. But this is kind of a double-edged sword. Because as great as European culture is, it is also more "fossilized" than American culture and is less willing to accept change and newer influences.
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Old 01-07-2011, 10:18 AM
 
Location: Kerkrade, Limburg, Netherlands
262 posts, read 463,749 times
Reputation: 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by CubanfromMiami View Post
I have always wondered what Europeans thought of the US history and culture. I would like to hear from any Europeans or just non-Americans what they think about us. Do you guys just see us as the stereotypical BigMac-eating, obese, tractor driving, rednecks or are you actually genuinely interesting in learning about American culture and history? Do you guys even care about learning about the Revolution or Civil War? Do Europeans even know what the American Civil war was? Do you guys even know how American politics work and about our Constitution and such? It might just be a stereotype, but I gete the feeling that Europeans don't really care about the US and feel that the world would be better off without us.

It would also help if you guys could post what country you are from. Obviously I know that Europe is a huge continent and opinions vary by country, and even regions. I'm sure the British have drastically different views on the US than the Danish, or Dutch for example.

I have also wondered, contrary to what many of you guys believe, many Americans realize that Europe is a very diverse and different place. It's not just one block of countries. But I get the feeling that you guys see the US like this. The US might as well be 50 independent countries with 50 different histories and cultures and viewpoints. The US truly is a vast place and despite being so young, we have a surprising amount of history for our age. I don't think Europe accomplished as much as the US has in its first 200 years.
Okay I'm from the South of the Netherlands, Europe. Studying Tourism Management & Consultancy with a few minors on Culture (Culture in General, Culture & History, Culture Comparisons).

Yes I do know about the Civil War, and the other things you have mentioned. In fact on my secundary school we already had a half year course about this, which also was a part of our final exam. However this subject changes once in the few years.

Also I am pretty sure that most countries do not think like they do not care about the US. In fact everyone knows that US and Europe/EU are sort of partners for over a long time and in a way they need eachother. In fact my opinion I got from the last years vacations I can tell from the Americans I've met this would be rather the other way around, with Americans knowing less about Europe than Europeans about the US.

''I don't think Europe accomplished as much as the US has in its first 200 years.''
This just makes no sense. Can you even tell when Europe had its first 200 years? That might be 20 000bc or way before. It's not even comparable in the slightest way as no one knows about the population at that time and it was way less civilized.


So now my opinion about the culture and history of the us.
From History I can tell it's rather interesting (when talking about these first 200 years). It is interesting to read about the Civil wars, the slavery, the states getting together etc etc. In fact I like history in every country as long as something happens and can not really understand how you can say history of country Y is cool and country X is not. Ofcourse some 'stories' of of Y are more interesting than the other are better to read but as everything influences eachother afterall, for me everything is simply interesting.

Culture? Well what do I know about the US without having been there.
I definately do not like the attitude of some/a lot (who knows?) that America is better than every other country in the world.
Obese/McDonalds/Tractor Driving...Nah these are lousy interests for me. It's not like Europeans do not drive tractors or eat fat food.
What I also do not like is the fact that every American shows the American flag in every oppurtunity it gets which probably is how it is in real life as well. For me this makes me have a sort of opinion that America just wants to promote itself in every way to show how great it is. Now of course one may find this a bad assumption but it's the same as showing a flag of a big company several times in a movie.

What I do find interesting is the language, how much it differs from European English in example. America also has a great Music industry which I really like and Movies as well.
Religion in the US to me is in some parts rather comparable to Europe some years ago. It's really into religion still where as in European countries its decreasing rather fast.
I also like how some of the American cities are built.

I do have more opinions about it all, but some are positive, some are negative...and as I have not been there I can not totally judge on everything and in the summer (when I am going there for 6weeks) a lot of my opinions may change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gantz View Post
The majority of Europeans think we have no history or culture. And yes, this is the consensus in ALL European countries.
This means that you have no idea of Europe and not the other way around. So wrong.
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Old 01-07-2011, 10:22 AM
 
3,234 posts, read 7,630,288 times
Reputation: 2694
In my experience, when ever I have been around Europeans and the thought of the US having any real history is mentioned, they scoff and laugh. But that is just my experience.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Miami, FL
187 posts, read 479,710 times
Reputation: 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by NerdyChick View Post
I'm over in the US studying now and having the option to pick history here in the US as classes to fill my general education requirements have been such a treat. In danger of showing the nerd in me, I felt like a kid in a candy store when I could pick classes like that. This last semester I had two classes covering native american history and it's been SO interesting getting to learn more about that. I'm probably going to take some US history classes later too.

Back in school in Norway (Which reveals where I'm from ) we had some general history for the US, but didn't go into great detail. There where some things that our teacher taught us more about, like Rosa Parks for example. I knew about the Revolution and Civil War, I couldn't tell you when they where, but that is probably more to do with the fact that I'm HORRIBLE at remembering historical dates no matter where in the world you talk about history. (Heck, even my own country)
Oh, and like Ben86 mentions about the UK, most of media stuff at home is from the US which gives us the extra little window into USA I guess.

I didn't at all have the big mac eating, obese stereotype set in my head before I came here, but many of my coworkers seemed to have that view, they pretty much acted like I was insane for wanting to come here to study.
I was surprised when I actually started bumping into people wearing cowboy hats, I thought it was just a stereotype. But from what I'm told, it's more common in the midwest than the rest of the US.
And yeah, after I moved here I've definetly had the "Oh god, stuff is HUGE!". Not just cities, stores or cars, but your country. I haven't ever seen wide open ranges in the way I have while driving across South Dakota or Wyoming. Can't wait to be able to see and learn more while I'm here studying
Well that's a pretty nice view lol. It is pretty sad that your coworkers had that view, hopefully they will eventually realize that it doesn't apply to all of us . And you made me laugh with the cowboy hat comment lol . I don't think that that's as much of a stereotype, many people here still wear those. You will not find many cowboys on the East coast. Most would be, like you said, in the Midwest and parts of Texas and maybe in parts of Arizona and Nevada.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooseketeer View Post
A relatively young Nation seems to have managed to cram in a heck of a lot in a fairly short period of time and I for one find American History fascinating. American culture has pervaded aspects of all our lives around the world and it is interesting to understand the context of a such a rise.

The American Revolution, The Civil War, Civil rights movement , WW2, The Melting pot, Expansion of the West, Economic and cultural Imperialism, a changing place in our future economic future with the economic rise of China and India all make it all hugely fascinating and there are areas of great historical significance to us all .

However as an Archaeologist what truly entrances me is Native American history and Prehistory,its amazing array of cultures, languages and art. This is sadly a chapter most American history books seem to gloss over if it is mentioned at all and as someone who lived in the US I was appalled to see that Native American Culture and history had almost been erased out of History and negated , almost denied. So many Americans I met had no ideas about the sheer cultural variety of Native Cultures, Artistic achievements, far ranging trade links , had never heard of Cahokia and the Serpent Mounds for example or even of the superb Ancient Pueblos and settlements of the South-West.

That I find terribly sad. American history did not begin with the first European settlers. Some fascinating people, with great skills lived on American soil before the settlers , trappers and immigrants arrived. There is a cultural richness which is often shoved under the carpet out of sight.

America's "blossoming" if one takes it as a Western Nation ,forgetting entirely Native Culture and discarding earlier settlements "happened" mostly during the period of the Enlightenment and following settlements only a prelude to the main "event" of genuine and , closely followed by the movement of the Industrial Revolution and as such did not have to go through the long and complex process other Western countries had to.

The rise was so quick because in essence it happened at a crucially "hinge" moment of world history. It means American rose quickly and managed to by-pass a lot , condensing a lot in a very short period of time. Which makes it even more interesting to study.
Hmm I wasn't trying to overlook Native American history. When I say American History I am usually referring to the history of the US. I should have worded the post as US history not American. :/ But I agree, Native american history is VERY interesting and it is really sad that most of it is almost forgotten. It seems like US historians have tried to get rid of it. In most textbooks now you will not find anything about the Trail of tears, almost as if we want to forget about it. But it did happen. How I would love to go back in time and talk to these groups of people. It seems that the area that is now the US had alot of different cultures and history millenniums before the Europeans came here. It is really depressing to think that so much history might have been lost to time and now is erased from anyone's memory



Quote:
Originally Posted by BramH View Post
Okay I'm from the South of the Netherlands, Europe. Studying Tourism Management & Consultancy with a few minors on Culture (Culture in General, Culture & History, Culture Comparisons).

Yes I do know about the Civil War, and the other things you have mentioned. In fact on my secundary school we already had a half year course about this, which also was a part of our final exam. However this subject changes once in the few years.

Also I am pretty sure that most countries do not think like they do not care about the US. In fact everyone knows that US and Europe/EU are sort of partners for over a long time and in a way they need eachother. In fact my opinion I got from the last years vacations I can tell from the Americans I've met this would be rather the other way around, with Americans knowing less about Europe than Europeans about the US.

''I don't think Europe accomplished as much as the US has in its first 200 years.''
This just makes no sense. Can you even tell when Europe had its first 200 years? That might be 20 000bc or way before. It's not even comparable in the slightest way as no one knows about the population at that time and it was way less civilized.


So now my opinion about the culture and history of the us.
From History I can tell it's rather interesting (when talking about these first 200 years). It is interesting to read about the Civil wars, the slavery, the states getting together etc etc. In fact I like history in every country as long as something happens and can not really understand how you can say history of country Y is cool and country X is not. Ofcourse some 'stories' of of Y are more interesting than the other are better to read but as everything influences eachother afterall, for me everything is simply interesting.

Culture? Well what do I know about the US without having been there.
I definately do not like the attitude of some/a lot (who knows?) that America is better than every other country in the world.
Obese/McDonalds/Tractor Driving...Nah these are lousy interests for me. It's not like Europeans do not drive tractors or eat fat food.
What I also do not like is the fact that every American shows the American flag in every oppurtunity it gets which probably is how it is in real life as well. For me this makes me have a sort of opinion that America just wants to promote itself in every way to show how great it is. Now of course one may find this a bad assumption but it's the same as showing a flag of a big company several times in a movie.

What I do find interesting is the language, how much it differs from European English in example. America also has a great Music industry which I really like and Movies as well.
Religion in the US to me is in some parts rather comparable to Europe some years ago. It's really into religion still where as in European countries its decreasing rather fast.
I also like how some of the American cities are built.

I do have more opinions about it all, but some are positive, some are negative...and as I have not been there I can not totally judge on everything and in the summer (when I am going there for 6weeks) a lot of my opinions may change.


This means that you have no idea of Europe and not the other way around. So wrong.

I'm really sorry if I came off as one of these people that you speak of that think the US is better. I really wasn't trying to convey that message, I just worded my post really badly >.< . And please ignore that comment of the 200 years. I was trying to say something else and couldn't figure out how to say it so it didn't make sense (English is not even my first language sorry ). And I agree with you about the religion thing. The US is actually pretty unique among industrialized countries in a lot of ways. Our population is still increasing, and a lot of Americans are VERY religions. In alot of developed countries like China, Japan, and alot of Europe (Norway, Sweden, France, etc.) a growing number of people are becoming nonreligious and their separating church and state, so to speak. In the US alot of people still hold their beliefs very strongly and I think that is really causing us to go backwards as a country. I think that we are decades from having a secular president and most people would not vote for a congressman or governor if they were openly nonreligious.

And the thing about the flags not everyone is like that. A lot of people here are first and second generation immigrants so you will see a lot more Mexican, Cuban, Colombian, Puerto Rican, Brazilian flags. Mostly when people do this its outside of the US and during events like Independence day. You will not find many people in the US randomly flashing a flag, unless its from their home country.
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Old 01-08-2011, 06:15 AM
 
Location: Kerkrade, Limburg, Netherlands
262 posts, read 463,749 times
Reputation: 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by CubanfromMiami View Post
I'm really sorry if I came off as one of these people that you speak of that think the US is better. I really wasn't trying to convey that message, I just worded my post really badly >.< . And please ignore that comment of the 200 years. I was trying to say something else and couldn't figure out how to say it so it didn't make sense (English is not even my first language sorry ). And I agree with you about the religion thing. The US is actually pretty unique among industrialized countries in a lot of ways. Our population is still increasing, and a lot of Americans are VERY religions. In alot of developed countries like China, Japan, and alot of Europe (Norway, Sweden, France, etc.) a growing number of people are becoming nonreligious and their separating church and state, so to speak. In the US alot of people still hold their beliefs very strongly and I think that is really causing us to go backwards as a country. I think that we are decades from having a secular president and most people would not vote for a congressman or governor if they were openly nonreligious.

And the thing about the flags not everyone is like that. A lot of people here are first and second generation immigrants so you will see a lot more Mexican, Cuban, Colombian, Puerto Rican, Brazilian flags. Mostly when people do this its outside of the US and during events like Independence day. You will not find many people in the US randomly flashing a flag, unless its from their home country.
Heya,
no problem as it wasn't really aimed at you but it was more of a general impression I got from many people. English is not my first language either.

Also I did not know about that flag thing.
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Old 01-08-2011, 07:50 AM
 
288 posts, read 299,705 times
Reputation: 205
For a relatively "young" country you guys definitely have pretty rich and fascinating history. I remember that I really enjoyed U.S. history classes in college.
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Old 01-08-2011, 08:06 AM
 
Location: 304
5,093 posts, read 6,860,647 times
Reputation: 1697
It might not seem like most Europeans care about American history, but they do naturally because it is the same history as their own. It was their history that created our country, and it is our history that has affected them.

When talking about the past on such a large scale, the events and momentsin time that stand out belong to not only one country, but the world as a whole.
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