What makes America unique? Our special feature offers three perspectives: looking at the tension between stability and diversity in American history, the streak of utopian idealism in the American character, and how America appears to the recently liberated people of eastern Europe.
Note: For Part I of Anne Wortham's essay, see "America and Immigration," September 2001.
Melting Pot, Part 2: America's Cultural-Institutional Core The cultural-institutional core of the United States exists in
a stable but ever-differentiating society that is politically
democratic, capitalist in its economy, libertarian in its
laws, and pluralistic in its culture. Its social relations are
shaped by the tension between individualistic and altruistic
America in the Eyes of Eastern Europe While a massive amount of both critical and laudatory
literature on America is circulating in western Europe, only a
few critical books on America and the American way of life can
be found in today's postcommunist eastern Europe. This essay
is my attempt to add to that literature. ...
The United States in the 21st Century The American experiment depends on a number of strands in its
character and history: the desire to serve the world; the
conviction that the American sense of rights is destined to be
accepted by the entire world; adaptability; and the sense of
utopian perfectibility. ...