Although the culture of the United States of America is primarily Western, influences from all over the world, both social and cultural, affect things such as dialect, education, architecture, music, the arts, and cuisine, as well as our own history. Today, the United States remains one of the most ethnically and racially diverse countries, and as such, it attracts many others who come here from all over the world.
Starting back in the 17th century, Europeans began to colonize North America, bringing their ideas and ways of life to the New World. As a massive migration took place, Europeans came to settle the land here, and in doing so first began to have an effect on the Native Americans. From the British Isles to France, Spain, and many other cultures that span the globe, the impact of European influence remains more prominent and widespread today than most people may realize.
For example, take the use of American English. Its use in the United States is a result of British colonization in the Americas. Migrations in the 18th and 19th centuries influenced the languages of the Native American population, as well other languages in the United States. Words were borrowed and shared, and now their speakers are often perfectly ignorant of the foreign origins of these words. Additionally, as American English continues to evolve, regional accents are still changing, and some are even only just emerging.
The same theory applies to architecture. Depending upon where the first European settlers made their home in America, the buildings highlight their own cultural significance. Stylistic trends in New England can reflect a post-Medieval English influence, as well as a Georgian influence (out of the Italian Renaissance), or perhaps a Federal style inspired by the Mediterranean, as well as classical Roman and Greek monuments. In the south, from Florida to Louisiana, you can expect to see a great deal of Spanish colonial architecture, which was built anywhere from 1559 to 1821. From the Greek Revival to the rise of the skyscraper, architectural innovation continues to be influenced by incredible European trends that stand the test of time.
Similarly, you can see such influence today in the world of fashion. Not only in specific designers, but in that countries like France and Spain traditionally come to mind when you consider current fashion styles. This lucrative field nets millions of dollars for national and international businesses and has garnered a social and cultural following here in America, which has propelled it to the forefront of our society.
Even the food we eat in the United States reflects the history that this country was built upon. European colonization of the Americas introduced us to a number of ingredients and different cooking styles which expanded through the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Over time, food eventually became more industrialized, and just as the country itself fused together different cultures, the United States also fused together different cooking approaches. Eventually, the birth of celebrity chefs took over, and thus we now nurture our heritage as we seek to expand and discover new trends in our cuisine, as well.
So the influence of European culture in America today is spread far and wide, so much so that instead of asking how European culture impacts us today, a better question might be how doesn’t it impact us.