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2.1The Composition of the American Population(美国概况第二章)

2008年09月16日  所属:美国概况  来源:南京航空航天大学  作者:南京航空航天大学

美国概况第二章人口:2.1 美国人口的组成结构。

美国概况:Chapter 2: Population :2.1. The Composition of the American Population

In the 20th decennial U.S. census, taken in 1980, the resident population in the United States numbered 226,547,346. About 188.3 million (83.2%) were classified as white, 26.5 mil- lion (11.7%) as black, and 11.7 million (5.1%) as members of other races.

      The history of the United States is really the story of various immigrants groups working together to build a unique nation. During the 1500s, French and Spanish explorers visited the New World. But the first Europeans who came to stay were mostly the English. In 1790, when the first U. S. census was taken, the white population of the 13 original states totaled slightly more than3 million. About 75 percent of these first Americans were of British ancestry; the rest were German, Dutch, French, Swiss, and Spanish. The English gave the new nation its language its laws, and its philosophy of government.

     The United States now is known as a "melting pot", meaning that it is composed of immigrants from different nations all over the world. But when we say a "melting pot", we do not mean that it melt away all recollections of another way of life in another place. Most immigrants treasure all their lives the traditions of their homeland and share a special bond with people of the same national origin. They merge into the American stream only in certain aspects of life but keep too many of their own customs and patterns socially and at home. So the works of American poets, authors, musicians, and artists often reflect their ancestral background or portray typical features of the region where they live.

      Now the most powerful and influential race in the United States is the White Anglo-Saxon Protestants who are the descendents of the early English settlers. They make up about 45 percent of the American population and control most of the national wealth and political power in the nation. The other white Americans whose forefathers were from other European countries are not as influential as the White Anglo-Saxon Protestants, but their social status is far better than the other American minorities.

      The most numerous minority in America is the black people whose forefathers were from Africa. The first blacks arrived in Jamestown in 1619 as indentured servants. They worked on plantations until their contracts were over and then became free. But very soon after 1619 blacks were brought to colonies as slaves. After the Emancipation in 1863, they were freed formally, but the U. S. government continued to practice discrimination against them. The official segregation continued to be the law of the land until 1954. Today, legal barriers have been lowered, if not removed, by civil right legislation, executive orders, and judicial decisions. Blacks can vote, get a meal where they want, and stay at hotels. Yet, said James Farmer, a civil right activist, "They were victories largely for the middle class--     those who could travel, entertain in restaurants and stay in hotels. Those victories did not change life conditions for the mass of blacks who are still poor. "One-third of all black families still live below the poverty line -- cut off from, white society and alienated from the black middle class.

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