Portal:United States/Selected article/archive
Bluegrass music is considered a form of American roots music with its own roots in the English, Irish and Scottish traditional music of immigrants from the British Isles (particularly the Scots-Irish immigrants of Appalachia), as well as the music of rural African-Americans, jazz, and blues. Like jazz, bluegrass is played with each melody instrument switching off, playing improvised solos in turn while the others revert to backing; this is in contrast to old-time music, in which all instruments play the melody together or one instrument carried the lead throughout while the others provide accompaniment. (read more...)
In the United States the term American middle class is especially vague, being used to describe either all those in-between the extremes of wealth and poverty at the center of society or a relative elite of highly educated professionals and managers. It is important to differentiate between these two ideologies and that according to most authoritative sources on the subject, the majority of Americans are working or lower middle class. While the vast majority of Americans identify themselves as middle class and live under the assumption that indeed the majority of Americans are middle class, only a minority of the population can afford to live the middle class lifestyle. Despite rising awareness of the middle class being one of relative affluence, the idea of the middle class being at the center of society including janitors, architects and lawyers, remains. The modern American middle class which bears its roots in the bourgeoisie, was largely born in the 1950s during the suburbanization of the United States. Today most experts and writers do agree that the middle class or at least those with lifestyles indicative of the American middle class constitute no more than 20% of the population and are in terms of privilege and influence closer to the top of society than the bottom or the working class majority. Thus contrary to common belief the middle class as defined by lifestyle is neither a broad majority located nor at the center of society but rather a sizable privileged minority below the top 5%. (read more...)
The 1964 New York World's Fair was the second World's Fair to be held at Flushing Meadows Park in the Borough of Queens, in New York City in the twentieth century. It opened on April 22, 1964 and ran for two six-month seasons concluding on October 17, 1965. It was the largest World's Fair to be held in the United States, occupying nearly a square mile (2.6 km²) of land. Hailing itself as a "Universal and International" exposition, the Fair's theme was "Peace Through Understanding," dedicated to "Man's Achievement on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe." The theme was symbolized by a twelve-story high, stainless-steel model of the earth called Unisphere. United States corporations dominated the exposition as exhibitors at the expense of international participation. The Fair is best remembered as a showcase of mid-twentieth century American corporate culture. The nascent Space Age, with its vista of promise was well-covered by the exhibits. More than fifty-one million people attended the Fair, but this was less than the hoped-for seventy million. (read more...)
The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 made landfall on the city of Galveston, Texas, on September 8, 1900. It had estimated winds of 135 miles per hour (215 km/h) at landfall, making it a Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. The hurricane caused great loss of life. The death toll has been estimated to be between 6,000 and 12,000 individuals, depending on whether one counts casualties from the city of Galveston itself, the larger island, or the region as a whole. The number most cited in official reports is 8,000, giving the storm the third-highest number of casualties of any Atlantic hurricane, after the Great Hurricane of 1780, and 1998's Hurricane Mitch. The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 is to date the deadliest natural disaster ever to strike the United States. By contrast, the second-deadliest storm to strike the United States, the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane, caused approximately 2,500 deaths, and the deadliest storm of recent times, Hurricane Katrina, has caused approximately 1,600 deaths. (read more...)
Grunge music is an independent-rooted music genre that was inspired by hardcore punk, thrash metal, and alternative rock. The genre became commercially successful in the late 1980s and early 1990s, peaking in mainstream popularity between 1991 and 1994. Bands from cities in the U.S. Pacific Northwest such as Seattle, Washington, Olympia, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, were responsible for creating grunge music and later made it popular with mainstream audiences. The genre is closely associated with Generation X, due to its popularization being in tandem with the popularizing of the generation's name. The popularity of grunge was one of the first phenomena that distinguished the popular music of the 1990s from that of the 1980s. Grunge music is generally characterized by "dirty" guitar, strong riffs, and heavy drumming. The "dirty" sound resulted both from a stylistic change in the standard method of playing punk rock, and from the common use of guitar distortion and feedback. Grunge involves slower tempos and dissonant harmonies that are generally not found in punk. (read more...)
Louisville is Kentucky's largest city. It is ranked as either the 16th or 26th largest city in the United States depending on how the population is calculated. The settlement that became the City of Louisville was founded in 1778 by George Rogers Clark and is named after King Louis XVI of France. Louisville is most famous as the home of "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports": the Kentucky Derby, the most widely watched event in American horse racing. Louisville is situated on the Kentucky-Indiana border at the only natural obstacle in the Ohio River, the Falls of the Ohio. As of the 2000 Census, Louisville had a population of 256,231. However, on November 7, 2000, Louisville and Jefferson County approved a ballot measure to merge into a consolidated city-county government named Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government (official long form) and Louisville Metro (official short form) to take effect January 1, 2003. The 2005 estimated population for the consolidated Louisville-Jefferson County is 699,827. (read more...)
The Space Race was the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union roughly from 1957 to 1975, involving their efforts to explore space with satellites and to eventually land a human being on the Moon and return him to Earth. Though its roots lie in early rocket technology and in the international tensions following World War II, the Space Race effectively began with the Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1957. The term was coined as an analogy to the arms race. The Space Race became an important part of the cultural and technological rivalry between the USSR and the U.S. during the Cold War. Space technology was a particularly important arena in this conflict, both because of its military applications and due to the psychological benefit of raising morale. (read more...)
Gerald Ford was the 40th Vice President and the 38th President of the United States. He was elected House Minority Leader in 1963 and served in the House until 1973. When Spiro Agnew resigned, Ford was appointed Vice President of the United States during the height of the Watergate scandal. Following the resignation of Richard Nixon, Ford ascended to the presidency on August 9, 1974. The Ford administration saw the withdrawal of American forces from Vietnam, the execution of the Helsinki Accords and the continuing specter of inflation and recession. Faced with an overwhelmingly Democratic majority in Congress, the administration was hampered in its ability to pass major legislation and Ford's vetoes were frequently overridden. After Ford was criticized by many for granting a pardon to Nixon, Democrat Jimmy Carter narrowly defeated Ford in the 1976 presidential race. Ford is the only U.S. President never elected to either the Presidency or Vice Presidency. Along with his own Vice President, Nelson Rockefeller, he is one of two people appointed Vice President rather than elected. (read more...)
Bryce Canyon National Park is a national park located in southwestern Utah in the United States. Despite its name, this is not actually a canyon, but rather a giant natural amphitheater created by erosion along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Bryce is distinctive due to its unique geological structures, called hoodoos, formed from wind, water, and ice erosion of the river and lakebed sedimentary rocks. The red, orange and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views. The canyon area was settled by Mormon pioneers in the 1850s and was named after Ebenezer Bryce, who homesteaded in the area in 1875. The area around Bryce Canyon became a United States national monument in 1924 and was designated as a national park in 1928. (read more)
Four Iowa-class battleships were built in the early 1940s in the United States. Two others were laid down but were scrapped prior to completion. Built with cost as no object, the Iowas are arguably the finest battleships ever built. The Iowa-class was preceded by the South Dakota class, and would have been succeeded by the Montana class if the Montanas had not been cancelled prior to construction. The design of the Iowa class was based upon that of the South Dakota class but with more powerful engines, larger guns and an additional 200 feet (60 m) of length for improved seakeeping. The Iowa class was the last battleship line built by the United States, as naval power had shifted to being primarily aircraft carrier based. These ships were launched during the Second World War, and all of them saw action throughout the 20th century. All four of the completed ships were recommissioned in the 1980s, only to be decommissioned in the 1990s after the Cold War ended.
African American literature is literature written by, about, and sometimes specifically for African Americans. The genre began during the 18th and 19th centuries with writers such as poet Phillis Wheatley and orator Frederick Douglass, reached an early high point with the Harlem Renaissance, and continues today with authors such as Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou being ranked among the top writers in the United States. Among the themes and issues explored in African American literature are the role of African Americans within the larger American society, African American culture, racism, slavery, and equality. As African Americans' place in American society has changed over the centuries, so too has the focus of African American literature. Before the American Civil War, African American literature primarily focused on the issue of slavery, as indicated by the popular subgenre of slave narratives. During the American Civil Rights Movement, authors like Richard Wright and Gwendolyn Brooks wrote about issues of segregation and black nationalism. Today, African American literature has become accepted as an integral part of American literature, with books in the genre, such as Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley and The Color Purple by Alice Walker, achieving both best-selling and award-winning status.