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Syllabus Area Three:. The United States of America. The United States of America. An overview of the USA The main ethnic groups in the US population The American Dream The US political system Political participation Social and economic inequality. USA – An Overview. Aims :

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Syllabus area three

Syllabus Area Three:

The United States of America

The united states of america
The United States of America

  • An overview of the USA

  • The main ethnic groups in the US population

  • The American Dream

  • The US political system

  • Political participation

  • Social and economic inequality

Usa an overview
USA – An Overview


  • Understand how the USA was established as a country.

  • Identify reasons why the USA is a powerful country

  • Examine the main ethnic groups who make up the US population.

The usa what do you already know
The USA – What Do You Already Know?

  • In groups of 2 or 3 spend a few minutes brainstorming anything that you already know about the USA.

A brief history of the usa
A Brief History of the USA

  • 1492 Christopher Columbus discovered the West Indies.

  • 1607 First English settlement established at Virginia.

  • 1700s ‘New World’ of America was ruled by the British. White immigrants came from Europe and black slaves from Africa to work in the South.

  • 1775-1783 Wars of Independence to overthrow British rule.

  • 1776 13 colonies signed the Declaration of Independence.

The usa is a powerful country
The USA Is A Powerful Country’

  • Fourth largest country in the world.

  • Third largest population in the world

  • The world’s wealthiest nation.

  • US economy produces 20% of all world production

  • Leading country in world affairs e.g. G8, NATO.

  • Large number of nuclear weapons and conventional forces.

The usa is a diverse country
The USA Is A Diverse Country

  • Climate

  • People

  • Different industries which are important in an area.

  • Different laws in different states.

Major us companies
Major US Companies:

CompanyWhat Does It Produce?





HJ Heinz





The us population
The US Population

Whites 66%

African Americans (Blacks) 13%

Hispanics 15%

Asians 5%

Native Americans 1%

Whites make up the majority of the population.

All other groups are known as ethnic minorities.

Group task
Group Task

  • The class will be divided into four groups.

  • Study the information about the ethnic group that you have been given.

  • Make a list of no more than five key points about this ethnic group.

Theories of immigration
Theories of Immigration

Melting Pot

Salad Bowl

The Mosaic

Theories of immigration1
Theories of Immigration

Melting Pot

No matter how people in the USA start out – Cuban, African American, Chinese – once they have been in the USA for a while they become ‘American’ and lose their individual identity.

Theories of immigration2
Theories of Immigration

Salad Bowl

Different ethnic groups mix together to create an American society, but keep their individual identities and cultures to enrich their society.

Theories of immigration3
Theories of Immigration


People have a choice about whether they wanted to be either an ‘American’ or to keep their own identity.

Push and pull factors


Reasons why people are

attracted to the USA.




Good education

Religious Freedom

Good opportunities


Reasons why people want to

leave their own country.




No religious freedom

No land

No free speech

No political freedom

Push and Pull Factors

Settlement patterns
Settlement Patterns


  • Identify the general rules which affect where ethnic minority groups settle.

  • Identify the settlement patterns of ethnic minority groups in USA.

General rules affecting settlement patterns
General Rules Affecting Settlement Patterns.

  • Areas of the country where there are plenty of employment opportunities.

  • Point of entry into the USA.

  • Position of other members of the minority group.

Hispanic americans
Hispanic Americans

  • There are three main groups of Hispanics – Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans and Cubans.

    Mexican Americans

  • 90% of Mexican Americans are in the western and southern border states – Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and California. These states are just over the border from Mexico.

  • Most take on low paid jobs in agriculture or work in the cities as maids, gardeners or in sweat shops making clothes.

  • There are also a significant number of illegal immigrants – US-Mexican border is 2,000 miles long and US farmers depend on cheap immigrant labour.

Hispanic americans1
Hispanic Americans

Puerto Ricans

  • 64% of Puerto Ricans live in the Mid Atlantic states such as New Jersey and New York.

  • Puerto Rico is a Free Associated State of the USA – this allows Puerto Ricans to enter the USA to work and live.

  • For most New York state is their point of entry and many find work in low-paid jobs such as taxi driving or as caretakers.

Hispanic americans2
Hispanic Americans


  • 80% of Cubans live in the South mainly in Florida and particularly in the city of Miami.

  • Florida is only 90 miles from Cuba.

  • Some are political refugees fleeing from Communism, others are seeking the American Dream.

Asian and pacific islanders
Asian and Pacific Islanders

  • Asians are immigrants or descendants of immigrants who have come from far eastern countries such as China, Japan, Korea etc.

  • 53% are in Western states such as California and 33% are in Southern states.

Native americans
Native Americans

  • Three groups – American Indian, Eskimo and Aleut.

  • Eskimo and Aleut mainly inhabit Alaska.

  • American Indians are concentrated in several western states mainly on reservation e.g Montana

  • Legally reservations are ‘foreign territories’ and not subject to US law.

African americans
African Americans

  • 54% live in the South in states such as South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.

  • In the 1800s the South was the centre of slavery with black slaves working on Southern plantations (farms) growing cotton and tobacco.

  • From 1940s -1970s many Blacks migrated north to states such as Virginia to escape the racism that existed in the south. Around 18% of Blacks live in North-east states.

  • In recent years many are moving back to the South to escape poverty and find a better quality of life. This is known as ‘reverse migration’.

African americans and urbanisation
African Americans and Urbanisation

  • In the North-east and west, 69% of blacks are concentrated in city centres – mainly in run-down areas known as ghettos.

  • When blacks moved from the South they moved to poorer inner city areas. This led to white flight as Whites who were becoming wealthier moved to the suburbs.

  • Many blacks in ghetto areas have found themselves trapped in a circle of poverty and many become victims of drugs, violence or AIDS.

The future us population
The Future US Population

  • The fastest growing group is Hispanics – this is due to their high birth rate and large numbers entering the country each year.

  • By 2050 whites will cease to be over 50% of the population and the Hispanic population will be the majority population in the state of California.


  • Identify the main arguments for and against immigration.

  • Study evidence of growing anti-immigration feeling in the USA.



US-Mexican Border is 2,000 miles long

The problem of immigration
The Problem of Immigration

  • Each year around 700,000 immigrants enter the USA.

  • But there are 4-8 million illegal immigrants in the USA.

  • 2,000 illegals attempt to cross the US-Mexican border each night. Many come through organised gangs who transport people over to work in the USA.

  • States near that border e.g. California have high numbers of illegal immigrants and some US farmers pay to have illegal workers brought over as cheap labour.

  • There is growing anti-immigration feeling in the USA

Arguments for immigration
Arguments For Immigration

  • The USA has for many years been a safe haven for refugees fleeing political or religious persecution.

  • Immigration has made the USA a successful multi-cultural society.

  • Many immigrants contribute to the economy by finding employment or setting up their own business.

Attitudes to immigration
Attitudes To Immigration

  • Since the mid-1990s anti-immigration feeling softened in the USA as the economy improved and unemployment fell.

  • Since Hispanic Americans are the fastest growing group many politicians recognise that cannot afford to lose their support in elections.

  • After the 9/11 terrorist attacks the government has tightened up the rules which allow people into the USA and this is reduced the number of immigrants entering the USA.

Arguments against immigration
Arguments Against Immigration

  • They take jobs from Americans.

  • They will work for less and undercut the wages of US workers.

  • They receive government benefits and cost the country money.

  • Around 25% of prison inmates are recent immigrants.

  • Whites fear they will no longer be in the majority.