What Was the Americanization Movement?
Americanization is the process of US influence on popular culture, business models, language, and politics of other countries. The notion was inserted in the 20th century and originally related to the growing popularity of the American lifestyle in Canada.
The concept of Americanization is determined by the historical features of the US in foreign policy, which is characterized by the absolutism of values and awareness of its spreading freedom and democracy in the world. US President Woodrow Wilson substantiated the idea of the principles distribution of freedom and democracy as a mission. Wilson’s domestic politics went down in history as a new democracy, whose program was based on three principles: individualism, personal freedom, and freedom of competition.
The territory expansion, industrialization, which led to the growth of large cities (especially in the northern states), and the immigration played a significant role in the formation of the national ideology within American education. The notion of Americanization should be considered as a two-way process. On the one hand, it includes the assimilation of foreign cultures and people, the transformation of cultural products, and their export beyond American borders. On the other hand, the USA is a large consumer of culture, as well as its producer. The policy of Americanization, which implied the mastery of the English language, the assimilation of American standards and lifestyle, became comprehensive at the end of the 19th century.
In the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the concept of Americanization was seen as a social movement, and the goal was to assimilate immigrants into American society completely. In recent publications, the term Americanization is understood as the process through which American cultural values are affirmed in other countries. A similar interpretation of the word appeared in the 20th century in connection with the acquisition of superpower status by the United States. It received particular development in the political sphere of the USA influence after the end of World War II.
Thus, Americanization has become the unofficial ideology of the political and business elite of the United States. The informal worldview defines America’s role in the society and correlates it with the alleged benefits of the new era. In this case, the American national experience is perceived as universal and extends to the entire globe. At present, one can talk that Americanization has captured the world. Another term often used to denote the process of Americanization is called Westernization. Both terms indicate the process of transferring technologies, structures, and lifestyles of Western (European) societies to non-Western ones.
An economically sound ideology was chosen as a tool to adapt the world to United States standards. The materialistic principles should be applied around the globe, including the American style production of freedom and democracy, and the way of life. American material symbols such as Levi’s, Coca-Cola, Marlboro, and Nike can be cited as an example of the Americanization evidence in the modern world. Besides, this process can be reflected in the attractiveness of the American lifestyle, slang, and values for society. The mechanism underlying Americanization can be conceptualized in terms of the movement of products, people, information, and the transmission of cultural content in countries. Organized dissemination of culture takes place only if the imposition, transfer of cultural patterns is put forward as a conscious goal and is implemented over time by the government or local authorities.