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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(1) The self-designation of the inhabitants of the USA; the nation (natsiia; nation in the historical sense) representing the major proportion of the population of the USA. Americans also live in US possessions and dependencies. There are approximately 200,000,000 Americans (1967), of whom 22 million are Negroes and mulattoes who are subjected to discrimination and segregation. Since the beginning of the 17th century the main body of the nation has been composed of English, Scots, Irish, and a smaller number of Dutch, Danes, French, Spanish, and others who emigrated

Table 1. Basic financial and economic data on AT&T and Western Electric for 1966 (in millions of dollars)
 AssetsIntrinsic capitalTurnoverGross profit*Ratio of gross profit (in %)Net profitNumber of employees (in thousands)
     to Intrinsic capitalto turnover  
* Gross profit and its ratio to intrinsic capital and turnover based on 1965 data
AT&T ...............35,21820,77612,1384,39122.239.71,979650
Western Electric . . . .2,4981,5853,62335023.310.4173168

from Europe to the English colony of North America. Indians and Africans also took part in the formation of the American nation. The Africans were brought to the North American colonies as slaves beginning in the 17th century. The American nation was basically formed before and during the War of Independence in North America of 1775–83. But subsequently the representatives of various ethnic groups emigrating to the USA continued to merge into the American nation. In assimilating, they influenced the formation of the physical aspects, language, and culture of the Americans. In the middle of the 19th century, before the American Civil War (1861–65), substantial groups of Irish and Germans settled in the country. In addition to immigrants from Western Europe the flow of settlers from Eastern and Southern Europe as well as from Asia increased, at the end of the 19th century, leading to a still greater ethnic variety, although assimilation of these immigrants was impeded more powerfully than before by racist prejudices. During World War I (1914–18) the number of immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries grew. The flow of immigrants from Europe, very high at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, sharply decreased after World War I as a result of legislative restrictions and numbered about 300,000 people a year in the mid-1960’s. All immigrants, to a degree, were and still are subjected to discrimination in various spheres of life.

The Americans are a comparatively young nation, and its processes of ethnic consolidation are not yet complete. Many national groups (Poles, Italians, and others) retain, although in modified form and to varying degrees, cultural elements of their countries of origin.

Americans speak English, the official language of the USA. American English, however, has certain distinctive peculiarities. In the USA there are approximately 260 Christian denominations, religious doctrines, and sects. The most widespread are the Protestant churches (Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians), which account for approximately 55 percent of the believers. About 37 percent of the people are Catholics, the descendants of Irish, Italian, and Polish immigrants, and there are more than 5.5 million Jews.

(2) The peoples of all the countries of the American continent are sometimes called Americans.


Narody Ameriki, vol. I. Moscow, 1959 (bibliography).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
The brave Americans serving our nation today in the Persian Gulf, in Somalia, and wherever else they stand, are testament to our resolve, but our greatest strength is the power of our ideas, which are still new in many lands.
I am not sure if, in the long run, they do not accomplish as much or more than rushing, nervous Americans do.
The Americans had lost a second ship, name unknown; the Hermann had been damaged in covering the Barbarossa....
"Yes, I know--but I had an idea there warn't any Americans there."
Maston, "why should not England in her turn belong to the Americans?"
Flanagan was there again: he was an American, a short, snub-nosed youth with a jolly face and a laughing mouth.
I should say the position of woman here was considerably higher, though by no means coming up to the American standard.
To celebrate the return of its most illustrious member and his two companions, the Gun Club decided upon giving a banquet, but a banquet worthy of the conquerors, worthy of the American people, and under such conditions that all the inhabitants of the Union could directly take part in it.
And where do bad Americans go to when they die?" inquired the duchess.
Accordingly, Oswego, Niagara, Detroit, Michilimackinac, and other posts on the American side of the lakes, were given up.
In consequence of the apathy and neglect of the American government, Mr.
The origin and date of the Great American Prairies form one of natures most majestic mysteries.

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