Why do some people believe America is so flexible in accepting new ideas and other cultural influences?

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kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

America has proven remarkably willing to adopt ideas from other countries or regions.  It has accepted cultural influences from elsewhere less willingly at times, but those influences have taken root over time.

The United States is historically a very unique country.  Its origins as a political entity are very different from most of the rest of the world.  As a haven from religious and ethnic persecution, combined with the cultural and intellectual influences resulting from the slave trade and from the economic opportunities this country has provided to millions of less fortunate immigrants from poorer regions, this is a nation comprising a multitude of ethnicities, religions, and political influences. That diversity has provided many avenues from which ideas originate and can be put into action.  

Cultural influences tend to be the product of the gradual manner in which waves of immigration from places like Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean evolve from virtual cantonments to broader acceptance across America.  Most ethnic and religious groups that emigrated to the United States initially concentrated into small communities, mostly in the northeast.  Chinatowns, Little Koreas, Irish and Polish and Jewish communities, Little Odessa in Brooklyn, and so on, all provided degrees of safety and comfort to new immigrants.  Over time, as generations are educated and enter the work force and pursue avenues of advancement in the arts, law, and politics, their cultural influence expands.