Why is the U.S. called America?

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This topic contains 31 replies, has 30 voices, and was last updated by  Rob29701 5 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #11225

    Mixcoatl20274
    Participant

    Why is the United States called “America” by its inhabitants? Why don’t you recognize the whole continent (from Alaska to Chile) as America? What happened to the rest? They divided us into Central America, South America, Mesoameria, Middle America, Latin America, North America, Iberoamerica, among other ‘political’ names. But the truth is, it’s just one continent, and that’s that, whether we like it or not. From the Rio Grande (Bravo) south to Chile, we call the whole continent America. You can see Mexican, Chilean or Argentinian TV via internet, and they show the news of the region as in ‘America’ not ‘Americas’ like CNN or Reuters says.

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    Name : Mixcoatl20274, Gender : M, Race : Hñahñu/Asturian/Toltec, Age : 20, City : Nuevo Laredo, State : NA Country : Mexico, 
    #28360

    Augustine23629
    Participant

    Putting aside the utter ignorance of geography and other cultures that exists in the United States, there is no word in English that corresponds to the exquisite Spanish word ‘estadounidense’ — literally, ‘United States-ian’. Likewise, ‘norteamericano’ would translate as ‘North American’; the latter is hardly ever used in the United States, instead being the term that Canadians use when speaking of ‘Canada and the United States’. Most people in the United States would be clueless as to the differences between the various American countries, their languages, cultures, and so on. Also worth noting is that the country is called the ‘United States of America’; the ‘United States of Mexico’ is called ‘Mexico’ for short, but then again there is not a large land mass outside of the USM that is also called ‘Mexico’. Many US residents do not understand that New Mexico is one of their states!

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    Name : Augustine23629, Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 41, City : Columbia, State : SC Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #37929

    Rick29881
    Participant

    That’s an interesting question. If you take a moment to think about it, you’ll realize that the USA doesn’t really have a name. United States is just a descriptor and America, as you point out, is the continent. People call the USA ‘America’ for lack of anything better to call it. Also, before the North America was divided up into separate countries, people in Europe just referred to the continent: America.

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    Name : Rick29881, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Atheist, City : Springfield, State : OH Country : United States, Occupation : none, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #19673

    John29279
    Participant

    The United States of America are referred to as America for the same reason the United Mexican States are referred to as Mexico. It has nothing to do with our excluding the rest of the continent; it’s quite simply an abbreviation.

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    Name : John29279, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Catholic, Age : 17, City : New York, State : NY Country : United States, Occupation : Student, Education level : High School Diploma, Social class : Middle class, 
    #29789

    Gregory-H21601
    Participant

    It’s easier to say America than it is to say United States, or U.S. And what would we residents of the U.S call ourselves? United Statesian? U.Sian?

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    Name : Gregory-H21601, Gender : M, Race : Black/African American, Age : 24, City : new york, State : NY Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, 
    #46013

    Tanya
    Participant

    Probably because it’s easier to say. Just like you are from Mexico and would call yourself a ‘Mexican’. It wouldn’t sound right if we called ourselves ‘United States-ians’. ‘American’ is easier for everyone to say.

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    Name : Tanya, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Catholic, Age : 20s, City : Dayton, State : OH Country : United States, Occupation : student, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Upper middle class, 
    #29164

    Ben
    Participant

    I think that most current residents of the US call the United States ‘America’ because thats how its been done for a long, long time. I know that its a very simple answer, but its the truth.

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    Name : Ben, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Agnostic, Age : 25, City : Morgantown, State : WV Country : United States, Occupation : salesperson, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Lower middle class, 
    #15438

    Harry21420
    Participant

    It has been adopted because it’s the only country with ‘America’ as part of its name i.e. United States of America. Hence, America is used as a short-form name.

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    Name : Harry21420, City : Oromocto, State : NA Country : Canada, 
    #17516

    Norm James
    Participant

    Honestly, I don’t know. My guess is that, the official name, being The United States of America is a little long to say, so it was shortened to America.

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    Name : Norm James, Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 23, City : Farmington, State : NM Country : United States, Occupation : Student, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #18446

    Seamus28255
    Participant

    I don’t think most of the labeling of the United States as ‘America’ is done out of self-conscious loathing of other countries in North and South America. Like any other area of the world, there are definately close-minded ultra-nationalists who believe their country (but specifically they themselves) are the best in the world and will not listen to the concerns of others, but I don’t believe the vast majority of American people feel this way. Rather, I believe it’s done simply because it’s rarely called to our attention that other countries feel that way, one of the bad effects of having such a self-contained society like we do. I’d ask a question of you or any other person who lives in another country in North or South America. How do you refer to the inhabitants of the United States when referring to them? I’m open to hearing other phrases that can be used.

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    Name : Seamus28255, Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 22, City : Charlestown, State : MA Country : United States, Occupation : Construction, 
    #35726

    Rhonda30032
    Participant

    I believe it was the Brits that first labeled us as ‘Americans’. It’s stuck ever since. I do sometimes have trouble with this terminology because I do have clients in the Canadian, Central, and South American regions. Ditto for calling Native Americans ‘Indians’. They are not from India. Just like we call all bandages ‘Band-Aids’ or all sodas ‘Cokes’. It’s just semantics. Granted it doesn’t make it ‘right’.

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    Name : Rhonda30032, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Christian, Age : 34, City : Memphis, State : TN Country : United States, Occupation : Inside Sales, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #17717

    Chris H.
    Member

    America comes from (pardon the spellng) Amerigo Vespuci an early Italian map maker, evidently one of the first to place the ‘New world’ on maps. And South America IS a different continent from North America. Just like you can walk from Asia to Europe but they are considered different continents.

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    Name : Chris H., Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 44, City : kokomo, State : IN Country : United States, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #43873

    Mike20435
    Participant

    My guess: When the United States of America was formed it was the only grouping of independent ‘states’ in the Americas. Shortened forms of this name (what might be called nicknames) then developed to refer to both the country (‘United States’, ‘USA’, ‘America’) and its people (‘Americans’, ‘Usonions’ — that last one primarliy used by architect Frank Lloyd Wright to describe a specific type of house). As other countries formed in the Western hemisphere, they used names that didn’t conflict with the names already in place. Thus, countries like the Estados Unidos Mexicanos (the United States of Mexico) was established without reference to the entire American continent and its citizens are known (by those of us living in the United States of America) as ‘Mexicans’ and the country as ‘Mexico.’ (Incidentally, I remember a complaint from a social studies class that the United States of America had usurped the name ‘United States’ when there are in fact several countries in the Americas that use that wording in their formal names. Basically, I think that the USA had an earlier usage of this nickname and that’s why it stuck.)

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    Name : Mike20435, City : Greendale, State : WI Country : United States, 
    #19250

    Mike-G
    Participant

    Uh, it’s really just slang. The whole name is the United States of America. So we may shorten it to the U.S.A, the U.S., or America. We refer to the larger continents as North America and South America and, collectively, the Americas.

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    Name : Mike-G, Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 17, City : Yonkers, State : NY Country : United States, Education level : High School Diploma, Social class : Middle class, 
    #24270

    Jim
    Member

    bad habits die hard. people tend to be chronically unclear about what they say and what they assume, especially regarding questions of history and geography and most of all about themselves. i mean, this is what wars are fought over. there’s an ongoing and bitter argument about similar issues around the world, such as the chinese who believe that tibet is merely a part of china, the greeks who claim macedonia to be part of greece, etc. technically, canada is also part of america, yet we ‘norteamericanos’ can’t help but think of them as different. it is hard, though, to say ‘united statesian culture’ when we think of what a lot of people call american culture…but i think there is such a thing as american culture, don’t you? something about diversity, loving liberty, wanting to be free to live the way we want without people bothering us, etc. these traits are held in common in all of the places you describe, at least for the most part. i certainly am happy to recognize you as american if you prefer, or not to if you don’t. one thing is for sure, we’re neighbors.

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    Name : Jim, Gender : M, Religion : Agnostic, Age : 36, City : Seattle, State : WA Country : United States, Occupation : poet, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Lower middle class, 
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