What Events Most Shaped America in Your Lifetime? A Pew Survey Tries to Answer
As divided as the American public may seem, there are still some things on which most people agree.
No matter age, party or gender, Americans overwhelmingly believe that the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, played a dominant role in shaping the history of the country, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center with A+E Networks’ HISTORY.
皮尤研究中心(Pew Research Center)和A+E电视网(A+E Networks)历史频道联合进行的一项问卷调查显示，不管是什么时代、党派或性别，绝大多数美国人都认为，2001年9月11日发生的恐怖袭击在塑造美国历史方面起到了主导作用。
When asked to name the events in their lifetimes that had the greatest impact on the nation, 76 percent of those surveyed listed the attacks, far surpassing any other event, according to Pew, which conducted the survey of about 2,000 people, in part, to better understand the events that drive public discourse.
“We don’t think so much about history, but we know that’s one of the things that impacts the way people feel about any modern debate we’re having,” said Claudia Deane, vice president of research at Pew and lead author of a report on the study.
Sept. 11 came to mind most often, by a long-shot. President Obama’s election followed distantly, with 40 percent including it in their list. The tech revolution was next, followed closely by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and then the Vietnam War.
无论如何，9·11是被提到最多的。奥巴马当选总统紧随其后，有40%的受访者将之列入自己的名单。排在第三位的是技术革命，与之接近的第四位是约翰·F·肯尼迪(John F. Kennedy)总统遭暗杀，再之后是越南战争。
The survey found that Americans were primarily united by their age.
“Like people, generations have distinctive identities that are linked, in part, to singular events that occurred during their members’ formative years,” Ms. Deane wrote with co-authors and Pew colleagues, Rich Morin and Maeve Duggan.
“和人一样，每个世代有自己独特的身份认知，这种认知在一定程度上与发生在一代人性格形成时期的特殊事件有关，”迪恩与共同作者、皮尤中心的同事里奇·莫林(Rich Morin)和梅芙·达根(Maeve Duggan)写道。
While Sept. 11 dominated each generation’s list, the other entries varied by age.
The so-called “silent” and “greatest” generations, identified as Americans 71 and older, were united by the import they placed on World War II. For baby boomers — adults 52 to 70 — it was the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the Vietnam War that unified them. Millennials and members of Generation X, the groups including those 18 to 51, were united in the importance they placed on Mr. Obama’s election.
Views on history differed by race, too.
Black people were the only demographic group for which Sept. 11’s primacy was challenged. Approximately 3 in 5 blacks identified the attacks as having had an impact on the country, about the same share that cited Mr. Obama’s election. For whites and Hispanics, Sept. 11 was first, by far, followed by Mr. Obama’s election.
For white people, the third most commonly cited event was the tech revolution. For blacks, it was the civil rights movement. For Hispanics, it was the Orlando shootings. (All but a handful of the 49 victims were Hispanic or of Hispanic descent.)
The researchers found limited and often only subtle differences by party, gender or region. The same was true of education and income level, though as either rose, so too, did views on the prominence of the tech revolution.
While Pew did not ask respondents to qualify the impactful events as positive or negative, it did separately ask them to describe a time or event in their lives when they were proudest or most disappointed in America.
On those topics, Pew found far less agreement. Ms. Deane said that have happened because the questions failed to elicit the kinds of answers the researchers had hoped to get, or the responses were more scattered and personal in nature. (For example, a person may have been proudest of the nation when a relative obtained citizenship, an experience not shared by a large share of Americans.)
The response to Sept. 11 topped the list of positive moments, with 19 percent of respondents citing it as the moment they felt proudest of the country. Mr. Obama’s election or presidency followed with 14 percent.
His election or presidency also topped the list of most disappointing moments, with 11 percent citing it, followed closely by 10 percent who cited the Donald J. Trump’s campaign as the event which made them most disappointed in the nation.
他的当选及总统任期同时位居最令人失望时刻的首位，占11%。紧随其后的是唐纳德·J·特朗普(Donald J. Trump)的竞选活动，有10%的受访者表示这件事让他们对美国最感失望。
The survey was conducted between June 16 and July 4, with 2,025 participants. Responses were weighted to match the demographic makeup of the population.