Fourth of July
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FORTUNE -- "I am an American ... and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way...."

Saul Bellow's Augie March was speaking on behalf of the millions of Americans who have insisted on dictating the terms of engagement for their own lives. These hardy Americans -- both natives and newcomers -- have not relented to the powerful winds of history; they have fashioned their own destinies. These are the Americans that bounce back and bound forward. Indeed, they know the power of a comeback, which is the first item on Fortune's fourth annual list of 100 great things about America. (We, meanwhile, are still going full speed toward our goal of compiling 1,000 marvelous things about the U.S. of A.)

As we prepare for our July 4 holiday, we highlight those wonderful, unique people, places, products, and ideas that give American life its special spirit, or its moxie (No. 3). Feel free to add your own in the comments section.

This year's rules were the same as the previous years': only the living can make the cut, and no repeats from past installments. Many thanks go to this year's crop of Fortune interns for their help: Lily Cohen, Preston Cooper, Craig Giammona, Varun Nayar, Sameepa Shetty, Brandon Southward, and Andres Vaamonde.

Without further ado, and in no particular order, we give you this year's 100 great things about America.

-- Scott Olster, editor



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