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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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17 Comments

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dappergq

Some of those supposedly 'Great Things About America' are actually America's greatest downfalls. Out of all the 26 things listed, where the F*** is the U.S. Constitution? What a pitiful article!

July 05 2013 at 2:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chvol

Funny they would show children when the US is the only county in the world to execute children. And even tody we try children as adults.

July 05 2013 at 1:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chvol

6. Crackerjacks: True, we make and eat candy.

8. Rule of Law: OMG How can anyone say that? What law says we can kill people with drones? Torture prisoners? Lie about weapons of mass destruction and invade a county based on those lies?

July 05 2013 at 1:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rebecca Lynn

Garfield wasn't calico, genius.

July 04 2013 at 11:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wisemanal

America is a continent not a country

July 04 2013 at 8:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wisemanal's comment
Kwame Kilpatrick

Actually wise anal man, America is 2 continents: South and North and Central ain't big enough to be a continent. Just saying wise anal man.

July 04 2013 at 10:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brian Workman

Number #8 I'm a Senator & NOT A Mam!! You want to be a Private again!?! Don't forget it General!! quote!? Nasty Pelosi!!!

July 04 2013 at 8:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Brian Workman's comment
Kwame Kilpatrick

Work it Brian. Keep up the speed! Skeet Skeet Skeet!!!

July 04 2013 at 11:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brian Workman

Number 8 SUCKS! Just vote & pass Legislation without reading it!!!!

July 04 2013 at 8:01 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ectullis

U.S.A.
Born July 4, 1776
Died January 20, 2009
R.I.P.
Can it be reserected?

July 04 2013 at 7:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ectullis's comment
dilutedsympathy

Not unless spelling can be resurrected.

July 04 2013 at 8:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
paddleman1928

if this \"greatness\" is what makes us great then my suspicions are confirmed.We are an insignificant society with nothing to offer anyone. Have we invaded the middle east to make their countries safe for reality TV and cheeseheads?

July 04 2013 at 7:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lthrnck68

Really? I stopped chercking this list once I hit reality TV. It isn\'t an example of what makes us great. It is an example of what\'s wrong with this country. Idolizing ordinary people. Calling them stars when they\'ve done nothing to deserve/earn the title. The best of these shows might have made a good 2 hour special, but nothing beyond that.

July 04 2013 at 4:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lthrnck68's comment
ectullis

Idolizing rappers, sports figures etc is a symptom of what this country has become.

July 04 2013 at 7:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to ectullis's comment