Since this great country was first established many intuitive minds have tried to answer the question; "What is an American". This country is full of individuals of many backgrounds, and diversities and each person has a different opinion on this question. In my opinion, an American is someone who values freedom and equality and pursues the "American dream." Every American exercises these rights and these are great adjectives to describe our country. Each of the seven readings, and the one image I compiled help mold this broader definition into a more precise description of an American.
Michael Walzer’s essay on “What Does It Mean to Be an American?” raises many points about the American citizen. Specifically, he discusses “American” as an adjective (Walzer). “American” is often associated with American citizens; while this is true, the term can also be applied to Canadians and Mexicans (Walzer). American is such an ambiguous adjective that it is applicable to all countries and individuals that are part of the North American continent. Like Mr. Walzer states, American is not a truly defined term and America is not a country (Walzer). Walzer goes on to introduce a Horace Kallen’s opinion on American’s as anonymous and their “unique” pluralism (Walzer). There are exceptions to all things; the positive to being an American is the fact that Americans can be whatever they choose to be. I feel to be an American one must believe in the American ideals, they must believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. American 's in general may be anonymous, however, upon further reflection they have left the definition of “American” open for each American to define the adjective for themselves.
What does it mean to be an American? In my eyes to be an American means to have privileges, rights, and freedom. America isn't perfect, but it is one of the only countries that have rights given to people of different diversities and gender. America does not have tremendous poverty. Instead we have choices given to us by the people who fought and died for the American people. Without George Washington and the other patriots who planted the first seed in the ground and help plant the American nation we live in now who knows what America would be like now.
There are some things to what Baldwin said that aren't very accurate. By this I mean that some of the thought he expressed aren't relevant to our society today. This essay was written in the fifty's, a lot of chaos and anarchy was prevalent. This being said, it makes sense that Baldwin wrote: "American white men still nourish the illusion that there is some means of recovering the European innocence, of returning to the state in which black men do not exist people who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction." (pg 101). The point I'm trying to make is that Baldwin was in a more violent mind state toward American life at this time. The Civil Right Movement slowly started in 1955 then gained speed with Rosa parks and what really sparked the movement came from one speech. Martin Luther King gave his I Have a Dream speech in
What does it mean to be an American? America is the land of opportunity, with a free society that affords all people unlimited opportunity to compete for success. And in this competition there will be winners and losers, often determined by the choices we make, including the choice of our attitude. In Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, the primary character, Holden Caulfield embodies the dark side of the American dream, by choosing the negative sentiments of judgement, isolation and fear.
What it means to be American? Everybody you ask this question to will have a completely different response. Some responses might have similarities but none will be exactly the same. In the beginning of the year my response was “To be an American means having a rich history, having opportunities to better ourselves, and having freedoms.” Unfortunately not everyone has had the same opportunities or freedoms. Native Americans, who are indigenous, dealt with having their freedoms taken away, less opportunities even though they had rich history in this land before it was taken away from them. Look at what Zitkala-Sa endured. Not only that, but African Americans have fought long and hard for freedom and equality as well. W.E.B. Du Bois stood for
Baldwin determines that violence and racial separatism are not acceptable solutions for achieving “power”. Baldwin believes that black people will only be able to achieve lasting influence in America if they love and accept white people. In contrast, writing 52 years after Baldwin, Coats tells his own son to “struggle” but not
Being an American means to have opportunities that are available to us that others don’t get in other parts of the world. The United States of America is a country that is based on being a free country for citizens to have more freedom than anywhere else. It is one of the only countries that give rights to people of different diversities and genders. To be an American means to have opportunities, rights, and freedom.
Although other countries may have a perceived stereotype of how the commonplace American may behave, Americans themselves, through years of adapting and toiling on new frontiers, have crafted their own idea of what an ideal citizen should be,
When people hear the title “American” their minds automatically think about a citizen of the United States. Beginning in the year 1607, after Jamestown was founded, the title “American” would become a symbol, representing the values shared by the very founding fathers who stumbled across the nation. Many people around the world could be considered Americans, even if they have not seen North America in their entire lives, due to the term being known as a characteristic, not a title born into. In fact, any individual can achieve their goal of being an American or can be branded with this title, all they have to do is share the original American values, which may include, but are not limited to; the desire for independence and a great sense of
According to The Bureau of International Information Programs of the US Department of State, "Becoming American: Beyond the Melting Pot" they stated that, "The United States has been ‘a permanently unfinished country' because it has been continuously built and rebuilt by immigration" (5). So what does it mean to be "American" in a country as diverse as the United States? In Immigration Issues: Major Issues in American history, Henry Bischoff stated, "The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else" (201). This acknowledges the fact that in order for immigrants to be given the favorable circumstances of being accepted into the American mainstream, it is required for them to lose their identity and adapt into
As expressed in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,…”, America was born upon the belief that someone who has acquired citizenship or born in America is treated equally to one another. This is further conveyed in Letters from an American Farmer by J. Hector St. John Crevecoeur when he describes an American as someones who “ is neither European, or the descendant of an European…. He is an American. who leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, relieves new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds…. Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men….”(Letter 3). Becoming an American signifies adopting new set of cultural values and beliefs, while relinquishing your original cultural myths, in order to belong to its community. Crevecoeur implies that America cannot be bi or multicultural, one must lose their cultural identity in order to become an American. However, the U.S. is in increasingly becoming more ethnically diverse and with these new perspectives, it supposedly enriches America as a whole. In Eric Liu’s Notes of a Native Speaker, Liu describes the obstacles that he faced as a Chinese-American striving to assimilate into American society and conform into it’s norms. Liu becomes conscious to the fact that his cultural identity is at odds with the melting pot myth’s false promise that America’s cultural
America is an idea, a set of beliefs about people and their relationships and the kind of society which holds the best hope of satisfying the needs each of us brings as an individual. For countless immigrants, the struggle to arrive in America was rivaled only by the struggle to gain acceptance among the population. Immigrants say they came to America seeking economic opportunity and freedom for themselves and their children, and at the same time they have all, at one time,
What it means to be an American has always been a topic that people living in “America” have struggled with forever, however, the country itself was founded by people who should’ve technically been British, but decided they were no longer British. The idea of an American has many complex sides, especially when looking at it through the view of how America presents itself to the rest of the world through the American Dream and the ideas of democracy. “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus shows the perspective of how America is viewed by the rest of the world and how it wants to be perceived, but the “Legal Alien” by Pat Mora shows the complexity and how it is not as straightforward as that. Although “The New Colossus” suggests that any is able
America is full of opportunity and some don’t realise how great it is. At least that is what my friend, David, believes. David and his family came to America almost a decade ago. As for many who have emigrated to America, David’s parents decided to emigrate for the opportunities and the pursuit of happiness. From the outside, America seems like the place to go if one wants to increase the opportunities for their children. Furthermore, America is a curiosity for many that live in third-world countries as a result of America being seemingly futuristic to the people that live in the third-world countries. David’s parents came to America comfortably thanks to his mother having lived in America prior. This event had caused a huge culture shift in their family and has Americanised them.