What is an American?

Whatis an American?

Americaand the American history and heritage are one of the most studiestopics in the modern world, both in the United States and other partsof the world. The American people, the American traditions and way oflife has intrigued the world throughout history. America is a countryof immigrants. This means that the United States is one of the mostdiverse countries in the world. People in the United States havedifferent ancestral heritage, races, traditions, religion and way oflife. America is one of the countries where individuals are allowedto express their views and way of life without social and legalrestrictions. As a result, major generational changes in the modernworld always originate or develop from the United States. However,the big question has always been ‘what is American?’ Scholars andauthors have taken divergent strategies in an attempt to define whatis American. Defining American can take cultural and traditionalperspective, social and economic perspective or political and legalperspective. What is American, also includes iconic figures in theAmerican history such as the founding fathers of the nations, famoussports such as base ball, netball and American football, Americanmultinational business organizations, political and economictouchstones such as the American revolution, slavery era and thegreat depression as well as arts and literature that defines theAmerican way of life (George and Barbara, 68).

Theuniqueness of the American social, economic, cultural and politicalstructures has been one of the most important discussions related towhat defines American. Some scholars have argued that thepropositions of the declaration of independence that “all men arecreated equal, each endowed with certain rights…” has shaped allaspects of the American society. Although the American society hasundergone numerous challenges some of which puts doubts on theability of those in power to uphold the true meaning of thedeclaration of independence, the American society has remained amodel society through history. For example, the American society hadto brazen out the challenges of the slavery era, civil rights era,economic downturns and being in the center stage global conflicts.However, being resilient and the spirit of fighting these challengesand emerging stronger define what is American (Kennedy and Cohen,266).

Whocan be referred to as an American is not determined by the race,religion not the pedigree, citizenship or place of birth of theindividual. Also, the social status, profession, wealthy, theneighborhood one lives and family ties do not constitutes anAmerican. An American is an individual who upholds and believes inthe values of the American society, mainly freedom, justice anddignity for all men. American means being in a position to sacrificepersonal property for the sake of freedom of mankind. Based on thisargument, the Americans though the United States governments havefinanced numerous international activities aimed at promoting humandignity and justice throughout the world. American is always readyfor fight for their rights and the right for others. This is one ofthe characteristic that has defined American over the years. However,in defining ‘what is American’, both conservative and liberalelement of the American culture and the scientific competitiveness ofthe American society can not be ignored. The demographic diversityof the American society and the geographic scale of the nation makethe American culture all inclusive where all modern cultures arerepresented in the American way of life (George and Barbara, 68).


GeorgePerkins and Barbara Perkins. The American Tradition literature,ISBN-10: 0073384895, McGraw-Hill, 2009. Print

Kennedy,David M. and Cohen, ELizabeth . The American Pageant: A History ofthe Republic (15th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 2012. Print