Premium Essay

What It Means To Be An American Essay

Submitted By
Words 1544
Pages 7
Ben Nelson once wrote, “What does it mean to be an American? While each of us may have our own specific answer to that question, we likely agree on the basic principles of America: freedom, equal opportunity, and rights accompanied by responsibilities.” (Nelson, n.d., quote 1). From a personal perspective this quote can be interpreted as, while many individuals might have a personal opinion or definition of what it means to be an American, there is still a clear foundation in which it is built upon. It is viewed that it is the rights, freedoms, and opportunities for all, and with those liberties also comes a responsibility to all individuals. Such responsibilities to ourselves and others include moral obligations, ethical behavior, and respect. As members of society, there are situations that may be difficult that …show more content…
Due to the First Amendment of the Constitution and the religion clauses, public schools have to be very careful in how religion is approached as to not infringe upon an individual’s rights. There are however, ways in which religious topics can be introduced without requesting or influencing anyone to sway from their religion or infringing upon religious freedoms. For instance, the Bible can be utilized for teaching certain aspects as well as teaching about religion. The Anti-Defamation League website explains, “The Bible may be taught in a school, but only for its historical, cultural or literary value and never in a devotional, celebratory, or doctrinal manner, or in such a way that encourages acceptance of the Bible as a religious document…Programs that “teach about religion” are geared toward teaching students about the role of religion in the historical, cultural, literacy and social development of the United States and other nations. These programs should instill understanding, tolerance and respect for a pluralistic society.” (ADL.org, 2013, para. 1 &

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

What It Means To Be An American Essay

...Expression and Devotion to Our Country What Makes a Person an American? What does it truly mean to be an American? There are so many possibilities when it comes to answering this question. Is it your patriotism, equality, or your freedom? Many would say that all three of these things are large factors of being an American. It is seen as a rather obligatory job for Americans to take their citizenship seriously. If you are an American, you are encouraged to talk positively about your country, and also to fulfill your duties as a citizen. Using your freedom as an advantage, by voting, and participating in the enrichment of your country. To be an American is to be patriotic, express your equality, and embrace the freedoms presented by our founding fathers without overstepping boundaries. Patriotism is a very important aspect of most Americans' lives. To be patriotic is to have or express devotion and vigorous support for one's country. Everyday Americans show patriotism not only in simple actions, but also by taking extreme measures and risks in...

Words: 742 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

What It Means To Be An American Essay

...Some people may ask themselves, “What does it mean to be an American?” many new people coming to America; always have that question in mind, because they want to fit in. An American is someone who doesn’t let society change them, they are proud of being themselves and doesn’t care who judges them, and an American is someone who has courage to stands up for what they believe in and won’t let anybody change their views. Being in a society, everyone is expected to act and do the same things. But, America changes that with the different types of cultures and people from all around the world in one place. Of course in the beginning of America, it wasn’t like that at all. Many people thought we should be separated and some were better than others because the color of their skin. The biggest conflict...

Words: 838 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Essay On What Does It Mean To Be An American

...What does it mean to be an American? That depends on who you ask, many people often think of Americans as fat and lazy slobs who mettle to much in other people affairs, living off the backs of lesser countries to sustain there egocentric existence. Others including most Americans think of the classic typical patriot, who has multiple weapons, is constantly looking over their shoulder and drives in an over sized truck with an American flag at the back. Being an American is being a Patriot, loving your country men, and your country but not afraid to challenge either in the pursuit of life liberty and happiness for all. America has sense its creation been a diverse multicultural country making blanket statements about feelings and behaviors of its inhabitants impossible. However I think everyone is in some way a Patriot which I equate to being the one defining trait of an American. The simple definition of patriotism is an emotional attachment to ones country. I think this definition has more to it than meets the eye, when you consider the principles this country was built on. This country was built on hard work and determination; the hardships endured only serve to...

Words: 705 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Definition Essay: What Does American Mean?

...Definition Essay What do you think American means? Do you think that it’s just a person that lives in America? American isn’t just someone who stands up for the Pledge of Allegiance, an American is someone who does what they are suppose to do for this country. For example, the people in the military. These people are giving up their lives to serve their country, these people are the ones that let you live in America free and out of slavery. The real Americans are the ones out on the battlefield risking their lives and not knowing if they are going to come back to their family, friends, and loved ones. I don’t think that you are an American until you have been out on the battlefield. I think that if you are not going to be out on the battlefield,...

Words: 304 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Family Values

... or a loving and supportive group. In most cases when people think of families  they think of having a mom, dad, brother, sister.  However, nothing in life is perfect. Today, we have  separated , same sex, extended, and blended families. Society tries to explain these more contemporary  families but has a harsh way of doing so. In the essay, Stone Soup, by Barbara Kingsolver, she  discusses how society views families and in the essay, Family Values, by Richard Rodriguez, he talks  about American family values. Both essays express the view that family should be valued regardless of  differences. Kingsolver breaks down what it means to be a real family while Rodriguez emphasizes the  value of family; both authors show the importance of having family.  In the introduction of the Kingsolver essay, she talks about a young boy’s soccer game. She  talks about how the young boy, whose name is Andy, has a blended family. Kingsolver writes, “He’s  Andy, my best friend’s son. The cheering section includes his mother and her friends, his brother, his  father, and stepmother, a stepbrother and stepsister, and a grandparent” (147). She uses her friend’s  son as an real life example of what kind of family would be considered a broken family by society but is  not. Andy’s family is supportive of him and loves him enough to come and cheer for him regardless of  Pagan 2 his parents being divorced. Kingsolver talks about how society assumes if that a family is broken apart, ......

Words: 1500 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Fifth Amendment

...The Fight for the Fifteenth Amendment The fifteenth amendment to the United states constitution prohibited the United States government to deny someone suffrage based on color or race. The fight for suffrage for African Americans was a long one and took the help of many people and their words and ideas to finally win. However, it was a small step for mankind. African American men finally gained the right to vote, but where did that leave women? Fredrick Douglass and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were two important writers dedicated to the cause of gaining the right to vote. Although their struggles were similar in nature, the difference between gaining suffrage for all races, and gaining suffrage for both sexes raised arguments between what should have been a collaborative force. In Fredrick Douglass’ essay “Learning to Read and Write” and Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s essay “Declaration of Sediments and Resolutions” there were significant shared literally binaries. First off is the underlying factor Civilized v. Uncivilized. This is relevant to the argument because they both are considered uncivilized so they can’t vote. Secondly, Mental Darkness v. Education. Douglass wasn’t able to be educated because he was a slave to a white family and it was looked down upon for him to be educated. Stanton was a woman therefore she was seen by society as less intelligent even though she wasn’t. Third is Depravity v. Innocence. Both of them were being treated wrongly by someone above them and......

Words: 892 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Americanization

...to live in America for working privileges. Their real desire is to become something that depicts pride and honor, an American. Being an American in a country as diverse as ours means more than just living on American soil, it has endless benefits that allows one to feel free. Unfortunately, the rapid flow of immigrants into America has led to many issues. One of the main ones is the concept of assimilation, which has been disputed for years due to the capacity of the incoming immigrants. Jay Nordlinger, in his essay “Bassackwards: Construction Spanish and Other Signs of the Times” notes that not “everyone who comes to America is dying to melt into the pot”. Yet he stresses, as does Linda Chavez in her essay “Supporting Family Values”, the need for immigrants to assimilate to American culture. These two concepts have been floating around America since the first illegal immigrants started to show up and they’ve been controversial ever since. Everyone is looking for a happy medium for the issue but can’t seem to find it. Recent immigrants are being expected to trade their ethnic and national identities for new American identities, and the concept of ‘Americanization’ commences. Is the idea of American culture as a “melting pot” still valid, or are immigrants becoming ‘Americanized’? Being an American means to live on American soil. But more than that, to be American is to...

Words: 1262 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Crevecoeur Rhetorical Analysis

...J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, a French aristocrat, traveled all over the American colonies. His audience would consist of the people who read Letters from an American Farmer in 1782. Crevecoeur’s diction, metaphors, and rhetorical questions show that his tone is proud for Americans. His purpose of this essay was to praise American society and prove that America is doing great. Crevecoeur starts off his essay by using a rhetorical question “…; to what purpose should they ask one another what countrymen they are?” Crevecoeur does this to get Americans thinking about their history and the history of America. America was colonized by Europe. The first people are Europeans who colonized America. The people who came to America were...

Words: 444 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Momoland

...Complex Systems in Education CSE ESSAYS COURSE Complex Course on Writing English and American Essays for Advanced Students English Language Programs Division Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Writing 2 United States Information Agency, Washington, D. C. 1999 2 3 How to Use this Complex Course Частные уроки Английского Языка 387-1231 MIND Speaks to MIND – Selected American Essays 4 Preface Some years ago, a visitor to our office, a professor of English at a large foreign university, asked if the English Language Programs Division had published a book of American essays for foreign students – especially students at the advanced level. Having to respond in the negative, I was, nonetheless, “intrigued” by the idea of a collection of essays that would form a source of stimulating ideas or thoughts that could be thoroughly examined in the EFL classroom, discussed and debated in free conversation, and perhaps, ultimately, lead to a significant growth in the exchange of information between cultures – via the printed page. From this rationale, then, there issues an explanation for the title, Mind Speaks to Mind, which itself is an “exchange of information” between the editor and Edward Hoagland in his essay, “On Essays”! And, readers are encouraged to study this essay first as a type of guideline concerning the nature/purpose of the essay. It is found on page 26. For ease of reference, the essays are presented in alphabetical order......

Words: 42425 - Pages: 170

Premium Essay

Role Model Review

...with which to support your essay. To assist you with this, complete the following worksheet. Part I Directions: Use the following library and internet resources to locate a resource to support your essay. Complete the following table below the example table provided. * Use the Role Model you selected as your “keyword” to search the GCU database located in the GCU Library at http://library.gcu.edu Example Table Topic | Resource Name | Resource Type | Explain how you accessed your resource. | How is the resource relevant to your essay topic? | Martin Luther King, Jr. | Journal of Religious Thought | Academic Journal | Clicked on the link above to the library home page. Selected “Find Journal Articles.” Clicked on “Christian Studies” under “Find Databases by Subject.” Selected “ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials.” Also selected “Religion and Philosophy Collection.” Used keywords “Martin Luther King AND (worldview OR religion* OR belief*).” | Describes how Martin Luther King, Jr. viewed racism, a just society, and the means for creating a just society. | Permalink | http://library.gcu.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rlh&AN=4975124&site=ehost-live&scope=site | Student Summary | This article covers the views of Benjamin Mays, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. on three key questions: 1) What is the nature of racism? 2) What is a vision of a just society? and 3) What are the means to enact the vision?......

Words: 1168 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Anzia Yezierska's Poem 'The New Colossus'

...what it means to be American What defines an American? An American is someone who is free to go on their own path and strive for what they want, knowing that they can accomplish their goal. One of the great things about America is the freedom to choose your own path and live your life to your standards. To be free of the restriction and oppression of the former land. Many immigrants from this land were people with dreams and hopes of a future to be free of what they had left behind. in the poem “The New Colossus” when the author says “give me your tired your poor your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”she saw the statue of liberty she saw freedom and opportunity to start living the life she wants. An example of of this would Goerge from Of Mice and Men. The author quotes that george's dream is to “Have a little house and a couple of acres and a cow and some pigs.” He believes in his dream...

Words: 1249 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

The Pledge Of Allegiance

...American is of or relating to United States of America or its people,language, or culture. What does it mean to be an American? Being American means that everyone gets to say the Pledge of Allegiance every day and show respect to all the Americans that sacrifice their lives for citizens. There were prisoners that were also American that said the Pledge of Allegiance every day because it meant so much to them. However Mike Christian is a great example of what it means to be a real American no matter how badly mistreated he went through. Americans do a lot of things to show their country’s pride; like hanging american flags in their yards, on their cars, and also having them on their shirts. Americans also say the Pledge of Allegiance every...

Words: 415 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Jackson Turner Significance

...Turner is most successful at analyzing American history through his essay, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History”. This piece examines how life was first created here in America, as well as how the first frontier set the stage for numerous civilization advancements that would occur in the near future. Many Americans today seem to forget about the first settlements that served as the basis for what the United States of America has become. This essay accomplishes the goal of reminding those people of how majorly important each step was on the American frontier centuries ago. What was once just an enormous area of free, unoccupied land, is now the home of billions of people as well as numerous buildings, businesses, and modes of transportation....

Words: 1552 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Amy Tan - Mother's Tongue

...life because of how broken it is she needs to pretend to be her at points, watch her mother be treated poorly, and go through several bad situations. 6. She says that math is precise and had a specific answer, as for in English was assigned several questions where she had to fill in the blank and get “bland combinations” as answers. No, I do not think her problems come from her family’s language skills. I believe that it’s pretty much an excuse that she is using, being an Asian American, and it all depends on the person to limit themselves to the English language or not. 7. She offers the explanations that Asian Americans might come from a “broken” English language family and they have teachers steering them into math and not English. A reason I believe most Asian American’s don’t go into the fields of language is because they stereotype themselves and do what most people stereotype them to do. Purpose and Audience 1. She begins by explaining her qualifications because she is starting a strong essay on English. She wants to let the audience...

Words: 755 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

The Us: Communist or Capitalist?

...Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx, explains what it means to be a communist nation. According to Marx, a communist nation will allow everyone to own the land, everyone is responsible to work, and the state will control communications and transports. Marx said a communist nation will do and be much more but those list above are a few main points. The opposite of communism is capitalism, which is where private owners, rather than the state, control a country's trade and industry for profit. The United States of America is not communist but capitalist because America does not share land between citizens, does not force the disabled to work, and Americans can communicate how they please and ship their goods wherever. The United States of America allows citizens to own private property, unlike communist nations that Marx describes in his essay. In a communist nation, the nation will have an “abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes,” according to Marx. This means that there will be no private property but just public land which the people work. America does allow citizens to own land, and then use it for private purposes. There are private property rights in the Constitution, the fourth Amendment, regarding that individuals may hold and exercise their property, even if it is against the government itself. In a capitalist nation, the people are allowed free enterprise which Americans can do and communists cannot. Therefore,......

Words: 534 - Pages: 3