Being a Good American Essay

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Ever since the formation of the American country, its people have always wondered who they really are. The existential question stems as a result of this nation being built of immigrants from all over the world that despite their differences in languages, histories, and cultures, are destined to live together. Welcoming land for millions of refugees, mostly Europeans and therefore sharing similar values, the United States was built on a daunting mixture of humans who needed common rules of life to bring them together, as well as a language, but above all a feeling of belonging and unity. Total freedom of speech, right to self-defense: the very first amendments to the Constitution cemented this country's identity and are still reinforced daily. America, the land of courageous and free men, the land above all opportunities, continues to nurture the mirage of many immigrants. The United States has always been and continues to be the Promised Land flowing with endless opportunities and chances to start a new life. The sense of freedom is found often within the country and is symbolized in the middle of New York City with the Statue of Liberty which announces entry into the New World and inspires freedom from oppression. To be an American means seizing the opportunities this land has to offer to thrive in life, being given a new chance to start over, and being able to change the world.

To be a good American means to benefit from the many opportunities this country offers. America is a land where everything is possible, no matter one’s social class, background, or past. Being born in a rich household puts someone in a circumstance in favor of succeeding, but not many are gifted a golden ticket to life. Most of the population, which includes the middle and lower class have to work hard to achieve the things wanted, to provide a meal for the family, education for the children, or even afford small luxuries in life. This phenomenon was also noticed by Crevecoeur when he moved to America. Crevecoeur was fascinated by the fact that in comparison to Europe, people in the New Land did not have to come from a wealthy families to live well, but instead “there is room for everybody in America” (Crevecoeur) no matter where they come from and their fate was not predestined before they were born. Unlike old Europe where people could not climb up in the social class and be more than what they were destined to be, America offers another option to its people; it does not suppress one’s dreams and goals due to their situation. Being an American gives one a chance to fight for what they want and set a standard of life for themselves. There are no boundaries and limits to what the mind and diligence of an American can achieve. It is up to the Americans, to make their choices in life as a free men.

To be a good American means to have a chance to start a new life. America is a land of immigrants; this country was built of people coming from all over the world which is what makes it so unique and diverse. Being an immigrant in America gives one the opportunity to leave “behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receive new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds” (Crevecoeur) adapting into a new life-changing lifestyle. Crevecoeur noticed that moving to the United States is accompanied by a lot of new learnings to be able to flourish in a foreign land. People that immigrate to the United States have often found themselves in an unfortunate position, whether that being economic or social and they see this land as the light at the end of the tunnel. Immigrants leave everything behind and start accustoming themselves to new traditions and cultures to be able to create a life for themselves and their families which they would not be able to do in their home country. Essentially, the New World served as an escape land for immigrants to build a new life different from what they were used to.

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To be a good American means to have a great influence and be able to change the world. Being an American and living in the “Promised Land” is a blessing that not many people have. As the United States is one of the most powerful countries in the world it gives the opportunity to its people to spread this culture outside of the US territories. Crevecoeur also projected the power that an American was able to hold noting that his “labors and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world” (Crevecoeur). The economic and political power that Americans hold today, which stems from the hard work of many years, can be so great to decide the fate of other countries. Americans have played a big role in ending wars, helping other countries grant their independence, assisting in economic help to the poorer countries, welcoming of many refugees, etc. Many times, we have seen America change the course of world history because of the power it holds. America's role is not only political and economic but goes as far as cultural. Americanization is portrayed everywhere in media, technology, cuisine, literature, music, and art outside of the United States. Moreover, the English language serves as a common communication tool for people worldwide.

However, Crevecoeur failed in a few ways to define what a true American is. Americans of all races and cultures have helped build this country and write its history. Crevecoeur describes Americans as “a mixture of English, Scotch, Irish, French, Dutch, Germans, and Swedes” (Crevecoeur) not including Africans or Native Americans which contributed to making America what it is today (Torres). After all, the Natives were here before the Europeans colonized the “New World” destroying almost everything they found to create their own rules. Native Americans were a well-established society with cultures and languages that were assimilated by Europeans. Crevecoeur denies their existence and leads the audience to believe that America was discovered by Europeans and inherited only European culture. Furthermore, Crevecoeur does not include Africans in his writings making the so-called freedom that he prolongs to talk about questionable. Africans were slaves in the fields owned by Europeans, and they did not benefit from the opportunities the New Land had to offer. Neither of these groups was able to live the “American Dream” but instead were oppressed and forced to live under the rules of their colonizers. Crevecoeur goes on to describe America as “the most perfect” (Crevecoeur), but who does that really apply to? It was only Europeans who were in power and decided the fate of everyone else in the country. To this day, people continue to be discriminated against by their race and culture, so the perfection Crevecoeur talks about is out of the equation, but instead, more work is to be done to represent Americans as the united population claimed to be.

In conclusion, being a good American is a source of pride and unity. As an American one is given many opportunities to succeed no matter where they come from. An American is able to get what they want through hard work and determination. It is a land where everything is possible as long as one sets their mind to it. Being an American means being a product of immigration, in a land where foreigners helped built the country into what is it today. People coming from almost every country on the planet, pledge their allegiance to the flag, reciting the oath learned by heart, hand on heart, eyes closed. The explosion of joy and emotions that conclude are not improper: becoming an American is synonymous with being part of a great nation where the individual is free. An American holds a chance at a new and better life different from the past. Furthermore, being an American comes with great responsibility. As one of the greatest countries in the world, Americans possess the power to influence not only the environment they are from but the whole world. Cordova gave a good sense of what it means to be an American but didn’t mention Africans and Natives which are a big part of the country’s history. Minorities are as important to the definition of being an American as Europeans are. Being a minority should not make one feel less American, but instead, it should be something that we talk more about and educate future generations on, to prevent further social issues from happening. In this land, we are all equal and it is impossible to understand the sense of being an American without first telling the real story of the men and women of this country.

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