Key Characteristics and Core Values of American Citizens

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The society of America is determined by many different factors such as age, race, language, and cultural beliefs. If the people of America make up and define America as a whole, then what does it mean to be an American? The influences of the diversity of culture and ideas have existed in America since as early as the 1800s. People look at the American land as the promised land of purpose. They believe that the American Dream that was first defined in 1931 by James Truslow Adams, is the motive for every American. With this idea in mind, many Americans enjoy their privileges as an American. An American ensures equality in the country, embraces pride and dignity in the country, and carries out their contributions in America.

To begin with, an American establishes equality in the nation by understanding the differences between cultures and respecting the beliefs of others. In contradiction, an American does not represent equality by discriminating others based off their origin, language, gender, or culture. Americans are not defined by discrimination upon a person’s opposing beliefs on a certain matter such as religion or political stance. According to the author of the short story, “America and I” the narrator justified her view from her conflict with an American family by stating, “It was blotted out in me all trust and friendship from ‘Americans’” (Yezierska 22).

The substantial rejection on immigrants that took place in America is an example of the discrimination towards many immigrants who came to America for an opportunity. Although, immigrants have learned to keep America progressing for the better through their hard work. In other terms, Abraham Lincoln, who was the 16th president of the United States had noted in a letter to Congress explaining, “We say we are for the Union... We know how to save the Union” (“Lincoln on America”). Lincoln was against a split country because he knew it would no longer be America. He believed in unity, which is not possible without equality in all the states of the country. President Lincoln represents an honorable American because his presidency allowed him to keep the country united and equal.

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In addition, an American embraces the pride and dignity set in their country. These are rights of freedom, speech, education, and reward for every American. Americans give loyalty for the country in respect for the soldiers who have served. In the text of the essay “Veterans Day: Never Forget Their Duty,” written by John McCain, when he was imprisoned by the North Vietnamese, a scene revealed, “Every afternoon... we would hang Mike’s shirt on the wall of the cell and say the Pledge of Allegiance” (McCain 7).

In McCain’s story, his experience of being his enemy’s prisoner did not affect his pride as an American. He still gave his honor to the flag every day and it indicates how strong the American culture is. It shows that the service members in the country often go through a lot to defend the nation, but they are appreciated by American citizens. At the end of the speech, “The Four Freedoms” by Franklin D. Roosevelt, when he outlined the rights of the nation, he implied, “This nation has placed its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women...” (51). The American perception of freedom is made up by the basic rights of citizens. The rights such as the right to vote and take part in the United States democracy give the people control in their country.

Moreover, an American is defined by contributing and working as their duty in America. The workforce in America is an element that combines both equality and pride in America. Everyone works toward a career in America, and America is among one of the best countries in which to work. It is also considered a rich country with a great economic standing compared to other countries around the world that do not have as much freedom or wealth as the United States. This gives understanding to why many immigrants migrate to America because they view America as a chance for improved work standards. In the same short story, “America and I” the narrator explains her view of prosperity in America when she moved to America by saying “In the golden land of flowing opportunity I was to find my work that was denied me in the sterile village of my forefathers” (Yezierska 20).

The status of an American is also claimed through their work. People can work for what they want in the country and it shows their commitment but living on American land means the ability to work hard and appreciate the return of freedom. In an example, the author of the poem “I Hear America Singing” speaks about the unity of many American workers, and a line in the poem expresses this by declaring “The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or the girl sewing or washing, Each singing what belongs to him or her and none else” (Whitman 16). To the same degree, the workers of America have an important position in the working field of America. Overall, American workers such as scientists, architects, and engineers contribute to help their country by working toward an American future.

In conclusion, the characteristics of Americans represent equality, pride and loyalty, and hard workers throughout the nation. The diversity in America gives the country a strong outlook since the people learn and experience the many different beliefs in the country as well. Americans are especially defined by the surroundings of their culture. As more people look toward their future of migrating to America it becomes clear that the honor as well as equal opportunity for the country should continue to grow.

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