What Does It Mean to Be An American?


US Constitution, Bill of Rights 1789 


First and foremost, I am an American. When I think about what it means to be an American I do not think about your place of birth rather the values for which you stand. Describing an American would be to describe the embodiment of the principles our founding fathers fought so hard to achieve. Having the freedom to be myself and being able to pursue my happiness with the full support of my country is to be American. My voice matters in my country. Being American means I can protest and exercise my freedom of speech. Regardless of my place of birth being American allows me certain unalienable rights per the U.S. Constitution in which it states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I have the responsibility to involve myself in the decision-making process of this country because it is a republic founded on the principle that all decisions are a public affair and voted upon. I think as Americans we see ourselves as having a purpose in life to withhold our freedoms. An American is a person who is proud of their country, proud to show that we will do what is right and just in the world. Americans are protectors, fighters, and fiercely loyal to our country. Being American does not mean that I must agree with all the decisions of our government more so being American is agreeing that we stand for the greater good. As our former president, Theodore Roosevelt said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” I believe being American is not standing by while wrong is being done but standing up together and doing the right thing. I believe myself to be an American. Regardless of where I was born my heart belongs to the United States of America.

Theodore Roosevelt campaigns for the presidency in 1904. | AP Photo






One comment

  1. I loved this post, Elizabeth! I don’t think enough people acknowledge that with being an American comes with a responsibility to involve oneself in its decision-making process. Because being an American is such a new identity, I think being born anywhere else and having your heart belong to America is a valid American identity in and of itself. Perhaps being American is more of a state of mind than a nationality. Too often, as a global superpower, we are guilty of doing what we consider the most “American” thing as opposed to doing the ethical thing, I hope we will soon begin voting in a way that preserves the rights of other citizens as opposed to protecting our own interests.


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