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Being American: Liberty, Equality And Republicanism

1004 words - 4 pages

Being an American cannot simply be defined by skin color, culture, or religion. This nation cannot be defined in a simplistic manner like many other nations. For instance, other countries define themselves by their accent or by the types of food they consume. According to Sarah Song, “To be or to become an American, a person did not have to be any particular national, linguistic, religious, or ethnic background. All he had to do was to commit himself to the political ideology centered on the abstract ideals of liberty, equality, and republicanism” (31). Therefore, being American simply means having the same views about equality, liberty and republicanism as our American ancestors.
Being an American is clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence. For instance, according to Carrie Shanafelt, Benjamin Franklin stated, “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety” (n.p). Therefore, being an American means treating the ideology of liberty in a sacred manner. The meaning of the term liberty is to be free from servitude, confinement or oppression. In addition, the term liberty defines itself as political independence. Liberty should be taken serious within our American society because our forefather Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death” (n.p). However, today in America liberty is viewed differently by a variety of people; “Different men often see the same subject in different lights” (Henry n.p). For instance, according to John Petrie, Thomas Jefferson stated, “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty” (n.p). Therefore, the quote stated by Thomas Jefferson is an example of how particular groups of individuals view liberty in America.
Other than liberty, there is also another abstract ideology involved with being an American. The idea of equality is usually defined by everyone as the state or quality of being equal. However, according to Thomas Jefferson, in The Declaration of Independence, “all men are created equal” (n.p). The thought of all men being created as equal is a simple ideology of the past. Now, in America, equality consists of having equal rights and opportunities whether the individual is a male or female. However, today in America, equality has not fully been fully achieved. For instance, we are still experiencing income inequality. According to Peter Finocchiaro, “Income inequality has grown dramatically since the mid-'70s—far more in the US than in most advanced countries” (n.p). Furthermore, “The top 10 percent of Americans earn nearly three-quarters of all income in the country, leaving the poor with whatever is left” (Finocchiaro n.p). Another inequality in America is racial inequality. For instance, Arizona passed the SB 1020 bill. Nicholas Riccardi stated, “The bill directs police to determine the immigration status of non-criminals if there is a 'reasonable...

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