When I was first given this assignment, I did not know the answer to this question, “Am I American???” To be honest, sometimes, I’m not entirely certain. To be American has different perspectives. America in itself has different viewpoints. Benjamin Franklin, gave his contradicting views and truths on America and being American. In “Information to Those Who Would Remove to America”, Benjamin addresses emigration and the truthful points of living in America. He states that being American, one most work, and rise to the top for the American Dream. To emigrate to American lifestyle, he addresses, would leave some disappointed. He informed the Europeans that the class systems were completely different, and American citizens needed to be self sufficient to survive.
Google defines Americans as “of, relating to, or characteristic of the United States or its inhabitants.” Or “a native or citizen of the United States.” It is interesting that google uses the word “native”.There were many natives in this American land. Am I of those called “Native Americans”? No, certainly not. Am I however “of, relating to, or characteristic of the United States…”? That would be the definite question. The questions that would carry weight in answering “am I American” would be “am I of, related to or characteristic of the US”? Was I born here? Am I a citizen? Am I someone with the characteristics of someone from this country?
Crevecoeur writes, “The next wish of traveler will be to know whence came all these people? They are a mixture of English, Scotch, Irish, Dutch, Germans, and Swedes. From this promiscuous breed, that race now called Americans have arisen.” (pg. 606) Crevecoeur, in this writing, points to the reality that the identity of “American” was a diverse, multicultural and multinational identity. The title of American didn’t belong to only those who were born here, but to those that came here. In adopting this nation and taking on the persona and characteristics of living here, working here and making their lives here, this “promiscuous breed” of peoples came to be American.
Am I American? To answer this question, I would say that I am American. I was born here. I am American because I am a citizen. I am American because while my ancestors were taken and made into slaves and then freed generations ago, I was born here. I am American because while some of my ancestors may had begun their lives elsewhere, I am a descendant of and am Mestizo, a mix of cultures from the natives who were here. I am American in that I am here, striving to improve, excel and advance in life through and by the declarations and freedoms that founded this nation. Simply put, I am American.