What Does It Mean To Be An American Essay

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What does it mean to be an American? Is it determined by your physical appearance, like the color of your skin. Or is it determined by the origin of your birth? Many authors, especially African-American writers such as Alex Haley and Langston Hughes, have used their works to discuss what it truly means to be an American during their lifetimes. When writing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson says, “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.” This was the first American thought. From that day on everyone that has been born in America has felt these words throughout …show more content…
Life is a four letter word, but the meaning of it can change the world. Life isn’t just the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, or the existence of an individual human being or animal. Life is how you live. Life is what you do when you wake up in the morning, and what you do before you go to bed. When you are American you live you life in a certain way. For example, the American dream is all about becoming what you are destined to be. A way that is like no other, a way that full your life to it’s fullest potential. Being an American is having the ability to whatever you please with that life. Jefferson states, “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude." When you are an American there are no bounds to what you can do. Life is not finite. Clearly, life is the first key to what makes a person an …show more content…
The pursuit of happiness is defined as a fundamental right mentioned in the Declaration of Independence to freely pursue joy and live life in a way that makes you happy, as long as you don 't do anything illegal or violate the rights of others. For example, if you want to do something in your life, you can do it, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. Jefferson stated, “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” Being an American you have an amazing opportunity. No matter where you start out at in this country, you have the power to end up wherever you please. It is a true Cinderella story. Clearly, the final key to what it means to be an American is the pursuit of

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