Defining "American"

Posted by Matthew P. Texas
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The American Creed: a statement of the values and ideas we consider to be “American.” It is not officially established, but events throughout American history suggest that the creed is very real. But why is the creed important, and what does it say about this country?

1776: The United States declared independence. Over its history, a statement of American beliefs and values known as the American Creed has withstood. However, the creed is not official but varies between individuals. After some time, I have determined that to me, the American Creed represents ideas of liberty, equality, and justice.

To begin with, the American Creed reflects ideas of liberty. The American Revolution was fought in order to obtain this value, which is reflected when Patrick Henry said in 175: “Give me liberty or give me death!” Similar to that quote, Langston Hughes said in 1935: “O, let America be America again — The land that never has been yet — And yet must be — the land where every man is free.” Considering how far apart these quotes are, it can be inferred that the value of liberty is as everlasting as the light of the Sun.

When compared with liberty, the priority of equality has also withstood the test of time. Although the Civil Rights Movement reflects a time of inequality, it also shows the value of equality as part of the American Creed. Stories of Malcolm X and Rosa Parks and MLK Jr. solidify this priority. In 1963, MLK Jr. stated: “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” All of this information suggests that like liberty, a desire for equality as an American value will never go away.

Justice can be compared with liberty and equality as well, since they all have been desired throughout American history. Recently, the #MeToo movement has been granting justice to victims of sexual abuse. We can see Americans fighting off injustice throughout history: The American Revolution, WWII, the Civil Rights Movement. American citizens have fought for justice for the longest time, as well as the previously mentioned values. With this knowledge, one can conclude that justice is another major aspect of the American Creed.

To conclude, the American Creed is based on the ideas of justice, liberty, and equality for all. However, some have denied Americans these values in the past, and some have tried to do so in the present. If we are to preserve our American identity, we must fight to uphold the creed that makes America American.

Published on Feb 27, 2018
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