Essay on Americanism
Americanism has never been associated with the issues of race, gender and ancestry in the past. Franklin D. Roosevelt once said that to be an American has always been a, “Matter of mind and heart” and “never…a matter of race or ancestry.” To “race and ancestry,” one might add gender. In other words, to be an American means to be filled with Americanism, demonstrate American identity in behavior, thoughts and actions, protecting freedom and independence of the nation. Nearly all Founding Fathers, e.g. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, or John Adam reflected the meaning of Americanism in the development of the nation, portraying “the vast majority of ordinary Americans as mere bystanders.”1 However, other historians have provided the documentation that proves that “the 95 percent of Americans who were not members of the founding-era gentry shaped the independence movement and Revolutionary War and were in turn influenced by both.” 2 This fact means the ideology of true Americans reflects the ideas of Americanism. Historian and scholars provide a wide range of interpretations of the meaning of Americanism in the history of the U.S., as well as its impact on other nations. The ideals of Americanism had been practices in the development of progressive politics of the U.S. and had a strong impact on the quality of American democracy. Thesis statement: Being an American in the past has been a matter of heart and mind and has never been a matter of race, gender or ancestry because Americanism is an ideology that reflects national identity and is based on freedom of American nation.
To start with, being an American in the past has never been a matter of ancestry. The mainstream American ideology is focused on the idea of the melting pot. The melting pot does not involve the role of ancestry because of the use of the concept of assimilation, which
is crucial for American national identity. Ancestry does not form Americanism. The Slaves’ Petition for Freedom to the Massachusetts Legislature of 1777 points out to the fact that Americanism, originated from the colonists’ revolutionary struggle against the political power of Britain, involved a wide range of issues regarding justice, equality and human rights. According to the Slaves’ Petition, “enslaved people throughout the colonies seized upon the rhetoric of liberty and equality to point out the contradiction of fighting Great Britain over principles not fully followed by the colonies themselves; they also appealed to Christian precepts.”3 Actually, being an American in the past has never been a matter of ancestry because of the various identities formed into a single American identity. For example, African Americans (former slaves), Asian Americans (immigrants), Italian Americans (immigrants), Native Americans (aboriginals) and other groups are united to form American nation. In addition, American national identity is idealized social destiny of many groups of population. American people are hold together due to common ideals, and the lack of a common origin or ancestry cannot affect the development of American nation. Americans adhere to the ideals of democratic society. They have always fought for the establishment of equal human rights and the abolishment of slavery. During the period of the Great Depression, homelessness appeared as the result of economic crises, but it had nothing common with the matter of ancestry. According to researchers, “the homeless man – the tramp, the hobo, the vagrant – became alternately the embodiment of rugged American individualism and a metaphor for social disorder.”
Besides, being an American in the past has never been a matter of gender. According to Ellen DuBois, the American women’s suffrage movement originated from the public protest meeting that was held in Seneca Falls, New York, in July 1848. The major goal of this historic meeting was to join the right of women with men’s rights in their privileges, including voting rights. The impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction epoch on gender issues was enormous. In 1860, the right to vote had become the primary concern of the women’s rights movement. The Fourteenth Amendment addressed the issue of gender inequalities. However, it did not affect Americanism, because both man and women considered themselves Americans. Women fought for their rights, and their struggle was part of American identity. According to researchers, “an independent movement of women for women turned the campaign for suffrage into a continuing source of activism and political sophistication for coming generations of women.”5 Although there were some difficulties in recruiting women after WWII, because women in military were regarded as “prostitutes and cross-dressers”, that issue did not affect American ideals of democracy and freedom
Moreover, being an American in the past has never been a matter of race. Racial issues had been raised in America since the adoption of the Constitution. From the historical perspective of reforms in America, “there were continuities, shifts, and discontinuities after the Civil War.”
During the Civil War and the Reconstruction era, racial issues had a strong impact on society, but the principle of Americanism, as the basis of democracy, had always been one of the major goals of the American struggle in any historical period. This struggle had always been aimed at establishing democracy and providing equal opportunities to all citizens, both Northerners and Southerners.
I completely agree with the fact that being an American in the past has been a matter of heart and mind. American national identity is used to highlight the construction of a unified nation, which includes various racial and ethnic groups. Americans are unified based on the established principles of Americanism, which reflects democratic ideals. Good Americans are those people who demonstrate loyalty to their country, as well as the desire to live in democratic society, enjoying freedom and equal rights. Multiculturalism is the result of ethnic and racial self-assentation in America. Actually, the national ideology created by Americanism is flourishing now, reflecting the progressive ideas of Americanism and playing an important role in shaping the future of American nation.
Thus, it is necessary to conclude that being an American in the past has been a matter of heart and mind because of the uniqueness of American ideology and the emergence of Americanism, but being an American in the past has never been a matter of race, gender or ancestry. Revolutionary tradition in America reflects Americanism and the established American ideals. The national ideology is flourishing in the U.S. due to the progressiveness of Americanism. It plays a crucial role in shaping the future of American nation and its ideals.
Example of a Definition essay on English about:
Americanism / american dream / united states
The problem of understanding correctly the term “Americanism” and its origin and cultural impact.
What is the “American Dream” for the people all around the world? How does the term “Americanism” reflect the attitude towards the whole American nation? How has “Americanism” inspired people?
America has become all of these for many people, who believe they are living out the American dream but the truth is that people all over the world dream about the same thing and therefore the appearance of the term “Americanism” is not a surprise for anybody.
Introduction: America has always been the “New World” for millions of people who had a Dream. Their dream was not something exceptional but only to have a good life: to have enough expenses to survive, to have a house where children could be raised and what is more important to feel free and protected. America has become all of these for many people, who believe they are living out the American dream but the truth is that people all over the world dream about the same thing and therefore the appearance of the term “Americanism” is not a surprise for anybody.
The existence of the term “Americanism” reflects the special attitude towards the position of the United States of America in the world. What it means is that people see America as the ideal they are striving for and consider American values to be model-values. It also goes without saying that “Americanism” was born as the desire to be like “the strongest country in the world”. Though some Americans underestimate the influence of their lifestyle on the rest of the world, they cannot neglect that fact that they give the direction for the lifestyle of people from at least the neighbor countries
Americanism is not just a word taken from the American-English slang. It is the evidence of the exceptionality of the American nation. American with its populations knows that its lifestyle is qualitatively different from other countries. This qualitative difference contains a lot of factors inside: the history of the United States of America, the credo of the nation, the political and economic structures and many others. Americanism can be seen when people try to copy the way the Americans speak, walk, dress, love and think. As each American is considered to be an honorary guest in any country and welcomed everywhere, people belonging to other nations dream about having the same possibilities and having an easier life compared to the one they have. Nevertheless, people do not understand that the life of American people is not easy and they sometimes do suffer a lot. The aura that has been constructed around the success of Americans as a nation has converted “Americanism” in a cult and has given the direction for the development of many countries all over the world. The personal freedom that is one of the key characteristics of “Americanism” has already inspired many people to rearrange their life in an American way or even try to emigrate to the United States of America.
Conclusion: “Americanism” is a notion that explains why people outside the borders of North America tend to emphasize the opportunities that the American way of life gives and the substitution of any other dreams by the American dream. So many things have been said about “Americanism” and therefore about the American dream; so many people have struggled against themselves to prove that it does not only exist but can also be achieved. So many people worked hard and devoted their lives to “Americanism”. America truly is a great country but it is very important to remember that its citizens do not live in a dream but try hard everyday to make it come true if not for them, so for their children and sometimes suffer a lot before it happens.