What Does It Mean to “Be American”?

What is an American? There are many ways one can go about answering this, however what is the correct answer to give those who ask us? Well an American to me is someone who is able to follow their dreams. I mean that’s what America is all about right? If we recall in our U.S History classes, we can see that our country was built on dreams. America has progressed so far from when we first started out. But that doesn’t mean that there is no room for improvement, there are plenty of other groups of people here in America that are not considered to be equal.

If we are the land of opportunity shouldn’t all those in the United States have their path to the American dream? One of these main dreams that built America was that we are equal. We say that all Americans are equal, yet even up to this day we have factions of people here in America fighting for equality.

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One of the longest ongoing fight for equality here in America is the equality of women. One of these qualities that women fought was the fact that women and men are intellectually equal. In this essay I will be discussing how equal Americans are, using a combination of works written by Judith Sargent Murray and parts of her biography. The equality of women or feminism is a prominent subject in American literature before it even had a name. One of our earliest examples of feminist literature stems from Judith Murray.

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You can see her addressing women’s issues of that time through her writing. Her works called the nation out on how unequal the genders were treated by society when it came to education. She was fortunate enough that her family had a different view on the subject and was able to receive a proper education because of it. Having her upbringing altered her point of view of the world, Judith was an advocate for women’s rights long before it became a movement. She believed that women can be just as smart as men. And I completely agree with her point: women and men are intellectual equals and there are plenty of women who are smarter than men. Why weren’t they given the same opportunities as men had back then? We could have accomplished so much more if an equal opportunity was given to women.

So being a scholarly woman, Murray found ways to start imputing these thoughts to society. She approaches this in her writing, in her works Murray goes on about the problems facing women in America at that point. We see her points in a unique way. She addresses the issue of education inequality in America in her poem and essay of the same title On the Equality of the Sexes (pg.739-pg.747). I saw that one thing her poem points out “yes we are different but that does not mean that we can’t treat each other as equals and grow together to move the nation forward” (pg.739-pg.740).

This helps my point because it proves her point of moving the nation forward, since with all the progressing that the nation has done from back then was with the collective help of both men and women. Murray further goes on about how both sexes are capable of “elevated understanding” (pg.740) which is true if we are equal we must be able to understand the meaning behind the things happening around us. She then begins questioning society’s standards of the way females are treated. I would too if the world around me can’t see the fact that we may be different externally it does not mean that I am superior to the person next to me. How can Americans be equal if we are unable to accept the fact we may look different, yet looks do not show the potential of Americans, looks can only take you so far. So Judith Sargent Murray was truly badass, she gave us her dreams for America that would later come true, giving women an equal opportunity as their male counterparts. Murray may have not been the first woman that showed her fellow sisters that they are just as equal to men in America. But I believe that she did input the thought into the nation and what they did after that was all up to them. Thankfully later on in American history women put their foot down and demanded that they deserve the same rights and opportunities that men have had for decades.

So in conclusion, an American to me is any and every living being in America who is chasing a dream or goal here in these United States. Whether they are a man, woman, immigrant, gay, or straight. We are all equal and we deserve all the rights and freedoms that come with being apart of this nation. Anyone who says otherwise does not know what is truly an American. So go after all the things that this wonderfully unique nation has to offer, because what is more American than going after a dream that seems possible through your eyes. Like I said before “America is the land of opportunity, here we all have the same chance to achieve our hopes and dreams”. So if not now then when are you going to go for it? Because you know that the clock is ticking.

Works Cited

Murray, Judith. “On the Equality of the Sexes”. 1790. The Norton Anthology of American Literature: Beginnings to 1820. Ed. Bayum, Nina and Levine, Robert S. 8th ed. Vol. A. New York: W.W Norton & Company Inc., 2012. 739-747. PDF. ” Judith Sargent Murray”. The Norton Anthology of American Literature: Beginnings to 1820. Ed. Bayum, Nina and Levine, Robert S. 8th ed. Vol. A. New York: W.W Norton & Company Inc., 2012. 737-739.PDF. Bayum, Nina, and Robert S Levine, editors. The Norton Anthology of American Literature: Beginnings to 1820. 8th ed. Vol. A. New York: W.W Norton & Company Inc., 2012. PDF.

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What Does It Mean to “Be American”?. (2020, Sep 06). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/what-does-it-mean-to-be-american-essay

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