What is an American? Describes what I believe an American and what "Americanism" is

Essay by alizekayHigh School, 11th gradeA, July 2002

download word file, 2 pages 3.3

What is an American To answer this question several facets of the American society must first be examined and evaluated.

Language is traditionally distinguishes culture. According to Encarta Encyclopedia, "..the United States is also remarkably uniform linguistically and culturally. Only 6 percent of Americans in the 1990 census reported they spoke little or no English." One might, after reading this conclude, that uniformity of language and culture is one facet that defines an "American." However, I have lived the past 3 years in Miami, Florida and I do not believe that statement is completely credible. In this city alone we have a multitude of different cultures carving out their own niches where the language they feel most comfortable speaking is used. In places like "Little Havana", "Little Haiti", and "Hialeah" the relative nature of language and culture in America is exemplified. I would never approach a bodega in Little Havana to ask for an all American hotdog.

So, if language and culture are not the defining aspects of an American what are?

Let us explore the secondly most commonly reserved societal universal, religion. A facet that defines many nations is that they share a common religion. Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Pakistan all share the Islamic faith; Ireland is a largely Protestant nation; and many South-American countries are Catholic. There is no American religion. We may share a system of morals concerning what we believe are wrong and right, and subject to the judgment of our legal processes. "Religion is not a matter of claims about the universe that are either true or false, but is the normal way that a society constructs and maintains its cherished tradition and moral values;" Emile Durkeheim. Americans do not have a national religion.

I believe the most real and time-tested attribute of...