American Sel Perception vs. the Truth

Essay by Corey PickelsimerUniversity, Master'sA+, October 1996

download word file, 4 pages 3.6

Lee Greenwood, a song writer, describes the emotion involved in American self-perception in a song by saying, 'I'm proud to be an American. For at least I know I'm free.' Freedom is the founding pillar of the American self-perception. Self-perception is the culmination of how one views oneself. Other aspects which make up American self-perception are wealth, power, and the pursuance of happiness. Self-perceptions, whether confined to the individual or confined to an entire country, usually leave out negative aspects such as hypocrisy. When dealing with the perception of a country, the true image of a society comes from self, or internal perceptions, combined with the external perceptions from other countries.

The foundation of American self-perception is freedom. Freedom of speech and movement are virtual institutions in the United States. Such freedoms of speech and movement are outlined in the United States Constitution. Americans believe the constitution sketches the 'American Dream' which is having a family, money, and the freedom to pursue happiness.

Every American will stand by the line derived from the Constitution, 'All men are created equal.' In actuality, the constitution outlined the freedom for rich white landowners to achieve unchecked power and wealth. At the time of the framing of the constitution, blacks were slaves thus all men were NOT created equal. Women were equally excluded from the constitution as suffrage wasn't even a consideration at the time. The only class groups which the American Constitution outlined freedom for were wealthy European immigrants fleeing their own land for such reasons as taxes. After such movements as Suffrage and Civil Rights, all Americans were granted individual rights of freedom thus approaching equality.

The American self-perception of living a life of virtual complete freedom parallels the American stand on its' belief of democracy. Americans feel that a democratic...