Civic Values

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Essential to being an American is perseverance. This does not mean Americans are simply persistent, doing the same things over and over in a vain effort to succeed, but rather, we share a commitment to following through on our goals and pursuing them over time, in different ways if necessary, until they are met.

Being an American means I relentlessly pursue happiness. I don’t give up; I keep trying until I get it right. As long as I can remember I have wanted to be involved in preserving the land and resources of America. All through middle school my teachers proclaimed me a “natural” when it came to agriculture. When I began my agriculture and forestry classes in high school I knew I that it was what I wanted to do.

Perseverance is so fundamental to being an American that it is embodied in the Constitution itself. Americans did not give up on their new country when the Articles of Confederation proved inadequate, and more importantly, they knew they would have to adjust their form of government. The Preamble declares that the new form of republican government, which the delegates persevered over a long hot Pennsylvania summer to write, was created “in order to form a more perfect union.” Further, the Constitution contains within itself the means for amending it, which illustrates that it was written to endure if Americans citizens persevere in working for change.

One such citizen was Alice Paul. Paul devoted her life to a cause she believed in and used various approaches when it came to persuading others of her message. When her initial efforts with NAWSA appeared to her to be ineffective, she switched to more radical strategies but never took her eyes off her ultimate goal: a constitutional amendment securing votes for women. It is in large part thanks to her perseverance that the Nineteenth Amendment was passed.

Perseverance is essential to American citizenship—America could not exist without it, and Americans’ indefatigable spirit both sets us...
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