Defining American

Topics: American Civil War, Native Americans in the United States, United States Pages: 2 (424 words) Published: January 9, 2014
Lauren K****
Defining American
ENG 250 A, S****
Defining American
American, what does it mean to you? Does it mean brave soldiers and a high-flying flag or does it mean the stereotypical lazy, obese couch potato? Both can be proven correct. In fact millions of things are American but are very different, such as points of history, works of literature, and different cultures. American is a wide variety of people, objects, music, stories, ideas and many other things mixed together in the Western Hemisphere but all stay extremely unique from each other.

In my 2013 Fall Quarter History 146 class we learned about The Era of Good Feelings (1817-1825), where politically, Americans were nearly at peace, was a proud American time period. The American Civil War (1861-1865), less than 40 years later Americans were at war with themselves primarily over the issue of slavery. Those four years were also American but completely different from The Era of Good Feelings. For another example, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a classic American novel but on the other hand there are thousands of orally told Native American stories such as “Ghost Dance at Wounded Knee”. Both of these stories are American but that is about the only thing they have in common.

Many cultures have also been tossed together in the Western Hemisphere. “There are a mixture of English, Scotch, Irish, French, Dutch, Germans, and Swedes. From this promiscuous breed, the race now called Americans have arisen.“ (Crévecoeur, 2). In 1782, J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur predicted that all of the cultures that came to America would melt together to become one new American Culture. But looking into society today, all of the cultures still are independent yet coexist in the same hemisphere. Even the Native American culture lives on today like it did even before Europeans were there to call it barbarous(History 146).

Around 1945 Woody Guthrie sang “this land is your land, this land is my...

Cited: Anna Canoni. “This Land Is Your Land Words and Music by Woody Guthrie” 1 (2013): 1. Web. 8 January 8, 2014
Crévecoeur, Hector St. John de. “Letters from an American Farmer” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Gen. ed. Nina Baym. 8th ed. Vol. A. New York: Norton, 2012. 309-17. Print.
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