What does it means to be an American to  me?

What does it mean to be an America? A very simple question with many different answers. Here in America we have so many different types of ethnicities and cultures that if you ask each and every one of these people this questions they would all have different ideas of what an American is. We might all speak different languages, have different religions, look different and dress different but we are all connected in a way because we all want freedom, happiness and a good life where we can be successful.  

Being an American gives us all freedom that other countries wish they had; many countries look up to America because we as Americans portray the “American image” as great men and women with independence and happiness that we make in our own.
  It is true that we can make our own happiness and live our free lives, but we as Americans should never forget the people in the past that made all this possible so that we could have a better future. In my opinion to be an American means to be able to have the freedom that everyone deserves, where no one is more important than anyone and everyone has the opportunity to be happy.  In unit 4 part 1 of our American Literature we talk about slavery and the Civil War and these topics are exactly what I think an American is. In part 1, we find stories and autobiographies of slaves that wanted to be free, like the autobiography of Frederick Douglass, a slave that fought against all odd so that one day he could be free. In his autobiography, Douglass tells us all the hardships he had to go through in order to achieve his goal of moving to the south to be a free man.  Because Douglass had a strong will and had the strength to keep going he was able to accomplished his goal of being a free man. After becoming free, Douglass wrote about his experiences of being a slave and told others what slaves had to go through every day. With his books and will to fight to free other slaves, Douglass with the help of other abolitionist were able to help free other slaves so that they could also feel the freedom and live happy lives with their families. Many Americans weren’t happy about having slaves and in their own way they tried to help abolish slavery, like James Russell Lowell with his poem “Stanzas of Freedom.” In his poem, Lowell is calling to everyone that if they want slaves to be free, they all had to work together to be able to attain these. “If there breathe on earth a slave, are ye truly free and brave?” That it didn’t matter if only a few ex-slaves were out, if slavery was still going on then nobody was truly free. “Coming of Age in Mississippi” by Anne Moody it’s a great example of how years later even though African Americans were free of slavery they were still treated unequally. This is an autobiography of a sit-down Moody and fellow colleagues did on order to get the attention of others to let them know that they were the same as everyone else. Moody and her friends had to endure the racist things that other people did to them, like cover them in sugar and chocolate, throwing things at them and yanking them out of their chairs to take them outside the restaurant they were sitting-down.  After doing this a great commotion was going on about that act and that was exactly what moody and her friends wanted, to be notice so that others could also take action on doing something to stop the racism. 

Other things that makes me think what a true American means to be, is when we fight for our freedom in order to keep our nation a free country.
  In part 1, we also find the “Gettysburg Address” written by Abraham Lincoln the 16th president of the United States. In his speech, Lincoln encourages the soldiers and people to keep fighting, to not give up. To not waste the lives of the soldiers that had died in battle in order to get the freedom they wanted, to keep on going.  “that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from earth” Lincoln is giving hope to the people so that they could continue fighting the battle for their freedom and keep the government for the people. 
In “Letter to Sarah Ballou” by Sullivan Ballou we can see the sacrifices that Americans did in order to keep the freedom they wanted. In this letter Sullivan is writing to his wife Sarah because he knows that he might not come back alive to the side of his beloved Sarah. In the letter he tells Sarah that he loves her very much and that he’s sorry for how “thoughtless and foolish” he had been, and that even if he die, he would always be with Sarah. And that she shouldn’t be sad for his dead because they would meet again. In this letter we can see the great sacrifices Americans had to do in order to achieve the freedom so that they could live happily ever after. I’m sure there were more sacrifices like these one and even though soldiers knew they were going to die in battle, they were proud and ready to die for their country that they loved. 

Even today we still can see some discrimination in the USA, but recently those barriers that kept people thinking that even if they do their best at whatever they wouldn’t be able to obtain it, but with the 2008-2009 elections for the
  president many people’s minds change. With the election of our first African-American President Barack Obama, people began to think that maybe it is possible to obtain your dreams in life; if we try hard enough we might be able to win the battle. Like the song “Our Country" by John Mellencamp says: 
“The dream is still alive
Some day it will come true
And this country it belongs
To folks like me and you
So let the voice of freedom
Sing out through this land
This is our country” 
The dream is already becoming true and if we keep on pushing those dream we might be able to reach the top and accomplish them so that we can live a happy free life with the ones we love. The election of President Obama is one of the first changes that this nation is having and if we can continue we can meet the great dreams that we as Americans have, that everyone is equal no matter what.

In my opinion, being an American is something anyone can do, we just need to believe and break down those barriers that tells us “no you can’t” and tell them “yes, we can.” If we try hard enough we can all be good Americans, we just need to have respect for others and with the equality of everyone we can all obtain the happiness that we are all looking for and give our next generation a great future where they don’t have to worry about discrimination against others and they can live happily ever after.