What does it mean to be an American?

It is often said that being an American means sharing a commitment to a set of values and ideals. Writing about the relationship of ethnicity and American identity, the historian Philip Gleason put it this way:
To be or to become an American, a person
did not have to be any particular national,
linguistic, religious, or ethnic background.
All he had to do was to commit himself to
the political ideology centered on the abstract
ideals of liberty, equality, and republicanism.
Thus, the universalist ideological
character of American nationality meant
that it was open to anyone who willed to
become an American (Gleason, P., 1980)
In this final assignment for Freshman Seminar, a paper 2 ½ to 3 pages in length, you will address the following question: What does it mean to be an American? Exploring your family’s background, describe who you are and what makes you an American? Include topics such as:
Religious beliefs
Use of language
Socioeconomic status (education, employment, etc.)
In addition, is there any aspect of your identity that you believe limits your ability to achieve the American Dream?

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