Friday, December 19, 2008

American Language?

From Modinator:

American. What does it mean to be American? Is it a different species of human altogether? That is what Crevecoeur said in the 1830’s. I agree with him because I have seen what Americans have done to the English language. They have butchered it. It is very different from how the citizens of England speak. He says that Americans are selfish in a good way, and this is true, for Americans do not want to part with the money they earned. President Roosevelt has another explanation for “American”. He says that an American is extremely patriotic. That if an immigrant wants to keep his original culture and be American, he should leave right away. I think this is being patriotic to the farthest extent, and that today, many people are not so patriotic as to not be hyphenated-Americans, and America is still not on the verge of total collapse. Psychologist John Garther says that Americans with immigrant background are risk takers. Psychiatrist Peter Whybrow says that Americans have a whole different allele that makes them risk takers. I disagree with both of these because some people are forced out of their countries and some others do not risk much. They have relatives already living in America and they stay with them until they can care for themselves.


From lvdrlvr55:

“Proud to be an American.” We hear this phrase so often, and yet, do we really know what it means? What, exactly, does it mean to be called an American? Are Americans set apart solely because of their citizenship or are there a certain set of beliefs - an American ideal - that makes us unique? Or perhaps, as suggested by some, we, the inhabitants of the United States, all possess a distinctive, risk-taking gene somewhere within our DNA that provided us with the motivation to leave everything we had ever known and start anew in a foreign land – namely, the United States of America.

The American legacy, one of heroic accomplishments and courageous feats far exceeding anybody’s expectations, is not one to be reckoned with. And yet, the fact remains that we are a nation of immigrants. There is nobody – not even the Native Americans – who/whose ancestors did not emigrate here from a foreign country at some point in time. Knowing this, some have been led to believe that anyone and everyone who lives in the US possesses the same distinctive, risk-taking gene somewhere within their genetic makeup. Perhaps somewhere within our DNA there exists a gene that motivated us all to leave our homes, take a risk, and start fresh here in the United States. But on the other hand, is it really possible that an entire nation made up of people of all different ethnic and racial backgrounds would share the same distinctive gene within their genetic makeup? After all, what are the chances of that happening? And even if that were true, a stable country with a functional government would never be able to succeed if it was based entirely off of daring, risk-taking people.

On the contrary, there are those who believe that Americans of foreign birth or origin may bear some form of allegiance to their home country rather than full loyalty to America. President Woodrow Wilson himself regarded “hyphenated Americans” with suspicion, saying "Any man who carries a hyphen about with him carries a dagger that he is ready to plunge into the vitals of this Republic whenever he gets ready." But who says that one can’t be an American ­and sympathetic to one’s homeland at the same time? We came to America to seek out the opportunity to succeed, the prospect of living a better life than we may have been able to live had we stayed in our home country. Furthermore, if we prejudice against “hyphenated Americans,” then aren’t we basically prejudicing against our founding fathers and all first generation Americans who came here and started the nation in the first place? Who then, is a true American?

But perhaps there is no need for one to possess a certain gene or be born in the USA in order to be an American. The fact remains that we are a nation of immigrants; one of many cultures, languages, races, and ethnicities (as previously stated). Our diversity and the risk we took in coming here to the USA sets us apart from all others, whether or not we share the same DNA strand or were born here.

American DNA

From Cheez:

American DNA?

What makes an American? If we compare crazy teenagers to wrinkled senior citizens, there must be something that brought us together in the first place. We’ve been viewed through the eyes of foreigners, as well as our own fellow Americans. Our own ancestors, whether a parent or great-great grandparent or even later, have had to make the same journey to find our just how promising the Land of Opportunity was.

The first two passages, written in the 1830s by a foreigner by the name of Crevecoeur, reflects his views on what America means. He believes that an American can leave behind all of their old customs, religions, and ways of living in order to start over. An American means being your own individual. I agree, because the people who left their countries didn’t have anyone to look up to, to set the regulations. They could move up in society, or go back down. It fuels the passion to be better and work hard. In addition, the second passage states that there are no separate races, and that you don’t need to follow all of your old customs.

Passage 3, which was written around 1915 by Teddy Roosevelt, states that any person living in America is an American. Whether Indian, Asian, Russian, etc., you should always regard yourself as an American. Any hyphenated American is a bad American. However, I believe that the hyphenated names just show how, although we are different in origin, we all share the American dream. It may fuel an understanding for others. We are all liked by the word American, and no race-related proper noun before that would make enough of a difference in how we regard each other.

Dr. John Gartner wrote Passage 4 in 2005. He believes that the Americans who left their own home countries demonstrated a psychological test. On a broad overall basis, Americans left their home countries because they wanted adventure, and took risks. I agree, because to have the courage to leave home and go on a voyage to an unknown land wouldn’t sound very appealing. They had to have had taken huge risks, and must have had similar personalities to fuel the need to continue their journey.

Lastly, in Passage 5, it is similar to Passage 4. Written in 2005 by Peter Whybrow, he sees similar demonstrations of courageous traits in Americans. He found that inhabitants in the U.S. are more likely to have a D47 gene. Our ancestors must have shared the same trait, which has been passed down for generations. They all were risk-takers, the courageous. It is because of them that we, America, are what we are now.
The word “American” means several things. We may share the same DNA. It also brings us under one title, so that we all have a similarity, no matter what race or physical appearance may tell other people

Being an American

From Toast:

What is an American? That is a question that doesn’t exactly have a right or wrong answer. The answer is more of an opinion, therefore there are many answers.

In the 1830s, a French immigrant, Crevecoeur, tried to answer that question. He described Americans as being many races, mixed into one new race. Crevecoeur also said that Americans are not attached to European customs and that they should love America more than their ancestors’ country.

In 1915, Teddy Roosevelt gave his own description of an American. He said that a true American is born in America or they aren’t truly Americans. To him there is no such thing as a hyphenated American like a Chinese-American or an African-American. To him there is only one category for an American; American.

In 2005, Dr. John Gartner said that Americans want adventures and success. Most immigrants who come to the United States, come because they want a better life and to take a risk at getting something better. They want to fulfill their dreams and to have something more for their lives and their children too.

Also in 2005, Peter Whybrow said that in most American immigrants, and decedents from American immigrants, you can find the D-47 allele. The d-47 allele affects you physiologically and makes someone more of a risk taker. Most Americans who have or had this gene take the risk to come here to America.

To me an American is one that has pride in their country and wants to live here in America. I disagree with Crevecoeur when he says an American must love America more than their ancestors’ country. I think you could love both countries the same but think America is a better place to live and have a family. An American should be able to keep some of their original customs. I also disagree with Roosevelt. I think someone can be categorized as Chinese-American or African-American and still be American.

I agree that in America; many races, mixed into one new race and that Americans are adventurous and want success. This mix makes Americas different and is why most people love America so much and want to be Americans. I also think that taking risks and being ambitious is a part of being American. That is why I think that most people found with the D-47 gene are Americans.

Americans have some special qualities, and this is what I think makes them an American

American DNA? Why not?

The authors of the first four excerpts attempt to take it upon
themselves to define what it means to be American. Among the parts
of being an American according to them are loyalty, bravery,
determination, and allegiance. The first author defines an American
as one who leaves his/her old life and ways for a new life in
America. Crevecoeur praises the ability of Americans to make their
labor pay off easily, but notes their self-interested nature. Teddy
Roosevelt stresses Americans to be of their own separate race and
nationality, criticizing "hyphenated Americans" who call themselves
Asian-American, African-American, etc. His interest here lies in
uniting the people in his country while at the same time reminding
them of their new homeland and trying to persuade them into
forgetting their old cultures and customs.

Dr. John Gartner
describes Americans as "hypomaniac," mentioning their bravery and
willingness to risk just about everything for new opportunities in a
land completely unknown to them and thus going along with the first
author’s argument.

Roosevelt, despite the great president he was, takes his argument
here a bit too far and onto an almost nationalist perspective,
encouraging the people to forget their old countries and move onto
the growing culture in America. Gartner, along with the first
author, marvels at the bravery of an American to do just that: leave
behind his or her own ways in order to find opportunity within a new,
unknown world. Crevecoeur, on the other hand, tends to hide a
negative opinion behind some positive points. He points out that
opportunities of success in America are so much better than in other
parts of the world, where being successful is often never dreamed
of. Crevecoeur does remind the reader of Americans’ self-interested
nature and ultimately, their selfishness.

The fifth excerpt brings Gartner’s wonders of the hypomaniac,
American mind into action, suggesting there be an "American gene."
As stated by Peter Whybrow, the author of this passage, a study shows
that a certain gene has been found in Americans more than people of
any other country. Whybrow, going along with the scientists’
theories, predicts that it is this gene that provides Americans the
brave, risk-taking spirit mentioned by Gartner. He argues that the
only reason that people would be brave (and possibly crazy) enough to
leave everything behind in their homeland to come to a new, unknown
land would be because of a shared gene, and his opinion is backed up
by a scientific study.

This brought an indignant student close to tears in our class,
showing the apparent absurdity of this argument. But plug in the
scientifically-proven statistics and evidence, the well-reasoned
opinion of Whybrow, and historical fact, and we have the astounding
possibility of an actual American gene. While further research may
be needed to convince the rest of us that this isn’t just some stupid
joke to make us think about ourselves, isn’t it perfectly possible
that all the people who risked their lives to simply immigrate here
in the early 1900s, and then keep fighting on to find a place in the
confusing society of the young nation had something driving them? A
farmer who leaves behind his family, friends, and tradition to come
to America and try to find success with a plant that has less than a
50% chance of even growing has something in common with a businessman
who leaves the simple economy and environment of his country to
compete against thousands of more businessmen in America, where he
has a small sliver of a chance to make some good money. Contrast the
farmer to the farmer next door who would prefer to continue his
simple life in his own country rather than risk entering the busy,
hectic world of America.

And it doesn’t have to stop there; the
astronauts, explorers, and oceanographers of today are still looking
for a new place of their own, navigating their way through the last
known frontiers. All these people willing to risk everything for
something better could just as easily have a common gene as they
could not have it at all. Instead of asking ourselves "No way… he
can’t be serious," we can be asking ourselves "Well, why not?"

American DNA? Yeah, right.

From slater:

An American. A nationality known around the world, occupying a relatively large chunk of North America.
Not that that’s ever a good-enough definition. Oh, no. Because the problem, most people have different definitions, person to person, state to state, generation to generation.
But that doesn’t mean I have to agree with them.
Take Crevecoeur, for example. As a Frenchmen, he came to America, studied the qualities of the people who lived here (back in the 1830s), and came to a simple conclusion: An American is an American. Simple as that. He is like no other race, nor the descendant of one. He leaves behind all that he had to start over, by American means. All of these people then “melt” together to form a new, completely original nation. It is to be more respected than his ancestor’s and can only depend on himself to prosper.
Personally, I think it’s a bunch of baloney. I mean, really. It is unheard of that the minute an immigrant arrives into America, they drop all that they knew, loved, and respected to take on American customs. And it is because this does not happen, that cultures do not “melt” into each other and become one big soup. Rather, they look for people of their own kind, hence living still by nationality, making the Italian Brooklyn, and the Russian Brooklyn, and so on.
People do not “melt”, rather they “mix”. But by no means do they forget all that they knew to take on something new.
It is in that sense that our dear Teddy Roosevelt is also wrong. In 1915, he made it clear when he said that there are no such thing as a “hyphenated American”, meaning you cannot be African-American, or Irish-American. You must be simply American or nothing at all. After all, who need diversity when you can simply have this nation based on…well…diversity? Because, like he said, these kinds of people are definitely going to bring our country down.
Now, I understand that he was our president. But this isn’t simply patriotism anymore. It’s bordering on the edge of ├╝ber-nationalism, and in a slightly frightening way. Why must people be strictly Americans? Why can they not be both, their ancestor’s culture and America’s? A boy is not made to chose between basketball and baseball when asked what sport he plays, so why the same way with culture?
A little less than a century later in 2005, Dr. John Gartner stated his opinion on the matter—that an American is a risk-taker for leaving his native land to start over in uncertainty of succeeding or failing. Americans all share that one trait—that there was something they found in America appealing enough to leave all they had to begin a new life here. I agree with this guy a little. True, it takes a lot of courage to pack up and leave to not know what will happen, but that doesn’t simply apply to Americans then, but rather any immigrant.
Unless, of course, the situation in their native country is so bad that they have no other choice than to pack up and leave. In which case, they’re not necessarily taking a risk—it may be safer to leave than to stay. Nor does this apply to those who really did not have a choice of coming—children or babies.
Last, there’s Peter Whybrow, who in 2007 explained about the D4-7—or the risk-taking—gene. He pointed out that there are more people in America with this gene than in other countries. He states that people with this gene are more likely to come to America than people without it, and people who are both first-generation Americans as well as those who have been here for ages have this “American gene”. This man I disagree with on just about everything. The DNA sequence is so long that even if it is possible to pinpoint one gene commonly found in one mass of people, it cannot necessarily be applied to just one characteristic. It could mean everything, and even numerous tests and experiments cannot prove this.
More importantly, I do not see how it is possible for this one gene to predict the course of events to come. One biological factor can’t be the sole reason behind a person leaving their country and coming to America. Of course, I could be wrong, and this is simply a risk-taking gene. But then it is not responsible for people coming to America because there must be people all around the world with this gene.

I do not agree with any of these men one hundred percent. It is ridiculous because each one of them are making generalizations and grouping people simply by where they live. Not every person in America is greedy into making money. Not every person in America is a risk-taker.
So then what do I consider to be an American? Any person who believes they are an American.

And that’s up to them to decide.

Who Am I as an American?

From havesomecookies:

Up until now, I have never pondered about the definition of an American. How do I know that I am a true American? Are my parents true Americans? The truth is, I do not know. It is a topic that is not solid and block-like; it can be debated for eternity. I’ve always considered the American race to be a mixture of diverse cultures that were led over by the theory of “sidewalks made of gold” and “the land of opportunity”. But after discussing the ideas of several different professors and scientists about the making of an American, I have arrived at the conclusion that if their explanations were official, I might be residing in Canada right now.

In the first passage my class perused, written by French writer Crevecoeur, he stated that an American has a piece of courageous hidden somewhere within. An American has the fearlessness to arrive at an entirely new continent that has not even been fully settled yet and adjust to a new life, a new government, a new rank. I agree that those particular immigrants might possess that trait, but what about their descendants? I’m certain that a fraction of American is compiled of children of immigrants. We do not gain every single personality trait that our parents had; if we did, that would be frightening.

Passage #2 states that an American is also part of a new race that is composed of many dissimilar races. Americans must love this new country even more than their old country from which they departed. Pride and patriotism are the main formations for a nation that will greatly impact the world. This country gives immigrants the chance to start over, to move up a space or two in the social pyramid.

Written by Teddy Roosevelt in 1915, Passage #3 orders all American’s to address themselves as one and only one term: An American. None of that “Chinese-American” or “African-American.” Why do we necessitate those terms? The minute you march over the border, it’s crossed out with an overriding, black X. You are now part of a concrete nation. But Teddy forgets that the America is supposed to be made up of different cultures, working to move in the same direction: success. Enough was left behind when immigrants came over from their home countries; they should be allowed to thrive in a new nation while still celebrating a lifelong tradition.

Passage #4, written by John Gartner in 2005, is similar to Crevecoeur’s theory. And I still disagree. If I was the shyest human being on this planet, but I suddenly changed and became confident over time from numerous factors, how is that a trait? Some were even brought over without a choice. They were babies and their parents made the tough decision. The End. It’s not something they chose. It’s something they had to go along with.

The last passage, Passage #5, written by Psychiatrist Whybrow, claims that there is a special gene floating around that is included in only American DNA. I find this very hard to deem veritable. There has to be some other person in the world that did not immigrate to America that has this gene. Out of 6.7 billion people on this Earth, there has to be.

Onward to Canada!

What is an Amrerican?

From breathe:

Many a time in our lives we come across questions that actually compel us to think. (Yes, gasp, /think/. As in the 'racking your brain and whatnot' kind of think.) One such question may be as follows: What, precisely, is an American?

Have you yet been seized by confusion? No? Then let us plow on.

Many people appear to have distinct opinions on just what an American isyou may have your happy-go-lucky 'they're-awesome!' person on one side of the spectrum, and another person who possesses a starkly contrasting opinion on the opposite end. But recall that perspective is relative; thus, one cannot quite conclude where someone really sits on the spectrum. Nonetheless, I digress. Let us move along.

Enter Crevecouera Frenchman, oui? Il est franais. According to this man, Americans are all about liberty. In other words, summarily: FREEDOM. And a great load of it to boot. His impression of an American is that they are typically those who shed their European heritage and embrace new waysor, if an immigrant, /become/ Americans. Furthermore, this Frenchman felt that Americans acted in self-interest alone, that they were and are self-seeking anddare I say it?/selfish/.

Yet another person, specifically President Roosevelt, mentioned that an American was well, an American. There were no such things as 'hyphenated Americans,' such as African-Americans, Asian-Americans, etc. And, certainly, there was no room for them in America, as he put it.

And yet another, namely one Dr. John Garter, stated that America is a nation of immigrants, which has resulted in an extremely skewed and 'limited' population, so to speak. His idea is that the more optimistic and impulsive one is, the more likely he or she is an immigrant, and, consequently, possibly an American. In his words, those who come to America are 'hypomanic.' Certain personality quirks draw them to the land of America.

Lastly, we have psychiatrist Peter Whybrow, whose theory on this is that there is merely a prevalence of the D4-7 allele, otherwise known as the (in)famous risk-taking gene. Supposedly, those who came here to America possess said (in)famous risk-taking gene, which gave them the optimism and courage to move to a foreign land and establish an almost entirely new life. So, now it's in our genes, hmm?

I am, quite appropriately, floored by the possibilities.

Personally, I have never quite paused to think, let alone ponder deeply, "What is an American?" With this subject matter, the answer isn't quite cut-out and dry anymore, nor is there merely /one/ answer in the first place. There are myriad possibilities, to be sure. It's just a matter of finding them within one's mind.

Speaking of Americanism, well. My personal opinion. To be perfectly and utterly honest, I am not quite sure. Yes, I do agree with some points brought up by the aforementioned individuals. Back to Crevecouer, then. Nay, I do not entirely agree with one of his ideasfor one, I don't quite appreciate the prospect of being called a self-seeking, selfish person (idiot)but he does make a valid point: Americans are indeed all about freedom. Or, at least, they seem so. Recall, if you will, the American Revolution. Did the former colonists not fight for their freedom, for independence from Great Britain. Ah. Well. There you have it.

As for Mr. Roosevelt's words: rubbish. (And I do apologize if I happen to offend anyone.) Why can't one be proud of his or her ancestry? So what if he or she (or ancestors, at that) hail from a foreign country? What's so bad about being a 'hypenated-American'? Technically, they /are/ still Americansafter all, the word coming before American is being used as an adjective, which, if you aren't aware, describes a noun. At heart, 'hyphenated-Americans' are still Americans. There is nothing wrong with being proud of one's lineage.

Dr. Garter's idea, on the other hand, proves quite interesting. Hypomanic, eh? Well. I'm not sure whether I should be flattered or insulted. (Although, accordingly, I am feeling a mixture of both simply /because/ I don't know.) There is validity to his statement. It does take a great deal of courage and bravery to dare venturing overseas to America, anyway; a certain degree of impulsiveness is automatically called for. Optimism as well. (Really, you think one'd be able to survive being a total and utter pessimist, think again, now.) The prospect of becoming rich is quite motivating, but the fear of the unknown can often nullify it. Thus, yes, Americans that have immigrated in do need some fearlessness, at the very least.

Finally, as for Mr. Whybrow, that there could potentially be an allele in one's DNA that makes risk-taking obligatory (because, well, it's the risk-taking gene for a reason) is a strange idea, but I suppose it has grounds. I'm not one for delving into the tiniest details, so I'm not aware of any such gene, though I suppose it is possible that one could exist.

Nevertheless, nay, I still am not quite sure what exactly an American is. Now, do /you/? Well?

America = Patriotism?

From Q:

In simple terms, Americans are people that live in the United States of America. The question is, however, what defines an American. In other words, what separates the American mentality from that of the Europeans, or the Asians, or even the Africans. Is an American an extreme patriot? Is an American an immigrant with just a dream? Are we arrogant? Are we risk takers? Gamblers? Fat, spoiled, and rich?

The only fact that lies in this question is that since our independence, people around the globe have wanted to come here. They have associated our country with a way out of their problems and as a true land of opportunity. But why have we been able to establish such a fluid social ladder like not other country? Sure, other countries offer the same freedoms as us. Anyone from a third world nation would be content with a minimum wage job in France, or Spain, or even England. Why the USA? There are other capitalistic nations on Earth.

Anyway, these immigrants, the ones that chose America, what did they come here to accomplish? What kind of people are they? Are they Americans too? If they are not Americans, than what must they do to become Americans? This is the first question that I can answer to the best of my ability. In 1915, Teddy Roosevelt claimed that an Immigrant must pass a citizenship test and love America. I would have to agree with him. Until one can be a citizen and commit to being a member of this nation, they are not an American. If a legal immigrant does not wish to become a citizen, they still hold the affairs of their homeland over those of their new home. I do not consider them American. I am not saying that they must abandon their culture. They must always retain their heritage and acknowledge their origin, but they must be aware that they reside in America and should value the affairs of the US over those of their homeland. This also applies to illegal immigrants. They cannot take a citizenship test, so I consider their test their level of patriotism.

Think about it, the US started as a nation of Immigrants. The colonists moved to the Americas searching for a new life and new riches. Ever since then, people with a dream have continued to flock to America. In 2005, Dr. John Gartner claimed that America is a nation of immigrants, immigrants who seek a new life. I would agree with him.

The question that that rises is do people have to relinquish their old ways and customs to become Americans? I have previously touched upon this subject before. Crevecoeur would disagree with me. As an immigrant himself, his belief was that people had to give up their ancient ways and customs to become American. His belief is sort of like a chemical reaction. The substances mixed form a new substance, but each original substance loses its individual properties. My theory more accurately depicts a mechanical bond in which the two substances are forced together20to form a new substance, but each original substance retains its original properties. (For more info look up immiscible polymers) As long as the immigrants are loyal to the USA, they are American enough for me.

Americans don’t have to be immigrants. An American is a patriot regardless if the person retains their culture. To be an American in my eyes, a person just has to love America.


From Evil McNuggets:

There are many different opinions on what makes an American. Is it in your DNA, or do you become an American by giving up your past?

Crevecoeu, a Frenchman who traveled to America, wrote in the 1830’s that to become an American, you must be embraced by freedom. You have to love America more then the nation you previously presided in, and in this great country, the reward of your work is progress, and your labor is self interest. In America, individuals of all nations are melted together into great, new race. Personally, I agree with everything Crevecoeu has mentioned, except for one small part. You should definitely be able to love your previous country just as much as your new one, because that is your history, and if you completely give it up, you will not be able to share it with the next generations.

Teddy Roosevelt disagreed with Crevecoeu. In 1915, he stated that no one should be able to be an American unless they were born here, or passed a citizenship test. He believed that there was no room for anyone who did not fit his criteria in our country. He also said that there is no possible way you can be an American without giving up your old nation’s customs completely. Today, it is true that you must take a citizenship test or be born here to become (officially) an American. However, many people who are Americans today still celebrate traditions of their previous nation’s customs.

Dr. John Gartner has yet another opinion. He said, in 2005, that America is filled with what he calls “hypomanics”. He says that hypomanics are impulsive, risk-taking, high energy immigrants. His opinion is that America is one giant psychological test for these “hypomanics” to project their dreams.

Dr. Peter Whybrow has a similar opinion to Dr. Gartner’s. In 2005 he made his opinion clear. He says that the majority of Americans, born here or not, have a higher prevalence of the risk-taking gene. He said inhabitants are more likely to be risk-taking. This uniquely American gene (D-47) has been found in a majority of people in the U.S.A. Because of this, Americans are more likely to be risk-taking, impulsive, and posses the D-47 gene. This could explain Dr. John Gartner’s theory about the characteristics of hypomanics.


From bluemoose:

The first passage was referring to the ability of immigrants to completely start over in a new place. Immigrants have to forget everything they've been taught, and learn a different culture. They have to adapt to a foreign way of life, and figure out what is acceptable or unacceptable. I admire people who are willing to relearn everything for a chance at a better life for themselves and their families. I would probably never have that courage, and I look up to the people who do.

Passage two says Americans enjoy freedoms that are sometimes unavailable in other countries. Americans also work with what they enjoy, and are sometimes selfish, ensuring their success. This passage gives me a more negative view, although being selfish can be good. It ensures your survival and can get you much farther than being generous usually does.

In the next passage, the speaker is stating true Americans shouldn't consider themselves a mix of American and the country of their birth. He believes that once you arrive in America and gain citizenship, your full loyalty should be directed to America. Once your arrive in America, you're supposed to give up all loyalty to the country you left; it shouldn't be spilt between both countries. I agree to a certain extent. Once you arrive here, you're giving up on your country. If you immigrate here, it's because you believe America has more to offer than wherever you were before. In return for the opportunities, you should feel some loyalty for America. However, I also believe it is important to keep parts of your culture with you. Your culture sets you apart from everyone else, and learning from each others' cultures can teach a lot of respect and tolerance.

Passage four is arguing most Americans are risk-takers, or hypo-manic. Immigrants are the ones more likely to take chances, risking everything for the possible gain. I agree that immigrants are more daring than the people who stay behind. However, not all Americans possess this quality; some children who are cautious may be too young to decide for themselves, and others may not inherit the quality from their parents.

The last passage is supporting the idea of "American DNA." Some people believe it's what distinguishes Americans from other cultures. The gene, a risk-taking gene, is thought to be the reason immigrants immigrate. The majority of Americans possess this gene, immigrants and children of immigrants. I think the gene causing risk-taking contributes to the reasons of immigrants, but isn't the only deciding factor. Many other events can contribute as well.

American DNA?

From Curly:

American DNA?

Passage #1

In this passage, Crevecouer states the American man is a ‘new man’. “He is neither European nor the descendant of Europeans.” Crevecouer thinks of Americans as a totally new and unique race of humans. Americans are like a new element that has just been added to the periodic table; unique in their own way, but belonging in a certain place in order to complete the pattern.
I believe, same as Crevecouer, that the moment a man steps onto the American shore, he becomes a new man. His past clings to him like a child to its mother, and his future calls for him in a soft, silky, irresistible voice that the man can do nothing but obey. His fist step forward changes him- he transforms into an independent man, a stronger man, a man willing to risk everything to achieve success; he transforms into an American.

Passage #2

A man becomes American by ‘being received in the lap of freedom.’ This man must love America ‘more than the place they or their forefathers came from.’ A man who loves America and is proud of America is a true American.
To Crevecouer, American people are selfish- they work for themselves to create a profit for themselves so that they can do well and succeed in life. This is the very reason why Americans are very successful people.
Though all Americans are different, I believe that we all share a common love for our country, a love for our heritage, a love for our own wellbeing, and pride in our nation. I believe that true Americans, past, present and future, share the same inner drive to succeed and the same genuine love of their country.

Passage # 3

In this passage, Teddy Roosevelt strongly believes that ‘hyphenated’ Americans do NOT belong in America. They would cause the ruin of the country. He believes that once people come to America and call themselves American, they should participate in the American culture and forget their past ways. An American is someone who claims he is American. Once he claims he is American, he must be American through and through.
I strongly believe that America is built up on all the different religions, cultures, and ethnicities of other countries and peoples. Our country is a network of diverse cultures all intertwining to form one distinct culture. This culture is what makes America the great and powerful nation that it is. American culture depends on the ideas and religions of all those who came here and brought their country with them. Our nation cannot ignore or abolish the ways of the world.
I agree with Roosevelt in the sense that once someone is a citizen of this country, they should call themselves American. By being a ‘hyphenated’ American, a man shows that he is not fully and completely loyal to America; rather he is still loyal to his home country. Not that anyone should forget their ‘mother’ country, but it takes pride away from America by telling the world you are not just American, but Spanish-American, or French-American. People should be proud to be American. They should not be ashamed. Their only shame is to be ashamed.

Passage #4

Although the theory seems a little far fetched, I totally believe John Gartner’s theory of hypomanics. Gartner believes in that people who have immigrated to America brought a ‘personality quirk’ with them. People with this quirk are willing to take risks, even if the price is never being able to see their family or their home again. These people have a rock-solid gut and an overflowing, self-replenishing source of energy. Over the years, this personality trait has spread throughout the nation, giving America its own ‘breed’ of humans.
Gartner’s theory states that all immigrants have this personality quirk. I find this theory both plausible and unbelievable at the same time. The theory would defiantly explain the open-minded, non-judgmental appearance of America. It also explains why the U.S.A. was the first country to land a man on the moon. Again, it shows why this nation was able to successfully climb out of the crater it fell into during the Great Depression. What the theory doesn’t fully explain is why this quirk is so prominent in Americans. I believe this theory. I can say I agree that Americans have their own special personality quirk- our nation is totally one of a kind.

Passage #5

Similar to John Gartner’s theory, Peter C. Whybrow believes that Americans are defined by their DNA- apparently the majority of us have the D4-7 allele in our genes. Studies have shown and proven the fact that there is a high prevalence of the D4-7 allele in Americans. This gene is ‘the risk taking gene’. Same as mentioned previously, people in America have a personality quirk which, we can assume, is caused by this gene.
Other than the sad fact that Americans’ jean sizes tend to be larger than those of people from other parts of the world and the fact that our lives literally depend on motor vehicles, it is obvious that Americans are physically and mentally different than people from other parts of the world. Most Americans tend to look at the world with an optimistic and tolerant eye that tends to distort our vision so we see things from a new and unexplored vantage point. This view on life gives us the will to take big risks and try to succeed with anything and everything.
I agree with Whybrow’s theory of American DNA. America is a country of success, hard work, and innovation. Many Americans might not seem like the adequate adventurers, but we certainly do like to take big risks. Why? Blame our genes.

Overall, I believe that Americans are defined by their pride and love of this country and, yes, their genes. The American personality in itself is a myriad of cryptic thoughts and actions. The American person is an adventurous, strong-minded, inquisitive, risk-taking leader. Though some Americans do not show this particular personality, I believe it’s hidden somewhere inside all of us. That is what makes Americans American.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What is An American?

From Clappity-Clap:
Truly, I have never actually asked myself “what is an American?” before today. It’s not a question that one decides to ponder on in the middle of work, or school. I knew that an American was, at least in simple forms, someone I lived with. Yet now, life is much more complicated. Life isn’t ABC, anymore. Everything just has a second meaning now. And with second-meanings, come debates.

Various people have debated on the subject of an ‘American’, including famous figures, including ‘Teddy Roosevelt’. puts it as “of or pertaining to the United States of America”, which I believe to be too broad. We must dive deeper if we are to solve this mystery.

First off, a Frenchman, by the name of Crevicouer, upon arriving in America in the 1830s, said that an American is someone who has left behind all remnants of a tie to Europe government, lifestyles, and people, and that we have become freedom-loving countrymen to our country, the United States of America.

I have to agree with some points in his argument, but where would we be without our origins from Europe, and what would happen if we actually had gotten absolutely no ideas from past governments.

Dr. John Gartner said in 2005, however, that America is an Immigration headquarters, and that Americans are immigrants since the beginning until now. He mentions that America is the land of opportunity, and that that is why ‘we’ came here; for a chance at a new life.

I agree that America was basically made up of immigrants during the time of the colonies.

Theodore Roosevelt was one of the most well known presidents, sitting alongside Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and the Bush duo. He ‘created’ the Teddy bear and was president for two full terms, unlike the one before him, McKinley who was assassinated in 1901. He was the youngest president ever before then, and he had something to say about what an American really was. He said that an American is an American. There is no Japanese-American, no Chinese-American, no French-American, etc. If you were born here, and/or you are a citizen, you are an American, no matter our background.

This was a pretty bold statement, considering world War I was already being played out in the battlefield. This was probably a speech to unify the country to fight as one army against their adversaries. I agree with the fact that an American is an American, no matter his families’ past, and I think that this is the greatest truth a man can say about America. Just like Horton said in the book (and the movie) “A person’s a person.” I couldn’t agree more.

Until now, you have heard the opinions of others. Before we get to my point-of-view, there is one fact that overshadows the rest. Specialists say there is an American gene. Also called D4-7, this gene makes you want adventure more, and makes you take more risks. If you are a risky, bold man living in America, you probably have the D4-7 gene. Scientists observed that there is no population bigger with the D4-7 gene but here, in the U.S.A. I found this extremely interesting, as you probably do now. I have to disagree with the fact that an American has this gene, because what Peter Whybrow is saying is that, to be an American, you need that gene, money enough to get here, and a chance to do so. This limits the choice.

Finally, it’s time to express my opinion on the matter. Honestly, defining an American on anything but discriminates other people who deserve the title. I believe that an American is someone who was born here, gained citizenship, or has proven him or herself to be ‘worthy’ of the title in other means. That is my opinion, not a fact, or discrimination. It is my opinion. Perhaps one day, the government (the same one that has created the Iraq war, and aided in the Economy crisis) might find it suitable to give us ma definition of an American. Until, then…


Wednesday, December 17, 2008


By K57:

What does it take to be an American?

The preceding inquiry is of an extremely controversial topic, one that would cause a clashing of different opinions when asked. Some would say it takes leaving one’s beloved home. This would cause a change in many of the things one may be used to. Government. Rank. Culture. Language. Standards. Others would say that, not only do immigrants leave their homelands, they also leave their loyalty to that country to join another. These people would say that loyal immigrants are hyphenated Americans and that they should not continue to show loyalty to their mother country. After further evaluation and analyzing, some even suggest that there is an American gene that distinguishes Americans from non-Americans.

Could this be true? Could there really be this “American gene”?

When first encountering this question, my immediate response was: “I disagree, this is impossible, this makes no sense.” However, as I’ve taken this subject more and more into consideration, I’ve realized that this could be true after all. Research shows that this gene is not present among people in other countries. Maybe there is a gene that makes us risk-takers, optimists, and people who like change. Maybe that is what draws all of us who contain this gene together, attracting us like a magnet, into creating an entirely new nation. Perhaps, this is what it takes to be an American, risking everything you’ve ever had to start anew, a whole new life with a whole new perspective.

What is an American?

From Egg:
What makes an American? A question we addressed today in class. We read several excerpts from multiple passages; discussed many theories. So, what makes an American?

After reading all the opinions from other writers, it’s still hard to come to a conclusion. According to the passages we have read, there are many factors that make an American an American. In the 1830’s, aspiring individual Crevecoeur speaks on America, from the perspective of one who wants their own fair chanced opportunity. He explains Americans as people who leave behind all past prejudices and manners, and take in new ones in their new life. He also speaks that all races are mixed into one new race, per say, and love America more than their ancestors’ country.

As told by President Roosevelt, Americans are known just as Americans, and should be proud of that. There’s no such thing as a hyphenated American, such as a Chinese-American or an African-American, but only one category for all; American.

For those of other countries, according to Dr. John Gartner, America is the land of opportunity. All immigrants come to America for their chance to become successful and have a great life. Americans can also be explained in a more technical way, by Dr. Whybrow. Apparently, people all over the world were born with this specific gene that tends to make people more risk-taking. Most the population of America has this gene, because of the risk-taking quality. This is because those ambitious people took the risk to come to America, and then passing it on to their children.
This is what makes you an American. Well, according to these people. You can form your own opinion about what an American is. My opinion? Well, as an American, I have a good idea of what an American is.

An American is one who takes pride in their country; one who takes in all the new prejudices and manners and such, from their new life. Unlike Crevecoeur, though, I believe that an American may keep some qualities of their original, or ancestors’ culture. You can take pride in America, as well as your origin country. I disagree with President Roosevelt’s idea of no hyphenated Americans, for the same reason. There can be Chinese-Americans, African-Americans, Indian-Americans, etc. because the keyword of that is Americans.

You may part of another country, but you will always be a part of America; be American. I agree with the thought that all these mixed races create one new race to make you love this country more. That’s one of the great things about America, the diversity of it.

An American is risk-taking; due to the gene, which has been proven. Americans have this ambitious quality and trait that tends to show mostly in Americans. Americans have certain special qualities and things about them, and I believe that this is what makes them American; a true American.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Poem on the Boston Tea Party

Silence Dogood

In port cities we sons had gathered,
Several ship captains we threatened and battered,
Some colonists still said they would pay
And merchants especially refused to obey.

In other colonies they had success,
No tea was unpacked, to their happiness,
But here in Boston the Governor refused,
The ships could not sail back by the ocean so blue.

As savages, we dressed at night,
No one would recognize us by sight,
342 packages of tea we threw,
and across the midnight sky they flew

We were defending our pride,
So we could show confidence with every stride
Some still tried to steal
So they could have tea with their meal

We managed to capture some
So we beat them along their way home
We tried to ruin all the tea
However, some managed to steal and flee

Into the sea the tea leaves landed,
And thus we had parted after banding:
We swept up the floors,
And then, opened our house doors.

At home we slept,
Our secret well-kept,
The British were not told,
We were not betrayed or sold.