Posted: May 24th, 2022

American Literature Reflection Term Paper

American Literature
What is an American?
An American can be defined as a citizen living in the United States; it can be a person born or who lives in America legally. Many citizens believe being an American means sharing a set of ideas and values. To be considered an American, an individual does not have to be of a particular ethnicity, religious, or linguistic background. All one has to do is commit himself to political ideology in the country, emphasizing abstract ideals of republicanism and equality. This universal ideology means the character of the American nationality was open to anyone willing to become an American.
In his pamphlet Common Sense, Thomas Paine wrote for the average Americans and influenced the beginning of the Revolutionary war. As the war was underway, he wrote pamphlets called The American Crisis, which gave many Americans the hope to keep fighting for their freedom from Britain. His ideas fueled the American Revolution by encouraging them to go to war to obtain their independence. The war proceedings were undecided because the Americans were not sure of their independence from England, and his pamphlet Common Sense helped to sway the public opinion to spark the revolution and communicate the idea of independence to Americans. He explains why the American government is necessary and to create an ideal government-run indirectly by-elections or directly by individuals. His critics of the English government of how the aristocracy and monarchy ruled without representing the people made Americans desire their own government rule (Paine, 1776). He highlights how the challenges the British monarchy has brought to America. His pamphlets lay out a proposal for the ideal American government, which consists first of congress and then the election of a president who will enforce the laws.

In her poem, On being brought from Africa to America, Phillis Wheatley insists that Christian teachings have influenced her to deny racism because all individuals are created in the image of God, and we are all equal. The speaker portrays being taken from her non-Christian country as an act of thoughtfulness and kindness. This encounter allowed her to memorize the concept of Christianity, something which was obscure to her, and influenced her to never look out for something else. Wheatley reminds individual Christians that African Americans, with their skin as dull as that of Cain’s scriptural figure, have gotten to recovery and salvation through Christianity (Wheatley, 1773).
Philip Freneau admired Thomas Paines works and wrote the poem On Mr. Paine’s Rights of Man, which highlights the main theme of Paine, the uselessness of monarchial forms of government (Freneau, 1929). Freneau highlights that civil rights are inconsistent with the monarchial royal plan and how men are ranked with beasts. The poem pays tribute to Paine for being a pioneer in human rights. The optimistic tone of the poem emphasizes how the exit from a monarchial government. He believes democratic ideals will be successful and urges for more action.
In conclusion, being an American means changing your beliefs from monarchical government systems and adopting and believing the new democratic ways. Some of the literature works done during the years of the American Revolution played a huge role in influencing the war and helping Americans achieve independence from England. Americans have come a long way and currently have the strongest government globally. To be an American does not rely on race, ethnicity, or religious beliefs but on believing the political ideologies in the country.

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Freneau, P. (1929). On Mr. Paines Rights of Man. reprinted in Harry Hayden.
Wheatley, P. (1773). On being brought from Africa to America. The Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature, 435. pp. 575
Paine, T. (1776). Common Sense: 1776. Information, Incorporated. pp. 441-479

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