American Identity Essay: Melting Pot or Salad Bowl


American Identity EssayAs The United States grows more and more diverse, a simple question is starting to appear in my mind – what does it mean to be an American today? This American Identity essay is a little research on who is the modern American citizen and how the United States became a large box of chocolate, containing every existing flavor in the world. If you’re looking for custom writing services provided by professionals, look no more!

Native Americans

As Wikipedia describes, Native Americans are people, whose ancestors were indigenous to the lands that are located in the nation’s modern boundaries.

Since the end of 15th century, the Americans have faced with an extensive amount of emigrants from Europe that led to a lot of changes and adaptations between the societies. The indigenous Americans were composed of tribes and groups and their lands were used by the entire tribes, whereas Europeans had developed individual property rights. The differences in the land using were not the biggest problem. Cultural dissimilarities, as well as the constantly changing alliances during war, created political tension, violence on an ethnic base and social disintegration.

After declaring the United States of America, President George Washington created a policy of assimilation as United States citizen, for which Native Americans needed to be “civilized”. Due to the expansion of European-American population after the American Revolution and an increasing pressure on the Native American’s lands, the tension had started to rise that resulted in the Indian Removal Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1830. According to this act, the government was authorized to move Native Americans from their homelands to lands that were located west of the Mississippi River, thus making more space for European – Americans. That caused in the extermination of many tribes and a bloody spot on American history.

Racial Groups

The census of 2000 in the United States showed that people are established of being of more than one race. Since 1960th, people have started to claim that they have Native American ancestry and by the time of the census in 2000, the number of them greatly increased. In accordance with the census, America was divided into these racial groups:

  1. White Americans, European Americans, Middle Western Americans. This group has origins of the original people who immigrated from Europe, Middle East or North Africa.
  2. African Americans. Originated from people who came from sub-Saharan Africa.
  3. Native Americans or Alaska Natives. People originated from North, Central and South America.
  4. Native Hawaiians or other Islanders. People who have origins from comers of Polynesia, Melanesia, or Micronesia.
  5. Middle Eastern Americans. Population coming from Middle East, North Africa and the Arab countries.
  6. Some other race. People, who reported themselves in this category, are Hispanic Mestizos. They are considered to be of mixed races. Hispanic and Latino Americans originate from Andorra, Latin America, Spain and Portugal, most of these countries are racially diverse, as well as the United States. Therefore, there is no separate group for Hispanic and Latino Americans because they don’t comprise a race or national group.
  7. Two or more races. This category represents people with mixed races, also known as multicultural.

As of April 30, 2016, the United States has a total resident population of 323, 730, 000, making it the third most populous country in the world. The majority of people, leaving in the USA, are whites, including people reported as having Irish, German, Italian, Lebanese, Arab or Polish origins.

Crisis of American identity

It is said that the spread of multiculturalism has weakened the American’s national identity. The Bradley Project, established by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in 2008, took a national survey that showed the bifurcation of American society and the degrading of the national heritage and ideas. The 84% of the respondents still think that America has a strong and unique identity, which is based mostly on a way of life, in lieu of ethnicity. Devotion to freedom is considered to be the definition of American national identity.

But shocking 63% of the respondents think that American identity is becoming weaker. People are concerned that Americans became so divided that they can no longer have a joint, general identity. The respondents below 35 years old even claimed that there is no national identity at all.

The Bradley Project was created to help in initiating a conversation about identity crises in America, to repair the balance that can unite the diverse nation, with all its cultural characteristics and unique features with its focuses on the similarities and different ways to find a common ground, but not a uniform faced country. The Bradley Project suggested that children should be taught history in schools in order to learn about the past, as well as immigrants should be taught American values and educated in the principles of American democracy.


With the immigration crises and no clear idea of what the future of the nation would look like, I think, Americans should consider the questions, like who they are and what kind of nation they want to be. The immigrants should be respectful and willing to contribute to the nation that welcomed them in its lands. On the other hand, Americans should help them to adapt to the new society and help them not to become criminals, who break the laws, but the devoted members, who would want to make the country better and stronger.

American Identity has a vast ethnical background, creating a bright and diverse society of people who perfectly resonate with the line from Walt Whitman’s famous poem “Song of Myself”: “I’m large, I contain multitudes”.

In my opinion, perhaps, we should all reconsider the way we see race and identity and stop putting people in categories. Let’s just come back to those times where we were all just humans, not French, German, English or American, but simple human beings.

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