America and I
Concequences Of Wartime Prohibition
In 1914, the United States of America entered World War I. During that time many resources that were made in America needed for the war were strictly dedicated to the troops more than consumers. During America’s involvement in World War I, Congress passed a “wartime prohibition” which kept farmers from selling grain and corn for the production of alcohol because it was needed for the war. In 1917, when the war was over and the soldiers came home, the “wartime prohibition” became a permanent ban. Congress created and added the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; it was ratified in 1919 and went into effect in 1920, thus started the Prohibition period in America.(Brief History of Prohibition, 1)
The impact on Prohibition in American’s lives were beneficial to the country as a whole during the time period and even after the time period was over and the 18th Amendment was repealed. Prohibition, unfortunately, was also very negative for the country during the years of its term and caused many issues for the country as a whole. When this first was ratified the drinking levels in the country did decrease from pre-Prohibition levels; as the years went on, they went back up and the status of the country and the people’s behaviors towards the movement were not good. The economy changed and suffered drastically. The last years of Prohibition was when organized crime really arose, people started to drink more, and a new generation of Americans who disregarded the law.
Prohibition was a thought way before the 18th Amendment was ratified. The thought of prohibition started back in the 1800’s; in 1893 the Anti-Saloon League was created. The Anti-Saloon League was formed in Ohio and main goal was to close down saloons, believing that shutting down places to drink and purchase alcohol will reduce people’s consumption. The creators and members of the Anti-Saloon League thought American society was declining due to amount of alcohol consumption that went on; they believed people were losing touch with their religious values.(Anti-Saloon League of America, 1) Why did we go through with Prohibition? The leaders of government were very alarmed by Americans’ drinking behavior, and were concerned that culture of drinking was getting too big for a developing world power. Prohibition leaders thought that once businesses were officially removed of liquor licenses and not allowed to sell alcohol, that churches and reform groups would finally have the opportunity to convince Americans to give up drinking.(Why Prohibition?, 1)
The economy during the Prohibition, initially effects were largely negative. Once Prohibition started economists expected sales in clothing and household good would skyrocket; Real estate landlords predicted renting to rise due to all the saloons closing down and the neighborhoods improving. Soft drinks and chewing gum companies also expected massive growth after 1920; even theaters excepted new crowds to come in and people to be more drawn to coming to them because Americans were looking for new ways to entertain themselves without alcohol. None of these things were the case.(Lerner, 1) Restaurants started to fail as they could no longer serve liquor at the establishment and did not make much profit because of the lack of alcohol. Breweries went out of business very quickly also simply because there was nothing for them to produce, sale and transport any longer. This led to thousands of jobs being lost and eliminated including, barrel makers, truckers, waiters, etc., there was no need for those jobs anymore. One of the biggest effects in the economy during this time was on the government tax revenues. Pre-Prohibition many states relied on taxes in liquor sales to fund budgets. For example, In New York, almost 75% of the state’s revenue was derived from liquor taxes; When Prohibition came into effect, that was all lost. Nationally, Prohibition cost the Federal Government a total of $11 billion in lost tax revenue, meanwhile the movement costing over $300 million to enforce on the country.(Lerner, 1)
During this time period there was a vast growing disrespect for the law. People who owned or worked at businesses that served alcohol either had to find a new job or decide to be a criminal in the governments eyes and continue to serve alcohol. Americans did not know how to handle such a dramatic change in a very short period of time. They did not want to be out of jobs and lose their families and homes. Most owners of saloons that still wanted to stay open and make money went underground, these are known as speakeasies. A speakeasy is a term that was created during the time of the Prohibition and they were underground bar areas where you could go to consume alcohol. Usually these speakeasies were underneath a current standing saloon; The saloon would stay open as normal but there would be no liquor served. A person could walk up to a worker and say a certain word or code that would let the worker know they would like to be directed to the bar, usually in the basement, attic, or upper/lower room of the establishment.(Speakeasies of the Prohibition Era, 1) Prohibition brought in the age of Jazz; within these speakeasies there would be jazz musicians playing there newly recognized sound, and women dancing for entertainment. This is one of the first times in American history where “regular” women were easily welcomed into these establishments. This period also opened a new look for women; the “Jazz Age” loosened up the morals. The “flapper” was created; the “flapper” was a woman with very short cut hair, which was not common during that time period, short skirts, powdered faces, bright red lips, bare arms and bare legs, who dared to smoke cigarettes and drink cocktails. Women who were “flappers” usually were considered the “regular” woman; wealthy women looked down on these “regular” women and called them rebellious for wanting to go out dressed how they dressed and “acted” they way they did. This “flapper” look made a huge impact on American culture during this time period.(Speakeasies of the Prohibition Era, 2) Once the Prohibition period set in for Americans, there were way more speakeasies created and organized crime was at an all time high. Organized crime, such as gangs and crime syndicates, was not created by the Prohibition era, they rose to power through the saloons, gambling houses, and brothels. Murders and robbery also rose tremendously at this time. (Sinclair, 221) These gangs and criminals smuggled and sold alcohol illegally all over the country. People who were losing their jobs due to Prohibition joined gangs so they could make money to support their family, even if it put them and their family in danger, American’s were desperate for jobs. The most famous gang is the Torrio gang of Chicago. John Torrio and Jim Colosimo created this gang in Chicago smuggling and selling liquor; combined they made fifty million dollars in just four years. The Chicago Tribune did a article on them which was discovered to be enough evidence to convict Torrio and two of his aides. Torrio handed over the empire to Al Capone.(Sinclair, 222) Many major gangs were established all over the country raising the crime rate tremendously. Prostitution also became big during that time with women.
Due to the rapid rise of organized crime and the disrespect for law, the courts, law enforcement, and jails were very overburdened and overcrowded. In 1923, the U.S. District Attorneys spent 44% of their time on Prohibition related cases. (Lerner, 1) The legal system was failing tremendously to keep up with the inmates. Many waited over a year to be brought to a trial. The judicial system came up with a “plea bargain” to clear hundreds of cases at once.
The goal of the Prohibition was to reduce drinking tremendously, if not, completely, in the country. Unfortunately after a while it did the complete opposite. Given the fact that Americans cannot go out and drink publicly, more people drank in their own homes instead, or when they went out to the speakeasies, it was to get drunk because the alcohol bottle that was purchased had to be finished before returning home that night. Studies have shown that the drinking levels had never went back down to pre-Prohibition levels even after the 18th Amendment was appealed. “Prohibition did not achieve its goals. Instead, it added to the problems it was intended to solve” (Thorton, 15).
The 18th Amendment ratified the Prohibition, which many people in Congress were in favor of, around 1932 are strongly thinking about repeal. Thoughts of repeal are due to the negativity, crime rate, law breaking, and the overflowing of jails that America developed during the time of Prohibition. The Democratic Party platform in the 1932 election included anti-Prohibition and Franklin Roosevelt ran for the Presidency as the Democratic candidate and promise repeal if elected.(The Eighteenth Amendment, 1) Franklin Roosevelt was elected President in 1932 and brings in Democratic views into the White House. His first order of business was repealing Prohibition. In December of 1933, the vote for repeal took place. The popular vote to repeal Prohibition was 74% in favor and 26% in opposition.(The Eighteenth Amendment, 1) In a three to one vote, Prohibition was repealed. The 18th Amendment was repealed by the 21st Amendment on December 5, 1933.
The Prohibition had a number of successes also, alcohol abuse decreased, cirrhosis of the liver went down 66% in men, and public drunkenness was reduced by half.(Prohibition: Not Repeatable, But Not a Failure, 1) The crime rate went down tremendously from how high it was during the Prohibition. Prohibition still has an impact on the present day. It is referred to as the “noble experiment” that was taken to reduce crime and social problems, which clearly turned out to be false. What should be learned from the Prohibition that is still important today is rather than completely taking away something from a country, just reduce the access to that product. Today what should be reduced is the easy access to alcohol and tobacco. Journalist Richard Cowan labeled the “Iron Law of Prohibition” as the more intense the law enforcement, the more potent the prohibited substance becomes.(Thornton, 2) The issue we struggle with today is the use of illicit drugs in this country, similar to the issue we had in 1920 with alcohol. But, we have learned from the Prohibition how drastic measures can go with people when they want something they used to enjoy and can now no longer have. Prohibition isn’t the answer, but regulation is, and that’s what we can learn from the events in 1920-1933.
Prohibition impacted many Americans, if not all, during that time period in some beneficial ways, but mostly negatively. The economic status of the time period and how the government lost $11 billion dollars alone from New York, the organized crime rate that went up tremendously, disrespect for the law from the people of the country, the overflow and overwhelming of the law enforcement and the jails. The courts not able to keep up with how many criminals they have in the jails for trials. Prohibition was a hard time for America and Americans, but the impact of this taught something and also changed history and culture in the U.S. It also made an impact on present day issues. The Prohibition has had a very big impact on the time during and present day America.
“I, too, Sing America” As A Patriotic Poem
This essay will take us through Langston Hughes’s I, too, Sing America through a historical and patriotic lens, looking at the patriotism shown in a black man that will speak for the whole black community.
Langston Hughes was a huge poet during the Harlem Renaissance and his poem “I, too, Sing America” reflects on the struggles that the black community was facing during this era. It tells the reader a story about social injustice and racial inequality. It tells the reader about this black man and how he is treated in the white man household. It is hard to see, but how Langston wrote this poem, it turns out to be quite Patriotic. Patriotism can be a very complex subject. It can be expressed by standing up for one’s country or even criticizing it. If you love your country then like anything else you love, you want the best for it. But sometimes what’s best for it isn’t always happening at that time. But simply Patriotism is Love for one’s country. But how does one truly love their country?
Hughes poem was published in 1945. That’s about ten years before the start of the Civil Rights Movement. Prejudice and Racism was flourishing during this time. Blacks had no rights as a man like the white man did. Hughes’ showed this in this poem and also that he envisioned a day in which blacks and whites will be like one and will be able to “eat at the same table together,” in which would allow blacks to be considered equal Americans just like any other. Hughes criticizes the government in order to try and get it to improve itself and be the best that America can be
Being black in the Pre-Civil Rights era, you sure were not being treated like an American citizen. African Americans were supposed to be basically invisible labor. They were not considered like human beings. They barely had rights, no justice at all. With this poem imagery, Hughes’s envisioned a greater America, a country that is all about freedom, rights and a greater opportunity.
The poem begins by saying that “I, too, sing America” (1). That he is the “darker brother” (2), and that he has to “eat in the kitchen when company comes” (3-4). But the speaker then says that “Tomorrow, ill be at the table when company comes” (8-10). The speaker then says that finally everyone will see just “how beautiful I am” (16). Then in the conclusion he again says that he “too is America” (18).
This can come to be said that, this man also sings of freedom. He desires what America can offer him. It can be said that this “darker brother” is indeed a black man. However, Langston Hughes didn’t use “one of the dark brothers”; he said “I am the darker brother” (2). This would mean that he is not only addressing himself, but the whole black community as well. This man was sent to the kitchen to eat when company was around, this would indicate to the reader that this is perhaps a black slave in a white household. The author might not have meant the actual kitchen but perhaps their rooms. During the years of slavery, whenever company would arrive, the slaves were actually sent away, so they were out of sight. Then the black man envisions a brighter tomorrow at which he is longer sent to the kitchen, at which noone would “dare say to me “eat in the kitchen”” (11-14). He sees that one day everyone will see how beautiful he is and that just because he is darker, that he is the same just like any other. Everyone will “be ashamed” (17) of how they once treated this man because he to is America. (18). He wants everyone to be able to stand up and sing of celebration and freedom, such as in Walt Whitman’s poem “I Hear America Singing. (Whitman) He to, is born a citizen of America and he wants to be like what the vice president of Public Policy said, “ a free person that can craft a future with hope, compassion, justice, equality and self- determination” which would allow him to “be a beacon to the world” (Britt, Gerald).
Arnold Rampersad states in his biography of Hughes that he very aware of the struggles for social justice, and he was determined to play a role in these struggles especially the dominant white culture (Rampersad).This poem truly recognizes the struggle that was occurring with the black community in the United States. He expresses his dream of which black citizens will be considered as equal and free Americans. Also Arnold says in his biography, that Hughes’ “envisioned a greater America, a more inclusive America. He claims with force that he is in fact part of America. A country that is all about equality and freedom” (Rampersad).
This poem explodes with patriotism. A want and desire for a better America. A place where we can be free, like as when Hughes envisions blacks and whites to come together and be able to “eat at the same table together”. A quote from the poem, “they will be ashamed” can better be said as “they” as in America will be ashamed because we will see that it is unfair and unethical to keep a group down just because of their color. From the start we have been a country that fights for freedom and for a better tomorrow. Mary Oliver once said in a interview that the goal of a poet is “to be representative and in some way, instructive and useful” (Oliver). It is clear that with this poem, Hughes was a poet Laureate during the Harlem Renaissance and he stood up for his dreams. For America to be a better and more equal place for ALL citizens. It becomes clear when you examine what Langston wrote in his poetry and the history that was occurring during that period of time, Hughes, wanted to give change through his art of poetry. æ
The High Cost of Higher Education in America and Its Impact on Equal Opportunity for All Americans
Field Report – Higher Education in America
Obtaining a higher education used to be an equal opportunity for all Americans, whether they were part of the working class or upper class. However, since the price of tuition began to increase drastically in the mid 1990’s, paying for college has become a national problem. According to Bill Zimmerman, “The blame is laid on sharp state budget cutbacks,” which caused an increase in tuition in public universities. Elite private schools then also raised their tuitions to maintain their prestige and reputation, while simultaneously increasing revenue (Zimmerman, How Did College Education Become So Ridiculously Expensive?). This pattern has set off an extreme escalation in the cost of college, which is having a huge impact on American students who are trying to gain a higher education. Many people around the world believe that education is a human right, however, in America, it is, instead, becoming a privilege for the wealthy.
At approximately this time last year I was spending $80 for each college application I sent in. Prior to this process, I also spent about $80 each time I had to take the SAT and ACT, tests that are required for acceptance to any of the aforementioned schools, coming to an overall cost of about $1,000. This might seem an unreasonable price to pay in order to simply apply to potential schools. But those fees are miniscule compared to the tuitions for American colleges, which range from $30,000 to $60,000 per year. Not to mention the fact that colleges and universities are raising the price for tuition and fees every year, which continues to be a problem for the current generation of young adults. Luckily, for me, my parents were willing to, and able to, pay for my advancement to higher education; however many Americans do not have this same luxury. There is no doubt that a plethora of students are unable to pay these large amounts of money, and are thus prevented from pursuing higher education. The extremely expensive cost of college in the United States hinders students’ opportunity to pursue a college education by creating future debt, thus lessening students’ ability to fulfill their utmost potential in obtaining the education to which they are entitled.
Often times, the expense of college is justified by the fact that there are options such as student loans and scholarships to aid the cost. It is respectable that many universities, as well as the government, recognize that some applicants aren’t as fortunate as others and, as a result, offer this aid. There are a variety of scholarships offered through high schools, organizations and websites, all of which are accessible if sought out. Some universities even offer full-ride merit scholarships for students with outstanding academic performance. By putting in effort to search for scholarships and achieve academic proficiency it is possible that the cost of college would not affect some students.
However, these options do not necessarily serve to make higher education an equal opportunity for all Americans. For instance, student loans have actually exacerbated the issue in that they have become the only way for students from lower income families to pay for their education, thus causing crippling debt for the future. In fact, in 2010, families with the bottom 25% incomes held 58% of the nation’s student loan debt, while those families in the 10thpercentile held only 3% of the national debt (Severns, 1). The increasing cost of college calls for the increasing need for student loans, which basically guarantees hundreds of thousands of dollars in future debt for the student, all because they are trying to pursue a higher education.
Unfortunately, not only has the price of college increased, but also the implied need for a college education has increased. Most decent, well-paying jobs require a college degree for employment, making it almost entirely necessary for students across the country to receive a higher education. American students spend an absurd amount of money on college and when they graduate, they aren’t at all guaranteed a job in this economy, making it even more difficult to pay off loans. This, in turn, affects millions of students by limiting their economic activity, which eventually becomes a larger national economic issue. As more and more students are tied down by student loan debt, it usually reduces their spending on other items such as cars, apartments, houses and other commodities after graduating college. In other words, their increase in debt limits their consumption, which would otherwise stimulate economic growth.
Another major concern that comes along with the rapid increase in the price of college is the fact that the cost prevents certain students from going to colleges whose academic level correlates with the student’s intellectual potential. Academically prestigious schools are typically much more expensive than, for example, a community college. These elite universities are entirely unattainable for some students, despite their intelligence level, solely because of their cost. Furthermore, the price of college could even prevent prospective students from attending college altogether. Many students simply cannot afford higher education whatsoever; as a result, they are forced to deny education as a whole, thus hindering their full potential due to their financial status. Or in another circumstance, the cost may cause a student to attend a school less suitable for their intellectual abilities, as opposed to a better school that they would otherwise be able to succeed in, if not for the cost. This issue creates a cycle of unequal opportunities, inherently benefitting the wealthy, despite my belief that all Americans should have the opportunity to receive a higher education, regardless of their financial status.
Many of these student loans come from the government. The government’s current student loan program generates a profit because “the interest rate paid by borrowers exceeds the federal government’s cost to fund those loans and administer the program.” According to the Huffington Post, the U.S. Department of Education is predicted to produce $127 billion in profit over the next decade from student loans (Nasiripour, 1). It is without a doubt problematic that the government is profiting from young people’s pursuit of higher education, a right that all Americans should be entitled to.
An apparent and simple solution to this problem is clearly not easily accessible, or it would have already been implemented, as this issue has become more and more severe. However, it is important to take into consideration possible solutions that could theoretically be successful. Other than universities deciding to reduce their tuition, which does not seem to be happening anytime soon, banks could provide non-profit interest rates to students, as banks have made more than enough money off student loans already. This would mean “borrowers pay the same interest rate the lender pays to get the money being lent” which would, consequently, stop existing debt from rapidly increasing, giving students enough time to repay their loans (Zimmerman, How to Save the Victims of the Student Loan Crisis). With this solution, we could reduce the amount of overwhelming profits being made off of American students who are only trying to obtain a college education. Access to a less expensive, high-quality education would be better for the economy and society as a whole.
Privileges Of Living In The United States
When one thinks of what makes someone privileged you might automatically go straight to money. Yet, money isn’t the only things that deems one to be privileged. I think of privileged as being given opportunities that may not be open to those around you or even across the globe, not just the situations that involve money. These opportunities can be the ability to attend college, to vote, having enough food to eat, living somewhere with electricity, or even just having easily accessible transportation. There are numerous ways in which one can be considered privileged, almost too many to even list.
Living in the United States we are highly privileged in comparison to those of the outside world. The United States is known for being prosperous, and people are known to come from all over the world to chase the “American Dream”. So what is the reason for foreign immigrants to come here? Perhaps it’s because their home country had a controlling government that limited their rights and ability to live to their full potential. Or maybe it could just be because they live in a place with low living standards and want to have the opportunity to prosper in the U.S. For whatever reason one chooses to immigrate to the United States, these people all have the same goal, to live a more successful life with more freedoms and rights.
Living in the U.S. you may not feel that you are privileged, yet that is almost certainly because you have not had to deal with living in some foreign (Certain not all) countries, especially third world nations. According to index mundi the country with the highest poverty percentage is Syria sitting at a little over 82%, that leaves only a mere 18% who actually live above the poverty line there. Imagine yourself living in a country where the majority of its people live under these conditions, and on top of that the fear of war is typically looming around its lands. For almost all of us, including myself, this is just something we can’t imagine or relate to in any way. Yet I do not mean this in a way to make us as Americans seem spoiled, I mean this to point out how lucky and privileged we are to not live in such unfortunate situations.
Have you ever had to hunt or fish just to get a meal at night? I’m assuming the answer is no because as Americans we are able to simply just go to a grocery store or restaurant, and in many cases, acquire food at a very low cost. The options and accessibility to an excessive number of food items is just something that we seem used to, we’ve never lived in any other situation. For many nations their equivalent of a grocery store may be an outdoor market, or in very rural cases there is no market or store to buy items from. We are so privileged just to have these food options at very affordable prices.
The standard of living in the United States is also so much higher than that of many nations across the globe. Most of us have the luxury of having a bed to sleep in at night, running water, electricity, air conditioning, heating, and so many others features within the places that we might call home. While you might be worrying because the wifi doesn’t work there are others across the globe that worry about where they may sleep, what to eat, or maybe how they’re going to replace their only set of clothes. You may not label yourself as privileged because of the wealthier people around you, yet if you look at it from world perspective, the poorest of poor in The United States may very well be considered wealthy in certain foreign nations. Although this is something that is not evident when you may compare yourself to those around you who also live in the United States.
What America Means To You: Education, Rights, And Equality
Have you ever disliked school? I believe education is an essential factor in America along with our rights and equality. Education assists us to do our daily life activities in the most reliable way we can. Our rights and equality are vital because equality apprises everyone that we are all equal likewise, our rights are our connotation that we can do things freely. America is transcendent for various reasons, but education, rights, and equality are things that mostly stick out to me.
First, education is crucial to America because we need education to understand the importance of life. The most important elements in life are health, family, friends, purpose, and peace. Everyone has a purpose in life no matter what other people think. Some people have the mindset that education isn’t significant, and others think that getting a greater picture and never giving up is more essential. You still have to educate yourself on the picture you see.
Secondly, rights are necessary, likewise, they encourage freedom of speech. If we have an opinion something then our freedom of speech gives us the right to speak it. In addition to that, people additionally give us the privilege to practice personal religions or none at all. Humans have the right to register for the military and to apply for any job no matter what race or gender. Some people think that rights are imposed on us, but according to my research, our rights are voluntary.
The final reason is equality, which is important because it states all people are designed equal. All women and men have the right to choose whatever job they desire no matter what race or ethnicity they are. Anyone should be able to fulfill their personal aspirations. Women also have the right to vote now in America which is a big deal. Some people think that equality isn’t fair because of how much somebody gets paid for doing a job. We should feel privileged to be able to apply for an identical job.
As you can see, America has many wonderful qualities. Education, rights, and equality are the ones I believe are most critical. Education prepares us for life. Our rights give us the freedom to believe whatever we want. Finally, equality gives everyone the chance to have the same opportunities in life. Even though America has many flaws, we should always be thinking about the good side of things.
Discovering Of What It Really Means To Be An American
What does it mean to be an American? Does it mean patriotism? Is it the feeling of pride when your singing the national anthem? To be clear there are many things that makes a true American. They can be of any race, any color, speak any language, come from a different family background, it does not matter because those are not what define a true American. No matter what the circumstances are it is what is in the heart that makes an American. But the following are a few things that make up a True American. Having loyalty to your country, exercise your rights (Freedom), own a lot of guns.
Every country must require truehearted subjects to be a functional safe country, although no country is ever safe it helps keep the rocketing crime rates at a minimum. Such loyal citizens can be loyal just by contributing what they can to their community, whether it’s the smallest things such as recycling or paying taxes and making sure you keep your surroundings in proper order. Some of these people take their loyalty to the next level and join the army and fight with the fiery spirit and fidelity of their country. Another example of loyalty is NOT kneeling during the national anthem: stand tall and proud and sing your heart out with every ounce of pride you contain. Although with every staunch effort you take comes a reward, such as your freedom.
Additionally freedom is another facet that constructs an American. Exercise these freedoms and your rights, if you have a topic at the matter you disagree with then protest, sign petitions. No one, not even the authorities can stop you unless you break the law. If you have no knowledge of what rights you can exercise then… How can you be an American? Especially if you do not know what the Bill of Rights or what the Amendments are. Speak your mind make a change for the good using those rights that you own. Unless it’s insulting someone then keep it to yourself, it’s rude and uncalled for.
Moreover one final reason from my perspective of what makes a “TRUE AMERICAN” is owning a gun. You cannot be a true American without a trusty weapon exercising that second Amendment if you catch my meaning. Use that right to bear arms because 42% of the American population own guns which means that among 50 million households there are 393 million guns distributed. Like one anonymous individual once claimed “You’re not a true American if you don’t own no gun”.
In conclusion any true American would have these internal traits in the previous. Whether it is showing unchanging patriotism, exercising your rights and freedom, and owning a gun like a true American. But what really is important is having a citizenship in American, no one is a true American without their citizenship, otherwise if their visa expires you better hope you do not get caught. Also eat a lot of cheese burgers because it’s one of the most American things you could do. In the end the theme is that an American is defined predominantly by the heart and sometimes the physical and behavioural traits.
Freedom Is The Root Of What It Means To Be An American
There’s a lot that goes into being an American, one huge thing that is the root of being an American is freedom, to be an American means that you must continue to grow industrially. When our country went to war with each other, it was for freedom because that is something that is heavily valued and everyone deserves to be free. History shows us that during industrial growth in the early 1900’s we were able to improve our economy by creating more businesses and attracting more people to America with the city life.
Americans have their right to freedom today but it wasn’t always like that. Freedom is something that shapes our country what makes it one of the most sought after countries by immigrants. Unfortunately America wasn’t always like that, not everyone was able to be free in this country. Back in the 1800’s slavery was an issue with our society as it took away freedom from those of color. Although being an American means that you fight to have those freedoms that we now have today. Huck Finn is someone who realized that everyone in this amazing country deserves to be free. Mark Twain writes about how Huckleberry Finn helps a runaway slave named Jim even though it’s against what society has told him. Huck Finn was constantly wrestling with the idea of whether or not he should help out Jim since he was a slave as he says “But you knowed he was running for his freedom, and you could a paddled ashore and told somebody. That was so— I couldn’t get around that noway. That was where it pinched.” He realises that freedom is something that everyone in this country deserves and is able to set aside his differences with society. By being an American Huck can show respect to everyone and not just those of his own color. Huckleberry Finn is a pioneer for the future of this country and how we should treat one another. Huck and Jim are able to get to a free state. Jim is thrilled as he screams out in joy – “We’s safe, Huck, we’s safe! Jump up and crack yo’ heels! Dat’s de good ole Cairo at las’, I jis knows it!”.
On April 12th, 1861 a war between one country was born. The Civil War came about due to the fact that those from the North who were apart of the Union were fighting against the south to help free the slaves and give back freedom to everyone in America. Abraham Lincoln, who was the president of the United States at the time, writes the Gettysburg Address to help bring back together a country that is divided. In the passage he states “This nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom” When Linoln says this he is saying that we are in this war to help everyone in America gain freedom and that’s what everyone deserves. To be an American means that you value your freedoms and live by them but back in the 1860’s not everyone was as fortunate to be free. But since these people were American they fought to gain freedom and were able to do so.
Americans are the type of people that continue to grow in their society to become stronger and that is something that defines us. In the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s our country went into an industrial revolution. This era in America helped to shape our country into what it is today. Americanhistory.edu says “the rapid expansion of big business, the development of large-scale agriculture, and the rise of national labor unions and industrial conflict”. This is telling us how innovative Americans were and that is something that we should all strive for. Americans are people who don’t just stay where they are and be satisfied, they look to get stronger in their country and work to get to the top. Being an American means that you are innovative because we have all the resources in the world and we have the opportunity to take advantage of what our country offers us.
The root to being an American is freedom, it is something that everyone who is an American values heavily and is willing to fight for it. Huck Finn showed us that even if you already are free, that you understand what it means and was willing to help someone else who does not yet have freedom in this great country. When you consider the Civil War, it was fought on the principals of freedom and by the whole country going to war with each other it shows us how much freedom is valued and that it’s something that identifies us. Being an American means you are innovative and you look to grow as a society and build your country. We did this during the Industrial Revolution by improving our economy. Once you think about it, an American is someone who looks to grow and be innovative, you are also someone who heavily values your freedom and you recognize what that would mean to someone.
What America Means to Me
America is a country that allows me to vote when I’m 18, I’ll have a say in who I want for as the next president, or governor of my state. America is a country where I have to follow laws for everyone’s safety. America is the land of the free. I consider America as a melting pot for all nationalities. America is a country that our allies can rely on when in trouble. America is a superpower. America is the world’s wealthiest nation. America has had its failures. American leaders have made poor decisions in the past that still affect us today. Failures such as pushing the Native Americans westward, to not giving African Americans the right to vote until 1965. But that was normal in those times. Most Americans didn’t know it was wrong. But the ones who did, made sure their voices were heard. Pilgrims came to America by sailing over the sea on the Mayflower. The pilgrims pushed the Native Americans westward off their land so they could start building their colonies. The 13 original colonies were Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, New York, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland and New Hampshire.
America has stood up to the government before to make sure their voices were heard. An example of this is the Sons of Liberty. The Sons of Liberty was an organization that was created in the original 13 American Colonies. It was a secret society that was formed to protect the rights of the colonists and to fight taxation by Great Britain’s government. Also the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence announced and explained the separation from Great Britain. We celebrate the ratification of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th. Patriots fought in the American Revolution against the redcoats to become independent from Great Britain. The Great Depression was a worldwide economic depression that originated in the United States of America during the 1920’s. The depression caused many farmers to lose their farms. During the Great Depression, unemployment went from 3 percent to 25 percent of America’s workforce. Wages for those who still had their jobs dropped 42 percent. During the early 1930’s in the Midwest and Southern Great Plains, Americans suffered dust storms. The Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storms that impacted many lives. Although Franklin D. Roosevelt had the New Deal, which was a series of federal programs, public work projects, regulations and financial reforms enacted in the United States of America during the 1930’s, it did not have the effect on the Great Depression as the end of World War II. World War II helped America get out of The Great Depression by creating more jobs, this leading to the decrease of the unemployment rate in the United States of America. I consider America as a melting pot because of the Age of Mass Migration. The two immigration islands were Ellis Island, and Angel Island. Ellis Island is located on the east coast in Upper New York Bay. Ellis Island opened in 1892. Immigrants from Great Britain, Germany, and Ireland came through Ellis Island. Angel Island is located on the west coast in San Francisco Bay. Angel Island opened in 1910. Immigrants from Japan and Korea came through Angel Island. The diversity of race, religion, and culture in America today all contribute to my opinion that America is one big melting pot. America is a superpower. A superpower is a country that has enough political, military, and economic strength to immediate another country. Some of the American allies are Saudi Arabia, Israel, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Italy, and The European Union. Academics become the responsibility of public schools in the mid- 1900’s. Public Schooling in the South was not widespread until the Reconstruction Era after the American Civil War. The United States of America has a wide range of universities. There is a wide range of careers and schools. There are military schools, all girl schools, all boy schools, and there is a such thing as an all-black school such as Howard University, Hampton University and many others.
The United States of America is the wealthiest nation in the world. Although America doesn’t have the highest minimum wage, we do have an unemployment rate of 4.1 percent. The United States of America is a nation with 50 states. Major Atlantic Coast cities like New York, are a global finance. Hollywood is famed for filmmaking. The United States of America spends the most amount of money on its Army than the whole world.. The United States of America spend close to 711 billion dollars on all the military branches combined. No other nation comes close other than China at 143 billion. No other military could inflict the number of casualties on the United States military in a conventional war. Americans have very different opinions about politics. The most debatable topics are the immigration ban, legalization of marijuana, rigged elections, Donald Trump, torture, Kneeling during the national anthem, confederate statues, and North Korea. I think our legal system has failed. Police brutality is one of many forms of police misconduct and abuse of power. Racial discrimination is one of the major contributors of police brutality in America. Racial profiling refers to a situation where a person of a different race is considered more likely to be involved in a crime or criminal behavior because of the color of their skin. Racial profiling is making assumptions based off one’s race. Racial profiling is when accused of committing a crime by an officer, but that officer has no evidence you did the crime. A form of police brutality is excessive force. Excessive force is when the police make unnecessary moves on the person being arrested. An example is Freddie Gray. Freddie Gray died in police custody with a broken neck. He died in the back of a police van. Natasha McKenna. Mckenna was shocked four times with a stun gun while her hands and legs were cuffed. She suffered from mental illness. A deputy used a stun gun on her on a different occasion while in jail. She died on February 8th, 2015. False arrest or imprisonment is made when someone holds you captive without a warrant. Or with a lack of probable cause. If all charges are dropped, sometimes the person will sue on the grounds of false arrest because there may have never been a legitimate reason to arrest the victim. It is unlikely the victim will win. Another definition for false arrest is when someone who does not have the legal authority to arrest you arrests you . For example, if you are robbing a bank and you hold people hostage, that is false imprisonment. The hostages won’t leave because they fear you’ll hurt them.
Trayvon Martin was killed by a bullet shot by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman had all charges dropped. He is not behind bars. Zimmerman called emergency services to report a suspicious person. He was instructed not to get out of his car. Moments later, neighbors called and reported gunshots. Zimmerman claims it was self-defense. This case caused an uproar all across the nation. Trayvon Martin was 17 years old. February 24, 2015, George Zimmerman had no federal civil right charges against him. There are so many victims of police brutality. I think there are many good police that do their jobs and have positive attitudes towards all citizen as long as they do the same. But then we have police officers like Darren Wilson, who killed Michael Brown. Or Brad Miller who killed Christian Taylor. Taylor was a 19 year old young adult who played football for his school, Angelo State University. Or Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who killed innocent 17 year old Laquan McDonald. He was shot 16 times by one gun. Or the policeman who killed 36 year old LaTanya Haggerty. He mistaken her for holding a gun in her hand, when she was only talking on the cell phone. Nor Timothy Loehmann, who shot 12 year old Tamir Rice, for playing with a toy gun in the park.36 percent of unarmed people killed by police were black in 2015. Black people are only 13 percent of the United States population. Black men are nearly 3 times more likely to die from police force. I think our government should refine police training. Police brutality is a huge political debate. When I hear the word America, I think about police brutality. 91 percent of Americans support criminal justice reform. 43 percent of Americans say the justice system is unfair to most African Americans.
What does it mean to me to be an American? To be American is to have the right to go out and vote on election day. To be American means I can live my life to the fullest. Being American means to lend a hand to your enemy, and keep a smile on your face. Being American means to be united as one, once all differences are aside. To be American means to be dependable, rely and to give hope to one another. Because being American isn’t just to live in the land of the free. You have the opportunity to be anything you want in the land of the free. To be an American is to have patriotism in you, deep down. To be an American is to have a strong love for your country. Being a proud patriot is to be an American. Being American mean you can choose any religion you want. To be American is to speak your mind, and be a slave to anyone. To be a true American is to understand the different people around you. To get along with the people around you. To embrace the differences between the both of you. Understanding their cultures, understanding their religion, understanding their way of life, and understanding how to get along with one another. We are our brother’s keeper.
But to be an American also means bad things. America has the highest poverty rate in the world. To be an American is to pay the man 10.4 percent more than the woman in the same job position. To be an American is to live in the country with the worst murder rate. Although America spends the most on its military, is it always a good thing? To be an American is to live in a country that is over 18 trillion dollars in debt. What does it mean to me to be an American? To be black and to be an American is always questioning the worth of my life. Will I die today because the police officer sees me as a danger. Will my name become the next hashtag? Or will it be my father? That’s what it means to me to be an American.
Change of Attitude Towards America in America and I by Anzia Yezierska
While reading America and I, you can tell that the author Yezierska’s tone slowly progresses as she explains her experience. You can notice that her attitude towards America changed a lot from the beginning to the end of the story. At first she was skeptical, then she became lost, but then at the end you knew she was right where she needed to be and she was about to find herself.
Yezierska begins her story with who she is and how it all began. Moving to America due to poverty in Russia, she was excited to be living in America. “Ach! America! From the other end of the earth from where I came, America was a land of living hope, woven of dreams, aflame with longing and desire” she states in paragraph two. Yet, she knew what had to be done, she knew she needed to get a job but she understood how hard it was because of her language barrier. Being an immigrant, she dealt with discrimination from her first job. Which led her hopes down, “Just came to America. And you already think about money. Wait till you’re worth any money. What use are you without knowing English? You should be glad we keep you here. It’s like a vacation for you. Other girls pay money yet to be in the country.”
She had been working for a month for basically nothing, and then left with no money. Her thoughts on America had changed and she vowed to no longer trust herself to any “American” family again. This is where you can see her tone drastically change, Yezierska sounded as though she had nothing left for her, but still wanted to have a bit of hope. Then she went on to her second job, which she claimed was even worse. In paragraph 44, “ Day after day, week after week, all the contact I got with America was handling dead buttons. The money I earned was hardly enough to pay for bread and rent.” She then goes on to question everything about herself and America in paragraph 45, “Who am I? What am I? What do I want with my life? America? Is there an America? What is this wilderness in which I’m lost?” She later lost her job standing up for herself.
Then, the turning point for Yezierska… she got a new job and began an English class. Her teacher comforted her and suggested that she join a Women’s Association just for immigrant girls like herself. Yezierska’s look on America then changed, in paragraph 74, “ I didn’t know exactly what it meant -efficiency- but if it was to make the worker happy at his work, then that’s what I had been looking for since I came to America. I only felt from watching him that he was happy by his job. And as I looked on the clean, well-dressed, successful one, who wasn’t ashamed to say he rose from an office-boy, it made me feel that I, too, could lift myself up for a person.”
Yezierska, like any immigrant at first was hopeful for her new beginning in America. Throughout her first months living her though, she faced what America really is like and in the process lost herself. Yet, reaching out through others and expressing her true feelings towards everything, she later got to begin her journey and slowly find herself. She was finally beginning to be content in America and it was only up to her to change that.
An Analysis of the Writing in America and I by Anzia Yezierska
For this final paper I chose to take a closer look at the writing of Anzia Yezierska in America and I . I decided to examine the symbolism used by Yezierska in this piece. Yezierska tells the story of her struggle to find America . As she writes about this Yezierska uses symbolism to convey ideas and connotations about her feelings and her perception of America. The words and images of darkness and light are used throughout the piece. Yezierska uses the idea of darkness and light to symbolize the negative and positive aspects of her experience and understanding in America.
As it is commonly regarded darkness symbolizes those things which have negative connotaions. Yezierska uses the notion of darkness to symbolize her feelings of despair, confusion, and the hardships faced by her. On the other hand the image of light is used to symbolize hopes and dreams about her life in America, and the unraveling of her confusion. Yezierska, in using these images, is able to present a clearer picture of the emotions that should be interpreted from the story.
Even from the very beginning of the story Yezierska uses images of light and dark to describe her coming from Russia to America. She describes her hopes for America as sunlight burning through my darkness . In this instance she has used light and dark to emphasize her feelings. Sunlight is used to symbolize the hopes and dreams of a better life while darkness is used to illustrate the hopelessness and disparity she felt in Russia. Furthermore, she depicts the people of Russia as colors that never saw light . In saying this she reemphasizes the hopelessness of Russia and demonstrates her longing to move a better place.
The first use of light and dark in describing her coming from Russia to America sets the standard for the feelings that the reader interprets from the symbolism in light and dark. From this point on the idea of light and dark plays a part in the telling of Yezierska s story.
She next uses the idea of dark and light when talking about her first job. She imagines what it will be like to get her first wages in America. The symbol of light is used when she describes her expected pay as visionary wages shining like light over my head . A sense of hope and belief in her idea of America is felt from these words, to show the feelings she had in anticipation of her first pay.
However we see the image of darkness again when she discovers that she would receive no wages. As she is coldly told of this she claims that it went black for my eyes. A picture of darkness can be seen when imaging what she says. The darkness represents the confusion and misfortune of her circumstances. She is bewildered at what has happened and finds herself in a state of disappointment. It is now seen that Russia is not the only place of darkness to her. She finds that America has both darkness and light .
In a way darkness now takes on the form of not just disparity but also a sense of uncertainty and misunderstanding of America . She begins to find that she is not so sure she has found the America that she was looking for and uses darkness to symbolize that which she feels is not America to her.
At her next job she emphasizes the darkness of the cellar that she works in. She does so to show that she was not happy with what she was doing and it that could not be her America . However she seems to find light in the darkness again. This time light represents the hope in rebelling to move away from the gloom of her cellar job that did not bring her any sense of satisfaction. She says, The light of self-assertion broke into my cellar darkness.
Yezierska seems to keep finding herself in the darkness, but there is always some light that keeps her going and searching for the America that she wants to find. It seems that no light can ever bring her out of the darkness. Her search for her America seems to be helpless and all that she does brings her no joy. This gloomy and empty feeling felt by Yezierska, due to her inability to do something that gives her life, gives the sense of darkness that prevails through the story. When she can no longer take the struggle she is in she claims, All the light was out of my eyes .
At this point in the story she has lost all hope. The loss of the light symbolizes this lost hope and emphasizes her lowest point of disparity. No light symbolizes total darkness. This is the one point in the story where she hasn t even a shred of hope left in her and she is at her wits end in trying to figure out the great mystery of America . The image of total darkness gives the picture of blackness. Just like in a pitch-black darkness, Yezierska can not see a thing. She has lost her way and has no light to follow and no sense of where to turn. This total darkness therefore symbolizes precisely how she felt at that moment in her life.
As she finally begins to understand America she describes her revelation as a light. The light this time represents the feeling of understanding and a renewed sense of hope. In understanding America she feels no longer in such darkness. With and understanding the disparity and uncertainty dwindles, therefore symbolically she links this to going from darkness into light.
Darkness and light are images that can easily be pictured in the mind. These images correlate with the story to give the reader a clear picture of the way yezierska felt about things. Emotions and feelings are emphasized and consequently better understood by those reading her story. These symbols of light and dark parallel Yezierska story and create solid support for her writing. The use of light and dark make this piece much more affective to the reader.