Americanism is a collection of patriotic ideals in the United States that seeks to give Americans a sense of cultural identity. It is an American ideology, philosophy, practice, or cultural style. Individualism, self-reliance, democracy, freedom of will and several other traits define Americanism. It is an unusual concept that has no foreign counterpart. There is no such thing as Americanism; one may talk of German culture or Indian culture, but not of Americanism. The factor asserts that Americans have the freedom to fulfill their desires and that their destiny should not be determined by others. Americans are described by a variety of characteristics. The features are responsible for the shaping of the Americans. Many American citizens have tied to Americanism so much a motive that has helped Americans blossom politically and economically.
Individualism is the central value in America and a core of the American culture. Individualism has affected all aspects of the society, economics, politics, and culture of U.S citizens. The character of the U.S nation has been shaped to far-reaching effects by individualism. Religions in the U.S are self-centered, and most of the times they emphasize on their individual goals. People feel that they all have significance and individual rights that are divine and essential in human nature. Everyone exists and acts by his/her own choice from unique points and space. They believe each one has his/her personal life motives and it is for Him/her to decide what to do in his /her life. The American founders set and established the motives when they drafted the constitution and formed a country in which individual rights and freedom was to be protected.
One of the attractive characters of individualism is the independent personality among the Americans. People have individualistic values and skills which help them live individual lives. The values include self-sufficiency, self-advocacy, and self-responsibility among many other individualistic values. American children are taught from an early age to be self-reliance. They should be able to make their own money as long as they are 18 years. Adults on the other side are used to live alone instead of sharing the house with their children. The children are told to develop a sense of individualism from the early stage of their life to avoid being reliable to their parents. Benjamin Franklyn in his writings portrays America as stronger and unified and that its citizens should rely on individual effort to succeed.
The capacity to resist ideologues is another sense of Americanism by U.S citizens. The self-interpretation by the Americans was entirely covered by the word Americanism (Chapman & Michael 23). It is the self-understanding of an individual who can make own decision to go on with life. Benjamin Franklyn mentioned some controversial views in Americanism. He cites the steaming off of capitalism American culture which describes how America was founded by capitalists for business motives. He continued and said that America is not survival of the fittest but can also be based on religion and generosity.
America has long been known to a diverse nation which gives its citizens and all those who land upon her shores great possibilities. However, recent political attitude shows this understanding of America is idealistic and unattainable. Many authors have shaped America in their writings and left it for future audiences to decide what America represents. Past authors describe America as divided into two categories, the first being a brutal America which is imperfect and the second type is the idealistic America which people try to change to what America should become. The American writing scene has been a host of different literary characters. Some writings have painted a lasting impression on readers including Uncle Tom’s work which represent a struggle to make an individual voice to tell the story. These kinds of books have a significant effect at a societal level.
There is a lot of differences on different America literary books, but many say there is a uniting method of their telling. Some of them tell on an individual who struggles to find his/her way to a world which has refused to recognize individualism. It is clear that the individual struggle is a vital element in America writings. These types of books help its audience to understand the challenges and struggles of an individual. Some of these novels encourage us to question the idea of an individualistic and free will that we believe the Americans possess. Other writings are based on underrepresented groups of the people in the community.
Another essential aspect that highlights the culture of America writings is the setting the author is addressing. Most America writings know the diversity of landscapes, and as a result, in their works, certain aspects are associated with a particular attitude. The concepts in these books are that America is always at war with itself. The inner conflict has dominated American literature. For instance, in Uncle Tom’s cabin, Stowe points out that slavery had caused a dispute back then an act which divided the United States.
Americanism promises the citizens of America success if one works hard regardless of a person’s origin or social status. The optimism of the U.S culture defines the success of the people as part of the mind and American consciousness. James Truslow Adams in his book America defined Americanism as a vehicle that allows its citizens to achieve anything that they desire regardless of their origin. For Adams Americanism was not about the past but the future. Jim Cullen too in his works portrayed a sense of success through individual hard work. Jim Cullen’s writings examine the difficulty of Americanism and suggest that at the core of every dream there lies belief that with effort things can change to better.
The American experience in literature is a life cycle of its own. The belief of self-reliance and individualism which understand people as possessing a potential to achieve great things in life are beliefs that are ever present in the American consciousness. All American literature refer to Americanism as having elements that can change individual life as well as the nation. During the revolution period, American began to set a cultural identity of its own. While many kinds of literature addressed the Revolutionary War, quite a number also talked about the discovery of the self and making of a new country. In Benjamin Franklyn’s autobiography, he tells the “rags to riches’ a story about one man who came from nothing, but through hard work and perseverance, he found his way to richness. Franklyn’s biography was aimed at establishing a model which America would follow to build a new nation (Dorsey & Leroy 48). By casting himself in the autobiography, Franklin identifies ways in which a person can work to create a life for him/herself. He set out to demonstrate how America had succeeded in creating a nation from itself and went on to shape its characters and life. Franklin’s life is a perfect example for the young people in America to follow in a prospering nation.
Franklin’s purpose in his biography was to illustrate what a person needs to possess to be successful in life. His biography stands to be a model for defining American citizen and achieving their goals. In an emerging American culture, Franklin highlighted methods of self-improvement which included setting and listing goals, focusing effort and charting progress. He addresses the usefulness of imitations a plan for achieving goals and success of a person.
At the turn of the twentieth century, America experience in literature became equated with material possession and social status of the citizens. Some writings sound like warning that Americanism was becoming corrupted. The novels portray a sense of misguidance towards the achievement of the American dream. Franklin showed unequivocally in his autobiography that self-actualization is one of the virtue towards the achievement of success.
It is clear from the work that Americanism is what defines the unique nature of America as portrayed across the world. American literature has evolved since the revolutionary war and is still changing currently. The writings describe America’s success is solely because of the cultural ethics possessed by Americans. The sense of Americanism was built in people way back in the revolutionary wars and is what now guides the Americans towards achieving their goals and in the path raising the national political, social and economic strength.
Dorsey, Leroy G. We Are All Americans, Pure and Simple: Theodore Roosevelt and the Myth of Americanism. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2013. Print.
Chapman, Michael E. Arguing Americanism: Franco Lobbyists, Roosevelt’s Foreign Policy, and the Spanish Civil War. Kent: Kent State UP, 2011. Print.