An American is someone who is driven and inspired by their dreams even when presented with obstacles that attempt to prevent you from achieving those dreams. In Hidden Figures, there are three women who are perfect models for what an American should be defined as and the hard work and dedication these women put on display is exactly what I would say is the most important aspect of an American. Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson are three of many African American women calculators who perform math calculations for NASA. Over the course of the novel, all three women face obstacles preventing them from pursuing their dreams due to the fact that they are African American women. They all keep fighting through the discrimination and get closer and closer to their aspirations. They demonstrate the determination needed for an American to strive in this nation.

Another source I found over the course of our studies on what it means to be an American are the root documents of this nation; The Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and more specifically the Preamble and Bill of Rights. All of these documents show in words the core beliefs and potential values all Americans should possess and that Americans possessing these makes the country what it is today. Our founding fathers built this country on the belief that the country they were apart of didn’t satisfy the needs of the people. Therefore they set out, through adversities, and built a country suited for it’s people. The founding fathers documented the needs of the people that would set this nation apart from the rest of the world and I feel it is these core values that are what defines an American.

The third source that I found to be the most supportive of my opinion was the documentary American Creed from PBS and Citizen Film forthcoming in 2018. The main ideas I gained from it were unity, community, and cooperation. In our country, immigrants flood in with hope that they will have a brighter future in this country. All Americans have a background that dates back to immigrants at one point on their family tree. The problem that I found to occur is that current citizens reject immigrants and attempt to force them out of the country. A quality that all Americans need to have is the nature to be accepting of others, no matter their racial and ethnic background. Once one has learned to work with others, through adversities, driven by their aspirations and beliefs, then they have truly become an American.



  • Shetterly, Margot L. Hidden Figures. New York City, William Morrow and Company, 2016.
  • American Creed. Citizen Film and PBS. 2018.

CC BY-SA 4.0 What does it mean to be American? by James is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

1 Comment
  1. Nolan 1 year ago

    I have really enjoyed reading your post. The book that you choose to read sounds very interesting and cool. I liked that one of the documents that you choose to help you was the documents that the founding fathers made for us. I believe that these documents are the main documents that help us describe what it means to be an American. I feel like that we may be pulling away from some of those ideas in the documents and not living up to those ideas anymore. We need to turn back toward those ideas and live up to those ideas because I think that those documents are helping our country stay together as one. I also liked that you included the source of the American Creed documentary. I think that the ideas of unity, community, and cooperation are big ideas that also help us keep our country as one. If we have a strong unity throughout the country I think that we can be the best that America has ever been before. Right now I don’t think that we have a strong unity throughout the country because of all of the issues and politics. I believe that politics are a main issue that divides our country in half and we need to be able to bring that back together and not have politics not divide us and be able to stay as one country. Overall, I really enjoyed reading your post and the book that you read sounded very interesting and good.

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