What Does It Mean to be an American Essay - With Examples

What Does It Mean to be an American Essay


What Does It Mean to be an American Essay

Has your instructor told you to write an essay about “what does it mean to be an American?” How do you plan to go about it? Where do you start? Do you pick a history textbook and write about America? It’s not as hard as you think. Let us give you a helping hand.

First, you need to know what “essay” and “American” are. Second, you look at what people have written about the topic. Once you have done these two aspects, you can now write your piece. Therefore, this article will start by offering you information regarding these two aspects before we show you the steps of writing a "What does it mean to be an American today?" essay.

Our current mission in this article is to assist you in writing an excellent essay on the topic. If you still have questions regarding the essay after going through our article, feel free to contact us. We will be happy to help: our core service is to assist all students to excel in their academic life.

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What Is An “Essay”?

An essay is a professional paper discussing a particular subject and comprises an introduction, body, and conclusion. So, what should you include in these three sections?


  • Highlight the topic you want to discuss
  • Offer background information so that your reader may understand the context.
  • End with a thesis statement. This statement shows the sub-topics that your essay will cover.


  • Provide key arguments or points together with their analysis
  • Offer evidence if needed. Some essays need more pieces of evidence than others. For instance, expository essays will likely have more than narrative essays.
  • Each paragraph should start with a topic sentence and discuss one point
  • Every paragraph must connect to the thesis


  • Restate your thesis
  • Connect core points
  • Show the significance of the topic

You can learn more about how to write an essay and also how to format an essay, which we have explored in deep.

Which Type Of Essay Do You Use For This Topic?

Many types of essays exist, such as expository, narrative, and argumentative. You should know the best type to use when authoring your essays,  or you can use a mixture. This section will explain two of the most common essay types used to discuss “what it means to be an American.” The two essay types are expository and narrative.

What is an expository essay?

An expository essay is a paper that offers a clear, focused description of a subject. This is the most written essay, so you will frequently come across it in your academic life.

The subject can be an idea or concept. Some scholars put a descriptive essay as a sub-type of expository writing. In this case, your expository essay can discuss topics around objects, places, and people.

The other subtypes of an expository essay accepted by all scholars include:

What is a narrative essay?

A narrative essay is a paper that explains a story. The story is mainly from a personal point of view, though in some instances, it can be an imaginative exploration. This essay type demands you to wear your creative hat to create an engaging, well-organized story.

A narrative essay should not always follow the nitty-gritty items of an essay structure. It is not a must for you to have all three broad parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. However, you ought to start by setting up the story and end by stating the importance of the story – you may mention the impact the narrative has had on you or what you learned from your experience or writing the essay.

Now that you know what an essay is and the type to use when discussing the topic, let’s proceed to the next section, which is understanding the meaning of an “American.”

What Is “American” According To The Dictionary?

An “American,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is an inhabitant or native of any of the countries in the American continent. Another definition offered by this dictionary is that an “American” is something related to America.

Going by these definitions, when you write “what means to be an American,” you can write about anything that connects with America. The examples below will help you better understand what you can discuss about being an American.

Examples Of Texts That Answer “What It Means To Be An American”

We have gathered several pieces of text from the internet that talk about “What it means to be an American.” These examples will show you the topics you can use in your essay as well as the angles and tactics to incorporate to have an outstanding piece.

We have rephrased the original texts to avoid instances of plagiarism.

Example 1

The original copy is written by Eddie F.

Being an American not only means being a citizen or an inhabitant of America but being an America also means taking the obligation and being responsible for keeping the society running well. The awesome feature of calling America our home is that we entirely run our country, and the people living in it.

Besides, being an American means having the potential to realize the American dream. One of the definitions of the “American dream” is the freedom to choose your life’s path, such as business and family.

Example 2

The original piece is authored by Samantha Ramirez and Herald Writer.

Being a military of America can be considered as being an American. Being a military shows that one fully supports the nation and can go as far as possible to protect America. Being an American is not only seen in the profession but also in patriotism. Being an American also entails displaying courage, honor, and duty for America. Every one of us who calls ourselves an American should never forget the many people who have served and died for America, and due to this, being an American means you are a patriot.

Being an American also means that the Bill of Rights protects you. Your freedom and fundamental rights are not stepped over. In contrast, they are respected and protected by the law. I have grown up in America, and I can surely say I’m an American. I am safe, and my neighbors don’t mind what I do with my culture. I come from Asia, and I usually practice a religion that is not common in this community, and none of my neighbors has ever protested about it. This is what being an American is.

Example 3

You can find the original copy online at the National Museum of American History.

In my view, being an American means being free. You can live where you want, marry who you wish, and work anywhere. It also means being proud of America and believing that everything will prosper. Being an American also means that you support troops fighting for our nation. In case of a disaster, you should offer assistance as much as possible. Also, being an American means, you treat others with respect.

5 Steps Of Writing “What Does It Mean To Be An American Today?” Essay

Now that you have seen what people are discussing about “what does it mean to be an American,” what steps can you take when writing an essay of this kind? The steps are as follows.

Step 1: brainstorm ideas

The first step you should take is to decide on the ideas you will discuss in your essay. The ideas of “being an American” you can discuss include the following but are not limited to them;

  1. The ideals of America
  2. Your freedoms and rights have been respected
  3. The opportunities you have
  4. Your profession, like being a service member
  5. Your life as an inhabitant
  6. The role you have played in making America great

Some focus on one idea in their essay, while others incorporate more than one idea. You can pick the style that fits best to you. In selecting the idea(s), choose the one that greatly relates to you or one that you have a good understanding of.

You can write down these six ideas and the points you have under each. Then choose the one with many points. Take your time in this step. Start thinking about the ideas as soon as you receive the assignment, or you read this part.

Step 2: form an outline

Once you have settled on the idea(s), create an outline. An outline simplifies the essay writing process, as you will know what to write in which section. So, try to make a detailed outline. Mention what you will touch on in every paragraph.

You may start by broadly dividing the outline into three parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. In the above section, we explained what to include under each of these parts. After creating these three broad divisions, come up with a thesis and list what you will discuss in the body section.

Step 3: create a thesis statement.

The third phase is to craft a thesis statement. The thesis statement should touch on all aspects you will discuss in the body section. Examples of theses you can use based on the ideas presented in Step 1 include the following:

Thesis statement 1: The American ideals assist individuals in realizing the American dream in terms of profession and being happy.

Points you can talk about in the body paragraph that relate to this thesis are:

  • What is the American dream
  • How Americans have achieved their professions by utilizing the ideals
  • How have American ideals fostered happiness among the citizens?

Thesis statement 2: My life as an inhabitant has been smooth as my basic rights have been protected. 

Points to mention under the body using this thesis include:

  • Features of your smooth life
  • The specific rights that have been positively affected

Step 4: draft the essay

After following the above steps, you can start writing the essay. You can write the essay using whichever style you see fit. As stated above, many who have written about your topic have utilized a narrative or expository essay or combined both styles.

In the narrative essay, they describe their personal experiences. Such as telling about their life in America or how America has provided them with many opportunities.

In expository, they discuss other people, objects, or concepts. For instance, they may mention how the American ideals and constitution promote basic human rights.

Step 5: proofread

The last step is to proofread your work. Use the strategies below to proofread your essay effectively.

  • Go on a break, then come back with fresh eyes.
  • Tell a friend or family member to review the work for you
  • Use grammar and spellcheck tools, like Grammarly

Look for common errors such as syntax, spelling, and grammatical. You can use some forms of repetition in this essay, such as the phrase “being an American.”

What Are The Tips You Can Use When Writing A “What It Means To Be An American” Essay?

The general tips are:

  • Ensure clarity is at its best. Avoid using complex words and long sentences.
  • Avoid passive voice

If you use a narrative style in any part of the content, you may do the following:

  • Do not explain every specific detail of your personal experiences. For example, demonstrating each movement you made while going somewhere
  • Limit references
  • Avoid as much as possible using second-person narratives, such as greatly using “you.”

Suppose you incorporate an expository writing style in a particular section or the entire essay. In that case, you may use one or different subtypes of this essay, such as a process style, compare and contrast style, or “cause and effect” style. For instance, you may explain a specific American process, compare and contrast American policies with another nation, or how a specific aspect (cause) has affected you (effect).

In a nutshell, to write “what it means to be an American” essay, you will need to learn the different essay types and read several samples to understand the basics. Afterward, follow the 5 steps highlighted above to write the essay. You can use a mixture of different essay writing styles in your paper.

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author Melaine

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