Library of Congress
Long before immigrants from
other nations arrived on its shores, Native Americans called the
North American continent their home. Today, the majority of Americans
trace their family origins to a country other than the United States.
Many of our forebears came to this country seeking greater freedom
or an opportunity for a better life. Some of us can trace our roots
to ancestors who came against their will and were forced to provide
the labor that helped build the nation. Whether they were the native
inhabitants of this continent, or came from distant shores, the
citizens of the United States brought to this nation a pride in
their heritage, and distinctive cultural traditions and values.
The United States has been characterized
as a "melting pot" in which each ingredient blends into
a single dish. Likewise, the United States has been characterized
as a "salad bowl" in which each ingredient reserves its
own flavor and texture while contributing to the aggregate salad.
Perhaps, President Jimmy Carter characterized the nature of the
United States best ...
become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different
people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different
hopes, different dreams.
So who is an American? How do YOU define an "American"? Does the definition matter? Why? How does the great cultural diversity of our population influence the life of our nation? What common characteristics do citizens of the United States have and how does this commonality shape the nation? What are YOUR questions?