An American is an individual who is a citizen under the statutory or the constitutional category and confers complete membership in the American polity (Park, 2014). The definition of a person who qualifies to be called an American citizen has changed over the last decades. This is because of the constant evolution of the law, constitution and cultural aspects. A person may be categorized as an American under various circumstances. Some of these aspects are perceived to be legal whereas others are cultural. They include Americans by birth within the United States, birth to American parents overseas, and naturalization which is controlled by the federal statutes. The American people are entitled to the privileges and rights of the citizens as outlined in the American citizen. The people of the United States are a critical element of the whole national structure.
Since the acquisition of the American constitution in 1878, the definition and perception of whom an American is has taken different dimensions and perspectives. The changes to the definition of who an American is, has been influenced by various factors over time. These influences have been caused by complex factors and considerations that were followed by complex arguments that led to the change of the definition in the law and the society. The evolution was also greatly affected by relevant international declarations and conventions. The orientation of the identity has also tilted the law in the social and cultural structures to make the law adopt a humane and rational definition (Marsden, 2004).
Being American does not imply that an individual has to come from a certain racial, cultural, or historical background. There are people from very many races across the world who are entitled to be Americans. In the United States and across the world, there are white Americans, Black Americans, African Americans, Indian Americans, Asian American and several others. The most important thing is to acquire the necessary documents and qualifications to achieve that title. Some people may have acquired the title through a natural process while others have to undergo processes to acquire the status (Marsden, 2004). Most of those who are not Americans through natural means are immigrants that get into the border of the United States for various purposes.
Legally, a person who is born in America is an American. This applies even if one or both the parents are in America illegally. This does not apply to people in official or diplomatic assignments in the United States. The congress has superior powers to define on the status of an individual’s definition as pertains to the citizenship and acts of expatriation. A person can relinquish from the American title voluntarily. An individual who is born outside America with both parents being American also automatically qualifies to be an American (Marsden, 2004).
Not all people who stay in America are Americans. Different people come to America for different purposes. These can be visitations or diplomatic missions. This does not entitle them to become Americans automatically (Mercedes, 2014). The law has guidelines on how the citizenship can be acquired. Some other people, who step in America for studies and green cards, also have their right procedures on how to acquire the American title. This is sometimes required the person has to stay in America for a specified period to acquire full entitlement (Marsden, 2004).
The people of the American nation have ideal freedom and independence to stay and use the resources of America freely (Marsden, 2004). This can also include all the Americans who stay in various parts of the world, but are entitled to the Citizenship legally and the immigrants from different races who have the citizenship title legally. These perspectives are unique identifiers of the country in the international scene. There are various things that unite the American people who have various backgrounds (Sullivan & Kirk, 2001). Some of these aspects are commonly identified to be the national symbols of unity defined in the constitution and some facets that present social and cultural justice.
The values, goals and believes that unite America are formulated to control and govern all groups of people in order to enhance the level of justice, equality and equity among the people of the United States. Culturally, a person is perceived to be an American in professing his or her identity and belonging to a unique nation. This is an expression that is besides the jurisdiction in the national law (Park, 2014). An American is identified through the heritage and big deeds with certain ideals that define a sense of belonging to the culture of America. This attachment can be related directly with a sense of self, for better for worse, and the deep emotion for the nation and resources related to the American identity (Marsden, 2004). Some of the aspects that develop along these regulations include the language as one of the unifying factors. The language unifies the people and the evolutions that have been experienced in the cultural orientations due to globalization and other social influences have enhanced the growth of the language to suit the needs of the society.
However, some of the aspects of national unity can also be attributed to some of the differences among the American people. One of the classical examples includes language. Language is one of the elemental factors that enhances unity among the American and it also acts as a threat to the unity (Park, 2014). This is because some of the people are discriminated against their native identities because of the use of language. Consequently, these affects the stability of the American society.
To be perceived or to possess the title of being an American is not just seen from the legal side. It is a strong statement of personal and political identity that generates complex ideas (Park, 2014). Having loyalty to the unique identities of the United States like the flag, currency, culture and language is instrumental towards promoting the state of togetherness, unity and pride among the people. It also signalizes powerful and often contradictory sentiments and ideologies which are alike to both Americans and non-Americans. The rich significance if the status is so broad and wide that the rules and laws governing the American citizenship have never captured the full identity.