In order to decipher what it means to be an American you have to look at the past and what has brought this freedom upon us. George Washington once said "The basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitution of government." Up until 1776 when the War ended, none of this was possible. Great Britain was making the laws and making decisions about what the people of the thirteen colonies could or couldn't do. .
The first amendment of the Constitution prohibits Congress from taking away one's right of speech, press, petition, as well as religion, which is a valuable part of being an American. Having this freedom available to us could very well have saved other countries many wars if they would have let the citizens choose their own religion and not discriminate against it. Wars like the Crusades between the Christians and the Muslims, which started in 1095 and led to 1096, also continued from 1097- 1127, was fought over the control of the land of Jerusalem. Over half a million people died. Another example would be the Lebanese Civil war, in which both the Sunnis and the Shiites, two religious communities fought for government control. Nearly 150,000 people were killed during 1975-1990. .
On December 1, 1955, a women from Alabama demonstrated her rights of petition by refusing to give up her seat to a white man after a long day's work. We recognize this woman by the name of Rosa Parks. She was just one American who demonstrated her rights. Another example of demonstrating the freedom we now possess that allows us to truly call ourselves Americans was Martin Luther King Jr. He showed the rights of free speech. In the book The Epic of America written by James Truslow Adams in 1931 stated that The American Dream was one many immigrants have of a land in which life should be better for each person based on their ability and their achievements.