What is the meaning of America?

September 28, 2009

Dear students and parents,

We’ve hit the ground running in Civics this year, and students have completed a number of creative projects related to immigration.   We are now transitioning to our second unit, during which we will explore the meaning of America.

In his essay on great ideas of the 20th Century, historian Wilfred McClay examines the role of America’s self-image.  Throughout its history, McClay argues, the idea of America has remained powerful, alluring, and controversial.

Indeed, America’s politicians and poets have fueled American exceptionalism.  Consider the short collection of monikers the nation has attracted over the years: The City Upon the Hill, Land of Opportunity, The First Nation, The Melting Pot, The Unfinished Nation, The Indispensable Nation .  .  . the list goes on and on.  For better or worse, it has been difficult for Americans to think of the United States as just another nation; the idea of a special national identity and destiny clings to the nation’s history.  We are constantly trying to determine the meaning of America.

As the eighth grade prepares to visit our nation’s capital in mid-October, we will explore this topic.  Additionally, we will examine the structure of the U.S. government and its relationship to America’s ideals.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  I’m looking forward to a challenging and rewarding unit!

Justin Loudermilk
[email protected]

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