Proud Americans?

Theodore Roosevelt declared in a speech in 1907 that an American can be defined as someone who is ‘in every facet an American, and nothing but an American’, with sole loyalty to ‘the American flag’ and ‘the American people’. The national anthem of the United States, The Star-Spangled Banner, is undoubtedly a potent symbol of what it means to be American. Written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key, the poem that later became the national anthem illustrates American perseverance in the face of Britain’s relentless naval bombardment of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore. The national anthem thus serves as a reminder of how the American nation had to be fought for, which also evokes the experience of the Revolutionary War. It is therefore a powerful representation of the American national character – one that emphasizes such values as liberty, valor, and patriotism.