While grappling with ideas for a book on American identity (Journey into America, Brookings Press, forthcoming) I’ve been trying to figure out what actually defines an American and would be grateful for any assistance by readers of this column.
The primary definition involves the legal citizenship of the United States. This ensures the protection guaranteed by the Constitution and, in turn, obliges the citizen to accept the philosophy underlying the Constitution. The concept and practice of checks and balances is fundamental to the Constitution. The citizen can also assume the protection of the military and the other security agencies from different kinds of threats.
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