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Who Are We? Summary

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Who Are We? SummaryThe Challenges to America’s National Identity

American identity may have been a questionable assumption three centuries ago, but, nowadays, it’s so fixed and ubiquitous that even non-Americans want to define themselves through it.

Well, not if you ask renowned political scientist Samuel P. Huntington. In “Who Are We?”, he claims that American identity is under threat by Hispanic immigration. And that we must do something about it before it’s too late.

About Samuel P. Huntington

Samuel Huntington

Samuel P. Huntington was an American academic and political scientist. He worked as a Professor at Harvard for more than half a century. He is most famous for his 1993 article, “The Clash of Civilizations” which would grow into the same-titled oft-cited bestseller three years later.

Huntington has written many other books, including “The Soldier and the State” and “The Third Wave.”

“Who Are We? Summary”

Most of the people, writes Samuel Huntington in “Who Are We?” believe that the American Creed is the core of the American identity. However, it is something much more complex and much less secular. And, in his opinion, it is currently under serious threat.

American identity probably began with the British colonialists. Sometime in the 18th century, they stopped considering themselves as merely British. And during the next century, they evolved a very specific identity which we now known as American.

So, what are the fundamental tenets of this identity?

Well, according to most of the world, the “principles of liberty, equality, individualism, representative government, and private property.” This is what the American Creed actually is. It is what makes America exceptional. Because, as G. K. Chesterton wrote in 1922, it was “the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed.”

However, in Huntington’s opinion, this is simply not true. In fact, the very same year Chesterton wrote the above quoted sentence, numerous Eurasian republics united to form another nation founded on a creed: the Soviet Union.

And during the 20th century, few other socialist countries followed suit, such as the Czech Republic and Yugoslavia.

Socialism aside, these three have two things in common. First of all, they all attempted to unite different nationalities and cultures on ideology only. And secondly – they all collapsed.

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