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Thesis (M.A.) from the year 2009 in the subject American Studies - Culture and Applied Geography, grade: 2,0, University of Duisburg-Essen, language: English, abstract: Who is and who might be American? The question has challenged the U.S. quite from the beginning of the nation. Unlike other western countries, the United States of America was formed without an immediate antecedent ethnie, but through different waves of immigration. Its multicultural society is considered to be the world's largest immigration country and is known for its varying cultural scenes. Its racial make-up is extraordinary heterogeneous and its composition is permanently changing. Hence, Americans become insecure of their cultural and national identity. Are they one people or several? What differentiates them from their neighbors? Should the nation use the cultural distinctiveness of the dominant ethnie to articulate a national identity or should it recognize the minorities? Should its population be multi- or unicultural, a salad bowl or a melting pot? As a consequence, two contradictory principles emerged. One that fostered uniformity and another that encouraged diversity. This MA thesis demonstrates that the nation's quarrel about its national identity runs through American history. First of all, this MA thesis will discuss why the United States has difficulties to find a national identity. Different reasons for immigration to the United States will be explained and discussed. Then, present and future immigration trends will be demonstrated. The next section concentrates on the racial composition of the United States. Further, current changes in America's multiracial make-up and future predictions will be analyzed. The following chapter will deal with changing concepts of national identity in American history. First of all, concepts that base on America's conformity will be presented. Different ideas of acculturation and assimilation are in the center of interest and will be illustrated. The following section will deal with concepts of American national identity that base on diversity. The films The Birth of a Nation by D.W. Griffith and Crash by Paul Haggis illustrate these tendencies. The silent movie The Birth of a Nation will depict the ideology and consequences of Anglo-Saxon racism. The film Crash will illustrate consequences and failures of present multiculturalism. The last chapter will finally analyze what holds the United States and its diverse population together. All these discussions seek to answer the question what keeps American people united and what does it mean to be an American.