Proud To Be An American: I Do Not Choose To Be A Common Man

Proud-To-Be-An-AmericanI do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon — if I can.

I seek opportunity — not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me.

I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole.

I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia.

I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat.

It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, this I have done.

All this is what it means to be an American.

Dean Alfange (1897-1989) wrote this statement in the 1950’s. It has also been referred to as “An American Creed: I Do Not Choose to Be a Common Man,” and “My Creed.” It originally appeared in This Week Magazine. A condensed version was published in Reader’s Digest.

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