In a speech of president Obama's he used " we as a people". This "a people" thing is kind of confusing to me.
Would somebody be kind enough to give me an explanaion please?
People, as a singular noun, can refer to a community of persons with something in common (nationality, religion, culture, language, etc.). When President Obama uses "we as a people," he is actually invoking the last speech of Dr. Martin Luther King, in which he so eloquently said, "...we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land."
While Dr. King was referring to African-American people, President Obama is referring to all Americans as a people... but by brilliantly invoking Dr. King, he reminds us that "we as a people" have not always been united.
Anyway, just substitute the word "people" with "group" and it will make sense: "We as a group will..."
By the way, "we as a people" is also similar to the Preamble to our Constitution, which begins, "We the people, in order to form a more perfect union..." Using the phrase "we as a people" makes us think of the ideals inherent in our democracy and, by doing so, appeals to our better (and more noble) nature.
Hope I've helped...
I'm so thankful to both of you for your explanations. Not it's clear to me.