When Was America Ever Great?
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

When Was America Ever Great?

And will it ever be great?

450
When Was America Ever Great?
State Symbols USA

America was built upon the beliefs that every man is entitled to his God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. However, those beliefs took root in our nation through rebellion and violence. The bloodshed it has taken to reach the liberty that we have today is appalling, and although we seem to be the freest we've ever been, most groups of people are still very limited in their own ways. People of color experience racism and women face misogyny just as they have throughout history. Although the United States of America has had some pretty good times when was it ever truly great?

When our founding fathers were fighting for freedom by writing the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation and fighting in the Revolutionary War, many of them owned slaves. Thomas Jefferson had children with his slave mistress whom many historians often do not acknowledge. Our first president George Washington hired slave-catchers to capture his infamous runaway slave Oney Judge. Judge ran away simply because if she were to be given away as a wedding gift as planned, she would never gain her freedom. Although slavery was the norm at the time, looking back, how can we call that greatness?

Our nation went to war over slavery. Our ancestors fought brother against brother, father against son, over the atrocious issue of owning another human being. A tremendous amount of blood was shed. Lives lost all to own another. And just as the American Civil War was ending, the American Indian Wars began. One atrocity leads to another. Native Americans, the original Americans, were pushed off of their lands which they had been fighting for since the days that Hernando Cortes and Christopher Columbus set foot here. Given very small living spaces and laughable commodities, the government actually acknowledges their wrongdoings by allowing tribes to govern themselves by their own laws today. But again, how can we call any of this greatness?

World War II created a generation of brave men who fought in a bloody war. It ended in a large economic boom as well as a baby boom, but it was all due to war. There's a reason for the stereotype of Miss Universe and Miss America wishing for world peace, and it's because of things such as this. I tip my hat to and thank all veterans, although I'm sure they can attest to the fact that war is great for its monstrous destruction of things, but not in itself. Even the unity created through war to come together to defeat the enemy or to create peace is not great due to the death that ensues.

The 1950s and 60s were great for housewives and white salesmen, but not for African Americans as many lived and died for the cause of the Civil Rights Movement. They had to fight blood, tooth, and nail for their God-given rights that are labeled in the United States Constitution. For the longest time, African American men were seen as only three-fifths of a person. To pseudo-quote George Orwell's Animal Farm, "All men are created equal, but some are more equal than others." This is not greatness.

Today, we still face many violations of greatness. The government has access to everything about us. To quote George Orwell again, this from 1984, "Big Brother is watching." Immigrants face the threat of never experiencing the American Dream because of racism. It's ironic because the ancestors of those creating that racism were immigrants themselves in pursuit of the American Dream. These are scary times; this is not greatness.

I say all of this out of the desperate desire for knowledgeable negativity rather than ignorant negativity.

We sweep many horrific American incidents under the rug in the name of greatness. But the monstrosity of many of these incidents is too big to truly cover up, so I'd be enlightened to know when America was truly ever great.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee
nappy.co

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

92001
college students waiting in a long line in the hallway
StableDiffusion

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less
a man and a woman sitting on the beach in front of the sunset

Whether you met your new love interest online, through mutual friends, or another way entirely, you'll definitely want to know what you're getting into. I mean, really, what's the point in entering a relationship with someone if you don't know whether or not you're compatible on a very basic level?

Consider these 21 questions to ask in the talking stage when getting to know that new guy or girl you just started talking to:

Keep Reading...Show less
Lifestyle

Challah vs. Easter Bread: A Delicious Dilemma

Is there really such a difference in Challah bread or Easter Bread?

70766
loaves of challah and easter bread stacked up aside each other, an abundance of food in baskets
StableDiffusion

Ever since I could remember, it was a treat to receive Easter Bread made by my grandmother. We would only have it once a year and the wait was excruciating. Now that my grandmother has gotten older, she has stopped baking a lot of her recipes that require a lot of hand usage--her traditional Italian baking means no machines. So for the past few years, I have missed enjoying my Easter Bread.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments