Are we living up to the America envisioned by our founding fathers?
My first answer to this question is another question: was the original vision for America ever truly perfect? No. This vision was created by men. Men who are flawed. Men who believed in owning people. Men who believed women should not be given basic rights. These men were not perfect, but they were dreamers.
Men like George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin believed in a better country. A free country. A place where people could live and thrive under the freedoms it provided. At the time, their beliefs were radical. Even though flawed, their beliefs built the foundation of our nation.
America has gone through so many changes since its founding. We have grown. We have amended our constitution to extend rights to all people, furthering our nation’s foundation of freedom and equality. The United States is still new in comparison to other countries, but has quickly grown and established itself as one of the world’s leading nations.
I believe sometimes people glorify the past. They forget some of the worst times America has ever faced were in the beginning. Early settlers were faced with starvation and disease, the colonies lived through the American Revolution and the Union and Confederate America fought a civil war. These problems happened because leaders are not perfect. They constantly struggle for power or money.
I think the founding fathers might be proud of some of the advancements the nation has made. America has continued to improve the freedom given to its citizens. I also think, however, that America has declined in areas such as terrorism, drug addiction and partisanism. America has simultaneously become all that the founding fathers envisioned but also what they feared.
Simply, I think the answer does not matter. America has faced the same problems for years: racial inequality, women’s rights, conflicts with other countries and so much more. The truth is, no one will ever completely be satisfied with what they have, but that’s the American dream, right? The dream that anyone’s highest aspirations and goals can be achieved.
Benjamin Franklin said, “The U.S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.”
We look back in history for guidance from our founding fathers. We use their slogans and propaganda as inspiration to advance political agendas. No one can really know for sure how they would react to the America we live in today. These men are simply that-- men. They faced problems just like we do today and tried their hardest to make the right decisions, but people always have different ideas as to what they determine as right and wrong.
America today has grown immensely in technology and communication, but the further we advance, the more divided we have become. Living in America today is no longer about patriotism; it is far more complicated. Peoples’ allegiance lies with the categories that divide us. We identify as Republican, Democrat, ACAB, pro-life and other titles which increase our country’s division.
“There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution,” said political philosopher and second president of the United States John Adams.
Americans need to remember their roots. They live in a nation, under God, that provides liberty and justice for all. I believe that this country can hold widely differing beliefs and still be unified. I also believe this is only possible if people are willing to fight for unity. The constant need to be a part of a group or to continuously pit American against American will be the downfall of our country.
“The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending against all hazards. And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks,” said Samuel Adams.