America the Beautiful is Changing
Americans believe they live in a beautiful country. There are many advantages to living in America, such as having a secure government, a controlled military, a judicial system that works, breathtaking landscapes, cleanliness, and the many freedoms that are granted to citizens in the U.S. Constitution. America became a rising power early in its life, allowing for these benefits. Although the United States of America is one of the great world powers, and perhaps the most supreme, its economic practices are driven toward the idea of spending and consumerism and the population’s values have become entirely reconstituted since its founding.
“My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing; land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims' pride, from ev'ry mountainside, let freedom ring!” (Comissiong 11). Every American, perhaps, is familiar with this song. “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” is a widely popular song taught to children in elementary schools, sung at commemorative military ceremonies, and played before national celebrations. The song, like America’s national anthem, the “Star-Spangled Banner,” is a patriotic representation of America, created by an American for Americans with an intention of inspiration and pride. From the very days of the founding of the country, Americans have been extremely patriotic. After winning an almost impossible battle against Great Britain, American patriotism has been strong. The line “…the bombs bursting in air” from the “Star-Spangled Banner” represents the cannons firing in celebration of the victory of the American Revolution. These songs condition Americans to believe that their country is a magnificent one. Thoughts such as these have led to a belief of supremacy (Comissiong 11). Earnest Beginnings Turn the U.S. into a Leading World Power. The powerful spirit of the First and Second Great Awakenings – a series of revivals in the late 1700s and early 1800s that took place across the country to motivate Americans to reawaken their religious vigor – demonstrates that Americans were devout Christians who were willing to restructure their lives around religion. Family and community life was, at the time, based in Christianity. Certainly, Americans held religion in high regard. In the early 1800s, Americans began settling the Louisiana territory. By mid-century, they were following the path of Manifest Destiny into savage, untamed lands that had never before seen the bottom of a white man’s shoe. During this time, Americans were rough, tough, and accustomed to the wilderness. With an agrarian economy, homesteaders settled in the Great Plains to cultivate land and to raise corn and other crops for their livelihood. As the Industrial Revolution boomed in Europe, it also reached the United States. America exported steel, raw materials, corn crops, and other materials that made it wealthy and open for business with foreign countries. Industrial businesses thrived. One in particular, the Carnegie Steel Company, even topped British steel production in the early 1900s (Duiker, William J. and Jackson J. Spielvogel 498). America was becoming a mighty power, but it was unbalanced. The North and the South were growing and developing, but their ways were divergent. The North, which had a booming industrial economy, contained railroads and was the center for business and commerce (Duiker and Spielvogel 497). The South, on the other hand, was completely agrarian, and its main crop was cotton. The little farming done in the North consisted of more than cotton. Thus, the North and South progressed at different rates, and the South’s use of slavery as a way of life added conflict to the matter. The two regions of the United States could not continue with a slow economy in the South and a booming economy in the North. The outbreak of Civil War in 1861 was costly and devastating, wiping out 2 percent of the American population (Lapsansky-Werner, Emma J.,...
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