Honors English IIB
March 16, 2014
Freedom: The American Dream
Throughout history, America has exceeded the limits and expectations other countries regrettably laid upon us. From writing the very first Constitution to conquering Hawaii and Puerto Rico, America has grown from on tiny colony to a country three times the size of Germany. The United States of America is now known as one of the most powerful civilizations in the world. Though, this power would not have occurred without a goal in the hearts of many. The original colonists that came to North America in order to construct a new life made the treacherous journey for one reason and one reason only- freedom. The Great Britain dictatorship forced its’ citizens into worshipping the same religion as their ruler. Anyone who tried to follow a different way of thinking was either arrested or put to death. No human should have to constantly live in fear and reticence. Colonists viewed the actions of Great Britain as wrong and unjust. They grew tired of being safe but yet not having the chance to live. The colonists’ thirst for freedom launched America into what it is today. According to American essayist and social critic H.L. Mencken, “The average man does not want to be free. He simply wants to be safe”. Whereas this may be true in other countries around the world, the American people have proven throughout history that freedom was their one and only goal.
As American evolved into its’ own free nation, many problems developed. Because of the harsh ruling that colonists barely escaped from, many people did not trust or admire the idea of a new government. They feared that their fight for freedom would perish if another leader took rule. With this Cain 2
in mind, a group of men, referred to as the Founding Fathers of America, came together and created a document full of fair rules and procedures for the American government to follow. While writing the American Constitution, the thought of just keeping the American people “safe” barely passed through their minds. They wanted freedom; freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom for every American to decide the path in which their precious life would follow. Yes, laws like creating a military to protect America’s people were established, but nowhere else in the U.S. Constitution did the Founding Fathers refer to their only want as safety.
Although America began to expand and grow under the Constitution, a major phenomenon began to flourish across American soil. Most citizens were handed safety on a daily basis, but only the people with snow-colored skin had absolute freedom. Because African Americans were looked down upon by the whites, over time they changed from being called human beings to property of whites. The act in which African Americans were sold like animals between white settlers in order to provide workers for their fields was called slavery. Though white masters usually gave their slaves protection and a place to sleep, safety did not make up for the harsh labor conditions slaves were forced to battle through on a daily basis. In circumstances like these, Mencken is proven wrong by the suffering African American population. Their need for freedom drove America to fight against itself. Even in Africa, around the 2000’s, people fought against their government and neighbors in order to stop the slavery acts that were still taking place years after America solved theirs. Though, the slavery act that took place in America lasted for an extremely protracted time. Slaves’ bravery and thirst for freedom drove them to fight to their death. They threw safety and the little comfort they had away in order to gain absolute freedom for themselves and future generations.
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