By Bill Ward
---- — It seems to me that America has in the past had an idea of destiny, one that started at Concord and continues to today. A great experiment was begun with the shot heard around the world. It continued on through the remainder of the Revolution and spawn the Constitution and a nation that was destined to bring a new definition of freedom to the world. A country that was a can do country, a new country one that didn’t know what was or was not supposed to be able to be done. Nothing was unattainable in the minds of those people who came to our shores from all over the world over the next decades.
What was started as a family squabble and ended as a new nation that felt a manifest destiny and had the guts and desire to make it a place where an individual had the opportunity to be able to make good and make a good living. We were a country where the individual freedom was as important as most anything else in their minds and desires. A country that didn’t tell a person what they had to do - those people had the opportunity to do as they pleased, within reason, and prosper or go broke.
When Jefferson decided to purchase the Louisiana Purchase and have Lewis and Clark explore that region and beyond, our sense of manifest destiny was born. France needed money, we needed land so it was a good deal for both. Lewis and Clark spent years exploring and when they returned, many found the desire to go west young man, go west. A few countries and ideas got in the way, but west we went. Many coveted Canada, but the English and Canadians didn’t necessarily covet us so that was pretty well out of the question, although we did try. Mexico felt it was the owner of much of the now southwest, we disagreed and over time gained Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and the gem of the west California.
Fighting words of 54/40 or fight were echoed by many, but eventually Britain, Canada and the United States agreed on a boundary for Canada and the U.S. in the north. After a war or two and other disagreements, Mexico and the U.S. finally came to a satisfactory deal on the southern boundary of our country. We had smaller yet still bloody disagreements with Spain for Florida and eventually between our selves and ended up with a bloody Civil War. After this war, we grew and grew rapidly. Railroads were coast to coast and people had the ability of easily, for the time, to go west and do so rapidly as well. We got messed up in others business in Central and South America and the Monroe Doctrine came about and until today has remained in effect.
We found ourselves with foreign countries as colonies, but we finally gave those who wanted it - freedom the Philippines come to mind. Almost immediately after WWII, we granted them their independence and they then fought a faction of their people who wanted something different from Democracy. We made mistakes and did not become the benevolent country to our Native Americans as we should have and herded them into reservations. Ended up a world power like it or not and fought and won two wars in Europe and the East and saw many more world countries get their freedom and many lost it or didn’t take to it even today. We have stuck out noses into some areas we should possibly not have done so, but we always felt we were doing what was for the best.
During this time we also gave a home to millions of people from other countries, people who wanted what we had, freedom and choice of how to live. We have made mistakes on the way and still are, but we tried, found some things good others bad and kept the best tossed the bad. We have allowed many others into our country, sometimes many that we should have possibly been a tad more concerned about. We fought a Cold War and won over the powers of Dictatorship and then found ourselves in a fog of peace. We have done some good things, some not so good, but we have done and learned and hopefully will continue to do so. We have found ourselves in a position of being a world power, a super power, a country not to trifle with.
We have remained a Republic and have managed to prove Lord Acton’s theory that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We have had powerful Presidents and powerless Presidents, but all were freely elected and not at any time in our history did we have military or civilian coup. We did have a Civil War, but even though it pitted family against family after the North won, the South were welcomed back into the fold and our country grew and grew fast primarily because we were one country, one people. Today, we face more domestic and foreign problems than I can ever remember and how we act, and how we will grow or not depends greatly on us, the individual American and how we allow our government to act. We are still the Untied States and we are still pretty free and I believe most of us want it to remain that way.