What impresses you about what American got right during its first hundred odd years?

As you think about the course material, what impresses you about what American got right during its first hundred odd years?

The first hundred years were undoubtedly the most trying time in American history. Having just overcome herculean odds to deservingly gain independence the country was all systems go and morale and patriotism were arguably at their peak. The Americans, however, were not contempt at the fact that thirteen of their original colonies were still under the British Empire. Immediately following the Declaration of Independence, the colonist, wanting to be part of the greater America, engaged in a state of rebellion against the British domain leading to the American Revolution. Though bloody with many lives lost, this was led to the independence of these thirteen colonies and their amalgamation into the American country. This war was a correct move aimed at achieving the greater America and joining the colonies into one country.

The enactment and declaration of the American constitution was a monumental point in history. This document outlined guidelines for the government to reassure all its citizens. It also created a sense of both oneness and unity among the states. Thirdly, the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition served to expand the then American territory. It was spearheaded by Thomas Jefferson who bought 827000 sq. miles of land from France for $15 million[1]. He then sent Lewis and Clark to go explore this new land. Other significant developments during the 100 day period after the declaration of Independence include the construction of the Trans-Continental Railroad and the invention of the Telegraph.

Was there something in McClure’s address that made you stop and think?

McClure’s speech was full of hope and promise, however, one sentence was more outstanding that the rest. McClure states that, “the present is full of promise: the future of our great people is the brightest of all peoples on earth.”[2] Looking at the great country of America now this statement makes perfect sense. Nevertheless, at the time of his speech, America was a shell of its present self. It had been devastated by conflicts and was nowhere close to being either the land of the free or the land of opportunity. McClure appears to be more optimistic and realistic given the setting and background of the speech. The time also betrays McClure as at that time America was not close to being the superpower it is currently. It looks quite over ambitious for a new country to call itself great and boast of having the greatest future on earth.

The absence of basic infrastructure and a strong economy like those possessed by the likes of Britain and France would have belittled this American dream. However, as the saying goes where there is a will there is a way, this once farfetched imagination has become a living reality. McClure achieved his most intended desire which was both to reassure the American populace and to spur a sense of nationalism and a desire to grow their country. He greatly rooted the American dream and pride in its people and inculcated an indefatigable sense of patriotism that has made America the marvel it is today.

How do you see this war in relation to the history you have learned since Module/Week 1?

Most historical wars were based on the acquisition of wealth and territory. However, this war was different even in its build up. The pivotal reason for this bloody confrontation was the basic human right of freedom. Slavery was the heart of this battle and the fight for or against human dignity. Needless to say, the outcome of this war birthed freedom for slaves who achieve citizenship and were accepted as part and parcel of the American dream and accorded equal rights with their white counterparts.

 

 

Bibliography

Bakeless, John. Lewis and Clark: Partners in Discovery. Courier Corporation, 2012.

Zinn, Howard. A people’s history of the United States. Pan Macmillan, 2014.

[1]              John Bakeless, Lewis and Clark: Partners in Discovery. Courier Corporation, 2012.

 

[2]              Howard Zinn, A people’s history of the United States. Pan Macmillan, 2014.