The Declaration of Independence: The American Ideal
Once the twenty-eighth President of the USA Woodrow Wilson put it: “Sometimes people call me an idealist. Well that is the way I know I am an American. America is the only idealistic nation in the world” but where did it begin?
The US as many people say is a written country; it is still being written and it is adjusted to the documents. America was founded on the paper. Of course there was America before The Father Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in New England in November 1620. But America as we know it now was founded on the parchment which on 4 July, 1776 declared that the American colonies severed their political connections to Great Britain and were from now independent. This Bill is known world-wide and its name is The Declaration of Independence. In my essay on the declaration of independence I will try to tie the document and American idealistic vision.
I propose us firstly to learn a bit more about one of the most influential and powerful declaration in the world. So, what is it? Before the Declaration of Independence was adopted on the 4 July, 1776, the Thirteen Colonies and The United Kingdom were at war. Many Colonists disagreed with the British Crown which imposed a heavy taxation on its colonies in the New World. But colonies were not going to put up with it, indeed it was the other way around; they were prepared to defend their freedoms and rights. The British arrogant behavior and passed by the Parliament so called “Coercive Acts” in 1774 to retribute the Province of Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party of 1773 that only worsened relationship between the Mother Country and its colonies. The British Americans were quick to response. They saw in it the violation of British Constitution thus they saw it as a direct threat to liberties of British Americans. In September 1774, the First Continental Congress gathered in Philadelphia to make up a response. They boycotted the British goods, appealed to the King George but his response was somewhat disappointing; his letter to the Prime Minister reads: “blows must decide whether they are to be subject to this country or independent.” Neither doubts nor loyalty to the British Empire prevented a draft sketched by Jefferson and revised by Benjamin Franklin and John Adams to become the Declaration of Independence. After the more than a year of American Revolutionary War, on the 2 July, 1776 the Congress declared the independence from the British Crown. John Adams, one of the Fathers American nation , wrote to his wife Abigail: “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America”. But the Independence Day is celebrated on the 4 July when the representatives of the Thirteen Colonies signed it. The Declaration summed up colonist’s desire and motivation for independence. Declared themselves independent from Great Britain, the American colonists got a back-up from French in the war against the British Monarchy. This step eventually led to the British Empire acknowledgement of the independence of the United States of America.
The twentieth century is the American century. We do not need to look very far to see its huge success. The US has a tremendous influence across the world; it has got culturally, economically and diplomatically. Why does it have such a fortune? I think there is a spirit of the Declaration which every American feels consciously or unconsciously. There is an impression that many Americans were born drunk. They remain drunk with the champagne of Philadelphia and the Spirit of Philadelphia; a kind of that spirit in that crowd which gathered in pouring rain in Philadelphia to listen to the Declaration of Independence being read out. Certainly it has influenced the psychological makeup of the Americans. Every American feels that he has freedom, he is a unique, and his rights are respected. This kind of feeling makes an ordinary citizen feels special. But what is in particular an American Ideal? In my opinion it is that every American has his uniqueness and it makes the vision of ideal individual for every person. For someone it is the possibility to make money, I remember I listened to radio and a man from abroad was asked if he liked America and he answered that “America is free, free, free to make money” so for him it is the financial point. Another example is a Polish actress who came to the US, polished her accent and she had an enormous success. If she had come, say, to the UK she would probably not have such success. Almost every who says I am American can be accepted to the American society. It is a melting pot; the nation of millions of emigrants who call themselves Americans. Regardless where your parents come from if you were born in the USA you are an American; you are granted its citizenship. I think it the confidence that gave the Declaration to the Americans make them special and success. America is the only nation of the former British colonies which gained the independence at war. Every citizen is proud of his country. And Americans like success people unlike the other nations; they admire them and their successiveness. They have zeal for freedom, for pursuit of happiness. They believe in law, in their constitution and it is the effect of the Declaration. As Thomas Jefferson said: “Equal rights for all, special privileges for none.” It does make sense.
Gained in the bloody war with the British colonizers the Declaration of Independence strengthen the spirit and will of Americans and united the separate colonies in one country. The independence achieved through much suffering left its imprint on the psychological makeup of the Americans. The American Ideal speaks of the individuals’ right to be themselves, it speaks for the right of equality; it is deeply embedded in that original Philadelphian Ideal. The whole understanding of the US as a project could be impossible without the Declaration of independence.
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