Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Last Best Hope

I have been yearning for some time to start a blog on America and discuss topics related to its history, its politics, and what I believe this country is all about. I chose the title for the blog from Bill Bennett's survey history of the United States: America The Last Best Hope.

The phrase, the "last best hope" was originally used by Abraham Lincoln in his annual message to Congress, delivered in December 1862. Lincoln spoke of the battle to save the Union and its vital significance, "We -- even we here -- hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free -- honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth."

Just as the sun was rising, on the morning of April 19, 1775, the first shots were fired in what became the American Revolution. This was a revolution against the tyranny of rulers, kings, and governments. This was a revolution for individual rights. This revolution did not end with the Battle of Yorktown, but continued through the Constitutional Convention, the opening of the American west, a war between the states, and a fight for the rights of all citizens. Mistakes were made along the way. Native Americans were driven from their lands, slavery persisted long after the founding of the republic, religious minorities were suppressed, and patriotic Americans were wrongly imprisoned. By and large, the march of the American republic has moved to right these wrongs and give every man and woman the opportunity to seek his or her dream, the American dream.

However, the rise of Communism and Fascism in the 20th Century, began a march towards socialistic philosophies. The fascist nations were defeated in World War II. The Soviet empire collapsed in the late part of the century. Still, a march towards socialism and collectivist thought and practice continues throughout the world and restricts the ability of individual citizens to fully achieve their dreams. Though slower, the United States is also heading down this path. In recent months, the path towards socialism within this country has increased as the federal government has bailed out or taken control of financial institutions and automobile producers. There is movement towards greater government control of medicine. Regulations continue to choke a variety of industries.

Is America still the last, best hope for freedom? I believe it is. The U.S. Constitution contains the principles that allow for the reversal of trends towards reduced individual liberty and increased collectivism. I will post in this blog my beliefs regarding the role of government and my comments on the events of the day as they impact the foundations of this great nation. I am no Thomas Paine, but in my own way I hope to affect those who visit this blog.

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