Here in the United States, today is a very special day. Other countries celebrate Independance from whomever or whatever they became independant of but more times than not, it doesn’t stick. It seems like every few years, we hear of another coup d’état happening somewhere in the world. In Fiji last year, the government was overthrown in a bloodless coup – this only six years after the Fijian coup of 2000. Clearly, these people have a serious case of ADD or something.
In the United States, we have amazingly weathered some pretty intense storms in our past 231 years. Somehow, a ragtag set of colonialists with nothing in common save indignation over the tyrannical rule of the British Crown managed to defeat the war machine of the British Empire in 1776. Then again in 1814. Split by a deep hatred in 1862, the country weathered secession and civil war and by doing so, seemed to commit to a less than ideal path of overbearing centralized government.
In 1917, the United States entered World War I against the judgment of the populous of the United States and as a supplemental force backing England. After World War I, Congress decided it was a good idea to outlaw alcohol and passed the 18th Amendment to the Constituion introducing the era of Prohibitionsim. This failed policy was repealed in 1933 during the Great Depression as the government realized that, aside from being failed policy, was preventing potential economic benefit necessary to escape the Depression.
A mere 8 years later, the United States would exit their historical posture of isolationism and enter World War II after being blind sided at Pearl Harbor. This ended with the introduction of the nuclear age in 1945.
In the last 60 years, upheaval and progress have mutually been the name of the game. In that time, we have had 13 armed conflicts and 0 declared wars.
- Korea (1950-1953)
- Bay of Pigs, Cuba (1961)
- Vietnam (1961-1973)
- Dominican Republic (1965)
- Lebanon (1982-1984)
- Grenada (1983)
- Panama (1989)
- Gulf War (1991)
- Somalia (1993)
- Bosnia (1994-1995)
- Kosovo (1999)
- Afghanistan (2001-present)
- Iraq (2003-present)
Added: Through my sleepiness, I forgot to talk about the good stuff too.
- Played a large role in the downfall of the Soviet Bloc
- Civil Rights
- Women’s Right
- Provided aid around the world
- Played critical role in the evolution of the internet
- Powered the bulk of the economic boom of the 1990s (and the bubble burst!)
America has been through a lot. We’ve done alot. Good and bad. Politics aside, I’d like to return to the period of isolationism, but that won’t happen.
This country is a great country. We may not have the best reputation at this time, but the country is still great. We’ve made many mistakes, but the principles that have guided this country for 231 years have been a solid foundation while countries like Fiji go through coup after coup. Don’t believe the hype. Despite our mistakes, this nation remains a great nation. Happy Birthday, America.