is a documentary narrated by Harry Smith.
Via: Youtube & The History Channel
Today is the 243rd birthday of the United States of America; it was on July 4th, 1776, that the Continental Congress declared that the 13 American colonies would no longer listen to or be subject to the authority of Britain and its monarchy and were together united in their fight for freedom. The declaration was signed by representatives from New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
July 4th officially commemorates the Declaration of Independence, which was drafted by a “Committee of Five,” but was essentially written by Thomas Jefferson, the delegate from Virginia. This declaration of independence, which Congress said would declare the the united colonies as “free and independent states,”came at the beginning of the American Revolutionary War [1775–1783]. Britain’s defeat led to the cultivation and formation of a great and powerful nation, the United States, a child of the Enlightenment, but it would take more than a century for that to occur.
As an interesting fact, while George Washington was the first president [1789–1797], Martin van Buren, the eighth president [1837–1841], was the first to be born in America as an American citizen (in 1782 in Kinderhook, New York); the previous seven men were born as British subjects. They then became American citizens, but only after they won the war for their independence.
New nations are beset with all kinds of problems, especially after a long and costly war. It would take another 100 years before America would become an economic powerhouse and until the end of the 19th century that America would become a military power, beginning with the Spanish-American War of 1898 and confirming it by the First World War. That was, without a doubt, a major turning point.
Today it remains both. It was also then, and for most of its modern history, a nation of immigrants. What can be said about immigrants that has not already been written, that is already not known? Sure, most are hard-working; sure, most are law-abiding; and sure most give back greatly to their adopted country. Despite this, there have been periods in its history when America, symbolized by the Statue of Liberty (dedicated on October 28, 1886), was not always welcoming to one ethnic group or another (e.g., Chinese, Jews, Japanese).
But such spasms of nationality or nativism eventually passed; America, after all, is a creation of the Enlightenment, and was founded on democratic liberal principles. There is no nation in Europe like it. When it comes down to it, I refuse to believe that this period of illiberalism and nativism, coupled with revanchism, will last long; I believe that it is temporary, and it too will pass, because the American people are built this way. The fundamental values of liberalism that Americans hold dear are still strong, and will still prevail. Despite the very real partisan divide, most Americans hold favorable views on immigrants. And this trend continues today.
It is never wrong to do the right thing; better yet if others join you in the good fight. On this holiday, amidst the barbecues, amidst the fireworks and amidst the parades, I have another wish, namely, that America begins its return to the America that I used to know, the one that, for the most part, made it a welcoming and just nation, that do not view outsiders as foreign invaders or as aliens. I believe that a vast majority of Americans view migrants as people who are leaving oppression and persecution for the land of opportunity, hoping one day to become citizens, just as the ancestors of Americans once did, whether long ago or recently.
I am sure that many Americans would agree, that this is the way it ought to be.