The USA is a comparatively new country that had to fight for its freedom, independence and the right for its nation to express their will feely. It is true that the US citizens had to go through much grief, effort and intense struggle for their independence and received the most precious gift as a result of their aspirations. For this reason it becomes clear why the creation of the new state, the United States of America, was accompanied by the creation of founding principles that were called to guide further development and prosperity of the USA.
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Among the main founding principles one should remember such ones as the freedom and independence of states, equality and inalienability of rights of all US citizens (Founding Principles). It is important to note that the Declaration of Independence of the USA states the equality of all people by birth, arguing that freedom is the ultimate value they all have to safeguard and nurture.
“These founding principles implied a certain kind of relationship between rulers and ruled, thus providing the justification for the complaints against the King of England, the basis for the delayed fight over slavery, and the engine for that vibrant American tradition of a perpetual conversation about justice under the law” (Founding Principles).
These principles of the US existence clearly illustrate the founding vision of the country and show what main values and beliefs the population of the USA as well as its government had at the moment of founding the new nation and state. It shows the spirit that governed the minds of Americans after a long, exhausting war with Great Britain and shows what rules they wanted to never violate again. The American nation was composed out of former Europeans; this is why Europe, namely England, assumed its right to govern the lives of people inhabiting another continent from which they were separated by thousands of miles.
However, people who coped with severe natural conditions and managed to survive on another continent realized their need for independence. They wanted to get rid of usurpation from the side of the British crown and to start a new life in their own way. They dared to unleash the war for independence, suffered great human and material losses and finally won because their war was not for profit or benefit of any kind but for the idea, for the vision of a renewed, just and fair state they wanted to live in.
Finally, their dreams came true and they received the desired independence. The Declaration of Independence was composed in order to secure the right obtained for the American people at such a high cost, and it is reasonable to assume that nowadays it is secured as thoroughly as it used to be secured at the times of the US creation. Only under the principles of justice and equality it was possible for the US citizens to lead an active fight against slavery, to fight for the rights of women and ethnic minorities. No other nation has ever had such freedom of speech, press and self-expression as the USA provides for its citizens. In no other country one could have observed such religious, cultural and ethnic diversity – this is why the USA is called ‘melting pot’ by its population and people all over the world.
More than only giving the sound basis for cultivating freedom, justice and equality in the American society, founding principles of the USA also seem to be a perfect blend of pragmatic and religious beliefs that is highly important to nurture the culture of the nation and to give the correct direction of its development. This assumption may be supported by Devine’s opinion that
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“American values are based upon a synthesis of religious and practical traditions. This is best demonstrated in… the Declaration of Independence…both religious and practical values were central to the formation of the new nation” (42).
The USA has a strong religious commitment typical for the majority of its population; this is why it is an important observation that may help in understanding the US nation much better. Americans are a practical, material nation that is often criticized for their mercantilism and lack of spirituality. Nonetheless, it is a wrong perception of the country’s mentality that can be changed with the help of thorough consideration of underlying founding principles, values and beliefs Americans appreciate and preserve.
Surely, the mentioned principles despite their having been adopted long ago still are strong and important for the US citizens. They predetermined the major part of the country’s success in the country’s becoming one of the leading powers in the world. Its political organization based on justice, freedom and overall welfare and equality gives boundless possibilities for all people living within its borders, both native Americans and immigrants, in personal and career development, in work and leisure, in art and religion etc. The reasons for such high level of welfare can be certainly found in the way the country declared itself a free and independent state protecting the rights of its people, so founding principles may surely be said to occupy a huge place in the cultural, historical, political, religious and social profile of the USA.
Devine, John Donald. In defense of the West: American values at siege. University Press of America, 2004.
Founding Principles, 2009. Web.