Liberty, Equality and Power in the United States

America was a land – and later a nation – imagined before it was ever conceived. Although the dreams and ambitions of its first human settlers can only be surmised, early migrants to the North American continent came in search of a better life (Grant 10). As the years passed, the land of temptation and hope evolved into the United States – a country that embraces its multicultural heritage and rich history.

The United States came a long way from an origin where thirteen colonies fighting for liberty united, eventually to become one of the top countries in the world today, and it is important to remember that, despite the difficulties the nation and its people have passed through, the country is still on the right track, striving for the equal rights of its multicultural citizens and respect for its power and credibility in the international arena.

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The founding legal principles and separate political existence of the United States of America began with the claim that all the people are born with certain unalienable rights, including the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The protection of liberty has been the business of American courts from the beginning of time (Haeck and Brems 34).

Although it may seem that such policies should be introduced in every country, the importance of liberty in the United States cannot be overestimated, when one remembers the time when the United States were not independent states, but colonies, and the word “liberty” did not mean a lot. The policy evolved; nowadays all Americans know what kind of liberties they have, and the government does everything to protect them and their right to equality in order not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Before 1868, there was no mention of the term “equality” in the US Constitution. In fact, before the Fourteenth Amendment, the US Constitution explicitly encouraged and perpetuated inequality among people. In the United States, equality has been contemplated and enforced through laws that had as their principal focus the prevention of racial discrimination against African Americans (Ewick and Sarat 23). Other forms of bigotry and discrimination were not of prime importance. Comparing this to how the society of the United States is living right now, progress is evident. Additionally, no matter what happened within the country and society, the ideas of liberty and equality remained fundamental for the people in America (Murrin et al. 2015).

Since the foundation of the United States and election of the first President, the country strove to assert presidential power at home and American power around the world (Walker 470). The power of America as it was back then and its power now are two different things. American power is seen in terms of relative power that affects the ability of the American state to achieve its interests in relation to other key actors in the international system (Mabee 8). Nowadays, the United States of America is seen as a dominant economic and military world power.

To conclude, the author of the essay states that the progress of both American government and society in terms of the existing liberties, equality, and power is visible. It should be understood that the former colonies have managed to develop drastically in a relatively short period of time.

Works Cited

Ewick, Patricia, and Austin Sarat. The Handbook of Law and Society. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2015. Print.

Grant, Susan-Mary. A Concise History of the United States of America. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2012. Print.

Haeck, Yves, and Eva Brems. Human Rights and Civil Liberties in the 21st Century. Berlin: Springer, 2013. Print.

Mabee, Bryan. Understanding American Power: The Changing World of US Foreign Policy. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Print.

Murrin, John M., Paul E. Johnson, Denver Brunsman, James M. McPherson, and Pekka Hämäläinen. Cengage Advantage Books: Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People. 7th ed. Vol. 1. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning, 2015. Print.

Walker, Samuel. Presidents and Civil Liberties from Wilson to Obama: A Story of Poor Custodians. New York: Cambridge UP, 2012. Print.


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