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U.S. History - Reflection Paper - Essay Example

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The course not only helped me learn about the things that an American ought to be truly proud of, but also presented in a realistic and analytical way the mistakes made by this great nation in the past. …
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U.S. History - Reflection Paper
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Download file to see previous pages While pursuing the course under consideration I came across a few things that were new to me. Britain first lost the War for Freedom in the minds and hearts of the people inhabiting the American colonies, before it lost it on the battlefields of America. Britain never tried to holistically and formally participate in the political issues that were of emotional, social, economic and cultural significance to the colonies. Whatever political influence Britain exercised on the colonies was pecuniary and ‘Britain centric’ in nature that included recognition of the Proclamation Line, posting of British garrisons and imposing arbitrary taxes. Had Britain been more sensitive and astute in its response, perhaps the American Revolution would have never taken place.
The other thing that was new to me was the fact that the political and social figures that are oft revered in the American history were marked by immense contradictions in their personal choices and political beliefs. For example Thomas Jefferson is considered to be one of the greatest American Presidents who was publically opposed to slavery. Yet, it was amazing to find out after some research that due to a big personal debt, Jefferson owned slaves for his entire life. 2. One most important thing about the American history that surprised me pleasantly was the text of the Declaration of Independence and its moral and ethical ramifications. I personally feel that the Declaration of Independence is a document that is not only of timeless relevance to the American democracy, but the very ability of its drafters to envisage and formally consolidate the ideals and principles that were of universal appeal and importance, in an age when the means of communication and hence the possibility of a global spread of ideas was very constrained, is amazing, surprising and pleasant indeed. The Declaration of Independence was indeed a worthy culmination of the liberal ideas enshrined in the Western philosophy and politics. Consider the words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The very ability of the drafters to come out with the idea of universal equality in those times is indeed astonishing and surprising. No doubt, at a very late stage, it was Lincoln who once more brought to fore the views and ideals of the Founding Fathers enshrined in the Declaration of Independence to start a war to end slavery, which was to change America forever. I found it really surprising that the Declaration of Independence is a document of recurring importance that is perhaps never going to lose its salubrious freshness and appeal in the times to come. 3. The things about the US history that surprised me unpleasantly or disappointed me were the treatment met to the Native Americans and blacks and the very fact that America harbored and exercised imperialist intentions and designs at some time in its history. These aspects of the US history were not only contrary to the American ethos and beliefs, but signified the tendency of a nation to resort to hypocrisy in the face of commercial advantages and interests. Though, the Founding Fathers promised a fair treatment to Native Americans, yet the practice of a specific race to resort to unchecked expansion in the Indian territories, encouraged by a belief in the inferiority of the Native races and culture sounded simply horrific and contradictory. The very same beliefs allowed the plantation holders to exploit the black slaves in an emotional and ethically callous pursuit for ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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