As Americans celebrated Independence Day yesterday, July 4th, many of the issues the United States and its citizens have dealt with, and continue to deal with, throughout their history, are rooted in their country’s formation in 1776.
When the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th, 1776, and led to the Constitution and Bill of Rights, it allowed for slavery and for the right for Americans to own weapons. The problems the current U.S. is facing bear the fingerprints and signatures of those who signed these documents.
By allowing the U.S. to be created as a slave state paved the way for tenuous relations between the North and South, between slavery advocates and slavery opponents. This led to the bloody Civil War where 600 000 men died, or 2% of the country’s population.
After the Civil War ended, though blacks legally had their freedom under the 13th Amendment, their right to vote, work, and participate in many other societal affairs were severely limited due to Jim Crow laws. Even the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, African-Americans did not fully enjoy the same rights and opportunities as white Americans.
This disparity between White America and Black America still exists, owing its origins to the failure of the Fathers of the U.S. to create a nation where all men are created equal and have equal rights and opportunities.
The Second Amendment is another part of the creation of the United States of America whose repercussions are still felt today. The power of the NRA and the idea that every American has a right to a gun, and in some cases the right to conceal a gun, is so politicized that it is fracturing American society and dividing it, much like how racial tensions have.
The right to bear arms, as the 2nd Amendment says, was intended to help Americans defend themselves from the British who were in present-day Canada and to help settlers go westward and fight Native Americans. The 2nd Amendment, in my estimation, was not meant for people to be able to carry semi-automatic machine guns, or rifles, or pistols in public. This is a distortion of the original intention of the 2nd Amendment. Until this is solved, which is unlikely to happen anytime soon, it will remain contentious.
American citizens should not get rid of the Constitution or any of its Amendments, but should get rid of the people who pervert and distort the original meanings of the Constitution itself.