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Life, Liberty, and Freedom

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The founding fathers of the United States had a wonderful vision for our country, and we need to make sure we follow it in order to remain successful as a whole. Three ways to analyze this vision are to look at the vision itself, whether or not we have fulfilled that vision, and what we can keep or change to completely fulfill it. Three main aspects that apply to each of these questions are life, liberty, and freedom.

So what exactly was the vision for America? There are many features to this vision, but the main three that apply to life, liberty, and freedom are the farewell address of George Washington, the constitution, and our freedoms.

The farewell address was given by George Washington near the end of his presidency, and contributes greatly to the vision of America by telling us how we should live. The first big part of this speech is the importance of isolationism. He states that we should be careful with our international relations, and that we should avoid depending on other countries when possible. This was and is very important in order to avoid both war and debt. The second part of the speech that contributes to the vision is the pillars of happiness; religion and morals. He knew that both of these things make the greatness and wisdom of men, and therefore our country. Both of these things should be very relevant to every citizen of the country. Happiness should be in all of our lives, and these two things bring that happiness to us. The third most important point is to avoid political parties. He said that the placement of parties would divide the country and cause too many arguments and riots. In order to stay united and peaceful, there shouldn’t be any specific “othering” or contradictions going on within the country. This only causes disagreements that can turn ugly and break our country apart.

The constitution and its creation were very relevant to the U.S. citizens at the time of its authoring; therefore it greatly contributed to the vision of this country by expressing the liberties we each have. One way the constitution ties in with the vision is the main reason it was written, which is to keep America orderly. A large part of the American vision is order, from the federal government down to everyday life. In order for America to remain successful it needs to be kept in order and under control. Another way is the meaning of much of the constitution; the importance of education and knowledge. Almost everything written in the constitution has the underlying relevance of education. According to this quote by James Madison, the very government would fall apart without knowledge; "A popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance...." The third connection of the constitution with the vision is shown through the views of James Madison. Often called the “Father of the constitution”, James Madison not only produced the ideas for our government, but drafted the constitution, and most of the ideas in the document are his, if not inspired by his thoughts. His views for the country were clear, and he wanted to us to have as many liberties as possible. Much of the vision is contributed to him and his ideas for the country.
Our freedoms and the founding fathers’ desire for freedom definitely contributed to the vision of America in providing a reason to create our country in the first place. The first way our freedoms contributed to the vision was the search for independence and proving to other countries that we were worth something. This put pride in our heart, and made us want our freedoms even more. The founding fathers knew that our freedoms were what made the country thrive, and also what made us proud of our country, and they knew this should go on in order for the country to remain independent and powerful. The second way was our rights. Our rights, and stating them in the bill of rights, showed the people that they had freedoms, and that they should keep fighting for America and work hard to keep it successful. The third contribution having to do with freedoms was the idea of having an easy going life and happiness. When we have all our freedoms and recognize what they are, our life is easy going, and we find happiness. The founding fathers recognized this, and they knew that American citizens should all have that lifestyle. Our freedoms would allow us to live that life.
The vision of America was many things, but the main things that contributed to it were the farewell address, the constitution, and our freedoms. Each of these ideas are based off of life, liberty, and freedoms, and are the key to success in our nation.
Have we, as a nation, fulfilled this vision? In most aspects of the vision of America, we have not fulfilled it, and, in most cases, we are contradicting it. In the aspects of life, which is shown through the farewell address, liberty, which is shown through the constitution, and freedom, we are not doing what the founding fathers wanted for our country.
The way we live today does not follow what George Washington stated in the Farewell address at all. An important part of this address was isolationism. Today, we are not showing this attribute. We have many specific allies and enemies, and there are few countries we don’t frequently interact with. An important factor of isolationism is avoiding international relations in order to stay out of debt. Because we are so involved in the world and with other countries, we are seventeen trillion dollars in debt, and our country has had many problems because of that. Another important section of the address was the pillars of happiness; religion and morals. As far as religion goes, in public places such as school, it is often viewed as offensive and rude to state your beliefs. Our society is doing the opposite of what Washington suggested, and pushing the idea of religion away in most settings. Also, if there’s one thing America generally does not have, it’s good morals. There is a lot of crime, corruption, and dishonest media in our country today and nobody cares. There are many wrong things that are openly accepted in our society, and it’s only leading us away from happiness. The third important pillar of the farewell address is avoiding political parties. Today, these parties are the most relevant and widespread part of our government. Almost every American is a part of one of these parties. The election is never just about two men running, it’s about a republican and a democrat running, and this puts everyone in the wrong state of mind. In these aspects we are not following Washington’s advice that he gave in his farewell address.
The constitution states many specific liberties we have, and we are not following or recognizing any of them. The main purpose of the constitution was order. The federal government might be orderly, but the whole of America is not. Very few people’s lives are in order, and it’s causing them to be uncontrollable. Crime rates are going up and up, and without more order in people’s lives, they will continue to grow. Another big part of the constitution and the vision is the importance of knowledge and education. One major issue with our country today is the amount of uneducated people we have. Each day, on average, there are 8,300 high school dropouts, and over 3 million annually. These statistics just show further how few people in our country care about education. We are not, as a country, caring at all about our knowledge or education, and that contradicts this part of the vision. A large part of the constitution’s authoring was James Madison’s views for our country. The quote from him, stated earlier in the essay, about knowledge, proves how important knowledge is to the stability of a country. Most people today believe the most important part of our country is just whichever party is controlling the government. These views have nothing to do with knowledge, which is what the founding fathers viewed as important.
Our freedoms are an important factor of the vision, and they are abused in many ways today. One part of our freedoms is independence. Though our country has its independence, and has proven our worth before to other countries, we are not showing that proof now. With both the debt that we are in, and the number of wars we’ve been involved in, we are not proving to the other countries of the world what we are worth. We proved with the revolutionary war that we could do something, and the founding fathers saw that that put pride in our hearts. That pride, though, has slipped with the proof of the worth of our country. Another large part of our freedoms are our rights. Our rights are what draw most people to the U.S., and it is also what keeps many of here. Today, however, many of our rights are starting to be taken away. Our rights are meant to keep us safe and free, and instead they are starting to restrict us. The third major part of our freedoms is that they are meant to make life easy going for us. Life in our country today is anything but easy going. Everything about the government and the country are too complicated, and it is taking away our happiness. Our freedoms are being restricted in our country, and that is the opposite of what the vision and the founding fathers wanted.
Today, in our country, we are not following what the founding fathers had envisioned for America at all. We do not have the life, the liberties, or the freedoms intended in the vision for the United States, and many instances show this.
What can we change to fulfill the vision? Our country has not fulfilled the vision for America, but there are many things we can change about or life, liberty, and freedom in order to make sure we are back on track again.
In order to fulfill the vision in the aspect of life, we must follow the three vital sections of the farewell address. The first, isolationism, is important because without it, you struggle with both debt and a lot of war. Right now, this is one thing our country is going through, and if we stay isolated and eliminate our debt by avoiding war, we will be able to prosper financially as a nation. As we avoid and pay off our debts, we will become more isolated and fulfill this specific part of the vision. The second is the pillars of happiness. We are pushing away religion, and our morals are dropping immensely. We need to be more accepting and open to share ideas of religion, and we need to set a moral standard to live up to. If we put on TV just one public service announcement about maintaining good morals, we could get more people to understand, to recognize their bad ones, and change them. The third is to avoid political parties. Political parties are very popular, and the base of most people’s political views. When we start cutting down on the emphasis of parties and really make elections more of a “man against man” kind of battle instead of a “party against party”, we will be able to eventually make parties not a big deal, and start to follow this advice and part of the vision.
In order to fulfill the vision in the aspect of liberty, we have to follow the three important features of the vision that originate from the constitution. First, to keep America orderly. Though in this issue it is the more individualized part that we struggle with, we can still think about what the founding fathers intended for the order of the government, and apply it to our lives. We must each have order in our own lives, and be in control, and then the crime rates would go down as we fulfill this part of the vision. Second, the importance of knowledge and education. Most Americans no longer care about education, and this is a problem. If we can encourage education frequently, and do certain things to discourage and decrease high school drop outs, then more people in the U.S. would have an education, and we would have a better understanding of the vision itself. Finally, the views of James Madison and what they mean. Once, when speaking about the constitution, he said, “Every word decides a question between power and liberty.” In order to follow the views of Madison, we must make sure that we are both being governed and living by liberty, and not power. Once we do this, then we can fulfill the vision in the aspect of liberty.
In order to fulfill the vision in the aspect of freedom, we must understand and protect the three main parts of our freedoms. First, independence and proving our worth to others. We have to make sure we stand for our independence and freedoms, and also that we make a difference to prove our country’s worth. We have to avoid war and show other countries that we stand for peace, and regain our worth to others. Next, our rights; knowing and using them. In order to keep our rights, we have to keep them close and make sure the whole public knows each and every one of them. If we constantly stand for and mention our rights, no one will ever try to take them away, and we will have fulfilled that part of the vision. Lastly, the goal of happiness and an easy going life. Our lives as a whole are too complicated, and the government isn’t helping. In order for our life to be happy, we must be easy going and have the things going on around us, especially those federal, not to be complicated. If we can un-complicate things in our lives, our freedoms will be more accessible and we will be able to fulfill a huge part of the vision of America.
In conclusion, the vision for America consists of many things, but a lot of it is generated from the farewell address, the constitution and its authoring, and our freedoms. Many great men contributed to this vision, and wanted us to have life, liberty, and freedom. America today doesn’t follow this vision well, and hasn’t fulfilled it much at all. In fact, there are many ways in which our country contradicts that vision. However, there are still many things we can do to get back on track and fulfill the founding fathers’ vision for the United States in the aspects of our life, liberty, and freedom.




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