So much of human civilization prior to the American founding was dedicated to kings, queens, pharaohs, and emperors. Today, their monuments attract millions of tourists per year. Just look at the pyramids of ancient Egypt, the Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu, and the great palaces and castles of Europe.
The remnants of these societies are modern marvels, but they weren’t quite so marvelous back in the day for the people who lived there.
These civilizations were plagued with uncertainty about food and water, and disease ran rampant. Poverty was the de facto human condition as wealth was concentrated among the ruling class. And women were treated as second class citizens.
Because so much energy was focused on surviving, innovation took a back seat. Society was a pyramid and those at the bottom toiled for those at the top. That’s why for large swaths of human civilization, standards of living stagnated.
Then came the United States. A country that was founded around a radical mission statement, otherwise known as the Declaration of Independence:
“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.”
Individual freedom is priority number one and the federal government only has the power specifically delegated to it under the Constitution. Rather than the government deciding what’s best for the collective, its only job is to provide equal opportunity. Free market capitalism—built off property rights and the rule of law—took it from there.
The economic system—driven by entrepreneurs and dreamers—feeds invention and innovation. Entrepreneurs were able to grow small businesses into national brands or an idea that benefited millions.
The resulting luxuries—for everyone from blue-collar workers to real estate tycoons—would have been incomprehensible prior to America’s founding.
Prolific inventor Thomas Edison revolutionized the daily lives of everyone with the lightbulb in 1879. During the Industrial Revolution, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin and redefined how people worked. George Washington Carver developed techniques to improve soil quality and help farmers grow more types of food—notably a process called crop rotation.
Henry Ford’s mass production of the Model T spurred urbanization and empowered middle class families. The creative mind of Walt Disney built new industries that delighted children and helped families make important lifelong memories. And Ray Kroc brought the famous Golden Arches to a neighborhood near you.
Other inventions helped liberate women from traditional gender roles. Think refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, and other appliances that sped-up household duties that families now share.
Fast-forward and Americans are still at it—landing on the moon, creating the computer, and developing the ultimate connecting and information device: the iPhone. It’s amazing what 250 years of individual liberty, limited government, and free market capitalism can accomplish.
This system, which has pulled billions of people out of poverty worldwide and given historically disadvantaged groups the keys to their own life, needs to be protected. Some are wrongly trying to convince people that America is a society of “haves” and “have nots,” plagued by systemic racism and oppression. You only need to look at the opportunity provided to all Americans, regardless of race, creed, or nationality, to prove that unequivocally untrue.
Efforts to erase our history and the genius of our founding fathers threatens the pursuit of happiness that is promised to all Americans, as well as to the immigrants who are attracted to our shores.
The U.S. isn’t perfect. But it is exceptional and radically different than all societies that came before us. America, what would the world do without her? Let’s not find out.