Essay History: United States and Equality

Submitted By ashnally
Words: 1245
Pages: 5

November 25, 2012
The Characteristics of the United State of America The character of the United States of America has been an ever changing dynamic since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Since that time the character of this great nation has been built upon making it what it is today. Because of the many events in the history of the United States it is characterized by independence, freedom, equality, innovation and a nation of vast lands where people of all races live together. Independence is a characteristic the United States was founded upon. Many events took place that pushed the United States to fight for its full independence. These events were not limited to, but included, Britain placing increasing restrictions on the colonies such as the Tea Act, the Stamp Act, the Sugar Act, Townshend Act, and the Proclamation of 1763. After the many taxes and restrictions placed hardships on the colonies, discord and tensions grew leading to the first shots of the Revolutionary War of America at Lexington and Concord. Shortly after the famous shots were fired Britain was given a warning that America was breaking away from their control. This warning was the writing and signing of the Declaration of Independence. This independence came to full culmination after winning the Revolutionary War. The United States has maintained a strong sense of independence from that time forward. Another characteristic that describes the United States is freedom. Freedom in the United States encompasses many aspects of life such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of press and the freedom to assemble together. These four freedoms won their first battle in 1791 when the First Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified. However, the battle for these freedoms did not end there. For instance freedom of speech and press was challenged with the Sedition Act by placing limits on what could be said and written. Then in 1868, these four freedoms, along with other issues, received a boost with the ratification of the 14th amendment. This amendment kept any state from withholding any rights of a citizen previously stated in the Constitution. Freedoms in the United States often still face challenges however each of these freedoms still stand strong today. Equality for all is a fundamental characteristic of the United States. This equality has not always been a part of the United States as it is known today. Equality for women, African-Americans and non-land owners were not allotted for, it was mostly enjoyed by white, male, educated landowners. To correct issues of inequality people began to ban together in ways such as the abolition movement and the women’s suffrage movement. Also the emancipation proclamation was signed by President Lincoln. The women’s movement saw its beginning in Seneca Falls during 1848. This concluded with the signing of the Declaration of Rights and Sentiments. African-Americans saw changes that would lead to equality which began with the abolition movement to end slavery. From there, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln would sign the Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves. Next with the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865 “congress completely and finally abolished slavery”. (http://www.ucopenaccess.org/course/view.php?id=74, lesson 37) Then in 1870 the 15th amendment was ratified giving African-American males the right to vote. This was just the beginning of a much longer battle for African-Americans to gain the equality many others delighted in. White males that did not own property also gained more equality. In 1850 property ownership was lifted as a voting requirement therefore white, male, non-land owners were finally granted the right to vote. From these events in history and more, equality for all grew and expanded into what we known today as a more true equality. The United States can also be characterized as a very innovative country. The United States began to build on this…