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10 moments all Americans can be proud of and 3 you would never expect

I am sure there will be a lot to argue about.

  • The Declaration of Independence
    • Not about the men who wrote it but it’s content. It laid out the culmination of the Enlightenment, humanist thinking of that time and has been held up as bastion for democratic ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We may miss the mark, but those ideals cascade through our history.
  • The Bill of Rights
    • I was going to put the Constitution but that indeed put the rules in for slavery to remain. The Bill of Rights however is a more pure document and again, is a culmination of Enlightenment principles and a reaction against despots.
  • Abraham Lincoln as a force for good
    • He isn’t a diety and he was of course flawed, as all humans are. He was a man of his time, but he took a hard decision, to fight for the Union and pulled the United States through it and did the first step in righting the wrong of the US’s original sin – slavery.
  • Thirteenth amendment
    • Northern “Radicals” pushed to make this happen. It is a moment where the ideals of the country are enforced.
  • Massive industrialization
    • We were not the first or the last, but the industrialization of the United States was incredible. Trains, subways, massive Cities, water works, Edison, Westinghouse, Bell, Sarnoff – whether we invented the original technology or not, the United States industry put us on the path to greatness.
  • National parks
    • As a reaction to the industrialization, Theodore Roosevelt grabbed on to our Romantic notions and recognized the need to preserve the majesty of our natural resources. They exist today, because of him.
  • Trust busting
    • The biggest of the progressive era changes was breaking up of the massive industrial might. Another Roosevelt initiative that matches with our best ideals of fairness and competitive spirit. Set us up for the 20th century.
  • Woman’s vote
    • Another moment where our ideals shown through to correct a remnant of a bygone world. Woman having equal say in the matters of state is a big deal.
  • Surviving the Depression
    • It was not a forgone conclusion that Capitalism would survive and the US would survive. When compared to the Carnage that would come in Europe, we avoided the ideological war under the steady hand of Franklin Roosevelt.
  • Hollywood
    • We may not think of it as a great thing, but the shared films and soft power of our culture spreading around the world came from Hollywood. It bonded us together with shared culture that spread our ideals around the globe.
  • World War II
    • Americans biggest and most significant triumph. Our late entry to tip the scales of Western beliefs and the end of Fascism was massive. It also put us on the world stage as the unsullied, undamaged producer for the whole world. Oh and we had nukes!
  • Postwar leadership
    • With our super weapon and undamaged country, we were able to rebuild the world order away from Europe. It was through United States leadership that Europe was rebuilt, new institutions around bankings, finance, how we resolve disputes and the soft power of the United States was created.
      This was not a forgone conclusion or something we had to do. We stepped into the void and made it work.
  • Civil rights, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.
    • Our great evil came back in the form of institutional racist laws that we let happen and two leaders represented both the best and the most powerful of our American ideals. Martin with his pacifist and Gandhi inspired methods and Malcolm with the pragmatic street methods – both VITAL in pushing the country to again – enable its IDEALS to show through.
  • Putting a man on the Moon
    • While really a way to educate a generation of engineers to build better missiles around a goal and bankrupt the Soviets, it a moment of pride that all Americans could agree was an achievement. To put a man on an object that seemed so far away was the ultimate human achievement.
  • Digital revolution
    • The same group that helped with putting a man on the moon ushered in the beginning of the US dominance of digital. From Fairchild conductor to Instagram, the wealth creation and cultural significance of the companies created via the US digital revolution is immense. We may not like Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google and Amazon, the fact is, those are American companies who have taken over the world.
  • Fall of the Berlin wall
    • The culmination and symbolic triumph of the US led Western coalition to finally assert the century long battle of ideologies. Market Capitalism had won, because… we did not have to use violent coercion to create value and productivity.
  • 9/11
    • Not a moment of our creation but a moment where it seemed we were last united. The days in the aftermath felt like what it might have felt like after Pearl Harbor. A US nation united and ready to pull in the same direction… Sadly we burned that moment with the invasion of Iraq.
  • Election of Obama.
    • Say what we will and what it led to after the fact, the election of Barack Obama had many in the United States believing we’d conquered our original sin of slavery. Many wept and we believe in Hope….

I am sure there will be a lot to argue about. But these were what I came up with. Feel free to add.

By Laurent Courtines

I'm here and I am ready to go. Been doing my homework and I have things to say.

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