It is the intent of this paper to prove that the “American Dream” canbest be explained as a “ciity upon a hill.” “Ciity upon a hill” meaningbeing above and superior over those below. The Civil War, the imperialisticrace of the 19th century, the Korean War, the KKK, and the Gulf War are allexamples of the “American Dream” of superiority playing a part in AmericanHistory. Each American has a different idea of this superiority, butnonetheless strive to achieve it, whatever it may be in.The Civil War which split the United States, was a clash of twoaspects of approaching the “American Dream” in a young America. Both sidesfelt their idea’s and philosophies were superior to those of the opposingside and therefore would benefit the country more and make it superior.Both North and South wanted to better the country to have it achieve the”American Dream”.
Unfortunately, each side had a different perspective onhow to approach it. Slavery was a major issue, the North against, theSouth pro. The disagreement on slavery lead to difficulty in the issue ofWestward expansion.
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Both agreed to it, but whether to admit them as freeor slave states was where the split occurred. The compromise of 1850stated that California enters free, and New Mexico and Utah decided ontheir own which is giving them more state rights in which the South heavilysupported. This compromise did not satisfy each side fully.
The issue ofState rights intensified by the issue of slavery because the Southernstates felt they had the right to decide on their own about Slavery withoutFederal intervention. It seems the Southern states felt that the “Americandream” was out of their reach because they felt powerless and inferior withthe Central government. When the American revolution was fought to breakfrom Britain, the Southern States thought they would be treated assovereign and free. With the State’s limited power, they felt as if theFederal government would become a monarchy. The Northern States wanted the”American dream” achieved for the whole country to be industrial,anti-slavery, and very federalist. Upon these institutions they planned tomake the U.
S a superior nation in the world. The South wanted to achievethe same ultimate goal for the U.S but with agricultural, pro- slavery, andstates sovereignty institutions.
These are the differences between bothsides in achieving “the American Dream.” In order to resolve the conflictof interests, North and South had to go to war to prove superiority thusproving which side is “the ciity upon the hill” in which the losing sidewould follow.During the time of Imperialism in the 19th century, the U.S wanted toexpand worldwide and strive for the lead in the “imperialistic race.” In1871, the U.S and Canada signed the Washington treaty meaning that the U.Srecognized Canada as an independent dominion.
Any schemes to forcefullyannex Canada and to unite the North American continent under the U.S flaghad been rejected. The U.S could not expand any further in North Americaand had to look at other parts of the world for expansion.
At the time,there were many other nations looking to expand its empire such as Britainand Germany. Some Southern expansionists saw Cuba as an interest becauseit could have possibly been used as a slave territory. Because Northernerswere highly against slavery, the plan was dropped. After the Civil War,Secretary of State Seward had negotiated a treaty to purchase the virginIslands from Denmark, but the senate rejected this treaty.
They were notpurchased until 1917. In 1859, the U.S annexed the Midway Islands in theSouth Pacific, and half the Samoan Islands; the other half belonging toGermany.
Hawaii, another Pacific island, had always been important to theU.S. It served as an important base for trade with Japan and China. Whenthe U.S annexed Hawaii in 1893 after a coup, to justify it, the U.S claimedit was an important strategic military foothold. They also claimed that theinferior Hawaiian natives were incapable of self government, and that itwas in their best interests.
After the annexation of Hawaii, and later thePhilippines in 1899, it seemed clear the U.S was relentless in becoming themost powerful imperialistic nation. It is this idea of expansion thusgaining power and superiority over other nations that proves the “AmericanDream”/”Ciity upon a hill” being about superiority.The invasion of South Korea by North Korea was the opportunity the U.Sneeded to invade and de-communize North Korea thus causing China tointervene therefore justifying the possible invasion of China.
When WorldWar II ended, the U.S and U.S.S.
R agreed to occupy Korea. The U.S occupiedsouth of the 38th parallel, and the U.
S.S.R North. Both sides wanted Koreato be united, the U.S.S.R wanted it under communism, and the U.Scapitalism.
They were split. North became communist, South becamecapitalist. South Korea was recognized by the U.S and the United Nationswhile North Korea was recognized by the Soviet Union and its allies. Therewere many tensions between the Koreas. On June 1950, the North Korean armywith Soviet weapons invaded South Korea, in an attempt to take it over.The United States, taking great interest, appealed to the U.N to condemnthe invasion and to send forces to liberate South Korea.
The Sovietrepresentative to the U.N was not present to veto due to the fact that theSoviet Union was protesting against the refusal to allow China to enter theU.N. When the U.N forces under U.S command liberated South Korea, U.Spresident Truman ordered that the forces go beyond the initial mission ofliberation, and invade North Korea. As the U.
N forces advanced deeper intoNorth Korea, China warned them to withdraw. The forces refused and onNovember 1950 were attacked by 200,000 Chinese soldiers. The U.N forcesfaced with a fresh enemy, retreated south of the 38th parallel.
In orderto defeat the Chinese forces, Gen. MacArthur, commander of the forces,requested that China itself be attacked. Truman rejected the idea with thefear of getting the U.S.S.R directly involved thus setting the stage forWorld War III. The Korean War was fought to get into North Korea for thesemain reasons: To decrease the Soviet influence in the time of Cold warthus increasing U.S influence, and to get into China which has the largestmarket in the world.
MacArthur and Truman both had these objectives inmind but wanted to approach them differently. MacArthur, after invadingNorth Korea and setting off the Chinese, wanted to directly attack China.Truman who wanted no risk of direct intervention by the Soviets, wantedstrictly just to take North Korea and perhaps delay the invasion of China,since providing North Korea was taken, China is just a doorstep away. TheKorean war clearly showed that the United States was pursuing the “AmericanDream” in two ways, one was to gain influence which in the time of the ColdWar meant power. The other was for economic superiority over the rest ofthe world with the colossal Chinese market directly bordering coincide whatthe U.S wanted, North Korea.The Ku Klux Klan, originally formed on December 24 1865 in Pulaski,Tennessee, did then and does now stand for white supremacy and superiorityin politics, economics and society. Although the klan everywhere fiercelypreaches white supremacy, it focuses its attack on what they consider to bealien outsiders, particularly the Roman Catholic Church, which it believesis threatening traditional American ways and values.
Despite their beliefs,they are Americans trying to achieve the “American dream”, being the ideaof a “Ciity upon a hill.” The goal of the KKK has always been to purifyAmerica of all non- whites which they refer to as un-Americans. The KKKsees themselves as the only real Americans.
The idea of a “Ciity upon ahill” originated with the Puritans and their idea of creating a perfectsociety in America which would serve as model for the rest of the World tofollow. The KKK uses this original “American Dream” by interpreting it tofit their white supremacy mandate. The society they want to create is apure white society that the rest of the world could follow. Their mandateof White supremacy clearly states that the KKK too has an “American Dream”,they too in their words and actions try to achieve the “Ciity upon a hill”status.
Whether their goals are wrong or right, their efforts toultimately make the white race and their traditional American beliefssuperior over what they consider below them, is a clear example of theAmerican Dream/”Ciity upon a hill” being all about superiority, no matterhow it may be.The Gulf war showed that no nation should violate the interests of theUnited States. After the re-unification of Germany in October 1990, endingthe cold war, a large number of U.S forces were no longer needed.Conveniently, at the same time, after the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, theU.S had the perfect place to move its forces where they were needed for adeterrent to Iraq of invading other neighbouring countries.
When war brokeout in January 16, 1991, and ended a few months afterwards in April withIraq defeated, plans for a Middle East peace conference startedimmediately. The defeat of Iraq affirmed the U.S’s total control of theMiddle East. With Iraqi aggression ceased, the U.S wanted to resolve theIsraeli-Arab hostilities to therefore build a new post-cold war Middle Eastto meet American interests. Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait violated Americaninterests, with consequences following. The defeat of Iraq deterred otherMiddle East nations from violating American interests thus bringing themtogether to work out some form of peace that will accommodate the U.
S inthe perhaps coming American dominated “New World Order.” The U.S in bringto parties that hate each other — Arabs and Israelis — to a peace tablefor U.S interests shows that the U.S is a superior dominant force in theWorld. Its driving force, the idea of the “American Dream” of being a”Ciity upon a hill.” This means to be the best, to be superior, which theU.S has clearly shown in the Middle East.
From the birth of America, to America today, the driving force and theheart of America has always been the “American Dream.” By looking atAmerica today, the most powerful nation in the world, the dream hasliterally become a reality. The United States has always strived to besuperior and it is today the most powerful nation in the world. The UnitedStates right now can not go much farther than it has already reached. Ifit tries to go beyond the dream, it could become a nightmare.
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