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The Spirit of America

This country was founded by many individuals of different faiths and nationality.  I do not pretend to know what there feelings were or what spirit they felt in their hearts.  However the spirit that began in this country can be seen by the actions of those who came to this land.  To begin with the spirit of America did not just begin when boatloads of people landed on our shores.  The spirit of America began as a result of circumstances people were facing in their countries.  Those circumstances caused them to make a decision to travel for months to start a new life.  The decision that these individuals made was a hard one   Beginning a new life in a new land not knowing what would be ahead of them is a difficult choice to make.  I wonder if those of us today were faced with the same situations if we would do the same thing.  Granted the world is much different today than it was then but difficult choices must be made by individuals everyday that affect their lives and the lives of their family and friends.  Some of these can be life changing decisions.  The spirit that developed in the beginning of our country shaped what our country became and took us on the road to where we are today.

Many circumstances were involved in the decisions that people made such as religious or ethnic persecution, famine, political strife or oppression or the limitations on land ownership to name a few.  While these are not all of the reasons why people came to this country I believe that everyone was searching for a better life than the one they had.  We all want a good life and many times we search for years to find it.  The opportunity to start a new life in a new land helped form the conscience or character of our country.  The events involved in these decisions also formed the basis for our present day constitution.  The beginning of a new country is something that does not happen often, especially in our world today.  The remainder of this article will discuss some of the reasons previously identified above for people to come to this country.  Readers of this article may ask how this relates to the spirit of America.  The answer is everything.

The reasons people came to settle our country helped to form the character and spirit that was rampant throughout the colonies.  Our country started out under the rule of the British Crown.  As time passed and the colonies became more populated laws evolved in England that the settlers in the colonies did not like.  As more laws were generated and rules issued by the governing governor of the various colonies people began to have a spirit that would not be denied.  People who make decisions such as those who came to start a new life had, I believe, distinct ideas as to what they wanted in this country.  When the British Crown tried to curtail this spirit it was met with firm resistance by many but not all.  The spirit that developed or surfaced again under these circumstances caused the Declaration of Independence to be written and signed.

The spirit in place at the time our independence was declared was an important milestone for our country.  It is a spirit that I believe has to some extent lost its way in the society of today.  The spirit caused people to believe they could change their destiny and they banded together for a common cause.  This spirit helped to gain our independence.  There are those who have tried to affect the conditions upon which this country was founded.  Many if not all the reasons why people settled here can be found in the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution.  Many of these rights have come under attack by those who would restrict these rights with different interpretations than has been in place for years.  Their efforts can be seen in court cases.

The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution involves the freedom of religion, press and expression.  Those who helped to found this great country were not only looking for freedom to worship as they wish but also religious tolerance.  Today this part of the spirit of America is under fire from those who want to restrict the way we worship by limiting the methods available.  These include efforts to limit programs of worship on television and radio.  This is something that our forefathers came to this country to escape.  We have a right to express our religious beliefs and those who do not wish to hear them do not have to listen.  Our right to express our religious convictions or how we hear or see it should not be impacted by the actions of others.  Our country was created based on religious principles from many different faiths.  Those who bring these lawsuits want to affect that spirit of religious freedom.  The spirit of America will not be denied.  Recently a poll was taken by a news organization whether the word God should stay in American Culture.  The specific question was whether the words In God we Trust should stay in the Pledge of Allegiance.  The overwhelming response showed that 86% of Americans who responded said yes.  This is an indication of how strong people feel about these words.

The spirit of America affects our very fiber as individuals and as a country.  The right

of freedom of religion is a characteristic which our forefathers were determined to have.  Actions being taken by others to restrict that right have caused a surge in the spirit of America.  The spirit of our forefathers is something of which we should be proud.  Any efforts by others to restrict this right or others identified in the constitution will only engage this spirit more.

Another condition which caused decisions to be made to move to a new land involved famine in their country.  Conditions were so bad in some cases that individuals felt they had a better chance in a new world.  A new land with new soil created an opportunity for a better life and to escape the conditions of famine they were experiencing.  Other conditions involved restriction on opportunities to own their own land where only certain individuals in a family had that right.  The opportunity to own a piece of land without restrictions gave individuals new hope.  It is difficult to make a living where there is a restriction on owning land.  The opportunity to travel and start a new life in a new country was appealing to many even with the hardships of months of travel.  This is another condition which even though it is not specifically mentioned in our constitution it was something that many states felt was necessary to offer to develop their portion of a new land.  Our country was big and many did not realize how big it was until many years later.  The opportunity to settle new land is how this country developed.

Many individuals who came to develop this country were also suffering economic problems or political strife in their country.  It was necessary to make a decision that would affect the lives of their families and the new world to which they would go.  Our country is made up of many ethnic backgrounds and the spirit of those individuals who helped to develop our country also developed the spirit of America as it was then.  There was a spirit and enthusiasm to establish a new life regardless of the obstacles before them.  It did not matter if they did not have the luxuries they had before, their destiny and the destiny of the new world was in their hands.  The spirit in place when this country began is something that needs to be regenerated today.  There are many problems facing our country today that our forefathers could not even imagine.  We in this country have, I believe, the drive, the innovation, resolve and determination to solve our problems if we work together.  People at the start of our country worked together in many ways to establish a foothold in a new world.  Neighbors helped neighbors.

There are many fine organizations that are in place today that have the spirit and willingness to help others less fortunate.  This is a great thing.  Those who properly qualify should take advantage of these resources.  Our country is made up of many fine individuals and some of the problems we currently have today involves the lack of the spirit of America that was in place when our country began.  There are other conditions that were included in the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution one of these is the right to bear arms.  In the beginning of our country it was necessary to carry arms to protect family and property.  It was a right that many felt was necessary to document in the constitution when it was written.  This right is also becoming under fire and the spirit that was in place in the beginning of our country needs to be reinvigorated again to fight this battle.

Other examples of the spirit of America are exhibited through the industrial revolution, putting a man on the moon, natural disasters and the reaction to the terrorists attach on September 11, 2001.  These events created a spirit which should never be forgotten.  The industrial revolution changed forever the way businesses operated.  The goal of achieving a man on the moon within a timeframe established by the President is an example of what we can do as a country.  Natural disasters occur every year and actions by individuals and governments are generated in a spirit of cooperation to help those in need.  The attack we experienced on our country on September 11, 2001 also identified a spirit and drive to make those responsible pay for their actions.  The drive, innovation and resolve is something that needs to be energized again in resolving the present situation with gas prices.

As seen in the examples provided above we have the character as a country to solve many problems facing our nation.  We must stop fighting among ourselves and work toward the goal of solving the causes of high gas prices.  Actions at the state and federal level must also be taken without regard to party affiliation and generate an energy policy that is both good for the environment and good for the country.  Our beliefs and our individual spirit are different but we all have a spirit whether it is in focus with the spirit of our country is the question.  Let us resolve to regain that spirit and work together to solve or at least improve the problems facing our country.  The current gas situation is one that desperately needs to have a combined action by us all to resolve.  In resolving or properly addressing the situation it will not only be good for our country but us as individuals.



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Dennis AuBuchon

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