The issue isn’t that slavery existed in a America but that slavery in America ended.
No country ever lives up to its highest ideals, yet America took giant strides in reaching the heights of liberty for all within eleven years of her founding, in 1787, when the Northwest Ordinance prohibited slavery in the new territory. And within thirty-two years of America’s founding, in 1808, the United States outlawed the international slave trade.
Our Founders, regardless of some of their personal difficulties in emancipating their slaves, believed slavery immoral. Their commitment to liberty put slavery on the eventual path to abolition. What the Founders didn’t foresee, not because they were immoral, but because they weren’t prophets, was that it would take a civil war and the deaths of more than 600,000 lives to live up to the good prescribed in America’s civic scripture—the Declaration of Independence.
And though African Americans had to suffer through another century for full equality, today America has elected a black man to occupy the White House. In short order America will elect a woman president.
Despite her sometimes historic failures, America is good at heart.
America is good because her founding ideals are rooted in righteousness. Americans recognize and acknowledge that the gifts of life, liberty, and happiness—just to name a few—come from the gracious hand of God. No other country speaks of God as the giver of civil rights or claims as their motto “In God We Trust.“
America is good because she elevates the lives of those born or who immigrate here. America is the only country that holds out a dream for a better life. We speak of the American Dream, not of the French Dream, or the English Dream, or the Mexican Dream. In no other country has so much been given to so many with so few regulations and restrictions than in American.
America is good because she has been the driving force of good in the world. In comparison to other powerful countries, America has save more lives, brought more freedom, and created more wealth than any other country in the history of humanity. The world would be a crueler place—a darker and eviler place—if it wasn’t for America.
For too long, we who believe American not only great but good have allowed the haters of America to distort her story. It’s time for us to tell the true story of America—that she is great because she is good. If we fail to do so—if we allow the distorted story of America to take root—then she shall cease to be great because she shall cease to be good.
If you enjoyed this article you can find more like it at derrickjeter.com, where you’ll also find information about my books, O America! A Manifesto on Liberty, A 911 for 9/11: Finding Answers to the Evil of September 11, 2001, and Our Day of Dependence: A History Lesson from Thanksgiving.