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Not every aspect of the onslaught of self-hate that has broken over America, warped its media, and turned most of the academy—and even apparently, most of its elementary and secondary schools—into centers of reorientation designed to convince Americans their national past is loathsome hypocrisy, is bad. Every country has a national mythos, and the larger, more complicated countries have relatively elaborate, conventionally agreed-upon versions of the raison d’être of their nationalities. In the case of the United States, there have always been some soft points in this rationale, and to a slight extent, there may be some merit in addressing them.
Despite the brilliant opening and ending of the Declaration of Independence, the indictment of King George III as a virtual Nuremberg Trial defendant who was trying to destroy America and indiscriminately kill its people, while dabbling in other atrocities such as the propagation of the Roman Catholic faith throughout the 13 colonies (an insane allegation—Jefferson was referring to the Quebec Act, which assured that population the practice of their language, religion, and civil rights) was an outrage. George III was a limited monarch who suffered from porphyria, but he was far from an evil man (and he was an arch-Protestant papaphobe).
The facts were that Americans really had no more civil rights after the Revolution than before, nor measurably more civil rights than citizens of England, Switzerland, most of the Netherlands, and parts of Scandinavia. But they had a resident government. Unlike almost all the nations of Europe and East Asia, in a world of only about 25 sovereign countries, the United States did not have a language of its own, and its founders, with great ingenuity, and eloquence invented for it the vocation of freedom and opportunity. The lore was not of the past but of the future. And with the dramatic emergence of the Americans, facilitated by Franklin’s stupendous feat in persuading the absolutist French monarchy to go to war on behalf of secessionism, democracy, and republicanism, the eyes of the world were on America and have never ceased to be on America these 245 years.
There was from the start the terrible problem of slavery, which belied the assertion that “all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.” The Civil War was conducted in the North to preserve the Union, and only the immense political dexterity of Abraham Lincoln achieved the approval of the emancipation of the slaves as a war aim, in part to stir unrest within the Confederacy.