Not-so-United States of America

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“We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” And with that, we broke the chains that bound us to the British Empire. We were finally independent. America was founded upon the idea of freedom – freedom of expression, freedom to pursue our happiness – an idea that was set in stone with the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791. These freedoms brought along with them the idea that “all men are created equal”. Upon learning of this, the rest of the world began to harbor assumptions of the kind of like that existed on American soil: men, women, and children frolicking through fields of flowers together, everyone free to say or do as they please. The truth, however, was quite different. Since the day that Europeans set foot in America, the freedom to express one’s ideas has been limited to select categories of people.
America as we know it today was not America in the eighteenth century. Originally, only the eastern border of the United States was populated, and it was controlled by “Great” Britain. Despite the fact that the people that populated the original thirteen colonies were English, they were not treated like the English that lived on European soil. Colonists were heavily taxed for purchasing imported goods that came from anywhere else in the world, other than Britain itself. In other words, they were not free to spend their money on what they wanted. Another issue, much greater than the absurd taxation, was the fact that England never heeded the requests of the colonists; the colonists’ complaints were ignored and their representation in the British govern...

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...a pity for that colorless existence which never uplifted its possessor beyond the region of blind contentment.” All these quotes from The Awakening serve as exactly that: an awakening. The novel was a bold step for its time. Nevertheless, Kate Chopin was able to successfully voice what had been on the minds of women for several centuries.
Of course, many revolutions for equality have taken place on American soil from the finding of the country up to present day—Women’s Suffrage, Civil Rights, Feminist, and, more recently, Gay Rights. However, variations in the extent of the freedom of expression still exist. Many people are still forced to shut their thoughts within themselves, never to be spoken.
The Statue of Liberty has rotted. The Liberty Bell has cracked.
Perhaps, this “sweet land of liberty”, this “United” States of America, is not so united after all.
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