Grievances of an American

Grievances of an American

Abigail Ehrenberg, Sr. High Staff Writer

In 1776 Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, the most famous list of grievances in American history. The document stated the American intent to separate themselves from British rule and the reasons why. 

As an American citizen I have been granted enormous privileges on the global scale, which I am aware of, however, that does not deter me from addressing the actions of the United States that are both atrocious and embarrassing. While I am grateful and proud to be born in this country, I am not able to feel a complete sense of national pride as I reflect upon the history and conduct of the United States of America. 

To mimic the words of Thomas Jefferson, the history of the United States government is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, along with injustices and ignorance. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world:

It ignored the abhorrent institution of slavery as it endured in the area of the United States for more than two hundred years. The racist ideals caused by the enslavement of Black people in America were a direct result of the inability of American leaders to put an end to the horrors of slavery, until it impacted the nation’s ability to remain unified. 

It disregarded the trials endured and prejudices against racial groups for a majority of its existence and to this day struggles to ensure racial equality for all. The Jim Crow Laws that endured in the southern states for nearly one hundred years after the abolition of slavery demonstrate the reluctance of the U.S. government to support the rights of the people.

It took one hundred and forty four years to grant women the right to vote nationally. The government, which was comprised of white men, did not allow women the basic American rights of choosing their elected representatives and officials. Many more years passed until all American women were able to vote, and even more until they were granted full legal equality. 

It forced the Indigenous people of the Americas to leave their land and move to government designation reservations. It killed millions of Indigenous Americans in favor of white settlers and refused to grant them citizenship and rights for over one hundred years.

It delayed its response to the deaths of millions in concentration camps during the Holocaust in the 1940s. As Nazi Germany murdered millions of Jews, homosexuals, Roma, disabled people, ethnic minorities, and more, the United States, a powerful nation, hesitated to join the Second World War and liberate these people. 

It committed still more atrocities in the Second World War as it made the decision to arrest more than 100,000 innocent Japanese-Americans and place them in internment camps, without warrants or hearings. It also further harmed innocent civilians as the dropped two atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Almost 200,000 casualties occurred as a result of the atomic weapons, a majority of them civilians. The United States government is responsible for the death and unjust imprisonment of hundreds of thousands. 

It has refused asylum to refugees from numerous countries who desperately need a safe place for their family to live. It has ignored their needs and attempts to escape war and other dangerous situations.

It supported and funded dictators and other incapable leaders in foreign nations in an attempt to improve the economy and American trade. This assistance to harmful leaders removed many people’s basic human rights in foreign countries and favored trade over civil liberties. 

For these reasons and many more I feel I can say, I’m proud to be an American, but I’m not proud of America’s entire legacy and history.