How would someone define the American Creed? Everyone has their own opinion which they express through their actions every single day. From helping the elderly or disabled cross the road to speaking up for those who can’t, Americans follow their own code that defines who they are, but how should Americans act as a whole? William Tyler Page was the author of the first American Creed in 1917, which he wrote in response to a patriotic contest. In his admission, Page described the American Creed as being “my duty to my Country to love it; to support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies” (Duane). He believed American’s should follow and respect the laws laid down by the Founding Fathers, and if necessary, die on the battlefield protecting our country. I whole-heartedly agree. Americans should love and cherish their country with the same love and devotion as those who fought and died to make us free. Americans should respect the law, as well as each other, and protect their country from outside threats. We must continue to be a “City Upon a Hill,” an example to foreign countries whose freedoms are limited and rights infringed, and fight for the preservation of freedom as we have in the past. We must remain unified, as the Founding Fathers and Page wanted, because if we don’t, we will no longer be living by the creed Page developed a hundred years ago, and that risk is not good for a city upon a hill.
In 1775, the Founding Fathers of America drafted the Constitution of the United States, proclaiming their desire for freedom against their oppressive mother country, Britain. Seven years later in 1783, Americans received their well-earned freedom. In 1796, the first president of the United States, George Washington, cautioned the new country on dealing with foreign affairs, warning them not to get involved unless the outcome is in America’s best interests. Fast-forward 121 years to World War One where America fought against another oppressive country, Germany, and their allies, Austria-Hungary and Turkey. In 1941, America again steps in to fight Germany’s Nazi regime and their allies, Italy and Japan. Even now, in 2018, we are fighting in For the past two hundred years, the U.S. has stood up and fought for those who were oppressed or could not. On the other hand, there are some countries who find comfort in a tightly controlled government, which reflects the culture of the country, and the US should not get involved. However, the moment those countries attempt to force their beliefs on another country is the moment Americans fulfill their duty to fight for freedom and step in.
Another duty Americans have is to respect their country. Our country is still very young, and already we have made mistakes. Slavery, domestic disputes, and foreign problems are only a few of the problems we have caused, but we are trying our hardest to rectify those mistakes. In some cases, it will take longer than a few years to completely resolve; racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination are some of the most recent and sensitive topics in modern politics that have lasted since the founding of America. Our rights are protected by the government our Founding Fathers worked so hard to build and defend, and we should respect them, as well as the flag of America that represents all those who struggled to protect and defend the rights and the lives of the citizens of U.S. The American flag is full of symbolism: the stars represent “the heavens and the goals to which humankind aspires,” as well as the current amount of stars symbolizing the number of states in the Union; stripes represent the “symbolic rays of light from the sun,” and the number of stripes symbolize the thirteen original colonies that declared independence 243 years ago; the white signifies “purity and innocence”; red symbolizes “valor and bravery”; blue symbolizes “vigilance, perseverance, and justice” (“Flag of USA”). The American flag itself is an American Creed. Purity, innocence, and justice are just some of the core principles the Founding Fathers worked to establish in our Constitution.We must respect the Constitution and the flag for all they mean to us, but we must respect each other even more.
The biggest problem nowadays is the lack of trust Americans have for one another. This mistrust for each other branches into all areas of our society: politics, religion, domestics, etc. Washington warned us in his farewell address to also be wary not to split into political parties because they will “become potent engines, by which … men will be enabled to … usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion” (Washington). Taking a look at the state of the union in relation to political parties, the divide has widened considerably over the years; it is not as terrible as it was in 1860 when the election of Abraham Lincoln quite literally split the country in two, we came close during the election of 2016. Religion is also another issue that is being questioned. The first amendment of the United States claims that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise therof” (“Constitutional Topic”). Stemming from the terrorist attack in New York City in 2001 when two planes crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Complex, another hit the Pentagon, and a fourth plane threatened Washington D.C. but missed, people have been suspicious of immigrants, specifically Muslims. This racial prejudice has made living peacefully in America difficult when everyone wrongly suspects you of working with terrorist nations to bring the country down. The mistrust also develops in domestic, everyday life. Students in school sometimes call each other unkind names, but that is considered normal in school and is usually not thought twice about. That is the problem. Teenagers are starting to lose respect for their peers, for their teachers, and for their parents, making them hostile and difficult to be around. Libel is spread throughout the school as either a plot for revenge or a cry for attention. Either way, kids won’t know the truth until it is too late and damage has already been caused. Their unease for their peers makes group work challenging when no one will work together and their lack of respect for their elders can get them into trouble when adults try to give advice but no one will listen. How can our nation stay together if no one is willing to unite to solve our problems? Americans need a serious attitude check, and we need to learn to work together, otherwise we will never be able to achieve the unity the Founding Fathers wanted when they first drafted the Constitution.
The American Creed is different for every American. To Page, it is about supporting the country through any means necessary, but for me, it means we all need to respect each other and work together to fight for the core values the Founding Fathers instilled in the Constitution. We have a duty to work together to become and remain a “City upon a Hill” to other countries. Americans have always fought for freedom, but we have to fight to fix ourselves and the respect for each other first, or else how will we remain a City upon a Hill?
"Constitutional Topic: The First Amendment." USConstitution.net. 24 Jan. 2010.
“Flag of USA.” State Symbols USA, statesymbolsusa.org/symbol-official-item/national-us/state-flag/american-flag.
Streufert, Duane. “The American's Creed.” The Flag of the United States of America, 10 Feb. 2005, www.usflag.org/american.creed.html.
Washington, George. “Founders Online: Farewell Address, 19 September 1796.” National Archives and Records Administration. Washington's Farewell Address, 19 Sept. 1796, founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/99-01-02-00963.