By Saeed Qureshi
Today the American nation is celebrating its 237th independence day. It was on this momentous day that the Declaration of Independence written by illustrious Thomas Jefferson (later the third president of the USA) was adopted by the Second Continental Congress.
As a result, the 13 colonies declared independence from the British colonial rule and became independent states. The main thrust behind the Declaration of Independence was that” if a government does not protect the rights of its people, the people can create a new government”.
The second historic milestone was the writing of the American constitution in 1787 primarily by James Madison. James Madison later became the fourth president of the United States.
After ratification of draft constitution by 9 out of 13 states (all ratified by 1790), the constitution took effect on March 4, 1789, followed by the inauguration of General George Washington, the same year, as the first president of the federation of the United States of America. The United States consists of 50 states after Hawaii joined US Federation in 1959.
Each year, the 4th of July is celebrated with immense exuberance, great fanfare and peculiar galore of festivities. It is a national holiday. Besides the encompassing somberness, this day wears a festive look marked and celebrated by indoor and outdoor parties. The military parades, grandiose fireworks, singing of patriotic songs in rallies and gatherings, Family reunions, concerts, barbecues, picnics, baseball games are some of the most fascinating hallmarks of this magnificent day.
The American constitution is the forerunner of other constitutions although the tradition of democracy was already well entrenched in England. It starts, with these three indelible words, “We the People”. These three golden words establish the supremacy of the people as the real source of power. While in Britain the institution of feudalism and monarchy was still strident, it was only in the newly born United States that for the first time, the term power belongs to the people was actually put in practice.
The Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments in the constitution); a glorious and shining part of the American Constitution gives such basic rights to the citizens and on a broader sense to the human beings as were never written or enshrined in any other treatise. These are frights and freedom of speech, religion, assembly, press and petition the government.
The British has a constitution but it is unwritten and a collection of past traditions, earlier laws and regulations. The Magna Carta (1215 C. E.) was the first document forcing a monarch to yield fundamental rights to the subjects. But its underlying purpose was colonization of the American colonies under the British legal system.
The American constitution was originally a tiny booklet of merely 7 clauses, yet it enshrines basic principles of the governance with accountability and representative democracy as its outstanding hallmark. There are subsequent 27 vital amendments including the ten in the “Bill of Rights” that totally focus on fundamental and human rights of the citizens. It limits the power the government, by strictly separating them into three branches of executive, judiciary and legislative.
The basic rights guaranteed in the American constitution make this country a haven for the oppressed and traumatized people whom come here and enjoy equal rights as honorable citizens in the American society. No one is allowed to discriminate on the basis of race, color, caste, creed, religion gender and age and similar petty considerations.
I am talking about the civil society within America and not its postures and policies across the globe. But if it is a question of defending America, the United States would be more justified to use force. Other than that it would be more laudable if it embarks in a peaceful manner, upon a path of helping impoverished nations and rehabilitating them both economically and democratically.
Wars could be essential but if there is a better path of peace then it should get precedence over bellicosity that is destructive by their nature. However if there is a threat to America’ security this country has a right to defend and chase the enemies to the fringes of the world. Let it lead the world as a redeemer and friend for a collective advancement of the human race.
The Americans takes pride in belonging to a great and most powerful nation and relish dignity and loyalty to this land. We are also called a nation of immigrants and that is truth and nothing but truth.
The writer is a senior journalist and a former diplomat
This and other articles can also be read on www.uprightopinion.com.
To communicate with the author, write to: email@example.com