History Of The U.S. And Its Colonial Origins: 20th Century


The United States was able to become a country from colonial origins alone during the 20th century due to the fact that France and Britain were at war with one another. As finances became tight the colonies that were on the other side of the ocean were relinquished. The creation of the United States also came at the cost of a handful of wars and the influence of many great countries before.

The rights and responsibilities of citizens hinge on there being a stable rule of law in place. This has not always been the case. Often, custom has taken precedent over law in societies. Human law and order has undergone significant transformations through the ages. In fact, what we know as law today would be unthinkable for someone living a thousand years ago. Many of the rights and protections that we enjoy in the United States can be traced directly to far older legal systems. Ancient Greece was the birthplace of democracy, though it was on a far more limited scale than what we have today. Roman and Judeo-Christian laws also formed the core of our modern law, and there are also influences from the Celts. The right to a trial by a jury of peers can be found in ancient Athens as well as in Rome. The Danes were also instrumental in this.

Another aspect that can be traced back to ancient times is the concept of “innocent until proven guilty.” Finally, “equality before the law,” or the concept that everyone deserves equal treatment from the law, can also be traced back to Greece, Rome, and Judeo-Christian traditions.

Even in modern times, though, the rule of law does not always serve individuals. There have been numerous examples of rulers maintaining power by severe, horrible means. For example, Cambodia saw mass killings motivated by politics to keep the reigning party, the Khmer Rouge, in power. Estimates for these murders range up to 1.3 million people killed to silence them.

American ideals, which can be traced back to Greece, Rome, and Judeo-Christian thought, have been very instrumental in changing governments, promoting democracy, and advancing human rights around the globe. Much of what has changed around the world has been due to the example set by America. Even the UN can trace its stand on human rights to the U.S. Bill of Rights as well as other key Western documents.

One way to determine the extent of America’s influence is to look at the governments of other nations and how they have changed. For example, South Korea now holds to the same three branches of government used in the U.S., while Japan has adopted a constitution that shows the power of the government derives directly from the people. Many other nations around the world have followed this example, and democracy is more alive today than at any point in history.

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