A Country of Amnesia

The poem by Carl Sandburg ,“ I Am the People, the Mob”, by far inspires me the most to look at how closely my country represents the world Sandburg describes. The piece describes how “We the People” are the reason for wonderful things occurring, but at the same time we are responsible for our faults. We repeatedly forget what has pushed us a few steps back.

Sandburg states, “When I, the People, learn to remember, when I, the People, use the lessons of yesterday and no longer forget who robbed me last year, who played me for a fool—then there will be no speaker in all the world to say the name, “The People”, with any fleck of a sneer”.

Everyone has taken a history class. History has brought us a sense of great pride for how much America has done, but we also learned about our mistakes. In the past, the country experiences  situations such as the Civil War, segregation, and currently is further dividing amongst its citizens. What is separating us? The labels we are imposing upon one another are the motives for division in each scenario. In a world where we separate into differing political parties, religions, and judge by our race, how could the people of yesterday and today not feel apart? One thing we all must remember is that we are all Americans. Our differences are what make America great, and I hope that more and more of us understand this.

As human beings we examine a situation, form an opinion, and continue to either persuade the situation or hold our thoughts to ourselves. We have civil rights and liberties to our own free speech and opinions. To begin, wars are examples of events that repeatedly occur. My American history course in high school contains a topic of war in almost each unit. For whatever reason these wars occur, in the present day we can observe that so many lives were lost. The American Revolution is an example of where lives were lost for a great cause. The prize for Americans was not exactly gaining money, pride, nor land itself. It was for the gift of freedom. Therefore, this a great example of where a war and a positive outcome occur. This is not always  the case.


The Civil War contains too much bloodshed. It was a period of time where brothers are fighting against one another, and the country is at a breaking point. From my experience of studying the war, I understand that the north supports the freedom of slaves. The south believes in the country staying exactly the same. The south is opposing change, and prefers the old way of thinking. There are so many situations where the old versus the new way of thinking is debated. For example, this is how the two main political parties in America were formed. What frightens me is just like during the Civil War, each side passionately disagrees with one another. The north and south disagree over a long span of time, and it leads to much bloodshed. John Adams  in The Works of John Adams quotes,

“There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”

What is going to happen to the political party system and America if there continues to be nonstop disagreement and no compromise?

As the years progress since the Civil War into the nineteen hundreds, the country further deals with the separation of people. Segregation is a major conflict that brought tragedy and pain to many communities. Even though the Civil War is over, there was still division amongst America over whether African American’s deserve basic human rights. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 finally outlaws discrimination based on race. Finally, African Americans are given protections they clearly deserve.  To this day, people believe that racism still exists. Here is a statement by the ACLU about racial profiling, “It occurs every day, in cities and towns across the country, where people of color are targeted for humiliating and often frightening detentions, interrogations, and searches without evidence of criminal activity and based on perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion.” The other side of the situation believes that people of color are not targeted any more than any other race. Regardless of which side you are on, we must look at what is reoccurring in our country. Just like back in the 1960’s we are divided on a major issue in our country. The current generations still around have forgotten what our country went through.

The situations throughout our history that are being discussed are all connected in one valuable way. They each include two sides. We are deserving of having the choice to pick a side, but why must we need to pick a side in the first place? It is not realistic to say everyone will agree on every subject, but why must we bring violence into the situation? I fear the country is on the brink of further destruction. I am inspired to try to open the eyes of Americans by giving examples of mistakes made today, and how we can avoid repeating them.  We must remember what Sandburg said regarding forgetfulness, “ … when I, the People, use the lessons of yesterday and no longer forget… the mob—the crowd—the mass—will arrive then”. Therefore, calculate your opinion, but do not for one second forget to relate to the people of America’s past. Their actions taken can alter our future resolutions.








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