Anyways, the end of my semester is coming up, and I got my End of the Semester Essay prompt for my AP US History class. However, I find the prompt kind of interesting, and I have decided it could make for some worthy discussion/debate. Here is the prompt:
For whom do you have more respect, the person who puts their life on the line for an ideal that has never been tried or the person who puts their life on the line to preserve that ideal in the face of imminent danger?
And then it is accompanied by two quotes:
and“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
~ Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence, 1776
Now those are just two examples. Obviously the examples here is Thomas Jefferson who essentially put his life on the line for an ideal, which was the democratic government of the United States. Quite a risky move, because if we lost to the British, then it was game over, and if we won, there was still a high chance for unstability, because such a government was unpredictable at the time.“Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We -- even we here -- hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free -- honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just -- a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.”
~ Abraham Lincoln, Annual message to Congress, 1862
Abraham Lincoln is on there because he put his life on the line (sort of) to preserve the ideal in the face of imminent danger. What danger? Why, the seceding of the south of course! His goal was to keep the Union in one piece, because that was the ideal, that the free states could be united under a single government. Lincoln continues to hold on to the ideal throughout the Civil War.
:idea: Personally, I have more respect for the person who puts his life on the line for an untested ideal. That's courage right there. You have no clue what happens even if you win, only the semi-guarentee that your ideal would take form. Since it is so much more unpredictable in outcome compared to knowing how an outcome would most likely be, standing with the ideal is much more dangerous. A person who stands with the ideal obviously has his reasons thought out and probably a future planned too, whereas a person trying to preserve an ideal is simply following his forefathers. I'll add on to this as I think of other things to say. :idea:
Oh and if you want to use evidence, try to use some from American History, it might help me do my essay (but since this is mere conversation, I guess we can use other examples, but I <3 US history examples)
PS: I am not asking any of you to do my homework for me, I have even stated my own opinion. However, I also hope this thread will be productive and possibly help me with my essay in a supplementary way. Hopefully this thread can continue even after I've finished my essay.