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flutherother's avatar

What is the purpose of the United States of America?

Asked by flutherother (29407points) May 8th, 2011

It’s big it’s bold it’s brash and it’s the world’s greatest ever superpower but what is it for?

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24 Answers

HungryGuy's avatar

Originally, its purpose was to establish a free democratic society for its citizens at a time when there were no free democratic societies.

How the worm has turned, eh?

janbb's avatar

Ideally, should a country have a purpose? Does Norway? Does Canada? Perhaps we would do better if we realized that we are just one country in a world of many countries and that the idea of “American exceptionalism”, like that of “gifted and talented children” is a hindrance to growth.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@HungryGuy Not only is the U.S. not a democratic society nor has it ever been (it’s a republic), there were living examples of actual participatory democracies right alongside it during its founding. Any historian worth their salt will tell you that Ben Franklin was heavily influenced by the Six Nations Confederacy, as were several other “Founding Fathers”.

marinelife's avatar

It’s a group of states that banded together to have the size necessary to market goods effectively, trade effectively, and defend effectively.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

It’s for everyone.

dxs's avatar

I love America. The purpose of it is similar to any other country to an extent I assume…

lookingforwhy's avatar

To be free of ruling under the king and to find some materials that can be bought of. I guess original idea of it is to be able to form our own community without any oppression towards it.

Blackberry's avatar

There is no purpose, it’s just another place.

incendiary_dan's avatar

The basic anarchist explanation.

The state (any state) exists to establish a monopoly on violence which is used to maintain the rules that benefit production and centralized control of that production. That violence, or more often the threat of violence, is used to keep a work force working by making it illegal or nearly impossible to live outside that system of production for most of the citizenry.

TexasDude's avatar

The purpose of America is to be fucking awesome.

Also, fuck yeah

SavoirFaire's avatar

@incendiary_dan The word “democracy,” in its broadest sense, refers to any state in which sovereignty ultimately rests in the citizenry. The most common forms are direct democracy, in which governmental decisions are voted on by the citizenry as a whole, and representative democracy, in which the citizenry elects a subset of itself to make governmental decisions.

The word “republic,” in its broadest sense, refers to any non-monarchical state. The more common usage, however, refers to a non-monarchical government in which governmental decisions are made by a representative body. This representative body need not be elected by the people, and so it need not be a democracy.

A democratic republic is a form of representative democracy in which the head of state is elected by the citizenry. In this way, it satisfies the definitions of both a democracy and a republic (a rather unsurprising fact). The United States is quite definitively a democratic republic, and was always intended to be exactly that. Indeed, many of the Founders used the words “democracy” and “republic” interchangeably when referring to the United States in their letters because they understood the country to be both: a democratic republic.

Ladymia69's avatar

It is a place of many incredible contradictions, but the main one is that its leaders and people claim that it is a land of equality, when in actuality its class and racial hypocrisies are clearly defined.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s for people to cooperate in order to have a better life.

Ladymia69's avatar

I am laughing out loud.

bkcunningham's avatar

The purpose of America, if that is what you want to call it, all about “We the People.” We’ve gotten away from that, IMHO. The purpose is to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish the Constitution for the United States of America.

koanhead's avatar

To crush its enemies in battle;
To see them driven before it;
And to hear the lamentations of their women.


Buttonstc's avatar

” making it illegal or nearly impossible to live outside that system of production…”

Wtf? Last time I checked, there was no “Berlin Wall” with armed guards ready to shoot anyone who dares to attempt to leave as there was in other countries. Even Cuba makes it extremely difficult to depart for other places.

Remember the days when traveling athletes, artists etc would defect ? And where did they choose to live ? Gee, it was that awful oppresive place known as America ~ ~

And the plain fact remains that even people from countries where they burn our flag in the streets are coming here in droves. Yeah, America must be a really awful place to live~

And unlike the quote above, anyone who chooses to live outside this system is perfectly free to move to whichever other country they perceive as “better”. That will just leave more room for all those waiting to be allowed to emigrate here.

No one is stopping you. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

ETpro's avatar

I don’t normally quote walls of words. But this question begs we revue the doument that clearly stated the purpose of the United States, the Declaration of Independence. It follows

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton”

ddude1116's avatar

Our purpose initially was to tell King George III to fuck off, and then it was to establish a large and working democracy, and then just shy of two centuries later to spread democracy, for as of now, it is, I believe, the best form of government because people are too dependent and unstable otherwise.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

@ETpro King George III to Undersigned: tl;dr ;)

ucme's avatar

Gives us Brits something to laugh at? Only joking…...that’s Belgium!

Thammuz's avatar

The same reason why every state or, rather, every social contract of any kind exists: to benefit those who subscribe to it. People usually don’t realize that the state is their underling and not vice-versa, the state has power only because the people gives it to them.

ETpro's avatar

@Thammuz That’s what I love about the Declaration of Independence. It reminds us of that.

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