National Constitution Center
The Independence Hall is located in the exact place where the Declaration of Independence was signed. This building therefore is a reminder of that victorious day when at last America had decided to do away the yoke of Great Britain. History lessons says that it was also here that George Washington was appointed as the Commander of the Continental Army and it was also here that the design of the American Flag was agreed upon ( Perry 432). To preserve the historic moments in American history through this Hall, the government had made the effort to maintain its appearance at it was then and to use the furnitures of that time.
The importance that the Hall received seems to suggest that the fight for Independence was indeed something that should be done and that all were united to fight for it. And because of that, the Independence Day is very significant; a day of united heroism and nationalism. But this was not actually the case.
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The people back then had divided loyalties. Some of them (about 20 %), do not see the need for separation so that they do not want Independence from Britain and many others do not support the Americans or the British.
It was not a united movement as it is being promoted by the Independence Hall. It was only a work of a third of American Patriots and political leaders who were brave enough and enthusiastic enough to fight for liberty from Britain (Perry 432). So it was really a fantasy to believe that Independence from Britain was a movement desired by all. But the importance given to the site carries the covert message that it was so. However, I greatly respect Independence Day myself and had great admiration for people who took part in it.
Another issue that I would like to raise is the fact that America had neglected or forgotten that they were a nation who also bound another: the original inhabitants of the land. The Indians are the first settlers of America but the whites, who came from Europe, after a matter of time, thought that it was theirs. They deprived these people of their homeland and drive them to the mountains; the white made promises of which most they never keep. Now the Indians are claiming what was promised to them, their rights to certain lands, but their pleas went unheard.
Moreover, they become a neglected and deprived people in America. How ironic then that America was freed by Great Britain but they never freed the real settlers whose hands they bound with a tight grip within the territory. If they demand for their rights as a separate nation, how much more should the natives demand for the rights of which they once owned? So when I look at the Independence Hall I can see there the pretense of the past. Just as they keep the appearance of the Hall as it once was, they keep the natives bound until today.
The National Constitution Center The Constitution Center can also be found in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Aside from the historical artifacts that can be seen around the building, visitors in the museum are also entertained through watching theater presentation or participating in interactive exhibits. The topics of all these activities are centered on the history and place of the United States Constitution in the life of the American people. In the theater they present a show called Freedom Rising. In the presentation the visitors are informed of how the Constitution came to be.
Moreover in the interactive exhibits one can see not surprisingly many historical artifacts connected to the story of the Constitution, especially the original documents that the founders or the signers used and the people who were involved in it. Also inside, one can see the preamble of the Constitution. The Center’s interesting activity is on the opportunity to have “talk backs” about issues that has been of great debate and has challenged the Constitution like the issue of death penalty. Moreover, they have the chance to decide a court case there as part of an interactive activity.
But perhaps the most interesting activity there is that one may take a presidential oath of office (“The National Constitution 2008). I think this is also the very coolest feature there for perhaps most people would actually want to do that in real life! So what does the Center and all of its activities and features there are trying to say? It is pretty obvious that it is educating the visitors about the Constitution. That how people fought for it and how the Americans of the past go into great pains of debates to enact it. It therefore not only informs but also aims to instill respect for the Constitution.
In a way it also aims to bring admiration for the Constitution or an admiration for democracy of which the Constitution stands for. It is a known fact of how much America took pride in their democracy which for them equates to respect of human rights and dignity and of course the ever elusive equality. But I really think that what this Center is really trying to do is to shape the mind to believe that we, individually, are perfectly democratic. The Constitution is democracy and the people who made the Constitution are therefore democratic.
The Center encourages an admiration for the Constitution and as people who made them an admiration for ourselves. We are therefore led to believe that we are very democratic who exercises respect for the rights of others and upholds equality. This is of course an illusion. The federal system that the Constitution upholds was at first created not with thoughts of democracy but to keep the now frees states from trade wars and to hold the states together. Since they experience the tyranny of Britain they do not want it to happen to them so that they shared the power through the federal system.
In a sense the Constitution was founded not at first with democracy (in modern sense) in mind. As proof, they still do not free the slaves by this time (Perry 433). The issue of racial discrimination has always been a big dilemma of our country and I believe that it is not yet resolved. Although the Constitution had successfully declared in its pages that no man should be discriminated by his color, discrimination still exist not in color but this time in subtle biases called color blind discrimination.
For example, most would admit that it is not right to think that a certain person should be disqualified for an office by virtue of his color but they would comment that based on his background he may not be able to handle it. As before I realized that most Americans are not as democratic as the Constitution had been at first. The Gettysburg Museum The Gettysburg Museum is situated in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It is a museum that “brings history back to life. ” What this museum is trying to revive is one of the dramatic moments of American history: the Civil War.
The turning point of that war is the Battle of Gettysburg in July of 1863 that forecast the defeat of the South. If one visits the place he can see many life size figures and battle room exhibits representing a scene of that Battle. And of course the famous Abraham Lincoln Gettysburg Address can be seen in animation (American Civil War 2008). This site is a historical performance of the liberation of the South from slavery. Civil War is portrayed as giving liberty to those who are bound in slavery, particularly the Blacks.
It was a war that strengthens the American reputation for love democracy and equality. The Gettysburg museum is a reminder of such a lofty ideal and tends to promote the idea that this is what the American people had in mind. But this was not the case. The people in the South who fought the North are also white. They are as American as the North were. As the North pushed for liberation from slavery; the South fought for its retention. The reason was economic, the liberation or emancipation from slavery would hurt the plantation business of the South. The Americans therefore was not so against slavery.
They are more interested in their own economic gains so much so that they are willing to treat a man as a property. If plantations were a flourishing business in the North as the South, I wonder if all of the Northern States will support the emancipation. Works Cited Perry, Marvin. A World in History. New York: Houghton-Mifflin, Inc. , 1988. American Civil War Museum and Gift Center. 2008. Accessed December 15, 2008 < http://www. gettysburgmuseum. com/>. The National Constitution Center. 2008. Accessed December 15, 2008 <http://constitutioncenter. org/ncc_visit_Sightseeing_Attractions. aspx>