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Is the United States Better or Worse than 200 Years ago? 50 Years Ago?

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posted on Oct, 6 2005 @ 06:43 PM
Originally, I was going to title this thread "America is better off now than it was 200 years ago", but getting curious about what everyone else thinks about this topic, I decided to change it and allow other people's input.

My stance is that, contrary to what most people are saying, the U.S. is better off than it ever was in its past. I hear a lot of people talk about racism in the U.S. People say things like "With racism eminent as it is today, how could people not notice the deterioration of America?". To me, that statement is complete B.S. Take a glimpse into our past, and you will see that America has made vast improvements in the field of civil rights. Slavery? Hello? Racism is becoming increasingly eminent today? I think not. Slavery was allowed in our country for many years, and when it was finally outed in the 1800s, minorities STILL had plenty of problems to worry about. Up until as recently as 50 years ago minorities (Namely blacks) had to deal with all kinds of crap. Lynchings, beatings, segregation, murder, and a lot of this was excused by our government! I'm extremely thankful that I was born into this era, and not the America that existed 50 years ago. I'd say it's safe to say, as far as civil rights and rights for minorities are concerned, that we're better off now (Now being in the past decade or so) than we were at any other time. Now this is not a knock at America. What can be said about the U.S. in those times can pretty much be said about any country of that time, and some even today. My point is that America has improved, not "America was terrible back then, so if you compare it to today's America, we seem pretty darn good!"

Many people complain about the Separation of Church and state. One side is telling us that the evil Christians are taking over, and the other side is telling us that the priest-killing liberals are trying to destroy Christianity. Now think about what we were 200 years ago. Think about state organized religions. Were we really better off back then? What place would a modern Satanist or Athiest, complete with black clothing and combat boots have in the America of our founding fathers' days? What place would they have in the America of 50 years ago? Most likely, a person like that would be even more of a social out-cast than today, probably never get a decent job, and be forced to change their ways. Do you think schools would allow giant purple mowhawks into a school 50 years ago? Do you think that in the 50's there were groups like the ACLU watching over people and taking down religious statues in government buildings and shopping malls? Of course not! Now this isn't necessarily a good thing to a person like me, who happens to be Christian, but to people who are complaining about "the Christians taking over", we've made VAST improvements in the separation of church and state area since when our country was founded.

Take a look around you. People are generally more accepting, open-minded, and giving than they were at any other time in history. And although we're not perfect, we've made really great improvements over these 200 and some-odd years that we've been a country. The political exposure, the open debates, all of it. People are much more informed about what their government is doing. People are researching conspiracies and government corruption and putting an end to it. Sure, the annoying political back and forth gets annoying, and I personally wish that we would get along better, but think about what we would be if we didn't have opposing sides and viewpoints pointing out each other's flaws. Without people watching over each-other (Look up the watch-dog function), we might be a monarchy today.

Again, I'm not saying in any way that America was a bad country in our past. I'm merely saying that we've made great improvements in our time. I for one think that we were, still are, and always will be a great country.

Thoughts? Opinions?

[edit on 6-10-2005 by Herman]

posted on Oct, 6 2005 @ 07:53 PM
I think it depends on what you're looking at. Certainly, if you're looking at civil rights, we're better off - although that's been backsliding the past few years with the 'terrorist' situation and the general hatred and frustration rampant in the society today.

There are certainly attractive points about living 50 or even 200 years ago. Fifty years ago was a much more innocent time. You could leave your doors unlocked and there was an agreed upon respect for certain standards and values. Even if, by our standards today, they seem old-fashioned, the trouble-makers of the time were people like Fonzie (well, a little more dangerous than Fonzie, perhaps)... And kids had respect for adults. The leaders actually cared about governing and caring for the people and what was best for the country instead of putting their own personal power and wealth first.

And 200 years ago? Are you kidding? I would have LOVED to live then! People were too busy taking care of themselves and their day to day needs to be in everyone else's business all the time. The country and government were new and and growing and the excitement and anticipation of what was to come would have been wonderful! Plus, all the horses!

Overall, I'm glad to be living in modern times because me and comfort? We be mates. But I think each age has its advantages and disadvantages.

Interesting question, Herman!

posted on Oct, 6 2005 @ 08:21 PM
You bring up a really interesting question Herman...And a lot of valid points...

Personally - Ever since I was introduced to Thoreau's Walden in middle school, I've always felt a desperate longing to be my own man, live on my own land, with no interference from the outside world...I guess I'm just a little attracted to the hermit lifestyle, even though I truly enjoy the modern comforts we have today...

But I'm constantly reminded of the fact that no matter how far away I go or how hard I attempt to isolate myself, privacy is an impossibility in this society...

I sometimes wish that I could go back in time and live the lifestyle I dream of - Free of the pressures we place upon ourselves...

But reality too often catches up with me mid-daydream as I remember that my car payment's due, and buying that $12 Cohiba may be what I could do, but it's not something should do...

Trying to strike that balance is what keeps me afloat in these ever-changing times...

[edit on 10/6/2005 by EnronOutrunHomerun]

posted on Oct, 7 2005 @ 12:09 PM
I weight in like everyone else so far.

In my opinion the biggest change in America is the advent of corporate thought. Until the late 1940's the courts had always ruled against corporate thought and governmental idea on the basis tht corporations and government were buildings and therefore had no thoughts to offer.

To establish and ingrain the idea of corporate thought has brought renewed wealth and vigor to industry and government but has eroded many of the rights we (the citizens) had until that time.

Living in these times is like rape. Since we the citizens are powerless the change the runaway system we might as well lay back and enjoy the creature comforts it provides.

To offer some idea of why I say that visit a courtroom and watch the way law is practiced and compare it to the standards set in the constitution.

I go to court October 13th charged with failure to pay child support. I quoted Gerry Spense to my lawyer. "I may be charged with the crime, but the guilty parties are not in this courtroom."

I showed him the judge who ssat on the bench at the time of the divorce had been brought up to the Judicial Ethics commosson. His replacement named. He wasn't sitting in a time of good behavior.

The lawyer who filed knew my ex was under state jail charges, facing two years in prison, knew my son was in my care in another county, outside the jurisdiction of that county and that court. He filed a fraudulent test.

Yet, the lawyer didn't react to these concerns. 200, even 75 years ago this would have been a federal lawsuit. Today it warrants the phrase, "These people are no longer involved."

But did they not sign those documents that left me homeless, without transportation, without the ability to see my son, with nothing more than the cloths on my back? Does their signature mean nothing?

Very intersting topic Herman.

posted on Oct, 7 2005 @ 01:07 PM
As much as I bitch about the "system" and the corporate oligarchy; the United States is a paradice for the person of vision that is not afraid to get their hands dirty and WORK.

Never before in this countrys history has the spirit of entrepreneurship been held in such high reguard.

The educational system in the USA is first rate if YOU take advantage of it.

The availability ot the www has opened doors never even dreamed of 20 years ago.

These times we live in are exciting, challenging, fun and dangerous!

Some here believe it is the "end times." As for me I deem it an privilege to experience this time in Americas history/present. I hope I have contributed something worthwhile as I have enjoyed the benifits of this age.

Pray for Peace!

posted on Oct, 7 2005 @ 08:37 PM
The social fabric is not as strong as it was fifty years ago, but even then the deterioration had begun. In the 1960s, there were social changes that institutionalized the diminution of the family and that trend has continued. What happened in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina is a perfect example of how bad things can get terribly fast when pro-social values are abandoned by even a small minority of the population. The response by other communities to similar situations proves that the deterioration is not equal across the nation, but what happened in New Orleans should be a wake-up call to the rest of us to do some sincere soul-searching in order for the nation to survive. There is hope, but the point of no return approaches.

[edit on 2005/10/7 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Oct, 7 2005 @ 10:12 PM

Originally posted by whaaa
As much as I bitch about the "system" and the corporate oligarchy; the United States is a paradice for the person of vision that is not afraid to get their hands dirty and WORK.

I agree. And any English-speaking/reading person with access to the internet is that much better off, from the total wealth of information it makes available to us, if we only know where to look. And you know the old clichéd saying that knowledge is power.

But besides those sorts of modern things, otherwise I think this country is much worse off than it was after the Revolution, under the Articles and the earliest years of the Constitution. Things seemed to have started going downhill leading up to the Civil War and since in terms of personal freedoms and privacy, and how stress-free and simple life was.

posted on Oct, 11 2005 @ 03:58 PM
Lets see....

While the popular vote never really counted for much, now it's completely obsolete, since the adoption of no paper-trail electronic voting with proprietary software that is unchecked, and run by a company staunchly of one party favoritism.

Where once we were respected, we are now largely reviled internationally.

The dollar is in serious jeopardy.....

I'd say "worse"...

posted on Oct, 11 2005 @ 04:58 PM
I think that if you'll check with someone other than a white male, you'll find that 50 years ago things were not as good as they are now. In many states women couldn't own property... and were as good as property. American Indians were shoved onto reservations and left to starve or die with no aid.

There was no public welfare. Single mothers were considered little better than prostitutes. Children died of abuse and few of their abusers were prosecuted (forensics wasn't as good back then.) In other parts of the world, viruses slaughtered millions, and there were local and tribal wars.

The very wealthy had it good, and a guy just out of the military who had gone in poor (like my dad, who was a Tennessee hillbilly) had a chance to make a better life. But there was still a strong class divide and if you didn't belong to the upper class, your options were limited.

People starved and died here in the US in the winters. There was no air conditioning and many died during the summer. I still remember the polio epidemics... and other problems.

There was no such thing as rape back then -- well, there WAS but if a woman (or man) was raped the assumption would be that they were inviting it by their actions.

Molestation of children was hushed up. Do a bit of reading and you will be appalled at how many women of that generation were molested and kept it quiet and let the abuse continue because if it was found out they (not their molestor) would be ostracized (he would be punished, but the attitude was that they "let" it happen.)

Alcoholism and drug abuse was rampant (read "Valley of the Dolls" sometime for a not-uncommon picture of the tired and bored and drug-abusing middle class woman. I knew of several, personally, though my mom never abused drugs.)

People went to church not because they believed but because if they didn't they wouldn't have a chance at jobs, at buying a house, etc, etc.

In school, you sat silent for the entire hour of class. If you spoke up or got up or it was thought you were annyoing someone, you were taken out of class and taken to the principal's office and spanked.

Nonwhites often got beaten up.

My aunt told me that when she was little (they were poor) if one of their Black neighbor kids had something that they (the Whites) said they liked, the Black kids were told (by their parents) they had to give whatever it was to the White kid. This was a sort of payment to keep these minority kids from being beaten up.

It wasn't unusal to see a kid with a bruise from being whipped or slapped by a parent... or a wife with a black eye.

...and that was just America, and only some of the social stuff. Then there's the economic stuff...

Been there, lived through that. We're MUCH better off!

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