Man with flag

America’s history has been born and steeped in the struggles for freedom and the wars of the past. These are typically fought by an idealistic, motivated majority of citizens against some form of tyrannical government or autocratic rule, which in turn is usually run by a powerful minority hellbent on controlling an entire population. This Memorial Day, we should remember these struggles and understand that Americans have seen this play out over and over since the dawn of our country. By the 1770s, the majority of the thirteen colonies wanted to shake off The British Crown’s rule from across the sea, which was governed by a small group of tyrannical men. King George III and the last vestiges of the British supremacy he represented tried to prevail, only to be defeated by a universal desire for a more free nation.

Thus the American experiment began, but obviously the search for a more perfect union was not perfect from the get-go. Some eighty years later, our country was torn apart by a brutal Civil War, fought once again between a growing majority of citizens who believed that the practice of slavery –– which was also a government policy at the time –– was wrong, while a powerful, racist and motivated minority in the South fought back against this majority with everything they had. The Union was striving to free an entire race of people –– a race that most American citizens (and citizens of Europe at the time) felt should be free. Despite this minority of Confederates attempting to enslave that race of people for as long as they could, they also ultimately failed to defeat the universal desire for a more free nation.

In the decades since the Civil War, the American government pushed westward and arguably became something of a tyrannical force itself, driving out and even slaughtering the remaining Native American tribes left in our ever-expanding country. Nonetheless, when the United States was called upon in the 20th century to fight against another tyrannical minority that had emerged in Germany during World War I, Americans rose up again to play their part in the fight for freedom against autocratic rule. The U.S. was later called upon to fight this same noble international battle once more –– albeit on a far larger scale –– against a new (and even more tyrannical) group of governments that had risen up in Germany, Italy and Japan. It was a fight that Americans fought valiantly, ushering in the modern post-World War II era.

However, in the decades following WWII, America had to again look inward to fight its own tyrannical minorities –– in this case, the same remaining vestiges of racism that it had previously fought in the past. Such has been America’s history with these battles against tyranny –– first fighting it internationally and then at home, then abroad again and so on. In the 1960s, the last remnants of the old Southern systems –– which had been set up by tyrannical white minorities –– had to once again be dismantled, this time by the federal government as well as everyday Americans in the streets. The majority of the country at that time wanted to see all people given the same legal and social protections during the struggle for civil rights –– and while their victory was not perfect, that universal desire for a more free nation prevailed once again.

As the American experiment continued into the 21st century, our country was once again faced with an international threat, this time brought about by a rogue network of terrorists, which were not necessarily aligned with one country or another. While this threat emerged from all over the Middle East and the tactics (and goals) were tyrannical in nature, these ideologues certainly only made up a minority of the world’s population. While the United States’ response and the way it waged its war upon its aggressors was certainly flawed (this author opposed several of those wars and the tactics the U.S. used) ultimately these terrorist groups were mostly erradicated from the world and their ideology rendered obsolete. The universal desire for more free nations prevailed over a tyrannical minority once again.

Now as the War on Terror has since waned, many have pointed out that the new tyrannical minority is again growing within our own country’s walls. These small-minded people –– white supremacists, evangelical zealots and uncompromising conservative ideologues –– are also hellbent on controlling the majority of free people in our nation. However, these aggressors are again part of another tyrannical minority, just like King George III. And if history is to be our guide, they will be fought as needed and will fail once more, because the universal desire for more free nations will always prevail.