America the Beautiful?

Posted in Christianity/America on July 4th, 2013 by dhawkinsmo

Every July 4th, many people sing “America the Beautiful” and I have been one of them for many years. But lately, some pretty big events in my life have caused me to question EVERYTHING, including some very entrenched beliefs about America, our history and the songs we sing every year. They say that to ASSUME things makes an ASS out of U and ME. (Get it?) And I (and probably 99% of Americans with me), have always *assumed* that everything in this song plus everything we have been taught about America is true. Well, it’s not I’m afraid, and I think it’s high time we sort out some of the fact from some of the fiction. Let’s take a look.

First, the title … “America, the Beautiful.” How did “America” get its name?  Turns out it comes from an explorer named Amerigo Vespucci. You can read about him HERE. Why isn’t it called “Columbia” after Columbus who (supposedly) discovered America? Good question and the article above explains. The name “America” is based on the European (German specifically) perspective but the truth is, there have been many “discoverers” of “America” throughout history, for example, the Chinese. The Chinese discovered “America” long before Columbus did.  You can read about that in Gavin Menzies’ recent book, “1421: The Year China Discovered America.” Fascinating read.  So if we really wanted to be accurate about our country’s name, we would have to say that, for good or evil, or in reality a little of both, it was named by it’s current reigning conquerors – Europeans.  How about the “beautiful” part?  Is “America” beautiful?  Sure in some ways, but in other ways not so much. Stay with me and let’s explore this a bit. Read more »