American Nationalism Exists Solely in the Constitution

 American Nationalism Exists Solely in the Constitution

A new book published by the University of Pennsylvania Press was released on June 4.    Needless to say, I have not yet read it, but based on the announcement of its publication, it is not difficult to spot the problem with the book’s thesis.  The book is titled, American Nationalism: Being American in an Age of Division.  The author is Samuel Goldman.  Below are quotations from either Amazon’s or the publisher’s description of the book.

“Nationalism is on the rise across the Western world, serving as a rallying cry for voters angry at the unacknowledged failures of globalization that has dominated politics and economics since the end of the Cold War.  

“Noting the obstacles standing in the way of basing any unifying political project on a singular vision of national identity Goldman highlights three pillars of mid-twentieth-century nationalism, all of which are absent today:  the social dominance of Protestant Christianity, the absorption of European immigrants in a broader white identity, and the defense of democracy abroad.  Most of today’s nationalists fail to recognize these necessary underpinnings of any renewed nationalism, or the potentially troubling consequences that they would engender.” 

I need not quote what Goldman suggests as a new and opposite direction as solutions; there are no unifying political projects that will achieve more abundant nationalism.  Neither is the three pillars offered by Goldman the basis for successful mid-century nationalism. 

American nationalism is based only on a single document of about six pages in length, and supported by another shorter document.  These are the Constitution of the United States of America and The Declaration of Independence, the latter being a statement of why the American colonies were separating from its founding nation and the basis for that decision.  

One-hundred percent of the definition of American nationalism is delivered in the Constitution.  It defines the relationship between the people, whether citizens or resident aliens, and the government of the United States of America.  The promise offered to any people who want for themselves what Americans have enjoyed since the founding of the United States of America is 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.”    

American immigration policy in 1790 was framed by its Founders as follows, “We want as immigrants to America those who want to be here in order to partake of what the Constitution offers as our governing laws.  Thereafter, it is the responsibility of each immigrant to fulfill his own dreams.  The Constitution grants complete and practical liberty to each person to partake of it as he pleases, so long as not interfering with any other person’s freedom, as that is defined within the Constitution.”  If the Constitution is not fulfilled in the life of an American resident, the probability of fault lies with that person, or with the officers and their appointees responsible in the government for carrying out all their Constitutional duties is where the blame resides.  Mostly, the blame falls with the government’s elected officers for creating laws that are not within the powers granted to the government, and secondarily to the execution of the laws by its employees.  The proof of the Constitution’s ability to produce freedom is the thirty-plus millions of immigrants currently living better lives in the United States than what they had before coming here, including both legal and illegal entrants.  They continue to come for the same reason.   

So what about America having pillars that underlay success in achieving nationalism?  The only pillar is the Constitution.  An oath to that document is what every person wishing to become a citizen, and every officer of the government must make to uphold and obey the Constitution is what empowers the blessings of liberty to be had by each one of us.