To understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and person, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man.A state also of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprical, no one having more than another; there being nothing more evident, than that creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously born to all the same advantages of nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal to one amongst another without subordination or subjection, unless the lord and master of them all should, by any manifest declaration of his will set one above another and confer on him by an evident and clear appointment, an undoubted right to dominion and sovereignty.– John Locke, Second Treatise of Civil Government
But there is another and great distinction for which no truly natural or religious reason can be assigned, and that is the distinction of men into KINGS and SUBJECTS. Male and female are the distinctions of nature, good and bad the distinctions of Heaven; but how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and distinguished like some new species, is worth inquiring into, and whether they are the means of happiness or of misery to mankind.– Thomas Paine, Common Sense
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”– Emma Lazarus, New Colossus
This term was coined by Bell Hooks to describe the interlocking systems of oppression that are all functioning simultaneously at all times. Hooks’ genius has offered us a completely revolutionary way to think about our place in society. Often we stratify the systems of oppression in society and choose to place those that directly affect us at the top of the list. However, at all times, all of these forms of oppression are at work and an individuals place in society is affected in some way by these systems. It is these systems that make up the framework for the America’s national identity. In order for any American to understand their station in this country, they must at all times consider the systems at work and the way that they affect every person living within them.
The crucial thing to remember about patriarchy or any other social system is that it’s something that people participate in. It’s an arrangement of shared understandings and relationships that connect people to one another and something larger than themselves.– Allan G. Johnson, Patriarchy, the System
The fact that the United States sought to create a national identity was not the problem — that part is logical for a fledgling country. The problem is that America sought to force its identity upon its inhabitants and its ideology on the world. America required. It was originally thought that the United States would unify the oppressed peoples of the world and give them a place where they could be treated as human beings. It was expected that the people who fled to the United States would adopt the national identity in place of their own ethnic heritage.
The power of American Nationalism, for its defenders, is that it has enabled the “widening of we.” — This process allowed for the incorporation of not-quite-white, but not-quite-not-white Irish, Jewish, and Southern and eastern European immigrants into the canons of whiteness through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries making them Americans first in a legal and then in a cultural sense.– Nikhil Pal Singh, Black is a Country
We have to constantly critique imperialist white-supremacist patriarchal culture because it is normalized by mass media and rendered unproblematic.– Bell Hooks, Homegrown: Engaged Cultural Criticism