2010 ERC Scholarship Essay Program $100 Recipient
Stephanie Mount, Renton (George Fox University)

Why America is the Greatest County in the World

Since the founding of our country, one thing has been essential to its success: individual freedom. It is the fundamental difference that sets this great nation apart from European nations and nations around the world. However, it is not only individual freedom that sets us apart but also the opportunities that come with that freedom. Widely known as the Melting Pot of the world, America offers anyone a chance to build a new life for themselves and for their family if they are willing to work hard. However, contrary to current popular belief, this opportunity is a privilege that comes with personal responsibility. It is critical for this freedom to be protected from an infringing government for it is our freedom that makes America great.

A lot of Americans look at this freedom and think that it gives them the right to do anything they want. That is not true – this American dream comes with responsibility. As humans, we have God given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And as Americans, we are fortunate enough to have the freedom to exercise those rights. People born in America don’t realize the opportunities that they have here that are absent in many countries. It is so easy to take our freedoms for granted and begin to desire the government to provide for our basic needs. There is danger in this thinking because it leads to laziness and dependence on the government for provision. When this occurs, the government is able to control more aspects of one’s life and thus slowly erode one’s freedoms.

What most Americans who fall into this way of thinking don’t realize is that there are multitudes of people yearning to come to America. The opportunities available here allow any person from any country to come and start a life for themselves and their families if they are willing to work. There is no class system that keeps a person in one place their whole life. Anyone can work his or her way up. America has an incomparable openness and acceptance of such a wide variety of people compared to many other countries. People come to this great nation because they are thrilled about the incredible opportunities that America offers.

The future of our country depends on each generation embracing the opportunities that America offers them. This great nation was founded by men and women who knew the importance of hard work. If someone was poor, their attitude was not “I want the government to take care of me,” but rather, “I will work harder.” Individual freedom leads to individual prosperity and individual prosperity leads to a prosperous nation. If we want America to remain a great nation, individual freedoms must be protected.