On FreeRepublic.com, the question was asked, "What makes America a great nation?" The following was my response. Enjoy!
A thousand or so years from now noone but a history buff may know much about America, but if there is any free peoples on the planet, I'd be willing to bet money that their govenment is based in large part on our Constitution. The thing that made our Constitution different from any on the planet is the way that it defined and limits our government more sharply than any other. The separation of powers that keep the different branches of government from reigning supreme. The States, which were intended to be largely autonomous were to keep the central government from over-reaching and becoming too large a force in the citizen's lives. The first ten amendments to the Constitution, commonly mistakenly called the 'bill of rights', would be more accurately described as 'Bills of Limitations' in that they are a list of things the federal government has no business getting involved in. These are the things that secure the freedom of the people, from which all power are derived. (see 9th and 10th amendments especially). Our Constitution is based on the premise that power originates with the people and is delegated to the government in such quantity as is necessary to secure the blessings of liberty to the people.
You can't have personal freedom without having economic freedom. If you look at all the little hell-holes around the world where you find crumbling or non-existant infrastructures. Where running water and electricity are luxuries for the ruling class, you will inevitably find a country without decent respect for contract law. When law is based on graft or pull with the ruling party, liberty will not exist to any great degree, and poverty will reign supreme in people's lives.
I believe that God loves liberty, and he love a people free to worship in whatever manner they choose because he loves us and wants us to be happy. Only free people can be truely happy.
The people of the United States are generous, forgiving, and peaceful. Look around the world where you see ancient hatreds erupting in pain and misery. See the Balkans and the Middle-East. These people harbor grudges against each other that last for centuries and they are willing to kill again and again for these grudges as well as inflict coutless other barbarities against their fellow man because he happened to be born with a different last name or religion than they prefer. Then look at America. In the mid 19th we fought a horrible war, brother against brother that resulted in terrible misery, destruction and loss of life. This war was similar to those that have been fought all over the world for centuries. What made Americans different from their European, African, Middle Eastern, and Asian brothers is that before even a decade had passed, groups of former soldiers form both sides would march back to the battlefields, stand apart from each other, and re-enact the battle that had cost many of their friends and relatives so dearly. Afterwards, they would meet together on the grounds and break bread with each other in reconciliation. Tell me, where else in the world this has happened? There are certainly regional rivalries and differences, but I would not feel my life were in danger, just because, as a Texan, I were to move to Detroit. It is this great good nature of Americans that make us great above all, and for this God loves us and blesses us all the more.
These are the ideals and foundations that have made this country great. I will not claim they are all perfectly adheared to. We know there is still a residue of racism here, but it is something that most Americans are working hard to eliminate as much as is possible. It is also true that FedGov has become much larger, more powerful, and further reaching than those who founded this nation would have ever imagined. This has caused more erosion of the liberty of the people than I like to even contemplate. However, God still loves us, as he loves every person and creature on the planet, and we see his working in our lives though the indominable spirit we have witnessed throughout the country this past week.