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Hope and Despair in The History of United States

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“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again” – Maya Angelou. Due to innumerable accounts of iniquity in history, the despair that results from these actions outweighs the hope for a better future. This is apparent even in deplorable cases such as racially fueled hate crimes, sexism, and mass shootings.

In the history of the United States, hate crimes have always been a very apparent issue. One of the biggest and most famous hate groups were called the Ku Klux Klan. The Ku Klux Klan was a hate organization created by white protestants in the 1860s that targeted African Americans in the United States. For instance, the Ku Klux Klan would rape, beat, and ruthlessly murder African Americans out of pure hate for the opposite race (Mankiller). These acts of violence cast a dark shadow over the history of the united states. The fact that U.S citizens are representing the United States by targeting those of a different skin color is despicable. On March 3, 1991, 36 year old Rodney King was beaten by multiple police officers, while others just watched and said nothing. After this terrible event occurred, Rodney King became a large part of the Civil Rights Movement and brought awareness to the fact that African Americans are targeted by others because of their ethnicity. Arguably the biggest hate crime to ever occur in the history of the United States were the attacks of 911. On September 11, 2001, two hijacked aircrafts flew into the twin towers in New York City, killing thousands of people. This tragic event darkened the history of the United States with death and hate. All of these acts of hate and violence support the fact the events in history are too tragic to inspire hope in others for the future.

Sexism is universally defined as “prejudice or discrimintation based on sex or gender, especially against women” (Masequesmay). As of the year 2019, women are still being paid less than men for doing the same type of work. According to AAUW, women still only receive about 80% of the wages a man would receive for doing the same work (Vagins). This discrimination against women is an embarrasment to the Unites States and its policies. There is absolutely no factual reason that a woman should be paid less than a man if they are doing the same work, for the same amount of time. This disrespect against women is untolerable and should not be upheld. Another example of sexism is the fact that women weren’t given the right to vote until 1920. The fact that the United States had been a country for over 100 years and women weren’t even given the ability to have a say in how their country was run is despicable. A platform in which sexism is very apparent is in sports. Women are judged differently than men are for playing competitively in their events. For example, in the 2018 US Open, tennis player Serena Williams was penalized for showing rage during her match after given a questionable code for receiving coaching and breaking her racket during the match. When Williams got angry about the call and asked the ref for an explanation, she was penalized for showing rage. This is one of the greatest examples of sports sexism yet. The fact that there is such a disadvantage to women in situations such as sports and professions is tremendously disappointing.

The number of mass shootings in the United States is demoralizing. On October 1, 2017, 58 people were killed when 64-year-old Stephen Paddock shot at thousands of people who were attending a concert in Las Vegas, Nevada. These immoral acts further prove the fact that history is constantly proving itself to be disappointing with the number of deaths involved. Another mass shooting in the US was the Sandy Hook shooting. On December 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary school and killed 27 children and staff members, before killing himself. So far, there have been seven mass shootings in 2019, resulting in 57 deaths and 78 injured. Over the past five years, there have been 47 mass shootings, resulting in 388 deaths and 761 injured. These shootings are one of the greatest origins of despair that the United States has. These immoral acts of hate further support the fact that history is filled with despair and desperation that will continue to spread with all these acts of violence.

Upsetting events and situations such as hate crimes, sexism, and mass shootings prove the point that history is filled with despair. This despair will continue to build over hundreds of years as more violence occurs, which outweighs the idea that there is always hope in history. 

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Hope And Despair In The History Of United States. (2021, October 25). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 22, 2022, from
“Hope And Despair In The History Of United States.” GradesFixer, 25 Oct. 2021,
Hope And Despair In The History Of United States. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Sept. 2022].
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