An Examination of White Sovereignty in America

An essay about competition and white supremacy

Dr. Cynthia Alease Smith
Momentum
Published in
6 min readSep 23, 2023

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Illustration from American Battle Field Trust

Throughout its nearly 250-year history, America has dedicated a significant amount of time to establishing its status and worth as the world’s most predominant nation. If you were to ask any American citizen, they would undoubtedly proclaim that America is the greatest country in the world and a model of democracy. Its military might is widely regarded as unparalleled, and other nations consider America to be a land of opportunity. America holds itself in high esteem and competes intermittently with other nations both in times of war and peace to demonstrate its competence in global affairs. The value America places on itself in terms of its superiority over other nations is its “sovereignty.” In addition, America lauds the sovereignty of its people through the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights in relation to the rights of the people to direct themselves through governmental representation.

What is sovereignty? Its literal definition means supreme power or authority. It has other subtle and not-so-subtle ancillary meanings that help frame the literal definition around more benign nationalistic and patriotic connotations. Terms like sovereignty are typically applied in discussions of old, medieval European kingdoms, kings, and queens. However, the term has a root in the founding of America as well. In an article called, “Why Does Sovereignty Matter to America?” by Steven Groves for the Heritage Foundation, he declared in the first line of the first paragraph of his article, “The United States is a sovereign nation.”[1] Discussing its importance to the establishment of the country’s independence from England, Groves wrote:

When America declared its independence in 1776, the Declaration described Americans as “one people” who had the right “to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them. With these words, the United States declared its sovereignty.”[1]

When critically assessing the word sovereignty, the status of a nation that considers itself sovereign becomes immediately obvious. It considers itself supreme power or authority. The notion of sovereignty may have made sense…

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Dr. Cynthia Alease Smith
Momentum

Anti-Racism Essayist & Educator offering discussions about Race, Racism, White Supremacy and the language used, from perspectives not ordinarily considered.