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America the Beautiful – For How Much Longer?

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America the Beautiful

For How Much Longer?

While the United States faces hard times now and in the years ahead, its land tells an amazing story.

Learn the why behind the headlines.

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“The United States of America.” Just hearing the name evokes a host of images, emotions and reactions.

For patriotic citizens, it is the best nation of all, a beacon of freedom, a city set on a hill—as Abraham Lincoln once described it, “the last best hope of Earth.”

Among detractors inside and outside its borders, it may be called an oppressive empire, a bloated mega-consumer of natural resources, the creation of long-dead men driven by outdated ideals.

Ideology aside, an indisputable fact remains: the United States has been the most prosperous and powerful single nation in history.

How—and why—did America reach this status?

Exceptional Geography

From a physical standpoint, the qualities of the land settled by American pioneers—the midsection of the North American continent—virtually guaranteed the nation’s eventual power and prominence.

“The Greater Mississippi Basin together with the Intracoastal Waterway has more kilometers of navigable internal waterways than the rest of the world combined,” a Stratfor report stated. “The American Midwest is both overlaid by this waterway and is the world’s largest contiguous piece of farmland. The U.S. Atlantic Coast possesses more major ports than the rest of the Western Hemisphere combined. Two vast oceans insulated the United States from Asian and European powers, deserts separate the United States from Mexico to the south, while lakes and forests separate the population centers in Canada from those in the United States. The United States has capital, food surpluses and physical insulation in excess of every other country in the world by an exceedingly large margin.”

Among these assets, the most important is nestled in America’s heartland—the Mississippi Basin: “The unified nature of this system greatly enhances the region’s usefulness and potential economic and political power. First, shipping goods via water is an order of magnitude cheaper than shipping them via land…in the petroleum age in the United States, the cost of transport via water is roughly 10 to 30 times cheaper than overland.”

“Second, the watershed of the Greater Mississippi Basin largely overlays North America’s arable lands. Normally, agricultural areas as large as the American Midwest are underutilized as the cost of shipping their output to more densely populated regions cuts deeply into the economics of agriculture…Massive artificial transport networks must be constructed and maintained in order for the land to reach its full potential. Not so in the case of the Greater Mississippi Basin. The vast bulk of the prime agricultural lands are within 200 kilometers of a stretch of navigable river. Road and rail are still used for collection, but nearly omnipresent river ports allow for the entirety of the basin’s farmers to easily and cheaply ship their products to markets not just in North America but all over the world.

“Third, the river network’s unity greatly eases the issue of political integration. All of the peoples of the basin are part of the same economic system, ensuring constant contact and common interests” (ibid.).

The continent seemed tailor-made to generate profit and support population growth. French statesman Alexis de Tocqueville, writing about what awaited European settlers in Democracy in America, described the land this way: “Those coasts so well suited for trade and industry, those deep rivers, that inexhaustible valley of the Mississippi—in short, the whole continent—seemed the yet empty cradle of a great nation.”

Complementing its unique geography, the U.S. also possesses a disproportionate share of natural resources.

Unparalleled Production

The American Midwest has long been the breadbasket of the country—indeed, to a degree, of the world. It has been asserted that, if productivity and distribution were ideal, this one nation could feed the entire world. While this is debatable, the U.S. does provide roughly half of global food aid, at a cost of $2 billion per year.

Remarkably, the unprecedented levels of productivity that made possible the postwar “baby boom” have seen continued expansion overall.

“According to Erik O’Donoghue and Robert Hoppe, two economists at the Department of Agriculture, in 2009 U.S. farm output was 170 percent above its level in 1948, having grown at a rate of 1.63 percent a year. Those figures understate the productivity revolution, because these increasing harvests have been delivered with fewer inputs, particularly less labor and less land.

“Tom Vilsack, the agriculture secretary, [said] that since 1980, agriculture has been ‘the second-most-productive aspect of our economy…I’m 61 years old, and in my lifetime, corn production has increased 400 percent, soybeans 1,000 percent, and wheat 100 percent’” (Reuters).

While this is in part due to shortsighted overuse of fertilizer and other artificial means, these are stunning figures nonetheless—difficult or impossible to achieve elsewhere.

Also, the U.S. is the world’s primary timber producer, surpassing the combined output of Russia and Canada.

Breathtaking Beauty

In addition to staggering productivity, America also features some of the most beautiful landscapes found anywhere. Its spacious expanse encompasses many types of terrain, from rocky coasts to dense forests, white-sand beaches to rolling hills, towering mountain ranges to wide-open prairies, soaked rainforests to parched deserts, swamplands to grassy plains.

This panorama has produced a huge tourism industry. According to the World Tourism Organization, the U.S. generated $116.3 billion in tourism receipts in 2011, nearly double that of the second-place finisher, Spain. It also ranked second in number of international tourist arrivals, not far behind France.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, “Direct spending by resident and international travelers in the U.S. averaged $2.2 billion a day, $92.8 million an hour, $1.5 million a minute and $25,778 a second” in 2011—generating a total of $813 billion. Add to this $1.1 trillion in indirect spending and the support of 14.4 million jobs, and this becomes a major part of the nation’s economy.

Some of the most popular natural features include:

  • Arizona’s Grand Canyon: Up to 18 miles wide and a mile deep, and over 270 miles long, the canyon’s striped walls, with its countless shades of earthy reds and golds, chronicle the area’s geological development.
  • Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park: The world’s first National Park, it was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve. Half of the world’s geothermal features can be found here.
  • New York’s Niagara Falls: Situated on the border between the U.S. and Canada, this unique water feature is up to 110 feet tall in certain places.
  • Alaska’s Mount McKinley: The tallest North American mountain (20,320 feet), its vertical rise from base to peak exceeds any land-based mountain, including Mount Everest.
  • California’s Redwood Forest: The coastal sequoias are the world’s tallest trees, including the world-record-holding Hyperion, which reaches a towering 379 feet.
  • Florida’s Everglades: Approximately 1,509,000 acres of subtropical wilderness harbor hundreds of species of mammals, reptiles, birds and fish.

Underground Riches

So far only the easily visible, above-ground assets of the North American continent have been considered. But subterranean holdings have been just as valuable.

“Although it contains less than 10 percent of the world’s population, [North America] has an extraordinarily high proportion of the world’s resource wealth. It produces a substantial percentage of the world’s oil, iron ore, steel, copper, lead, and zinc. With a large percentage of the world’s coal and oil output and electrical power production, it possesses the critical elements of modern industry” (Encyclopaedia Britannica).

The proposed purchase of Alaska was ridiculed as “Seward’s Folly.” Championed by Secretary of State William Seward, some Americans, including politicians, viewed it as an ill-advised pursuit of an icebox. Beyond its incredible natural beauty, abundant timber, and sprawling scale (over double the size of Texas), the giant territory quieted the naysayers with its gold deposits and oil reserves—all procured from Russia in 1867 for around two cents per acre!

America has been called the “Saudi Arabia of coal,” a fact that helped fuel its industrial revolution. And the abundance of iron ore turned steel cities such as Pittsburgh into economic engines, and impacted everything from the affordability of the automobile to the volume and superiority of American military equipment in World War II.

In 2012, a new natural gas boom seems imminent, with the controversial “fracking” technique opening new reserves for use: “…nowhere, perhaps, has the dispute over fracking grown more heated than in the vicinity of the Marcellus Shale. According to Terry Engelder, a professor of geosciences at Penn State, the vast formation sprawling primarily beneath West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York could produce an estimated 493 trillion cubic feet of gas over its 50- to 100-year life span. That’s nowhere close to Saudi Arabia’s total energy reserves, but it is enough to power every natural [gas-burning] device in the country for more than 20 years” (Popular Mechanics).

“High Places of the Earth”

The amazing part of America’s story is that the pilgrims’ arrival to this unique swath of land, and the rise of the 13 colonies from a ragtag dependency of the British crown to a superpower, was no accident—it was foretold millennia ago.

Bible readers have struggled to reconcile the following verses with the record of history: “And God said unto him, Your name is Jacob: your name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be your name…And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of you, and kings shall come out of your loins” (Gen. 35:10-11).

This has obviously not been fulfilled in the tiny Mediterranean state of Israel, established in 1948, though its achievements have been remarkable. Nor was it fulfilled anciently in the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. But it did come to pass—down to the last detail—in the rise of the British Empire (a company of nations) in the 19th century, followed by that of the United States (a nation), the 20th-century superpower.

The key lies in the identity of the “lost tribes” of Israel. Judah, with elements of Levi and Simeon, retained their identity through their observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, and other tenets of what is known as Judaism. But what of the other tribes, including the birthright holders—Ephraim and Manasseh, sons of Joseph? (See Genesis 48:12-22.)

They did receive the birthright promises! This was tied to obedience to God’s Law, including the Fourth Commandment—“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Ex. 20:8).

Specific blessings are reserved for those who do this. Consider: “If you turn away your foot from the sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words: then shall you delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father…” (Isa. 58:13-14).

The United States has received unparalleled blessings due to the obedience of men such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel)—from whom many of its citizens have descended. And they truly have ridden “upon the high places of the earth”!

Too Blessed?

One test of a nation’s character—as well as that of individuals—is its response to prosperity. Regrettably, incredible prosperity in the United States has not brought out profound gratitude to, or even a genuine search for, the Source of these blessings.

In 1973, U.S. News & World Report quoted the late Kakuei Tanaka, Prime Minister of Japan from 1972 to 1974, as stating about Americans, “I often wonder why you worry so much about domestic problems when you have such an abundance of resources…For example, look at American agricultural productivity. It’s easy for the U.S. to expand its output whenever it chooses. We can’t do that in Japan…When I compare the situation here in Japan with the situation in your country, I think that as a nation you are too privileged…God has not been very fair in the distribution of resources.”

Unknown to Mr. Tanaka, God did not bless America because of impulse or favoritism. And despite assumptions to the contrary, these have not come to pass as the deserved result of American ingenuity, optimism or work ethic.

The God of the Bible is calling Americans to truly turn to Him—while there is yet time—before blessings are completely withdrawn: “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people; if My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (II Chron. 7:13-14).

The Real Truth calls on all Americans to learn their origins, and to act upon them. While the nation as a whole may never do this, individuals—including you!—can.

If you would like to learn more about the amazing historical roots of this country—and its future—request your free copy of David C. Pack’s thoroughly researched and illuminating book America and Britain in Prophecy.

It will forever change your view of world history!

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