The story of the founding of the United States is a story nearly every United States citizen understands at the very least a rough version of. The story of how a group of patriots overthrew standing British power who were invading their rights to privacy, taxing them unfairly, and overall not giving the colonials a square deal. This story gives American’s pride in their identity and government. It also serves to legitimize the current US Government, for the current officials follow the same Constitution set up by those Patriots who fought the British. However, since the founding of the US Government there have been numerous cases in which the government has betrayed its people and committed corruption. When the media finds out about such a corrupt act, generally a scapegoat bears the entirety of the blame. In this paper I will argue that this is wrong, and in reality corruption occurs on several different levels and is carried out by multiple people.
One of the examples of US government corruption that had a major impact on the American people is often overlooked. Fred Hampton, a leader in the Black Panther Party during the late 1960’s was deliberately and brutally murdered by the US government on December 4, 1969. This act not only infringed on his rights in the worst possible way, it also had an immeasurable impact on the progress of African Americans in American society. Hampton was a rising leader within the the Civil Rights Movement, and at the young age of 22 had a lot of potential. There is no way for us to know exactly what his impact would have been had he been able to live his life to it’s natural death, but we can be sure that he had great skills and worked hard when it came to the advancement of the African American people.
The US government’s action on December 4, 1969 was despicable. The media’s reaction to the murder was disappointing, with initial reports taking the side of the FBI and Chicago Police. The story quickly lost national prominence, and became mostly a local Chicago news story shortly after the murder. It took several years before the case was finally brought to court and Hampton’s family awarded over a million dollars, which is to say the least an admission of guilt by the US government. This was hardly the consequence Hampton would have liked to see his murder have. Someone should have been held responsible, and the US should have stepped back and re-evaluated their role in society. In the view of today’s media, Hampton’s death is largely attributed to J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI chief during the 60’s.
While Hoover was largely the mastermind behind Hampton’s murder and the COINTELPRO program that made it possible, by no means did he act alone. In such a bureaucratic system, it’s rare for any government official to be solely responsible for any action by the US government. The other officials in the FBI were plenty cognizant to recognize what was going on was wrong. The more important individual who never...