Promise of America

US flag made out of images of park-related things

The exact "promise of America" is something that each American defines for themselves. While our nation is richly diverse in countless ways, there is a common thread: an aspiration to create something greater for ourselves and each other.

As a new nation was formed in 1776, it was grounded on ideals such as freedom, liberty, equality, and the encouragement to speak up for individual rights.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." - The Declaration of Independence, 1776


Many were left out of that vision at the time and in the centuries that followed. But the revolutionary spirit of the founding ideals has beckoned generations of Americans who fought to ensure that we are all included in its promise.

This month, join us as we explore the founding ideals of our democracy and how generations of Americans have endeavored to shape the our nation around the promise—the aspirational spirit—of those concepts.

Explore these stories at national parks across the country and share your own on social media using #AmericanAspiration and #FindYourPark or #EncuentraTuParque.

On This Page - Jump to a Section Navigation

There are more than 400 national parks stretching from Maine to Guam, and NPS community-based programs and partnerships reach communities everywhere in between. Find stories that explore the promise of America through conversations about identity, heritage, perspectives, and different ways to fight for that promise to be achieved by all Americans.

Statue of a child being grabbed by a police officer with an aggressive dog

This Month's National Park Getaway

Birmingham Civil Rights NM shares stories of Americans uniting to fight for civil rights despite all dangers and adversity they faced.

Team woodworking; text reads "Passing the Hammer, An Intergenerational Conversation About Career Opportunities in Historic Preservation. July 21, 4-5 p.m. ET"; includes logos for The Corps Network, National Park Service, and TTAP

Upcoming Webinar

On Wednesday, July 21 at 4 pm to 5 pm EDT, join the National Park Service and The Corps Network for a intergenerational conversation around career opportunities in historic preservation. "Passing the Hammer: An Intergenerational Conversation About Career Opportunities in Historic Preservation" will be a virtual panel discussion. Find more information about this event, including how to register.


Featured Videos

Back of two women looking at a statue

"Twenty & Odd"

Reflect on 400 years of African American experience through the lens of our nation's iconic places in this short film.

Rainbow over a field of crops

"Oh, Nicodemus!"

A short film woven together by a poem explains the epic story of an enduring town founded by former enslaved Americans settling in Kansas.

Screenshot of a park ranger

"We are AANHPI"

Don't blink as National Park Service staff share power of the presence, contributions, endurance, and resiliency of AANHPI communities.

Word

Proud of Our Past, Embracing Our Future

National Park Service employees share their rich Hispanic and Latino cultural heritage and history.

Tribal house in a field with purple flowers

Welcome to Xunaa Shuká Hít

Everyone is welcome to Xunaa Shuká Hít, the Huna Ancestors' House, a gathering place to learn share Tlingit heritage.

Screenshot of an intern on a boardwalk looking over a marsh

A Conversation of a Continuing Heritage

Follow an intern for a conversation about carrying on the tradition of Latino conservationists as he starts his own journey.

Screenshot from a video with five photos of people and text on the screen

"Dear Future Girl Conservationist"

A community of National Park Service women in many fields of science give encouragement to the next generation of conservationists.

Screenshot of the Stonewall Inn decorated in LBGTQ pride flags

Moments of Change

Look back at some significant moments of change throughout US history found in national parks through a series of snapshots.

Featured Podcasts

Illustration of Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony with text reading

"The Agitators" Podcast Series

This podcast series tells of the enduring but complex friendship of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass as they fought for civil rights.

Visitor looking at a museum about the suffrage movement

Ballot Box Blocked

A new six-part podcast series is launching to take a deeper look at the challenges many faced be able to vote.

Podcast title graphic reading

The Veterans Podcast

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers NM is having conversations with National Park Service veterans sharing what that means to them.

Petroglyph on a rock thta includes a human-like figure

Early American Stories in Stone

Explore a 23-mile stretch of the Susquehanna National Heritage Area to learn about petroglyphs in a podcast.

Ruins of a Pueblo building

A Pueblo Perspective of Mesa Top

A park ranger takes you on a tour of Mesa Verde NP's Top Loop Drive from her perspective as a descendant of those who lived there.

Native shawl dancer wearing a pink shawl

2020 Digital Indian Arts Podcasts

Join Fort Union Trading Post NHS celebrating the the past, present, and future of Indian Arts Showcase.

Model of a large factory weaving room

Lowell Talks

A podcast series discusses topics and the community identity throughout the history of the town of Lowell, Massachusetts.

Small farm on a large prairie

Tallgrass Prairie Podcasts

Examine the the natural and cultural heritage and identity of the tall grass prairies of the West.

Illustration of text

Better Lives, Bitter Lies Podcasts

In the 19th & 20th centuries, countless people sailed into San Francisco Bay seeking better lives. Hear their stories.

You Explore

Start your journey to explore the promise of America by visiting national parks or places in your community that are part of the story.

Park ranger smiling in a prairie field

Plan Like a Park Ranger in 2021

Visiting a national park this summer? Park rangers are sharing their top 10 lists of insider tips to plan ahead for a fun, safe adventure.

Three smartphones displaying the NPS App

The NPS App

One app, every park at your fingertips. Experience and explore national parks using a new app for mobile devices.

Wooden cabin and white house behind a picket fence

Discover Our Shared Heritage

Embrace your inner armchair explorer and discover history, architecture, archeology and culture across the country.

For Kids

Explore educational materials to help teach about concepts related to the promise of America. Find even more educational resources in the Educators Portal.
Loading results...

    Last updated: July 16, 2021