Where was the freedom and justice for the natives, or the slaves, or the women, or the non-Protestants? Where was freedom for the interned Japanese, or justice for people accused of Communism during the red scare? Where was the freedom and justice for all the South Americans and Middle Easterners, as they were ruled by our blood-thirsty puppets?
Fuck, was there ever even a single ten year period in which this country "held to the standards of freedom and justice"?
As a naturalized citizen of the United States of America, who originally came from China, back in the 1970's, I do need to speak up on this issue.
Yes, you are right. America does fall short of its ideal, of keeping the freedom and liberty for EVERYONE.
But then, what you are trying to get at is a utopian IDEAL that will never exist in the real world that you and I are living in.
The OP has already said that there were several mis-steps along the way - and as a non-Anglo, I can attest to the fact that the America that I used to know, the pre-1993 USA (before the Waco, Texas incident) was a country which was trying to achieve that ideal, however impossible the target turned out to be.
After the Waco incident, things gone south.
I am speaking as a non-native, non-American born, an observer from the outside.