Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Coca-Cola Advert

http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/dynamic/press_center/avcenter.html?assetId=73901&assetTag=advertising

The advert I have chosen is the Coca-Cola advert. One of the most recent adverts which i have chosen contains the story of creating happiness and bringing friends together. In this advert the drink clearly satisfies Santa Clause resulting in him tilting a snow globe which enables toys all over the world to come alive. This gives the audience a positive image that Coca-Cola can cause such things. Another way you could look at the advert is that Santa Clause takes a sip of the drink and wants to change the world, indicating that Coca-Cola have tried to do the same thing by making a positive change in the world.
Coca-Cola adverts give off the impression that with one mouthful of the drink you can fulfill your dreams and accomplish what ever you desire. Through doing this, Coca-Cola have remained reputable and contemporary by constantly reiterating their values.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Volkswagen Beetle Advert 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NGN4J6F_vI

This advert was first shown at the US Super Bowl- an American football tournament that is broadcast throughout America and many other parts of the world. The advert is for Volkswagen, a German car company, however, there are still many elements of America that are present in the advert.

Interestingly, the car itself is not actually shown, but the instantly recognisable silhouette of the car is shown, as well as the beetle being used to show that it is actually the Volkswagen Beetle they are advertising. The fact that the car is not actually shown is quite surprising, but could be aiming to ensure that people go home and research about the car and find out more about it.

The song in the background, 'Black Betty- Ram Jam', is very well known in America which makes the advert easily to relate for the viewers- it is also very catchy and may stick in peoples heads for a while, meaning they remember the song and instantly relate the car to it when they hear it, this means that people may be more likely to research what the car looks like and more about it after seeing the advertisement. Its upbeat tempo and rhythm pairs up perfectly with the nature of the advert, which is effectively a race between the standard beetles and the Volkswagen Beetle- obviously, the VW comes out on top, which coincides with the American ideology of striving to be the best. The fact that the car is shown to be fast is probably used to try and change what the American people usually look for in a car, as traditionally, American people like cars with large engines, ie. Muscle cars. Volkswagen therefore cleverly promote their car to the American culture by using elements of their culture to persuade the American audience that their car is superior to others on the market.

Advert - Miller Lite

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=-JabnZdHjHg

For my advert I chose the beer Miller Lite. The advert is trying to appeal to men that Miller "lite" beer isn't a feminine thing to drink as their is a stigma attached to it like diet coke is a girly thing to drink. It is also trying to get across that it tastes just as good as normal beer, you can see this in its catchphrase; "Taste Greatness". The humor in it for me is very American but I think it is very funny and it manages to get across its point clearly.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Consumerism Advert - Dr Pepper

The advert I have chosen is a fairly old one for Dr Pepper. The reason why I have chosen this is that it is very typical American with the student being in high school going to visit the nurse for a poorly finger but as the slogan for Dr Pepper is "What's the worst that could happen?", the nurse accidently puts the speaker on. After this it becomes a very tongue in cheek scene when he describes the pain in his little friend and it is perceived as something else by the rest of the student body. So not only do I feel that this advert is very typical American as a brand but it also gives a very good insite to high school and encapsulates high school life as well with the descriptions of different sets of people, such as the cheer leaders, the jocks etc.

http://youtu.be/2Sf6uzhRbOs

Advertisement

The advert I have chosen is for Pop Tarts. They were introduced in 1964 by Kelloggs. The advert shows a dull grey world without pop tarts. Once pop tarts are introduced everything becomes colourful. The slogan "Sprinkled with joy and frosted with fun. They make the ordinary extraordinary" is used at the end of the advert. This is what the product claims to do, make the ordinary extraordinary. American exceptionalism teaches us that all Americans can achieve greatness and this advert is telling us that Pop Tarts will help them to get there. It is aimed at children and they use animated creatures to tap into the young market.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Horatio Alger states that through hard work, honesty and strong determination, the American Dream is achievable to all. One person who criticised this myth was Marcus Klein. He argues that Alger uses the subversive version of the American Dream, critiquing it whilst endorsing it. Ragged Dick 'made it', making him more respectable with nice clothes and less slang. Klein argues that in doing this, Alger is kind of making fun of respectability, and that it is all just to play a part. Dick gets a good job because of the work of saving a millionaire's son, whilst Fosdick happens to get a recommendation and thus a job because of social networks. This suggests that you can work extremely hard but you are not going to make it to the top without pure luck.

Monday, 28 November 2011

The Horatio Alger Myth

The Horatio Alger myth is a criticism of the idea that with talent and hard work a person can succeed financially in life. This is not in my opinion what was expressed in Ragged Dick. Dick uses money he is given by wealthy men to originally finance his exploits. This is not in keeping with Horatio Alger or with the American dream because without this outside help Dick's life could have been very different. In this sense regarding Horatio Alger's ideas as 'myths' is accurate. Whether or not Alger intended his work to be interpreted in the way that it has been is debatable. The phrase 'The American Dream' was coined after Alger's death so it could not have been this that drove his writing in this direction. The phrase is used often by bloggers to express their anger at their personal lack of financial success. The idea of the American Dream as a 'myth' is used to oppose those who deny a class divide and inequality in The USA.

The Horatio Alger Myth

The use of "the Horatio Alger Myth" that I have chosen to use is one I will use in my presentation, film maker Michael Moore. In his article,“Face It You’ll Never Be Rich” in the Guardian, 2003 Moore says:

“So, here's my question: after fleecing the American public and destroying the American dream for most working people, how is it that, instead of being drawn and quartered and hung at dawn at the city gates, the rich got a big wet kiss from Congress in the form of a record tax break, and no one says a word? How can that be? I think it's because we're still addicted to the Horatio Alger fantasy drug. Despite all the damage and all the evidence to the contrary, the average American still wants to hang on to this belief that maybe, just maybe, he or she (mostly he) just might make it big after all.”


I don't really agree with a lot of the criticisms of Alger as I think that what he originally wrote has been misconstrued and changed over the years. I believe Alger was trying to say that people can rise from nothing to respectability with hard work and education but what people think Alger said is that people can rise from nothing to everything and anything. I do think that Moore is correct in saying that the modern conception of the American Dream is being destroyed however people want to cling to it in hope of a better life.

Gun Control

The website that I have chosen for pro gun control is a website caalled the Brady Campaign. Their main aim is to ensure the safety of Americans and making America a gun free society. They campaign to enforce regulations that are sensible with the federal and state laws and aim to reform America's society by educating people on gun violence. Along with this they also work with victims of gun crime as well to reduce the violence on America's streets and in peoples homes. I especially like the top hand corner of the website which gives an indication of how many people have been shot and then how many people have been shot today as this kind of gives you a realisation of the seriousness of gun control and drives home how important their mission is.

http://www.bradycampaign.org

The webisite that I have chosen for anti gun control is an artical on a website called opposing views. This website basically just picks out the the main arguements against it such as it being a violation of the second ammendment of the bill of rights. They also believe that should there be gun control the is the potential for more crime and that having a gun actually prevents it plus they believe that it is needed in order for people to protect themselves plus they feel that gun control is giving the government too much power.

http://www.opposingviews.com/i/arguments-against-gun-control

I think from my research on the topic that there are more websites for pro gun control and they provide a strong and reasonable argument. I do not think that having a gun prevents violence at all and therefore find the Brady campaign more convincing.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Gun Control

One website that I found that was pro gun control was from an American newspaper called 'the Washington Post'- http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/virginia-politics/post/bloomberg-backs-pro-gun-control-democrats-in-virginia-election/2011/10/28/gIQAliz9PM_blog.html
The article focuses on the mayor of New York's involvement in trying to promote gun control in the Virginia elections, he evidently thinks that controlling gun crime is vital and in the article it explains how he has donated $25,000 of his own money to the candidates that are running for the election, in the hope that they will impose the law when they are elected. Although there are a select few articles on pro gun control, the reason why it could be limited is because of the high volume of guns in the country, many people may have just accepted that they would be fighting a lost cause because it would be near impossible to get rid of all of the guns in the country.

The website I found which was anti gun control was http://www.westnet.com/~levins/guncontrol3.html, this site gives numerous reasons about why guns aren't as bad as people make them out to be. The writer of the page has some very interesting statistics, one being the 10 most frequent reasons for visits to accident and emergency departments in the US, this shows that guncrime is far less prevalent than accidents in softball, horseriding and skateboarding.

Although some of the statistics mentioned in the second article are thought-provoking and interesting, I believe that the first article is better, this is because Bloomberg (the mayor of New York) is actively doing something to fight his argument, rather than the author of the second website, who simply puts together an argument formed from events in history and often their facts seem to be pretty weightless and obvious, for example, when they talk about the top 10 most prevalent injuries in the US, obviously gun crime isn't going to be as high, but the injuries themselves caused by guns are usually far worse than injuries picked up in sport for example.

Gun Control Assigment

Anti-gun control

http://www.ammoland.com/2011/08/15/gun-control-is-anti-american/

The above site is an article on a website that sells guns by a man called Rev. Kenn Blanchard. He argues that gun control is anti-american and anti-freedom and thinks people should have the freedom to decide if they want to own a gun and be able to protect themselves. He states; "It is and always has been about control. That is not American". He thinks that the governement is just trying to find something else to control and that they should not interfere.

Pro-gun Control

I found it very difficult to find pro-gun control websites, besides the two already mentioned, however I did manage to find one pro-gun control article on the site below.


Although the above site only focuses on Wisconsin it makes some good arguments, for example, stating that; "People are five to seven times more likely to be murdered in workplaces that allow firearms than in those that prohibit it". It talks about experiments and research people have done and tries to put a balanced argument across, however it reverts back to its original statement saying that it agrees that this is not a good thing.

As much as I don't agree I found the anti-gun control website more convincing. There were so many of them in comparison to pro-gun control websites and they were much more forceful and passionate in what they were saying as they obviously truely believe in the 2nd amendment of the Constitution.


Monday, 21 November 2011

Gun-Control

The website I chose for pro-gun control is http://www.bradycampaign.org/ This is not a campaign to ban guns across America, merely to put in place more gun control. The website itself is very clear and simple to use with the main theme being red, white and blue. Up in the top right hand corner of the website is also a statistics about how many people have been shot this year and to the day. The website is full of facts about murders by guns, legislation and how to get involved.
One of the statistics the website gives us is that England and Wales has 39 deaths by guns in one year, whereas in America their were 9, 484.

The website I chose for anti-gun control is http://home.nra.org/#/nraorg. In comparison to the other website, the NRA website looks a lot more formal and serious which i instantly thought looked like a military related website. The website has a news reel at the bottom with all the latest information.
One of the articles which appeared on the homepage is an article regarding Alex Wagner who believes that the second amendment should be removed. Wagner within this article was called 'ridiculous and naive'.

I think that the stronger website is the Brady Campaign due to the clear information in the website and the easy layout. The facts not only make it easier to understand but i also think that it gives more of an impact as to how dangerous guns are, therefore giving a better argument pro gun-control.

Gun Control

The anti-gun control website that I have chosen to look at is Gun Owners of America. They claim to see gun control as a freedom issue. It is their view that legislation regarding gun control is taking away their rights. It is their mission to defend the rights laid down in the second amendment. They have formed a network of attorneys that defend the second amendment. The website states that 'As an example, GOA fought for and won, the right of gun owners to sue and recover damages from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) for harassment and unlawful seizure of firearms.'

The pro-gun control website is the
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. They comment on websites such as the NRA and oppose their claims that more guns mean more freedom. Of the NRA they say 'The NRA steadfastly maintains that the 30,000 gun-related deaths with firearms in the United States every year are a small price to pay to guarantee freedom.' This implies that they do not agree. They also say that the NRA believe concealed weapon holders are law abiding citizens however 'In 2009, for example, there were six confirmed mass shootings (defined as three or more deaths) by concealed carry permit holders'

I believe that the GSCV has a stronger argument based on the safety of citizens rather than on 200 year old legislation.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

19th Century Native American Image

This image is taken from a 19th century American magazine and demonstrates a native American man 'scalping' another man who was new to the country, called Nelson Lee. The reason for doing this was because the native Americans, especially those from the Arikara tribe, would treat someone who had been scalped as an outcast. An account from someone called Thomas Gist, who had been held prisoner by the same tribe described the events- "The men began to scrape the flesh and blood from the scalps, and dry them by the fire, after which they dressed them with feathers and painted them, then tied them on white, red, and black poles"-This account makes the native American people seem very uncivilised, but it was common practice at this time and maybe it could have been made to look worse because the story was told through a non-native American's voice, and for a new American's magazine.

The reason why this may have been published in a magazine could be down to the fact that the new Americans, who had colonised the country, believed the natives to be savage and inhumane. Rather than publishing the positive things that the natives do for the country, the negatives were focused on to try and prove that the colonisers were right, ie. giving them a reason to try and wipe out the native population through discrimination.

19th Century Photo Task


Above is an image of a mass grave from the battle of Wounded Knee in 1890.
The battle is often referred to as the Wounded Knee Massacre as many defenseless men, women and children were shot in cold blood by the US Army as they tried to flee helplessly for survival.
Many claim that the killing of the Native Americans was a genocide and this image really brings that idea home with its similarities to the mass graves that Hitler and the Nazis used to bury the Jews during the Holocaust.
I think this is quite a shocking image and is one of those images that America tries to forget when really they should acknowledge their mistakes and learn from them.

Tea Party Task

http://www.teaparty-platform.com/

The site I chose is the Tea Party Movement Platform.

It is a basic website that outlines the main aims and beliefs on the Tea Party:
Eliminate Excessive Taxes
Eliminate the National Debt
Eliminate Deficit Spending
Protect Free Markets
Abide by the Constitution of the United States
Promote Civic Responsibility
Reduce the Overall Size of Government
Believe in the People
Avoid the Pitfalls of Politics
Maintain Local Independence
It explains each of these in more details.

It also has a lot of quotes by famous figures in American history such as Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. These ties in to how the Tea Party believe that by looking back into their history and reverting to how the founding fathers believed Americans should be is the way that all their problems can be solved.

Monday, 14 November 2011






This image was taken by John H. C. Grabill in 1981 and it is a picture of 2 Sioux indians called Red Cloud and American Horse. I have chosen this image as it is showing the 2 indians in 2 comepletely different dresses with one being in their native wear such as the head dress and feathers with the other in a very Americanised dress such as the cowboy hat, jacket and he even has a pistol in a holster around his waist. I find the gun very interesting as it is rare to see any native peoples in photos or images depicted as having a weapon like this. They also seem to be shaking hands in front of a wigwam, which could be their camp, as if they are coming to some sort of agreement. It could be that maybe they are from 2 different Sioux language groups as the website goes on to say that they split in to 3 formidable groupings called the Santee, Yankton, and Teton Sioux. It was from these groups that the Teton Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho native peoples defeated General Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876.


Sunday, 13 November 2011

19th Century Native American image


My first image is called 'sunset of a dying race'. It was painted in 1897 by Allen Christian Redwood. It shows native American life in the late 1800s and yet it is still very reminiscent of earlier years. The title of the image shows that the painter viewed this way of life as archaic and on the way out. There are modern touches to the image such as the native Americans playing cards. The second image is of a Buffalo soldier and his native American wife at a similar time. The two images express the different circumstances that native Americans lived in at this time. The painting shows native Americans in traditional dress and surroundings. The photo is of an African-American husband and a native American wife, both are in more conservative westernised clothing. The photo is an early image of the future and the painting is one last look at the past.

Tea Party website

The website I have looked at is that of the Tea Party Patriots. The website allows members to post comments and discuss governmental issues. The website is heavily critical of Obama with such slogans as 'Robama Hood' because they are against heavy taxation and see Obama as taking their money. The core values expressed on the website are:
  1. fiscal responsibility
  2. Constitutionally limited government
  3. free market
They are after a country where liberty and freedom are still of paramount importance. As the following philosophy implies, the tea party want to revert back to a time where the law was based heavily on the Constitution and the ideas of the founders. They use examples from the constitution and the declaration of independence to validate their own core values and to create a sense of old American idealism which encourages support.

Philosophy
Tea Party Patriots as an organization believes in the
Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government, and Free Markets. Tea Party Patriots, Inc. is a non-partisan grassroots organization of individuals united by our core values derived from the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States of America and the Bill Of Rights as explained in the Federalist Papers. We recognize and support the strength of grassroots organization powered by activism and civic responsibility at a local level. We hold that the United States is a republic conceived by its architects as a nation whose people were granted "unalienable rights" by our Creator. Chiefly among these are the rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." The Tea Party Patriots stand with our founders, as heirs to the republic, to claim our rights and duties which preserve their legacy and our own. We hold, as did the founders, that there exists an inherent benefit to our country when private property and prosperity are secured by natural law and the rights of the individual.

Friday, 11 November 2011

19th Century image


This image is was taken in 1885. By the late 19th century, most Seattle-area Native Americans had been moved to reservations and were not allowed to live in the city. Sometime before 1895, visiting Indians started camping on Ballast Island and other Seattle waterfront locations. This 1880s photo shows an Indian encampment in Seattle, probably located near the western end of Bell Street.
I think this photograph shows the reality of how native americans we literally pushed out and forced to live somewhere unknown and completely different to what they are used to.

Tea Party

http://teapartypatriots.ning.com/

The website I have chosen is called Tea Party Patriots which is a forum made up of the general public, no one in specific. The slogan of the website is:

'A community committed to standing together, shoulder to shoulder, to protect our country and the Constitution upon which we were founded!'
This statement, although meant for Americans is a very motivating and positive statement which could be taken up by any country.
When you first enter the website, the first thing that stands is the design of the website with the American Flag which immediately gives us the sense of patriotism and unity, linking in with the statement above.

The website allows the general public to become 'patriots' which allows the public an insight and involvement into the tea party movement. They also have a Tea Party radio which again allows the public to get involved with the movement and also gives the public a place to speak and give their opinions.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Wk 6 The Tea Party Movement

The following website - http://www.teaparty.org/about.php is an example of a website for the Tea Party movement as it encompasses all of the core values of its followers that inhabit the historic values of the republic. The website continuously goes on to repeat itself by saying that it is a 'grassroots movement' and focuses on the founders of the movement known as the Boston Tea Party which were the "brave souls" who dared to defy and challenge the government of 1773.

Its main core values and beliefs are listed below;

1. Illegal aliens are here illegally.
2. Pro-domestic employment is indispensable.
3. A strong military is essential.
4. Special interests must be eliminated.
5. Gun ownership is sacred.
6. Government must be downsized.
7. The national budget must be balanced.
8. Deficit spending must end.
9. Bailout and stimulus plans are illegal.
10. Reducing personal income taxes is a must.
11. Reducing business income taxes is mandatory.
12. Political offices must be available to average citizens.
13. Intrusive government must be stopped.
14. English as our core language is required.
15. Traditional family values are encouraged.

The followers of the Tea Party believe that the fate of its nation is in the hands of the true patriot and try to keep the initial Boston Tea Party's issues which challenges the security, sovereignty, or domestic tranquility of America and aim to tackle central government by limiting its control over its citizens. They fully believe in the statement of "we the people rule" and aim to keep alive the voice of freedom.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

De Crevecoeur Task

Despite being written in the 18th Century, many of the ideas that Crevecouer puts forward in his text, Letters from an American Farmer, are still applicable to modern day life.

In the fifth letter of the total twelve from the novel, he states "If they are left with fortunes, they are taught how to save them, and how to enjoy them with moderation and decency; if they have none, they know how to venture, how to work, and toil, as their fathers have done before them" (Ch 5: Pgs 108-9). This is a point which I believe many people in the modern day society could learn a lot from, in today's world, many people's upbringings are dependent on the wealth that surrounds them. For example, people with less money are likely to have a poorer education than people with more money who can afford to live in good areas and afford private schools etc. In many cases, people who are born into wealth often take their comfortable lifestyle for granted and instead of working hard themselves, they take advantage of their parents wealth and choose an easy lifestyle and spend money on unnecessary, materialistic things. Crevecoeur says they should "...enjoy them with moderation and decency". On the other hand, we have Crevecoeur explaining what people with no fortunes should do, this is also something which can be learned from in the modern day world, although there are many examples of people who start off with nothing and end up earning lots of money and doing well for themselves, many people could be lured into giving up because they don't think they can do well without a good education, especially in today's society where even getting the smallest and lowest paid of jobs requires you to have some kind of qualifications. Although turning your rags into riches was easier in the time at which this book was written, it is still possible- I believe the word 'toil' is extremely effective in the way in which it is used, because it suggests an idea of a fight against your upbringing and working away at something to try and make something of yourself.

An example of someone who came from a lower class background and had no further education past school, but has now made more than £50million is Jamie Oliver, he started off as the 'Naked Chef' and has now put a more serious stamp on the world of nutrition, creating his own revolution through working hard at something which he believes in. Despite not being American, he has gone over to the states and been successful- creating his own TV shows and campaigning over there for healthy eating for children. He is just one example of people who have made something out of themselves, despite not going to university or having a brilliant upbringing. In fact, some of the richest people in the world never got a degree at university or college, Bill Gates (creator and co-owner of Microsoft) and Mark Zuckerberg (Creator of Facebook) both dropped out of Harvard University and are now both worth billions of dollars.

Monday, 31 October 2011

"Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men, whose labours and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world"
This quote from Letters from an American Farmer is an early expression of American exceptionalism. It is however, a true statement. There have been many great Americans who have changed the world. A modern example is the technological developments in the past 20 years that have changed the way we all live our lives. Some of the most prominent figures in this industry are American. Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, has changed the way people communicate forever. Steve Jobs, with the invention of the ipod and iphone, changed the way people listen to music. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, changed the way people write and has donated over 30 billion dollars to charity. They are all from different backgrounds. Mark Zuckerberg grew up in a Jewish household in New York state during the nineties, he attended Harvard University. Steve Jobs was born in San Fransisco in 1955 and was adopted, he dropped out of collage after a semester. Bill Gates was born in Seattle to parents of English, German and Scotch-Irish descent. He also attended Harvard, thirty years before Mark Zuckerberg. These men are all American and they have all changed the world. I think De Crevecoeur would class these men as the new American, they worked hard and they did extraordinary things.

De Crevecouer’s Task

For this task I will be making reference to this De Crevecouer quote:

"He is an America, who, leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the rank he holds. He becomes an American by being received in the broad lap of our great Alma Mater. Here, individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men, whose labors and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world."

I think that he is trying to say that America is great because the individual can be set free and that the people who have come from all over the world to live in America can develop and become special and can have a great effect on the people who stayed where they were.

A good example of this is the singer Kelly Clarkson. Her mother was of Greek descent and her father Welsh and Irish so she is a great example of "all nations" being "melted into a new race". She came from a very normal life to win the first series of American Idol. Her debut single "A Moment Like This" broke The Beatles record for the biggest leap to number one, from 52, in the history of the Billboard Chart. She then went on to break this record with her 2009 single "My Life Would Suck Without You". She is widely referred to as the best and most successful Idol Winner worldwide and has won numerous awards. This could be said to link in with the quote above which talks about an American "causing great changes in the world".

Obviously the Kelly Clarkson example is quite trivial and there are probably many more examples of this in more important fields but I think she is a great example of what De Crevecouer is talking about in the above quote.


Sunday, 30 October 2011

Contemporary De Crevecour Idea Wk 5

De Crevecour often describes and asks what is an American and describes America as being the new and a place of asylum from the poor of Europe and I make a direct reference to page 42 of his third letter from which he is saying who and what is a new American - "The next wish of this traveller will be, to know whence came all these people? They are a mixture of English, Scotch, Irish, French, Dutch, Germans, and Swedes. From this promiscuous breed, that race, now called Americans."
I feel that in this passage he is saying that the American race is a mixture of different heretiges, and he describes throughout this chapter that if people were to come to America then they would have a more prosperous future and make a better life for themselves.
In order to make this a contemporary example I looked at people who were famously linked to having a European heretige but since coming to America have defined De Crevecour's idea of it being the land of the new and exceptional with opportunities.
An example of this would be the Actor Cary Grant who died in 1986 but is considered to be one the most classical leading men within Hollywood and was even voted as the second greatest male star of all time by the American Film institute. He was best know for his films such as Cherade with Audrey Hepburn and North by Northwest which was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Cary Grant was originally born in Bristol and he by no means had a nice upbringing as his mother suffered from clinical depression afer the death of his sibling and his father had her put in to a medical facility. Up until the age of 31 he believed that his mother was dead after his father abandoned him once he had remarried when he was 10. whilst he was young he proceeded to get expelled from his grammar school and it was not until he was 16 that he joined a travelling performance show as a stilt walker and went over to the United States and toured the country for 2 years and when the troupe went back to the UK, he decided to stay and began his career on stage and took U.S. citizenship.
I feel that this is a good example of the new American as it shows someone who has come from Europe to be influentially known as an American actor after coming from a not so desired ubringing to the land of opportunity of which De Crevecour feels is America.

Oprah Winfrey - Rags to Riches

The two main quotes I focused on from Letters from an American Farmer for my contemporary example were:

'The American is a new man, who acts upon new principles; he must therefore entertain new ideas and form new opinions' Pg 44

'Go thou, and work, and till; thou shalt prosper, provided thou be just, grateful, and industrious'. Pg 66

I chose my contemporary example in the form of a rags to riches story as I believe it truely represents these to extracts from the book.

Oprah's mother moved North to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to find work -- she planned to move Oprah there once she had secured a job. Oprah stayed with her grandmother on her farm in Mississippi.

At 9 and living in Milwaukee, Oprah and her siblings were left with their cousin to watch them, who was 19 at the time. It was this cousin who sexually abused Oprah for the first time -- she was raped, and then taken out for ice cream and told to keep it a secret -- which she did. She was again abused by a family friend and an uncle a couple of years later -- ongoing abuse that she kept silent.
Without receiving much direction from her mother, and unable to discuss her sexual abuse, Oprah resorted to acting out -- skipping school, dating, stealing money from her mother, and running away. Vernita could not handle Oprah's behavior any longer and sent her back to live with her father in Nashville. At 14, Oprah discovered she was pregnant, though she hid this news from her parents until she was in her 7th month. The day she told her father the news of her pregnancy, she went into early labor and delivered her baby that day -- a boy, who died within 2 weeks of his birth.

At 16, Oprah first read the autobiography of Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings -- and was later quoted as saying, "I read it over and over, I had never before read a book that validated my own existence." Dr. Angelou would later become a very close friend of Oprah's. She began to get her life back on track, concentrating on her education and public speaking. Oprah's talent would start to take her places, when in 1970 she won an Elk's Club speaking competition, earning a 4 year college scholarship as the prize.

In 1971, Oprah was chosen to attend the White House Conference on Youth in Colorado and represent Tennessee with one other student. After returning to Nashville, she was interviewed by the radio station WVOL -- the station would later ask her to represent them and participate in a beauty pageant -- Miss Fire Prevention. Oprah would go on to win the competition and was the first African-American to ever win the contest. After her win, the radio station offered her a chance to here her voice on tape -- because of her experience with public speaking, Oprah's skill earned her a part-time position as a newsreader. At 17, Oprah finished out her senior year on the radio -- with a 4 year college scholarship in her future.

Oprah's story stood out to me instantly as she went from having everything that happened to her to being worth £2.9 billion dollars. Many people could have given up and ended up in an extremely bad situation. Oprah has shown vision in her decisions and how she has been successful, she has shown determination that America has been well known for. Oprah has also remained 'grateful' through all of her fame and priveliged. Stories like these help me continue to believe that America remains to a vision.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/jamestown-browse?id=J1015

The link above contains the accounts made in 1585 by Sir Richard Greenville for Sir Walter Raleigh in the months of May and June. Reading these accounts was extremely enticing and it gave me a real perspective on what it must have been like for people there at that time, despite many of the notes being quite brief, there is still a lot that can be learnt and drawn from by reading them.

This particular account was one which I found particularly interesting and was accounted on the 26th of May.

The 26. day our Lieutenant Master Ralph Lane went in one of the Frigats which we had taken, to Roxo bay upon the Southwest side of Saint Johns, to fetch salt, being thither conducted by a Spanish Pilot: as soone as hee arrived there, hee landed with his men to the number of 20. and intrenched himselfe upon the sandes immediately, compassing one of their salte hils within the trench: who being seene of the Spaniards, there came downe towardes him two or three troopes of horsemen and footmen, who gave him the looking, and gazing on, but durst not come neere him to offer any resistance, so that Master Lane maugre their troopes, caryed their salte aboord and laded his Frigat, and so returned againe to our fleete the 29. day, which road at S. Germans Bay. The same day we all departed, and the next day arrived in the Iland of Hispaniola.

In this account, Greenville describes how one of the lieutenants visits an area on one of the Frigats (a large ship) in order to fetch salt for the group. It outlines how the British people had complete and utter disregard for the native people there, and even though the Brits were outnumbered, they still had overwhelming control over the people who lived there. This shows how the process of the British people colonising the Americas was quite an aggressive one, and wasn't done in a very ethical manner, as they seem to just overrule the native people and are disrespectful towards them- they take the salt in such a casual manner, almost suggesting that the British people believed that they almost had the right to take the salt as if it belonged to them, which was obviously not the case.

The 5. day the aforesayd Governour accompanied with a lusty Fryer, and twenty other Spaniards, with their servants, and Negroes, came downe to the Sea side, where our ships road at anker, who being seene, our Generall manned immediately the most part of his boates with the chiefe men of our Fleete, every man appointed, and furnished in the best sort: at the landing of our Generall, the Spanish governour received him very courteously, and the Spanish Gentlemen saluted


Page 314
our English Gentlemen, and their inferiour sort did also salute our Souldiers and Sea men, liking our men, and likewise their qualities, although at first they seemed to stand in feare of us, and of so many of our boates, whereof they desired that all might not land their men, yet in the end, the courtesies that passed on both sides were so great, that all feare and mistrust on the Spaniards part was abandoned.

This account was logged on June 5th, it describes how one of the Spanish governers comes to one of the English boats with numerous other Spanish men and their servants and Negroes- who aren't even referred to as 'men'- exemplifying the racism that existed in the time, along with the obvious racist connotations of the word 'Negroes'. The superiority of the British people is further shown by how the Spaniards seem to fear them at first, but due to their apparent qualities and them liking their men, their mistrust disappears. The reference to the Spaniards losing their 'mistrust' seems to be suggesting that the Spanish men aren't trustworthy, and that they are weak because of their fear being so great.

Reading these accounts from a modern perspective is interesting because we do not see the English people being particularly powerful nowadays, with the development of countries such as America and China, but at the time when this was written, the British Empire was at the peak of it's powerfulness and was one of, if not, the most dominating forces in the world; therefore the British people's sense of prosperity in these accounts is understandable if you read it in the context of the time at which it was written.

Sorry for posting this so late, I've been at home this weekend and didn't have any internet access! I'm assuming the seminar is at the normal time tomorrow, but I know doing it on a Tuesday was suggested, if anyone knows more about this could they let me know? Thanks!

Wk4 Early Settlers Account of America - First Hand Accounts of Virginia 1575-1705

I have chosen this account for this weeks topic - http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/jamestown-browse?id=J1001

The learned and valiant Sir Walter Raleigh, having entertained some deeper and more serious considerations upon the state of the earth that most other men of his time, as may sufficiently appear by his incomparable book, the History of the World, and having laid together the many stories then in Europe concerning America, the native beauty, riches, and value of that part of the world, and the immense profit the Spaniards drew from a small settlement or two thereon made, resolved upon an adventure for farther discoveries.
According to this purpose, in the year of our Lord 1583, he got several men of great value and estate to join in an expedition of this nature, and for their encouragement obtained letters patents from Queen Elizabeth, bearing date the 25th of March, 1584, for turning their discoveries to their own advantage.
In April following they set out two small vessels under the command of Capt. Philip Amidas and Capt. Arthur Barlow, who after a prosperous voyage, anchored at the inlet by Roanoke, at present under the government of North Carolina. They made good profit of the Indian truck, which they bought for things of much inferior value, and returned. Being overpleased with their profits, and finding all things there entirely new and surprising, they gave a very advantageous account of matters, by representing the country so delightful and desirable, so pleasant and plentiful; the climate and the air so temperate, sweet, and wholesome; the woods and soil so charming and fruitful; and all other things so agreeable, that paradise itself seemed to be there in its first native lustre.
They gave particular accounts of the variety of good fruits, and some whereof they had never seen the like before; especially, that there were grapes in such abundance as was never known in the world. Stately tall large oaks, and other timber; red cedar, cypress, pines, and other evergreens and sweet woods, for tallness and largeness, exceeding all they had ever heard of; wild fowl, fish, deer, and other game in such plenty and variety, that no epicure could desire more than this new world did seem naturally to afford.
And to make it yet more desirable, they reported the native Indians (which were then the only inhabitants) so affable, kind, and good-natured; so uncultivated in leaning, trades, and fashions; so innocent and ignorant of all manner of politics, tricks, and cunning; and so desirous of the company of the English, that they seemed rather to be like soft wax, ready to take an impression, than anyways likely to oppose the settling of the English near them. They represented it as a scene laid open for the good and gracious Queen Elizabeth to propagate the gospel in and extend her dominions over; as if purposely reserved for her majesty by a peculiar direction of providence, that had brought all former adventures in this affair to nothing; and to give a further taste of their discovery, they took with them in their return for England, two men of the native Indians, named Wanchese and Manteo.
Her majesty accordingly took the hint, and espoused the project as far as her present engagements in war with Spain would let her; being so well pleased with the account given, that as the greatest mark of honor she could do the discoverer, she called the country by the name of Virginia, as well for that it was first discovered in her reign, a virgin queen, as it did still seem to retain the virgin purity and plenty of the first creation, and the people their primitive innocence; for they seemed not debauched nor corrupted with those pomps and vanities which had depraved and enslaved the rest of mankind; neither were their hands hardened by labor, nor their minds corrupted by the desire of hoarding up treasure. They were without boundaries to their land, without property in cattle, and seem to have escaped, or rather not to have been concerned in the first curse, of getting their bread by the sweat of their brows, for by their pleasure alone they supplied all their necessities, namely, by fishing, fowling, hunting; skins being their only clothing, and these, too, five-sixths of the year thrown by; living without labor and only gathering the fruits of the earth when ripe or fit for use; neither fearing present want, nor solicitous for the future, but daily finding sufficient afresh for their subsistence.
This report was backed, nay, much advanced by the vast riches and treasure mentioned in several merchants' letters from Mexico and Peru, to their correspondents in Spain, which letters were taken with their ships and treasure, by some of ours in her majesty's service, in prosecution of the Spanish wars. This was encouragement enough for a new adventure, and set people's invention at work till they had satisfied themselves, and made sufficient essays for the farther discovery of the country. Pursuant whereunto, Sir Richard Greenvile, the chief of Sir Walter Raleigh's associates, having obtained seven sail of ships, well laden with provision, arms, ammunition, and spare men to make a settlement, set out in person with them early in the spring of the succeeding year to make farther discoveries, taking back the two Indians with him, and according to his wish, in the latter end of May, arrived at the same place where the English had been the year before; there he made a settlement, sowed beans and peas, which he saw come up and grow to admiration while he staid, which was about two months, and having made some little discoveries more in the sound to the southward, and got some treasure in skins, furs, pearl, and other rarities in the country, for things of inconsiderable value, he returned for England, leaving one hundred and eight men upon Roanoke Island, under the command of Mr. Ralph Lane, to keep possession.
As soon as Sir Richard Greenvile was gone, they, according to order and their own inclination, set themselves earnestly about discovering the country, and ranged about a little too indiscreetly up the rivers, and into the land backward from the rivers, which gave the Indians a jealousy of their meaning; for they cut off several stragglers of them, and had laid designs to destroy the rest, but were happily prevented. This put the English upon the precaution of keeping more within bounds, and not venturing themselves too defenseless abroad, who till then had depended too much upon the natives simplicity and innocence.
After the Indians had done this mischief, they never observed any real faith towards those English; for being naturally suspicious and revengeful themselves, they never thought the English could forgive them; and so by this jealousy, caused by the cowardice of their nature, they were continually doing mischief.
The English, notwithstanding all this, continued their discoveries, but more carefully than they had done before, and kept the Indians in some awe, by threatening them with the return of their companions again with a greater supply of men and goods; and before the cold of the winter became uneasy, they had extended their discoveries near an hundred miles along the seacoast to the northward; but not reaching the southern cape of Chesapeake bay in Virginia, they had as yet found no good harbor.

The pieces of this account that I have highlighted are firstly the initial experience of the natives which was that when they came across them they were thought to be simplistic and good natured, afable and kind and also the fact that they lived from the land giving the impression that they lived a life that was not contaminated by the outside world and ignorant of any bad habits and negative attitudes almost as if it was some sort of Eden. Therefore the settlers got the impression that the natives were welcoming the English with their new trades and were gracious of them to explore and settle.

The second highlighted piece is their adjusted opinion of the natives that after they began settling and discovering they described the natives as being up to mischief as they were now opposed to them now discovering the country and they have gone on to describe the natives as being jealous and cowardly as they had now fallen out with the natives as they now no longer welcomed them as they felt that they were destroying the land and taking over their homes.

Account of an early settler in America

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/ga01.asp

Charter of Georgia 1732

Whereas we are credibly informed, that many of our poor subjects are, through misfortunes and want of employment, reduced to great necessity, insomuch as by their labor they are not able to provide a maintenance for themselves and families; and if they had means to defray their charges of passage, and other expences, incident to new settlements, they would be glad to settle in any of our provinces in America where by cultivating the lands, at present waste and desolate, they might not only gain a comfortable subsistence for themselves and families, but also strengthen our colonies and increase the trade, navigation and wealth of these our realms. And whereas our provinces in North America, have been frequently ravaged by Indian enemies, more especially that of South-Carolina, which in the late War, by the neighboring savages, was laid waste with fire and sword and great numbers of English inhabitants, miserably massacred, and our loving subjects who now inhabit them, by reason of the smallness of their numbers, will in case of a new war, be exposed to the late calamities; inasmuch as their whole southern frontier continueth unsettled, and lieth open to the said savages. And whereas we think it highly becoming our crown and royal dignity, to protect all our loving subjects, be they ever so distant from us; to extend our fatherly compassion even to the meanest and most unfortunate of our people, and to relieve the wants of our above mentioned poor subjects.

This account gives us information about how life is so much better in America compared to those back at home who will not be able to provide for themselves and their families. I also highlighted 'Indian enemies' as they are said in the account to have massacred the land on which they wish to live upon. Yet the account continues to speak highly of America even though they are supposedly being savaged by Native Americans. I find this very strange that they still consider America to be a happy and safe place to live, even with everything else going on, which makes me think where they travelled from must have been awful.

Early Settlers Account

http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/jamestown-browse?id=J1009

Below is a report by Thomas Hariot in 1588 about the territory of Virginia. This is only part of the report, the rest is on the above link. There are also many other reports from other settlers on this site which are of interest.


TO THE ADVENTURERS, FAVORERS, AND WELLWISHERS OF THE ENTERPRISE FOR THE INHABITING and planting in VIRGINIA.

SINCE the first undertaking by Sir Walter Raleigh to deal in the action of discovering of that Country which is now called and known by the name of VIRGINIA; many voyages having been thither made at sundry times to his great charge, as first in the year 1584, and afterwards in the years 1585, 1586, and now of late this last year of 1587. There have been diverse and variable reports with some slanderous and shameful speeches reported abroad by many that returned from there . Especially of that discovery which was made by the Colony transported by Sir Richard Greinvile in the year 1585, being of all the others the most principal and as yet of most effect, the time of their abode in the country being a whole year , when as in the other voyage before they stayed but six weeks ; and the others after were only for supply and transportation, nothing more being discovered than had been before. Which reports have not done a little wrong to many that otherwise would have also favored & adventured in the action, to the honor and benefit of our nation, besides the particular profit and creditwhich would redoubt to them selves the dealers therein; as I hope by the sequel of events to the shame of those that have avouched the contrary shall be manifest: if you the adventurers, favorers , and wellwishers do but either increase in number, or in opinion continue, or having been doubtful renew your good liking and furtherance to deal therein according to the worthiness thereof already found and as you shall understand hereafter to be requisite. Touching which worthiness through cause of the diversity of relations and reports , many of your opinions could not be firm , nor the minds of some that are well disposed, be settled in any certainty .

I have therefore thought it good being one that have been in the discovery and in dealing with the natural inhabitants specially employed ; and having therefore seen and known more than the ordinary : to impart so much unto you of the fruits of our labors , as that you may know how injuriously the enterprise is slandered . And that in public manner at this present chiefly for two respects .

First that some of you which are yet ignorant or doubtful of the state thereof, may see that there is sufficient cause why the chief enterpriser with the favor of her Majesty , notwithstanding such reports ; have not only since continued the action by sending into the country again , and replanting this last year a new Colony; but is also ready , according as the times and means will afford , to follow and prosecute the same.

Secondly that you seeing and knowing the continuance of the action by the view hereof you may generally know & learn what the country is, & thereupon consider how your dealing therein if it proceeds , may return you profit and gain ; be it either by inhabiting & planting or otherwise in furthering thereof.

And least that the substance of my relation should be doubtful unto you as of others by reason of their diversity : I will first open the cause in a few words wherefore they are so different; referring my self to your favorable constructions, and to be adjudged of as by good consideration you shall find cause.

Of our company that returned, some for their misdemeanor and ill dealing in the country , have been there worthily punished; who by reason of their bad natures, have maliciously not only spoken ill of their Governours; but for their sakes slandered the country it self . The like also have those done which were of their consort.

Some being ignorant of the state thereof, notwithstanding since their return amongst their friends and acquaintance and also others, especially if they were in company where they might not be gainesaide; would seem to know so much as no men more; and make no men so great laborers as themselves. They stood so much as it may seem upon their credit and reputation that having been a twelve months in the country , it would have been a great disgrace unto them as they thought, if they could not have said much whether it were true or false. Of which some have spoken of more then ever they saw or otherwise knew to be there; some others have not been ashamed to make absolute denial of that which although not by them, yet by others is most certainly and there plentifully known . And some others make difficulties of those things they have no skill of.

The cause of their ignorance was, in that they were of that many that were never out of the Island where we were seated, or not far , or at the leastwise in few places else , during the time of our abode in the country ; or of that many that after gold and silver was not so soon found, as it was by them looked for, had little or no care of any other thing but to pamper their bellies; or of that many which had little understanding, less discretion, and more tongue than was needful or requisite.

Some also were of a nice bringing up, only in cities or towns , or such as never (as I may say) had seen the world before. Because there were not to be found any English cities, nor such fair houses, nor at their own wish any of their old accustomed dainty food, nor any soft beds of down or feathers : the country was to them miserable, & their reports thereof according.

Because my purpose was but in brief to open the cause of the variety of such speeches; the particularities of them, and of many envious, malicious, and slanderous reports and devices else , by our own country men besides; as trifles that are not worthy of wise men to be thought upon, I mean not to trouble you withall: but will pass to the commodities, the substance of that which I have to make relation of unto you.



In the report, and especially the text I have put in bold, Hariot is trying to promote the settlement land of Virginia, for example, he claims that there is "profit and gain" to be made there by either "inhabiting and planting". Hariot also tries to dispute the negative things other settlers have said about Virginia and the other colonies, for example, he claims that because they could not find gold and silver they became disinterested.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Plymouth Settlers 1620

This is William Bradford's 'From History of Plymouth Plantation' written in 1650. He was a Governor of the colony for 35 years. This is his personal journal. The full texts are found here but I have chosen to concentrate on this particular extract.

How they sought a place of habitation (1620)

Being thus arrived at Cape Cod the 11th of November, and necessity calling them to look out a place for habitation (as well as the master's and mariner's importunity); they having brought a large shallop with them out of England, stowed in quarters in the ship, they now got her out and set their carpenters to work to trim her up; but being much bruised and shattered in the ship with foul weather, they saw she would be long in mending. Whereupon a few of them tendered themselves to go by land and discover those nearest places, whilst the shallop was in mending; and the rather because as they went into that harbor there seemed to be an opening some two or three leagues off, which the master judged to be a river. It was conceived there might be some danger in the attempt, yet seeing them resolute, they were permitted to go, being sixteen of them well armed under the conduct of Captain Standish, having such instructions given them as was thought meet.

They set forth the 15 of November; and when they had marched about the space of a mile by the seaside, they espied five or six persons with a dog coming towards them, who were savages; but they fled from them and ran up into the woods, and the English followed them, partly to see if they could speak with them, and partly to discover if there might not be more of them lying in ambush. But the Indians seeing themselves thus followed, they again forsook the woods and ran away on the sands as hard as they could, so as they could not come near them but followed them by the track of their feet sundry miles and saw that they had come the same way. So, night coming on, they made their rendezvous and set out their sentinels, and rested in quiet that night; and the next morning followed their track till they had headed a great creek and so left the sands, and turned another way into the woods. But they still followed them by guess, hoping to find their dwellings; but they soon lost both them and themselves, falling into such thickets as were ready to tear their clothes and armor in pieces; but were most distressed for want of drink. But at length they found water and refreshed themselves, being the first New England water they drunk of, and was now in great thirst as pleasant unto them as wine or beer had been in foretimes.

Afterwards, they directed their course to come to the other shore, for they knew it was a neck of land they were to cross over, and so at length got to the seaside and marched to this supposed river, and by the way found a pond of clear, fresh water, and shortly after a good quantity of clear ground where the Indians had formerly set corn, and some of their graves. And proceeding further they saw new stubble where corn had been set the same year; also they found where lately a house had been, where some planks and a great kettle was remaining, and heaps of sand newly paddled with their hands. Which, they digging up, found in them divers fair Indian baskets filled with corn, and some in ears, fair and good, of divers colors, which seemed to them a very goodly sight (having never seen any such before). This was near the place of that supposed river they came to seek, unto which they went and found it to open itself into two arms with a high cliff of sand in the entrance but more like to be creeks of salt water than any fresh, for aught they saw; and that there was good harborage for their shallop, leaving it further to be discovered by their shallop, when she was ready. So, their time limited them being expired, they returned to the ship lest they should be in fear of their safety; and took with them part of the corn and buried up the rest. And so, like the men from Eshcol, carried with them of the fruits of the land and showed their brethren; of which, and their return, they were marvelously glad and their hearts encouraged.

After this, the shallop being got ready, they set out again for the better discovery of this place, and the master of the ship desired to go himself. So there went some thirty men but found it to be no harbor for ships but only for boats. There was also found two of their houses covered with mats, and sundry of their implements in them, but the people were run away and could not be seen. Also there was found more of their corn and of their beans of various colors; the corn and beans they brought away, purposing to give them full satisfaction when they should meet with any of them as, about some six months afterward they did, to their good content.

And here is to be noted a special providence of God, and a great mercy to this poor people, that here they got seed to plant them corn the next year, or else they might have starved, for they had none nor any likelihood to get any till the season had been past, as the sequel did manifest. Neither is it likely they had had this, if the first voyage had not been made, for the ground was now all covered with snow and hard frozen; but the Lord is never wanting unto His in their greatest needs; let His holy name have all the praise. . . .

One quote I have highlighted talks about the first contact with The Native Americans, Bradford calls The Natives 'savages' and says there may be 'more of them lying in ambush', this shows how The Settlers had preconceived notions of The Natives that sway their judgement. It is particularly interesting when focusing on other parts of the journal where Bradford describes The Settlers finding houses and crops. These are indications of civilisation and not of a savage lifestyle, however, he doesn't note that this is the case. Bradford notes how The Settlers 'might have starved' if they had not 'got seed to plant them corn the next year'. He attributes the finding of the seeds to god instead of to The Natives from whom The Settlers stole the seeds. This is another representation of the attitude towards the natives that was adopted in early colonial America as well as a strong emphasis on religion. Without the Native's help the Settlers would have starved and yet they are not willing to acknowledge it.
The extract also demonstrates the idea of America as a haven. When the men drink the New England water for the first time it is said to be as 'pleasant unto them as wine or beer had been in foretimes'. This gives the reader a sense of America being better than England and possibly encourage them to emigrate.



Sunday, 16 October 2011

What Cuba thinks of America

http://www.cfr.org/cuba/us-cuba-relations/p11113

This website describes the relationship between Cuba and America, two countries which are very close in terms of geography but in terms of almost everything else, they are anything but close. This trend of the countries not being close in terms of their trading between each other and the travelling of citizens from Cuba to the US has been common since Fidel Castro took over in 1959.

In 2001, the Cuba-USA trading levels were practically non-existent, even after the trade embargo between the countries was amended by the Congress in 2000. However, from 2001-2009 a total of $2.8bn of agricultural exports from America to Cuba were recorded, and in 2008, over $700million of exports occurred, this shows that the relationship between Cuba and the USA may in fact be becoming stronger, especially as Fidel Castro's reign is becoming weaker and he is having to delegate a lot of his work to his younger brother Raul due to his health condition.

When Obama was first elected, their was some optimism about the relationship improving between the countries, but since then, both Raul and Fidel Castro have criticised the appointment. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/31/world/americas/31cuba.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1%20%20%28 - this article explains why the initial optimism died down.

The three main issues preventing the return to normality of U.S.-Cuban relations are human rights violations, Guantanamo bay and the Cuban exile community. All of these issues are explained in detail on the website.

I personally believe that until Fidel Castro's rule is officially over, there is no chance of a positive relationship between the two countries, but maybe once his brother Raul takes charge, things may change. Raul has already outlined the fact that he is considering redesigning the economy and many other aspects of the country. There is no short-term solution though because the countries have such a long and troubled relationship with one another.

Opinions Of America

http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/171814

The link above is a Brazilians opinion of America and below are loads of comments on what he has said, sparking a huge debate.
I always find peoples opinions of America very interesting. For example some people will bite your hand of to tell you they cant stand America but cant really give you a reason why, almost like its a pre-built response in their brain. Often people who state that they hate America have no problem eating their food, listening to their music and watching their films, so maybe they need to take a step back and consider what it is that makes them dislike the place.
It can be in no doubt though that America has made mistakes, especially in its foreign policy and people from countries who have been affected by their actions of course have rights to have feelings of hostility to America.
One thing is for sure peoples views on America always sparks some strong opinions.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Is this what North Korea thinks of America?

I found a website that, although being an American site, contains a collection of propaganda images from North Korea. All the images are very critical of America. They show American soldiers torturing and killing innocent Korean citizens. They are created for the purpose of turning public opinion against the US. Although they are not completely absurd, as we have seen through the images of American soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners in the past decade, I don't think the criticism in these images is particularly valid. They have been created to maintain order in North Korea by presenting America as the enemy. I think this immediately tarnishes there worth because they are so obviously opinion based and not factual. One thing they do highlight is how in some parts of the world information is filtered and twisted so as to create a view of the United States which is either highly positive or highly negative. I think it's important to understand that not everyone has as much freedom as we do when it comes to information and this is key when shaping an individual or collective opinion of a Nation.

Friday, 14 October 2011

What The World Thinks Of America Wk3 - France

http://www.france24.com/en/20110922-france-far-right-marine-le-pen-interview-american-model-greece-national-front

From this website, I found that within French politics especially with the up coming 2012 French Presidential elections that there is an increasing amount of Americanization within French politics which does not seem to sit well with a lot of people. There are specific trends from American politics that seem to be appearing within the French culture, for example, there has been a proposal by President Nicolas Sarkozy that French teenagers and naturalised citizens should swear to defend France which is an oath that resembles the United States pledge of allegiance. Candidate Marine Le Pen has also commented that the introduction of the guilty plea in the French justice system to eliminate that of the investigative judge which is showing their need to apply the American judicial system to French Law is not a good idea and says that it seems that the current president has a fascination with the United States but finds that their culture is very different to the French.

http://www.americansinfrance.net/culture/mcdonalds_in_france.cfm

I also found from this website and others that the most disliked aspect of Americanization is that of their cuisine and the fact that they are losing their uniqueness and can be seen as part of an “American cultural invasion” with the amount of McDonalds becoming increasingly part of their culture and find McDonalds to be a symbol of this.


http://www.understandfrance.org/France/Intercultural4.html

What the French do not understand about America and Americans....

Gun control : The American attitude regarding guns is impossible to understand by the French (and probably by anybody outside the US). Who can reasonably believe that owning an AK 47 can protect you and reduce the crime rate ?
The constant mix of moral pretexts and political or business issues (an example : to try to eliminate the French train company in a bid, a Californian politician and a few lobbyists demanding an apology for its alleged complicity with Nazi crimes : read more about it)
Trials : the judicial system is very different (see French judicial system) (but now, influenced by US TV programs, young delinquents have started calling the judge "Your Honor " instead of "Monsieur le Président")

I chose this website as i thought it was fairly light-hearted and summed up what the french think of America. I do agree with the postings as i believe the french are confused by America, and certainly when i am in france, my family seem to assume i would know all the answers to their questions. One of the facts given was that their are 8 times more people in jail per 1000 inhabitants in the USA, which has been influenced by popular culture. I can clearly see why France are so shocked by this, although there are similar crime programmes in france, the impact of them is not the same.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Map of America


This is a somewhat satirical map of America, it first came about in the 2004 presidential election campaign and aims to show the divide between the traditional half of the country, which generally tend to vote for the Republican party, and the other half of the country which usually vote for the democrats. The term 'Jesusland' was formed almost derogatorily due to this part of America's traditional values and high percentage of Christian people.

This map shows a divided aspect of America, and despite it being called the 'United' States of America, there is an obvious divide between the halves represented in this picture.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Map of America

I have chosen this map as it follows on from our previous lesson with regards to the comparative population density of the United States. There are approximately 300 million people in the US and the country is 3,794,101 square miles which means that there is a popultion density of 79 Americans per square mile. This leads on to the quote from Gertrude Stein of "In the United States there is more space where nobody is than where anybody is. That is what makes America what it is". This is because the population density averages per state, for example, Alaska is the least populated state with 1 person by square mile followed by Wyoming with 5 inhabitant per square mile compared to the most populated states being New Jersey with 1,138 inhabitants followed by Rhode Island which has 1,003 inhabitants per square mile. However these average densities are also affected by their relatively rural areas but for really high densities there is Brooklyn which is a borough of New York with 2.56 million inhabitants and 71 square miles which means that it works out to a massive 34,916 inhabitants per square mile.
What this map is showing is that if all the inhabitants of the US were to live in one state, only a small amount of space would be needed which would be the size of New Hampshire meaning the rest of the country would be devoid of people and therefore a lot greener. It is also showing that although America is large in size with many states, not all of them are highly populated or even easy to live in due to many reasons such as climate and landscape.

Map Of America


I chose this map as it shows that many Americans will stereotype other parts of their country, e.g. Florida is represented as "Old Peeps" and Wisconsin as "People who make cheese". This is similar to how we as British people might generalize Scottish people as being ginger and aggressive and French people as people who like to eat cheese and wear berets. This is interesting because it shows how vast and different America is even though it is the same country, many Americans would argue that they could be 3 or 4 different ones.
I chose this Map as i think it represents what America is about. The fact that the title of the map is 'United States of Awesome' says a lot for itself. America is a Patriotic country, however can also be seen as an arrogant country and this map represents just that. The fact that all 50 states are labelled with something different, although not all positive, shows that all states are good at something and achieve in some aspect, just as America like to do as a whole.

The United States of Florida



I chose this image, originally posted in The New York Times, because I think it reflects how real the division between the states are. It shows the parts of Florida that people from certain areas tend to migrate to in the winter. There are many explanations offered up for this blatant division. One, is the idea that before common air travel some of these places were easier to get to from certain states. Although air travel has insured flights to almost anywhere in Florida, these ideas may be too deep to be uprooted and hence the same families travel to the same places. Another explanation could be that neighbours talk to one another about where best to go on vacation and so they all end up in a similar location. This is an interesting theory as, if it is true, it shows how much others influence our decisions. Personally I think the most justifiable and painfully truthful explanation for the evidence in the map is that people like to be around the familiar. They like to socialise with those who share similar values to their own. I think also, that people get homesick and small cultural reminders comfort them. The article does, however, widely talk about the large numbers of exceptions to the rule. Those who choose a location based on criteria other than the above. This does, in some ways, invalidate both the map and the arguments I have stated and show them to be more than a little bit generalised. Having said this, I still think it shows a certain 'each to their own' attitude that some Americans (and many people across the world) still possess, even if it is not shared by everyone.