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

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 -

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

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

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.


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

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. - 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

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

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.

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.

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.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Negative image

When I first came across the image, I found it both bewildering and quite disturbing. It puts the problem with gun crime in the US into a visual format, this makes it extremely shocking because everybody hears about these problems, but representing it in this manner makes people realise the problems America actually faces.
Gun crime is something which heavily contrasts many of the positive ideas people think of when they think about America- which is seen to be a land of hope and glory, and that is always looking to improve for the better- it educates people to realise that some things are not always as positive and true as they seem at face value.
Another thing which I find very surprising about this diagram is that Pakistan- a country which America has been in war with for several years now, has a much lower number of weapons per person, and in America and many other Western countries, this country is seen to be a place of terror and violence, when in fact in terms of possession of weapons, it is far less prolific than America.

Positive Image

I have chosen this image as my positive image because I believe it emphasises the idea of improvement and symbolises the idea of a new start. The bold letters of 'PROGRESS' are also very powerful because not only does it show Obama's aims, but links into the notion of a fresh start, especially with him being the first black president and is powerful in the sense that it gives the idea of gentrification and a new beginning.
In terms of the picture itself, the colourful, pop-art like imagery gives a more positive idea about the world of politics, which many people may consider to be dull and boring, and could have possibly encouraged those who were once uninterested in politics to vote for Obama because he is brining fresh ideas and a fresh image to the table. Many other popular people in the American culture have been famously pictured in this pop-art manner, once again encouraging people to like Obama- who had the difficult task of winning over many of the more traditional minded Americans.
The image in general is extremely famous and in essence represents a great turning point in American culture, as it shows how far America have come in a relatively short space of time, from when black people were suppressed in society to today where they have their first African-American president.