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.


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.


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


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


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


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.

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


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.