American Expericnes and Change, "we shall be as a city upon a…
American Expericnes and Change
Americans and authority
The Puritans: the Puritans were a more authoritarian society. Laws were inherently tied to religion and justice was punitive. People were not allowed to live alone and civilians acted essentially as undercover cops snitching on others in the community
John Winthrop (1630): Puritan minister and governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Delivered the sermon "A Model of Christian Charity". Communitarian values.
Ronald Reagan famous used the phrase "a shining city on a hill to refer to American Exceptionalism and to show American as a sign of hope for the world. This quote was taken from Winthrop's sermon
Mary Rowlandson (1682): Colonial woman who was captured by natives. Her narrative detailing her time in captivity gives birth to American Horror tropes such as the Indian burial ground, the precariousness of life, tests from a higher power, and fear of the wilderness that exists in American pop culture to this day
Anne Hutchinson (1638): Female spiritual leader. During her trial for speaking ill of the existing Puritan ministers, Hutchinson was defiant and stood up to the religious authority. Banished to Rhode Island and eventually killed in a raid. Beginning of the American value of the rejection of authority.
The Great Awakeining (1730s-1740s). Increased wealth in the costal cities lead to a rejection of some Puritan values, especially the prohibition on excess wealth. Only 20% of American regually go to church. The Ivy Leauge Universities get founded.
The Enlightenment (1685-1815): Ideas such as rationalism, science, and individualism began to develop in the Americas. Thinkers such as John Locke and Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Paine rise to prominence and reject old views on authority, such as the divine right of Kings, in favor of newer ideas such as democracy and republicanism
John Locke (1689): Developed the idea of the Social Contract. Government is created by the consent of the governed+ every man who is of age should have a say in how the government is run. "unless they explicitly agree on some number greater than the majority"
Thomas Paine (1774): Comes to America in 1774, His pamphlet "Common Sense" gained support for the American Revolution and is the best-selling American work of all time per capita. Even coins the term "United States of America". Writes, "The Divine Right of Kings is a lie; Monarchy runs against God's Plans
Benjamin Franklin: American Founding Father. The absolute epitome of Enlightenment individualism. Obsessed with self-improvement. Helped write the Constitution and served as the primary editor of the Declaration of Independence
Franklin's ideas of self-help and self-improvement remain a central part of American culture. Today their are a near endless supply of books, podcasts, and life-style coaches who make a living selling the "perfect life"
Costica Bradatan: grew up in communist Romania, skepticle of the idea of "utopia". Said the American Dream is not built on sucess but rather a fear of failing.
Hector St. John de Crevecoeur (1782): America is a successful country because wealth can be created. The idea of the farmer is ideal and American regionalism is born.
Our Founding Documents
The Constitution: Technical, rational, procedual.
Shay's Rebelion: Poor farmers revolt over what is seen as unfair taxes. They loose but is almost parallel to the American Revolution
Declaration of Independence: Rhetorical, idealistic, beautiful
The Romantics (1790-1830): As opposed to the logic and reason of the Enlightenment, the romantics were emotional and lived life by desires.
Everything is connected, idealistic, and love of the land and nature set up hippie communes
Thoreau (1817-1862): Prominent thinker who made ideas such as civil disobedience, tax resisting, and the abolition of slavery popular with the transcendentalists
During the romantic period the industrial revolution was taking place. Instead of farming in the northern states many people were factory workers.
1791 Hamilton's banks formed. Rise of Wall Street followed
North vs South divisions form
North: Factories, unions, progressive
South: Farms, slaves, traditions
Edgar Allan Poe
A conservitive romantic. skepticle of democracy, perfered older systems. Identifies as a Virginian, not as an American
Lived life by desire and passion
didnt believe in the science of the Enlightenment
had a lot of writings based on beuaty, emotion, and dead loves.
John Edwards: Paid directly by his church goes, focused on moving people emotionally
Americans and Success
The puritans and success
Covenent with God. Puritians are in a contract with God. If they dont honor him then God won't protect them
Communitarian Values. In "A Model Of Christian Charity" John Wintrop says "there s a time when a Christian must sell all and give to the poor, as they did in the Apostles’ times. There is a time also when Christians (though they give not all yet) must give beyond their ability"
Family values were very important. A father who does not provide for his family is worse than a non-Christian
Scourges and trials from God are common place and serve to test their faith
King Phillips war. (1675-6)
Salem Witch Trials (1692) Three little girls accuse three poor women of witchcraft. 25 people ended up dieing
The Enlightenment and success
Total self perfection
Junta Club: Club started by Franklin and his friends dedicated to critiquing writings and discussiong philosophy.
Hector St. John de Crevacoer
Self-suffencincy "A farmer does not do the work of others"
Wealth can be created by anyone off the land
pooe Europeans could come to American and make a living
except in a few big cities the differnce between the wealthy and the poor is not as drastic as it is in Europe
Son of Cuban immigrants
America is great becuase everyone can succede
The American dream is based off talent and hard work. This is a free and prosperous country
immigrants and exiles come together to make "one people"
grew up in communist Romania
"Once in Utopia you are doomed"
Utopia can never exist
tyring to be a utopian society is impossible
the American dream is based on a fear of failure
Americans and conflict
Conflict with the Puritans
Trials and Scourges: Life in the American colonies was incredibly harsh. Poor weather conditions often lead to trouble growing enough crops and raids from the native Indian tribes were common. The Puritians detirmend these hardships to be trials from God testing their allegence.
King Phillip's War (1675-8): Armed conflict between the Plymouth colony and Native tribes. Caused by the colonist's want for expansion+the execution of colonists by native tribes.
"A society of snitches"
very distrustful society
by the begining of the Enlightenment Era people began ot stand up to the religious authirity that held socity together
Enlightenment Era Conflict
American's were taxed to help pay off the 7 Years War
Colonists were upset due to lack of representation in the taxes
Revolutionary War: Locke and Pains works were instumental in gethering support for the revolution.
The new nation didnt come without problems
John Brown (1800-59): Abolitionist who fought at Bleeding Kansas. Eventually caught trying to lead a slave rebellion at Harper's Ferry..
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Phillis Wheatly (1761): Senegallese born Slave who erned freedom in 1773. She wrote many poems that began talking points for oth pro and anti-slavery arguments
Shay's Rebellion: A rebellion against taxes levied against poor farmers. Parallel to the Revolutioanry War
passed in 1787 detrmining slaves counted as 3/5ths a person
Americans and God
The Puritan God
The Puritan God was something to fear
getting into Heaven or Hell was predetirmened
questioning God was unforgivable and violented the covenant with God
the Puritans fled England to escape religious persecution
they believed that the Anglican Church was corrupted and not extreme enough
God in the Enlightenment
Thomas Paine: God: In Common Sense, Paine uses God as the final authority instead of earthly Kings.
The divine right of Kings goes against God, Law is King and the crown should be placed on God
Franklin was a deist.
Deism wa a form of Christianity that was rooted in logic and science
Franklin would cut parts of the Bible out that contained supernatrul elemtns. The deist bible was "scientific"
Franklin however had miuch respect for Jesus.
in his autobiography franklin said he wishes to live like "Jesus and Socrates"
Our Modern God
God is often used as imagry to allude to Americana
Marco Rubio uses God and religious imagery greatly in his announcement to run for president.
"Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.
" I find comfort in the ancient command to, “Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
Americans and Race
European immigrant have been the dominant racial group in America since the Puritan societies
White American Racism: Since the earliest days of the American Colonies, racism has been a central aspect of the American Identity. Mary Rowlandson's memoir sparked racial fear of the "savage" native population/
E.A Ross: Ross was an American eugenicist. He espoused racist views towards Italians and other southern Europeans.
"That the Mediterranean peoples are morally below the races of northern Europe is as certain as any social fact. Even when they were dirty, ferocious barbarians, these blonds were truthtellers. Be it pride of awkwardness or lack of imagination or fairplay sense, something has held them back from the nimble lying of the southern races. Immigration officials find that the different peoples are as day and night in point of veracity, and report vast trouble in extracting the truth from certain brunet nationalities."
A Sociologist Portrays the Racial Dimensions of Immigrants From Europe, 1914
Asian Americans faced a lot of discrimination from the 1840s-1960s.
Influx of Chinese immigrants (1849-1882)
End of open borders in America with the oassage of the PAGE Act in 1875. Restricted immigration of Chineese women.
Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)
Passage of the Immigration and Naturalization Act (1965)
Discrimination towards Asian women.
Anna May Wong: Wong was an Asian-American actress who had to overcome prejiduce to work in Holywood.
Wong is on a limited edition quarter as a tribute to her success and perservernce
Racial Relations in the Antebellum American
John Brown: John Brown was an abolitionist. During Bleeding Kansas John Brown led a raid on Pottawatomie gaining him prominence. Brown intended to incite a slave rebellion in Harper's Ferry in 1859 but failed and was executed
Fredrick Douglass: Douglass was an escaped slave who received national fme for detailing his life as a slave. Brown exposed many people to the abolitionist cause even meeting with President Abraham Lincon
Americans and decadence
The Jazz Age
F. Scott Fitzgerald: Fitzgerald was a famous American author who wrote extensively on American gluttony during the 1920s
"Echos of the Jazz Age"
sex in cars
Rudolph Valentino: Valentino was an Italian-American actor who was seen as the first male sex symbol in Holywood. "The Latin Lover"
Warren G Harding (1921-23): "I am not fit for this office". American Preseident who was addicted to gambling and spent most of his time golfing or embroiled in scandles
Babbitt was a novel written by Lewis that acts as a satire of this era
Skyscrappers are seen as a place of worship, Babbitt himself doesn't actually produce anything and works essentially as a scam artist
Momand wa an American crtoonist who drew the famour "Keeping up With the Joneses" This strip was a satire of the "grass is always greener" trope of decadence
John Maynary Keynes: economist who descriped the decadence of this age as "Animal Behavior"
Dale Carnegie: During the post-gluttony depression era Carnegie offered "self-help lectures"
Dale was not related to the wealthy Carnegie family but changed his name from Carnagey to create confusion
Charles Manson: Manson used Carnegie's techniques such as affirmative visualisation to get people to do his bidding.
"we shall be as a city upon a hill"
Americans and Failure