Sunday, October 28, 2012

A contemporary vision of America

One of the key factors in De Crevecoeur’s novel is the upbringing of the American children, this is greatly emphasised in letter three- ‘What is an America?’ Many of the ways of life during that period of time are similar to ways, in which some Americans live today, particularly in the Amish community.
“How they treat them at home, and what they are taught in their places of public worship” I believe this quote is suggesting how the upbringing of children is very important because it reflects on their parents, it also shows how religion is also helping up bring the children of America. This quote could relate to how some Amish communities think today. Religion is a major part of the Amish way of life, and the Amish believe a lot is learnt through religion.

I believe the popular television programme, ‘Worlds Strictest Parents’ is a good example of how some of De Crevecoeur’s discoveries of the past American way of life, are still being adopted today in modern America.  “They are gently held by an uniform from silk cord, which unites softness and strength”. This belief of you have to be cruel to be kind is often still practiced today in many American families. From the clip of Worlds Strictest Parents, the parents describe a number of beliefs which they feel are important in upbringing children, one of them being that if the children are honest and trust worthy, the more freedom children are then aloud to have. They also state that guidelines and boundaries are set in order to keep their children controlled. Another quote which supports the beliefs in the clip from Worlds Strictest Parents is “follow steps of their parents” in the clip the children, explain that they want to be like their parents when they are older, I believe this quote is particularly effective because if every child was to believe this about their parents, then there would be a very similar way of upbringing in America, this believe may only be felt by certain individuals and possibly the Amish community.
“Older parents attached to their business, constantly following useful occupation, never quality of riot, dissipation or other irre- gulaties cannot fail to train up children of the same uniformity” this again supports the believe that if you bring up your children, a particular way in which they follow strict guidelines and boundaries there is no doubt that they will then become more like you as parents. Again something this is still believed today, in religion and other communities.  In the clip, the parents state that their community is counting on them, as though to say it is their duty to bring their children up in a certain way, and it could also be seen that, the parents are referring to America as a whole when they use the word “community”, something which De Crevecoeur previously states in one of his letters.

Another similarity between, De Crevecoeur’s discoveries and today’s modern world is the quote from letter three: “ At schools they learn to read, write a good hand until they are 12 years old” this is still carried out today, in the Amish society, children study at private Amish schools until 8th grade, which is around the age of 12 years, and then they are free to choose what they want to do as work, however the freedom is limited and much like some of the discoveries Se Crevecoeur made , there would have been separate roles for work depending on gender again something which still occurs in the Amish community. Finally De Crevecoeur quotes that “Duties of Christianity as not to be offered the divinity by the commission of evil deeds; to dread his wrath and the punishments” this quote shows how religion has an effect on the upbringing of children during this period of time, and how religion is very important, children should practice religious ways of life in order to live a happy life, they should be made aware of the consequences of not being a practicing Christian and should feel scared and threatened by the consequences. The Amish community also quote that “Family and religion are the most important units in the Amish culture”
(Example, of how the Amish are very relgious and find it difficult to see others who do not share this belife)

A Contemporary Example That Shows A Vision Of America.

 The United States Government.
  This particular quote from the third letter of De Crevecoeur's "Letters From An American Farmer" highlights the beginning of the laws and the establishment of laws within America and by the new American people.

"The laws, the indulgent laws, protect them as they arrive, stamping on them the symbol of adoption...This is the great operation daily performed by our laws. From whence proceed these laws? From our government. Whence the government? It is derived from the original genius and strong desire of the people ratified and confirmed by the crown. This is the great chain which links us all."

 I believe the contemporary example and vision of this within America today is the United States Government. Congress, the Senate and the Supreme Court protect the American citizens that live within the borders of the United States. The United States government along with the courts uphold the rights of the American people and continue to protect the constitution ensuring that nothing damages or changes what they consider to be the "correct" way America should be. 

Furthermore within the third letter, De Crevecoeur's also quotes "Here they rank as citizens." This highlights the fact that any citizen of America is protected by the Government, and when these letters were written those coming across from Europe would be classed as "citizens" and therefore automatically protected by the laws already and first governments established by the already settled Americans. 


 The second contemporary example of America that De Crevecoeur refers to and that I believe is relevant today is the establishment of the roads and transport systems, "Good roads, orchards, meadows, and bridges, where an hundred years ago all was wild, woody, and uncultivated!" Being the size America is and with a population of approx 311 million, an effective and efficient transport system is vital, not only in order of travel but for communication, for one side of the country to be able to get to the other in quick time. The speed in which the transport systems have been established is also remarkable; with a country that only has a history of about 500 years, the way in which Americans and early settlers have connected the country and connected to each other is exceptional. In that time, America has built some very iconic features within the States, for example The Golden Gate Bridge, and the famous route 66.


A Contemporary Vision Of America, according to Crevecoeur.

'Every industrious European, who transports himself here, may be compared to a sprout growing at the foot of a great tree; it enjoys and draws but a little portion of sap; wrench it from the parent roots, transplant it, and it will become a tree bearing fruit also’.

Franchising: In  the previous quote, I believe that Crevecoeur is establishing the leadership role of America already, by using the metaphor 'great tree' to compare the authors country to the rest of Europe.  He also states that 'Europeans... will become a tree bearing fruit' if they follow America's footsteps. This is a bold statement, considering the last letter was written 7 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed. I believe Crevecoeur already assumed the importance of America due to the extensive landscape ('fair cities, substantial villages, extensive fields'), the equality of all the people at that point residing in this new country ('We are the most perfect society existing in this world') and the independence of the country.  I chose to represent this quote as a child eating McDonalds food due to the global spread of the fast food restaurant and whose current headquarters reside in America.  The McDonalds company was started in the USA in the 1940's, and 70 years later the buisness is known worldwide.  McDonalds relates to the previous quote as Crevecoeur talks about Europe following America's footsteps, which I feel this is a direct example of because the franchise was made huge by the role that America plays in the world and the huge importance it has on every other society around the globe.
'Here are no aristocratical families, no courts, no kings, no bishops, no ecclesiastical dominion, no invisible power giving to a few a very visible one’.

America's Independence: I chose this quote because I believe that Crevecoeur isn't actually focusing on the lack of Royalty in America, but the independence it witholds; due to the Declaration of Independence, its short history of early settlers and the freedom that people saw it for.  Settlers moved to America to enjoy a better life, with a richer environment and more opportunities to go from being poor to rich.  Furthermore, America felt a more democratic approach to beginning a Government that everyone had the opportunity to decide on was by electing a 'President', unlike the hereditary approach to a Royal family.  This is perhaps also typically American due to the extensive money and advertisement that is involved in Presidential Elections, which suggest the importance of these occasions to all Americans.  Crevecoeur states 'no invisible power giving to a few a very visible one' meaning that he believes his country will always be democratic when choosing a leader; someone who counts as a leader but who doesn't necessarily have full control, which is what being a President entails.

Contemporary example that shows a vision of America

In relation to Crévecoeur idea of the new and the exceptional as typically American, I choose the image of New York.
'Here he beholds fair cities, substantial villages  extensive fields, an immense country filled with decent houses, good rods, orchards, meadows, and bridges  where a hundred years ago, all was wild, woody and uncultivated!' 
This quote is from the book 'Letters from American Farmer' and I believe this shows an idea of what De Crevecoeur saw as new and exceptional to be typically American, I think he saw America to be the leaders of development and believed Europeans would see the land and be amazed of how well they are developed it.
So I choose the picture of the Landscape of New York as they are seen as having the best architecture, like the Empire State Building and seen constantly moving forward in developing the land of New York. New York has been seen to become more and more modernised in how people and see and live there. The landscape has also been iconic to many of Europeans as they see America as 'big and different' expecting better and great things from there, the land of America still amazes Europeans today. 

“Instead of starving he will be fed, instead of being idle he will have employment; and these are riches enough for such men as come over here.”     Letter 3 

I believe Crevecoeur's idea here can be seen in such programmes like America's Next top model, British invasion as here the British constantly refer to America as 'making it big', 'being someone' interestingly in episode one one British Lady refers to America 'it is the land of opportunities,  Britain is Small but America is where you make it big!' Because of this I still think this idea of Crevecoeur still lives on as America still has the reputation of everyone will have the job they want, well paid and people believing you  actually become some one bigger and better there than for example Britain. 
To see this, I believe that America still holds up many of Crevecoeur's ideologies of new and exceptional typical American, this could be through the constant reinventing the land or showing America to be renewed. which attracts many to start a new life there.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A contemporary example that shows a vision of America

Referring to De Crevecouer’s idea of the new and the exceptional as typically American, I picked an image that demonstrates American prosperity in today's society. Being a home owner in America is a major subject as it shows independence and the up-rise in real estate. The striking 'sold' sign taking up a considerable amount of space in the image emphasises the notion that through the American economy, most specifically the improving real estate, all could be re-made, renewed and the traditional American family could start over with a clean slate. Interestingly, its the fact that everyday an American family moves from a state they have lived in for years, to another state that they will live in for more years thereafter that makes De Crevecouer's idea become realised in American society today.

"The American is a new man, who acts upon new principles; he must therefore entertain new ideas, and form new opinions."
I utilised this quote from the 'What is an American' letter because arguably it reflects the same sort of ideology the common American man has today and this is fundamentally pivotal to the image of the sold house, as this is illustrating 'new ideas and new opinions' by the change in lifestyle.

This image is a photo taken of an American student at Stanford University in California. Significantly, this is highlighting the importance of education being a perfect opportunity of success in America. Likewise, this image correlates with De Crevecouer's quote in 'What is an American' letter: "He becomes an American by being received in the broad lap of our great Alma Mater." This is highlighting the importance of education in America as playing a decisive role in defining that person, or in other words, be re-made and renewed.

To sum up, one could undoubtedly argue that De Crevecouer’s idea of the new and the exceptional typical American does still resonate in America today. Also, through the political, economical and sociological factors, the average American is can reinvent them-self and being renewed.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The conquest of Florida

In the article which I read about early settlers I found out a number of interesting points about how the discovers of America viewed the people living in America and their opinions on the state and the people living there. The account is about a Spanish man who discovers what would become the American state of Florida, the article was written in 1544. I chose to read and write about this particular account because I have travelled to some of the places mentioned in the account, and am very interested in Florida as a state. I also believe all of the information in the account is relevant fro anyone interested or learning about the early settlement.
The first quote from the text which I found most interesting was; “As soon as we went on shore, we found out from some Indians taken, that there was a Christian in the country” I believe there are a number of interesting choices of vocabulary to pick up on this particular piece of text, the first being how the writer refers to the people living in Florida as Indians, this is something which came from Christopher Columbus who when he discovered America he believed he was in fact in India. This use of language shows how the writer knows very little about the people living in the state of Florida, and how he is very narrow minded. The second point which I feel is very important to touch on is the fact the discoverer is in search of a Christian, it is as though he feels this is most important and as though he cannot associate himself with anyone who is not Christian, he also doesn’t know that the native people are not Christian? He just assumes and this could be due to a number of different factors for example their physical appearance. Finally the use of the word country suggests that the writer believes that Florida is the whole of America, the little knowledge and understanding is shown here.

The second quote I found very interesting was; “He came naked like them” (The writer is talking about the Christian which the discoverers found) I believe this is a very useful and interesting piece of information as it shows how the Christian has become like one of the native people living in Florida. He has also been accepted by the native people, this is very interesting because it shows the native people accept him, even though some of their friends and family may have possible been taken or killed by previous discoverers like him. The Christian has also blended in and interrogated with the native community and has adapted to their way of life and culture. This is information is very interesting because this is something which later did not continue to happen, people who came to America did not embrace the native culture but merely fought against it and changed it, this christen man in this account was an exception.
Another quote which I found useful as information to finding out about the settlers in America was: “ Where we took some persons, not on the lookout , they never having heard of us, the people agreed to come and serve us peacefully” this quote makes the reader really question as to whether the people did actually agree to sever peacefully or whether they had no choice, the discoverers would have most likely to have been armed with weapons therefore it is unlikely the native people would have had little chance of survival if they were to refuse! This quote suggests that the discoverers we just picking the native people up anywhere, as though to suggest they are superior to the native people, even though the discovers are in their state!

The final two quotes which I found remarkable were; “A rosary of jet beads, some false pearls, such as taken from this country to traffic with the Indians” and “No place which to find gold” this shows how the discoverers came over to take what they could, they bargained with the native people with items which could not be found in Florida. This was like a business not only taking items from the land its self but also the local community. This kind of behaviour happened across the globe, with discovers taking important artefacts and posesions of counties and introducing them in their own country.
I believe these quotes from the account are very significant and show a number of important pieces of information when learning about the Native Americans and the early settlers. The fact that the discoverers had no worry in capturing innocent people, and removing them from their homes and environment to serve for them, the fact that the discovers came looking for a Christian, this shows the importance of Christianity, something which can be interpreted as quite ironic in this particular account as much of the behaviour from the discoverers was very unchristian like. And finally, the overall use of vocabulary and choice of words shows how the discoverers were very narrowing minded and knew very little history of Florida, or America for that matter.

An Eyewitness Account of the Powhatan Indian Tribe - Virginia

From the account that I found online I was able to get the first eyewitness account of the Powhatan Indians. Henry Spelman - the man who wrote the account in 1613, was part of the Virginian settlement of Jamestown. He wrote about several things in the account from their homes, clothing, weaponry and pastimes. The quotations themselves are taken direct from his account in 'broken' or 'old' English.

The Buildings -
"Places of Habitation they have but feaw for ye greatest toune have not above 20 or 30 houses in it, Ther Biuldinge are made like an oven with a litell hole to cum in at but more spatius with in havinge a hole in the midest of ye house for smoke to goe out at, The Kinges houses are both broader and longer then ye rest havinge many darke windinges and turnings before any cum wher the Kinge is, But in that time when they goe a huntinge ye weomen goes to a place apoynted before, to build houses for ther husbands to lie in att night carienge matts with them to cover ther houses with all, and as the men goes furthur a huntinge the weomen [goes before] follows to make houses"

This part of the account goes to explain the buildings the Powhatan lived in. Spelman explains how the houses looked like an 'oven with a little hole' in the front of it to come and go from. He also explains how the King's home is broader and longer than the rest of them to show the difference between the ranks. Another thing that is explained is that the buildings are built by the women when the men go to hunt - 'build houses for their husbands to lie in at night', which shows that there was a class system between gender with the Males going out to collect the food and the Females building shelter for the men to come back to. 

Differences between the King and the other Tribesmen - 
"The King is not know by any differenc[e] from other of ye [better] chefe sort in ye cuntry but only when he cums to any of ther howses they present him with copper Beads or Vitall, and shew much reverence to him. The preest[s] are shaven on ye right side of ther head close to the scull only a litle locke leaft at ye eare and sum of thes have beards But ye common people have no beards at all for they pull away ther hares as fast as it growes. And they also cutt ye heares on ye right side of ther heade that it might not hinder them by flappinge about ther bow stringe, when they draw it to shoott, But on ye other side they lett it grow & have a long locke hanginge doune ther shoulder."

This part of the account goes into detail and elaborates the difference between the different ranks of the tribe. Spelman explains that the King is regarded as the same as the rest of the tribe, however when he enters the houses of the other people he is presented with copper beads. This shows that the people of the tribes cared much and obviously worshipped their King. The common folk of the tribe are said to have had no beards and the right side of the head is shaved to prevent the hair from getting in the way when they are using their bows and arrows. The left side however is grown long down to their shoulders. I found that part in this specific part of the article where they shaved their heads on the right side to help with their hunting and offensive skills absolutely brilliant. You could put this into a modern day sense with military personal these days when they have to shave their heads for ease of putting on their protective helmets and to keep their vision clear.

Armour and Weaponry - 
"As for Armoure or dissipline in ware the[y] have not any. The weopons they use for offence are Bowes and Arrowes with a weopon like a hammer and then Tomahaucks for defence which are shields made of the barke of a tree and hanged on ther leaft shoulder to cover that side as they stand forth to shoote. They never fight in open fields but always ether amonge reede or behind trees takinge ther oportunitie to shoot at ther enimies and till they can nocke another arrow they make the trees ther defence"

This part of the account explains how the Powhatan had no armour but they did have weapons. Spelman explains how they had bows and arrows, hammers, tomahawks and some form of shield for defensive manners. He explains that the shields were 'made of the barke of a tree and hanged on ther leaft shoulder to cover that side as they stand forth to shoote'. He accurately explains how the shield works with how they used their offensive attacks and how they use the trees to their advantage. This shows a very high level of intellect in terms of hunting and fighting. Methods like the one Spelman explains would show a significantly greater experience comes from working in the wild and in groups.

Pastimes - 
"When they meet at feasts or otherwise they use sprorts much like to our heare in England as ther daunsinge, which is like our darbysher Hornepipe a man first and then a woman, and so through them all, hanging all in a round, ther is one which stand in the midest with a pipe and a rattell with which when he beginns to make a noyes all the rest Gigetts about wriinge ther neckes and stampinge on ye ground. They use beside football play, which wemen and young boyes doe much play at. The men never they make ther gooles as ours only they never fight nor pull one another doune. The men play with a litel balle lettinge it fall out of ther hand and striketh it with the tope of his foot, and he that can strike the ball furthest winns that they play for."

This is a very interesting account of what the Powhatan did in their spare time for recreational means. He goes onto explain that when they gather to eat feasts they engage in sport much like they do back in England. There is a detailed explanation of the dancing which involves a pipe and stamping on the ground. I believe that this could be ritualistic and maybe even around a fire, which isn't elaborated within the article. Another interesting thing that Spelman explains is a sport that is very similar to football. He explains how the women and children rarely played, which again could relate to a dominance issue where the women took care of the children and the men were able to have fun after hunting and providing food for their feasts. He explains the rules that they have a little ball and they let it fall out of their hand, and whoever kicks the ball the furthest wins.  I think that it is fascinating hearing about these early accounts of sports and how they have developed into what we have today. It just proves that obviously today when we get bored we go on the Internet and play games - but 500 years ago the people of the land only had what they could see around them.

The link to the site that has the account on -

Accounts From Early Settlers- The Virginia Company

On April 10th, 1606, James I chartered a pair of English Joint Stock Companies with the intention of establishing a settlement on the coast of North America. These two Companies were the 'Virginia Company of London' and the 'Virginia Company of Plymouth'; seperated due to the different territories they were to withold (expect Plymouth never fulfilled its charter, as it later became New England).  Each called for a local council after becoming established, but with the ultimate authority residing with the current King of England.

The Plymouth Company was to establish settlements between the '38-45th parallel' which meant that it was between Chesapeake Bay and todays, US-Canada Border.  On the 13th August, 1607, this Company made the Popham Colony along the Kennebec River, which now resides as current Maine. Nevertheless, it was abandoned after 24 months which led to the Plymouth Company becoming dormant.

The London Company was allowed to make a colony of about 100 square miles, between the '34th and 41st parallel', which approximately today is Cape Fear and Long Island Sound.  They also owned a large area of the Atlantic Ocean and inland Canada.  The biggest settlement that this company created was the 'Jamestown Settlement', which was established on May 14th, 1607.  This was a large part of Chesapeake Bay and present day Virginia.  The leader of this Colony was Capt. John Smith, who was an explorer that created positive relations with the Native Americans.  In 1610 (after a very troublesome expedition to Jamestown), two ships arrived to find that 80% of the 600 Colonists had died due to 'starving time'.  The new settlers only survived as Sir Thomas Gates arrived leading a supply mission, acompanied by Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, better known as Lord Delaware just 3 weeks later.

Leader of the Jamestown Settlement, Captain John Smith, knew of the lack of certain resources in the New World, in which he therefore sent a letter to the Virginia Company in 1608.  After the quick percieved view (after only arriving in Virginia in 1607), around 480 Pilgrims that arived with him to settle could have been saved from the 'starving time'.

Smith's 'rude' letter to Thomas Gates (who arrives two years later) asks for the knighted gentleman;  'When you send againe I intreat you rather send but thirty Carpenters, husbandmen, gardiners, fisher men, blacksmiths, masons, and diggers up of trees, roots, well provided; then a thousand of such as we have: for except wee be able both to lodge them, and feed them, the most will consume with want of necessaries before they can be made good for any thing'.

This part of Smith's letter suggests the people are becoming weak due to the lack of resources; with 600 new people, who dont neccessarily have certain trades that are needed at this point are having to transition from an english culture that has been tried and tested to living in a completely new area, with new land and different and scarce resources.

He continues to depict toGates that they have '89 by this discovery lame and sicke, and but a pinte of Corne a day for a man, we were constrained to give him three hogsheads of that to victuall him homeward' which conveys that many people are becoming sick due to the lack of food and medicine.  This means that much of the land's nourishment is going to the sick, which then leaves other settlers destitute and hungry.  He compares the land to 'Germany and Poleland, for glasse-men & the rest, till we be able to sustaine our selves, and relieve them when they come. It were better to give five hundred pound a tun for those grosse Commodities in Denmarke', in which Smith is ambiguosly trying to persuade England to send their resources to them and not the other countries that could survive a bit longer without those commodities.

Sir Thomas Gates does reply and sails to Virginia with resources which does save the last 20% of the new settlers and this helps to reinvigorate and revive the New World.

He states 'when the passages by Sea are all open and discouered, when the climate is so fruitfully tempered; when the naturall riches of the soile are so powerfully confirmed: will any man so much betray his owne inconsiderate ignorance, and bewray his rashnesse; that when the same Sunne shineth, he should not haue the same eies to beholde it; when the same hope remaines, he should not haue the same heart to apprehend it?' as to persuade more people to help replenish and refresh Jamestown, as to bring more people and commodities to the New World.  This is to help them strive in the new community and Sir Gates himself leads the expedition to Virginia.

Therefore, Capt. John Smith's letter to Sir Gates portrays evidence of the new settlers struggle to begin a new Colony.  Even though the Captain crowns 'Powhatan', who is leader of the Native American tribe, he feels the new settlers are still his problem and wants the Colony to prosper, with the Native American's help.

Accounts of Early Settlers - New England

When searching, I came across the article between all of the newly United Colonies plantations within New England written on the 19th May 1643. I thought this particular article was very interesting to look at, as it not only includes one belief of one colony, but an agreement by all the plantations within the colonies and therefore the beginning of an united country and people. Interestingly, rather than joining together due to the idea of "one nation" they article seems to suggest that they are in need of union due to the sudden and increased threat demonstrated by the Native Americans. The below extract demonstrates that the plantations within the colonies were more than willingly to unite and help each other.

"The said United Colonies for themselves and their posterities do jointly and severally hereby enter into a firm and perpetual league of friendship and amity for offence and defence, mutual advice and succor upon all just occasions both for preserving and propagating the truth and liberties of the Gospel and for their own mutual safety and welfare."

 Not only does this article show a union, but perhaps more importantly it highlights the beginning of a democratic society within the New England area, as point three of the article begins to set out areas of settlements. The establishments of states potentially; furthermore the establishment of jurisdictions and new governments within those referenced areas. It below extract sets out areas of jurisdiction and what the powers the plantations will have. It also sets out rulings for future settlements that may occur and says that if they are established within said regions they will fall under the jurisdiction of the set regions.

"It is further agreed that the Plantations which at present are or hereafter shall be settled within the limits of the Massachusetts shall be forever under the Massachusetts and shall have peculiar jurisdiction among themselves in all cases as an entire body, and that Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven shall each of them have like peculiar jurisdiction and government within their limits; and in reference to the Plantations which already are settled, or shall hereafter be erected, or shall settle within their limits respectively; provided no other Jurisdiction shall hereafter be taken in as a distinct head or member of this Confederation, nor shall any other Plantation or Jurisdiction in present being, and not already in combination or under the jurisdiction of any of these Confederates, be received by any of them; nor shall any two of the Confederates join in one Jurisdiction without consent of the rest, which consent to be interpreted as is expressed in the sixth article ensuing." 

I think this article is hugely important as it shows a union between plantations; from single established colonies to the union of many and the setting up of a democratic system in which future colonies and plantations can follow. It was the creation of the New England region and a union of the people; despite the union primarily being for protection against the Native Americans.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Accounts from Early Settlers - New York

'The next thing in this Province blameable is the Heathenism of the natural Indians who here in the very heart of a Christian country practice their barbarous & devilish customs & modes of worship notwithstanding it is now 60 years & more since Christians first inhabited this Country & 30 years since the English were possessed thereof.  Indeed there is something to be said in excuse hereof that is the unsettledness of the Country, for a long time the Several changes of Government it has undergone & the small number of the English at present & something to be objected that is that it would be first reasonable to settle religion among those who are professed Christians before we pretend to the conversion & settlement of the Indians. . . . '

This is an Extract from a early settler dating back to 1695. His name was John Miller, who was an Englishman, he was a serving as a chaplain for the soldiers stationed out in New York. I chose this specific extract from the account as it talks about blaming Natural Indians practising their religion within a Christian country.

I found this interesting to read as he starts to describe the religion of the Native Indians as 'Barbarous & devilish', here he describes the Native Indians in a negative light, as for religion many European settlers wanted all to practise Christianity which meant that many Natives were pushed off land, towards the west if they did not covert to Christianity 

'When I speak of converting the Indians by Indians I mean principally those five Nations which lie between Albany & Canada & are called 1) Mohawks or Maquaes, 2) Oneidas, 3) Chiugas, 4) Onundagas & 5) Senecas, of whom though most of the Mohawks are converted to Christianity by Dr. Dellius & Some of the Oneidas by the Jesuit Millet, yet the first not being yet established in any good order at all & the last being converted to Popery, I look upon the work as yet wholly to be done & if what has been already done is not a disadvantage to it, yet that little advantage is gained thereby except a demonstration of the inclination of the Indians to embrace the Christian religion' 

This is another extract that I found whilst reading the account,  it talks about how some Indians are already converted to Christianity which I found strange as when I think of Indians, I think of them resisting the attempts of being converted to any parts of western civilisation. Here I believe that the Europeans pushed there ideas of living on the Indians possibly without them knowing? this lead to the Indians adopting more Westernised living than they first thought.  I think here, that the English did not change the Indians 'for the better' but to show the declining numbers of the natives and show the strength of Christianity. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Accounts from Early Settlers - New Hampshire

Whilst looking at accounts through the Primary Sources website, I was browsing in particular for  significant settler accounts in the New Hampshire colony during the 1600s. The account I found acutely interesting was the 'Agreement of the Settlers at Exeter in New Hampshire, 1639.' Fundamentally, this account evokes God in a strong way, whilst implicit to the notion of Exeter being their own Government, however, obtaining this would be hard. For instance:
"Necessity that we should not live without wholesomne Lawes and Civil Government among us of which we are altogether destitute."

This suggests that the Exeter colony would need to adhere to the laws of Britian under King Charles I to acomplish peace and honesty. The latter part of the sentence indicates that they are without the strong infrastructure that they need to necessitate and thus can function properly. Importantly, it is through God that aids the potential of achieving this:in the sight of God combine ourselves together to erect and set up among us such Government as shall be to our best discerning agreeable to the Will of God professing ourselves."

Moreover, the end part of the account is intriguing as it depicts the confirmation that this colony would abide to the explicit laws required. This can be exemplified by this next quote: "and to all other such Lawes which shall upon good grounds be made and enacted among us according to God that we may live quietly and peaceably together in all godliness and honesty."

To conclude, this Covenant was signed by John Whelewright and thirty-four others. Lastly, to synthesize a legit Constitution, two oaths were created so the rulers and the people could conform to this.

The Elders/Rulers Oath -
"You shall swear by the great and dreadful Name of the High God, Maker and Governor of Heaven and earth and by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of the Kings and rulers of the earth, that in his Name and fear you will rule and govern his people according to the righteous will of God, ministering justice and judgement.."

This oath transpired to ensure that at the top of the hierarchy, strength and stability would remain sustained and not subverted.
The Oath of the People - "We do swear by the Great and dreadful Name of the High God, Maker and Governor of heaven and earth, and by the Lord Jesus Christ, the King and Saviour of his people, that in his Name and fear, we will submit ourselves to be ruled and governed according to the will and word of God, and such wholsome laws and ordinances as shall be derived there from by our honored Rulers and the lawful assistants."

Similarly, both oaths are replicated in what is being said and the omnipotence of God is visibly clarified and this would inevitably form a substantial constitution. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Iran's View Of America

Morgan Shuster and US officials at Atabak Palace, Tehran, 1911. Their group was appointed by Iran's parliament to reform and modernize Iran's Department of Treasury and Finances.
At the moment, there are no formal relations between Iran and the United States.  Due to the poor relations between the two countries, they do not even swap ambassadors. Iran maintains an interests section at the Pakistani embassy in Washington, D.C., while the United States has maintained an interests section at the Swiss embassy in Tehran.  Relations between the two countries began in the mid to late nineteenth century, as to start with, Iran was weary of the British and Russian colonies, but saw America as a strong western power.  Amerricans Arthur Millspaugh and Morgan Shuster (in the picture above) were even appointed treasurers-general by the Shahs of that time.

America and Iran had strong, positive relations (even after the UK and the Soviet Union invaded Iran during World War II, and these countries were strong allies with the US) until Mohammed Mossadeq's later years of his government, when they were overthrown by MI6, who were aided by the CIA.  This was followed by hostility from Iran towards the USA, after the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Now, the US has an embargo with Iran, which has been in place since 1995.  This relates to Obama's inauguration speech and how the President wanted to reform alliances with Iran.  However, the article suggests that due to culture differences and how Iran and the US view democracy and certain policies differently, that regaining alliances between both countries will be hard.

This is a video from MSNBC, on how Iran see's America.

In 1979, there was the Iranian Revolution where the Pro-American Shah was ousted and replaced by the Anit-American Supreme Leader Ayatollah Komeini.  This suprised the American Government, and the intelligence service and State Departments 'consistently underestimated the magnitude and long-term implications of this unrest'.  Khomeini instantly got rid of the Shah’s prime minister and replaced him with a moderate politician called Mehdi Bazargan. Until this point, the Carter Administration was still hoping to renormalize its relationship with Iran, sending its National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, whilst not recognizing the new regime. Unfortunately, this idea was unconceivable towards the ordinary Iranians, resulting in massive anti-American and anti-Bazargan demonstrations and forcing him to resign.

In 1979, the revolutionary group 'Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line', was frustrated that the recently disposed Shah was enabled to go the US.  Therefore, the Muslim Student Followers occupied the American Embassy in Tehran and took 52 American Diplomats hostage and kept them for 444 days.  In Iran, the incident was seen by many as a blow against American influence in Iran and the moderately liberal government of PM Mehdi Bazargan, who opposed the hostage taking and resigned soon after. The hostage takers felt that their action was connected to the 1953 American-backed coup against the government of Prime Minister Mosaddeq.
"You have no right to complain, because you took our whole country hostage in 1953''
 said one of the hostage takers to Bruce Laingen, chief U.S. diplomat in Iran at the time.

After the hostage taking of 1979, America froze about $12 billion of Iranian assests, gold, bank deposits and properties.  According to American officials, most of those were released in 1981 as part of the deal to release the hostages.  However, Iran still say today that the US have still frozen about $10 billion worth of Iranian assests, which is pending due to the resolution claims from the revolution.

Then there was the Iran-Iraq war.  Although President Carter declared 'strict neutrality in the conflict', the US government was helping Iraq diplomatically and economically.  During the second half of the war, the US sanctioned several bills against Iran, yet cleared Saddam Hussein's government from U.S list of State Sponsors Of Terrorism and created diplomatic relations (according to Iran and the US: Engagement or Confrontation". Journal of International and Area Studies).

There is many other situations why America and Iran do not have strong positive relations, including the Hezbollah Bombings which seen an Anti-American terrorist attacks, including the April 1983 United States Embassy bombing which killed 17 Americans, the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing which killed 241 U.S. peace keepers in Lebanon, and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing. An American district court judge ruled in 2003 that the April 1983 United States Embassy bombing was carried out with Iranian support.

Although Obama wanted to reform connections with Iran, I believe it would take alot more to recover a positive relations between both countries.

America's Image in the World

The World's Policeman

Through my research I found it difficult to find any solid websites that displayed a particular country's view on America as a country, politically, culturally etc. I found one website that compiled evidence and statistics to give a global viewpoint on America from the late 90s to the mid 2000s. - A link to an article that elaborates on how America is viewed by the world from 1999/2000 - 2007. - A link to another article that goes onto to explain how the world views America have increased, but only slightly.

On this site I found both a negative and positive view on how America is perceived to the world. The first article I read was particularly negative in explaining how there was a significant decline in how other countries viewed and favoured America between 1999/2000 and 2006/2007. These figures pretty much started to decline when President Bush decided to go to war in Iraq and continued to drop. 
The picture on the right here shows the information gathered from a global opinion poll. As you can see almost every country shown here shows a depreciated favorability for America. The figures prior to the latter of the two dates show a clear trend in how America has been valued. Even though some say that it's not solely down to the war in Iraq, many try and put the blame elsewhere, however even I can pretty much determine that the view on America has gone down because of the actions taken post 9/11. One important thing to note as well is that the figures taken down here are the lowest recorded figures in history. 
Despite America not being the lowest on the chart in terms of 'who favours who the most' they are further down by a huge margin when compared to the likes of France and Japan. The only countries that are lower than them are North Korea, Iran and Iraq. For me personally, to see statistics like that is worrying. To think how great America is (and it is a great place) when you compare to the likes of North Korea, which is almost entirely secretive when it comes to being publicised, poverty ridden and probably one of the most if not the most controversial country on the planet. 

The biggest problem the world seems to have with America is shown here in this chart and is narrowed down to the way the American government deals with it's problems and other countries. One quote from the article - 'the US does not take the interests of their country into account when making foreign policy decisions' sums up the point pretty concisely. 
75% of 26 different countries disapprove of the war in Iraq - to me this is a pretty standard statistic. I don't think the need for war should ever be taken into consideration unless the circumstances are that of extreme proportion. Many like myself believe that the US military "provokes more conflict that it prevents", which again is a statement that more than 3/4 of the world believes to be true. 69% disapprove with the treatment of Guantanamo Bay detainees, 68% disapprove with how America interacted in the Israeli-Hezbollah war, 61% disapprove of the Iranian nuclear program, 58% disapprove of the way America handles it's own Global Warming and environment policy and 55% disapprove of  North Korea's nuclear program and the American link to that. To clarify as well that the white gap in between the two coloured bars in each category shows the people that are 'on the fence' and couldn't decide on a negative or a positive point of view. It just shows you how many people decided to go for a disapproving or a negative view on how America deals with it's foreign policy. 
The last part of the chart shows the question on what other countries think of the US Military's presence in the Middle East. Again, with the trend you can see that the majority disagree with the cause and believe that the troops in the Middle East are causing more problems than they're solving. 

Policies, not values

As the article has put it, 'The good news?' - Well the good news for America's sake is that the world seems to have a problem with their political policies as opposed to its values. Statistics and polls show that the world is particularly fond of American people - I can't blame them either; I love American people. The views are that it's not the American people to blame but their government, which can bring the question that the government is surely made up of American citizens? But do politicians in American regard themselves the same as the general public anywhere in the world? 

The chart to the right is what is regarded as the 'good news' for America. For the first time in nearly a decade the polls and charts have starting to weigh in their favour, even if it is only by 4% and 6%. 2008 as we know is the year of a new president being put into the White House. For the year prior building up to 2008 Americans have been able to see a new light for their country politically with conference and debates between the Democratic and Republican parties. Could this be the increase in global influence on how America is viewed? To me I see the statistics and the time of a new president not as coincidental as some believe. I think that with the time Obama and McCain had to show the country that they could pull themselves out of this hole that they dug themselves into the country could breathe a sigh of fresh air. The other notion is the whole  'anyone but Bush' movement, which is a grand statement for change - particularly within Obama's presidential campaign as most of the slogans had the word 'Change' or 'Hope' on them. This to me shows that the country wasn't satisfied with the idea that they are the most powerful and the most ridiculed country on earth. 
The way I see America over the last decade or so is that they have come down from a high and they are slowly rebuilding themselves as a country and are fighting their way back into becoming as powerful as they once were and as prominent, without the hatred and criticism from other countries. In the words of Stan Lee - 'With great power comes great responsibility'. 

Here is another interesting link I found to a video of American Studies students from China giving their perspective of American politics. I watched it and was particularly surprised in what I saw. For one the girls in the video spoke rather good English and also their views were very concise and interesting to listen to. As they were students and have studied American politics there is a great spectrum of information from a Chinese perspective and how they compare and contrast both political systems,  pointing out the positive and negatives.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Views of America.

To get a detailed look into views of America and to establish an idea of what numerous countries attitudes are, I looked at the ‘Pew Research Center’ which provided me with numerous statistics and charts that highlight the rise in anti Americanism, an idea also picked up on in others blogs, however it shows a rise in confidence and change in attitude with the election of Barack Obama.

America’s ratings plummeted following the invasion of Iraq and they continued to remain low right into 2008. However come 2009, opinions have started to rise. Western Europe, supposedly where American’s greatest Allies are, saw the biggest jump; Germany doubled in one year going from 31% in 2008 to 64% in 2009, and a huge increase was seen in France (42% to 75%.)
Despite these increases, the chart still demonstrates that amongst the Muslim world, views of America are still considerably low.  For example Turkey still retains a negative view of America and has done throughout the 21st Century, the lowest rating coming in 2007 and a pitiful 9%. As always there is an exception to the rule, the exception being this time Indonesia; the reasoning behind this is Obama and his family connections to the area, which clearly has not gone unnoticed with their ratings of America going from 37% to 63% over a one year period.

However it could be argued that rather than an increase in favorability to America, the countries and their people are simply reacting to the one particular person and a change in power, this being Obama, as the chart demonstrates; many believe Obama “Will Do The Right Thing in World Affairs” whether this was because he was the first black president America had ever had or people did expect a change.

Despite this positive opinion of Obama, problems that continuously occur and that are relevant to world itself remain the same. Overwhelming numbers around the world continue to see the United States as having a big often bag influence on their own countries. Furthermore America is seen as a country that only really looks out for itself when it comes to foreign policy, this therefore adding more negativity.

This hyperlink leads to another PEW research page, rather than looking at the world’s favourability of America, this particular article identifies particular areas in which the United States is considered to have a good or bad impact. For example, the way the United States does it business has seen a big increase in all the countries since Obama took over from the years in which Bush was in the White House. Furthermore, despite previous blogs saying countries dislike the American customs, this particular research says differently, and in fact says that in 2012 many countries support American customs and ideas. 

I believe also, the most telling chart is the one showing if the percentage of young people who are more open to American ideas and customs. It also shows the older generations attitudes to America culture; this demonstrates that the younger generations will continue to grow up with a more Americanised society of which they are willing to accept and will continue to receive heavier influences from America.

Despite chart demonstrating a dislike for certain American cultural habits or tendancies, the PEW research from 2012 shows that there is in fact a strong positive attitude to many American ideas and the way they do things. The influences they have on the world, for instance technology, democracy are in fact helping and developing not only themselves but others around them.Due to this I would argue that the world at them moment is more Americanised that it has ever been, and it will only continue to become more so. Furthermore, other countries may seem to complain about America but according to the research that was published this year, June 2012, they are more than willing to embrace it.