Thursday, November 1, 2012

A 19th Century Photograph of the American Landscape

This photograph I picked is called "Laying tracks on the extreme front of Prescott and Eastern Railroad in Arizona Territory." It was taken in 1898, right at the end of the century. However, this is pivotal because its overtly highlighting the developing notion of manifest destiny and modernisation in the west of America. Most specifically, the photograph has been taken in the State of Arizona, which is in the far west of America. This exemplifies the sheer scale of development that has ensued through the latter part of the 19th Century. 

One could argue, covertly, that the workers in the photograph represent immigrants from different cultures. Albeit this could be implying slavery from a particular sense of Americans who still ideologically believe in slavery.
It could also be debated that the motion in the picture has been staged for patriotic purposes, however, there seems to be no signs of brutality taking place, thus its necessary to approach this claim with caution.

Above all, this photograph is a significant source of the developing American landscape in the 19th century. With the ideological beliefs of manifest destiny and Americas continuing modernisation of the country, this is a fundamentally substantial source to exemplify this. It is important to note the hidden meanings that could be demonstrated in this photo, however, it is difficult to place these claims as being accurate in the purpose of the photograph.

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