Thursday, 31 October 2013

Letters from an american farmer

In  letter  three   Crevecoeur says  “The next wish of this traveler will be, to know whence came all these people? They are a mixture of English, Scottish, Irish, French, Dutch, Germans and swedes”  I  choose  this particular  line  from  the new american chapter of the book because of its relevance if we think about it no one is really American. The pilgrims that came over to America were European and they were the first Americans the only true Americans are the native Americans because they were originally on the land. Now a days no one is really American there are a lot of languages that mix in America like for example the image I picked is a famous TV show presenter who lives in America yet he is Scottish and you can still hear the Scottish side in him after all the years he has lived in America. The picture is took from the late night show with Craig Ferguson . The people of America automatically class as themselves as American because of where they lived but history shows that Americans are not Americans just like the Mexicans arnt Mexicans. They have just come up with this little theory themselves because of the country they live in.  But if they speak french or actually English how does this not make them american? Does it not mean if you have lived in a certain country for so long that you can class yourself as american, no this not what crovecour point was his point was that every american has a heritage from different languages in Europe.

This photo was taken off google from the show "the late night show with crag Ferguson" 

Apple and De Crevecoeur

American Studies Blog Week 5

Making direct reference to De Crevecoeur’s idea of the new and the exceptional as typically American, find and critique a contemporary example (for instance, a statement, an image, an advertisement, a video) which you think shows that this vision of America as fresh still survives today

Given its humble beginnings as a company with two employees in a garage in the suburbs of California, Apple Inc. has obviously come a long way. Its unique products, company ethos and ability to bring customers into a new world have seen it evolve into one of the richest and most iconic of global brands. In many ways the company is the epitome of De Crevecoeur’s idea of America as the land of the new and exceptional. It is hard to think of the story of Apple and its Logo taking place anywhere else, especially in Europe.
Its newness, or novelty, is very American (and perhaps very Californian), because it makes possible an increase in freedom, a key theme of the United States and one that recurs when people describe America as the ‘New World’ and Europe as the ‘Old World’. This comparison is one that De Crevecoeur often makes. For example in letter I, the minister encourages Farmer James to write of “our wild American plants” that are “irregularly luxuriant in its various branches,” and to contrast this exciting, strange, unimaginable newness with the atmosphere in Europe where he would be tired of seeing “espaliers, plashed hedges, and trees dwarfed into pigmies.” Everything in Europe is, on this view, controlled and known, boring and unchanging. Only in America do new possibilities appear and become realized. Apple has in many ways adhered to the concept of being “new” by striving to change the ways of the old through products that excite the imagination. And it is not just the products themselves, but the company that produces them. For example, in the 1970s Apple was instrumental in bucking the trend of the corporate culture that existed at the time by opposing the practices of the likes of IBM. Subsequently this has seen the development of a “new” working culture that has now been adopted by various companies throughout the world.
Apple also reflects America as the country of the “exceptional” through its production of innovative products, such as the iphone and ipad, that everybody else wants to copy and which enrich the lives of many throughout the world, much like the manner in which De Creveceour’s describes how the soil of America as producing exotic plants that enrich the lives of the early settlers.(e.g. p27). Furthermore, that statement that , “he no sooner breathes our air than he forms schemes, and embarks in designs, he never would have thought of in his own country. There [in Europe] the plenitude of society confines many useful ideas, and often extinguishes the most laudable schemes which here ripen into maturity” well describes Apple and therefore America. A willingness to allow the imagination full freedom, to give everything a chance in a very practical way, makes the U.S. “exceptional”. It is a place in which schemes and designs never seen before are developed, as with the iphone and ipad.

So De Crevecoeur’s idea of America as the land of the new and exceptional continues to be visible today through the accomplishments of companies like Apple that retain there place at the cutting edge of new technological achievements like laptops and mobile phones.

De Crevecoeur, J. Hector St John. Letters from an American Farmer. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.


Letters from an American Farmer

De Crevecoeur’s idea of the new and the exceptional as typically American

From 'letters from an American Farmer' Letter III, Crevecoeur wrote about what it is to be an American, " Here are no aristocratically families, no courts, no kings, no bishops, no ecclesiastical dominion, no invisible power giving to a few a very visible one; no great manufacturers employing thousands, no great refinements of luxury. The rich and the poor are not so far removed from each other as they are in Europe”
I decided to talk about this talk because its shows that there is no ‘class’ divide in America compared to Europe when the author wrote the book. 

I choose this quote because the composition make me think of the actual religion called ‘Mormon’  when we look at the definition of it, it defines ‘honesty, trustworthy, sober, hardworking, family oriented people’. This definition is basically what the life style was during De Crevecoeur’s period.  But I also think we can connect this quote with the ‘Amish’.
The Amish are known for simple living, plain dress,and reluctance to adopt many conveniences of modern technology which is also quite similar to the period of De Crevecoeur. The Amish was founded by Jakob Ammann (12 February 1644 – between 1712 and 1730) between 1693 and 1680. The Amish are also hard worker people which use modern way to achieve things (farming, anting..), they believe that the community is at the heart of their life and faith, and that the way to salvation is to live as a loving community apart from the world. Individualism is avoided (which related to ‘the rich and the poor are not so far removed from each other..’)

*Today the population of Amish is 281,675.

This example shows that this vision of America as fresh has survives today. In most of the country in the world, people are free to choose and practice the religion wanted.
In contrast of the quote,  today we can clearly see that in America there is class divide. We can make the difference between a rich area and a poor one. Before it used to be rich or poor, today we have ‘upper class’, ‘middle class’, ‘working class’ and ‘lower class’.
“ We have developed a new upper class with advanced educations, often obtained at elite schools, sharing tastes and preferences that set them apart from mainstream America. At the same time, we have developed a new lower class, characterized not by poverty but by withdrawal from America’s core cultural institutions.” By Charles Murray- Coming apart. 

 The first picture represents farmer during the 18th century, the second and third picture shows Amish people working.

Class divided:

This picture shows a rich neighborhood of America

This picture represents a poor neighborhood of America, we can clearly see the difference between both picture.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Were Virginia the first settlers into Tennessee?

The Settlers of Virginia into Tennessee:

Virginia and the Southern states of east America were surrounded hugely by the rocky Mountains which seemed impossible to pass on foot in the 1700's when settlers roamed America. The South was a part that was quite untouched as the settlers decided to travel east to west rather than north to south so it is interesting that the main article I find when researching this topic is a Southern state which around this time not many would venture to. 'Even as experienced and able woodsman as James Robertson, when crossing the range in 1770, was lost in the trackless mountains and wandered, without food, for fourteen days; and finally owed his extrication to his good fortune in meeting up with some hunters, who relieved his distress and enabled him to reach his home in safety.' This extract shows us that the travel through the Rocky mountains were not without its hardship, the terrain seemed to settlers to go on for years as they faced new challenges in every state. An interesting thought about this quote is the mentioning of 'hunters,' their heritage and original country is not described so it is hard to tell whether these 'hunters' could have been settlers in Tennessee prior to James' departure or whether they were Native Americans. The lack of description about the hunters whilst the settlers name is highlighted shows if it was a Native American tribe that they lack respect from others whilst the settler who had to be saved is idolised and named a hero. Many people had already settled in Tennessee at the time and what  surprised me about this article is that settlers had already found another way to Tennessee through the Appalachian mountains by travelling from Pennsylvania so the title of the article 'why the first settlers were from Virginia,' had surprised me as the terrain and travel from the Virginia was tough yet the travel from Pennsylvania was very easy and already known to some. This makes me question if this source is truly reliable as what we already know from the time is that the French had settled in the South in States like Louisiana and it is highly likely that they had control over most of the southern parts including Tennessee. This means it is not difficult to say that the source may not be 100% accurate,  however this source is important in understanding the hardships of what it was like to cross the Rocky Mountains and have not yet discovered the easier path to Tennessee.*.html

Blog Week 4

“The next day there came unto us divers boates, and in one of them the Kings brother, accompanied with fortie or fiftie men, very handsome and goodly people, and in their behaviour as mannerly and civill as any of Europe. His name was Granganimeo, and the king is called Wingina, the country Wingandacoa, and now by her Majestie Virginia. The maner of his comming was in this sort: hee left his boates altogether as the first man did a little from the shippes by the shore, and came along to the place over against the ships, followed with fortie men. When he came to the place over against the ships, followed with fortie men. When he came to the place, his servants spread a long matte upon the ground, on which he sate downe, and at the other ende of the matte foure others of his companie did the like, the rest of his men stood round about him, somewhat a farre off: when we came to the shore to him with our weapons, hee never mooved from his place, nor any of the other foure, nor never mistrusted any harme to be offred from us, but sitting still he beckoned us to come and sit by him, which we performed: and being set hee made all signes of joy and welcome, striking on his head and his breast and afterwardes on ours, to shewe wee were all one, smiling and making shewe the best he could of all love, and familiaritie. After hee had made a long speech unto us, wee presented him with divers things, which hee received very joyfully, and thankefully. None of the company durst speake one worde all the time: onely the foure which were at the other ende, spake one in the others eare very softly”

This extract is taken from the report to Sir Walter Raleigh, a leading figure at the court of Queen Elizabeth I, by two of his followers, Captain M. Philip Amadas and M. Arthur Barlowe, who explored parts of Virginia in 1584. It describes how following their encounter with three Native Americans the previous day, the brother of the King of their tribe visited their ships the next day bringing with him around 40 to 50 men. It is important as a first hand account of early contact between Europeans and Native Americans in the area, as well as providing an insight into the lives and traditions of its original inhabitants before their exposure to outside pressures.
The first part of the extract that needs highlighting is the statement by the Englishmen that the behaviour of the Native Americans was as “mannerly and civill as any of Europe”. This I believe significant as a lot of popular western history often portrays Native Americans as primitive people, as savages in need of being taught the basics of civilization. However, if we are to believe this extract, in the eyes of the two Captains the native people were nothing of the sort and were in fact no different in essentials to Europeans in terms of proper manners and politeness (the meaning of “civill”), suggesting that Europeans had a higher opinion of native Americans when they were interested in trading with them rather than taking their land.
Also interesting is the part that says, “When he came to the place, his servants spread a long matte upon the ground, on which he sate downe, and at the other ende of the matte foure others of his companie did the like, the rest of his men stood round about him, somewhat a farre off”. This is important in suggesting that indigenous peoples had a system of government that was similar in some ways to monarchies in Europe at the time, where King or Queens and their close relatives were revered and treated with the utmost respect, as seen by how the royal brother had servants roll out a mat on the ground for him, while most of the others kept a respectful distance.
In the light of subsequent clashes between English settlers and the native peoples, it is interesting to read that “when we came to the shore to him with our weapons hee never mooved from his place, nor any of the other foure, nor never mistrusted any harme to be offred from us… smiling and making shewe the best he could of all love, and familiaritie.” This again dispels any notion that the Native Americans were savages who enjoyed warfare and killing, and who had no idea about how to treat strangers. Instead it clearly depicts a Native American leader as someone trying his best to try and make the Europeans welcome, and being genuinely hospitable. It also provides a possible insight into why they were often overwhelmed by Europeans who took their lands and made them slaves, as the passage depicts them as people who too easily trusted others, suggesting that they could easily be manipulated. But we should note that these were the earliest contacts between the indigenous peoples of this area and the English, and that as yet there were few reasons for them to mistrust the newcomers. They did not yet understand that they were seeing the beginning of a process that would expose them to diseases to which they had no resistance, to unknown problems like alcohol, and to a European thirst for land that would lead them to be dispossessed of all they had.
But we do have to ask whether this report is accurate or not. It would have been in the interest of Amadas and Barlowe to make their expedition seem as successful as possible, and to suggest that they had been made so welcome that trade and other possibilities could follow without the need for costly fighting. Raleigh may even have wanted this kind of report to show the Queen how well he had been trying to advance his country’s interests.

“First Hand Accounts of Virginia, 1575-1705”pp 300, Virtual Jamestown Project, University of Virginia, 2000, <>  accessed 15 October 2013

Settlers on natives

I chose this particular text because it has multiple accounts from multiple settlers in America on the Native Americans that they came across when they took over America.  The accounts that these people have written about the Native Americans have shown  these citizens in bright light. One of the accounts was written by a   Francis Daniel Pastourious who was the first German settler in Pennsylvania they wrote about the good qualities that they found about the Native Americans’ about how open their homes were and they also talked about some of the things that the native Americans did at that percific time. Some of the native Americans would cover their children in Grease and they would have to creep about the sun so that their skin colour would be the same colour as a nut. So what happened over the years to make European Americans’ to think that natives were equally to them later on in the future locking them up in reservations. Each one of the accounts on this web page took a look at a different aspect of a native Americans side one of the accounts dealt with the natives learning how to speak English, why is it that we have it drilled into our head that native americans cannot speak English when we walk around them constantly so eventually they would pick up our language learning it slowly. Another account that put the native americans in such a good light was john Lawson who alter on in life was actually killed in a war by some Indians. John Lawson believe that the native Americans treated the settlers a lot better than the Americans treated them, this guy who was killed by Indians it is ironic to think how well he thought of the Indians going into detail about how the Americans thought of them as slaves. This is why I choose this website to show the native Americans in a good light

Friday, 11 October 2013

French's view on Americans

How's the French view's on American? I have found an article called 'Baguette vs Burger'
which are both big stereotype of both countries.
From a historical point of view, it is apparent that there have always been tensions among the two countries. For instance U.S is well known for is percentage of obsess, in opposit France is known for 'fashion' related with skinny girls.

 When I read an article about American politic, there is the information I've found :

 69 % of French people have an opinion "favorable" to the country.
 29% of French people consider the U.S as the leading economic power in the world last year
 75% of the French have an opinion "favorable" the American people 
69% of French people think that the United States does not take much or not at all in the interests of France
 75% of French people support the effort of the United States in the fight against terrorism63 % of the French " disagree " on the other hand the use of U.S. military drone missile launchers used for example in Pakistan and Yemen. Right, they are 49 % to support the strike , 32 % in the center , and only 26% left.
 69% of the French say they have " confidence " in Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State. Against 31% who do not " trust " .

 There are  86% of the French say they have "confidence" in the current President of the United States.
They were 91% believe in Barack Obama in 2009 and 13% have "confidence" in his predecessor George W. Bush 2008

When I was doing my research about what does french people think about Americans and American polities, I have found a lot of pages and results about 'war' between Americans and French. For example I was really interested about an article called 'The more France going to war that America'
Most of the results I have found were related to either stereotypes between both nation or either about political issues. (most recent about east countries : Syria..)

Thursday, 10 October 2013

japan and america.

The first written mention of japan is in China’s history books in the 1st century. Japan also just so happens to be the third largest economy in the world after china and the united states.  There is estimated  127.3 billion people, which is understandable to why they come third on the richest country. The first website I looked at was very informal, it was a form so anyone could write on it but it was useful in the way that it criticised America from japans views. The majority of japan  do appreciate American, but the people that do appreciate America are the younger generation as the older generation can’t stand any other culture but there own. The thing with America and japan is that the younger generation of Japanese want to have a lot of American culture in there culture.The japaneese people have started to see Obama slip in specific issues. For another country to care who is in charge of the united states is very bizarre. The thing is they used to believe in Obama but in 2009 that was when there hopes for Obama began to slip. The japaneese use to think that Obama was a good choice but he failed to live up to there expectations which was why he slipped a few points.  Japan only had 74% confidence in his leadership which is good since in increased since 2008,  but between 2008-2012 the country lost faith in Obama. Japaneese have faith in obama’s international affairs which majority countries do that isn’t America. Japan in china’s eyes in a country that should hate America because in world war 2 they dropped atomic bombs on them but japan is on friendly terms with America Politically and socially which surprised china.  The news article is found in japan which is based on the war between America and japan so it puts on a bad light for America as it’s a world war 2.  Even though the government of japan may get on with american's politics only on a friendly basis the citzens of japan actually appreciate america which is why there mcdonalds trailers are mainstreaming in every country including countries that don't understand japanese.                                  

Where are this week's posts?

It is 12.45 on Thursday and so far only Alex has posted (well done).  I know a have had a couple of emails about this but I must stress it is vital for you to complete your posts in advance of group meetings.

China's Views Of America

Blog Week 3: What Does China Think Of America?

             China is a country that is on the rise. Boasting huge amounts of land and the world’s largest population it has also recently overtook Japan as the world’s second biggest economy in the world. Many predict that it will soon topple the United States as the world’s economic leader, and in fact public opinion surveys show many mistakenly believe it already has, with claiming that a median of 41% of people in 21 countries named China as the world’s leading economic power in comparison to the 37% that named the US. Since China is going to play a huge role in shaping tomorrow’s world, I have chosen to explore the views that Chinese people have of America.
            I begin with an article from chinadaily, an English-language newspaper published in China. Throughout the piece the writer repeatedly criticizes aspects of President Obama’s recent address at the United Nations General Assembly. He starts by mocking the speech, sarcastically calling it ‘exceptional’, an allusion to Obama’s rebuttal of Putin’s criticism of American society. He then proceeds to question the judgment of Obama’s government in its use of drones and in deciding to end the campaign in Afghanistan while Al-qaeda is still in existence. He also criticizes Obama for the continued operation of Guantanamo Bay and for his failure to come clean about the revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in regards to spying activities conducted the government. Finally, he claims the evidence and argument provided by Obama in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria is flawed, and further mocks the U.S. by referencing the use of an anthrax vial by Colin Powell at the 2003 UN Council hearings on Iraq. To conclude, he criticizes Obama claim that it is ‘an insult to human reason’ that other countries do not support his action for military intervention in Syria, arguing that this statement itself is an insult to the intelligence of people around the world.
            I believe that the criticisms leveled at Obama and the US government in the article are valid to a significant degree on factual grounds alone. For example, Obama promised during his first election campaign to close down Guantanamo within a year of being elected, but he has essentially renegaded on that promise, whilst the use of drones has resulted in large numbers of civilian deaths. Furthermore the government’s inability to clarify its position on the allegations of spy activities is very worrying, especially after recent events involving the abuse of journalists at Heathrow. However there are some aspects of the piece that are unfair, such as the criticism of the U.S. military’s retreat from Afghanistan or the mockery of Obama, which is frankly uncalled for.
This piece expresses the views of what we would call a professional or expert, but what about those of people we may consider to be more normal or civilian. Two other sources which are unfortunately not of Chinese origin, can nonetheless provide valuable insight into the views of the Chinese people. The general conclusion in regards to U.S. foreign policy is that when questioned about U.S. influence abroad their opinions are not positive. In fact, they criticize the U.S. as a bully for its military intervention in other countries and ask why it feels the need to try and rule over the world. The actions of the U.S. government were also questioned on the topic of the debt it owed to China, with people asking why the U.S. continues to borrow money from China despite many people there living in poverty, and when they would pay them back. However, there was some praise for the U.S. system, such as the right to free speech, democracy (though one asked whether U.S. citizens really believed the country to be democratic) and for its copyright system. One person also claimed the government “treats it people so well” and “seldom if ever lies to its people”. The people of the U.S. were generally praised as nice, friendly and helpful, whilst aspects of life there, such as technology, charity, economy, jazz and architecture were also held in high regard. With regards to the standard of living in America, people either stated their belief that it was very good or questioned it.
Considering the actions that took place during the Bush era and the continued presence of U.S. military overseas I am inclined to say that the Chinese opinion on foreign policy is valid. However, it can also be argued that expressions of opinions in China need to be treated with great care because of the continued influence of the state on media reporting within the country. Furthermore, the stated belief that the government ‘seldom if ever lies to its people’ could not be further from the truth considering the aforementioned spy allegations. The view that Americans are generally nice people is valid, though we need to consider whether those in China who believe this have actually met more than a few Americans before coming to this conclusion. Likewise the view that the standard of living in America is good may be valid, but needs to be treated with caution as it is most likely that Chinese people, judging only from the limited sources available to them, do not have an extensive knowledge of the country and as such fail to recognize the struggles of those living in the poorest urban and rural parts of the U.S.