United States Of America: True Democracy, or Beholden to Power Brokers?
American identity is often a composite of both the history provided inside the archival record, along with the stories authored by writers that now from the corpus of American literature during the last three centuries. However, those involved with power in America were primarily the people whose stories concretized the national memory that individuals now acknowledge being our unique idea – the one which gives us “Americanness.” Those who have experienced power in America for two and a half centuries have sought – and frequently succeeded – in crafting the legislature to match their desires.
Power is obtained through two primary ways: the accumulation of wealth (whether it be through cash or landholding); or by force, such as or implies the threat of death.
This paper will seek to develop their bond through which wealthy – and many often landed – elites have leveraged this to empower themselves in manners that enable these to subjugate certain classes, to regulate the flow of knowledge in a variety of media, and explore how this has remained the status quo throughout most of United States’ history. Moreover, we’ll explore contemporary America and just how these “upper casters” as I will term them, carry on doing to this time. Lastly, we are going to analyze how this affects and shapes American identity both within – and how our national character is viewed from without.
Truly, the wealthiest people in a society with different class systems truly can not be democratized, if by the democracy we mean “a state of society seen as a formal equality of rights and privileges.” Yet, bed mattress it that more than the long lifetime of American history these power elites are actually able to wield so much influence over more and more people? Those who are in power achieve gaining what they desire since they hold the capacity to change the laws that codify how society is always to act. The poor are rarely capable to set the laws of their favor. The institution of early American debtor prisons was around for years and years, breaking apart families and leaving people locked up who certainly can’t afford bailment or a lawyer. It took great reformers who helped persuade those in power that poorness was obviously a condition, not really a crime. Certainly today we understand that it’s not only a crime to become poor – but the landholding forefathers in your country will not have agreed along.
The institution of early American debtor prisons was around for years and years, breaking apart families and leaving people locked up who certainly can’t afford bailment or a lawyer. It took great reformers who helped persuade those in power that poorness was obviously a condition, not really a crime. Certainly today we understand that it’s not only a crime to become poor – but the landholding forefathers in your country will not have agreed along.
One question that needs to be asked is what truly is American identity today? And is it truly much different today pc was 50, 100 and even 350 years ago following first contact? The identity is absolutely different; though the power structures of the upper-casters has changed almost no. Certainly, dozens of wars have occurred, and these undoubtedly shape feelings of patriotism and American identity. Wars awaken patriotism, which is a major enabler of the cohesive national identity. Twain wrote from the residents of St. Louis thusly: “Their patriotism was strong, their pride inside flag was of the old-fashioned pattern, their love of country amounted to idolatry.” Wars always have been the best way to incite patriotic fervor, rouse the united states around a specific symbol (frequently the American flag, as inside case of post-9/11 flag lapel pins, that happen to be still en vogue seven years later).
Another way to help discern contemporary American identity objectively is usually to visualize it with the lens of the outsider. This was what de Toqueville did because the French author made his approach to America, traveling across many cities going through the young country and learning what he could about democracy on this country. Looking at the present, how can foreigners view American identity today, on this world of global communications, mass media and instant messaging?
In many regards, Europeans today chide our citizens as slothful, obese and lazy. In many European countries, where CEO’s of global corporations ride mass transit alongside their employees, business interests think of American CEO’s as contemporary “robber barons,” with $100 million golden parachutes and annual salaries often approaching a lot more than 1,000 times that of their lowest-paid employees. Additionally, another defining sign of American could be the encroachment of highly-organized, very conservative Christian religion upon the normally secular governmental systems. Contrast this to early America, however, and similarities already set out to appear. Puritan New England, where many pilgrims and other migrants settled to escape religious persecution back Europe, was obviously a hotbed for these extreme you aren’t
Puritan New England, where many pilgrims and other migrants settled to escape religious persecution back Europe, was obviously a hotbed for these extreme you aren’t right-wing religion. Europeans today are similarly alarmed through the rampant religiosity in America and how it’s permeated not just our legislation and politics but our social systems also. So what of such views of America, then? The inherent American identity is internally structured by our wealthy business and political leaders, and so they still look to portray our country as the only political heavyweight about the world stage; because the policeman with the world; and because the arbiters of the Global War on Terrorism.
As the landholding elite in America today – as well as big business as well as their associated lobbyists – surge in numbers, dollars and so influence, the face area in our nation has steadily evolved over the past several centuries.
The elemental roots of the took hold as early as the seventeenth century, when titles to huge tracts of often thousands of acres of land were granted by English Lourdes with their wealthy members of the family as well as other well-connected persons from the social elite. The headright system perpetuated this, and literature through the colonial period through the antebellum period reflects this. Hawthorne’s character Colonel Pyncheon can be a paradigm on this
The headright system perpetuated this, and literature through the colonial period through the antebellum period reflects this. Hawthorne’s character Colonel Pyncheon can be a paradigm on this behavior at its worst: co-opting Mr. Maule’s land through subversive tactics and questionable legislation by influencing town ordinances, Maule finished up “executed to the crime of witchcraft.”
The ability of a single singular individual to wield a great deal power, and craft public policy so as to forcibly remove someone off their rightful land is actually astonishing – but they have happened probably hundreds and hundreds of times, or more, inside our nation’s history.
The ability in the aristocratic and “elite” to shape a history, present and past through information control empowered these to influence and shape the sentiments, opinions and beliefs of the around them inside their early settlements. In this fishing village it was no exception. Pyncheon’s capability to set the agenda allowed him as one of the few “landed gentry” to get by false pretenses the land that they coveted.
Today’s landholding elite and corporate powerbrokers also look to fashion legislation which will help the hardly any while enriching themselves. The current White House administration has repeatedly sought to abolish any type of taxation on inheritance. Their carefully crafted strategy of preserving their wealth utilized the double sword: they will use fear to keep money and therefore power. Labeling it the “death tax,” politicians and lobbyists reference how the death tax will usher inside the demise in the family farm – even though no incidents for these can ever be cited. Nevertheless, the fear on this cultural institution being destroyed has pushed this plutocratic agenda more than anyone could ever imagine.
Conservative legislators Truly prefer that as much wealth as you can be passed along, with all the obvious intention and goal of preserving that wealth to maintain many for as long a period of time as you can. This was similar to the ‘great estates’ from the landed aristocracy that
Nevertheless, the fear on this cultural institution being destroyed has pushed this plutocratic agenda more than anyone could ever imagine. Conservative legislators Truly prefer that as much wealth as you can be passed along, with all the obvious intention and goal of preserving that wealth to maintain many for as long a period of time as you can. This was similar to the ‘great estates’ from the landed aristocracy that Toqueville was familiar with in the England and France of his era.
In de Toqueville’s work actually is well liked constitutes a point of focusing around the discernible differences between those who resided in New England versus those inside the South. The landed gentry inside the South, who frequently originated through the regions in England where the cavalier society was prevalent, continued to perpetuate their class-based, oligarchical beliefs within the new nation. If oligarchy is not the correct phraseology, then “nobleman” isn’t correct, for a lot of of those men – though wealthy representatives from the merchant class, for example – were of money however, not nobility. Toqueville furthers the distinction when he writes “their influence was not altogether aristocratic… given that they possessed no privileges, and slave labor denied them tenant farmers and so that they had no patronage.”
During the antebellum period in the United States, we can easily note the first divergence in American identity taking place: the contraposition between North and South. While both of these culturally distinctive regions from the United States were becoming a lot more different inside the antebellum period, there is also another parallel development occurring at this time in the South: the noticeable insufficient development of a distinctive middle class in the southern states. As a blue collar society was elevating individuals in the North, yearnings for equality were growing amongst people coming from all stripes. In Mills’ On the Subjection of Women, his arguments for women’s rights were
In Mills’ On the Subjection of Women, his arguments for women’s rights were premised about the belief that women could do things they were forbidden to – if perhaps these were allowed to make an attempt to give demonstrable evidence thereto. The albeit tiny middle class that has been developing in the South did not espouse these beliefs of equality, and therefore remained on the path divergent off their Northern counterparts. Conversely, it had been the established belief from the “southern middle class… that industrial slavery would be the best approach to modernize.” This put them at odds with both Northern middle class, also since the agrarian interests in the South, who still feared anything urban or industrial. The further and deeper South one went, the stronger this sentiment.
How will we reconcile this with national identity? John Gillis wrote, “The mere thought of identity comes from a national memory… shared by people who have never seen or heard of just one another, yet who regard themselves as using a common history.” Some figures in American history immediately one thinks of: Christopher Columbus, General George Patton, and Pocahontas/John Smith. All of such figures represent histories that have been intentionally miswritten order to perpetuate particular American myths. What may be the point of these myths? Unquestionably to foster national cohesiveness, concretize common bonds and propagate the “American Story.” It is stories such as these that have framed our national identity through their telling and retelling, whether fictional or not.
The writers of history are the ones who produce the memory – whether true or not. If historians are truly conservative in their analysis of history – and it is presentation as fact – then they must thus sift through mountainous piles of primary source documents: journals, archives, letters, diaries, newspapers from your time as well as books written back then. While this can be a monumental task, it is around historians to continually strive to separate the “stories” in the history. If history is written through the winners, than those with the most land, money and power will probably be apt to shape history in the way they want to become portrayed. This is an inherently dangerous method for our society to thrive, but it occurs regularly.
How can anyone truly state that during these contemporary times, America is certainly not a democracy; rather, we live inside a plutocracy that espouses some democratic ideals — a nation of corporate business interests and landholding elites. They are those who wield the electricity in America today, and the Millsian sentiment that they does not like anybody it doesn’t resemble him — probably pertains to most plutocrats today.
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