Movies Essay, Research Paper
Each war had a serious impact on the individuals surrounding it, whether it be the soldiers, Indians,
slaves, women, children, and even the entire feeling of the countryside. The commonality in each of the
three films, “Last of the Mohicans,” Mary Silliman’s War,” and “Glory,” was war, but each centered on a
different segment of the population and the different wars of the time period. The French and Indian War
was depicted in the “Last of the Mohicans,” showing the trials the settlers of the countryside faced while
the French fought for control of the union against the British in the mid-18th Century. Focusing on the
strengths of women, “Mary Silliman’s War” encompasses the revolutionary war as the Americans try to
break free from Britain. Finally, the inner fight between the Union is depicted in “Glory,” which gives
startling footage on the black man’s struggles in the fight for emancipation.
Through studies, in course work, various books including Boorstin, Brinkley, Gross, and others, and by
watching the films, a better understanding of the trials of freedom that American individuals undertook in
the 17th and on into the19th Century was received. A connection of the feelings, emotions, and trials of the
history of all Americans is felt and interpreted in the following paragraphs.
As the first white settlers came to what is to be America in the early 17th Century, the struggle for
power was inevitable. Looking through time and history, power has always been a key factor in the lives of
the people of the nation, and it still is today. The nine years of the French and Indian War (1754), which
was in part depicted in the “Last of the Mohicans,” showed how two countries were fighting over control of
the people and land of the colonies. We can see that the fighting had to do with power and control of other
people and property. Feelings for those not in the war, innocent people, were overlooked and pushed to the
side. In addition, the first American settlers, the Indians, were treated as pawns in a bigger game only to
take what was theirs to begin with. Both the French and the British tried to win the Indians over, only to
later push them further into the western countryside, until there would latter simply be no room for them.
“Mary Silliman’s War,” focusing on the revolutionary time period in the late 18th Century, included the
powerful struggle of the British to control the Americans. Instead of the struggle for the power of the land,
at this point the British had the land and now focused on controlling the freedoms of the people of the
nation. When the British felt as if they were loosing control, they grasped to incorporate a tighter system of
government into the lives of Americans. The rejection of this control lead to the many horrifying years of
war. The efforts of Americans to create a better nation did not end here.
The northern and southern parts of the nation were not yet unified, even after fighting against the British
in the revolutionary war. In fact, it was difficult to combine the entire nation and not stay divided in tiny
communities as in the past. These factors, along with many other differences of opinion when dealing with
the colored people of the nation, lead to an even greater power struggle than ever before. The southern
Confederacy wanted the power to control its own nation, separate from that of the northern Federacy. The
people and leaders in the south did not want to give up control of “their” slaves. The white man felt power
by controlling what he thought was a lesser person, in this case the blacks. Seen again and again in the
history of Americans, the power to control other people, for example, the Indians, slaves, and women, were
victims in the struggle of the white man to feel superior to others. Whenever a problem would arise where
power was threatene!
d the country would then became engaged in battle.
The movies were unique in their own element, because they focused on a group of individuals and
carried out their story of becoming part of the nation. “The Last of the Mohicans,” was very bold in
showing how the leaders of the British side reacted to the French and to the people of what is to become the
United States of America. It also focused on how the Indians were a part of the French and Indian war. In
essence, how they did not know what side to be on. People were stabbing each other in the back right and
left, first the Indians, and then the British to the western settlers. The main focus of Britain as seen in the
movie was to win, no matter what. The main interest of the British leaders was land and their immediate
families. They really did not want to fight for another country, and in the circumstances following the war
The strengths of women were shown in “Mary Silliman’s War.” In the revolutionary time period,
women were supposed to be feeble and weak, without a voice. Mary Silliman and her pediatrician friend
disproved those ideals. They were portrayed as very strong individuals in their own way. There were
scenes in which they were to be the subdued woman of the past, but they also got a chance to show that
they could help and provide for themselves when necessary. Many of the women of this time period were
alone when their husbands went off to war. They were in charge of all matters their husbands left behind,
and in Mary’s case getting her husband back from the British. She had to deal with the farm, members of
society, and the crooks of the time period. She was also seen as an educated woman, which many do not
associate with this time period. She left a very positive portrayal of the strengths of women. Being an
older movie, it was a very nice change from the myth!
s of the past.
Blacks were made a part of this country when they were brought to America in 1619. They were
brought over and sold as property to those both in the north and south. When the struggle for humanity
and what was just occurred the country split. Southern plantation owners had just discovered the cotton
gin, and the use of slave labor was intense on many plantations. Women carried on different roles than
men, but in the movie “Glory,” we focus on how blacks helped to improve their positions as Americans. It
was a very touching story and to see the determination in the black soldiers of the North to create a free
country made a tear come to the eye. The scene very vivid in my imagination was the scene where the
black soldier left the camp and was caught and latter whipped. The scars shown on his back and then the
further punishment he was undertaking was heart throbbing. One wondered why after the years of
whipping he would deserve it again. Years of suffering for not!
hing, no pay, no freedoms, nothing. They were now ready to fight and loose their lives for a country that
had not helped them until now. They were bitter and these emotions were shown, but they had to get
passed this bitterness and negative energy, because it would cause more harm than good. Instead they
decided to join the white man in conquering the southern laws and attitudes, and they would not stop
helping until emancipation was in reach for all their people. It was hard to see the treatment of blacks in
this movie, even by those they were fighting for, but it brought out the true sense of the time period.
People during these war times had to undergo many trials and loses. The movies showed this in many
forms, as discussed. The hardship of the nation was a theme in all of the movies, and is a very important
point to look at when studying the history of America. We must always remember to learn from out
mistakes. When certain powerful individuals get out of hand it is important to keep a check and a balance.
The men of the 17th, 18th, and 19th Century were fearful, therefore hurtful. In the end, good conquers evil.
This theme is also shown in the three movies, but not always without incurring losses, also a theme shown.
The movies each shared powerful, bloody footage of war and the times. The people were dressed to suit
the time period, which helped get the picture of the time period and hardships across to the viewer. The
energy levels in the films was intense and drawing. The themes and time periods were quite evident in the
dress and feeling of the actors in the movie, especially after studying American history. The picture and
footage of war was very realistic in each movie, especially “Glory.”
In conclusion, I feel that the movies played an important role in developing knowledge on the history of
those time periods. A modern world looking back and captivating the war on film was probably never a
thought in the minds of the people during these times. Today, these movies can develop the minds of 20th
Century Americans so we can try to not repeat the same mistakes of our forefathers.