The Americans Essay, Research Paper
1. Boorstin highlights four societies that existed in the early years of American civilization. These societies are the New England Puritans, Quakers of Pennsylvania, Georgians, and the Virginians. The Puritans was a society based thoroughly upon religion. They were devout Calvinists, with their conservatist government also based around these beliefs. The families and communities in New England were very tightly nit because of the peoples shared orthodox beliefs. The puritans were very self-centered, they despised the native Americans and blacks because their culture was different.
The Quakers were very similar to the Puritans in their execution of the beliefs they practiced, yet the Quakers were in the opposite direction. The Quakers believed in freedom of speech, and shunned religion. Their government was ineffective because of the differing beliefs, and was not very effective at controlling the people. The Quakers thought highly of the native Americans, despite their different culture.
The settlers of Georgia were the poorest people from England. Their laws were vaguely similar to modern day communism, preventing any one person from becoming too powerful. The Georgian s government was weak because of its lack of leadership, and subsequently had the least productive society. The community had very idealistic thoughts and goals, with religion taking a secondary role.
The Virginian colony was an attempt to recreate England on a different continent. The seniority of the people in the Virginia was determined by their land ownership, and their government was representative of the general populous. Religion was important to these people, while it did not play a major role in their government. Because of the realistic views combined with new ideas, Virginia was the most successful of the American colonies.
2. American philosophy was unlike its traditional European counterpart, because the Americans focused their hypothesis on real events and common sense. Americans began to make conclusions by collecting observations and experimentation, rather than the European method of thought and debate.
3. American science and medicine were based upon the methods of the Europeans, but were much less regimented. Because of the vast expanses of land and new plants, everyone became a part of the experimentation. The wives of planters were doctors, because they experimented with the healing power of the crops.
4. The American language has been a great advantage to the development of our country. Because everyone speaks the same language, our government has not run into a problem with communication. The common language has also helped in the unification of the citizens, strengthening the society.
5. Newspapers were more widespread than books in America because they were easier to print with the resources available in the new land. The new colonies did not have the established printing presses, or the source of book quality paper. Because newspapers were so thoroughly distributed in America, the government used them to communicate events to the people.
6. English higher education was much more regimented then that in America. American schools did not have to be approved by the King in order to give out degrees, and therefore private universities became much more available to the public. In England, to get a degree from a university you had to be one of the elite within the aristocracy, in America education was available to all. Also, in English universities, the professors were scholars, in America, there were no such people, and the professors were many times clergymen.
7. For many years, The United States lack a formal, organized military and depended on militias for defense. Until there was a true organized military, the United States had trouble defending itself in conflicts. The long history of militias fueled the right to poses a firearm in the United States.