HIS 101 Quotations.doc - History 101 Classroom-Lecture...

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History 101 Classroom-Lecture Accompaniments (mostly quotes) Lecture 1b – America and the Past (Escapable or Inescapable) Guillaume Jean de Crevecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer 1782 [1778] Letter #3 poses the question: “What then is the American, this new man?” The conclusion of the letters answers as follows: “He is an American, who leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys and the new rank he holds. He becomes an American by being received in the broad lap of our great Alma Mater. Here the individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men, whose labors and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world. The American is a new man, who acts upon new principles; he must therefore entertain new ideas and form new opinions. From involuntary idleness, servile dependence, penury, and useless labor, he has passed to toils of a very different sort, rewarded by ample subsistence. This is an American.” Andrew Jackson “[Americans] trample on their forefathers’ graves in the rush to self-advancement.” Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835) “In America no one cares for what occurred before his time.” “In the United States, a man builds a house in which to spend his old age, and he sells it before the roof is on. . . . he brings a field into tillage and leaves other men to gather the crops. . . . he settles in a place, which he soon afterwards leaves to carry his changeable belongings elsewhere. . . . the tie that unites one generation to another is relaxed or broken. . . . every man there loses all trace of the ideas of his forefathers or takes no heed of them.” The factors accounting for the ‘strange unrest’ of Americans are (1) “the taste for physical gratifications,” (2) a social condition in which “neither laws nor customs retain any person in his place,” and (3) a pervasive belief that “all professions are open to all, and a man’s own energies may place him at the top of any one of them.” Henry Ford “History is Bunk” James Baldwin, The Price of the Ticket (1985) “History . . . is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do. . . . And it is with great pain and terror that one begins to realize this. In great pain and terror one begins to assess the history which has placed one where one is and formed one’s point of view. In great pain and terror because, therefore, one enters into battle with that historical creation,
Lecture on Puritans Pilgrims “Of all the sorrowes [suffered in Holland] most heavie to be borne was that many of their children, by these occasions, and the great licentiousness of the youth in that countrie, were drawne away by evill examples into extravagant and dangerous courses, putting the raines off their neks and departing from their parents.”

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