American cultural and intellectual history final unrevised

Emerson points out the men that deliver the goods

This preview shows 7 out of 9 pages.

Emerson points out the men that deliver the goods that we so desperately depend on,” have intercepted the sugar of the sugar, and the cotton of the cotton. They have got the education, I only the commodity”(Emerson). To allow someone else to provide for you is to stunt your own development. By purchasing a finished product you have learned nothing, you have accomplished nothing, you have contributed nothing.
Image of page 7

Subscribe to view the full document.

The ability of an individual to carve out a living completely of his own design and construction leads Emerson to distrust wealth, especially inherited wealth. As he points out, “if the accumulated wealth of the past generations is thus tainted, — no matter how much of it is offered to us, — we must begin to consider if it were not the nobler part to renounce it...”(Emerson). The acceptance of inheritance is the denial of individualism. From your birth you are assuming the mantle of those that came before you, proclaiming for all to see that you have been created in their image rather than creating your own. One must cast off the gilded shackles of past wealth and be willing to forge for themselves an identity uniquely their own from nothing but their own ability. With these facts in mind it is unsurprising that Emerson does not look upon capitalism favorably. To him it is the antithesis of all that humanity should strive for. In Emerson view capitalism, “is a system of selfishness; is not dictated by the high sentiments of human nature; is not measured by the exact law of reciprocity; much less by the sentiments of love and heroism, but is a system of distrust, of concealment, of superior keenness, not of giving but of taking advantage” (Emerson). It is a system that not only indulges the the most base and vile aspects of human nature, but forces man to rely upon them to succeed. A system that encourages avarice, greed, covetousness, pride, selfishness, ego-centrism and claims to be bettering the lives of those that live under it is simply unacceptable to Emerson. America, since its inception, has been beautifully imperfect. A nation built on the foundations of freedom, allowed slavery. A nation that championed democracy, denied women the right to vote. A nation that stands for equality, is still plagued by racism, bigotry, and prejudice. From this you may think that I find America to be a rather disagreeable place, but to you I say that this is what makes America so incredible. We fought a civil war and ended the odious institution of slavery. We fought for the rights of women and now all citizens of age can vote. We fight for equality, to this day, and everyday forward. America is imperfect but we are trying to make it better, we are fighting for a future worth living in, if not for us than for our children, and it is for this reason that I find Ayn Rands view of individualism inconsistent with the spirit of America. We are reformers, to our cores, to our foundations, and nothing is more American.
Image of page 8
Image of page 9
You've reached the end of this preview.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern