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The Incorporation of America - Research Paper Example

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THE INCORPORATION OF AMERICA Name Institution The incorporation of America is a book that presents an argument about the American history and culture as the functional result of the tension between centralizing capitalist forces and industry. Trachtenberg states that one can only tell the non-romanticized, true history of America by understanding the internal workings of such public tensions…
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The Incorporation of America
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Download file to see previous pages An increase in national self-consciousness came about during the age of industry. According to Miller and Smith, America is known with the notion of rugged individualism. To Trachtenberg, there are forces that contribute to America’s cultural synergy in that industrialization initiated a conflict between powerful corporations and the workers. The tensions between capitalists and laborers, corporations and individuals, produced a national nervousness, as presented by Trachtenberg (p.74). Divisions in classes became the centre of America as the elite derived riches while the majority lost hope for prosperity as they were thrust into labor. Trachtenberg presents various conceptual sites in which competing views of American distinctiveness played out. In real sense, the west represents the accomplishment of development and opportunity over the natural resources preservation; at the same time, the civilizing process of Native Americans was highly rationalized. To industrialists, mechanization meant efficiency in production and accumulation of wealth, as a tool to benefit human beings. To workers, mechanization represented the degradation of manpower and signified the future which meant that loss of human freedom at work and probably in society was overpowered by mechanical oppression. Trachtenberg illustrates that varied experiences divided small farmers, industrial workers, bankers, manufacturers, managers, clerical and sales workers, teachers, engineers, civil servants, and speedy growing stratum of lawyers. A major consensus was wrecked in the 1870 crisis. Labor movements were prevented by racial, ethnic, geographic dispersion, and sexual discrimination; exhausting and regularly impoverishing living and working conditions, and continuing violent opposition from the press, employees, and the regime (p 94). According to Smith in, politics, pluralism, and power, politics of cultural struggles and cultural nationalism characterize American studies. Trachtenberg shifts his focus on this concept by stating that the factory structure left permanent spots that defined American culture and society. The gilded age inspired the failure of populist movement that reflected a desire to go back to the classics of ideals in America represented in agrarian myths. Americans were equal politically, but America was not economically equal. Cities also represented the inequality and tension that defined America. Citizens were microcosms of class disputes, struggles and the consumer-oriented symbols populations that the country had turned into, with the gilded age, which was characterized by institutions such as periodicals, department stores, and mass spectator sports. During this age, America’s innocence was lost and it became relative. However, the industrialization and the age in question defined the citizens of America. According to Trachtenberg (p. 139), the tensions were determined by the elite class’s victory, meaning that their culture set up itself as an official doctrine as they controlled business, labor, and politics over the bickering, divided voices of the middle and lower classes. In real sense, America was not unified but rather constituted various sets of tensions which were finally dominated by the elites. The author presents a chapter on politics of culture where he exposes ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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