American History And Culture Essay

Question:

How do the sites posted to the class research blog offer insight into the aspects of American culture displayed by the image? Do these sites support Lott’s claims or raise new aspects of class that should be considered further?

Answer:

Eric Lott, in his essay “Class” brings out the stratification in social laws and the importance of the term ‘class’ in a society. Lott compares the history of America with that of the ‘feudal and monarchist’ historiographies of Europe’s old countries. Lott journeys through the history of the period of Voyage to the 20th century society when the ‘class’ stratification remains equally important. be it in terms of the ‘model of Christian Charity’ as John Winthrop put it or Max Weber’s concept of the development of the “plebeian” consciousness or the working class, class stratification has been and always remained an issue to be debated on. In bringing up the class status and the stratification in America, Lott quotes Erik Olin Wright with whom he shares the similar thoughts. Wright defines the issues of class structure, formation and class-consciousness in terms of social relation. It is as he mentions, “Class structure is that ensemble of social relations into which individuals enter and which shapes their class consciousness” (Lott 2014 45). Thus relating the class-consciousness with the concept of Wright, Lott goes on to establish the fact that the class stratification remains in society for it provides a ‘want for social structure’ (Lott 2014 45). Thus, the different class becomes the different types of class formations, which are in society to create a distinct hierarchy among the boundaries. The conclusion brings in multiple ideas regarding class and class stratification; the classifications are processes of creating a hierarchical society, the hierarchy evolves from the social formation often interrelated with the historical events. At the end of the analysis, it is evident and even Lott points this out that class analysis takes away one’s normal perception of cultural scenario.

Alexander Falconbridge’s account of the slave trade adheres to this opinion of Lott to the stratification of class is a need for social order. The Negro’s in the essay are best examples of that. It was important for the captains in the ship to keep order among the Negros and beat them if they object to the captain (pbs.org 2016). Delving deep it may be said that the Negros were expected to be those belonging at the lowest strata. Their objecting to the Captain, a white from the higher strata in terms of culture and civilization indicates to their attempt to raise high in the hierarchy which should be suppressed to keep an order in the social position. The system of enslaving begins on the basis of religion at first which Lott mentions in his essay as John Northrop’s “A Modell of Christian Charity” (Lott 2014 45), justifying the existing of class difference as a crucial point of God’s plan ‘of binding through charity the socially stratified community of Puritan believers’ (Lott 2014 45). Such hypocrisy by the name of religion has been much criticized by the native Negros. Phillis Wheatley adheres to the truth when she mentions in her poem that it was ‘mercy’ that transported her from her ‘pagan’ land, taught her the existence of God and his will, the ‘diabolism’ of their colour thus transforming them to be Christians ‘refined’ (poetryfoundation.org 2016). The satiric tone of the poem says much of what Lott tries to pose in his “Class”. Moreover, the multiple images portraying the truth of slavery (hitchcock.itc.virginia.edu 2016) especially images by George Bourne (Auction at Richmond) or by William o Blake (Branding Slave) (hitchcock.itc.virginia.edu 2016) further proves the historiographical tradition of class stratification by branding the Negros, showing them to be the Others as well as the images much adheres to Alexander Falconbridge’s account of the slave trade (pbs.org 2016).

Reference:

"Africans In America/Part 1/Alexander Falconbridge". 2016. Pbs.Org.

"On Being Brought From Africa To America". 2016. Poetryfoundation.Org.

"Slavery Image Database: Search Results". 2016. Hitchcock.Itc.Virginia.Edu.

Lott, Eric. 2014. "Class". KEYWORDS FOR AMERICAN CULTURAL STUDIES, 45-48.

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