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To what has the myths of the frontier (The conquest of the west) shaped the american character till day ?

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Notion : Mythes et Heros

Problématique : To what has the myths of the frontier (The conquest of the west) shaped the american character till day ?

The notion I'm going to deal with today is Myths and heroes. 

A myth is a story about gods or heroes who can be a popular belief, a tradition or a false notion. A hero can be a mythological figure. It's a person admired for his or her achievements, courage and noble qualities.

So the question I'm going to answer is : To what extent has the myth of the Frontier shaped the American character till today ?

In the first time, I'm going to expose you the story of the conquest of the west, then, its myth, and finally , I will show you the impact on the american character.


 Now, let me introduce you the american character today.

Nowadays, we often talk about Americans being brave, ambitious and sometimes they say they are arrogant, domineering, they want to control everything ... We can see their ambition and their courage through certain events such as the space conquest. This US space program on human exploration and discovery marked a milestone in the return of American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972. This program once again inspires the whole of humanity. Just like Sandra Magnus, an american astronaut who represents an example for all these women of the whole world.

But, the American mentality is sometimes badly perceived. Indeed, America, also known as the world's gendarme, practices a hegemonism that is generally frowned upon by the world. Americans sometimes behave like "cowboys" by wanting to manage everything as they please.


 Now , I'm going to expose you the myth of the conquest of the west to explain the impact on the American character. In class we saw a video named "America The Story of Us Cowboy". We learned that after the Civil War in 1865, the population was booming in the East and there was a lack of ressource such as shortage of food while, in Texas, there were 6 millions cattle which could help feed people. Cowboys originated after the Civil War (1861-1865) with the need to drive huge cattle herds from Texas to Kansas where the railroads has spreed from the East. They played major role in the westward expansion of the territories. They usually were the sons of southern farmers, in search of a job and new lifestyle. It is said that the cowboys, during their westward expansion, brought the natives knowledge, culture, progress, technology. This is called manifest destiny. It is an ideology according to which the American nation had divine mission to spread democracy and civilization towards the West.


Finally, I will show you the real history of the conquest of the west. In fact, in class we saw a text untitled "Pioneer Girl".

In this autobiography, the narrator tells us that the life of a pioneer was very complicated. Pioneers ate meager rations of food, lived in poorly insulated homes, were alcoholics, and so on. She also tells us that while the so-called "pioneers" seized the earth as quickly as they could: manifest destiny was a giant plan to become rich quickly. The promise that pioneers made to become rich was just a lie


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