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Presentation of the "Manifest destiny"

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Par   •  11 Février 2016  •  Thèse  •  341 Mots (2 Pages)  •  943 Vues

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Hello my name is Columbia and today I will present you this painting from John Gast, released in 1872.

That painting  is a true example of the manifest destiny, the development of the United States that began in the 19th century, and by which its expansion across the totality of the American continent was natural but inexorable.

It shows a landscape whom represents the Great Plains of America but except the grass there is not a lot of vegetation. It clearly depict the process of colonization as we can see the presence of native americans with horses and buffalo on the left side of the picture and settlers in wagons coming from behind me.

In the middle of the scene, we can see me, I am covering the painting from the foreground to the background.  I am wearing a white dress, symbol of purity, and I am leading the way for the settlers.

A lot of elements highlight the notions of progress and modernisation like the introduction of the telegraph, the railroad in the right side of the picture or simply the arrival of all the settlers in their diligences.

On the picture I am holding a schoolbook in my right hand as if I was bringing culture and learning to the West. We can easily say that this picture isn't objective at all as the contrast between the settlers and the indians is exaggerated : the native americans are a minority and they are running away as the conquerors are many and equipped to crush West civilization.

The weather also has a symbolic importance as the clouds on the «non-civilized» part of the picture, above the Rocky Mountains are stormy and dark.

The painting is praising the provision of modernity and novelty as if it was vital for the West. Some people said that this painting translates the horror of what the settlers did just for their supposed «manifest desdtiny» and consider this as a crime against humanity but in real we save the West and permit its to become a model of modern society.


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