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America's Cultural Identity Essay

649 words - 3 pages

Europeans and people throughout the world came to America to evade religious oppression and begin anew with a culture that was like no other. In the nineteenth century, Ralph Waldo Emerson made a statement of how America was declaring cultural independence from their European ancestry. The United States became a melting pot of the world; blending people, language and heritage creating opportunity for even the the lowest and most hated ethnic groups. Slaves began to have their own unique culture and literature for the first time. America had it’s own literary movement sparking creativity that evolved into significant components of modern culture.
The slave system became larger, despite the fact that more slaves were becoming Christians and adopting the American culture. Many slaves even considered themselves African-Americans, no longer purely African. The slaves were worshiping the Christian God and began to baptize themselves to begin their life religiously. The effort put forth shows how slaves were willing to adapt their culture. Only a small minority of planters owned a large number of slaves. Blacks and farmers often worked side by side with each other in the fields, picking up on one anothers habits, further mixing together the African and European influences together. Slaves, while working in the fields kept their spirits up by singing Folk Music, and injecting their own slang into the lyrics of the songs, mainly African based words. Oppression was a necessary component to the development of a greater culture because it caused a strive to be rebellious. According to Virginian law of 1819, free blacks and slaves were forbidden to meet at any public place to learn to read or write because it was considered unlawful assembly. If one was caught in such activities they are subject to corporal punishment. Although the white population hated the idea of slaves and free blacks having any sort of education, they were deeply fascinated by their culture. Many would flock to...

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