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Civilized America? Essay

915 words - 4 pages

During the colonial era in the United States, civilians acknowledged “gentility” and etiquette to be very important. Gentility is a form of power induced by manners, behaviors, and appearances (Bushman, par. 9). Colonial civilians based their daily errands on genteel behaviors. The genteel actions and forms of living of the civilians, not only represented the statuses of the civilians in the community, but also their characters. Today in America, etiquette behavior has decreased and is one of the main causes for social problems. In order to adapt a civilized America, etiquette morals should be applied in every American household. By so, children need to be taught about the importance of manners, which also assists on improving societies’ social problems.
In the past, as far as colonial times, etiquette and manners have played important roles in the American society. At young age, children were required to memorize and study etiquette books. Etiquette behavior was very important during that time in America, since it determined the advancement of individuals in society. “The demand for the etiquette manuals was immense because so many Americans were at once unsure of themselves and, [sic] characteristically, determined to improve” (Bushman, par. 34). Unfortunately, this sort of “requirement” amongst American families has diminished. Certainly, there are few households in which proper manners are being taught, but it is not always the case. Liberal, outspoken, and sometimes even careless children are being raised in societies today. It is uncommon to walk around a neighborhood and politely salute a stranger, for it is viewed as harassment. Likewise, Richard L. Bushman along with James A. Morris, both argue that the deterioration that America has taken over the past decades has evolved due to the lack of gentility. In fact, in their article “The Rise and Fall of Civility in America,” they argue the lack of dignity to be one of the main causes for inappropriate behaviors. Social behaviors have dramatically changed amongst Americans, therefore, “they speak with no self-consciousness, contemporary to the core, and they speak loudly” (Bushman, par. 42). Indeed, the lack of dignity has lead to the lack of respect for other individuals and society. Parents need to teach their children the importance of dignity and respect for others. Hence, preventable situations could lead to physical altercations. Otherwise, if parents do not teach their children proper genteel behavior, it will lead children into committing social problems.
Accordingly, most of the social problems occurring in America today develop from the lack of gentility within individuals. In order to improve social troubles, American individuals need to change their outlooks on manners. However, not many Americans are willing to comply with etiquette ways of living. Therefore, when genteel ways of living are not pursued, the law enforcement becomes involved. As argued by Judith Martin, an...

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