Wal whitmans view of america and its diversity in song of myself

Themes Democracy As a Way of Life Whitman envisioned democracy not just as a political system but as a way of experiencing the world. In the early nineteenth century, people still harbored many doubts about whether the United States could survive as a country and about whether democracy could thrive as a political system. To allay those fears and to praise democracy, Whitman tried to be democratic in both life and poetry.

Wal whitmans view of america and its diversity in song of myself

Hutchinson, George and David Drews Print source: LeMaster and Donald D. An Encyclopedia New York: Garland Publishing,reproduced by permission.

Whitman has commonly been perceived as one of the few white American writers who transcended the racial attitudes of his time, a great prophet celebrating ethnic and racial diversity and embodying egalitarian ideals. Nonetheless, the truth is that Whitman in person largely, though confusedly and idiosyncratically, internalized typical white racial attitudes of his time, place, and class.

His later experiences in the South apparently did nothing to mitigate early impressions, although readers of the twentieth century, including black ones, imagined him as a fervent antiracist. In an editorial for the Brooklyn Daily Times, for example, he articulated his antislavery position in white nationalist terms, opposing "the great cause of American White Work and Working people" to "the Black cause" I Sit Indeed, its victims awaken in him a feeling of dread.

J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, eds., Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia (New York: Garland Publishing, ), reproduced by permission. Whitman has commonly been perceived as one of the few white American writers who transcended the racial attitudes of his time, a great prophet celebrating ethnic and racial diversity and embodying . The poem therefore, in its presentation of America and the "self" in its richest, most fullest, sense, is widely recognised as being one of the most representative works of American Literature. Walt Whitman has a lot of things to say about America and what it means to be American. In his poem "Song of Myself," one of the ways in which he defines what it means to be American is his.

Elsewhere he refers to slave labor as a "black tide" threatening white workingmen. At one point Whitman suggested regarding the whole debate over slavery in terms of racial nationalism, as a contest between "the totality of White Labor" and the interference of "Black Labor, or of bringing in colored persons on any terms" I Sit And yet in his unpublished manuscript "The Eighteenth Presidency!

Moreover, only a few years prior to his expressions of a racial nationalist stance, Whitman editorialized in the New York Aurora against all immigration restriction, insisting that America must embrace immigrants of all backgrounds, including Africans. He still held these views in the last years of his life.

When Whitman defended exclusion of blacks from the new Western territories, he rationalized his position which he recognized as morally suspect by suggesting that separation would best serve both blacks and whites—an argument also made by some black nationalists of the time.

He argued, for example, that blacks would only become an "independent and heroic race" if they were out from under the heel of white racism, which he saw as endemic in the United States I Sit Late in life, Whitman said that his ambivalence about "ultra-abolitionism," and even his suspicions about black inferiority, derived from his perception that the masses of black people lacked a defiant love of liberty and the drive for self-reliance.

These views, it must be said, matched contemporary racial theories that identified different "temperamental" and "cultural" attributes with different "races.

Nor was he disposed to recognize such self-determination where it revealed itself. After the war, Whitman began wondering whether blacks were innately inferior to whites and bound to disappear.

He even considered that fate "most likely" though far off.

Wal whitmans view of america and its diversity in song of myself

Contact with the "stronger" and more arrogant white race, Whitman generally suspected, would finally prove fatal. His reading of post-Civil War "ethnological science" deeply influenced Whitman on this issue.

To Horace Traubel he said, "The nigger, like the Injun, will be eliminated: His statements along these lines are sometimes hesitant and ambiguous, sometimes quite certain. One does not find suggestions of the disappearance of the Negro before the Civil War.

They have a great future before them, not a tragic or merely pathetic end. Whitman was surely aware of how his racist tendencies belied the fundamental convictions that suffused Leaves of Grass, particularly since some of his most devoted early supporters were antiracists. His solution to the contradiction was to avoid racial issues, much as he would avoid issues concerning the genocide being perpetrated against Native Americans.

Clearly, Whitman could not consistently reconcile the ingrained, even foundational, racist character of the United States with its egalitarian ideals. He could not even reconcile such contradictions in his own psyche.

Even "Ethiopia Saluting the Colors," today generally considered stereotypical if not racist in its portrait of an old slave woman, was widely admired by black intellectuals before World War II, and was set to music as a "war song" for World War I by Harry T.

Burleigh, a prominent black composer. Poems such as "Pioneers! He could admire individual "specimens" of aboriginal humanity—particularly elders who had not been corrupted by white civilization and therefore maintained their rugged "natural" beauty and eloquence; but he appears to have seen no place for them in the future nation of nations.

In Leaves of Grass we find a poet who celebrates racial difference and embraces diversity: In "Song of Myself" he tenderly depicts the marriage between a white trapper and a young Native American girl—a portrayal that conflicts with his negative portrayal of "half-breeds" in other contexts.

Whitman never felt driven to take up the cause of the multitudes of Native Americans massacred by white soldiers and settlers throughout his poetic career. Instead, he eulogized the idea of the "vanishing" Indian whose positive traits he hoped would be absorbed by white Americans to help distinguish them from Europeans.

In contrast to his belief in the inferiority of African Americans and Native Americans, Whitman viewed the peoples of Asia in what could be considered an egalitarian light.

In private conversations, Whitman adamantly attacked popular anti-immigration attitudes directed against Asian newcomers. This does not mean he was beyond the influence of long-established stereotypes.

Whitman accused Sadakichi Hartmann, a Whitman admirer of Japanese and German heritage, of having a "Tartaric makeup" and embodying an "Asiatic craftiness, too—all of it!Newton Arvin's Whitman is a socialistic view of the social and political attitudes of ths poet and relates the poet's -works to French initiativeblog.com and German romantioiam.

Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" Walt Whitman's 'Song of Myself' is, on the most basic descriptive level, a really long poem. Whitman is clearly a poet with a lot to say, or at least with a lot of different ways to say it.

He meanders from the micro to the macro, from atoms to the whole earth. Facts About Walt Whitman. When Walt Whitman sings the Song of Myself, he is singing the song of Americans. The Puritans did not come to America in search of diversity because they were intolerant of anyone who was different.

However, America became diverse in later years. There is regional diversity now. Whitman was centrally concerned with the American experiment in democracy and its power to produce “out of many, one,” even at as great a cost as the Civil War and the faltering Reconstruction.

Wal whitmans view of america and its diversity in song of myself

America was not just a place to Whitman, it was also an idea and a goal to shoot for. His America is a place where all people are equal, all jobs are equally important, and people feel for one another with a passionate, neighborly love. Walt Whitman saw his poetry as the bible of a new American religion, and himself as the prophet.

scholars view the concept of the divinity of the individual described in “Song of Myself” as part of a new religion Whitman declared to America, Spirituality and Religion in Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself.

About Walt Whitman