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Puritanical Savagery

  • Date Submitted: 10/23/2012 12:37 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 56.9 
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Puritanical Savagery
America. She is a strong, independent nation that’s been built on religious principles. Her people are controlled by a set of government branches that impose Constitutional rules and moral standards by which we all must live. Those who disobey her laws are punished and those who refuse to embrace her ways are considered tribal and untamed. Ironically, the high esteem with which we hold up and carry ourselves is same with which the Indians hold up and think of themselves. Such is the case in Ben Franklin’s persuasive essay, “Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America.” Franklin employs ironic and illuminating twists to demonstrate the need to for us to consider a type of cultural self examination that would guide us toward the goal of healing ethnic indifference, religious bias, and racial intolerance.
His first words are harsh and provocative: “Savages we call them, because their manners differ from ours, which we think the perfection of civility; they think the same of theirs” (p. 1).   Subtleties are shunned as Franklin gets straight to the point by explaining that they are referred to as “savages” simply because they are different.
The Indian people embrace their own civil doctrines of civility, family, religion, and leadership. Franklin challenges embrace the notion that cultural differences exist and reject bigoted thinking. He says, “Perhaps, if we could examine the manners of different nations with impartiality, we should find no people so rude, as to be without any rules of politeness; nor any so polite, as to not have some remains of rudeness” (p. 1). His point is that because America, by past and present experience, is propelled by rules of order and means of punishment for those who refuse to abide by those rules, the Indians are wrong and present audacious and fictitious claims of their cultural civility. He challenges us to take a closer look, see for ourselves if the Indians’ claims are valid before deeming them to be...


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