Birth of a Nation and The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan

Birth of a Nation and The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan

Length: 2609 words (7.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

"If history bore no relation to life, this motion picture drama could we be reviewed and applauded as a spectacle. As a spectacle it is stupendous" (Hackett, 1914). The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan was adapted into the single most defining film in American cinematic history. The Birth of a Nation is most advanced piece of cinematography of its time, pioneering storytelling and techniques in its three hour long epic. However, America's first and unprecedentedly successful feature motion picture spectacle is regarded as one of the most offensive films in history. A social scope that to the "second era" of the Ku Klux Klan, and wide protests came from its controversial portal of African-American man. However, this sheer racism positively influenced black film making through agitation and outrage. Birth of a Nation is not only the most offensive and successful film in America cinema; it is also the most important. Telling the story of the Civil War from Southern perspective and its aftermath through the eyes of two symbolic families representing either side, a classic vigilante tale unfolds. Yet the heroic figures are the Ku Klux Klan, whom wage war on the Northern to restore order to the South. Griffith even suggests deportation or ethnic cleansing in radical tale of true anti-hero. The racial controversy of the film interprets the reconstruction as the true enemy; the Ku Klux Klan were pioneers of honest and American government as an egalitarian society, while the South led them into a society of Republican chaos. Birth of a Nation is a Dunning School of historical thought, a marvel of cinematic genius and a commentary of society that will never be matched in its influence.
Birth of a Nation in history is ofte...


... middle of paper ...


...erican Film. New York: Teachers' College Press.
Kramer, L. G. (2004). The Silent Cinema Reader. New York: Routledge.
Lang, R. (1994). The Birth of a Nation: D.W. Griffith, Director (1 ed.). New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.
Lowery, J. D. (2013). The Dunning School: Historians, Race, and the Meaning of Reconstruction. Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky.
Musser, C. (2004). Moving Towards Fictional Narrative (Vol. The Silent Cinema Reader). (L. G. Kramer, Ed.) New York: Routledge.
Rocchio, V. F. (2000). Reel Racism: Confronting Hollywood's construction of Afro-American culture. Boulder: Westview Press.
Whissel, K. (2008). Picturing American Modernity: Traffic, Technology, and the Silent Cinema. Duke: Duke University Press.
Williams, L. (2004). Race, Melodrama, and the Birth of a Nation (Vol. The Silent Cinema Reader). (L. G. Kramer, Ed.) New York: Routledge.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about D.W. Griffith and The Birth of a Nation

- In 1915 the American film industry was forever changed as it took its first step toward modern filmmaking. It was the year D.W. Griffith’s A The Birth of a Nation was released, a racially insensitive film depicting life during the Civil War and Reconstruction in America. It is arguably first major success in American cinema as it was the highest grossing film of its time. It is no accident that the film destine to redefine the film industry in the United States would inevitable be a national historical epic, for the film was a response to the growing presents of foreign films dominating American cinema....   [tags: history of film making]

Powerful Essays
1583 words (4.5 pages)

The Birth Of A Nation And Greed Essay

- The progress of the film industry was remarkably fast in the first quarter of this century. I have chosen two films namely The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Greed (1924) for comparison and contrast to show how much the industry had evolved within the short span of nine years. These two films are chosen for the short time span between them. This short time span will enable us to evaluate the development of the film industry in terms of the psychological build-up of the plot and the characters, cinematic qualities and the gradual acceptance of ironies in the films on the part of the American audience.D.W Griffith's The Birth of a Nation and Erich Von Stroheim's Greed are both films adapted fro...   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
1287 words (3.7 pages)

Griffith's Birth Of A Nation Essay

- Birth of a Nation The groundbreaking director, D.W. Griffith, made the first American feature length film. His film, Birth of a Nation, broke records and caused uproar of controversy. It was six times longer than the average film of that time, and introduced technical effects and the twelve-reel film paved a path for more directors to create the high quality of filmmaking shown in Griffith’s film. Birth of a Nation tells the story of two families. One from the north, the Stonemans who fight for the rights to free slaves and the other from the south, the Cameron, who help start the Ku Klux Klan....   [tags: Movies Film]

Powerful Essays
947 words (2.7 pages)

Birth of a Nation Essay

- On March 3, 1915 the movie The Birth of a Nation was released at the Liberty Theatre in New York City. This film was financed, filmed, and released by the Epoch Producing Corporation of D.W. Griffith and Harry T. Aitken. It was one of the first films to ever use deep-focus shots, night photography, and to be explicitly controversial with the derogatory view of blacks. Throughout the movie, the film justified the need of the KKK in order to keep social harmony among society after the Civil War. In the beginning, the Cameron family was depicted as loving family and the slaves were depicted as sensible and content beings during the slave period....   [tags: essays research papers]

Powerful Essays
631 words (1.8 pages)

Birth of A Nation Essay

- The Birth of a Nation: 1607-1815 It has been said that the Declaration of Independence was more democratic and for equality and the Constitution was more for a republic that benefited only some people. The Declaration was idealistic the Constitution realistic. That 1776 gave us liberty and 1787 gave us order. Although as unfair as it may sound this seems to be true. After gaining liberty this country had to establish a system that would have order. When declaring independence, the bulk of the people thought that would be “…to burn the last bridge, to become traders in the eyes of the mother country.” (Garraty 110)....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
905 words (2.6 pages)

The War on Birth Control Essay

- There is a war waging right now. Not just a military expose of hand to hand combat like that going on overseas, but also within our own democracy. It was made even more famous when eminent political talk show host Rush Limbaugh scrutinized and very publically humiliated a Georgetown student due to their very different viewpoints on birth control. It’s an issue that since its birth several decades ago, and has caused countless debates among religious entities, politicians, families, and physicians....   [tags: Contraceptives, Birth Control Essays]

Powerful Essays
1942 words (5.5 pages)

Birth Of A Nation: Art Or Propaganda Essay

- Birth of A Nation: Art or Propaganda Mankind, engaging in war, driven by whatever instincts guide him, seeks to keep the defeats and victories of battle in his memory and on his conscience. To accomplish this men have used paint and canvas, ink and paper, or instrument and song in their effort to communicate the tragedy and glory of war. Never, before the career of D.W. Griffith had anyone attempted to bring the subject to film. The result of his efforts, weaknesses aside, mark a change in attitude towards film as a media....   [tags: essays research papers]

Powerful Essays
790 words (2.3 pages)

The Threat of the Mulatto in The Birth of a Nation Essay

- The Threat of the Mulatto in The Birth of a Nation In D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation the interactions between black and white characters represent Griffith’s view of an appropriate racial construct in America. His ideological construction is white dominance and black subordination. Characters, such as the southern Cameron’s and their house maid, who interact within these boundaries, are portrayed as decent people. Whereas characters who cross the line of racial oppression; such as Austin Stoneman, Gus and Silas Lynch, are portrayed as bad....   [tags: D.W. Griffith]

Free Essays
1425 words (4.1 pages)

Essay on Battleship Potemkin versus the Birth of a Nation

- Aside from the similar visual styles of Battleship Potemkin and The Birth of a Nation, both films are examples of civil unrest during periods of political instability in a historical setting. Both movies take place during a national revolution and involve several instances of social turmoil and disturbance. The styles of these films can be contrasted by viewing their use of montage, focus, and basic film techniques in relation to thematic and constructive plot elements. The Birth of a Nation is a story about the consequences of the Civil War on the friendship of a northern and southern family....   [tags: Film Analysis]

Powerful Essays
2275 words (6.5 pages)

Quest for Paradise in Lydia Maria Child’s A Romance of the Republic Essay

- Quest for Paradise in Lydia Maria Child’s A Romance of the Republic A Romance of the Republic, written by Lydia Maria Child, is an intriguing novel which reflects certain predominant 19th-century views about racism, patriarchy, and class status. One aspect of this story that is unique is the constant use of a flower motif, through which the reader is drawn into a Paradise that is fantastically created, an Eden that is not limited in its range of vision due to the wealth, class, nationality, and color of its individuals, but rather embraces the many hues and varieties of life that any beautiful and perfect garden must possess....   [tags: Romance of the Republic Essays]

Powerful Essays
1369 words (3.9 pages)