Gary Nash

761 Words4 Pages
In his essay titled, “The Transformation of European Society”, Gary Nash argues how seventeenth and eighteenth century United States (U.S.) witnessed the birth of a distinct “democratic personality”. This personality had numerous effects on American society. Mr. Nash believed a society having democratic personalities exhibited the following qualities: individualization, competitiveness, and opportunity. Many factors led up to the creation of each of these traits. Americans wanted their own, distinct life, where they were not told how to act and what to think. Unfortunately, this was idealistic thinking. Reality was that they were swaying from the original goal of working towards the better of community, the Puritan way. Through the traits mentioned above in many ways could help society, they constantly went against it also. For example, many businesses, even parts of the government, were accused of being corrupt, and performing illegal acts in order to get ahead. U.S citizens were given so many options in life, many learned they could do better than what they were born to. The immense amount of land in the West led to many of these options. The land was cheap and unoccupied, meaning that it was relatively easy to gain success and achieve a higher social standing through the land. This was followed by the mindset of the “me” personality in much of American history. This also led to how competitiveness became ingrained into daily rational and overall life. A multitude of people were motivated to achieve more and become the vision of success that was driving their fellow man. Many of their visions were of owning land, and of being able to live a comfortable lifestyle. As Nash states, “living in a place where the ratio of people to ... ... middle of paper ... ...ed. As quoted by Nash, “it produced the greatest flow of energy since the Puritan Movement a century before”. Followers believed a new source of authority was needed, and the actions many took led to revitalization of mind and body. Inadvertently, this led to the creation of new branches of religion, and each citizen was able to make the individual choice to believe what they wanted to believe. This led to a more extensive sense of individualization. The masses had, over time been building up a sense of needing something new, a restoration of how they lived their lives. They knew that in order to obtain change, they needed to take action themselves, determined by the ideology of democracy. Gary Nash’s essay entitled “The Transformation of European Society” delineated how the “democratic personality” effectively impacted social, economic, and religious conditions.
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