Hoobler Thomas and Dorothy Hoobler  Term Paper

  • Length: 4 pages
  • Sources: 1
  • Subject: Native Americans
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #23157474

Excerpt from Term Paper :

There is a record of a similar account found in a chronicle of the Spanish voyager to the new world Hernando De Soto (134). Afterward, in Smith's account, Smith says that Powhatan told Smith he was now a 'friend' which would be an unusual way of describing a man Powhatan actually rather than ritually intended to kill. Powhatan then invited him to return to the English settlement to find suitable presents for this new 'friend.'

Besides the most famous and enduring myth attached to Smith, the Hooblers' use of Smith's own diaries, letters, and autobiographical accounts provide illumination of the early colony. Smith was unsparingly critical of his fellow settlers. After "many months had passed," it became clear that the "preponderance of gentlemen would prove disastrous for the colony (85-85). The chief characteristic of an English "gentleman" was that "he could live without doing manual labor" (85-86). This qualification, although socially desirable in England, was not particularly useful in building a new town literally from scratch. Smith "though he had ranked as a gentleman, was not one by worth or inheritance" and had worked with his hands all of his life, unlike most of the settlers under his command (86).

In short, the reason that Jamestown experienced such difficulties was simple -- the settlers were, except for Smith, too wedded to the ideological system of England, where manual labor was frowned upon and relegated to the lower classes. Smith thus embodied the first virtue of what was later to make America great, the idea that prosperity and hard work were linked, and no labor was demeaning to the worker. True, the failure of the colonists may not have been entirely due to laziness, it also may have had something to do with their lack of expertise. On a practical level, the absence of women also meant that many of the men had to do hitherto unfamiliar tasks like housekeeping, farming, and cooking. But later, years after in writing his chronicles, Smith claimed that many of his fellow settlers were idle and useless and had to make a speech that "fortie honest and industrious men shall not be consumed to maintaine an hundred and fiftie idle loyterers," which may seem obvious to Americans today, but amounted to nothing less than a "revolutionary change" according to the Hooblers, because such a philosophy of social stratification underlined the whole system of English aristocracy (198).

Smith said bluntly that the colonists had to become "more industrious or starve" (198) Men were equal, and the gentlemen who had come expecting to do no physical labor, only to lead and to live off of the labor of others were useless to the colony's preservation (199). Men would be judged on merit, on what they gave, not who they had been in England. As part of their class privilege, many had not been required to do anything labor in England, and none knew how to labor long or well, or desired to do so -- but Smith resolved to change all of that.

Smith failed in his mission in the sense that he was not able to create the American work ethic overnight. But this hard-nosed practicality and tough leadership, coupled with a touch of self-mytholgization in the romantic myths of his former acts of derring-do at sea and amongst the 'savage' tribes of the New World, that were a blend of truth and reality rather than entirely fictional, would be replicated again and again in other biographies of great Americans. In writing his own epitaph, Smith said: "I am no Compiler by hearsay, but have beene a real Actor" (243). Judge me on my deeds and proven merit and worth, and what I say about myself not by what my relations have done, Smith boasted, as well as candidly admitted his failures. This was to become the credo of every American afterwards who was to 'make it' in the real world -- thus Smith, the Hooblers stress is the first person to truly seek the American Dream, an immigrant coming from another land on a boat, willing to work hard and to prosper.

Works Cited

Hoobler, Thomas and Dorothy Hoobler.…

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