Crockett considered life as an absolute saga, coupled with the added charisma of undeniable reality and his virtue was that he was willing to devote his life for his loved ones and fellow countrymen. However in spite of his virtues there were also dubious elements involved in Crockett's activities, hence he cannot be considered as a completely virtuous person. Again with regard to William Otter, virtue was in relation to setting things right. However he attempted to dubious means to achieve his ends which raises doubts about his idea of virtue. Finally we shall attempt to have an understanding of the antebellum period and discuss Crockett and Otter in relation to it.
We shall first have a discussion about David Crockett and his understanding of virtue and whether he was virtuous. Crockett considered life as an absolute saga, coupled with the added charisma of undeniable reality and his virtue was that he was willing to devote his life for his loved ones and fellow countrymen. David Crockett had very humble beginnings and the home where he spent his early days was more modest than what one can think of. It was the height of impoverishment which, compared with advanced sense of societal existence, is considered indispensable to secured living. The Indian tent offered as much shelter from the environment, and had proper furnishing, as the cottage of wood where his father's family used to dwell. What appears from his humble beginnings was that David Crockett had hardly anything to wear during his younger days. These grim realities of his childhood days need to be kept in mind, which will help us in comprehending the situations in which his personality was shaped. He lacked any education whatsoever in belief, ethics, conduct, or intellectual discipline. We cannot take for granted that his uneducated father and mother were very well mannered in maintaining a well-balanced household culture, or that their precedence could have been precious enough for giving David an edge in building him for the grueling battle that is called life. It would be next to impossible to locate any person, in a civilized country, who could have had diminished scope for ethical culture compared to what Crockett got in his childhood days. (Andrew, pp: 14-16)
Immediately after he started his primary education, Crockett fled from home to avoid getting rebuked by his father. Crockett described this behavior as a calculated departure, which persisted for the years when he started earning a living for himself as a worker on daily wages and also performed other errands to take care of himself. The impulsive chap, uninitiated about the snowballing effect, was determined to try to surmount any danger, despite every opposition. He ignored adversity and pulled on in high spirits weathering every obstacle. He was able bodied, possessed an excellent temperament, and was resilient to any type of job. There was no looming threat of him getting ravenous; and endurances, which most would think adversity, didn't dodge him down. Without getting appalled, he wandered, clutching on to whatever job he could secure for himself, till he had made him some provision of outfits and only some money in his wallet. On his coming home, his fortunes had changed to such an extent that his family members failed to identify him initially. But ultimately when they could identify him, he realized that the past has been pardoned. David responded to their kindness by engaging in a job for nearly one year to pay off his family's loan and thereafter resumed schooling. (Andrew, pp: 45-48)
We shall now take a look at some other events wherein we can find his virtue by means of his love for his fellow countrymen. David during his younger days was not a petulant person and he stayed clear of scuffles and hostility. There had been no incident in his life to measure his guts till he joined the Army. Even though hunting thrilled him, however little threat was present in it. Stags and smaller animals didn't pose any threat. However, the carnage held at Fort Mimms stirred up and rekindled the courage within him. He could gauge immediately with the sense that if the barbarians are not rapidly vanquished, they would devastate the entire area; and that it will lead to fallout of not just his family, but all the others as well. It was his instinct that each and every person was destined to resort to weapons for the purpose of safeguarding oneself. Crockett's wife did not support him on this initially and he endeavored to persuade her by mentioning that his fellow citizens have lost their lives, and that he was aware that Indians in their subsequent salvo would target everyone in the region, if they failed to prevent it. The thrill was strong. The Creek Indians were extremely strong, and in astuteness and competence in warfare far more ahead compared to majority of the Indian tribes. Crockett pioneered to offer his services to set up a company to fight against the Indian tribe -- Creek Indians. It took just a week to form the entire company, and began it's embark to unite with others to launch an offensive of the Creek nation. (Andrew, pp: 61-65)
While in the army, he gained unlimited fame due to his amusing character. During that period, he was all the time cheerful. Whenever Crockett arrived, he plunged the people with bouts of laughter which lasted even after he left. His razor sharp memory was his asset, where every minute detail seemed to have stored. His brain was a perennial repository of tales that he was able to reproduce immediately. Even though these were not ever, on the contrary hardly sophisticated, were nevertheless bespoken to uplift the spirits of the people in the war front. David Crockett's solo presence at the camp and in the cabin was inimitable and was a great source of comfort and encouragement to his fellow fighters of war. At times even if he struggled to recall an expounding tale, it came naturally to him to create a new one. His mind-blowing generosity and a fine temperament were infinite. People in need never returned empty handed from him. He would even satisfy the hunger of others and enable them to have food at the cost of himself. Spontaneously, he would exhaust his ultimate savings to get a blanket for a warrior trembling from fever, and not take himself any credit for the act, and brood over it any more. He acted in this manner naturally. (Andrew, pp: 72-76)
This was the character of David Crocket, who, due to his sheer liking for exploration, deserted his family, in the terrible seclusion of the backwoods, to tag along the path of General Jackson. Lacking schooling, sophistication, money or social status, or any other individual external good looks, he was completely self-assured and expert in every situation. At no point of time did he reveal the tiniest discomfiture. The thought appeared to have passed his mind that there could be a soul greater than himself, or any other person so modest that Crockett was at liberty to treat him with disdain. He had a real democratic thinking that treated everybody at par. Moreover, this was not the outcome of his thinking, or any political or ethical belief. This was his instinct, which was his quality without any infringement, like his physique or skin color. This is one of the exceptional attributes to be seen in any person. What I have stated is the actuality. (pp: 77-82) In this journey Crockett has earned such a huge amount of faith of the officers that he appeared to have earned unhindered freedom. He was at complete liberty to travel anywhere acted in whatever manner he liked. Nearly, regularly during night time, marching abreast with his fellow countrymen, he could come home carrying some small hunt.
Regardless of his virtues, Crockett has also the other side to this character. This could be emphasized by means of his two-faced strategies deployed. For example, to induce his soldiers to combat, David takes recourse to deception. He addresses a message to a girl in whom he was interested, to resemble that it been penned by the then Mexican President, expecting that his soldiers would take revenge for such an activity from the President. Let us see how Crockett deals with his soldiers, who are talking about an imminent clash. The men were absolutely indifferent and among them, one comments: Among the Texans present here none bears a relationship with me, hence why should I take their side in the fighting? Crockett allows the letter to provide a response to this query. There are also other incidents of his duplicity which could be witnessed. Another example is where Crockett's lackadaisical endeavor at mediation between Travis, the informed leader and Bowie, the average person does not produce the anticipated bargain. Sporadically Crockett belittles Travis with notes, like that when one alights from one's horse, one do not…
Otter -- Crockett -- cook
Is William Otter's a History of My Own Time a rags-to-riches success story? To what extent does it conform to the themes associated with the Cult of the Self-Made Man and to what extent does it deviate?
William Otter's autobiographical work A History of My Own Time (1835) is truly what one would call a "rags-to-riches" tale, yet it can also be viewed as being quite the