Creating An American Culture By Eve Kornfeld


The essay reviews the book titled, “Creating an American Culture” by Eve Kornfeld. The book is an account of events undertaken by American Revolutionists in trying to create an American culture that was not only independent, but also vital in uniting the country. From Kornfeld’s perspective, the book takes a reader through the struggle that the nation’s founders went through in their endeavour to have a united country. Moreover, the book highlights the instability associated with trying to create national identities, as well as offering an in-depth analysis of the cultural diversity of America as a society. In their Revolution, American intellectuals were adversely affected by a lack of unity in their struggle. Nonetheless, the disunity did not in any way deter their determination to see a diverse America in terms of its ethnic, religious and regional setting. In an effort to see the American society based on values and ideas via a national culture they believed in, the American intellectuals employed various techniques. One group believed in reforming the language by establishing one that was unique and simple. On the other hand, another group of American intellectuals believed in creating an American culture through reforming the education system. By so doing, they strongly felt reforms in the education sector were necessary for having a society that was virtuous and stable. Likewise, the struggle took a form that believed in revisiting the American history and displaying the same in visual form for others to benefit.


Despite these efforts by American intellectuals, however, their struggle suffered by 1800. Kornfeld attributes this failure to an emerging culture that was much popular. Additionally, alternative cultures already existing in America by then seemed more attractive to what they were trying to create. Nonetheless, the American intellectuals never gave up. They continued to harbour a vision of creating a culture that could unite the American society. For instance, Kornfeld gives a case of the myth of the Washington cherry tree, created out of the intellectuals’ vision for an America culture. To date, the myth of the Washington cherry tree, according to Kornfeld, still remains despite the nature of the American society, characterised by democracy, pluralism, materialism and modernity. In conclusion, therefore, the book offers a good insight on the quest for cultural unity in America. To the current generation, book helps those interested in the country’s history to understand where the Revolutionary War and political battles witnessed in the 1970s stand as far as the American society is concerned.

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