The essays from Chapter 4 of Major Problems focus

Free Essay Database Online

The essays from Chapter 4 of Major Problems focus

on United States’ tradeexpansion and economical growth in to the rest of the world. In Gail
Bederman’s essay, she states that,Theodore Roosevelt sought to
discipline the male body that might be discovered and proved in the course
of the strenuous life. Roosevelt thought that United States should use
whatever power necessary to see that their vision of democracy and justice
triumphed around the globe. On the other hand, Emily Rosenberg contends
that American expansion was subjected by and principles of progressive
development that used the language of peace, prosperity, and democracy to
promote Americanizing the world in the name of innovation. I found
Bederman’s argument more effective because, she illustrates, how Theodore
Roosevelt used the words “strenuous life” to influence the American men to
show the rest of the world that they are the highest race then any other.

Rosenberg’s essay “Spreading the American Dream” is a great piece of
work which focuses on the process by which America’s economic and cultural
influence spread worldwide from the 1890s to 1945. American influence was
initially the result of the efforts of exporter, industrialists, bankers,
philanthropists, and journalists. During the twentieth century, federal
officials increasingly became involved to organize and extend contacts
begun by private initiative. What drew private and public men together was
a common ideology of moderate progress.Maturing during the twentieth
century, moderate progress merged the lessons of America’s own economic
development with traditional liberal policy aboutfreedomandthe
marketplace. The resulting beliefs elevated the unique experience of the
United States into laws that many Americans thought could be applied
everywhere. “Especially during and after the severe depression that began
in 1893, business leaders and policymakers alike became convinced that
expansion was needed to avoid overproduction and to maintain prosperity and
social cohesion at home.” But, she fails to provide, some of the other
variables intertwined with questions of overseas expansionandthe
corporate decisions that took place as a result of these variables and how
those ideas found their way to the popular culture and ideas of the average
American. This is to say that the connections between theliberal
developmentalists and the government’s programs supporting an open door
policy do not connect with the popular ideas of the people themselves.

In contrast, Bederman argues that, Theodore Roosevelt sought to
discipline the male body that might be discovered and proved in the course
of the “strenuous life”. From then on, he displaced the challenges of ranch
life and the western frontier onto the narrative of modernity. This
Roosevelt realism was a peculiarly American discourse. The “frontier”
operated like the other spaces of imperialism and colonialism, but the
proof of its virtue was in the production of a manly life. Progress was not
equated with more and more civilized behavior, but rather with strenuous
effort. Or civilization itself became, as Bederman argues, implicated with
discourses of manhood and racial prowess. The narrative of modernity
equates evolutionary progress with fitness. The Roosevelt version of
progress thought not in terms of reproduction of the species, but in terms
of the manly striving that reproduced an American individual. “They
controlled a rich and mighty continent because their superior manhood had
allowed them to annihilate the Indians on the Western frontier.”
In conclusion, I find Bederman’s essay more persuasive because she
proves a point that, in that time there was a race problem among Whites.

They thought they were the highest race in the world by defeating the
Indians and keeping Blacks under slavery. As Theodore Roosevelt believed,
“that manly racial competition determined which race was superior and
deserved to control the earth’s resources. A race which grew decadent then
was a race which had lost the masculine strength necessary to prevail in
this Darwinstic racial struggle.”