He contrasts this with the institutions for paupers in New York, which were at least as squalid and cruel as those in England. What is there specially Equalitarian, for instance, in calling your political friends and even your political enemies by their Christian names in public? Nothing was ever so unmistakable as his good-will, except his ill-will; and they were never far apart. Dickens, with far more philosophical insight and spiritual delicacy, saw that the real danger of democracy is that it tends to the very opposite of anarchy; even to the very opposite of liberty. I have always loved Charles Dickens. Dickens can see nothing in the Red Indian except that he is barbaric, retrograde, bellicose, uncleanly, and superstitious -- in short, that he is not a member of the special civilisation of Birmingham or Brighton. The links provide detailed summaries on American/US history from one of the most popular US History textbooks in the United States. Of these the first was good manners and the second individual liberty -- liberty, that is, to speak and write against the trend of the majority. "I believe there is no country on the face of the earth," he says, "where there is less freedom of opinion on any subject in reference to which there is a broad difference of opinion than in this. An aristocracy must always be going after some new thing. A really interesting book written by Charles Dickens about his visit to the U.S. in the late 1840's early 1850's. American Notes, by the wonderful Charles Dickens, is one of the best books I ever read. But the thread of thought which we must always keep in hand in this matter is that he would not thus have worried about the degradation of republican simplicity into general rudeness if he had not from first to last instinctively felt that America held human democracy in her hand, to exalt it or to let it fall. In 1842, the 30 year-old Dickens spent a few months in the United States, and even visited President Tyler in the White House. There are some genuinely interesting parts to this book--such as the description of a pre-Mall Washington, D.C., as it was still being built. He seems quite unconscious of the obvious truth, that the backwardness of Catholics was simply the refusal of Bob Cratchit to enter the house of Gradgrind. His descriptions of his travels via steamboat, railroad, stagecoach, and horseback are a pleasure to read, as his humor and sarcasm adds spice to the mix. The descriptions, characterizations of those he meets, and details of things that, thank goodness, are gone such as spittoons everywhere, are well worth it! Dickens was at least more of a man than the brutalitarian who claims to wrong people because they are nasty, or the humanitarian who cannot be just to them without pretending that they are nice. This is a terrific book, both funny and insightful. All this is very different from Dickens's characteristic way of dealing with a foreign country. Very touching, too. He touches on slavery, as it was the custom at the time, as well as the near destruction of the Native Americans. to 2011. this section. GradeSaver, 19 December 2018 Web. Carlyle, in his general dislike of the revolutionary movement, lumped liberty and democracy together and said that t he chief objection to democracy was that it involved the excess and misuse of liberty; he called democracy "anarchy or no-rule." His portrait of the enlightened Perkins Institute for the Blind is fascinating, especially the part about Laura Bridgman, one of the first deaf-blind students, who was about 13 at the time he visited. I’m always tempted, in reading anything by Dickens, to start a list of quotes, but it’s becoming equally irresistible to compile the truly cathartic moments. Can't say he didn't take on a worthy opponent...I mean, a whole country? Institutes for the blind? This was a very interesting read, as I previously stated, in the sense that he brings to light America in a very different mannor than what history books portray. His portrait of the enlightened Perkins Institute for the Blind is fascinating, especially the part about Laura Bridgman, one of the first deaf-blind students, who was about 13 at the time he visited. It is amusing that the Englishman should have been the pushing and even pert modernist, and the American the stately antiquarian and lover of lost causes. These friends plan to buy beer by soliciting the help of strangers. No. Many surprising facts. Niagara was at once stamped upon my heart, an Image of Beauty; to remain there, changeless and indelible, until its pulses cease to beat, for ever.' The links provide detailed summaries on American/US history from one of the most popular US History textbooks in the United States. All Rights Reserved. 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