"But it's always crooked," said Flagg," and I have a great fancy for the line it makes."

She straightened it on Clemens himself, but it immediately became crooked again. Clemens said:

" If you were to make that necktie straight people would say, 'Good portrait, but there is something the matter with it. I don't know where it is."'

The tie was left unchanged. - from Albert Bigelow Paine's, MARK TWAIN: A BIOGRAPHY

We teach them to take their patriotism at second-hand; to shout with the largest crowd without examining into the right or wrong of the matter -- exactly as boys under monarchies are taught and have always been taught. We teach them to regard as traitors, and hold in aversion and contempt, such as do not shout with the crowd, and so here in our democracy we are cheering a thing which of all things is most foreign to it and out of place -- the delivery of our political conscience into somebody else's keeping. This is patriotism on the Russian plan. - Mark Twain, a Biography The soul and substance of what customarily ranks as patriotism is moral cowardice -- and always has been. - Mark Twain's Notebook [Patriotism] ...is a word which always commemorates a robbery. There isn't a foot of land in the world which doesn't represent the ousting and re-ousting of a longline of successive "owners" who each in turn, as "patriots" with proud swelling hearts defended it against the next gang of "robbers" who came to steal it and did -- and became swelling-hearted patriots in their turn. - Mark Twain's Notebook

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Mark Twain Quotes About Patriotism

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Mark Twain quote: In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and...

In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.

The modern patriotism, the true patriotism, the only rational patriotism is loyalty to the Nation all the time, loyalty to the Government when it deserves it.

That's the difference between governments and individuals. Governments don't care, individuals do.

Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it.

My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or its officeholders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death.

We are called the nation of inventors. And we are. We could still claim that title and wear its loftiest honors if we had stopped with the first thing we ever invented, which was human liberty.

We teach them to take their patriotism at second-hand; to shout with the largest crowd without examining into the right or wrong of the matter -- exactly as boys under monarchies are taught and have always been taught. We teach them to regard as traitors, and hold in aversion and contempt, such as do not shout with the crowd, and so here in our democracy we are cheering a thing which of all things is most foreign to it and out of place -- the delivery of our political conscience into somebody else's keeping. This is patriotism on the Russian plan.

Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and excusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may.

Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.

Patriotism is usually the refuge of the scoundrel. He is the man who talks the loudest.

Man is the only Patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people's countries, and keep them from grabbing slices of his. And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for the universal brotherhood of man - with his mouth.

[Patriotism] ...is a word which always commemorates a robbery. There isn't a foot of land in the world which doesn't represent the ousting and re-ousting of a longline of successive "owners" who each in turn, as "patriots" with proud swelling hearts defended it against the next gang of "robbers" who came to steal it and did -- and became swelling-hearted patriots in their turn.

The spirit of Christianity proclaims the brotherhood of the race and the meaning of that strong word has not been left to guesswork, but made tremendously definite - the Christian must forgive his brother man all crimes he can imagine and commit, and all insults he can conceive and utter - forgive these injuries how many times? - seventy times seven - another way of saying there shall be no limit to this forgiveness. That is the spirit and the law of Christianity.

My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or its office-holders.

The soul and substance of what customarily ranks as patriotism is moral cowardice -- and always has been.

Word it as softly as you please, the spirit of patriotism is the spirit of the dog and wolf. The moment there is a misunderstanding about a boundary line or a hamper of fish or some other squalid matter, see patriotism rise, and hear him split the universe with is war-whoop. The spirit of patriotism being in its nature jealous and selfish, is just in man's line, it comes natural to him - he can live up to all its requirements to the letter; but the spirit of Christianity is not in its entirety possible to him.

A man can be a Christian or a patriot, but he can't legally be a Christian and a patriot - except in the usual way: one of the two with the mouth, the other with the heart.

To be a patriot, one had to say, and keep on saying, "Our Country, right or wrong," and urge on the little war. Have you not perceived that that phrase is an insult to the nation?

Talking of patriotism, what humbug it is; it is a word which always commemorates a robbery.

Well - Patriotism has its laws. And it also is a perfectly definite one, there are not vaguenesses about it. It commands that the brother over the border shall be sharply watched and brought to book every time he does us a hurt or offends us with an insult.

...majority Patriotism is the customary Patriotism.

Patriotism is merely a religion-love of country, worship of country, devotion to the country's flag and honor and welfare.

Each of you, for himself, by himself and on his own responsibility, must speak.


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mark twain essay on patriotism

Sam’s Shorts: “As Regards Patriotism,” 1901

Welcome to Sam’s Shorts! Each month we bring you a brief passage from one of Mark Twain’s less-familiar works, inviting you to read, reflect, and respond. Then we share what we learned from your responses, answer some of your questions, and tell you a bit more about the background and context of the piece. You can read the current Sam’s Shorts selection here .

Our third Sam’s Shorts selection came from “As Regards Patriotism.” This piece was written in 1901 and was first published in Europe and Elsewhere , a collection of Twain’s writing edited and released by Albert Bigelow Paine in 1923.

Reader reflections

Readers noted Twain’s focus on the media as the arbiter of patriotism in this short excerpt, particularly its powers of “persuasion and control through fear and shame.” Two lines stood out as particularly notable to readers:

“The newspaper-and-politician-manufactured Patriot often gags in private over his dose; but he takes it, and keeps it on his stomach the best he can. Blessed are the meek.”

“the windy and incoherent six-dollar sub-editor of his village newspaper”

Those who responded to the piece wanted to know what was going on in 1901 that prompted Twain to write this and whose behavior, in particular, may have inspired this condemnation.

Where does “As Regards Patriotism” fit into Twain’s personal and professional life?

Twain and his family were living in New York in 1901, and the piece was part of a flurry of his writing and speaking in opposition to U.S. overseas imperialism in the wake of the 1898 Spanish-American War, during which the United States had sought to “liberate” valuable Spanish colonies in the Caribbean and Pacific. During the war itself, while living in Europe, Twain had actually composed a piece in support of the war, encouraging Americans to resist European attempts to shame them for their country’s actions:

“Brutal, base, dishonest? We? Land thieves? Shedders of innocent blood? We? Traitors to our official word? We? Are we going to lose Europe’s respect because of this new and dreadful conduct?”

He had been critical of some U.S. overseas colonialism in the past, as in some of his speeches on the annexation of Hawai‘i, but upon his return to the states in October 1900, he became a vocal opponent of ongoing U.S. military efforts after the end of the war with Spain to “liberate” the population of the Philippines into accepting a relationship favorable to U.S. interests. Twain expressed this new opinion in speeches, interviews, and even an officer’s position in the Anti-Imperialist League. His change of heart, as he explained in an interview in the New York Herald in October 1900 , had come from reading and reconsideration:

“But I have thought some more, since then, and I have read carefully the treaty of Paris [which had officially ended the war with Spain] , and I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the Philippines. We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem. . .”

Yet both his defense of U.S. intervention in these Spanish colonies and his eventual denunciation of a continued war in the Philippines imply a similar belief: that there could be a right way to do colonialism. Moreover, given that the U.S. had attempted to purchase Cuba during Twain’s lifetime, and that powerful Americans invested in the expansion of slavery had funded and participated in private military interventions on the island with the goal of annexing it during that same period, it is perhaps fair to wonder about the extent to which Twain and his contemporaries gave this venture the benefit of the doubt.

mark twain essay on patriotism

Censorship, colonialism, and corn-pone

But, of course, that is one of the central issues considered in this piece. “As Regards Patriotism” focuses on the self-censorship that comes from fear of criticism in your own small town or among your own community. In this case, the ideological “conformity” that irked Twain manifested in two related points: that the war in the Philippines was a good war and that being a patriot meant supporting your country whatever decisions its government and people made.

Many who read and responded to this short raised the issue of freedom of speech, but it’s worth noting that this piece isn’t about government interference or censorship. It’s not even about newspapers refusing to publish certain people or perspectives, though this was the heyday of so-called “yellow journalism,” in which newspaper magnates whipped up public support for war with Spain through sensational stories. Instead, it’s about the way our immediate social, economic, and personal relationships can lead us to go along with things we don’t agree with, or keep silent when we fear our views will earn us censure. In a January 1901 letter, he rebuked his close friend Joseph Twichell, minister at Hartford’s Asylum Hill Congregational Church, for advising him to temper his public anti-imperialist sentiment:

“. . . if you teach your people—as you teach me—to hide their opinions when they believe the flag is being abused and dishonored, lest the utterance do them and a publisher damage, how do you answer for it to your conscience?”

It was important to Twain that he had reconsidered his views on the war, arrived at a new—and unpopular—opinion, and then publicly affirmed that new opinion, even in the face of criticism from close friends. As a result, his writing in this period was as concerned with these issues as it was with anti-imperialism itself. During this same year, he wrote “Corn-Pone Opinions,” perhaps his most well-read consideration of fashion, conformity, and public opinion:

“We all do no end of feeling, and we mistake it for thinking. And out of it we get an aggregation which we consider a boon. Its name is Public Opinion. It is held in reverence. It settles everything. Some think it the Voice of God.”

But though Twain criticized these kinds of social pressures and the conformity that resulted from them, he wasn’t immune to their effects. In the summer of 1901, Twain decided he wanted to write a book about lynching, asked Frank Bliss, the president of Twain’s long-time publishers, to send him all of the information he could on the subject, and drafted a short piece: “The United States of Lyncherdom.” But a few days later, he pressed pause on the enterprise in another letter to Bliss, worried about what such a book might do to the business of another publisher with whom Bliss’ American Publishing Company had just begun marketing a new complete edition of Twain’s works:

“No, upon reflection it won’t do for me to write that book if Mr. Newbegin values his Southern Trade, for I shouldn’t have even half a friend left, down there, after it issued from the press. You have probably already thought of that. It is a pity. I think I could make a book that would make a splendid stir—in fact I know it. I shan’t destroy the article I have written, but I see it won’t do to print it. I shall keep it, & wait. There is considerable vitriol in it, & that will keep it from spoiling.”

This piece, like “Corn-Pone Opinions” and “As Regards Patriotism,” went unpublished until after Twain’s death. In the reference work Mark Twain Day By Day , David Fears notes: “Sam felt someone should write such a book but could not think of the right man.”

mark twain essay on patriotism

In fact, someone had already written it. In 1892, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, a Black woman who had been born into slavery in Mississippi during the Civil War, had published Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All its Phases . Wells-Barnett, a teacher and journalist who had been writing about racism and engaging in activism in Memphis for nearly a decade by that point, had turned her writing focus to this issue following violence and the eventual lynchings of several successful Black grocery store owners and workers in that city in March 1892. She was particularly critical of the way the white press enabled this violence.

Southern Horrors was drawn from material she published in the New York Age in June 1892. She had been on vacation in New York the previous month when a white mob, furious with a recent editorial on lynching, attacked and destroyed the printing offices of the newspaper where she served as editor: the Memphis Free Speech.

Given all this, it is worth considering whether we think about patriotism and dissent differently when the issue at hand is an “internal” problem versus an issue of war or foreign relations. If there is a difference, how might it impact situations where an issue of foreign relations was reframed as a domestic conflict, as with U.S colonialism on the continent itself?

From “As Regards Patriotism,” written 1901

Patriotism is merely a religion—love of country, worship of country, devotion to the country’s flag and honor and welfare.

In absolute monarchies it is furnished from the Throne, cut and dried, to the subject; in England and America it is furnished, cut and dried, to the citizen by the politician and the newspaper.

The newspaper-and-politician-manufactured Patriot often gags in private over his dose; but he takes it, and keeps it on his stomach the best he can. Blessed are the meek.

Sometimes, in the beginning of an insane and shabby political upheaval, he is strongly moved to revolt, but he doesn’t do it—he knows better. He knows that his maker would find out—the maker of his Patriotism, the windy and incoherent six-dollar sub-editor of his village newspaper—and would bray out in print and call him a Traitor. And how dreadful that would be. It makes him tuck his tail between his legs and shiver. We all know—the reader knows it quite well—that two or three years ago nine-tenths of the human tails in England and America performed just that act. Which is to say, nine-tenths of the Patriots in England and America turned Traitor to keep from being called Traitor. Isn’t it true? You know it to be true. Isn’t it curious?

Yet it was not a thing to be very seriously ashamed of. A man can seldom—very, very seldom—fight a winning fight against his training; the odds are too heavy.

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Mark Twain: The Power Of Patriotism

The rhetorical analysis of a presidential candidate by mark twain.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens better known by the name Mark Twain, was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. Twain was raised in Hannibal, Missouri, and served an apprenticeship with a printer and then worked as a typesetter, contributing articles to the newspaper of his older brother Orion Clemens. He became nothing less than a national treasure. He captured a world audience with stories of boyhood adventure and with commentary on man's faults that is humorous even while it probes the roots of human behavior. One of his most famous essays (satire) that I will analyze is, “A Presidential Candidate”, which was written on June 9th, 1879, in which he evokes a sarcastic tone to mock presidential candidates by using syntax, diction, irony, and examples from his own past.

Mark Twain Essay

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Mark Twain's Use Of Realism In War

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Essay about Mark Twain: Literary Analysis

Mark Twain, one of the most famous and influential American writers, was born in Hannibal, Missouri on November 30, 1835 and died April 21, 1910. Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, he eventually adopted his famous pseudonym in 1863. Shortly after his father's death in 1847, when Clemens was twelve, his father passed away. After his father death, he applied for an apprenticeship at the local-printing shop. While working in the printing shop, Twain learned the skills required to be a printer and developed an aptitude for witty short essays and responses. Mark Twain was enthralled by his opportunity to develop his skills as a printer, and later he realized that he had a unique talent for writing. By working as an apprentice printer, he

Essay on Freedom in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

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Mark Twain has been seriously accused by many including Toni Morrison of being a "racist author," whose writing is offensive to black readers, which spreads cheap slave-era stereotypes.

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Mark Twain, in his essay¨, The lowest Animal¨,(1896), Mark Twain argues that human beings are not on the same ¨level with other animals¨.He claims that humans are the most lowest animals in the world. He announced that humans are the most idiotic creatures and that humans starts wars for no reason. Mark Twain suggest the problem for humans, that they are reveal as the lowest animal. Mark Twain explain the humans for being shelfless, cold hearted and less intellligent then the rest of the animals.To his audience Mark Twain revealed the humans problems not being reasonable with mankind. Fur the audience to know humans weakness to mankind.

Patriotism and The American Flag Essay

All Americans should find their opinion on patriotism and voice that opinion. There are many different views of patriotism and many will clash, but if we continue to talk and use our minds instead of our fists or guns, we can eventually come to a compromise of both ideas, which will best represent everyone’s opinions on patriotism. Through more clearly and fairly defined ideas of patriotism we can better understand the actions of our fellow Americans and avoid more unnecessary conflicts caused by extremist ideas being the only ideas heard.

Mark Twain Dialectical Journal

The townspeople were grateful and relieved to have the children back in their lives because they truly believed they had lost them forever. I would have reacted the same way as the village because losing something you care deeply about has a major effect on your life. Twain’s descriptive detail helped me imagine the town’s emotions. The emotions expressed in this passage remind me of many television dramas where the child goes missing and is found without any physical harm done to them. I’m certain the children will never truly understand the worry they had caused. All of the children should have been more considerate and thought about the consequences they would face in the future. This passage shows me that the town cares for the children

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Mark Twain is important to American literature because of his novels and how they portray the American experience. Some of his best selling novels were Innocents Abroad, Life on the Mississippi, Huckleberry Finn, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. In these books, Mark Twain recalls his own adventures of steamboating on the Mississippi River.

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"All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure" (Twain). This quote is from Mark Twain. He is a very famous author who has written such classics as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain’s real name is Samuel Clemens, and was known to have experienced different many things in his lifetime. He has worked as a miner, printer, river pilot, and more (www.cmgww.com). This tells us that he must have known many things, and possibly how he came up with this quote.

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Set in the Antebellum South, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn documents a landscape that differs greatly from the poised and picturesque scene associated with the contemporary South. Today’s South is synonymous with with ice cold pitchers of tea, ceaseless etiquette exuded on wraparound porches, and seemingly romantic drawls. However, the South that Huck resides in, tells a different story. Specifically, his South is a place where suitable behavior is associated with the acceptance of slavery, and racist slurs pepper every sentence. As a result, any deviation from these behaviors leaves an individual ironically branded with a connotation of being uncivilized. Due to this distorted view of ethics, any character with even a shred

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“We find not much in ourselves to admire; we are always privately want to be like somebody else. If everybody was satisfied with himself there would be no heroes.” Mark Twain said it best when saying this, no one thinks of themselves as a hero. People are constantly looking up to other people. Having a hero is a good; it makes people strive to want to be more like their hero. It makes them want to strive for excellence, and be a better person. Having a hero helps make a person better. It makes that person want to have the same qualities as that hero.

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“There are two kinds of patriotism -- monarchical patriotism and republican patriotism. In the one case the government and the king may rightfully furnish you their notions of patriotism; in the other, neither the government nor the entire nation is privileged to dictate to any individual what the form of his patriotism shall be. The gospel of the monarchical patriotism is: "The King can do no wrong." We have adopted it with all its servility, with an unimportant change in the wording: "Our country, right or wrong!" We have thrown away the most valuable asset we had:-- the individual's right to oppose both flag and country when he (just he, by himself) believed them to be in the wrong. We have thrown it away; and with it all that was really respectable about that grotesque and laughable word, Patriotism.”

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mark twain essay on patriotism

Analysis Of Mark Twain As Regards Patriotism

mark twain essay on patriotism

Show More The Declaration of Independence provided the people of the United States a country, free from British control, the U.S. Constitution gives that nation a set of rules to follow, and Mark Twains As Regards Patriotism examines how these two documents affect the mindset of this country. Groupthink, not a word use in 1900, when Twain penned his essay, is a good analogy of what we would now call what he was speaking about. Psychology Today says, “Groupthink occurs when a group values harmony and coherence over accurate analysis and critical evaluation. It causes individual members of the group to unquestioningly follow the word of the leader and it strongly discourages any disagreement with the consensus.” In As Regards Patriotism, Twain …show more content… Both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are used as training tools for children to learn patriotism. The Declaration of Independence trains children to believe in freedom and the Constitution trains children on how to use the freedoms. What middle-schooler cannot recite the most patriotic parts of the Declaration of Independence, what high schooler cannot tell you about the Bill of Rights? This is how patriots are trained. It is when children become adults that this training becomes …show more content… Whether you are trained from childhood or trained as an adult in order to become a citizen of the U.S. You must be able to state the beliefs written on those documents convincingly or you do not conform and may not be a true patriot. This is what are media tells the politicians, and so those politicians do just that. Mark Twain’s essay, As Regard Patriotism says “There is nothing that training cannot do. Nothing is above its reach or below it. It can turn bad morals to good, good morals to bad; it can destroy principles, it can re-create them; it can debase angels to men and lift men to angelship.” As responsible adults, should we not use our sacred documents as a teaching tool and not a training tool? Because, do we have the right to free speech or has it become only the right to free

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Founding Documents Comparison Paper Common Sense and the Declaration of Independence were the start of a new beginning for the colonists in America. Freedom from their negligent mother country, England, and a brand new government for the country. Both Common Sense and the Declaration of Independence transformed our country and greatly impacted the government and how we live today.…

Mark Twain's Two Views Of The Mississippi

Mark Twain’s “Two Views of the Mississippi” shows his perspective of the beauty of the Mississippi River and how his view changes over time. Twain narrates that he is a riverboat pilot and he informs the reader of the beauty that he encounters on the river. He explains in a exceedingly descriptive and poignant manner. He slowly switches around and indicates that his view of the river has altered the more time he spent on the river. The beauty that he sees diminishes and all he can do is lambaste the river.…

Mark Twain Reading The River Analysis

In Reading the River, Mark Twain begins by stating that the Mississippi river “had a new story to tell every day,” implying both the extensive beauty and the possibility of a variety of perspectives on the river. Mark Twain, born Samuel L. Clemens, spent much of his life as a riverboat pilot. This occupation inspired his pen name, a leadsman term for the depth at which it was safe to pilot a steamboat. Through many years of experience, he became an expert at navigating the treacherous course of the Mississippi. Reading the River is an excerpt from his memoir Life on the Mississippi in which he describes the many aspects of life on the river.…

Thomas Paine's Influence On The American Declaration Of Independence

While Thomas Jefferson was just one of many delegates who signed their name to the American Declaration of Independence, he is remembered as the primary drafter of the document. With continued significance, the Declaration has become a record, both of colonial feelings during the era of the Revolution and of Jefferson himself. A highly astute and educated man, Jefferson incorporated numerous ideological influences throughout his writing. This leads to questioning of not only who impacted the Declaration’s writing, but to what degree each specific source’s influence had on Jefferson while creating the overall document.…

The Framers Of The Constitution And Founding Fathers

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Hypocrisy In Mark Twain's The War Prayer

Mark Twain, in his juvenalian essay “The War Prayer” (1923) lambasts war and the motivations behind fighting them. He supports his argument by incorporating potent sarcastic diction, utilizing hyperbole, and by the use of hypocrisy. Twain’s purpose is to convey the absurdity of war and to examine what he believes to be the asinine motivations behind going to war, especially those of a religious and patriotic nature, in the hope that future conflict is avoided. He adopts an ironic tone (“An aged stranger entered [the church] and moved with slow and noiseless step[s] up the main aisle... then in a deep voice he said ‘[I am] bearing a message from Almighty God’... the words smote the house with a shock... beseeching His aid in our good cause/…

Comparing Declaration Of Independence And Jefferson's Letter To The Danbury Baptists

In comparing the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists, it will be shown that all three of these historical documents relate to one another in some form, especially the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. It is important to note the dates that each document was written, as this has bearing on the relationship between each document. The Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson, edited by the Second Continental Congress, and adopted by them on July, 4 1776. It was a written statement severing political independence of the thirteen original American colonies from Great Britain, therefore declaring themselves and independent nation.…

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Mark Twain 's writing "Two Views of the Mississippi" is the epitome of an author loading his words in such a way that the reader can form vivid images of both what Twain actually saw and experienced, but also what the reader wants to see for themselves. The great thing about this piece is that every single one of us readers will see something completely different, every word will strike a different bell in our minds. Twain achieves this effect by using copious amounts of figurative language throughout the piece. This forces us to use our senses to pick up on both the direct meaning of the language and the deeper meaning expressed by Twain through this figurative language. Without the use of this rhetorical device we simply would not understand…

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What makes an American, ‘American’? The answer to this question will vary greatly depending on the respondent’s beliefs and cultural background. As the United States continues to grow and evolve in areas such as race, ethnicity and culture, the image of America changes as well. In an article entitled ‘Nation or Notion’ by Patrick J. Buchanan, he argues that Americans need a common identity based upon ancestry and culture to survive as a country. On the other hand, an article entitled ‘What Does It Mean to Be an “American”?’ by Michael Walzer argues that America does not need a common identity.…

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Home / Essay Samples / Literature / Mark Twain / An Analysis of “The War Prayer” by Mark Twain

An Analysis of "The War Prayer" by Mark Twain

  • Category: Literature
  • Topic: Mark Twain

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