ANALYSIS OF “LOOKING BACKWARD” BY EDWARD BELLAMY AND ROOSEVELT`S “THE STRENUOUS LIFE” SPEECH

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ANALYSISOF “LOOKING BACKWARD&quot BY EDWARD BELLAMY AND ROOSEVELT’S “THESTRENUOUS LIFE&quot SPEECH

Thebook “Looking Backward&quot by Edward Bellamy and Roosevelt’s“The Strenuous Life&quot speech are among the greatest works thathave been encountered in the history of the United States. They wereboth written at the end of the nineteenth century and thuscommunicate the challenges that were encountered by the people of thetime1.They all communicate and petition the need to overcome societychallenges by imitating a sustainable, inclusive and imperativechange. Addressed in the form of an appeal, they are convincing andhad remarkable consequences to the society of that time and continueto influence the activities of the contemporary society2.Bellamy used fictional narrative to envision a perfect, faultless andseamless human society while Roosevelt crafted his speech tochallenge the community to not only learn from the past but embracechanges and coordinately consolidate the gains. Moreover, Rooseveltpostulated that overcoming hardship through strenuous effort was andideal that every American should embrace3.This study seeks to present a strong historical argument relating tothe book and the speech and their attempt to respond and sensitizethe society of the need to address the challenges of the time.

Discussion

Thebook “Looking Backward” entails an outstanding work of EdwardBellamy that was published in the year 1888 that attempted todescribe an impeccable and flawless human society4.He covered his envisioned ideas about a revolutionary social reformbecause he was aware that people of his time were opposed to ideassuch as economic changes, socialism, variations in the ways ofmanaging human capital and political movements5.Bellamy sought to convince people to not only seek but embrace theidea that, it was possible to have a perfect society where real humanvalues were enhanced. He proposed that although radical changes werenecessary, issues such as marriage were to remain as perfectinstitutions while respect for gender roles was to be embraced6.Moreover, government institutions were to remain intact, robust andappreciated because Bellamy did not embrace anarchism or socialismsociety. While he proposed that individual freedom was to be promotedand enhanced, he also proposed that the rights of the workers were tobe valued and recognized. At the same time, consumers were to havethe right to make their individuals choices based on the availableproducts and careers at their disposal7.

Accordingto Bellamy’s envisioned society, the capital was owned by thepeople thus making such a society flexible, self-sustaining and opento equal opportunities. He used his imagined character referred to asJulian West to represent the society of the nineteenth century, acharacter that his audience would quickly identify. Correspondingly,Bellamy used Doctor Leete to articulate and air his concept of socialreform where Leete’s relationship with Julian reflected hispredetermined relationship with his audience8.The society of the nineteenth century was based on an industrialsystem where capital was privately owned and was seen by the peopleas the most efficient system of accumulating wealth. The reason isthat goods were produced in masses, they were cheap, and thus thepeople saw it as an effective means of raising their standard ofliving9.Nevertheless, the wealth was not equally distributed because capitalwas owned by few people mostly privileged society. Consequently,Bellamy’s argument was the fact that capital and hence wealthshould be owned by the people which were the only way thatindividuals would be able to realize the aspiration of the societythat they would want10.The further argued that this perfect society will overcome thenumerous nineteenth-century challenges such as strikes, periodicgluts, business failures and shortages.

Besides,the ideal society will be so efficient that nobody will be unemployedand thus people would earn good pay and better their life11.Bellamy knew that, although many people were sensitive about theissues of unequal distribution of wealth, they were desperate and hadno option of challenging the system. Bellamy shaped his work toappear as an appeal to the society to avoid endangering the peoplewho would be subjected to tyranny and alienation should they put hisconviction to action. Accordingly, he attributed the cause of thisfailure to societal ignorance whose only solution was too logicalengagement and dialogue to help solve the issue of inequality12.Bellamy’s work was a great success because the book became one ofthe most sought after narrative and among the most widely read at thetime. It was also influential to other great social, political andeconomic writers such as William White and John Dewey among others.

Thespeech “The strenuous life” was one of the greatest speeches thathave been given by Roosevelt in Chicago in 189913.In his speech, Roosevelt argued that overcoming hardship throughstrenuous effort was and ideal that every American should embrace. Heargued that embracing this initiative will position American to itsepitome of greatness and place it as a progressive nation of the thenupcoming twentieth century14.At the beginning of his speech, Roosevelt men drew his attention tothe people by referring them to great men of the west for producingGrant and Lincoln men who shaped the inherent character of servinghumanity and valuing people embraced by the American people. Heasserted that he was intended to give a discourse to the doctrine ofdetermined and persistent effort that individuals had to toil, strifeand labor if they were to succeed in the mission of strengthening andrepositioning the United States to its original glory and greatness15.He was opposed to the doctrine of dishonorable, despicable andeffortlessness comfort that individual could just stay and acceptthings as they were. Further, he emphasized that citizens of thecountry had earned freedom through struggle, courage, and bravery andthus were supposed to not only desire but work for peace. Theachievements that people had already accomplished were to convincethem not to seat back and shrink in fear that taking action wouldtrigger dangerous consequences16.He postulated that it is from bitter toil that hardships would beovercome and through effort people would conquer they challenges.Roosevelt speech assured his audience that it is through suchstruggle and efforts that they will acquire impressive definitivetriumph.

Both“Looking Backward” by Edward Bellamy and Roosevelt’s “TheStrenuous Life” work were issued at the same period. “LookingBackward” was published in the year 1888 while “The StrenuousLife” was given in 1899 and thus they all came at the time when theUnited States was undergoing challenges in unequal distribution ofwealth, stable society and challenges in the management of humancapital17.According to Bellamy and Roosevelt people could not watch suchsocietal problems without taking necessary action to address thesechallenges. Bellamy asserted that perfect society was achievablethrough embracing changes such as valuing workers, maintainingcapital in the hands of the citizens and the right of consumers tomake their individuals choices based on the available products andcareer at their disposal18.He further postulated that although goods were produced in masses andwere cheap, there was a need to champion for reorganization andrestructuring and redistribution of the wealth because they wereconcentrated in the hands of a few individuals. According toRoosevelt overcoming such hardships through strenuous effort was anideal that every American should embrace19.He argued that the people that preceded the existing society embracedthe frontier characters and ardently struggle against extreme andunbearable odds.

Accordingto Roosevelt, the nation had failed to adopt and consolidate thegains that had been achieved by the past generation by being notenthusiastic enough in championing for change20.As such, the greatest challenge that was facing humanity was hisinability to take action and work for the change. Mentioning greatpersonalities like Grant and Lincoln, Roosevelt challenged hisaudience that there was no way the past generation could outdo thethen contemporary generation regarding ideas and commitment to servehumanity21.Roosevelt challenged his audience wealthy men to act and take uptheir responsibility and not only stabilize the nation’s internalsystem but to look into the opportunities that lay abroad.Accordingly, the concern aired by Bellamy in his 1888 book about theunequal distribution of wealth was further confirmed and addressedindirectly by Roosevelt in his speeches because he was communicatingthe need for change to wealthy and professional of the West whoBellamy had accused of holding too much wealth22.The injustices that are addressed by both by Edward Bellamy andRoosevelt are evidence that the existing society had challenges thatneeded to be addressed through action. Consequently, the ignorance ofthe society was not to be regarded as a defense such that peoplewould fail to act by the fact that there was little they could do toeffect change.

Conclusion

AlthoughBellamy’s work was fictional, it was confirmed by Roosevelt’slive speech that change should happen and that it will triumph.Roosevelt assured the society that such change would not beforthcoming unless people learn from the past, remain determined andpersistent and take the individual effort to toil, strife and laborto succeed. Bellamy‘s argument was so precise that it did not callfor radical changes that would lead to the nullification of the gainsthat had been achieved by the time. For instance, governmentinstitutions were to remain intact, influential and respected becausehe did not embrace anarchism or socialism as attributes of societalchange. Correspondingly, Bellamy knew that the existing societyvalued family life and thus he insisted that families’ values wereto be upheld. Both arguments were made in the form of an appeal andthus easily penetrated the mind of the people. Accordingly, botharguments were useful in shaping the societal values and hencepolitical, economic and social changes that took place at the onsetof the twentieth century. The Both “Looking Backward” by EdwardBellamy and Roosevelt’s “The Strenuous Life” work are one ofthe greatest human conviction and appeals that have been encountered.

Bibliography

Faccarello,Gilbert, and Heinz D. Kurz. 2016. Handbookon the history of economic analysis. Volume II, Volume II.Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Gianquitto,Tina, and Lydia Fisher. 2014. America`sDarwin: Darwinian Theory and U.S. Literary Culture.Athens: The University of Georgia Press.

Parry-Giles,Shawn J., and J. Michael Hogan. 2013. Thehandbook of rhetoric and public address.Chichester, West Sussex, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell.

Roosevelt,Theodore. 2012. Thestrenuous life: essays and addresses.Mineola, New York: Dover Publications

1 Faccarello, Gilbert, and Heinz D. Kurz. Handbook on the history of economic analysis. Volume II, Volume II. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing. 2016. pp, 87.

2 Gianquitto, Tina, and Lydia Fisher. America`s Darwin: Darwinian Theory and U.S. Literary Culture. Athens: The University of Georgia Press. 2014. pp, 106.

3 Faccarello, Gilbert, and Heinz D. Kurz. Handbook on the history of economic analysis. 2016. Pp, 92.

4 Gianquitto, Tina, and Lydia Fisher. America`s Darwin: Darwinian Theory and U.S. Literary Culture. 2014, pp, 98.

5 Parry-Giles, Shawn J., and J. Michael Hogan. The handbook of rhetoric and public address. Chichester, West Sussex, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell. 2013, pp, 74.

6 Parry-Giles, Shawn J., and J. Michael Hogan. The handbook of rhetoric and public address. 2013, pp, 68.

7 Faccarello, Gilbert, and Heinz D. Kurz. Handbook on the history of economic analysis. 2016. pp, 98.

8 Parry-Giles, Shawn J., and J. Michael Hogan. The handbook of rhetoric and public address. 2013, pp, 56.

9 Gianquitto, Tina, and Lydia Fisher. America`s Darwin: Darwinian Theory and U.S. Literary Culture. 2014, pp, 84.

10 Faccarello, Gilbert, and Heinz D. Kurz. Handbook on the history of economic analysis. 2016. pp, 113.

11 Faccarello, Gilbert, and Heinz D. Kurz. Handbook on the history of economic analysis. 2016. Pp, 77.

12 Parry-Giles, Shawn J., and J. Michael Hogan. The handbook of rhetoric and public address. 2013, pp, 49.

13 Roosevelt, Theodore. The strenuous life: essays and addresses. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications. 2012, pp, 34,

14 Parry-Giles, Shawn J., and J. Michael Hogan. The handbook of rhetoric and public address. 2013, pp, 67.

15 Roosevelt, Theodore. The strenuous life: essays and addresses. 2012, pp, 40.

16 Parry-Giles, Shawn J., and J. Michael Hogan. The handbook of rhetoric and public address. 2013, pp, 78.

17 Parry-Giles, Shawn J., and J. Michael Hogan. The handbook of rhetoric and public address. 2013, pp, 93.

18 Faccarello, Gilbert, and Heinz D. Kurz. Handbook on the history of economic analysis. 2016. pp, 104.

19 Roosevelt, Theodore. The strenuous life: essays and addresses.2012, pp, 78.

20 Roosevelt, Theodore. The strenuous life: essays and addresses.2012, pp, 76.

21 Parry-Giles, Shawn J., and J. Michael Hogan. The handbook of rhetoric and public address. 2013, pp, 64.

22 Parry-Giles, Shawn J., and J. Michael Hogan. The handbook of rhetoric and public address. 2013, pp, 84.