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November Group Read > Letters from America - last thoughts

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message 1: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
As I finish up the last 20 or so pages, I've come to realize that nothing different is going to happen. Observations made at the beginning of the trip have been solidified by the end and arguments filled in. I have found a few prescient observations made, mostly, by deT but I have also found B way off on his comments.

deT's observations about religion and Catholics in particular are rather startling. Apparently "ardent souls, passionate imaginations are drawn to Catholicism" while "cold & calculating characters, argumentative and logical personalities are drawn to deism." That is not a term we hear much of these days and it no longer remains the burning discussion point that it was in the 17&1800s. Today, the split seems to be more between people who believe in faith and those who believe in science.

I also found disturbing how he declares the Quakers to be growing purer and sparser. Hmmm... I know there is a Quaker meeting house in my town and it seems to be thriving..

message 2: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
While I am not quite finished, I wanted to close out this group read with a thought that is appropriate for the holiday we celebrate tomorrow. deT is speaking about his trip down the Mississippi into Cincinnati and what he sees of the citizens and the landscape. Although he goes on to say some unflattering things, this passage is so evocative of our country and its promise that I can almost forgive him his snooty remarks. I take it as what makes our country the place that it is and why we give thanks for it:

Here is where one must come to witness the most singular state of things imaginable. A people absolutely without precedents, without traditions, without habits, even without foundational ideas, has cleared a new path for itself in its civil, criminal and political legislation, and plunged ahead....It is shaping its institutions the way it has built roads straight across the forests, secure in the knowledge that it will encounter no limits or impediments; a society that does not yet have any bonds, be they political, hierarchical, religious or social; where each individual is what it pleases him to be, regardless of his neighbor; a democracy devoid of limits or measures....

message 3: by Rosanne (new)

Rosanne | 67 comments Thanks for posting that. I stalled about 40 pages from the end. I think I'll just skim the rest. Glad I read it, but am finding it somewhat repetitive at this point.

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