The American dominance over the world, prevalent still, can be traced backed to this psyche of these heroes. But De Soto also had the added advantage of being very tactical. He was able to convince the native tribes that he was of divine origin and thus posed before them as a formidable god. When we study the period of De Soto, thus the power of negotiation can be seen slowly gaining ground at par with the power of weapons and riches.
Survivalism was the ideology that unknowingly led all the conquistadors win their battles without bothering about hurting others. This kind of survivalism still runs deep in the blood of Americans. As described in the introduction to the book by Horace Grigory (p.17 of Introduction, Williams) the American tradition is characterized by the “impulse to make all things new, to build new cities… to abandon projects with the scaffolding in the air,…(and)…to move onward to another El Dorado.” De Soto’s adventures also fit into this profile. The ability to endure and then rise from one’s own ashes like a phoenix are also some other attributes of these earlier Americans and the modern ones. Thus the collective American personality was built through the lives of these heroes and villains of history and has its roots in the mental fabric of these early founders and explorers.
One criticism that arises in one’s mind after reading of “In the American Grain” is that whatever the author makes out as the “American grain”, can also be equally and logically attributed to the whole of humanity. The instinct to find new worlds, to create new things and the ‘El Dorado’ mindset are convincingly universal rather than American. William has contented that “there is a source in AMERICA for everything we think or do; that morals affect the food and food the bone, and that, in fine we have no conception at all of what is meant by moral, since ...
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