Art and Politics in USA

776 words | 3 page(s)

United States of America (USA) has one of the oldest and perhaps the longest socio-political history in the whole world. The reason for this can be pegged on the idea that the region’s early achievement of independence, long before other states even commenced fighting for their self-liberty (Bindas 200). The political realm in the USA has thus been shaped and re-shaped by various factors among them economic, social and culture among others. This paper will delve into viewing how the political sphere has been shaped and or influenced by artistic ideas and views from different artists in the region. These influences will be looked into through positive and negative prisms.

Music is one of the artistic tools that have been used by artists to educate or influence residents into voting in or against political aspirants. The history of music as a genre can be traced even in pre-slavery era in America. One of the major artists whose influence cannot be swept over the carpet is Joe Hill. One of his master pieces was ‘The Preacher and the Slave’ of 1911. Joe Hill traversed many states, not only in USA but other regions in the quest to deliver the message in the item. The song urged all working men to rise up, work side by side and fight for their own freedom. Other influential songs by Hill include, ‘The Tramp’, ‘There is Power in the Union’, among others. These pieces have been fundamentally influential in the history of politics across America (Hayes 103).

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James Oppenheim’s ‘Bread and Roses’ is another piece that has had a portion of influence in the politics of America. Caroline Kohlsaat also majorly contributed to the conception of the music. The item gained momentum and popularity when it was sang at a textile strike organized at St Lawrence in Massachusetts. The popularity of this piece percolated to other regions in America and it is very likely to hear parts of it being chant by protestors and demonstrators. The inception of the song can be traced back in 1912 (Hayes 83).

The period between 1914 and 1948 also experienced advent of other genre of songs that protested against USA joining the First World War that had commenced in Europe. In this period, young men were coerced to be recruited to join the US army. The major song, ‘I Didn’t Raise My Boy to be a Soldier’ became very popular. The item was done by Adrian Bryan and composed by AL Piantadosi. The song was a radical criticism on the part of the government which recruited army personnel from the population without their express consent. The song criticized how different sons rose against each other and murdered each other ruthlessly. The song contended that the differences between states would be amicably resolved in an arbitration forum. As if to heed the contents of this piece, there was amicable resolution to end the war in the year 1918. The song also contended that victory over battle was not enough to be celebrated by a mother who had lost her sons in the battle (Cushman 97).

Professor John Seery (2011) also observes ‘The Poem of Democracy’ by Walt Whitman very influential politically in America. The poem illuminates the turbulence during the civil war and the tribulations it has in the history of mankind. Seery further says that the poem discusses major factors that have contributed to the growth of democracy in America. The factors included include but are not limited to; democracy discontent, racial discrimination, aggression, gender and sexuality among others (Palmer 1013).

Films have also heavily influenced the political regime in America. The current Obama regime was marred with economic meltdown that consequently made it very infamous. The introduction of the Obama care, which has been termed as political had been received negatively by the opponents until two films namely ‘The Rainmanker’ and ‘As Good as it Gets.’ The Social Science Quarterly by Todd and Jeremia shows that after the films were released, the Obamacare program was liked more and understood at equal measure. The above submissions thus show that artistic tools have previously (and presently) have had influence in the political arena in USA (Scot 311).

  • Bindas, Kenneth J..America’s musical pulse: popular music in twentieth-century society. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1992. Print.
  • Hayes, Eileen M..Songs in Black and lavender: race, sexual politics, and women’s music. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2010. Print.
  • Palmer, Colin A..Encyclopedia of African-American culture and history the Black experience in the Americas. 2nd ed. Detroit, Mich.: Macmillan Reference USA, 2006. Print.
  • Cushman, Stephen. Fictions of form in American poetry. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1993. Print.
  • Scott, Ian. American politics in Hollywood film. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2000. Print.

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