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National Prejudices in the 1800’s and 1900’s Essay

Although more than two hundred years separated Gordon Sinclair and Oliver Goldsmith, in many ways they had similar attitudes referring to “Americans” and “National Prejudices.” Gordon Sinclair, a prominent Canadian writer, who over the years has been tired of all of the American bashing, acknowledges in his many broadcasts and writings; the enormous contributions Americans have made to the world. Gordon Goldmsith is another individual like Mr. Sinclair, in that he dislikes national prejudices. In the Seventeen hundreds, he produced many fine pieces of work that proposed ways to avoid national prejudices.

Pride in our country easily colours our judgement of other countries because pride feeds on being “better” and “best.” Mr. Sinclair and Mr. Goldsmith corrected the many people who made these judgements and enlightened them with accurate information. As Mr, Sinclair states in his piece “Americans,” “I read of floods on the Yellow River and the Yangtse. Who rushed in with many men and money to help? The Americans did.” This statement rebukes many individuals thinking that Americans are selfish and out for themselves.

Oliver Goldsmith has similar views on judging, as he overheard one gentleman say, “the Dutch were a parcel of avaricious wretches; the French a set of flattering sycophants; that the Germans were drunken sots and beastly gluttons; and the Spaniards proud, haughty and surly tyrants; but that in bravery, generosity clemency and in every other virtue the English excelled all the rest of the world.” Mr. Goldsmith rightly corrects this gentleman, “I therefore told him that for my own part, I should not have ventured to talk in such a peremptory strain, unless I had made the tour of Europe, and examined the manners of these several nations with great care and accuracy.”

Both Mr. Sinclair and Mr. Goldsmith had similar attitudes towards National Prejudices and judgments. Both stood tall and corrected and enlightened the many people who were ignorant about these issues. Having an accurate knowledge of the world is an important part of diversity and eliminating the many prejudices and these two men can be considered patriots with their valiant effort to make the truth known.


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