Popular culture artifacts such as Colonial America help us in present day understand more of our culture, history and the stories behind it. It is the tastes, preferences, customs and behaviors welcomed by most of the American public at any given point in time. Pop culture brings together a large group of diverse people into the same cultural identity. In Colonial America there are many things that were popular then that are still utilized to this day.
Colonial America is where many popular toys, books, inventions and religion began. Popular culture’s material realm includes, among other items, vacation souvenirs, memorabilia, and collectibles. Pop culture from the Colonial time period had a positive influence on society today. This is seen through music, movies and literature. It affects almost everyone’s lives daily and acts as something that’s holds society together.
During the 18th-century popular culture known as the theater came about. Colonial Americas first theater opened in Williamsburg in 1716. Acting groups and student groups performed plays, which were mainly amateur productions, in thrown-together theaters and temporary venues. People from different backgrounds and classes came together to enjoy these theatre performances. Depending on where you lived in the 13 colonies during the colonial period would usually determine the type of religion you practiced. Religion was very important part of life then. Religions practiced included Puritan, Quaker, Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist and Angelicin. Most of which are still practiced today.
Simple board games, such as The Royall, Most Pleasant Game of the Goose and Hazard offered and inexpensive way to entertain. Cribbage boards, dice, card games such as loo and “at put”, an early type of poker, were Among the wealthier, backgammon boards and billiard tables were used. Music was everywhere and was performed in taverns and coffeehouses, at street fairs, on the stage, and in homes. Dancers with instruments traveled around, teaching the latest dance steps and music It is at this time that dancing schools were built in some of the larger urban areas, where they offered lessons, Dance and music were key to 18th-century socialization.
Colonial America was home to the first capital building in America. Williamsburg served as the capital of the colony and was the center of political events in Virginia leading up to the American Revolution. For 81 years Williamsburg was the political, cultural, and educational center of what was then the largest and most influential of the American colonies. It was here that leadership fell under such patriots such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, and Peyton Randolph.
Most of Colonial America in reference to the natural sciences were about apothecaries, folk medicine, epidemics and inoculations. This is where botany began and the discovery of electricity by Ben Franklin. Simple machines to help blacksmiths trade were made along with discovering what’s necessary to convert raw metal into usable tools. In Apothecaries, patients were treated, medicines were made and prescribed, house calls to the sick were made and some even taught apprentices. At times surgeries were performed without anesthesia. The use of inoculations in response to the large smallpox outbreak in colonial America definitely laid the foundation for modern techniques of diseases prevention, and the debates that went along with the inoculation process. It had similarities to modern day misunderstandings over vaccination.
Through the humanities lens my pop culture artifact of Colonial America had an impact on many people, places and things. First is the College of William and Mary. William & Mary is the second-oldest college in the United States. Construction on the building started in 1695, before the town of Williamsburg even existed. It has close ties to America’s founding fathers as Thomas Jefferson, John Tyler and James Monroe all graduated from the College of William and Mary.
A second through the Humanities lens is that Colonial America was home to the first hospital. It was built in 1751 and located in Pennsylvania and was therefore named the Pennsylvania Hospital. (Packard, 1995). It was also the first hospital for mentally ill patients. After years, the insane population outgrew the regular patient population and so it solely became known mainly as a hospital for the mentally ill.
The arts and religion were very important in colonial American life. It was evident and found in literature and Puritan writings. Colonial painters had little access to proper training needed for the wealthy that requested a special style. Using books and pamphlets to help spread the word of God were often used. Dancing was a favorite pastime in colonial America. They danced at home, in taverns and dance halls. Being a skilled dancer showed that you were from a good family and upbringing. This served recreational as well as social and political purpose.
Through the social sciences lens my pop culture artifact of Colonial America can be seen in many aspects. Card games, festivals and barn raisings were popular. When someone needed assistance in putting a barn up, they had neighbors, family and friends assist them. Barns were important in colonial life. They housed animals and food and children often played in them. From the pieces of wood and materials that were not used, children made toys. Dolls were made from corn husks, rags and dried apples. Boys sometimes used a stick as a make-believe horse. It was safe to leave children without supervision at that time, so they played some games in fields and homes that are still popular today. (Alchin, 2017)
Many of what colonial people would determine to be leisure activities were related mostly to work. Many worked from the time they got up until when they went to sleep at night. A social pastime for men was in taverns catching up on politics. As was hunting with the dogs and playing backgammon.
Women, on the other hand, quilted and participated in sewing bees. Many social activities were determined by what social class you were in. Most days consisted of baking, sewing, visiting family friends, and going to school. If you were a more prominent person in the community the community, you could entertain guests and attend dances. (Arendt, 2018). In the country children participated in wrestling matches and foot races. In urban areas, men might wrestle, gamble, or play various ball games.
The impact that popular culture had on my artifact was that theater, music, and religion were a huge part of Colonial America. Reading, hunting, sewing and watching performances also became pass times. In Colonial America popular culture was something fill their leisure hours when their work was completed. What type of activity that was done would also depend on the family being able to afford it? For example, performances and dances would only be attended by those in a higher social class.
The artifact of Colonial American has brought about much in the popular culture area. Items such as collectibles, dolls, cards, figurines and play sets. Some people choose to be involved in re-enactments of the colonial time period.
In Colonial America religion played an influential role. There were different types of religious groups in each of the colonies, and most enforced strict rules through both colony governments and local towns. Those who expressed a different approach to religious worship were not welcome. At this time belief in witches and demonic possession was common. The witch trials for those believed to be practicing witchcraft were held in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692 and 1693.
The people of Colonial America taught society about hard work and dedication. They introduced private property and self-government to society. For example, the first legislative assembly in North America was held in Jamestown in 1619. Instances like this helped lay the foundation for the United States. The founding of Jamestown actually begins the modern history of the US. Jamestown marked the beginning of the cultural diversity that Americans now celebrate. Three different cultures that came together from Europe, Africa and here in North America. Jamestown was the cultural melting pot. Where it all began. Not everything was positive, however. With the new colonization, came the introduction of disease. This let to epidemics all along the New England coast.
Critically analyzing something is a great way to be able to really dig deep into a topic and discover information that might not have been obvious at first glance. This way of research has been helpful to me in looking at situations from another perspective. Because critical analyzation is subjective and basically brings out the persons opinion on a certain subject, it can help you learn about yourself. Gathering, evaluating and picking apart information can be of assistance when trying to draw a conclusion about a topic. Of course, in day to day living this may not be feasible all the time because of time restraints but it has helped me in a few situations.
In my field of study, Criminal Justice, popular culture is huge. Being able to analyze music lyrics, television shows and certain clothing and styles is key. In Criminal Justice and the law enforcement field popular culture has unfortunately much to do with crime, how crimes are committed and sometimes why they are committed. Being employed in the law enforcement field you have to be aware of new trends, gang signs and colors, clothing, symbols and anything that may lead to or indicate a crime or criminal behavior. Popular culture such as music, television, books, movies and social media can all contribute to crime.
It adds value because it can help you make a better-informed decision with a situation. It allows you to gather information, compare the findings against or in addition to what you already have knowledge of and reflect on the different perspectives. This enables a person to interact with them in a more positive way usually because now you can better see that person’s point of view. An example could be in purchasing a vehicle. You may be set on a particular type for a particular reason but someone else maybe trying to sway you their way. Let them give you all the reasons why you should purchase that type of vehicle and with your personal ideas, do a comparison. It allows for a better-informed decision.
Using this type of critical analysis for personal and professional goals can be quite easy in 2019. With technology where it is and the internet at our fingertips, why not? I know personally in my everyday life, I research. I research everything. Whether it is a brand of make-up, apartment pricing, neighborhoods, etc. Whatever it is that I am in the market to do. Too many use times as an excuse but it may turn out in your benefit after gathering and comparing what you found Everyone will find a specific method that works for them and their lifestyle. I write everything down and save the website link for reference later. It continues to help me every day. In day to day responsibilities in my field popular culture can be used to address many issues. For example, working in a courthouse or jail, a person would need to know the latest gang signs for example. This would help to evaluate if members are planning something such as an illegal activity.
Studying popular culture can make you a better citizen because it is assisting you in being a more well-rounded person. You are learning to see another perspective and way of doing something. Better informed to make a batter choice and in turn a better person/citizen.
This artifact interacts with the history lens quite a bit. The theoretical framework would best construct the reading here is that of textuality. What was discovered, invented and utilized in colonial times made present day living easier. A good example would be Sir Isaac Newton and his discoveries of the three laws of motion and gravitational laid ground for what we have in math and science today. The people of Colonial America taught society about hard work and dedication. They introduced private property and self-government to society. For example, the first legislative assembly in North America was held in Jamestown in 1619. Instances like this helped lay the foundation for the United States. The founding of Jamestown actually begins the modern history of the US. Jamestown marked the beginning of the cultural diversity that Americans now celebrate. Three different cultures that came together from Europe, Africa and here in North America. Jamestown was the cultural melting pot. Where it all began. Not everything was positive, however. With the new colonization, came the introduction of disease. This let to epidemics all along the New England coast.
Boys only attended school and punishments were very strict. Getting spanked or their knuckles hit was common. We would see this later in some of our private and/or parochial schools. Children of the colonial time period were also more social than modern children, I believe. Some of the games that were played then, such as hopscotch, jump rope and flying kites are still played today. (Dunbar, 1959). Technology wasn’t available so they had to be more hands on because there was nothing else. No cell phones, computers or video games. Many jobs in both time periods also carried their way to modern times. These are teachers, doctors, business owners and farmers. All of these situations have social impact, then and now.
The framework that best is associated with my artifact is again, that of textuality. Within natural science there are 2 branches: life science and physical science. Here in the instance of life science, there wasn’t a medical school in colonial America and most had to study in Europe or they gain experience/training through working with a local physician for a period of time. (King, 1958). Some ministers also attempted to practice healing the sick in addition to giving them spiritual help. Regularly colonists would grow herbs, gather medicinal plants, or trade remedies with each other and attempt to treat themselves.
Others sought out advice from Native American healers, that used remedies made from herbs, minerals, and animal products with plants like guaiacum, sassafras and tobacco. Popular medicine rarely had a strong theoretical basis. Plants or other remedies were popular because they worked, or seemed to, sometimes by causing strong physical reactions. Ipecac and jalap were used to cause vomiting and mercury to cause salivation. Another treatment that was popular in colonial times was bleeding, which assisted in lowering a fever. Writing back to England for medical advice was common also. (Blake, 1976). Today there are many that reply solely on homeopathic remedies for illnesses, which traces back to the colonial era.