Free Essay

Birth of a Nation

In: Film and Music

Submitted By iaddington
Words 531
Pages 3
Ian Addington

How is the movie most useful - as a film about Reconstruction or as film about how people in the early twentieth century understood Reconstruction?

Birth of a Nation was one of the world’s first films on reconstruction. It was the time after the Civil War where the south and the north came together. They sacrificed their beliefs and settled for a government they could agree on. Reconstruction ended around 1875 and “Birth of a Nation” was made in 1915. The timing of the film was great in this aspect. That many are still upset about the outcome of the Civil War and it brought a big outrage. It is also one of the first films to be in theater so the people flocked to come see it. When this was made, the Black community was just starting to form their place in the government and this movie upset things. It brought about a new beginning for the Ku Klux Klan, outraged many people in both communities, and caused a stir in the film industry.

Scholars have argued that the movie helped increase racial tension and stereotyping in the early 1900s. Do you think that movies (or television shows) have the power to shape attitudes?

Movies indeed have a lot of power and influence over the community. This movie is just one of many examples. Not only do movies influence social behavior, it also influences what we say (catch phrases, movie quotes, jokes, etc…), how we dress, and to determine the social norm. Movies can spark an uproar depending on the content (examples: Birth of a Nation, Django Unchained, and Citizen Kane). This movie is a perfect example of the power of film and how it influences the social attitude of its viewers. It took a situation that we beginning to calm down and become the norm, to being viewed differently and sparking another debacle in northern and southern states.

How do films and television today and influence social attitudes?

As previously stated, films can influence the social norms of people. This is especially relevant in teenagers. They act upon what they see and hear and mimic the attitudes of those they find in power. With all these comic movies coming out, a lot more people are reading and buying comic books. Same goes for other movies with its influence on attire and word play. Movies like “Clueless” supplied the teens of that era with catch phrases and new outfits for clothes. It sets the bar for what is popular or not. Television has now become the big picture and more over, the internet. Things like Netflix and Hulu have people watching shows and changing or amplifying their interest in things. Through that, their behavior becomes more and more influenced by the characters and situations in the show. It also works visa versa on film. Some films become popular or made due to the social attitude toward a situation. Documentaries like “Super Size Me” and “Fahrenheit 911”, were made from social ideas or situations that happened. Films will continue to alter or even be based on social attitudes toward a situation because that’s what makes them popular and spread.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Birth of a Nation

...BIRTH OF A NATION Birth of a Nation is a movie released in 1915 and based on Thomas Dixon’s novel The clansman. It is a silent black and white movie and it runs more than 3hours. It was directed by David Wake Griffith, who did other films which were far less successful than Birth of a Nation. For this film, more than 10 000 people were casted, and it took around three years to make it. It is considered one of the most significant film in American history ;even considered as the first real film produced as it was seen by millions more people than had ever seen other movie. Its nowadays studied as a masterpiece of political propaganda but back then,for many people it was seen as «  writing history with Lightning » as President Wilson stated. THE PLOT TRAILER Birth of a nation , for its lenght and fast pace,has a rich and very complex storyline. It is divided in two parts ; the first part takes place during the Civil War and the second part during The Reconstruction. Briefly summed up, it narrates the story of 2 families, on one side we have The Northern Stoneman’s who are pro union and come from Washington DC. Austin Stoneman, the father of the family is an abolitonist leader in the House of representatives. He has three children ; a daughter Elsie and two sons Phil and Tod. on the other side we have the Camerons who are Pro Confederacy. They own slaves and live in a plantation in South Carolina. Their slaves are depicted as happy and life as peaceful.......

Words: 727 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Birth of a Nation

...Racism has been around since the beginning of time. Basically if you had a skin tone darker than the shade of white, you were inferior. Times have now changed, but there are remnants of this subject everywhere, even in film. The movie Birth of a Nation is considered one of the greatest films of all time, even with these themes. AMC’s Filmsite even has it listed within the 100 Greatest Films of All Time. Another movie with the some of the same themes is Blazing Saddles. Blazing Saddles does not have the same stature as Birth of a Nation, but it does deserve to be higher in the canon. I do believe that Blazing Saddles does not have the same stature because it is a comedy with crude humor and because it has a black sheriff as the protagonist. The D. W. Griffith film was considered controversial and is still considered controversial to this day. Basically it paints the story of the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. Of course the KKK members were the heroes of the story and saved everyone from harm. The film uses white actors painted in black face to portray freed slaves. It also portrays them as savages and rapists. There was not one “black” person in the film that wasn’t considered a villain. During the voting scene, blacks were seen taking over the polls while the whites had their votes taken away. One quote in the movie when talking about a village says, “In the villages the negroes were the office holders, men who knew none of the uses of authority.” The freed slaves were just......

Words: 1325 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Birth of a Nation

..."Birth of a Nation" by D. W. Griffith was a great masterpiece. It was one of the most technologically advanced films ever made for it's time period. The film paved the way for the great film industry: showing its audiences the longest film they had ever seen and the most eventful. "Birth of a Nation" had such an impact on the American people that excluding "Gone With the Wind" it is thought to have the greatest influence on how Americans view that time period. "Birth of a Nation" is often seen as a leading cause in the race riots, rise of the KKK and segregation of the 1920's. Griffith was able to make such an influentially film by using noteworthy themes, distinct and believable messages and anachronistic cinematic techniques. The themes in "Birth of a Nation" concentrate on race, class, gender, and region, the most influential and important theme being that blacks are stupid, crazy men who only want one thing: white women. Conversely, whites are portrayed as the "the helpless white minority". Griffith shows a black court and legislature, both are shown as an "outrage". The black men are loud, disorderly and drunk. In the legislature their "big" vote overrides the decision that black men cannot marry white women. On the street the stupid and drunk blacks are shown voting in a disrespectful and uncaring way, and the reformed and educated white males are seen not being able to vote. Griffith exaggerates true facts about confederate soldiers not being able to participate in......

Words: 338 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

The Birth of a Nation

...The African Americans: The Birth of Equality after 1865 Leonard Stinson HIS204: American History Since 1865 Instructor John Durr December 5th, 2011 The African Americans: The Birth of Equality after 1865 This was a time when America was trying to find herself. These were the years known as the Reconstruction Period from 1865-1877. During this time period, the African-American people became free from slavery but one can only imagine what free really is. While the nation search for ways to establish true meaning of equality, African-American people continued to struggle to find out just what equality means and to have the same rights and freedom as the white people in the nation. Whether as slaves or free people, the political and social status of African Americans has always been to obtain the ability to participate in the nation’s economy. While many historians believe that slavery and politics can be attributed to the Civil War, more than 600,000 Americans died and with the help of the Emancipation Proclamation to start the motion to free the slaves, America became even more a divided country in 1865 than the previous earlier years (Bowles, 2011). Although freedom in the post-Civil War years did not guarantee equality, African Americans continued to struggle from racism, segregation and discrimination for many years, but the birth of equality is beginning to grow and show that all men and women are created equal. The effort to......

Words: 3595 - Pages: 15

Free Essay

History in the Birth of a Nation

...History in The Birth of a Nation, D. W. Griffith. Leticia Vázquez Soriano Literatura y cine en países de habla inglesa: interrelación semiótica y narrativa 18th January, 2012 Curso 2011-2012 Index Introduction........................................................ pp. 1 Historical filmic context...................................... pp. 3 History in the film............................................... pp. 4 Use of intertitles...................................... pp. 5 Free interpretation of facts..................... pp. 7 Fiction mixed with reality........................ pp. 8 The film as history............................................... pp. 10 An autonomous language........................ pp. 10 Critical reception......................................pp. 14 The cinema: a mass spectacle.................. pp. 15 Bibliography......................................................... pp. 17 Introduction In this essay I am going to talk about history in The Birth of a Nation by David Wark Griffith. By “history” I mean: the historical filmic context of the film, which was released in 1915. I am going to show how history is represented in the film. We can see some facts that may have been changed in some aspects in order to guide our minds to what the director want us to think. We also find, as a method to support this, the introduction of fictional characters in some much known historical events of the United States. To end with, I am......

Words: 6547 - Pages: 27

Premium Essay

Music in the Birth of a Nation

...1) Describe the three basic types of music heard in original scores during the silent film era and cites specific examples from The Birth of a Nation. (10 points) 1-2 ¶‘s * Adaption is one basic type of music heard during the silent film era. With adaptation you borrow substantial portions of existing music, usually classical, for use in film score. The music should remain largely in tack, although it can be altered or adapted to fit the film. Some examples of adaption can be heard in The Birth of a Nation, one is the use symphony No.6 by Ludwig van Beethoven and another is Ride of the Valkyries by Richard Wagner. The latter serving as a leitmotif for the ride of the KKK. * Arrangement is another basic type of music heard during the silent film era. With arrangement you also borrow music, unlike adaption though, you only borrow melodies, usually well known, and create new accompaniments and arrangement to it. The Birth of a Nation also uses arrangements such as popular southern tunes like “Dixie” and “Maryland, My Maryland”(the same melody as “O Christmas Tree”). * Lastly, original Music was also heard in original score during the silent film era. As the name implies this is music written specifically for the film and is not borrowed from other previously composed music. This type of music is also expressed in The Birth of a Nation. Carl Breil who wrote the score created numerous leitmotifs for characters in the movie such as Elsie’s, a playful tune to......

Words: 381 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Describe the Three Basic Types of Music Heard in Original Scores During the Silent Film Era and Cites Specific Examples from the Birth of a Nation. (10 Points)

...The three basic types of music heard in original scores during the silent film era were adaptations of classics, arrangements of tunes, and newly composed. Adaptations of classics are the borrowing of a substantial portion of an existing composition for use in a film score. The music should remain largely intact and recognizable, although it can be altered or adapted to suit the needs of the film. Arrangements of tunes are a new setting of a previously composed melody. Unlike an adaption, in an arrangement the film composer borrows only the melody and creates a new accomplishment. Newly composed are themes that represent aspect of the story. Themes can be altered to reflect changes in story. Adaptations are among the most prominent adaptations are passages from Weber’s Der Freischutz, Suppe’s Light Calvary Overture, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 (the storm), and Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyrie. The last of these serve as a spirited leitmotif for the ride of the KKK. The arrangements of well-known melodies are used primarily to arouse emotions and set moods. Southern tunes, such as “Dixie,” “Maryland, My Maryland”, and “Old Folks at Home” express stirring patriotism for the South while reminding the viewer of the story’s setting. Other patriotic melodies include “The Star-Spangled Banner”, “America the Beautiful,” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” When the Southerner Cameron seeks refuge in a cabin with the former Union soldiers, their acceptance of each...

Words: 278 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Music and Film

...in original scores during the silent film era and cites specific examples from The Birth of a Nation. (10 points) The three basic types of music heard in original scores during the silent film era are adaption, arrangement, and original music. Adaption follows the strategy of borrowing pieces of existing music. The pieces do maintain majority of their original structure, but may be tweaked to the fit the film better. “Symphony No. 6”, by Ludwig Van Beethoven, is a great illustration of this in Birth of a Nation. The second type of music, arrangement, also follows the strategy of borrowed pieces, however it only uses the melody of the track. The melody is then altered with new accompaniments and arrangements. The Birth of a Nation shows this idea through “Maryland, My Maryland”, which utilizes the same melody as “O Christmas Tree”. Finally, original music was used, consisting of pieces written specifically for the film. Carl Breil, the score composer for Birth of a Nation, demonstrates this type of music through many leitmotifs paired with certain characters throughout the movie. For example, Elsie’s joyous and naïve tune. With adaptation you borrow substantial portions of existing music, usually classical, for use in film score. The music should remain largely in tack, although it can be altered or adapted to fit the film. Some examples of adaption can be heard in The Birth of a Nation, one is the use symphony No.6 by Ludwig van Beethoven and another is Ride of the......

Words: 517 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Demographic Transition and Environmental Timeline of Germany

...the process by which a nation/country moves from high birth rate and high death rates to low birth and low death rates as the growth population in the interim (Weeks, 2005). Some of the nations that have gone through this transitions are; Canada, Germany, United States and England. The demographic transition to an industrialized society is harmful to the environment. Industrialized countries also have the largest ecological and carbon footprint comparative to developing/non-industrialized nations. Nevertheless, demographic transitions have some notable advantages. Countries that have gone through demographic transitions have low birth and death rates. Citizens in industrialized nations have fewer children thus it is easier to control the population size (Dyson, 2010). The following is the demographic and environmental timeline of Germany between 1800 to date. STAGE YEAR SITUATION IN THE COUNTRY Stage 1 1800 Major Historical Changes: The country is resisting Napoleon, who wants to take control of Germany and cities such as Austria. Prussia provides military education to its military before it defeats Austria and France in the war. The country is under Ottoman Bismarck who improves it by introducing Liberal measures and welfare policies such as insurance for workers against illness and accidents. Changing Population Size: There is a decrease in population due to such wars between Napoleon and other cities, Prussia and France, Prussia and Austria. Birth and Death Rates:......

Words: 897 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Overpopulation, Population Control and Public Policy

...The population explosion in the last one hundred years is a well-documented, and well-examined subject matter. All sorts of agencies have devoted time and resources to studying, problematizing, and strategizing in order to deal with the threat of overpopulation. Diverse groups, including the United Nations, have developed plans to encourage population control and decreased fertility rates. I will not go into the specifics of these plans here, as I will be examining them in detail in my presentation next week. However, I will say that population control in Third World nations have become an essential component of public policy, and have taken on many forms around the world. However, it seems possible that we are all jumping the gun. What if the population explosion is a self-correcting problem? There is some evidence that global fertility rates are naturally declining, even in areas without family planning and population control. Could the improved health and education in many countries be achieving this goal without specific population control measures? Or else, are changes in the environment simply lowering human’s fertility? In addition, some people argue that it doesn’t matter how whether the population is exploding. There are those proponents of the “tech-fix,” who believe that human ingenuity is capable of dealing with any human population, and therefore the population explosion is not a problem. Malthusians are faced with many opponents in the modern day, and it does......

Words: 1222 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Germany Demographics and Environmental Timeline

...Transition is a model that describes population change over time. Most nations have already been through this transition including England, Canada and the US. The transition to an industrialized society can be harmful to the environment since industrialized societies create pollutants and consume natural resources from forests to fossil fuels. When compared to non-industrialized countries industrialized nations have a much larger carbon footprint. In industrialized nations there tends to be fewer children born and more control in population growth. The following is the demographic and environmental timeline of Germany between 1800 to date. |STAGE |YEAR |SITUATION IN THE COUNTRY | |Stage 1 |1800 |Historical Changes: Germany is in conflict with France. The Prussian Reform Movement undertakes | | | |Educational and military reforms. | | | |Population Changes: The population decreased as a result of the war during this period. Napoleon | | | |threatens Germany as he attempts conquer the world. | | | |Birth and Death: Birth rates are low while the death rates are high due to......

Words: 839 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Seva

...and safeguarding your information. SSC employs reasonable administrative and technical measures to ensure the security of personal information. DEMOGRAPHICS ____________________________________ ____________________________________ Last Name First Name ___________/___________/___________ Date of Birth (dd/mm/yy) Gender: Male Female Transgender Marital Status: Single Common-law Separated Married Divorced Widowed _______________________________________________________|__________________ Street Address Postal Code Housing Status: Band Owned Own Home With Family/Friends Emergency Shelter Private Rental Youth Home The Street Social Housing (subsidized/co-op/non-profit) __________________________________ ( )________________________ E-mail Phone Languages Spoken At Home (please circle all that apply) English French Urdu Polish Punjabi Arabic Chinese Spanish Mandarin Cantonese Tagalog Portuguese Gujarati Tamil Hindi Vietnamese Italian Ukrainian German Russian Malayalam Hungarian Other: ____________________________ Ethnicity: Visible Minority Metis N/A First Nations Inuit Self-Identifies As: Veteran In Canada 10 years or less Person With a Disability Post-Secondary Student N/A How did you hear about Seva Food Bank? _____________________________________________ HOUSEHOLD MEMBER INFO (Please complete for each person in the household) Household Size: ......

Words: 639 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

How Do Societies Deal with Growing Numbers?/ Carl

...and environmental impact How do societies deal with growing numbers? 1. Demography: the study of population size and composition 2. Fertility: number of births in a population 3. Mortality: number of deaths in a population 4. Migration: movement of people from one area to another 5. Immigration: number of people who enter a nation-state 6. Emigration: number of people who leave a nation-state 7. Predict population numbers using RNI ( crude birth rate- crude death rate) and doubling time ( number of years it takes for a population to double) 8. Theories: a. Malthusian Theory: population will one day exceed amount of food available b. Demographic Transition Theory: societies that move from agrarian to industrial go through four stages of development, eventually controlling their fertility c. Predict food shortage, global warming, and overpopulation 9. Population control programs: nations promote births with tax breaks and other incentives to increase population ( pro-natalist), or promote birth control to keep population down ( antinatalist) 10. Crude Birth rate: number of births for every 1000 people each year 11. Age-specific birth rate: the number of births for every 1000 women in a specific age group. 12. Total fertility rate: average number of births expected from any women in a population to bear in her lifetime. 13. Zero population growth: is a TFR of two, meaning that each woman has two children......

Words: 599 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

The Impacts of Population Growth

...rate at which population is increasing is a global concern. Economist and demographer Thomas Malthus voices that population will naturally exceed its resources and then famine, war, and disease will put a check on its growth (Malthus, 1798). In the face of these concerns, various states are formulating and implementing policies to control their population growth in order to achieve socioeconomic sustainability and ensure a better quality of life for future generations. “Population is determined by the interplay of two factors. One is the birth rate, or the number or people being born, and the other is death rate, or the number who die. The difference between the two is called the rate of natural increase” (Stefoff, 1993). The rate of natural increase accelerated over the centuries due to industrialization that improved health care and food supplies in developing nations, therefore the birth rates increased in these nations while their death rates decreased. The demographic transition model proposes that birthrates will...

Words: 1124 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Bio 103 Module 53 Human Impact Quiz

...unpredictable way over time and from place to place, sometimes leading to extreme weather events. Question 3 Points: 0 out of 10 Which two activities are the main human activities that have led to increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2)? • livestock production and rice paddy agriculture • breathing and decomposition • fertilizer use and natural gas extraction • burning fossil fuels and clearing forests Question 4 Points: 10 out of 10 Human activities are the only factors that can influence the Earth’s climate. • True • False Question 5 Points: 0 out of 10 Which best describes current trends and the likely future of the global economy in the next few decades? • Continued fast growth in populous developing nations like China and India, resulting in a major increase in overall affluence and consumption levels worldwide. • Continued growth in resource consumption fueled by growth that will be the fastest in developed high-income regions such as the United States, European Union, and Japan. • Technological changes in higher-income regions such as the United States, European Union, and Japan that will greatly increase our total environmental impact and our reliance on fossil fuels. Question 6 Points: 10 out of 10 Which system of...

Words: 702 - Pages: 3