Captain James Smith was an English soldier, explorer, and author. He played a crucial role in the establishment of Jamestown, which was the first English settlement in Northern America. He was also a leader of the Virginia Colony, which was based at the Jamestown settlement. His books and maps are considered to be of extreme importance to the English in colonization of the new world. From his biographies, a lot is viewed about the leadership that used to exist in America before in comparison to the current society. The biography of James Smith outlines the issues affecting the community, ways in which they can be combated and the required personalities and attributes that are necessary to ensure that such issues are settled.
According to the biography, some of the pervading ideas brought to light address the following named and discussed issues;
To begin with is the theme ambition or adventure. This thematic issue is clearly explained in paragraph three that despite the fact that the death of his father opened opportunity for him to inherit a lot, he always opted to leave a more adventurous life abroad. In paragraph four, Smith seemed to have developed an interest to colonize the new world.
Secondly, Religion is another theme that is recurrent in the text but it is shown in the second paragraph. It usually comes out as a result of a particular firm belief that is accepted and considered legal in the society. In this case, baptism indicates the presence of religion. For example, Smith was baptized in Willoughby in England by Alford. The society, therefore, had a specific way of life that they appreciated.
Another third outstanding issue is Leadership. It refers to ability to influence peoples decisions and action. According to the fourth paragraph, from a group of a hundred and forty-four colonists, seven are made to be the councilors, Captain Smith being one of them. This indicates that there is an influential power that was seen in him that could persuade and even make people follow him. In paragraph five, after the death of the two-thirds of the colonist and the seven councilors identified to be ineffective, Captain Smith stepped forward and became the overall leader of the colony. His influential power made him lead his colony to the interior where they traded corn with the Indians before they were captured. In the second last paragraph, Smith is portrayed as a leader of the Settlement who pressured Powhatan to provide corn for the colonialist and also threatened to banish the colonialist who was unwilling to work. He used to state publicly that he, who shall not work, shall not eat. Placing the needs of his people before his made him become a good leader.
Perseverance is the fourth theme, and it refers to the act of not giving up despite the difficulties that may come one's way. The strength in character and determination demonstrated by colonialists enabled them to survive the hostile Indians, troublesome and uncooperative settlers. Diseases and malnutrition were among the challenges they faced. Smith also taught the settlers how to cultivate so as to evade the problem of malnutrition together with hunger. Despite the fact that they were dying and suffering their character through their leader made them survive until the time when Captain Newport returned to Jamestown.
The fifth theme is that of death. It presents itself as something expected in the past and consequently had minimal pain. The father of Captain Smith dies before Smith fought for the Dutch independence, two- third of the colonialists and those captured with Smith also happened to be killed, but that went without any follow-up. After the rescue of Smith, he happened to kill brother to Pashas wife with a motive of achieving complete freedom and also went unpunished.
From the above discussions about the literature, there is much difference that can be observed in comparison to what is happening in the current society. All the recurrent issues are very relevant, but the challenge only comes in how people respond towards those issues. About the above-discussed themes, these are some of the ways through which they are reflected in the American society today.
When it comes to the issues of ambitions and adventure, the current American society views it differently. Today, once the young stars have received an inheritance from their parents, they tend not to aim high as they feel contented. This is exactly the opposite of how Captain Smith perceived the issue.
The theme of religion is very broad in the current American society compared to how it was in past. Today, there are so many religions with different practices and beliefs than ancient times. The issue of Baptism is very different in how it is performed and viewed today compared to the past when the religions were very few.
Leadership is a very critical issue in the current American society. Comparing how leadership existed based on the biography, Smith is seen to be placing the issues of the colonialist before his interest and that makes him a good leader. Today it is clear that not all leaders can risk their life and ambitions for the sake of the citizens but instead engage in activities that they equally benefit. Also to this, in the past, leaders used to create orders without consulting the people whom they are leading but today before any law is amended, public opinion is usually considered.
Furthermore, issues such as malnutrition and diseases that used to exist before are nowadays becoming extinct. The reason is that with the current advancement in agricultural technology, the level of production has grown to the large scale. There are also enough and equipped medical institutions having qualified doctors, and therefore issues of death are very rare compared to the past.
Finally, the theme of death which was pervading in the past is not common in America today. As illustrated in the biography many murders were committed but there was no authority to arrest the culprits. Today, death issue is common, and no one is in a position to escape once he/she has committed such a crime as the American Government does not treat it lightly.
In conclusion, the society that existed in the past practiced many things differently in comparison to what occurs today. The primary cause of such a significant difference is due to parity in the level of technology that existed before and today. The leadership structure also played a role. There is a greater change making the current society better. Some other factors though such as the spirit of adventure and need to become self-actualized in our areas of interest are lacking.
Smith John, the complete works of Captain John Smith Edited by Philip Barbour, Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina press, 1986. Print.
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