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American Progress Analysis

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American Progress Analysis
“American Progress”
John Gast’s painting, “American Progress”, illustrates many depictions of the early movement and development of the United States. This particular painting defines uniqueness and character throughout. Looking at it geographically the angel portrayed in the middle is floating westward as though she is exemplifying the Westward Expansion. She has the “Star of Empire” imprinted on her forehead, which better portrays the idea of her trying to move westward. This painting is a great description of our country’s economical progress and expansion. Gast artistically explains the present day United States as nice cities along rivers with big buildings and churches along the right edge of this painting. This scene is also
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When I first looked at this painting it made me think of Manifest Destiny. The angel in the middle attempting to emigrate westward defines the meaning of manifest destiny. Many thought it was God’s belief that the United States would expand from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast. I also felt another tie to my previous assumption when I noticed the star on her forehead. I felt it had great importance so I began to acknowledge her surroundings and I realized it was the “Star of Empire”, which signifies westward movement as well. The star is a bright golden color, almost identical to rays of light being exposed upon new land. She is wearing a long, swaying white robe which is also significant because the color white signifies freedom. Her bright golden, blonde hair also signifies the presence of God to me. Her presence in this painting is not just for beauty but for great importance. I have always felt strongly about the spread of equality throughout our nation, and to me it seems as though she is trying to spread the superior life-style across the United States. The book in her arm represents that she is trying to spread intelligence and the teaching of literacy. It was very rare in the past for many people to be able to both read and write, and with the spread of civilization trying to take place it is very important that she also spread the gift of teaching. I also believe that she is trying to spread the connection of communication throughout the country by carrying the telegraph cord in her other hand. This became a very important facet of our country, because many of the connections and deals made over time would not have been made possible without communication. When I looked more towards the left side of the painting I noticed it was very dark and gloomy. Coincidently that happened to be the way everyone was fleeing, which in my mind represents everyone

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