Friday, January 24, 2020

Arkansas: A Different State Essay -- American History Essays

Arkansas: A Different State For many people the very mention of the word â€Å"Arkansas† conjures up images that are unflattering and certainly not very complimentary. To suggest that Arkansas is â€Å"a different state† is to guarantee almost immediate agreement from any given audience, but such agreement is usually about the negative aspects of the state instead of the ones making for actual difference. Those negative aspects extend back to the early days of the territory. When Cephas Washburn was on his way to Arkansas in 1819 to serve as a missionary to the Cherokees, he stopped at the present site of Vicksburg, Mississippi, to obtain specific directions to the territory, only to be told that â€Å"the way to get there was wnknown.†1 Other remarks pertaining to Arkansas are even less positive; it was stated that â€Å"Arkansas is not part of the world for which Jesus Christ died,†2 and as late as 1989 one writer was still able to describe Arkansas as â€Å"the least known of the fifty states.†3 One of the most famous publications that helped to give Arkansas a negative image was Thomas W. Jackson’s On A Slow Train Through Arkansas. Published in 1903, this book contained many descriptions about life in the state, including a pitiful account about a traveler who â€Å"stopped at a place where there was one doctor, two shoe makers, and a blacksmith. The doctor killed a man. They didn’t want to be without a doctor, so they hung one of the shoe makers.†4 Jackson’s book helped to convince many readers that people in Arkansas wore no shoes.5 Of the well known national writers to comment about Arkansas, surely H.L. Mencken of the Baltimore Sun was most memorable. In August, 1921, his acid-tipped pen described the state of Arkansas as â€Å"track... ...kansas,† Arkansas Historical Quarterly, XXXVIII (Spring 1979), 63. 7 Ibid., 68. 8 Harry S. Ashmore, Arkansas: A Bicentennial History (New York: W.W. Norton, 1978), xvii. 9 Daniel Pool, What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist — the Facts of Daily Life in 19th Century England (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993), 75. 10 Imogene Wolcott, ed., The New England Yankee Cook Book (New York: Coward-McCann, Inc., 1939), 161. 11 Ibid., xiii. 12 Williams, et al., 9. 13 Francis Parkman, La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West (New York: The New Library of American Literature, 1963), 223. 14 Ibid., 228-229. 15 Ibid., 333. 16 Helen McCully and Eleanor Noderer, eds., The American Heritage Cookbook and Illustrated History of American Eating and Drinking, II (n.p.: American Heritage Publishing, 1964), 537.

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