Distortions of the Daniel Boone Legend and Their Impact Essay

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Distortions of the Daniel Boone Legend and Their Impact [1] The silent film, With Daniel Boone Thru the Wilderness, was produced in 1926: a time of prosperity, an era without the skepticism of the modern American mind. People were not yet questioning the stories and histories they had been taught as children. The entertaining story told in this Robert North Bradbury film is loosely based on the life of an American hero. However, the presence of several insidiously inaccurate historical representations demonstrates how an entertaining film might not be as innocent as it initially seems. This film fails to question certain key issues concerning the Daniel Boone legend. In fact, it does quite the opposite. The creators of this…show more content…
What is going on here? [3] Perhaps the answer lies within a series of other, more precise questions. Who was the “real” Daniel Boone? Why was this person chosen over other similar frontiersmen by early hagiographers to be the next American hero? Who distorted the story of Boone’s life and why? What societal factors went into the making of the Boone legend? Why was this legend still immensely popular in the 20th century? How did With Daniel Boone Thru the Wilderness represent, or misrepresent, the story of Daniel Boone, and why is that important? What does all of this mean to Americans today as this nation continues to redefine itself in the early years of the new millennium? [4] That is a lot to consider, but with good cause. Only by asking the tough questions and demanding accountability can a nation hope to correct its past wrongs, learn from its mistakes, and prevent similar injustices from occurring again. This process must begin by taking a new, more responsible look at history. Only when the “facts” are gathered from every possible perspective can one begin to truly comprehend history and its importance. What, then, are the “facts” behind the Daniel Boone legend? (To learn more about Daniel Boone’s life, click here to visit the Historical Context page) [5] Boone was indeed an early American frontiersman and explorer. During Boone’s life and continuing long after his death, several authors published “authentic

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