Whitman’s Democracy Essay, Research Paper

Whitman’s Democracy

“I speak the pass-word primeval, I give the sign of democracy,

By God! I will Accept nothing which all cannot have their counterpart

of on the same terms.”

This is Whitman’s expression of the idea of democracy taken from “Song

of Myself.” In this all encompassing interpretation Whitman says that the

freedom offered by democracy is for all not a chosen few. It included all people,

not renouncing those of other races, creeds, or social standings. Examples of

this acceptance are scattered through many of the poems Whitman wrote.

In his poem “To a Common Prostitute” Whitman wrote: “Not till The sun

excludes you do I exclude you.” He has accepted the women as a prostitute, but

this also conveys Whitman’s ideas of democracy. The notion that all people

should be covered under the cover of freedom. The sun is used as a metaphor for

democracy in this poem, as it should shine upon all equally.

When Whitman discusses the “shunn’d persons” in “Native Moments” he once

again mimics the concepts of democracy with his words. He lets all know that he

embraces the people that others have rejected, as democracy should embrace all.

These people are part of America also, and should be accepted as such. as

democracy should embrace all.

Whitman commends the many people of America in “I Hear America Singing.”

He writes of the mothers, and the carpenters. He says that they all sing their

own song of what belongs to them. In this poem Whitman brings these people from

all backgrounds together as Americans. In the freedom of American democracy

they are allowed to sing of what is theirs.

In these poems Whitman has described those held in the lowest esteem.

He has also described the common man, the mothers, and the soldiers. He speaks

for all these people, liberating them. He has taken them out from the ranks

that society had put them in, and brought them together, glorifying them and

America in the light of democracy.

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