Pioneers! O Pioneers!
by Walt Whitman
Pioneers! O Pioneers! Visions of America Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Line)
Have the elder races halted?
Do they droop and end their lesson, wearied over there beyond the seas?
We take up the task eternal, and the burden and the lesson,
Pioneers! O pioneers! (13-16)
Our speaker seems to see America as picking up a task that's been left off by other countries or civilizations. It's like they've done their part, and now it's America's turn to pick up the torch. And the use of the word "elder" to describe the others tells us that our speaker sees Americans as the youth, the next generation.
All the past we leave behind,
We debouch upon a newer mightier world, varied world,
Fresh and strong the world we seize, world of labor and the march, (17-19)
Part of this project of America seems to be to create a newer, more diverse world. The diversity of its geography (and its people, presumably) is part of the appeal for our speaker. And the new, American world, our speaker tells us, is built on hard work, which is also a good thing in his book.
From Nebraska, from Arkansas,
Central inland race are we, from Missouri, with the continental blood intervein'd,
All the hands of comrades clasping, all the Southern, all the Northern, (33-35)
You want diversity? Oh he'll give you diversity. Nebraska, Arkansas, Missouri, Southern, Northern. Even as he's mentioning the different states, though, he presents Americans in this image of unity. They have hands clasped. They are a single, American people, who share the same "continental blood," no matter which part of the country they come from.