Democratic Vistas 4 by Walt Whitman p349

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America has yet morally and artistically originated nothing.  She seems singularly unaware that the models of persons, books, manners, etc., appropriate for former conditions and for European lands, are but exiles and exotics here.  No current of her life, as shown on the surfaces of what is authoritatively called her society, accepts or runs into social or aesthetic democracy; but all the currents set squarely against it.  Never, in the old world, was thoroughly upholstered exterior appearance and show, mental and other, built entirely on the idea of caste, and on the sufficiency of mere outside acquisition-- never were glibness, verbal intellect more the test, the emulation-- more loftily elevated as head and sample-- than they are on the surface of our republican States this day.  The writers of a time hint the mottoes of its gods.  The word of the modern, say these voices, is the word Culture.