Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address (1961)

“Understandably proud of this preeminence we yet realize that America’s leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.”

His argument is that in order America’s leadership and prestige in the future, depends not only on its economic and military strength, but also on its foreign policy. At the time, the US was clearly the mightiest of the two ‘superpowers’, in terms of economic and military clout. However, in terms of political influence -the most important factor in winning the Cold War- the capitalist sphere of influence was more or less rivaled by its communist counterpart.

By the time of Eisenhower’s farewell address, the Cold War had developed from a simple clash of ideologies into a full-fledged war of ideologies that had claimed millions of lives. Eisenhower had already witnessed all this: In his presidency he saw the end of the Korean War, the beginning of the Second Indochina War and the erection of the Berlin Wall. In this regard, he undoubtedly acquired a certain level of wisdom in relation to how US foreign policy affects its world position.


“We’ll give them quail prices”

This movie’s message, as the title suggests, is that with industrialization comes blood. This comes not only as a result of the still primitive technology used in the extraction of oil, but also as a result of what industrialization, or better said the prospect of great wealth, can do to people, notably bring out their bad side.

Although after having told his son he was adopted Daniel added “I took you for no other reason than I needed a sweet face to buy land”, I believe he did at one point love him like a son. However, the prospect of great wealth brought out the evil in him. If is fair to say that Daniel Plainveiw embodies capitalism. He has no regard for human life, only the profit that can benefit him. When his son is no longer of use to him, he abandons him. That being said, he does show human emotion and morality when he takes back his son.

“Mr plainview has been generous enough to make a $5000 donation to the church which we are still waiting for”.

Eli underwent a similar transformation. At first he had a good heart, dedicated to living by the book. However, his coming into contact with capitalism in its most callous form which was the oil business, his ego began to take the best of him. It didn’t take long until his personal hatred of Daniel turned him into a manipulative, self-seeking individual. Despite Daniel’s vicious and heartless actions, Eli’s denial (up until the end) as to his town selfishness, paired with his image as representative of the church, renders him no better than Daniel.

At the beginning of the movie both characters appear respectable; Daniel for adopting an orphaned baby, and Eli for being a preacher. However, over the course of the movie they become adversaries, competing over the local population’s control. It is hard to decide which character is worse, as both develop into lying, conniving, self-seeking individuals. Daniel is more violent, while Eli is more hypocritical. One message is clear, capitalism was a contributor in both men’s downfalls.