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It had a considerable influence on American art and


It had a considerable influence on American art and literature, Basically religious, it emphasized the role and importance of the individual conscience, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: It had a considerable influence on American art and

The Early Eighteenth Century American
Romanticism (1820-1865)
America and Utopia from its very beginning the
language of utopia has been used to describe the
American experiment.
  • 1603 For we must consider that we shall be as a
    city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon
    us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God
    in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him
    to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be
    made a story and a by-word through the world
  • 1776 We hold these truths to be self-evident,
    that all men are created equal, that they are
    endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable
    Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and
    the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these
    rights, Governments are instituted among Men,
    deriving their just powers from the consent of
    the governed, (Jefferson 11).
  • 1963 This is our hope. With this faith we
    will be able to transform the jangling discords
    of our nation into a beautiful symphony of
    brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to
    work together, to pray together, to struggle
    together, to go to jail together, to stand up for
    freedom together, knowing that we will be free
    one day (King).
  • 2008 Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a
    hall that still stands across the street, a group
    of men gathered and, with these simple words,
    launched America's improbable experiment in
    democracy. Farmers and scholars statesmen and
    patriots who had traveled across an ocean to
    escape tyranny and persecution finally made real
    their declaration of independence at a
    Philadelphia convention that lasted through the
    spring of 1787 (Obama).

Key Events that Shaped 1820-1865
  • 1820 Missouri Compromise (No slavery in
    Louisiana north of 36 30 except in Missouri)
  • 1823 Monroe Doctrine (Warns all European nations
    not to colonize America)
  • 1830 Indian Removal Act
  • 1831 Trail of Tears
  • 1837 Financial panic and failures of numerous
    banks lead to severe unemployment, which persists
    until the 1840s.
  • 1844 Telegraph invented by Samuel Morse
  • 1846-8 Mexican American War
  • 1848 Seneca Falls Convention (Inaugurates
    campaign for womens rights)
  • 1848-9 California Gold Rush
  • 1857 Dread Scott v Sanford decision (Supreme
    Court denies African Americans Citizenship)
  • 1861-65 Civil War
  • 1863 Emancipation Proclamation

Cultural Issues that Shaped American in the Early
18th Century
  • American Romanticism
  • Industrialization
  • Manifest Destiny
  • Slavery and the Civil War
  • The Woman Question

American Romanticism
  • Both place and time were changed, and I dwelt
    nearer to those parts of the universe and to
    those eras in history which had most attracted
    me. Where I lived was as far off as many a region
    viewed nightly by astronomers. We are wont to
    imagine rare and delectable places in some remote
    and more celestial corner of the system, behind
    the constellation of Cassiopeias Chair, far from
    noise and disturbance. I discovered that my house
    actually had its site in such a withdrawn, but
    forever new and unprofaned part of the universe
    (Thoreau 59).

Some Characteristics of American Romanticism
  • Romantic thinkers emphasize the importance of
    imagination and feeling in reaction to the
    premium placed on reason during the 18th century.
    They believed that the particular and specific
    individual was more important than universal
  • Many Romantics represented the primitive and
    untrammeled over the artificial or developed as
    an aesthetic ideal in their paintings, writing,
    and social theory.
  • The Romantic period is marked by Protestantism in
    political action-stressing above all the Rights
    of Man
  • In Europe and America, Romantic philosophy
    included radical assault on virtually all social
    institutions. Fundamental hierarchies of
    government, notions of sovereignty, once emblems
    of social and literary stability, now exemplified
    the dead hand of the past. (Harpers Ferry is a
    useful example)
  • Many Romantics stressed a hope for the future and
    belief in innate goodness of man and were wary of
    the danger of institutional restraint.
  • Because the Romantic movement included many women
    and former slaves, it stressed a development of
    theory of political rights for those previously

Key Terms in American Romanticism
  • Transcendentalism
  • Pastoral
  • Sublime

  • According to theorist Lawrence Buell the pastoral
    is, in the loose sense of being preoccupied with
    nature and rurality as setting, theme and value
    in contradistinction from society and the
    urbanthe pastoral refers not to the specific
    set of obsolescent conventions of the eclogue
    tradition, but to all literature-poetry or prose,
    fiction or non-fiction-that celebrates the ethos
    of nature/rurality over against the ethos of town
    city. This domain includes for present purposes
    all degrees of rusticity from farm to wilderness

  • A New England movement which flourished from
    1835-60. It had its roots in Romanticism and in
    post-Kantian idealism by which Coleridge was
    influenced. It had a considerable influence on
    American art and literature, Basically religious,
    it emphasized the role and importance of the
    individual conscience, and the value of intuition
    in matters of moral guidance and inspiration. The
    actual terms was coined by opponents of the
    movement but accepted by its members (Ralph Waldo
    Emersion is one of the leaders, published The
    Transcendentalists in 1841). The group were also
    social reformers. Some members, besides Emerson,
    were famous and include Bronson Alcott, Henry
    David Thoreau and Nathaniel Hawthorne (DLLT

  • According to Romantic writers, the sublime
    caused the reader to experience elestasis
    ("transport"). Edmund Burke developed this line
    of thought further in his influential essay, The
    Sublime and the Beautiful (1757). Here, he
    distinguished the sublime from the beautiful by
    suggesting that the sublime was not a stylistic
    quality but the powerful depiction of subjects
    that were vast, obscure, and powerful. These
    sublime topics or subjects evoked "delightful
    horror" in the viewer or reader, a combination of
    terror and amazed pleasure. (DLLT 874).

  • In its most basic form, the Industrial
    Revolution can be defined as the shift in
    manufacturing that resulted from the invention of
    power-driven machinery to replace hand labor.
    Although its origins are hard to pin down
    exactly, the shift in manufacture covers roughly
    1770 to 1840 in both Europe and America.

Characteristics and Implications of the
Industrial Revolution
  • No attempt was made to regulate the shift from
    the old economic world like that of the
    Pilgrims (Mercantile Capitalism) to the new,
    since even liberal reformers were committed to
    the philosophy of Laissez-faire-let do or let
    alone out lined in Adam Smiths Wealth of
  • Under the theory of Laissez-faire, general
    welfare can be ensure only through free operation
    of economic laws, and government should maintain
    a strict policy of noninterference to leave
    manufacturers to pursue, unfettered, their
    private interests
  • For the great majority of the laboring class, the
    results of laissez-faire and the freedom of
    contract it secured were inadequate wages and
    long hours of work under harsh discipline in
    sordid conditions-insurance, laws restricting
    child labor, minimum wage, environmental
    concerns, insurance, etc. did not exist.
  • While conditions for the poor worsened, the
    landed and mercantile class enjoyed prosperity
    owning to the market success.

Manifest Destiny
  • According to the Oxford English Dictionary
    manifest destiny n. (also with capital initials)
    orig. U.S. (now hist.) is the doctrine or belief
    that the expansion of the United States
    throughout the American continents was both
    justified and inevitable. For example John
    OSullivin commented in 1845, Our manifest
    destiny is to overspread the continent allotted
    by Providence for the free development of our
    yearly multiplying millions (OED).

Characteristics and Implications of Manifest
  • The period from 1820 to 1865 saw a dizzying
    growth in the nations population and territorial
    reach increasing urbanization and the expansion
    of railroads, canals, and other forms of
    transportation that allowed for more extensive
    economical forms of distribution.
  • The nations population of approximately four
    million in 1790 jumped to thirty million by 1860,
    in part because of the massive emigration from
    Ireland and elsewhere in Europe that occurred
    during the 1840s and 1850s.
  • Territorial space available to this burgeoning
    population dramatically increased following the
    war with Mexico (1846-48), which added 1.2
    million square miles of land to the 1.8 million
    square miles that the nation held before the war
    this is the area that would become Texas,
    California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and parts of
    New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming.
  • In 1838 the Cherokees were forcibly removed by
    federal troops under General Winfred Scott. They
    were sent on what would be called the Trail of
    Tears to present day Oklahoma. During the winter
    march an estimated 4,000 people of 13,000 died.

Slavery and the Civil War
  • A politics of antislavery has an important place
    in the careers of a number of the American
    Romantic writers. For example, when the Fugitive
    Slave Law of 1850 was enforced in Boston in 1851
    Thoreau publicly delivered the followingSlavery
    and servility have produced no sweet-scented
    flower annually, to charm the senses of men, for
    they have no real life they are merely a
    decaying and a death, offensive to all healthy
    nostrils. We do not complain that they live, but
    that they do not get buried. Let the living bury
    them even they are good for manure (Thoreau).

Characteristics and Implications of Slavery and
the Civil War
  • In 1859 John Browns violent raid on Harpers
    Ferry failed to initiate a slave rebellion in the
    South, but his action was later used during the
    civil war as an example of the holy war against
    slavery that would fulfill the promise of
    freedom guaranteed in the Declaration.
  • While some Romantic Abolitionists advocated the
    need for the Civil War, many, like Ralph Waldo
    Emerson, had little notion of the suffering and
    destruction involved in the conflict that would
    eventually kill over 600,000 Americans before
    Grants surrender to Lee in 1865.
  • While the fourteenth amendment granted former
    slaves the right to Due Process and Equal
    Protection, laws like Dread Scott v. Sanford
    (1857) kept former slaves from being recognized
    as citizens. Instead of a rise in education and
    standard of living for former slaves, the
    post-Civil War era was marked by the resurgence
    of segregationist practices and anti-black
    violence, most notably lynching.

The Woman Question
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton stated in Declaration of
    Sentiments and Resolutions We hold these truths
    to be self-evident that all men and women are
    created equal that they are endowed by their
    Creator with certain inalienable rights that
    among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of
    happiness that to secure these rights
    governments are instituted, deriving their just
    powers from the consent of the governed (Stanton

Characteristics and Implications 19th century
Womens Rights
  • The fact that women had such a significant place
    in urban reform movements is not surprising,
    given that urban reform centered on creating
    homelike, domestically attractive conditions for
    the poor, and that another major reform effort of
    the pre-civil war period centered on womens
  • In 1848, at the first womens rights convention
    in Seneca Falls, New York, Elizabeth Cady
    Stantons resounding Declaration of Sentiments
    invoked Jeffersons Declaration, substituting
    male for British tyrannical authority to show how
    the nations social institutions and legal codes
    mainly severed the interests of Americas white
    male citizenry.
  • That same year , the New York State Legislature,
    in response to critics like Stanton, passed the
    nations most liberalized married womens
    property act, which made it legal for women to
    maintain control over the property they brought
    to the marriage.
  • Although Cady Stanton and Suzan B. Anthony began
    the struggle for national suffrage in the United
    States, national voting rights for American women
    did not exist until the nineteenth amendment was
    ratified in 1920.

Henry David Thoreau
  • His interest in the flower or the bird lay very
    deep in his mind, and was connected with Nature,
    -- and the meaning of Nature was never attempted
    to be defined by him. ... His power of
    observation seemed to indicate additional senses.
    He saw as with a microscope, heard as with an
    ear-trumpet, and his memory was a photographic
    register of all he saw and heard (Emerson).

Characteristics/Background Henry David Thoreau
  • Henry David Thoreau aspired to write great
    literature by adventuring at home, traveling as
    he put it, a good deal in Concord, Massachusetts.
    As travelers tgo around the world and report
    natural objects and phenomena, so let another
    stay at home and report the phenomena of his own
    life (Norton Anthology 825).
  • In 1843, Thoreaus brother John died of lockjaw
    in his arms. His brothers death inspired the
    elegiac A Week on the Concord and Merrimack
    Rivers that he wrote during his stay at Walden
    Pond, and which was initially poorly received.
  • Between 1847 and 1854 Thoreau produced as many as
    seven full revisions of Walden, which was finally
    published in 1854.
  • Thoreau died of Tuberculosis in 1862 at the age
    of 44.
  • Recognition of Thoreau as an important writer was
    slow in coming, but by 1906 he was becoming
    widely recognized as a social philosopher,
    naturalist, and an the author of one of the
    masterpieces of American fiction.
  • In 1906 Mahatma Gandhi read Civil Disobedience,
    and later acknowledged its important influence on
    his thinking about how best to achieve Indian
    independence. Later in the century, Martin Luther
    Luther King Jr. would similarly attest to the
    crucial influence of Thoreau on his adoption of
    nonviolent civil disobedience as a key to the
    Civil Rights Movement in the Untied States.

Walden Pond
  • "Walden Pond Past and Present"
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