The American Renaissance (1800 – 1870)

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The American Renaissance (1800 1870). European Renaissance (rebirth of arts and learning): 14 th , 15 th ,and 1 6 th century American Renaissance (not a rebirth but a first flowering): first half of 19 th century) Two major events: 1. capital moved to Washington, D.C. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


The American Renaissance (1800 1870)

The American Renaissance(1800 1870)European Renaissance (rebirth of arts and learning): 14th, 15th,and 16th centuryAmerican Renaissance (not a rebirth but a first flowering): first half of 19th century)Two major events: 1. capital moved to Washington, D.C.2. foundation of the Library of Congress (first cultural institution in the capital)

EventsThomas Jefferson Louisiana Purchase of 1803 (doubled the territory of the US)Improved transportation: canals, turnpikes, railroads, steamboatsCalifornia became US territory (1848)Gold Rush of 1849New industries, new kinds of jobs (more productive farming)Telegraph improved communication across the US

Politics1828 Andrew Jackson - The Peoples PresidentThe era of the common man no more property requirement for votingOnly white males allowed to voteLittle attention paid to women African-Americans still enslavedNative Americans tribal lands confiscated; forced to move to the WestTexas becomes territory of the US (1845)Conflict over slavery leads to civil warWhat is the relationship between place (property) and literature?Vast land: open prairies in the Midwestdeserts in the SEimmense forests in the NWgreat canyons and mountains in the WOceans on both sidesCountless natural resources

(Cont.)Spirit of acquisition, pride of ownershipExploration led to exploitation Limitless possibilities

Literature:Explorers recorded facts of their expeditions in colorful words and drawingsFiction writers (Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper) - created an American mythology by setting stories in forests and towns of the American landscapeHenry Wadsworth Longfellow narrative poems : colonial Americans, Native Americans, and Revolutionary War heroes within the American wilderness

The American MastersEdgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville dark side of wilderness

Transcendentalists:Ralph Emerson & Henry D. Thoreau emphasized natures sublimity

How does literature shape or reflect society?Harriet Beecher Stowe - antislavery novel Uncle Toms Cabin (national and international phenomenon)

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow best-selling poet in the English language

What did the American writers want to achieve?(What is their purpose for writing?)

The social vision: Lectures, essays, speeches, debates, pamphlets, editorials, songs womens rights, slavery, treatment of the Native Americans, land use, immigration, trade, taxes

Americans to define their own self

(cont.)The Romantic vision:Directly in contrast to the Age of ReasonWhile rationalists saw the move to the big city a move toward success, romantics saw it as a place of moral decay, corruption, and deathIndividual freedomIndividual quest for self-discoveryNatures beauty as a path to spiritual and moral developmentJourney led to the countrysideYouthful innocence vs. sophisticated education

Is of Romanticismintuitionimaginationinnocenceinspiration from supernatural and from natureinner experience

A Transcendental Vision:Thoreau and Emerson - 1830s and 1840s Individual - center of the universe, more powerful than any political or religious institutionThoreaus Walden


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