THE AGE OF REASON. THE REVOLUTIONARY PERIOD. Science in the New World. The invasion of smallpox Cotton Mather, the great Puritan minister and historian, vs. Dr. William Douglass and the medical community. An American Pattern: Thought in Action.
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THE REVOLUTIONARY PERIOD
minister and historian, vs.
Dr. William Douglass and the
American character often existed side by side.
necessity in America.
As Michel Guillaume Jean de Crèvecoeur wrote in his classic Letters from an American Farmer (1782), the American pioneer farmer “finds himself suddenly deprived of the assistance of friends, neighbors, tradesmen, and of all those inferior links which make a well-established society so beautiful and pleasing. He and his family are now alone. On their courage, perseverance, and skill their success depends.”
rationalist philosophers and scientists of the seventeenth century.
rather than by relying on the authority of the past, on religious faith, or on
“I never doubted the existence of the deity, that He made the world, and governed it with His providence; that the most acceptable service of God was the doing good to man; that our souls are immortal; and that all crime will be punished and virtue rewarded either here or hereafter; these I esteemed the essentials of every religion, and being to be found in all the religions we had in our country I respected them all.”
“What then is the American, this new man? . . . He is an American, who, leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds. He becomes an American by being received in the broad lap of our great Alma Mater. Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men, whose labors and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world. Americans are the western pilgrims, who are carrying along with them that great mass of arts, sciences, vigor, and industry which began long since in the east; they will finish the great circle.”
Anderson, Robert, et al. Elements of Literature. Fifth Course. Literature of the United States. Austin: Holt, Rinhart and Winston, Inc., 1989.