Unit 2
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Unit 2. A Growing Nation American Renaissance 1800-1870. 1870. Industrialism, population growth, economic changes, and the Civil War had aged a youthful nation’s spirit, but also gave way to great American writers like Irving, Poe, Emerson, Thoreau, Dickinson, and Whitman.

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Unit 2

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Unit 2

Unit 2

A Growing Nation

American Renaissance

1800-1870


Unit 2

1870

  • Industrialism, population growth, economic changes, and the Civil War had aged a youthful nation’s spirit, but also gave way to great American writers like Irving, Poe, Emerson, Thoreau, Dickinson, and Whitman


19 th century american inventions

19th Century American inventions

  • 1807 – Steamboat

  • 1814 – Iron-tipped plow

  • 1835 – Sewing Machine

  • 1845 – Porcelain false teeth

  • 1857 – Passenger elevator

  • 1863 – Roller skates

  • 1863 - Typewriter


The american renaissance

The American Renaissance

  • The European Renaissance was the rebirth of classical art and learning in the 14th-16th Centuries

  • The American Renaissance was NOT a rebirth but more of a flowering or growing of literary and cultural maturity

    • Capital moved to Washington, D.C. from Philly

    • Library of Congress founded


Steam steel and spirit

Steam, Steel, and Spirit

  • Physical and technological growth

  • 1803 – Louisiana Purchase doubled nation’s size

    • National pride and self-awareness

    • Canals, turnpikes, and railroads expanded

  • 1849 – Gold Rush in California

  • Factories and Industry in the Northeast created jobs

    • Steel plow and telegraph


Slow march of democracy

Slow March of Democracy

  • 1828 – Andrew Jackson – the People’s President

    • No land ownership required to vote

    • Women still not permitted to vote

  • 1838 – Trail of Tears forces many Native Americans west as their tribal lands were confiscated


World stage

World Stage

  • 1812 – War of 1812 convinced Europe that the US was on the world Stage

  • 1823 – Monroe Doctrine warns Europe not to interfere with Latin America

  • 1830s – Conflict with Mexico over Texas

  • 1845 – Texas joins Union (Florida becomes a state too)

  • 1861 Civil War


Relationship between place and literature

Relationship between Place and Literature

  • Americans inspired by land – size of nation and vast differences in landscapes

  • Americans realized that continent held many commercial possibilities

  • Physical grandeur inspired Americans to reach for vast possibilities

  • Explorers and writers create American Mythology in the vast wilderness and forests


Winds of change

Winds of Change

  • Prosperity brings problems

    • Child Labor

    • Unsafe working conditions

    • Fierce competition

  • Slavery – still a huge issue of contention

    • Builds to Civil War in 1861


Renaissance literature

Renaissance Literature

  • American Classics – writers such as Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, Emerson, Thoreau, and Dickinson

  • American Mythology – writers such as Irving, Cooper and Longfellow


Authors

Authors

  • Poe, Hawthorne, and Melville – dark side of human spirit

  • Emerson and Thoreau – nature

  • Dickinson – local landscape

  • Whitman – self and nation


Literature reflecting society

Literature reflecting society

  • Technology – bigger, better, faster, and stronger – Americans want MORE

  • America is moving towards a different democracy – all WHITE MEN can vote

  • Slavery is a contentious issue

  • Americans still reading British classics like Dickens and Scott, but American authors are gaining ground


Three visions

Three Visions

  • Social – How the New World rivaled the Old World

    • Frontiersman

  • Romantic – exploration of private self was as important as land expansion (imagination over reason)

    • Individualist

  • Transcendental – real truth is outside sensory experience (nature and spiritual merge)

    • Seeker


What makes american literature american

What makes American literature American?

  • Local dialects emerged and local grammar and syntax change as British English, Spanish, French, Dutch, and Native American languages merged

  • Colloquial English becomes common – more informal than stuffy British English

  • “Barbaric Yawp” – Whitman’s style that incorporated all of the languages and dialects of various areas of the country

  • Frontiersmen like Daniel Boone and Davey Crocket become topics of folktales


Romanticism

Romanticism

  • Emphasizes the individual over the institution – Ex. Hester Prynne vs. Church, Captain Ahab vs. logic and safety

  • American myth started with “a city upon a hill” (Boston) and eventually becomes a garden as western expansion makes writers realize there is a vast canvas of possibility

  • Romanticism has two faces

    • Bright and optimistic – humans are fundamentally good

    • Dark and shadowed by evil – humans resort naturally to crime, cruelty, and self-destruction

  • Self-reliance – Thoreau and Emerson urged Americans to trust themselves and think for themselves


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