A nation is born 1750 1800
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A Nation is Born (1750-1800). Junior English Unit 2. Historical background: The age of reason. Writers valued reason over faith Believed in the power of reason and science to further human progress. Toward a Clash of Arms. Revolution proceeded by French and Indian War

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A Nation is Born (1750-1800)

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A nation is born 1750 1800

A Nation is Born (1750-1800)

Junior English

Unit 2


Historical background the age of reason

Historical background:The age of reason

  • Writers valued reason over faith

  • Believed in the power of reason and science to further human progress


Toward a clash of arms

Toward a Clash of Arms

  • Revolution proceeded by French and Indian War

    • England vs France over control of North America

    • French gave up claims to North American Territory

  • Brittan needed to increase revenue to pay for war debt

    • Stamp Act

      • Colonists forced to buy and affix stamps to 54 items

      • Colonists burned stamp, beat distributers, destroyed shops

    • Act repealed


Other acts

Other Acts

  • Townshend

    • Taxed paper, paint, glass, lead, tea

    • Colonists boycotted

    • Parliament dissolved legislature

    • Boston Massacre

      • British troops fired into mob, killed 5

    • Repealed act


A nation is born 1750 1800

  • Tea Act

    • Continued to tax tea

    • Boston tea party

      • Bostonians dressed as Mohawks dumped tea

  • Coercive Acts/Intolerable Acts

    • Punishment for tea party

    • Shut down port of Boston

    • Forbade meetings other than town meetings

    • British troops could live in homes


First continental congress

First Continental Congress

  • Held in Philadelphia

  • Led to British appointment of Thomas Gage to Governor of Mass.


The shot heard round the world

“The Shot Heard Round the World”

  • 700 British meet 70 militia men

    • Shot fired

    • Sparked fight

    • 8 Americans killed

  • Battle of Bunker Hill

    • 1000 British killed or wounded


2 nd continental congress

2nd Continental Congress

  • Named George Washington commander in chief of official American army


Fall of 1777

Fall of 1777

  • British were surrounded

  • 5700 forced to surrender

  • Governor of France formally recognizes independence of United States


October 19 1781

October 19, 1781

  • General Washington captured 8000 men under Cornwallis

  • British surrender


A new nation

A New Nation

  • Articles of Confederation

    • Establish a “league of friendship”

    • Did not work

  • Constitution

    • Replaced articles

    • Full of compromises

    • Added Bill of Rights for those worried about centralized power


New presidents

New Presidents

  • George Washington

    • Commander in chief during war

  • John Adams

    • Signer of Declaration of Independence

  • Thomas Jefferson

    • Writer of Declaration, hero of enlightenment


Literature of the period a time of crisis

Literature of the period:A time of crisis

  • Writing moves from private to public

  • By war time – 30 newspapers

  • Inauguration of Washington – 40 magazines

  • Almanacs were popular

  • Provided forum of expression

  • Focused on relations with Great Brittan and nature of government

  • Writing of importance focused on politics


Politics as literature

Politics as Literature

  • Writers and speakers reshaped nation and world

    • James Otis

      • Defended colonial rights

      • “taxation without representation is tyranny”

    • Patrick Henry

      • Speech against Stamp Act considered treason

      • Speech at Virginia Convention expressed rising sentiment for independence


A nation is born 1750 1800

  • Thomas Paine

    • Pamphlet Common Sense

    • sold 100,000 copies in 3 months

  • Thomas Jefferson

    • Declaration of Independence

      • Most influential political statement ever made

    • Constitution of the United States

      • Hoped to last for 1 generation

      • Hamilton called it “weak and worthless fabric”


A nation is born 1750 1800

  • Hamilton, Madison, Jay

    • The Federalist Papers

    • Three letters to newspaper to encourage ratification of Constitution

    • Authoritative statements on the principals of American government


The cultural scene

The Cultural Scene

  • Verse began to appear in some newspapers

  • Broadside ballads

    • Single sheet of paper

    • Dealt with current topic

    • “The Dying Redcoat”

      • Written by wounded British sergeant

      • Realizes too late he sympathizes with Americans


A nation is born 1750 1800

  • Philip Freneau

    • “Indian Burial Ground”

      • Earliest American Lyric poet

  • Joel Barlow

    • “The Hasty Pudding”

      • Mock tribute to cornmeal mush

  • Phillis Wheatley

    • Slave in Boston

    • Poems published in England

  • Michel-Guillaume Crevecoeur

    • Owned plantation in New York

    • Letters from an American Farmer

  • Benjamin Franklin

    • Poor Richard’s Almanac

    • Autobiography

      • One of the finest works in all languages


Culture and art

Culture and Art

  • Theatres built

    • Plays pale imitations of dramas in Brittan

    • The Prince of Parthia

      • first play written by an American born author

    • The Contrast

      • Royall Tyler featured Americans in plays

      • Victory of honest Americans over deceitful foreigners

  • Colleges established

  • Painters began to work

  • Music produced

    • William Billings – The New England Psalm-Singer


American literature at day break

American Literature at Day Break

  • Early 1800’s small body of literature

  • No novels or major plays

  • Colonial age ended with narrow volume of memorable literature


Development of american english

Development of American English

  • Noah Webster and the American Language

    • Background

      • General Washington talks with young schoolmaster during 1787 Constitutional Convention

    • America’s Schoolmaster

      • Noah Webster

        • Published The Blue-Backed Speller

        • More widely read than any other book, other than the Bible

    • Webster and the American Dictionary

      • Created first dictionaries

      • Believe United States should have its own version of English

      • Traveled through East and South

    • New words: applesauce, bullfrog, handy


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