Realism LITERATURE FROM THE CIVIL WAR ERA
BACKGROUND INFORMATION • The following is a timeline of the important historical events that influenced the Realist Movement in literature. • Please recreate the timeline in your own words to provide context for what we are about to read and experience
BACKGROUND INFORMATION • 1776, July 4 - Declaration of Independence • “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.” • How do we own slaves?
BACKGROUND INFORMATION • 1857 - the Dred Scott Decision • A ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that people of African descent brought into the United States and held as slaves (or their descendants, whether or not they were slaves) were not protected by the Constitution and could never be U.S. citizens. • Provided Supreme Court approval for popular sovereignty.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION • 1858, June 16 – Lincoln Nominated for presidency • “I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.” • Promoted a more collective sovereignty, a United States of America.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION • 1860, November 6 – Lincoln wins presidential election.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION • 1860, December 20 – South Carolina secedes from the Union • Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas all follow over the next 4-6 weeks.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION • 1861, February 9 – The Confederate States of America • Seceded states essentially declare their independence by naming Jefferson Davis as President of the Confederacy. • How can The United States of America have two presidents?
BACKGROUND INFORMATION • 1861, March 4 – Abraham Lincoln is sworn in as the 16th President of the United States of America
BACKGROUND INFORMATION • 1861, April 12 – Civil War Starts • Confederates open fired upon Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION • 1861, April 17 – Virginia secedes from the Union • Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina all follow over the next 5 weeks.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION • 1861, July 4 - Lincoln addresses Congress • He states the war is..."a People's contest...a struggle for maintaining in the world, that form, and substance of government, whose leading object is, to elevate the condition of men..." • The Congress authorizes a call for 500,000 men. • What is ironic about the date of this speech to congress?
BACKGROUND INFORMATION • 1863, January 1 - Emancipation Proclamation • Lincoln orders the freedom of all slaves in territories held by Confederates and emphasizes the enlisting of black soldiers in the Union Army. • The war to preserve the Union now becomes a revolutionary struggle for the abolition of slavery. • What could possibly be his motivation?
BACKGROUND INFORMATION • 1863, March 3 - The U.S. Congress enacts 1st draft • Draft affected male citizens aged 20 to 45, but also exempted those who paid $300 or provided a substitute. • "The blood of a poor man is as precious as that of the wealthy."
BACKGROUND INFORMATION • 1863, November 19 – Gettysburg Address • Lincoln delivers a two minute Gettysburg Address at a ceremony dedicating the Battlefield as a National Cemetery.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION • 1865, January 31 - 13th Amendment approved • The U.S. Congress approves the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, to abolish slavery. The amendment is then submitted to the states for ratification.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION • 1865, April 9 - Gen. Robert E. Lee surrenders • "After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources," Lee tells his troops. • Grant allows Rebel (Confederate) officers to keep their sidearms and permits soldiers to keep horses and mules but the Civil War is essentially over.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION • 1865, April 14 - President Lincoln assassinated • John Wilkes Booth shoots the president in the head, killing him.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION • 1865, May - Remaining Confederate forces surrender • The Nation is reunited as the Civil War ends. • Over 620,000 Americans died in the war, with disease killing twice as many as those lost in battle. 50,000 survivors return home as amputees.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION • 1865, January 31 - 13th Amendment Ratified • Congress amends the Constitution of the United States. • Slavery is abolished. • Does life get better? Consider the loss of leadership, the loss of lives, the loss of livelihood, and the plain loss of war.
WHY THEHISTORY LESSON? • Literature of this time period sought to present the details of actual life in as real of terms as possible, hence the name of the movement, Realism.
What is Realism? • Unlike the Romantics (Transcendentalist and Gothic writers) realist didn’t romanticize life, making it seem more heroic, adventurous, or unusual. • Instead, Realists preferred authenticity, real people, in their real environment, facing their real situations.
What is Realism? • This movement spawned the Naturalist writing of authors like Jack London and Stephen Crane, which pitted Man vs. Nature. • This movement also spawned the Regionalist writing of author like Sarah Orne Jewett, Wila Cather, William Faulkner, and Mark Twain, which presented the distinct culture of an area in their writing. This includes bona fide and credible depictions of speech, customs, beliefs, and history of specific regions of the United States.