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American Romanticism 1800–1860. Feature Menu. Interactive Time Line Milestone: Rise of American Romanticism Milestone: The Louisiana Purchase Milestone: Education and Reform Milestone: Transcendental Influence Milestone: The Gold Rush Milestone: The Slavery Issue What Have You Learned?.

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american romanticism 1800 1860
American Romanticism1800–1860

Feature Menu

Interactive Time Line

Milestone: Rise of American Romanticism

Milestone: The Louisiana Purchase

Milestone: Education and Reform

Milestone: Transcendental Influence

Milestone: The Gold Rush

Milestone: The Slavery Issue

What Have You Learned?

american romanticism 1800 18601
American Romanticism1800–1860

Choose a link on the time line to go to a milestone.


Rise of American Romanticism


Transcendental Influence


The Slavery Issue






Lyceum Movement


The Louisiana Purchase


The Gold Rush

rise of american romanticism
Rise of American Romanticism

Reaction Against Rationalism

  • Cities filled with poor living conditions and disease
  • Value placed on nature and exotic settings
  • Characteristic Romantic journey to the countryside, away from city
rise of american romanticism1
Rise of American Romanticism

Romantic Escapism

  • Valued feelings and intuition over reason
  • Found beauty in exotic locales and supernatural
  • Poetry highest expression of imagination
rise of american romanticism2
Rise of American Romanticism

Fireside Poets

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

John Greenleaf Whittier

  • Wrote about American settings and subject matter using traditional styles and forms
  • Very popular—families read their poems at family firesides for entertainment

Oliver Wendell Holmes

James Russell Lowell

rise of american romanticism3
Rise of American Romanticism

Romantic Heroes

  • Frontier life idealized in novels
  • Typical Romantic hero youthful, innocent intuitive, close to nature
  • James Fenimore Cooper’s Natty Bumppo is the first American heroic figure
the louisiana purchase
The Louisiana Purchase

Westward Expansion

The United States

  • gained all land between Mississippi River and Rocky Mountains
  • paid about four cents an acre for the land
  • immediately doubled in size

Louisiana Purchase

“Oh Susanna! Polka”

the louisiana purchase1
The Louisiana Purchase

Westward Expansion

  • Louisiana purchase launched 100 years of westward expansion.
  • President Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark to explore western territory.
  • More people moved into frontier areas.
education and reform
Education and Reform

The Lyceum Movement

  • Original Lyceum founded in Greece in 335 B.C.
  • American movement founded in Massachusetts
  • Sought to teach adults, train teachers, and institute social reforms
education and reform1
Education and Reform

The Lyceum Movement

  • People went to lyceums for lectures.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of the most popular speakers.
  • Lyceums led to new ways of thinking and the establishment of museums and libraries.

Emerson lecturing in Concord, Massachusetts

education and reform2
Education and Reform

Other Reform Movements

  • Dorothea Dix worked to help mentally ill people.
  • Horace Mann worked to improve public education.

Dorothea Dix

Horace Mann

  • Abolitionists worked to end slavery.
  • Feminists campaigned for women’s rights
transcendental influence
Transcendental Influence

True Reality Is Spiritual

  • Everything, including humans, is a reflection of Divine Soul.
  • Physical facts of natural world are a doorway to spiritual world.
  • Intuition allows people to behold God’s spirit revealed in nature or in their own souls.
  • Spontaneous feelings are superior to intellectualism and rationality.
transcendental influence1
Transcendental Influence

Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Combined beliefs from Europe and Asia with Puritan, revival, and Romantic traditions
  • Published important essays such as “Self-Reliance” and “The Over-Soul”
  • Had an extremely optimistic view of the world and nature
  • Optimism appealed to people living in period of economic downturn, strife, and conflict
transcendental influence2
Transcendental Influence

Dark Romantics

  • Shared many beliefs with the Transcendentalists
  • Explored conflict between good and evil and the effects of guilt and sin

Herman Melville

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Edgar Allan Poe

the gold rush
The Gold Rush

The Rush West

  • Gold was discovered in Sutter’s Mill, California.
  • Tens of thousands traveled west, hoping for wealth.
  • New towns and cities were founded along routes to California and near mining sites.
the gold rush1
The Gold Rush

New Frontiers

  • Journey to California long and dangerous
  • Led to new settlements along the land route and west coast
  • Led to building of the transcontinental railroad
the slavery issue
The Slavery Issue

A Nation Divided

  • Missouri Compromise barred slavery west of Missouri.
  • Compromise was overturned by Kansas-Nebraska Act, which
  • opened territories to slavery
  • led to violence in Kansas and to the founding of the antislavery Republican Party
the slavery issue1
The Slavery Issue

A Nation Divided

  • Dred Scott decision denied Congress right to prohibit slavery in territories.

Dred Scott

  • John Brown’s raid at Harpers Ferry led to more violence.

Burning of Harper’s Ferry

John Brown

what have you learned
What Have You Learned?

Indicate whether the following statements refer to the time before,during, or after the Gold Rush.

______ Novelists popularize the American Romantic hero.

______ Western New York represents frontier of the country.

______ The first transcontinental railroad is built.

______ Education reform begins in Massachusetts.