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The Age of Reason. The Revolutionary Period in American Literature 1750-1800. Background: The Age of Reason. By the mid to late 1700’s, the Puritan influence began to wane Time of American Enlightenment Materialists not idealists Reality is perceived by senses

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the age of reason

The Age of Reason

The Revolutionary Period in American Literature

1750-1800

background the age of reason
Background: The Age of Reason
  • By the mid to late 1700’s, the Puritan influence began to wane
  • Time of American Enlightenment
  • Materialists not idealists
  • Reality is perceived by senses
  • God is not present all the time
  • Self-Determinism!
  • Desire to improve life for everyone
the focus on reason
The Focus on “Reason”
  • Definition: The Age of Reason is a movement that was marked by emphasis on rationality rather than tradition, scientific inquiry rather than unquestioning religious dogma, and representative government instead of monarchy.
what s the context
What’s the Context?
  • People come from Europe to American colonies
  • Colonies were NOT HAPPY with situation
troubles with british rule
Troubles with British Rule
  • Defending colonies
  • Stamp Act of 1765
  • Boston Tea Party in 1773
  • Declaration of Independence in 1776
  • British Surrendered on October 19, 1781
characteristics
Characteristics
  • Patriotism grows
  • Instills pride
  • Create a common agreement about issues
  • American character
how does this influence literature
How does this Influence Literature?
  • Nonfiction is far more influential than fiction
  • Most important pieces of literature:
    • Speeches
    • Political Documents
    • Pamphlets
major literature and authors of the time
Major Literature and Authors of the Time

Literature

Authors

Thomas Jefferson

Patrick Henry

Thomas Paine

Benjamin Franklin

Any “Founding Fathers”

  • The Declaration of Independence
  • Patrick Henry’s Speech to the Virginia Convention
  • Thomas Paine’s The Crisis
  • The Federalist Papers
  • Works of Benjamin Franklin
benjamin franklin 1706 1790
Benjamin Franklin 1706-1790
  • Born in Boston in1706
  • No formal education
  • Became a printer's apprentice in his brother's print shop
  • Wrote under “Silence Dogood”
  • At 17 moved to Philadelphia
  • Bought and revitalized The Philadelphia Gazette
political career
Political Career
  • Spokesman for colonies before war
  • Member of 2nd Continental Congress
  • Enlisted support of French during Revolutionary war
  • Helped negotiate The Treaty of Paris
  • Helped draft Declaration of Independence
  • Present of commonwealth of PA
  • Helped draft constitution
franklin s writing career
Franklin’s Writing Career
  • Purpose: to be clear and persuasive
  • Goals as a journalist: fought for human rights, freedom of the press
  • Significant works: The Autobiography, Poor Richard’s Almanac
  • Style: Sophisticated language, moralizing tone, humor
  • Characters: “SlienceDogood”, “Poor Richard,” and Franklin himself
poor richard s almanac
Poor Richard’s Almanac
  • Almanac contained practical information
  • Bestseller
  • Annual publication from 1732-1757
  • Moral messages while entertaining
  • Best known for use of:
    • Maxim: A SHORT saying with a serious moral lesson
    • Aphorism: A SHORT saying with a humorous moral lesson
the autobiography
The Autobiography
  • Wrote the first section in 1771 at age 65
  • Only goes from early life to year 1759
  • Filled with opinions and advice
  • Record of achievement and character
  • First great American success story
slide17

“if you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worthy of reading, or do things worth the reading.

franklin and the american dream
Franklin and the American Dream

Self-deprecating

Good-humored

Hard working

Helpful

Confident

And of course…..HUMBLE

  • Self-made
  • Self-taught
  • Generous
  • Ingenious
  • Thrifty