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American Romanticism. The Age of Reason or The Enlightenment. Founded on Deism Logic Inalienable rights. It also brought Industrialization, growth of cities, and factories American expansion (Lewis and Clark and Manifest Destiny) More encounters with Native Americans.

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the age of reason or the enlightenment
The Age of Reason or The Enlightenment

Founded on

  • Deism
  • Logic
  • Inalienable rights

It also brought

  • Industrialization, growth of cities, and factories
  • American expansion (Lewis and Clark and Manifest Destiny)
  • More encounters with Native Americans

Albert Bierstadt

romanticism a reaction to the age of reason
Romanticism: a reaction to the Age of Reason


Age of Reason

  • Realism
  • Patrician Classicism
  • Dominion over the Native American
  • Logic, always facts to counter fear and doubt
  • Idealism/Utopia
  • Glorification of the common man
  • Recognition of the nobility of the primitive – the “noble savage”
  • Imagination to engender faith and hope
characteristics of romanticism
Characteristics of Romanticism
  • Contemplating natures beauty is the path to spiritual and moral development.
  • Values feeling and intuition over reason
  • Looks backward to the wisdom of the past, shuns progress
the city was a place of
The City was a Place of . . .
  • The Rationalists saw the city as a place of industry, success, self realization, and civilization.
  • The Romantics saw the city as a place of poor work conditions, moral ambiguity, corruption, and death.
the journey
The Journey

Romanticism was often seen as a journey.

  • The journey from the city to the country
  • The journey from rational thought to the imagination
the fireside poets
The Fireside Poets

The Most Popular American Poets of Their Time

John Greenleaf Whittier, William Cullen Bryant, James Lowell, Oliver Wendell Holmes

  • Their poems were often read aloud at the fireside as family entertainment.
  • Themes: love, patriotism, nature, family, and religion
  • It is poetry that seeks a higher truth from the natural world.

The Fireside poets were the first group of American poets to rival British poets in popularity in either country.

  • -American Novel - The Romantic Hero
  • Youthful
  • Pure of Purpose
  • Sense of Honor – not based on society’s rules but a higher principle
  • Intuitive Understanding (not formal learning)
  • Loves nature and avoids town life
  • Quests for higher truth in the natural world
  • Modern day examples: Superman, Luke Skywalker, Indiana Jones

-American Novelists looked to westward expansion and the frontier for inspiration creating a break with European tradition.

***Folktales by regional writers offered glimpse of the supernatural