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A Growing Nation

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A Growing Nation

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  1. A Growing Nation Unit 4: 19th Century Literature

  2. Historical Background • Several factors aged the nation’s spirit • Industrialism • Population Explosion • Economic Growth • The Civil War • 1800 • 16 states clustered together near the east coast • 1803 • Louisiana Purchase doubled the nation’s size • Orchestrated by Thomas Jefferson

  3. Historical Background • Rapid Population growth inspired national pride and self-awareness • Improved transportation helped bind the old and the new states together • Canals, turnpikes, railroads

  4. The Growth of Democracy at home:1800-1840 • Americans began taking more direct control of their government. • Andrew Jackson • “The People’s President” • Elected in 1828 • Era of the common man • Property requirements for voting began to disappear • Democratic advances were confined to white males • Indian Removal • Forced migration of Native Americans • Trail of Tears- 4,000 of 15,000 Cherokee died on the trek from Georgia to Oklahoma

  5. Young Nation on the world stage • First decades of the 1800s were hopeful • War of 1812 • Convinced Europeans that the United States was on the world stage to stay • Monroe Doctrine of 1812 • President James Monroe warned Europe not to intervene in the new Latin American nations • 1830- conflict over the secession of Texas from Mexico • 1836 Mexican Army attacks the Alamo • Every Texan defender was killed

  6. The Way West • American history moved westward • New territories opened up, transportation improved • All 13 original states were on the eastern seaboard, blocked in by mountain barriers • Transportation was steadily changing and improving • 1825- The Erie Canal • 1850- The Iron Horse • By 1869 rail lines linked the east and west coasts

  7. Advances in Technology • Spurred Social Change • Factories sprang up around the Northeast • Steel plow and reaper encouraged frontier settlement • Made farming practical on the grasslands • Telegraph facilitated communication across great distances • Inventor Samuel F. B. Morse

  8. Lead up to War • New prosperity led to fierce competition • Child labor • Unsafe working conditions • Limited rights for women • Slavery divided the nation • Conflicts between abolitionists and advocates of states’ rights • Culmination of 250 years of tension • The War of 1861

  9. Literature! • American literature was coming of age • American writers were not widely read before this period • The American voice was developing • Personal • Idiosyncratic • Bold • The quest of the individual to define him or herself

  10. Romanticism • Artistic movement • Not necessarily about love • Elevated the imagination over reason and intuition over fact • Washington Irving • First American to be widely read overseas • Romantics • Reveled in nature • Preferred nature over civilization • Accented the fantastic aspects of human experience

  11. Transcendentalism • Remarkably difficult to define • “The understanding a person gains intuitively because it lies beyond direct experience.” – Immanuel Kant • Core belief emphasizes the inherent goodness of both man and nature • References many historical thinkers • Plato, Pascal, Swedenborg, Buddhism • Philosophy, religion, and literature merged producing a blend that was romantic, intuitive, mystical, and easier to recognize than explain • The real truths, the most fundamental truths lie outside the experience of the senses

  12. The dark side of transcendentalism • Not everyone shared in the optimistic views of Transcendentalism • Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville • Expressed the darker vision of those who “burrowed into the depths of our common nature” and found the area not always shimmering, but often dusky. • Hawthorne held onto guilt about Puritan heritage • Both men saw human life in grim terms, but they were not identical. • Hawthorne was stable and shrewd. • Melville was tortured and at odds with the world.

  13. Gothic literature • Literary Genre • The story is set in bleak or remote places • The plot involves macabre or violent incidents • Characters are in psychological and/or physical torment • A supernatural or otherworldly element is often present • Poe, Irving, Hawthorne