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American Literature 1830 - 1865

by: Lisa Slysz

American Literature 1830 - 1865 EH 220

Marketplace > Brenau University > ENGLISH (ENG) > EH 220 > American Literature 1830 1865
Lisa Slysz

GPA 3.13
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About this Document

These notes go over the Introduction to the section of American Literature that covers 1830 to 1865.
American Literature before 1865
Dr. Kathryn Locey
Class Notes
Second, great, Awakening, ralph waldo emerson




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Lisa Slysz on Monday October 17, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to EH 220 at Brenau University taught by Dr. Kathryn Locey in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 4 views. For similar materials see American Literature before 1865 in ENGLISH (ENG) at Brenau University.


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Date Created: 10/17/16
Important People Important Works Important Events Introduction (p. 708 – 725) - Ralph Waldo Emerson gave a speech at Harvard in 1837 in which he called for American writers to assert their literary independence from Europe o He believed that American writers needed to develop new literary forms and modes of expression in response to the democratic institutions, material realities, and social dynamics - It may have been difficult to recognize that a distinctly American literature had begun to emerge in 1846 - The natural world took on a special, spiritual significance in Emerson’s first book, Nature (1836) - Emerson’s two most important books were Essays (1841) and Essays: Second Series (1844) - The radical and revolutionary implications of Romanticism were developed by Margaret Fuller o She wrote Woman in the Nineteenth Century which was a groundbreaking feminist analysis published in 1845 - Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter was published in 1850. Melville’s Moby Dick was published in 1851. Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published in 1851 – 1852. - They were followed in short order by other books that challenged both literary and social conventions o Thoreau’s Walden (1854) was an experimental prose work that blended elements from a wide range of genres, including autobiography, nature writing, social criticism, and utopian tracts o Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (1855) represented a radical and self – conscious attempt to break with traditional poetic practices - At about the same time Whitman’s volume was published, Emily Dickinson was beginning her literary career - Technology, Transportation, and the Growth of the Literary Marketplace o The literary achievements of the period were spurred by a wide range of factors, from intense nationalism to major changes in the book trade in the United States o Although there were two severe depressions during the boom – and – bust period – in 1837 and again in 1857 – the growing prosperity of many Americans generated enormous confidence in themselves and their country o The development of mechanical power – presses and lower costs of printing made it possible for an ever – larger percentage of the expanding population to afford books and periodicals o The first four women to receive college degrees in the United States graduated from Oberlin in 1841 o By the mid – 1830s, Hawthorne and Poe were regularly contributing stories and sketches to magazines, and the growing number of periodicals during the following decade spurred the efforts of other writers - Religion, Immigration, and Territorial Expansion o Another force that helped bind the country together was religion o Most Americans could gather under the broad umbrella of Protestantism o Protestantism was further strengthened by the upsurge of evangelical activity in the decades before the Civil War. The period was known as the Second Great Awakening.  The period saw widespread revivals that led to a tremendous rise in church membership and religious sentiment in the United States  The trademark of the revivals was evangelical preaching at “camp meetings” o Evangelicals emphasized the importance of reading the Bible and religious tracts o Large numbers of Protestant books were published by the American Sunday – School Union and the American Tract Society o By the middle of the century, Protestantism faced growing challenges from both within and without  Its institutional authority was undermined by various “come – outers,” religious dissenters and reformers who seceded from the Protestant churches, as well as by radical abolitionists, who insisted that the support of slavery within many of those churches violated the true spirit of Christianity  Conservative clergymen frequently clashed with both abolitionists and supporters of women’s rights o The rising tide of immigration posed a different kind of challenge to the religious practices, social values, and national self – image shaped by the Protestant culture o The surge of immigration helped generate unprecedented urban and industrial growth o The nation’s population grew from under thirteen million in 1830 to over thirty – one million in 1860 o Congress passed the Indian Removal Act in 1830  The law authorized the exchange of land west of the Mississippi for Indian holdings in the East, especially the rich agricultural lands of the “Five Civilized Tribes” in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida  The Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole o In 1844, Congress approved the annexation of the slave state of Texas o In the treaty that ended the Mexican – American War in 1848, Mexico relinquished all claims to Texas and ceded a vast territory to the United States o Even as European immigrants began to flood into eastern cities, thousands of settlers joined the great migration described in the works like Francis Parkman’s The Oregon Trail (1849) - Sectionalism and the Coming of the Civil War o What many Americans viewed as the triumphant fulfillment of their “manifest destiny” helped sow the seeds of the Civil War o In an effort to settle the issues that arose, Congress forged the Compromise of 1850  Among the key provisions of the compromise, which included the admission of California as a free state but made no restriction on slavery in the other new territories


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