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Unit 1: Historical background information English III Mrs. Butler.

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1 Unit 1: Historical background information English III Mrs. Butler

2 Before the puritans When Christopher Columbus reached North America in 1492, the continent was already populated, though sparsely, by several hundred Native American Tribes.When Christopher Columbus reached North America in 1492, the continent was already populated, though sparsely, by several hundred Native American Tribes. Explorers from different nations came into contact with different tribes at different times.Explorers from different nations came into contact with different tribes at different times.

3 Pilgrims A small group of Europeans sailed from England on the Mayflower in 1620.A small group of Europeans sailed from England on the Mayflower in 1620. The passengers were religious reformers, Puritans who were critical of the Church of England.The passengers were religious reformers, Puritans who were critical of the Church of England. Having given up hope of “purifying” the church from within, they chose instead to withdraw from the church.Having given up hope of “purifying” the church from within, they chose instead to withdraw from the church. This action earned them the name Separatists. We know them as the Pilgrims.This action earned them the name Separatists. We know them as the Pilgrims. They landed in the New World and established a settlement at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts.They landed in the New World and established a settlement at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts. The colony grew very large, thanks to the help of friendly Native American tribes.The colony grew very large, thanks to the help of friendly Native American tribes. Eventually, it was engulfed by the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the much larger settlement to the north.Eventually, it was engulfed by the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the much larger settlement to the north.

4 Puritans: Establishment Like the Plymouth Colony, the Massachusetts Bay Colony was also founded by religious reformers.Like the Plymouth Colony, the Massachusetts Bay Colony was also founded by religious reformers. These reformers, however, did not withdraw from the Church of England.These reformers, however, did not withdraw from the Church of England. Unlike the Separatists, they were Puritans who intended instead to reform the church from within.Unlike the Separatists, they were Puritans who intended instead to reform the church from within. In America, the Puritans hoped to establish what John Winthrop, governor of the colony, called a “city upon a hill,” a community guided in all aspects of the Bible.In America, the Puritans hoped to establish what John Winthrop, governor of the colony, called a “city upon a hill,” a community guided in all aspects of the Bible. Their form of government would be a theocracy, a state under the immediate guidance of God.Their form of government would be a theocracy, a state under the immediate guidance of God.

5 Puritans: Radically Conservative Religion affected every aspect of Puritan life, although the Puritans were not always as stern and otherworldly as they are sometimes pictured.Religion affected every aspect of Puritan life, although the Puritans were not always as stern and otherworldly as they are sometimes pictured. Their writings writings occasionally reveal a sense of humor, and the hardships of daily life forced them to be practical.Their writings writings occasionally reveal a sense of humor, and the hardships of daily life forced them to be practical. In one sense, the Puritans were radical, since they demanded fundamental changes in the Church of England.In one sense, the Puritans were radical, since they demanded fundamental changes in the Church of England. In another sense, however, they were conservative.In another sense, however, they were conservative. They preached a plain, unadorned Christianity that contrasted sharply with the cathedrals, vestments, ceremony, and hierarchy of the Church of England.They preached a plain, unadorned Christianity that contrasted sharply with the cathedrals, vestments, ceremony, and hierarchy of the Church of England.

6 Puritans: Beliefs Puritan beliefs were far from simple, but they agreed that human beings exist for the glory of God and that the Bible is the sole expression of God’s will.Puritan beliefs were far from simple, but they agreed that human beings exist for the glory of God and that the Bible is the sole expression of God’s will. They believed in predestination—John Calvin’s doctrine that God has already decided who will achieve salvation and who will not.They believed in predestination—John Calvin’s doctrine that God has already decided who will achieve salvation and who will not. The “elect”, or saints, who are to be saved cannot take election for granted, however.The “elect”, or saints, who are to be saved cannot take election for granted, however. Because of that, all devout Puritans searched their souls with great rigor and frequency for signs of grace.Because of that, all devout Puritans searched their souls with great rigor and frequency for signs of grace. The Puritans believed in original sin and felt that they could accomplish good only through continual hard work and self-discipline.The Puritans believed in original sin and felt that they could accomplish good only through continual hard work and self-discipline. (When people today speak of the “Puritan ethic,” that is what they mean.)(When people today speak of the “Puritan ethic,” that is what they mean.)

7 The Great Awakening Puritanism was in decline throughout New England by the early 1700’s, as more liberal Protestant congregations attracted followers.Puritanism was in decline throughout New England by the early 1700’s, as more liberal Protestant congregations attracted followers. A reaction against this new freedom, however, set in around 1720.A reaction against this new freedom, however, set in around 1720. The Great Awakening, a series of religious revivals led by such eloquent ministers as Jonathan Edwards, swept the colonies.The Great Awakening, a series of religious revivals led by such eloquent ministers as Jonathan Edwards, swept the colonies. The Great Awakening attracted thousands of converts to many Protestant groups, but it did little to revive old-fashioned Puritanism.The Great Awakening attracted thousands of converts to many Protestant groups, but it did little to revive old-fashioned Puritanism. What had been the dominant religion of New England had all but vanished by the time of the American Revolution.What had been the dominant religion of New England had all but vanished by the time of the American Revolution. Nevertheless, Puritanism made a lasting impression on American attitudes.Nevertheless, Puritanism made a lasting impression on American attitudes. Its ideals of hard work, frugality, self-improvement, and self-reliance are still regarded as basic American virtues.Its ideals of hard work, frugality, self-improvement, and self-reliance are still regarded as basic American virtues.

8 The Revolutionary Period: Historical Setting It’s easy to forget how long the thirteen original states had been colonies; by 1750, there were fourth- and fifth-generation Americans of European descent living in Virginia and New England.It’s easy to forget how long the thirteen original states had been colonies; by 1750, there were fourth- and fifth-generation Americans of European descent living in Virginia and New England. At this point, people were English subjects, and, on the whole, they were well satisfied with that status.At this point, people were English subjects, and, on the whole, they were well satisfied with that status. Royal governors irritated them from time to time, but the colonial assemblies were locally elected and exercised considerable power, particularly over money.Royal governors irritated them from time to time, but the colonial assemblies were locally elected and exercised considerable power, particularly over money. Year after year, decade after decade, Americans acquired experience in the art of self-government.Year after year, decade after decade, Americans acquired experience in the art of self-government. As late as the early 1760’s, however, few Americans had given much thought to the prospect of independence.As late as the early 1760’s, however, few Americans had given much thought to the prospect of independence.

9 The Revolutionary Period: Frustration builds Between the mid-1760’s and the mid- 1770’s, however, attitudes changed dramatically.Between the mid-1760’s and the mid- 1770’s, however, attitudes changed dramatically. King George III and Parliament imposed a number of unwise regulations hat threatened the liberties of the colonists.King George III and Parliament imposed a number of unwise regulations hat threatened the liberties of the colonists. With each succeeding measure, the outrage in America grew, finally erupting into war.With each succeeding measure, the outrage in America grew, finally erupting into war. As one Revolutionary veteran put it, “We always had governed ourselves, and we always meant to.”As one Revolutionary veteran put it, “We always had governed ourselves, and we always meant to.”

10 The Age of reason Great upheavals in history occur when circumstances are ripe.Great upheavals in history occur when circumstances are ripe. The American Revolution was such an upheaval, and the groundwork for it had been laid by European writers and thinkers as well as by the English king and Parliament.The American Revolution was such an upheaval, and the groundwork for it had been laid by European writers and thinkers as well as by the English king and Parliament. The eighteenth century is often characterized as the Age of Reason, or the Enlightenment.The eighteenth century is often characterized as the Age of Reason, or the Enlightenment. Spurred by the work of seventeenth-century scientists such as Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton, the writers and thinkers of the Enlightenment valued reason over faith.Spurred by the work of seventeenth-century scientists such as Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton, the writers and thinkers of the Enlightenment valued reason over faith. Unlike the Puritans, they had little interest in the hereafter, believing instead in the power of reason and science to further human progress.Unlike the Puritans, they had little interest in the hereafter, believing instead in the power of reason and science to further human progress. They spoke of a social contract that forms the basis of government.They spoke of a social contract that forms the basis of government. Above all, they believed that people are by nature good, not evil.Above all, they believed that people are by nature good, not evil. A perfect society seemed to them to be more than just an idle dream.A perfect society seemed to them to be more than just an idle dream.

11 The age of reason The American statesmen of the Revolutionary period were themselves figures of the of the Enlightenment.The American statesmen of the Revolutionary period were themselves figures of the of the Enlightenment. No history of the period would be complete without mention of the thought and writings of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson.No history of the period would be complete without mention of the thought and writings of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson. These Americans not only expressed the ideas of the Age of Reason, but they also helped to put them spectacularly into practice.These Americans not only expressed the ideas of the Age of Reason, but they also helped to put them spectacularly into practice.

12 Tension rises The American Revolution was preceded by the French and Indian War, a struggle between England and France for control of North America; England won.The American Revolution was preceded by the French and Indian War, a struggle between England and France for control of North America; England won. The British government, wanting to raise revenue in the colonies to pay its war debt, passed the Stamp Act in 1765. Colonial reaction was swift and bitter: stamps were burned, stamp distributors were beaten and their shops destroyed.The British government, wanting to raise revenue in the colonies to pay its war debt, passed the Stamp Act in 1765. Colonial reaction was swift and bitter: stamps were burned, stamp distributors were beaten and their shops destroyed. Other acts and reactions followed: more taxes, increased presence of British troops in the colonies, Boston Tea Party…Other acts and reactions followed: more taxes, increased presence of British troops in the colonies, Boston Tea Party… The situation turned intolerable to both sides.The situation turned intolerable to both sides. Although not openly speaking of independence, Colonial leaders met in Philadelphia for the First Continental Congress.Although not openly speaking of independence, Colonial leaders met in Philadelphia for the First Continental Congress. The British appointed General Thomas Gage governor of Massachusetts.The British appointed General Thomas Gage governor of Massachusetts. The stage was set for war.The stage was set for war.

13 Literature in a time of crisis Like the Puritans in New England, educated Americans in the Age of Reason did a great deal of writing.Like the Puritans in New England, educated Americans in the Age of Reason did a great deal of writing. Unlike the private soul-searching of the Puritans, however, much of what was produced during the American Revolutionary period was public writing.Unlike the private soul-searching of the Puritans, however, much of what was produced during the American Revolutionary period was public writing. By the time of the War for Independence, nearly fifty newspapers had been established in the coastal cities.By the time of the War for Independence, nearly fifty newspapers had been established in the coastal cities. During this period, the mind of the nation was on politics. Journalists and printers provided a forum for the expression of ideas.During this period, the mind of the nation was on politics. Journalists and printers provided a forum for the expression of ideas.

14 Politics as literature The writing and speaking of the American statesmen in the two tumultuous decades, the 1770’s and 1780’s, helped to reshape not only the nation but also the world.The writing and speaking of the American statesmen in the two tumultuous decades, the 1770’s and 1780’s, helped to reshape not only the nation but also the world. James Otis is credited with giving Americans their rallying cry, “Taxation without representation is tyranny.”James Otis is credited with giving Americans their rallying cry, “Taxation without representation is tyranny.” Patrick Henry: “Give me liberty, or give me death!”Patrick Henry: “Give me liberty, or give me death!” Thomas Paine was perhaps the most influential in swaying public opinion in favor of independence with his pamphlet, Common Sense.Thomas Paine was perhaps the most influential in swaying public opinion in favor of independence with his pamphlet, Common Sense.

15 The revolutionary War April 18, 1775: General Gage sent a detail of about 700 British troops from Boston to destroy colonial munitions at Concord. The next morning, these troops met a drawn-up line of some seventy colonial Minutemen on the Lexington green. A musket shot was fired (from which side, no one knows), and the firing became widespread. Before it was over, eight Americans lay dead.April 18, 1775: General Gage sent a detail of about 700 British troops from Boston to destroy colonial munitions at Concord. The next morning, these troops met a drawn-up line of some seventy colonial Minutemen on the Lexington green. A musket shot was fired (from which side, no one knows), and the firing became widespread. Before it was over, eight Americans lay dead. 1777: Battle of Saratoga, a turning point. The British were surrounded and forced to surrender 5,000 men. The government of France formally recognized the independence of the United States. France began to commit troops to aid the American cause.1777: Battle of Saratoga, a turning point. The British were surrounded and forced to surrender 5,000 men. The government of France formally recognized the independence of the United States. France began to commit troops to aid the American cause. The war ended at Yorktown, Virginia, on October 19, 1781. Aided by the French army and French navy, General Washington bottled up the 8,000-man British force under General Cornwallis. Cornwallis surrendered.The war ended at Yorktown, Virginia, on October 19, 1781. Aided by the French army and French navy, General Washington bottled up the 8,000-man British force under General Cornwallis. Cornwallis surrendered.

16 Alexis de Tocqueville In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville, a young Frenchman, journeyed to the United States to report on the American penitentiary system for his government.In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville, a young Frenchman, journeyed to the United States to report on the American penitentiary system for his government. He observed farm more than prisons during his stay.He observed farm more than prisons during his stay. His observations were compiled in a monumental four-volume work, Democracy in America, that is considered a classic work of political literature.His observations were compiled in a monumental four-volume work, Democracy in America, that is considered a classic work of political literature.

17 The romantic period: historical setting 1800-18401800-1840 Rapid growth of the nation:Rapid growth of the nation: By the time Tomas Jefferson was elected President in 1800: Vermont, Kentucky, and Tennessee had joined the original thirteenBy the time Tomas Jefferson was elected President in 1800: Vermont, Kentucky, and Tennessee had joined the original thirteen 1803: Louisiana Purchase1803: Louisiana Purchase 1837: Michigan became a state1837: Michigan became a state Rapid growth=upsurge of national pride and identityRapid growth=upsurge of national pride and identity Improved transportation helped bind the old and new states togetherImproved transportation helped bind the old and new states together Westward expansionWestward expansion Explosive growth in population had profound effects on American life and literatureExplosive growth in population had profound effects on American life and literature

18 American literature comes of age Most American writers could not compete with European writers (Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and John Keats)Most American writers could not compete with European writers (Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and John Keats) Washington Irving: first professional author of the new nation and the first American literary figure to win an international reputationWashington Irving: first professional author of the new nation and the first American literary figure to win an international reputation

19 From reason to romance Let’s review:Let’s review: The Puritans were religious fundamentalists who sought salvationThe Puritans were religious fundamentalists who sought salvation The founders of the republic were political realists who pursued reasonThe founders of the republic were political realists who pursued reason Writers of the early nineteenth century—Irving, Cooper, Bryant, and Poe—are described generally as RomanticsWriters of the early nineteenth century—Irving, Cooper, Bryant, and Poe—are described generally as Romantics That name can be misleading, because the Romantics do not necessarily write about loveThat name can be misleading, because the Romantics do not necessarily write about love

20 Romanticism: characteristics Values feeling and intuition over reasonValues feeling and intuition over reason Places faith in inner experience and the power of the imaginationPlaces faith in inner experience and the power of the imagination Shuns the artificiality of civilization and seeks unspoiled natureShuns the artificiality of civilization and seeks unspoiled nature Prefers youthful innocence to educated sophisticationPrefers youthful innocence to educated sophistication Champions individual freedom and the worth of the individualChampions individual freedom and the worth of the individual Reflects on nature’s beauty as a path to spiritual and moral developmentReflects on nature’s beauty as a path to spiritual and moral development Looks backward to the wisdom of the past and distrusts progressLooks backward to the wisdom of the past and distrusts progress Finds beauty and truth in exotic locales, the supernatural realm, and the inner world of the imaginationFinds beauty and truth in exotic locales, the supernatural realm, and the inner world of the imagination Sees poetry as the highest form of the imaginationSees poetry as the highest form of the imagination Finds inspiration in myth, legend, and folkloreFinds inspiration in myth, legend, and folklore

21 Fireside poets Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and James Russell LowellHenry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and James Russell Lowell Their poems were read aloud at the fireside as family entertainmentsTheir poems were read aloud at the fireside as family entertainments Used typically English themes, meter, and imageryUsed typically English themes, meter, and imagery Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

22 American renaissance 1840-18551840-1855 Some critics, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, believed that American writers (such as Irving and Cooper) sounded like transplanted Englishmen.Some critics, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, believed that American writers (such as Irving and Cooper) sounded like transplanted Englishmen. The American Renaissance is sometimes considered a branch off of RomanticismThe American Renaissance is sometimes considered a branch off of Romanticism

23 Transcendentalism Transcendentalism refers to the idea that in determining the ultimate reality of God, the universe, the self, and other important matters, one must transcend, or go beyond, everyday human experience in the physical world.Transcendentalism refers to the idea that in determining the ultimate reality of God, the universe, the self, and other important matters, one must transcend, or go beyond, everyday human experience in the physical world.

24 Transcendental Characteristics Everything in the world, including human beings, is a reflection of the Divine Soul.Everything in the world, including human beings, is a reflection of the Divine Soul. The physical facts of the natural world are a doorway to the spiritual or ideal world.The physical facts of the natural world are a doorway to the spiritual or ideal world. People can use their intuition to behold God’s spirit revealed in nature or in their own souls.People can use their intuition to behold God’s spirit revealed in nature or in their own souls. Self-reliance and individualism must outweigh external authority and blind conformity to custom and tradition.Self-reliance and individualism must outweigh external authority and blind conformity to custom and tradition. Spontaneous feelings and intuition are superior to deliberate intellectualism and rationality.Spontaneous feelings and intuition are superior to deliberate intellectualism and rationality.

25 The dark romantics/Anti- transcendentalists Some people think of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Edgar Allan Poe as anti-transcendentalists, because their views of the world seem so profoundly opposed to the optimistic views of Emerson and his followers.Some people think of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Edgar Allan Poe as anti-transcendentalists, because their views of the world seem so profoundly opposed to the optimistic views of Emerson and his followers. But these Dark Romantics, as they are known, had much in common with the Transcendentalists.But these Dark Romantics, as they are known, had much in common with the Transcendentalists. Both groups valued intuition over logic and reason.Both groups valued intuition over logic and reason. Both groups, like the Puritans before the, saw signs and symbols in all events.Both groups, like the Puritans before the, saw signs and symbols in all events. The Dark Romantics didn’t disagree with Emerson’s belief that spiritual facts lie behind the appearances of nature; they just did not think that those facts are necessarily good or harmless.The Dark Romantics didn’t disagree with Emerson’s belief that spiritual facts lie behind the appearances of nature; they just did not think that those facts are necessarily good or harmless. Emerson, they felt, had taken the ecstatic, mystical elements of Puritan thought and ignored its dark side—its emphasis on Original Sin, its sense of the innate wickedness of human beings and is notions of predestination.Emerson, they felt, had taken the ecstatic, mystical elements of Puritan thought and ignored its dark side—its emphasis on Original Sin, its sense of the innate wickedness of human beings and is notions of predestination.

26 The writings of the dark romantics In their works the Dark Romantics explored the conflict between good and evil, the psychological effects of guilt and sin, and even madness in the human psyche.In their works the Dark Romantics explored the conflict between good and evil, the psychological effects of guilt and sin, and even madness in the human psyche. Behind the pasteboard masks of social respectability, the Dark Romantics saw the blankness and the horror of evil.Behind the pasteboard masks of social respectability, the Dark Romantics saw the blankness and the horror of evil.


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