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The Age of Reason The Revolutionary Period in American Literature 1750-1800.

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1 The Age of Reason The Revolutionary Period in American Literature

2 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

3 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.

4 What’s the Context?  People come from Europe to American colonies  Colonies were NOT HAPPY with situation

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6 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

7 Characteristics  Patriotism grows  Instills pride  Create a common agreement about issues  American character

8 How does this Influence Literature?  Nonfiction is far more influential than fiction  Most important pieces of literature:  Speeches  Political Documents  Pamphlets

9 Major Literature and Authors of the Time Literature  The Declaration of Independence  Patrick Henry’s Speech to the Virginia Convention  Thomas Paine’s The Crisis  The Federalist Papers  Works of Benjamin Franklin Authors  Thomas Jefferson  Patrick Henry  Thomas Paine  Benjamin Franklin  Any “Founding Fathers”

10 Who is Benjamin Franklin?

11 Benjamin Franklin  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

12 Political Career  Spokesman for colonies before war  Member of 2 nd 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

13 Contributions

14 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: “Slience Dogood”, “Poor Richard,” and Franklin himself

15 Poor Richard’s Almanac  Almanac contained practical information  Bestseller  Annual publication from  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

16 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

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18 Franklin and the American Dream  Self-made  Self-taught  Generous  Ingenious  Thrifty  Self-deprecating  Good-humored  Hard working  Helpful  Confident  And of course…..HUMBLE

19 Final Thoughts: Dwight Vs. Franklin


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