2 Major Historical Events 1803 Louisiana Purchase (LA to Rocky Mountains)1812 US declares war on Great Britain- no longer the little kid1820 Missouri Compromise bans slavery in parts of new territories1838 US Army marches Cherokee on “Trail of Tears”Mexican War; issues over lines crossed when Texas became a state, fight over CA: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo1848 Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY- women still couldn’t vote1850 CA admitted to the Union, The Scarlet Letter is published
3 History In-DepthAlexis de Tocqueville thought America was a bustling new nation full of individuals optimistically pursuing their destinies.Rapid growth inspired a surge in national pride and self-awareness.CA gold rush drew hundreds of thousands to “the new land of promise.”
4 History cont. By 1869, “iron horses” railroads linked east and west Industrial Revolution brought a lot of progress and helpful tools. Factories sprang up everywhere.All this technology helped develop the growing nation but it wasn’t without flawsWriters reacted with a vengeance.
5 Literature of the Period Writers of this era defined “the American voice”, personal and bold.Primary theme: the quest of the individual to define him- or herself.Romanticism- an artistic movement that dominated Europe and America during the 19th centuryNot about love- writers elevated the imagination and intuition over reason and fact.Celebrated nature, the hero’s quest, and the fantastic.
6 Famous Writers and Their Work Washington Irving- “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”James Fenimore Cooper- The Last of the MohicansEdgar Allen Poe, “The Raven”, “The Tell-Tale Heart”Nathaniel Hawthorne- The Scarlet Letter, “Young Goodman Brown”Herman Melville- Moby Dick
7 Transcendentalism The American Renaissance 1840-1855 Going beyond the tangible and physical, transcending the regular day-to-day American experience and looking beyond the mundane.Social, political, philosophical critique of what America was becoming because of all of this “progress”.Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau key players in this movement. (more to come)
8 The Possibility of Evil Not everyone was as optimistic as the Transcendentalists.Hawthorne and Melville explored the dark side of human nature i.e. sin, guilt, hypocrisy, insanity, depression, tortured soulsEmily Dickinson- recluse, poetry focused on death, immortality, the soul, conflicting views on religion
9 Walt WhitmanLeaves of Grass “Oh captain! My captain!” in reference to Abe LincolnFirst edition sold fewer than 20 copies but his legacy is considered the quintessential American voice.“Barbaric yawp!”- frank “in your face” social commentary on life, celebration of selfWorked as a nurse during the Civil War and incorporated those images in his later poetry, not so happy.