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Rise of Cultural Nationalism in the late 18th & early 19th centuries

By Chris Peterson,2014-04-08 21:17
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Rise of Cultural Nationalism in the late 18th & early 19th centuries

    ththRise of Cultural Nationalism in the late 18 & early 19 centuries

    AP History

    Narratives & examples:

    Literature:

    ; textbooks, educational sources based around American train of thought (Geography Made Easy by Jedidiah Morse; American Spelling

    Book by Noah Webster; An American Dictionary of the English Language

    by Noah Webster {Webster’s titles exemplify his nationalism}; famous writers such as Washington Irving w/ Ichabod Crane and Rip Van Winkle;

    Mercy Otis Warren and the 3-vol. History of the Revolution; Mason

    Weems and Life of Washington)

    ; early start on initializing a strong American national spirit and education

    ; Noah Webster said (about the American schoolboy), “As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country; he should lisp the praise of liberty, and of those illustrious heroes and statesmen who have wrought a revolution in her favor.” – strong

    nationalist

    ; almost ironically, with Federalists mostly out of power, NATIONALISM

    grew stronger cultural independence from Britain and world through art, literature, education, etc.

    ; rigid, traditional forms of art no more casual, realistic, American art

    now current & common

    ; American mind being opened to new ideas which became inherently and singularly American (religion: deism, naturalism) traditional religion

    lost many followers after Revolution; never regained in full ; noble ideas for American form of education; never really worked out to Jefferson’s aspirations (Lancastarian system) but public education eventually grew

    Cultural Nationalism Essay

     The late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were an interesting era in American history. Ironically, with the Federalists nearly completely out of power, Cultural Nationalism took its hold on American society. The American people opened the gateway to cultural independence and distinctiveness through literature, art, religion, and education during the Jeffersonian Era.

     The literature of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries exemplified the American spirit perhaps more than any other factor. Noah Webster, who wrote two educational source-books, was a strong nationalist and ensured that there was no doubt of this. Including one key word in his titles, An American Dictionary of the English Language and American Spelling Book,

    separated these references from all previous ones. Webster’s American books

    established the English language in an American sense. So substantial was Noah Webster’s contribution that copies of Webster’s Dictionary can be found in

    almost every classroom and library in America. As Webster once said, “[The American schoolboy,] as soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country; he should lisp the praise of liberty, and of those illustrious heroes and statesmen who have wrought a revolution in her favor.” Webster, though, was not the only prominent American writer of this time. The famous Washington Irving wrote what was, and still is, some of the most recognized early American fiction. Distinguished by characters like Ichabod Crane and Rip Van Winkle, Irving’s stories are still read and told today. Other less famous, but still important, writers include Mason Weems and Mercy Otis Warren. Weems wrote Life of Washington, which included the ever-famous

    story of George Washington and the cherry tree, while Warren completed a three-volume documentary called History of the Revolution. Cultural

    Nationalism was surely influenced by literature at this time, as seen by these examples.

     Art of the Jeffersonian Era was of a casual and relaxed manner. Pieces such as Bargaining for a Horse by William Sidney Mount and Kindred Spirits by

    Asher Durand show great contrast to paintings similar to the stiff, rigid, and traditional Ann Pollard, which was painted in 1721. This style of art became

    distinctively and singularly American in taste, characteristic of the new nation and no other.

     Traditional religions suffered greatly after the Revolution. This was due, possibly, to the Anglicans being British supporters and the Quakers being opposed to individual liberty. Another harmful element to religions such as Anglicanism was the separation of church and state. This became a fatal blow to traditional practices and the groups who freed themselves from England to practice in America were now finding that their religions were breaking up. Ideas from the Enlightenment such as deism, humanism, and naturalism influenced the American mind. The Second Great Awakening and revivalism contributed to a small recovery of traditional practices of religion but never again did they fully gain their previous involvement in social or cultural issues. The ability to worship freely and choose religions made America even more distinct.

     An American form of public education was a hope of Jefferson and his followers. The Lancastarian system, educating a student to a certain point then having them take a test to establish if they would continue in educational endeavors, never succeeded but the essential idea of public education stayed alive and produced the public shooling America has today.

     Cultural Nationalism was indeed a strong influence on American literature, art, religion, and education in the Jeffersonian Era. Many saw the establishment of American spirit necessary and began early in the country’s history. The seed

    of America’s cultural roots was planted early so as to grow the culture of society as known today.

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