Literary Movement (Romanticism)

Henry David Thoreau
"The young and expanding United States was fertile ground for the currents of Romanticism, the intellectual, artistic, and cultural movement that had an enormous impact on European thinking and European politics in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century. Having thrown off a colonial government with a revolution grounded in the Enlightenment values of the rights of private judgment in religious matters and self-governance in political matters, the new American nation found consonance with the Romantic emphasis on self-knowledge and self-expression and the Romantic orientation against the imposition of authority by elite classes. The unique conditions of the western frontier and the socially divisive challenges of the antislavery movement and the women's rights movement generated further conditions that nourished assumptions and attitudes that were essentially Romantic in nature. Emerging from these conditions was an assertion of the value of the individual self, an intense concern with the inner workings of the perceiving mind, and an affirmation of emotion and instinct. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), in the 1841 essay "Self-Reliance," captured the spirit of his time when he termed it "the age of the first person singular" (Early Lectures 3:188). The self-reliant individualist and the figure of the hero were two key embodiments of this ethos. Their representation in fiction and poetry marked a distinctive era in American authorship and reading."

Robinson, David M. "Romanticism." American History Through Literature 1820-1870. Ed. Janet Gabler-Hover and Robert Sattelmeyer. Vol. 3. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2006. 1000-1007. Gale U.S. History In Context. Web. 4 Feb. 2011.

Progressive Movement - This website is a great overview of the time when most reform movements took place. It will help you understand the context of the movements and also give you some insight into their success or failure. A great place to get some ideas for icons to use. (Note the orange tabs at the top which have links to useful information.)

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