As we transition out of the Revolutionary Period it is incredibly important that you understand that literary periods are fluid…that means that there isn’t a line in the sand drawn between Revolutionary Literature and Romanticism right after 1776. The time after America’s Independence and the start of the Transcendental movement is an incredibly important few decades in which our economy, our borders, and our perception of what it means to be ‘American’ rapidly grew and changed. The literature from this time period reflects these changing viewpoints and the conflict that arises when social, political and economic upheaval happen all at once. Without this period of expansionism, we wouldn’t have the Transcendental movement (oh…Whitman…).

Please review the questions and information at the beginning of Unit 2 in your book, and keep these in mind as you watch and take notes from the video below. These issues and conflicts will serve as the platform for most of the literature we read during this time period.

  • How do we build a nation?
  • Who can be called ‘American’?
  • How does economic growth change ideals?
  • How far should our borders extend?
  • What is true ‘freedom’?
  • What is America’s responsibility to its citizen? Its inhabitants? What is the difference?
  • What is America’s destiny?
  • How should innovation shape America vs tradition?