Elias Howe and Isaac Singer
Singer’s life was not going well in the beginning
He was penniless
Unsuccessful actor, ticket seller, carpenter, and inventor
By 1860, singer grew fabulously wealthy
In 1850, he had come upon and quickly improved a sewing machine similar to one patented in 1856 by Elias Howe.
Elias Howe sued Isaac Singer for patent infringement and won in 1854
Since Singer lost, he had to pay Howe patent royalties
Was an American blacksmith and manufacturer who founded Deere and Company
One of the largest and leading agricultural and construction equipment in the world.
Developed the first commercially successful, self-scouring steel plow, closely parallels the settlement and development of the Midwestern united states
Developed the mechanical reaper
The mechanical reaper harvests grain seven times faster than traditional methods with half the work force,
Guaranteed that wheat would dominate the Midwestern prairies
McCormick would help the North win the civil war
North provided the main market for the McCormick reaper and do for the models of his many competitors
The reaper would keep northern agricultural production high at a time when labor shortages caused by troop mobilization might otherwise have slashed production
An American inventor and industrialist
Founded Colt’s Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company
Made the mass production of the revolver commercially viable
Business expanded when the Texas Rangers ordered 1000 revolvers during the American war with Mexico
During the civil war, his factory supplied both the North and the South
Understood how to turn the antebellum public's craving for entertainment into a profitable business
As a young man in Bethel, Connecticut, he started a newspaper, the Herald of Freedom
A hustler raised in the land of the Puritans, a cynic and an idealist rolled into one
After moving to New York City in1834, Barnum started a new career as an entrepreneur
Barnum served two terms in the Connecticut legislature in 1865 as a Republican for Fairfield
an American author, essayist, biographer, historian, and diplomat of the early 19th century
America's first genuine internationally best-selling author, Irving advocated for writing as a legitimate profession, and argued for stronger laws to protect American writers from copyright infringement.
He is best known for his short stories "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle"
Irving influenced lots of American authors and authors from England
James Fenimore Cooper:
Was the first important figure in this literary upsurge
His historical romances of frontier and Indian life in the early American days created a unique form of American literature
He attended Yale University for three years, where he was a member of the Linonian Society, but was expelled for misbehavior
Before embarking on his career as a writer he served in the U.S. Navy as a Midshipman which greatly influenced many of his novels and other writings
Ralph Waldo Emerson
· The most influential spokesman for American literary nationalism
o Emerged in the late 1830s
· Disliked fiction
· An American offshoot of romanticism
· The leading light of the movement, Transcendentalism
· Asserts our ideas of God and freedom are inborn
o Knowledge resembles sight
§ An instantaneous and direct perception of truth
· Emerson concluded that people enjoy no special advantage in pursuing truth
· He wrote his own address, “The American Scholar”-1837
· Admired Cooper’s fiction
· Emerson’s version of American literary nationalism was expressed mainly in his essays with pungent and vivid language
o Mixed broad themes
§ Beauty, wealth, representative men
· Never amassed persuasive evidence or presented systematic arguments to prove that knowledge reflected God’s invoice within each person and that truth was intuitive and individual
· Emerson had a magnetic attraction for intellectually inclined young men and women who did not fit neatly into American society
Henry David Thoreau
· A representative of the younger Emersonians
· Different from Emerson
· Thoreau was more of a man who took action instead of just thinking of it
o Emerson only thought of adventurous actions
· Thoreau went to jail because he didn’t pay his poll tax
· He knew the revenue of the tax would support war with Mexico
o He viewed the war as part of a southern conspiracy to extend slavery
§ Wrote Civil Disobedience(1849), defended a citizen’s right to disobey unjust laws
· Moved to woods near Walden Pond
o Purpose was to write a description of a canoe trip that he and his brother had taken in 1839
· Constructed a cabin on land owned by Emerson and spent 2 years to provide for his wants away from civilization
· Wrote an important book, Walden (1854)
o Filled pages with descriptions of hawks and wild pigeons, Invention of raisin bread, trapping of woodchucks, construction of a cabin for $28.50
· Thoreau’s retreat taught him that he could satisfy material wants with only a few weeks’ work each year and thereby leave more time for reexamining life’s purpose
· Felt that Americans turned themselves into machines that acquire wealth without questioning why
· Knew that material and moral progress was not intimately related as Americans thought
· Outgoing and earthly
· Different from Emerson
· Self-taught and in love with virtually everything about America, but slavery
· Left school at 11 and became printer’s apprentice
· Later joined journalist and editor for various newspapers around New York and New Orleans
· Familiar figure at Democratic Party functions
· Marched in party parades and put his pen to the service of its antislavery wing
· Gained intimate knowledge of Americans by journalism and politics
o The more he knew, the more he liked of them
· Reading of Emersons’ nurtured his belief that America was to be cradle of new citizen in whom natural virtue would flourish unimpeded by European corruption
· His threads of early career came together in his work, Leaves of Grass, poems published in 1855 and reissued in subsequent years with voluminous additions
· Wrote in free verse
· Intruded himself into his poems
· He viewed himself crude, plain, self-taught, and passionately democratic, the personifications of American people
· Acquired considerable reputation as a poet
· Never really met Emerson
· Major writer of 1840s and 1850s
· Wrote fiction
· Paid little heed to Emerson’s call for literature that would comprehend everyday experiences of ordinary Americans
· Set The Scarlet Letter in New England’s Puritan past
· Bemoaned difficulty of writing about a country “where there is no shadow, no antiquity, no mystery, no picturesque and gloomy wrong, nor anything but a commonplace prosperity in broad and simple daylight, as is happily the case with my dear native land
· Fascinated by psychology
· Saw individuals as bundles of conflicting forces that might never be reconciled
· The Scarlet Letter enjoyed respectable sales
· Hawthorne ignored Emerson’s call to write about everyday experiences of his fellow Americans
· Complained about the popularity of the female scribblers
· Also published The House of the Seven Gables the following year
Herman Melville was an American author born on August 1, 1819 in New York, New York. The author penned many books and later in life wrote poetry. Best known for his novel Moby Dick, Melville was only heralded as one of America’s greatest writers after his death on September 28, 1891. The Library of Congress honored him as its first writer to collect and publish.
Edgar Allen Poe- Born on January 19, 1809, Boston, Massachusetts. He was an American writer, critic and editor ,Edgar Allan Poe is famous for his tales and poems of horror and mystery, including The Raven.(American Fiction) With his short stories and poems, Edgar Allan Poe captured the imagination and interest of readers around the world. His creative talents led to the beginning of different literary genres, earning him the nickname "Father of the Detective Story" among other distinctions.
Noah Webster was born on October 16, 1758, in West Hartford, Connecticut. He graduated from Yale University in 1778. He studied law and taught in New York where he recognized a need for American English textbooks. Passionate about grammar, spelling and usage, he went on to publish the famous Blue-Backed speller and later An American Dictionary of the English Language.(the first ever American dictionary)He died on May 28, 1843.
John J. Audubon- he was an artist who specialized in painting wild fowl. he had such works as birds of america. ironically, he shot a lot of birds for sport when he was young. the audubon society for the protection of birds was named after him. his depictions of western wildlife contributed to the western population movements; captured the beauty of wildlife.
Federick Law OlmsteadF: One of the landscape designers of the New York Central Park (along with Calvert Vaux). They deliberately created a public space that would look as little like the city as possible; made it look like a wonderful scenerary of nature, with no technology, just lakes trees and everything nature; the effect wsa to make this park the idealized version of nature which would remind people of pictures of landscapes; this nature was made to mirror art.
McCormick Reaper: It was invented in 1834 by Cryus of Virginia; many attempts had been made to replace sickles with horse-drawn machines before this machine; it harvested grains 7x faster than the traditional methods and with half the work force; this gaurenteed that wheat would be dominate in the midwestern prairies; ironically this machine which was produced by a proslavery southern Democrat would help the North win the civil war; the North provided the main market for this machine and for similar models; it would also keep northern agricultural production high at a time when troop mobilization might otherwise have slashed production(saved their economy)
The American System of Manufacturing: began in the 1850's-was the start of the production of interchangable parts; this sytem brought its advantages; for example if damage had occured to any mechanical contrivance it would be useless because the only way it could be fixed was by making new parts to it becasue you couldnt buy them-before this system everything was made by hand so everything was unique. After this system if something was broken you could easily buy it from a shop or get from someone else's same tool or different mechanical contrivance; also it pushed inventors swiftly into mass production.
Epidemics: a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time; alot of them swept through antebellum cities during the transportaion revolutionalry which ironically increased epidemics; these included epidemics such as cholera epidemic of 1832 and the yellow fever. Physicians were unable to explain these epidemics and why and how they occured which is why it made this profession and the public health of low priority.
Phenology: Imported from Europe; a defunct field of study, once considered a science, by which the personality traits of a person were determined by "reading" bumps and fissures in the skull. Developed by German physician Franz Joseph Gall around 1800; the leading figures of phrenology were the two brothers Orson and Lorenzo Fowler; many people really belived in what the bumps depicted in people.
The Penny Press: introduced by Scottish-born James Gordon; made newspapers faster; with this invention newspapers could now rely on vast circulation rather then on politicla subsidies to turn a profit; establshed "penny papers" including The New York Sun of 1833, which was the first, and second New York Herald OF 1835; penny papers reached 44,000 comparing to 26,000 papers before this invention; also revolutionalized the marketing and format of papers; now they were sold almost anywhere and told people all of what was going on regarded as "The penny press invented the modern concept of -news-"; made fun to read stories, and started the concept of news reporting.
The Yankee figure who served as a stock character in many antebellum plays helped audiences form an image of ideal American (rustic, clever, patriotic, more than a match for city slickers and decadent European blue bloods)
In a different way, the minstrel shows that American’s sense of superiority by diminishing black people.
Minstrel shows arose in northern cities in the 1840s when white men in blackface took to the stage to present an evening of songs, dances, and humorous sketches.
Minstrelsy borrowed some authentic elements of African- American culture
especially dances characterized by the sliding, shuffling step of southern blacks, but most songs had origins in white culture
In addition, the images of blacks projected by minstrelsy both catered to and reinforced the prejudices of the working white class who dominated the audience
Minstrel troupes usually depicted blacks as stupid, clumsy, and obsessively musical, and emphasized the Africanness of blacks by giving their characters names. (ex. Ethiopian serenaders)
Minstrel shows planted images and expectations about blacks behavior through stock characters
Form of ideology formed by Emerson in the mid 19th century
Revolved heavily around literature
Belief that major religions should be rejected
Also, centered around individualism
After 1820, the United States experienced a flowering of literature. (called American Renaissance)
The leading figures of the Renaissance included James Fenimore Cooper, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Walt Whitman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Edgar Allen Poe.
The American Renaissance reflected the rise of a philosophical movement known as romanticism.
Period of time where American Authors discussed the meaning of the term “American”
On the Duty of Civil Disobedience
Thoreau, at one point, went to jail rather than pay his poll tax
This revenue would support the war with Mexico (viewed as a southern conspiracy to extend slavery)
This experience led Thoreau to write “Civil Disobedience”
In “Civil Disobedience” Thoreau defended citizen’s right to disobey unjust laws.
Leaves Of Grass
The threads of Whitman’s early career came together in this major work
it was a book of poems first published in 1855 and reissued with voluminous additions in subsequent years.
Leaves of Grass shattered most exciting poetic conventions
the poems were lusty and blunt at a time when delicacy reigned in the literary world and was written in free verse
By 1860, Whitman had acquired a considerable reputation as a poet.
Hudson River School:
Flourished from the 1820s to the 1870s.
Like everything elses in the United States, the landscape was fresh, relatively untouched by the human imprint. (THIS FACT POSED A CHALLENGE TO THE HUDSON RIVER SCHOOL)
The painters of the Hudson River school recognized that the American landscape lacked the European landscape’s “poetry of decay” in the form of ruined castles and crumbling temples.
Numbering more than fifty painters, it was best represented by Thomas Cole, Asher Durand, and Frederick Church.
all three men painted scenes of the region around the Hudson River
attracted artists rebelling against the neoclassical tradition
The first home grown American Movement in painting