Culture Unit 2
The college board defines culture as one of the twelve themes in AP U.S. History. It also defines culture as, “Diverse individual and collective expressions through literature, art, philosophy, music, theater, and film throughout U.S. history. Popular culture and the dimensions of cultural conflict within American society.” During the post revolution and pre Civil war period America began to develop its own individual culture. It was no longer a colony of England but a free country and it had to have it own culture. During the time period of 1790 to 1860 American Culture developed from and offspring of British culture to an American Culture. There were expressions of music, theater, art and literature which all made the American culture grow.
In 1820 a British critic sneered, “Who reads an American book?” He was right at the time because there was no american literature. All of the books had to be imported from England or other european countries. This does not mean Americans had not been writing, they just did not write novels. They wrote political papers and pamphlets just not novels. American literature received got a kickstart from the surge of nationalism following the war of 1812. Washington Irving was the first American writer to get national recognition but he followed themes of old world countries so his work cannot be considered true American Literature. James Fenimore Cooper was the first American novilist. He wrote novels based on American themes. His books sold well in Europe and he became the first true American novelist.
A golden age dawned for American literature during the second quarter of the 19th century, especially in New England and more specifically in Boston. Boston liked to call itself the Athens of America because of its self proclaimed high culture. The transcendentalist movement of the 1830s resulted from the loosening up puritan New England...
Bibliography: Kennedy, David M., Lizabeth Cohen, and Thomas Andrew Bailey. The American pageant: a history of the American people. 14th ed., AP ed. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.
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