Creating an American Culture, 1775-1800: A Brief History by Eve Kornfeld

By Eve Kornfeld

Amid the conflict for American independence and the fight to invent a federal executive, American innovative leaders and intellectuals sought additionally to create an American tradition that may unify a territory of massive nearby, ethnic, and spiritual variety. In a worldly, but available, interpretive narrative, Eve Kornfeld examines the efforts of Noah Webster, Benjamin Rush, George Washington, Judith Sargent Murray, David Ramsay, Mercy Otis Warren, and others to invent a countrywide literature, narrate a narrative of nationhood, and teach a various humans for virtuous republican citizenship. one of the 31 records following the narrative are early makes an attempt at American epic poetry, excerpts from the 1st narrative histories of the USA, and commentaries at the position of ladies and Indians in nationwide lifestyles. Headnotes to the records, reproductions of early work and pictures, a chronology, questions for attention, a bibliography, and an index also are incorporated.

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True independence required as clear a distinction between national cultures and characters as existed between political institutions, Webster insisted. 39 Few of his countrymen agreed. Forced to abandon the more radical of his orthographic reforms due to adverse public reactions and the loss of Franklin’s invaluable support in 1790, Webster scaled back his spelling changes in subsequent books. Yet he never ceased to labor and hope for an American national language and cultural independence. Never would he bow to corrupt English linguistic customs.

6 Rush, Plan, 20–22. 30 EDUCATING AMERICAN CITIZENS many different kingdoms in Europe. ” He shared Jefferson’s fears that continued immigration would make American society “a heterogeneous, incoherent, distracted mass,” but Rush preferred civic education to restrictions on immigration. 7 Like George Washington, Rush worried about “those local prejudices and habitual jealousies . . 8 There the most talented youths could mingle and overcome those local allegiances and prejudices fostered in families and communities.

Dwight, Dissertation, 3–4. Dwight, Conquest, 49, 2, 13, 1. , 59–63, 235, 254, 253. ” By inserting American glory in an unlikely biblical context, Dwight constitutes America as an epic subject and links it to the coming of the earthly millennium. ”15 Accepting this challenge to carry cultural translation a step further was Dwight’s friend and student at Yale, Joel Barlow. Only a year after graduating from college, Barlow began to design an epic poem with Columbus as his hero. ” He was convinced that “every circumstance relating to the discovery and settlement of America” ought to hold intrinsic interest for his fellow citizens, who knew all too little about Columbus.

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