American Renaissance


First, There Was Growth in Three Areas Leading Up to the Civil War

New Technology and Inventions like

But there are some drawbacks to the new technology...

Education Reform Was Happening at the Same Time

The government decided that public schools should be funded by taxes.

Oh, and also that more kids should go to school.

The spread of education causes several things to happen

From Lyceums, they moved toward Utopian Communities that wanted to be "models of social perfection"

More than 60 Utopian communities were founded between 1820 and 1860.

Next came the Transcendentalists, who established their beliefs while gathering in lyceums and utopian communities

Transcendentalists were "looking for higher truths in ordinary experiences." They had many ideas about life, including that

This girl does a great job of breaking down the basics of transcendentalism and some of the major players

American Literature Periods - Transcendentalism

At the same time as the Transcendentalists were talking, there was also a school of thought that was Anti-Transcendentalist

While Transcendentalists believed that all people are inherently good and are always striving for good (i.e. If you believe it, you can achieve it). Anti-Transcendentalists thought there was good and evil in all of us, and at some point there is an unbridgeable gap between human desires and realities (i.e. Even if you believe it, there may not be a way to achieve it).

Major Anti-Transcendentalist Authors (also called Dark Romantics)

Oh, and I forgot to mention...

We've talked about major Transcendentalists Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Margaret Fuller. However, you can't talk Transcendentalism without talking about Walt Whitman, who came along 20 or 30 years later and made friends with Thoreau and Emerson. You also can't leave out Emily Dickinson, who was heavily influenced by their writings (but she wasn't buddy-buddy like Thoreau, Emerson, and Whitman were).
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