Innovation from the Close Past

by: Ripken Reynolds, Alex Lozano, John Wang

American Change Through A Transitional Time

  • 1850-1890 American Time Period:

During the time period 1850-1890, history varied dramatically. For one, the Civil War that took place in our young nation had broken out dividing the North and South States. These two divisions were known to be as the Union -the North- and the Confederate -the South. This took a major hit on literature, technology, and social aspects that will shape this country into what it is today. The Civil War dramatically changed the views on literature to authors and poets, for example, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. Both, were affected greatly from the war which explains the crazy writing style of Walt Whitman and the reason can be concluded through PTSD.

Politically, many acts were established or replaced one being the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. This act establishes the territories of Kansas and Nebraska. The legislation repeals the Missouri Compromise of 1820 in which will renew tensions between anti- and pro slavery factions. April 14, 1865 comes the horrific assassination of our president Abraham Lincoln and the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, prohibiting slavery. Adding on to literature, all hell breaks loose in the literary as the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendment of the Constitution is ratified (Prohibiting slavery, defining citizenship to blacks, & giving blacks the right to vote).

  • 1890-1910 American Time Period:

The country changed greatly from 1910-1930 world war 1 happened which caused great distress all over the country, after that ended the League of Nations was created in an attempt to keep world peace so another world war does not happen in the future, also America was in a Great Depression because of all the money and people lost. Once the Great Depression was over and America was growing again there were massive advancements in just about everything. Things that we use every day now we're just being created like band aids and chap stick things that we have always been around. also during this time is when colored people were having a lot of trouble being “free”. although they were free they had a lot less rights than the white man and they finally realized this and so they fought for their rights.

  • 1910-1930 American Time Period:

Immigration during the time period 1890-1910 was an influential span of immigration policy and foreign influx into the United States. This time period falls into the era of regulation—an era which featured few restrictions, but developing rules were being formulated. This policy shaped the movement of immigrants into the United States. Many of those immigrants were paramount contributors to American society in the area of silent film. These included moguls and screenwriters like Carl Laemmle and the Lumière Brothers. Immigration during 1890-1910 would prove to be a fairly influential sequence that would transport some of silent film’s finest into the business.

Literature's Effect Towards The Transition

  • Literature 1850-1890:

As these catastrophic events concluded in between 1850-1890, the United States grew as a whole in every department. The literature of the time changed to represent this transition for the country due to the growth of, again, the United States. As we citizens of the United States continue to learn more or grow, a lot of things change. As technology of course began to boom, our literature and vocabulary is going through a bust. Hence, the reason abbreviations began to overwhelm the younger generations such as “brb”, “ttyl”, “bc”, or the most inaccurate spelling for “okay”, is now being said just as “ok.” In the end, literature changed to represent the transition for the country because of our sheer stupidity and the “want” to use the least amount of effort in a task so instead of typing/saying the four letter word, “okay”, i'll make it easier and say, “ok.”

  • Literature 1890-1910:

through the time period of 1910-1930 was the beginning of modernism. the first sound films were created and not everyone wanted to see a Shakespeare play in a sound film, modernism was basically the beginning of what people WANT to see in literature. at the beginning of the 20th century was when world war 1 began, so most of the literature during that time was directed toward world war 1. modernism caused many more Americans more interested in literature because the content was more open to everybody in the country to easily understand and comprehend.

  • Literature 1910-1930:

The last decade of the nineteenth century saw the development of a number of movements which amounted to a rejection of the principles of Victorianism. Early Victorian writers, responding to the social changes due to the shift from an agricultural to an industrial society and the decline of traditional religious beliefs, adopted a moral aesthetic and maintained that literature should provide fresh values and an understanding of the newly emerging society. Novelists such as Elizabeth Gaskell and George Eliot examined complications of forming a personal identity in a world in which traditional social structures were breaking down. Social mores were their subject and realism their form of expression.

Attitude of Nation & Advancements of the Time:

  • 1850-1890 Attitude & Advancements:

The Nation’s attitude during the time period was in distress, our country was divided through hate and disagreement. Advancements included the first hot dog, the bike (1861), elevator brakes, higher buildings, steam motorcycle (1867), gas motorcycle (1885), typewriter (1867), telephone (1876), light bulb (1878), machine gun (1862), torpedo (1866), dynamite (1867), detonator (1863), Standard Time (1882)

  • 1890-1910 Attitude & Advancements:

In the Nation, woman begin to take advantage of education and careers. Woman were involved in social reforms for women suffrage and workers rights, the global influence. basketball, stop signs,smoke detectors, bottle caps, gasoline powered tractors, volleyball, batteries, internal combustion engine.

  • 1910-1930 Attitude & Advancements:

In the Nation, women gained the right to vote and nations attitude was a bit in distress given that it had partaken in world war one. neon lights, parachute, bra, x-Ray, stainless steel radio receiver, tank, machine gun, cruise missile, band aid, radar sound film, television, antibiotics

Political Situations:

  • Politics in 1850-1890:

Political topics of the time include, Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, repeal of Missouri Compromise in 1820, April 14, 1865 Assassination of President Lincoln, Ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865, Ratification of Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendment, Civil War 1861-1865, Chicago Fire of 1871, Pres. Garfield gets inaugurated and shot 1881.

  • Politics in 1890-1910:

The Progressive Era was a period of widespread social activism and political reform across the United States, from the 1890s to 1920s. The main objective of the Progressive movement was eliminating corruption in government. The movement primarily targeted political machines and their bosses. By taking down these corrupt representatives in office a further means of direct democracy would be established. They also sought regulation of monopolies (Trust Busting) and corporations through antitrust laws. These antitrust laws were seen as a way to promote equal competition for the advantage of legitimate competitors.

  • Politics in 1910-1930:

This specific time period was a time of modernism and literature had a big change all across the country. Big controversy over race, the Great Depression...

Social Tendencies & Pop Culture:

  • Culture during 1850-1890:

Social tendencies during the late 19th century were still troubled by deadly disease and illness’. The civil life was very formal, girls were the most formal and eloquent. Bigger problems occurred in society during the civil war and afterward as the civil war determined slavery, and the outcome of slavery. The south and northern states were at a huge disagreement, in the end, the north had one and slavery was outlawed. Great pop culture arose from this time period. Poets such as Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman who impacted literature through the Civil War greatly. Art during the 19th century highly was imagined through the manifest destiny, and the expansion to the west. Music is very unknown, just solely because radios were not around, though it is believed there was a large amount of performances.

  • Culture during 1890-1910:

An art movement is a tendency or style in art with a specific common philosophy or goal, followed by a group of artists during a restricted period of time, (usually a few months, years or decades) or, at least, with the heyday of the movement defined within a number of years. Art movements were especially important in modern art, when each consecutive movement was considered as a new avant-garde. Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art – especially the decorative arts – that was most popular during 1890–1910.English uses the French name Art Nouveau ("new art"), but the style has many different names in other countries. A reaction to academic art of the 19th century, it was inspired by natural forms and structures, not only in flowers and plants, but also in curved lines. Architects tried to harmonize with the natural environment.

  • Culture during 1910-1930:

Pop culture included sound films, a big part of pop culture during this time as people began to go out more, Tango invented - "Tangomania" led to shorter skirts, lipstick, etc., crossword puzzles invented and became a huge trend all over the country

Individual Story Information:

  • "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Bierce

Literary Characteristics include Civil War times, Major Imagery, and detailed time period, free thought, rollback. The story, “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” was an event taken place during the civil war. This story really symbolized the average life and thoughts of people during the time as well. The story “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” is considered a very popular story during this time and to many historians as well. It represents whats said to be “Alternate universes” if we talk science fiction/ theory wise. The character of the story is on a bridge being hung, instead of falling to his doom the rope snaps and he falls into the river to run through what seems to be and endless forest, during the end of his run he experiences pain in his neck. The story then flashes back to the bridge of him being hung and this time, its for real, he’s hung to his death.

  • “The Open Boat” by Crane

Literary Characteristics include imagery, survival, and action. The most important event in the story is about him [the character] surviving. "The Open Boat" is a short story by American author Stephen Crane (1871–1900). First published in 1897, it was based on Crane's experience of surviving a shipwreck off the coast of Florida earlier that year while traveling to Cuba to work as a newspaper correspondent. Crane was stranded at sea for thirty hours when his ship, the SS Commodore, sank after hitting a sandbar. He and three other men were forced to navigate their way to shore in a small boat; one of the men, an oilier named Billie Higgins, drowned after the boat overturned. Crane's personal account of the shipwreck and the men's survival, titled "Stephen Crane's Own Story", was first published a few days after his rescue.

  • “The Ransom of Red Chief” by O. Henry

Literary Characteristics include criminality, justice and judgment, and finally violence. The story “the ransom of red chief” was about some goofy kidnappers who happen to not get what they expected. this story is a perfect example of modernism showing some not so smart criminals doing some not so smart things and get what they deserve.


  • 1850-1890 Time Period:

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  • 1890-1910 Time Period:

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"African American Community and Politics, 1890-1910." African American Community and Politics, 1890-1910. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.

  • 1910-1930 Time Period:

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"America's Best History U.S. Timeline, The 1910's - The Most Important Events in All Parts of the Decade." America's Best History U.S. Timeline, The 1910's - The Most Important Events in All Parts of the Decade. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.