Ch. 12 Antebellum Culture (pt. 1 – the romantic impulse)

Cultural Aspirations
Americans desired to be more well respected among intellectual world society.

Hudson River School
First great school of American painters, in New York.
Frederic Church, Thomas Cole, Thomas Doughty, and Asher Durand.
Painted Hudson River Valley vistas.

James Fenimore Cooper
First great American novelist
Master of adventure and suspense
Mans relationship to nature, relating to westward expansion

Herman Melville
Ran away as youth and sailed the worlds seas, then became novelist
Authored Moby Dick (1851)

Edgar Allan Poe
Evoked strong visuals with poetry
Morbid poetry, lived an unhappy life

Southern Romanticism
Historical romances or romantic eulogies of plantation house.
William Gilmore Simms (author; defender of southern institutions).

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Transcendentalist; Massachusetts born lecturer, intellectual.
Previously unitarian minister.
Wrote essays and has large poetry collection

Henry David Thoreau
Transcendentalist; also Massachusetts born.
Wrote Walden (1854), a book about living alone in the forest.
Practiced civil disobedience to oppose slavery.

Brook Farm
Vision of a utopia.
Established by transcendentalist George Ripley in MA, 1841.
Equal share of labor and leisure for each person.
Failed after fire destroyed central building in 1847.
Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter) was a resident.

New Harmony
Another utopian town, established by Robert Owen, a Scottish industrialist and philanthropist in 1825.
Every resident lived and worked in total equality.
Economic failure, but inspiring vision to many Americans.

Oneidan Community
A community in which gender roles were redefined, meaning that every person was married to eachother.
Children were also raised communally, seeing little of their real parents.

The Shakers
20 communities in NW and NE.
Given namesake due to strange religious dance ritual.
No one could be born into it, had to be chosen by participant.
Women exercised most power in communities.

Joseph Smith
Published the Book of Mormon, supposedly transcribed from golden tablets found in New York.
Mormonism allowed polygamy, and was secretive– leading to rumors.
Arrested in 1844, charged with treason. Killed by an angry mob while in jail.

Salt Lake City
Mormons move to Utah after death of Smith, the founder.
Establish Salt Lake City, from which they were never dislodged.
Highly organized, centrally directed, almost militaristic social structure.