Creating an American Culture, 1775-1800: A Brief History with Documents / Edition 1

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Amid the battle for American independence and the struggle to invent a federal government, American Revolutionary leaders and intellectuals sought also to create an American culture that would unify a territory of immense regional, ethnic, and religious diversity. In a sophisticated, yet accessible, 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 national literature, narrate a story of nationhood, and educate a diverse people for virtuous republican citizenship. Among the 31 documents following the narrative are early attempts at American epic poetry, excerpts from the first narrative histories of the United States, and commentaries on the place of women and Indians in national life. Headnotes to the documents, reproductions of early paintings and portraits, a chronology, questions for consideration, a bibliography, and an index are also included.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312190620
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Series: Bedford Cultural Editions Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 274
  • Sales rank: 1,295,038
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.24 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Eve Kornfeld (Ph.D., Harvard University) is professor of history at San Diego State University. A specialist in American cultural history, gender in American culture, and poststructuralist and feminist theory, she is the author of Margaret Fuller: A Brief Biography with Documents (Bedford Books, 1997) and has published numerous articles in journals such as the William and Mary Quarterly and the Journal of American Studies. One of the first fellows in the American Council of Learned Societies' Humanities Project, she is also active in the effort to bring interdisciplinary perspectives to the attention of K-12 teachers. In 1988, Kornfeld received the Timeos Award of the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society for excellence in teaching.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents



Creating an American Culture
1. Introduction
2. Inventing an American Language and Literature
3. Educating American Citizens
4. Narrating Nationhood
5. Contesting Popular Culture
6. Encountering the Other
7. Conclusion

The Documents
Inventing an American Language and Literature
1. Philip Freneau and Hugh Henry Brackenridge, A Poem on the Rising Glory of America, 1772
2. Timothy Dwight, The Conquest of Canäan; A Poem, in Eleven Books, 1785
3. Joel Barlow, The Vision of Columbus; A Poem in Nine Books, 1787
4. Benjamin Franklin, A Scheme for a New Alphabet and Reformed Mode of Spelling, 1768
5. Noah Webster, Dissertations on the English Language, 1789
6. Noah Webster, A Collection of Essays and Fugitive Writings, 1790

Educating American Citizens
7. Benjamin Rush, Thoughts Upon the Mode of Education Proper in a Republic, 1786
8. Benjamin Rush, Plan of a Federal University, 1788
9. George Washington, Last Will and Testament, 1799
10. Judith Sargent Murray, On the Equality of the Sexes, 1790
11. Judith Sargent Murray, The Story of Margaretta, 1798
12. Noah Webster, The American Spelling Book, 1789

Narrating Nationhood
13. David Ramsay, The History of the American Revolution, 1789
14. Mercy Otis Warren, History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution, 1805
15. Mason Locke Weems, The Life of George Washington; with Curious Anecdotes, Equally Honourable to Himself and Exemplary to his Young Countrymen, 1809
16. John Trumbull, The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker's Hill, 1786
17. John Trumbull, The Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia, 4 July 1776, 1787
18. Charles Willson Peale, George Washington at the Battle of Princeton, 1780–1781
19. Gilbert Stuart, George Washington, 1797

Contesting Popular Culture
20. Susanna Haswell Rowson, Charlotte: A Tale of Truth, 1794
21. Hugh Henry Brackenridge, Modern Chivalry: Containing the Adventures of Captain John Farrago, and Teague O'Regan, His Servant, 1792
22. Royall Tyler, The Contrast: A Comedy in Five Acts, 1787

Encountering the Other
23. Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1787
24. Timothy Dwight, Greenfield Hill: A Poem in Seven Parts, 1794
25. John Vanderlyn, The Death of Jane McCrea, 1804
26. William Bartram, Travels through North & South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulges or Creek Confederacy, and Country of the Chactaws,1791

A Selected Cultural Chronology of the United States of America (1771-1806)
Questions for Consideration
Selected Bibliography


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