The American Mind in the Mid-Nineteenth Century, 2nd Edition / Edition 2

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EXCERPT: "The half century between the War of 1812 and the Civil War was above all an age of expansiveness in America. Whether measured in terms of population, territory, urbanization, economic growth, technological development, democratization, or nationalism, American society was transformed quantitatively and qualitatively at a spectacular rate. What Americans thought about themselves, their country, and their universe was always tightly linked to the changes they confronted, and the ideas they shared and disputed were both a product of and a commentary upon the expanding political, social, and economic democracy of the period.

Strictly speaking, of course, there was no "American mind" during this period, since Americans were then, as they are now, of many minds. Child and adult, man and woman, native and foreign born, Northerner and Southerner, slave and citizen-everyone who lived in America lived in a world of ideas and values shaped in part by a particular history and particular circumstances. However, as Tocqueville observed after visiting America in the 1830s, the citizens of any vigorous society are usually "rallied and held together by certain predominant ideas." Except for the chapter on the slave-holding South, we will be concerned here with the dominant ideas and values most Americans shared and identified with their new nation during the years from 1815 to 1860."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780882958095
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/15/1982
  • Series: American History Series , #5
  • Edition description: 2
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 157
  • Age range: 16 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Table of Contents

One: Interpreting American Democratic Thought 1

Two: Religion, Philosophy, and Science in the American Democracy 6

Religion 7

William Ellery Channing 9

Charles Grandison Finney 13

Horace Bushnell 15

Philosophy 19

The Academic Mind 20

The Transcendental Mind: Emerson 22

Science 27

Three: Political and Social Thought in the American Democracy 35

The Mind of the Jacksonians 36

William Leggett 39

George Bancroft 41

The Reform Impulse 42

Henry Thoreau: The Transcendentalist as Critic and Reformer 47

Wendell Phillips: The Rationale for Agitation 52

The Grimke Sisters and the Birth of Feminism 59

Conservatism and Democracy 65

Daniel Webster and National Conservation 66

Abraham Lincoln and Democratic Conservatism 74

Four: The Mind of the South 83

The Democratic Mind in the South 84

The Southern Mind as Apologist for Slavery 89

John C. Calhoun 91

George Fitzhugh 97

The Reactionary Enlightenment 102

The Mind of the Slave 104

Five: The Democratic Imagination 108

P.T. Barnum: The Showman as Artist 108

An American Literature 112

Walt Whitman: The Democrat as Poet 115

The Novel in America 121

Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Democrat as Puritan 123

Herman Melville: The Democrat as Skeptic 127

Six: Conclusion 132

Bibliographical Essay 136

Index 145

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