R and T

Report
Puritans, Romantics and
Transcendentalists
Puritanism
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“Puritanism. The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” H.L.
Mencken
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Major Ideas:
Persecuted in England for going against the Protestant church/government
Sought to “purify” the church.
Religion was an individual, personal, and internal experience.
The individual’s relationship with God was not determined by a member of the
clergy or the government.
Believed that all humans were damned, but that some were meant to be saved.
Fate was pre-determined-- one couldn’t “save” oneself, but if one led a good life,
one would be able to see the “signs” that meant one were saved
Only God’s grace was an individual’s salvation.
Contract-based government—beginnings of democracy (Salem Witch Trials)
Business was an important part of community, as was education
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Puritan Writing
• Bible=model as people
searched for connections
between their lives and
biblical events
• Each individual’s life was a
spiritual journey, so recorded
in diaries and historical
documents describing the
workings of God.
• Known for plain style of
writing emphasizing clarity
and avoiding complicated
figures of speech
Puritan Writers
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Anne Bradstreet
William Bradford
Mary Rowlandson
Reverend Jonathan Edwards
Salem Witch Trials
The First Thanksgiving
The Romantics
Transcendentalism:
• Developed in the 1830s both
in connection with, and in
opposition to Romanticism
• Transcendentalism refers to
the idea that in finding God, the
universe, and the self/soul, one
must transcend typical human
experience in the physical world
•Marked by a “return” to
nature, and trust in intuition
rather than deliberate
rationality and intellectualism
Transcendentalism
• Believed that self-reliance
and individualism must
outweigh external
authority, and selfimprovement leads to
social improvement
• Worked to find the
“permanent reality that
underlies physical
appearance”
• Optimism about the
potential of individual
lives and the universe
Transcendentalist Humor
Famous Transcendentalists
• Ralph Waldo Emerson
AKA Lead
Transcendentalist
• Henry David Thoreau AKA
neighbor and friend to L.T.
• Margret Fuller AKA one of
the first major feminist
writers in the US
• Amos Bronson Alcott AKA
father to Louisa May
Alcott
Henry David Thoreau
• 1817-1862, born in Concord, MA.
• Went to Harvard, very well-read, but many felt
he squandered his talents and connections
(including Emerson)
• Influenced by Emerson
• Went “into the woods” to journey inwards in a
T. fashion. Built a small cabin on Emerson’s
land two miles from town. Lived there for
three years, writing, thinking, and studying life
Thoreau
• Wrote “Resistance to Civil
Government” while on
Walden Pond after being
arrested for not paying poll
tax (supported MexicanAmerican War) because he
felt it extended slavery.
• Died in 1862. Apparently
asked on his deathbed if he’s
made peace with God (by his
aunt). His reply: “I didn’t
know that we had ever
quarreled.”
Walden Pond
Thoreau
“Resistance to Civil Government”
• Response to being jailed for one night for not
paying poll tax
• Discusses the role of the individual in society
and to his/her government
• Employs rhetoric devices of: ethos, logos,
pathos
• Inspired authors and thinkers like MLK and
Gandhi around passive/non-violent resistance
Ethos, Logos, Pathos
• Ethos is appeal based on the character of the
speaker or moral or widely accepted values
and/or standards
• Logos is appeal based on logic or reason; it
uses facts, examples, and well-reasoned
arguments.
• Pathos: is an appeal based on emotion and
language and anecdotes that arouse strong
feelings.
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http://www.rpi.edu/dept/llc/webclass/web/project1/group4/

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