Creating America Essay

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Creating America Marion E. Graham University of Phoenix The age of Enlightenment is the time of revolutions and the rise of the bourgeois. The two important revolutions of the 18th century are the American Revolution (1776) and the French Revolution (1789) which had a great influence on world history with the new ideas of equality, brotherhood and emancipation. These democratic ideals became a triggering force in the forging of nation-states of the 19th and 20th centuries. The American revolution was an idea and a political action against British colonialism. This important historical event became a topic for Washington Irving, who is regarded as the first American writer to achieve international fame. Although Irving’s mother was English-born and his father a Scottish descendant, it is clear that he was infuenced by the American Revolution as he blended German folktales with the spirit of the revolution. His famous story “Rip Van Winkle” (1819) sketches the funny adventure of Rip who had lived during the revolution. One day Rip falls a sleep and wakes up to a very different America after the revolution. As Benjamin Franklin becomes the hero of the Revolution, the slow and easy going Rip celebrates the counter-hero of America. In this paper, the focus of interest will be on how the American revolution started and the impact it had on Washington Irving’s work. Romanticism was the dominant attitude in the early 19th century American literature. This was natural, since there were plenty of romantic features in American culture even without the aesthetic or philosophical principles of Romanticism. Americans admired their nature and their short history. Still, the authors faced problems trying to combine their nationalistic ideals with the European impulses. Past was seen as a very suitable theme for national purposes. Therefore, history was depicted scholarly as

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