The Hudson River School

Transcendentalism and
the Hudson River School
Interpretations of Nationalism and
• Trace the creation of a distinctive
American cultural identity by writers and
artists of the period.
What is transcendentalism?
• Transcendentalism questions established
cultural forms and focuses on being
educated (enlightened). It urged people to
fulfill their human potential and to be fully
human. Also stressed self-reliance.
• It spread throughout religion, education,
literature, philosophy, and social reform
• Romanticism is directly correlated with
• Also manifested in the creation of Utopian
Societies like Brook Farm and Oneida
• Gave more support to the anti-slavery
• Ralph Waldo Emerson- Nature
• Henry David Thoreau- Walden
• James Fenimore Cooper- Last of the
• Legacy lived on in Louisa Mae Alcott,
Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman
What was the Hudson River
• The Hudson River School was a group of
painters, led by Thomas Cole, who painted
awesomely Romantic images of America's
wilderness, in the Hudson River Valley and
also in the newly opened West.
Thomas Cole
Albert Bierdstadt
Martin Johnson Heade
The Rise of Reform
2nd Great Awakening
Rise of Mormonism
Prisons and Asylums
Women’s Movement
Utopian Communities
• Movement from the Puritan ideals of the
previous century to more evangelical.
2nd Great Awakening
• Unitarianism: spoke of the “humanness” of
God– rebuked all Puritan ideals
• Charles Grandison Finney- preacher
– Stressed that people were moral free agents,
but to be saved they had to hurry to salvation
– Led to secular (non-religious) reform
– Women encouraged to be missionaries
Rise of Mormonism
• Founded by Joseph Smith
• Led to Salt Lake City, Utah by Brigham
• Established Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints
• Experienced persecution because of their
belief and practice of polygamy
• Horace Mann- introduced public school
education to New England states
– Stressed that school should be compulsory
(children made to go)
– States should pay (not the federal gov)
– Introduced McGuffey Readers
Prisons and Asylums
• Led by Dorothea Dix
Women’s Movement
• Catherine Beecher:
– one of the chief proponents of the "cult of
domesticity," devoting much of her writing to
domestic and household topics both
ideological and practical.
– stressed that women should become teachers
and have more autonomy and power
Women’s Movement
• Led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B.
Anthony, Elizabeth Blackwell.
• Held the Seneca Falls Convention in NY,
where they issued the Declaration of
Sentiments, which modeled after the
Declaration of Independence
• Stated how men had deprived women of
the right to vote and equality
• The attempt to limit or ban the
consumption of alcohol.
Utopian Communities
Utopia: the perfect society
Brook Farm
Oneida Community
Both failed once people, with all of their
imperfections, started bickering
To Come….
• The largest and most controversial reform
movement of the 19th Century: Abolition
• Women were very influential in all of the
reform movements (education, prisons,
abolition, religion)
Due Wednesday, Nov. 16
• Essay:
– “American reform movements between 1820
and 1860 reflected both optimistic and
pessimistic views of human nature and
society.” Assess the validity of this statement
in reference to reform movements in 3 of the
following areas:
– Education, Temperance, Women’s Rights,
Utopian experiments, and Penal institutions