A Nation is Born

A Nation is Born
American Literature
Authors we will read
Benjamin Franklin
Michel-Guillaume Jean de Crevecoeur
Thomas Paine
Thomas Jefferson
The Age of Reason or Enlightenment
Writers valued reason over faith.
God gave reason to mankind.
People are generally good and not evil
Humans were born with an innate ethical sense
and had the ability to regulate and improve their
own lives.
Sir Isaac Newton said that God was like a
clockmaker who created the perfect mechanism
of this universe and left it to run on its own.
Belief in the power of science to further human
Scientists – Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton
Historical Period
French and Indian War
battle for control of
North America
1754-1763- France lost
Britain strengthens
control of territories and
power of the American
Stamp Act 1765
Townshend Act of
1767: taxed normal
household goods
Boston Massacre 1770
Boston Tea Party
Coercive Acts—in
response to the Tea Party:
shut down port of Boston,
forbid meetings, allowed
British troops to be housed
with Colonists (Col. called
them the “Intolerable Acts.”)
Historical Period
“The Shot Heard Round the World”
April 19, 1775- battle on the Lexington Green—
8 Americans dead
This marks the start of the Revolutionary War
The War ends on October 19, 1781
Literature of the Period
-Much of what was produced was public
--Speeches and pamphlets were used to
defend colonial rights.
-By 1776, 30 newspapers existed.
-By Washington’s inauguration,40 magazines
-Almanacs were popular.
Cries for a New Nation
Focus on politics in writing:
Common Sense- important document by
Thomas Paine 1776- sold over 100,000
copies within 3 months
The Declaration of Independence – 1776
Thomas Jefferson 1st draft
Other Public Documents
Articles of Confederation- established the
“league of friendship” between states. This
document fails.
The Federal Constitution replaces the
Bill of Rights added to strength document
Benjamin Franklin 1706-1790
Poor Richard’s Almanac was familiar to most
colonial households.
-provided info about the calendar and
weather and also contained aphorisms (an
aphorism= a short saying with a message).
Franklin’s Autobiography covers only his
early years.
It is considered one of the finest
autobiographies in any language.