American Individualism (1800

American Individualism (1800-1850)
Alexis de Tocqueville said Americans lived “no longer attached to each other by any tie of caste, class, association, or
 By late 18th century, Americans:
o embrace _______________________ thought, belief
o more ______________________ than ancestors
o uniting factors are ________________________ (democracy, liberty) NOT ____________ religion, etc.
Transcendentalism: an intellectual movement rooted in the _________________traditions of New England
 Mostly a middle-upper class movement (those who tended to have access to education)
 Young men of the movement had ___________________ roots but had adopted ___________________
o Belief that God was one person, not trinity
o Questioned aspects of Protestantism
 Heavily influenced by European _________________________—rejected ________________ for passion and
chaos of human spirit
o Felt that an ideal, deeper reality was found by transcending (________________________) Enlightened
 Transcendentalists used ____________________________ to spread their ideas
o lecture circuits were called ______________________, after ancient Greeks’ school of thought
 Message of the transcendentalist: _____________________________________________________
o Focus on connection with nature
Important Transcendentalists
 Believed:
o people trapped in inherited customs and institutions
o Individual must REMAKE oneself- discover who he/she is in accordance with _____________
 would lead a person into a mystical private union with the “Universal Being”
 Essays, lectures’ message: God, Nature were united
 Criticized ____________________ society- consumerism, constant work, profit would ruin country’s spiritual
o urged writers to celebrate democracy, individual freedom, and the simple and natural
 A New England intellectual; in 1845, retreats to a cabin at the edge of Walden Pond near Concord, MA
 1854 publishes ______________________, detailing his spiritual search for meaning beyond the artificial
“civilized” life
o Emphasizes __________________________ and social ______________________
o Civil Disobedience (against unjust laws- Thoreau refused to pay taxes because of Mexican War in 1848)
 Wealthy, educated-spoke 6 languages
 Wanted women’s freedom/rights
o Led groups of intellectual women in Boston
 “Male and female represent the two sides of the great radical dualism. But in fact they are perpetually passing into
one another. There is no wholly masculine man, no purely feminine woman.”
Woman in the Nineteenth Century, 1845
 Often called the “______________________________________”
o controversial, particularly his poetry collection ________________________________, considered
obscene for its sexuality
o The individual had a divine spark
 Break free from tradition, law, social restraints to discover an “original relation with nature.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville
 Nathaniel Hawthorne’s _________________________________
 Herman Melville’s _______________________________
Addressed opposition between individual transcendence and necessity for social order, discipline, and
o Human ego=downfall
Rural Communalism and Urban Culture
The Brook Farm Experiment
 Brook Farm (West Roxbury, MA) was a transcendentalist _________________________________ experiment
by Unitarian minister George Ripley
o These communal societies a.k.a ___________________
o hoped this utopia would allow members to realize their spiritual and moral potential
 ____________________—an ideal community meant to create a perfect socio-politico-legal system
o describes intention of real-life intentional communities and fictional societies in literature
 Philosophy: once freed from tension and demands of a competitive, urban society, members could develop
themselves fully
 Although Brook Farm fails, thousands join other communal settlements (mostly in rural NE, Midwest)
o symbols of social protest
o socialist in nature: communal ownership or property
o experiment in challenging traditional marriage, family life, gender roles, capitalist values
Communal Groups
 Founded by _______________________________ after she had a vision about human sin
 Believed that everybody could find God within him or herself, (____________________) rather than through
clergy or rituals
 The Shakers tended to be more emotional in their worship (“_______________” refers to the dances during
o believed life should be dedicated to pursuing perfection and end sins
 20 communal settlements with 200,000 converts in 19th century.
 Believed in strict celibacy, no marriage, as sex was considered the greatest sin
o Believed God was both male and female
o Sexual equality, reject traditional gender roles
o conversion and adoption of orphans to keep numbers (decrease 1850s)
o Many did not stay; most at any time was 6,000 in 1840
 Allowed people of all backgrounds, including Africans
 Focus was on ___________________ (_____________________) and agriculture
Charles Fourier (____________________ Movement)
 French by birth, embraced utopian _______________________—work for the benefit of the community
o Workers paid based on their contributions in groups called _______________________
 Jobs based on individual interests, desires
o Rejected capitalism, industrialization, trade
 Supports women's rights, individuality, rejected idea of “_____________________________” where women
were considered inferior
o all jobs should be open on basis of skill/ability, not ___________________
o Saw traditional marriage could hurt women's rights as human beings; he never married
 Concerned with liberating every individual through education and human passion (expression)
 Ideas spread to America through Arthur Brisbane’s book, The Social Destiny of Man
o Communities like Utopia, Ohio, fail by 1860s (social policy, impact of depression, lack of religious
John H. Noyes & _______________________
Noyes argued that Fourier communities failed because they lacked morality/faith (religion)
 Focus on __________________________- everyone EQUAL (men and women)
o Embraced Perfectionism (sin free!)
o Marriage= hindered peace/sin free life
Challenged traditional sexual and gender roles
o __________________________: rejection of _________________ creates criticism (& laws regarding
o Women cut hair short and wore pants
o Children raised communally to give most women time for self-development
o Women=full participants in community= complete equality
o marriage, child rearing= kept women down
Successful community- made steel animal traps and eventually ___________________ (joint-stock company)
 Joseph Smith, Jr. disturbed by many Christian denominations (grown from Second Great Awakening)
o 1820 as a child: God appeared in a vision; told him to avoid denominational churches
o 1823, age 17: angel called Moroni, the son of Mormon, appeared to Smith
 Told he was chosen to translate the _______________________________, written on golden plates hidden in
New York
o 1827: begins translation; published in 1830 as The Book of Mormon
o Creates ____________________ movement; religion deviates from Christianity
 Polytheism, polygamy
 persecution forced from New York to Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, finally Salt Lake City
These alternative communities were important:
 questioned traditional customs
 challenged emerging class divisions
 challenged sexual norms in the new capitalist society
They were “countercultural blueprints for a more egalitarian society.”
Think: How did new ideas that emerged during this era contribute to American culture and values today? What was
going on in America between 1800-1850?