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Revolutionary Notes



Revolutionary Period—1760-1800

The Revolutionary Period, also known as the “Age of Reason” and the “Neo-Classic Age,” is the second literary period in American literature.
I.       Purposes for writing
          A.  To inform

          B.  To persuade politically
II.      Kinds of writing

          A.  Practical, urging social and political reform (speeches, pamphlets, newspapers)
          B.  Scientific and ethical

III.    Ideals vs. Realities

          A.  Ideally—England would have treated the colonies well and the colonies would have remained England’s property

          B.  Realistically—England kept pressing the colonies until there was no recourse except revolution for freedom.

* The Enlightenment was an intellectual philosophy during the 17th and 18th centuries that celebrated the powers of human reason, scientific discovery, religious toleration, and the desire to live under a government free of tyranny. (Rose up to take the place of Puritan religion.)

IV.    Characteristics of the Enlightenment (Diest beliefs)—also views of God, man, and nature.

          A.     Belief that progress can’t be stopped

          B.     Belief that reason is above all else.

          C.     Belief that man is perfectible through the power of the mind

          D.     Belief that God, being good, does not want man to suffer

          E.     Belief that nature is good, provides all things

* With this 18th century idea of God, man, and nature, came the idea that government and the will of the people should be related.

* Rationalism—All human beings can arrive at the truth by using reason rather than looking to the past, to religious faith, or to intuition.

*Jean Jacques Rousseau—French philosopher (18th century). One of the leading men in the Enlightenment. Believed that in the state of nature, people are good but that they are corrupted by social institutions (a central idea in Romanticism).

* After the 1800’s—People believed the universe was like a lea, tree, or blade of grass—growing. People could become whatever they desired if they were willing to make the effort and sacrifices.