Nationalism After The War Of 1812 Essay

, Research Paper

The United States of America, a country whose roots had been founded on new revolutionary theories of government (Democracy), had found itself in a great position of new national wealth, after the war of 1812, which ignited the fire in the country?s patriotic policies. The country, although wrongly informed, believed that they had been victorious in the War of 1812, because of the battle that was fought in New Orleans, and was an American victory. Although the Americans had won the battle of New Orleans, and thought they had won the war, this wasn?t so. The war was over before the battle even started, and a truce had been declared amongst the British and the Americans. To the new boastful Americans, this did not matter, for their presumption of victory was enough to ignite the patriotic fire which, unraveled its creative and nationalistic flare in American Literature, by providing America with its new own breed of poets and writers who sought nothing but the embellishment of their new great country. This patriotic flare also sought its light upon American Art, and gave the country a new breed of Artists who would seek out the beauty of the wonderful country, which they had created. This enraging fire also gave the country a group of new nationalistic heroes whom they could present to the world as the pride of America.

The country?s new nationalistic spirit sprouted an entire shift into the new roots of American Literature. These new American writers and poets sought the embellishment of their wonderful country. This new breed of literature gave the Unites States a multitude of great writers such as Washington Irving, who no longer sought to please the European standards of literature, but instead wrote about the wonders that is America in such stories as Rip Van Winkle, or uncovered a new form of imaginative literature by giving America Sleepy Hollow, a story which no longer sought to fulfill the European standards that literature should be reserved for the aristocracy, or that the imagination should play no part in the composition of Literature. No longer did literature have to be proper, or socially appealing, this was not the concern of these new patriots who saw that they could shape the world into anything they chose, just by writing what they thought was great literature. Another great American writer of the period was James F. Cooper. Cooper did not write about the common American, nor did he write about how the Anglo-Saxon culture, which was predominant in America, ruled the people or conducted a ?civilized? culture. Cooper?s task was a different one: He wrote about how the ?Indian savages? of America were not so savage, and were actually more civilized than they were given credit for. Cooper wrote The Last of The Mohicans, which is about nonetheless than a group of Native Americans, which he gave the perception of being more of a civilized culture than the ?white man?s? culture. Cooper also wrote other novels and stories that captured the spirit of the county?s superfluous nationalism. Although not all of his work dealt with only Native Americans, he also wrote other novels that although about the white culture, they still had a good sense of nationalistic honor. Another writer, although not necessarily dealing with American Literature, instead with American social politics, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in 1830 Democracy in America. This French writer spoke of the singularity of America because they were able to establish a country in which social class did not exist. Tocqueville also spoke of the United Stated being a ?Nation of Joiners?, in which he denominated Americans as being very socially active where they were able to establish civic organizations, all of which were meant to help each and every American in one way or another. Tocqueville also predicted in his writing that the two great nations of the World would be The United States of America, and Russia. And up to this point in history he has been right, not completely though, for Russia has not been able to keep their country out of massive turmoil, but they are powerful. Then there was William Wadsworth Longfellow, who also wrote about the many patriotic adventures of Paul Revere?s Midnight Ride, all of which was Longfellow?s idealistic view of what really happened. But nobody really was concerned whether these writers told the truth or not, as long as America looked well, the country was happy.

Besides all of the new nationalistic literature America also found a new love for nationalistic art. There were new patriotic artists that in the 1820?s sought of nothing else but embellishing the beauty that was America through their paintings. Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828), a Rhode Islander, who painted many portraits of George Washington, all of which were slightly dehumanized and slightly idealized. Charles Wilson Peale (1741-1827), a Marylander, painted about sixty portraits of George Washington. John Trumbull (1756-1843), a soldier in the Revolutionary War, recaptured its scenes and spirit on scores of striking canvases. James Audobon, a naturalist, painted Birds of America, which was a composition of a large variety of paintings of American birds. All of these painters had one thing that drove them all. This nationalistic spark, which influenced the artistry of the 1820s to embellish the beauty that was America. From its leaders to its birds, these artists wanted nothing more than to show the wonders of America.

The United States of America, besides having an amazing quantity of artists, writers, and poets to represent them in the intellectual and artistic world, also needed a group of heroes to represent the country?s booming greatness in the social circles, and international glory. For this ominous assignment a group of very highly classified men were chosen. Amongst these were Andrew Jackson, who chased the Indians into Florida, so was considered a national hero. Stephen Decatur had gained American pride overseas by defeating the North African pirates, therefore showing the strength of the country?s naval capacity. Oliver Hazard Perry was also considered a national hero for winning the battle on Lake Erie. Noah Webster although not being a victor at war, was a victor elsewhere. Webster created the New World Dictionary, which was another reaffirmation that the United States was now its own country and would establish its own rules, and conduct all matters according to how they saw fit.

After the War of 1812, a lot of drastic actions took place in America. For one the Federalists died out because they were sought as treasonous for trying to establish their secession at the Hartford Convention (1814), and for their anti-war policies. The new nationalist spark lights fires everywhere in American life. American Literature becomes universally recognized as literature for the first time. In art, the new American painters looked for all of the beauty that was America. All of the painters, writers, and poets looked to idealize America, and did it very successfully. Patriotism was at an all time high, and the whole country was riding the crest of a beautiful wave that changed what America would become forever.


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