ROMANTICISM (1800-1855)

Historical context

In 1838 begins the removal of 15,000-17,000 Cherokee Indians from Georgia on the "Trail of Tears" resulting in an estimated 4,000-8,000 deaths.

In 1838, the Underground Railroad is organized.

In 1845, Thoreau begins living at Walden Pond.

On August 10, 1846, the act establishing the Smithsonian Institution is passed by Congress and immediately signed into law by President James K. Polk.

In 1849, Amelia Bloomer begins publishing The Lily, a journal supporting temperance and women's rights.

In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin sells one million copies within the year.

In 1855, Frederick Douglass publishes My Bondage and My Freedom.


  • Short stories, novels, poetry
  • Imagination over reason; intuition over fact
  • The law of the universe was not static but dynamic with change, growth, and development
  • Focused on the fantastic of human experience
  • Writing that can be interpreted two ways: surface and in depth
  • Focus on inner feelings

Transcendentalism (1840 - 1855)

Stressed individualism, intuition, nature, self-reliance


Essays, journals, speeches, poetry

Major Writers