American Transcendentalists



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  1. American Transcendentalists

    1. Prominent transcendentalists included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Orestes Brownson, William Henry Channing, James Freeman Clarke, Christopher Pearse Cranch, Convers Francis, Margaret Fuller, Frederick Henry Hedge, Sylvester Judd, Elizabeth Peabody, George Ripley, Amos Bronson Alcott, and Jones Very.[1]

  2. Early Muckrakers

    1. Samuel Hopkins Adams (1871–1958) — The Great American Fraud, exposed false claims about patent medicines cork suckers

    2. Ray Stannard Baker (1870–1946) — of McClure's & American Magazine

    3. Nellie Bly (1864 – 1922) Ten Days in a Mad-House

    4. Cecil Chesterton (1879-1918) - of The New Witness and the 1912 Marconi scandal in Britain

    5. Claud Cockburn (1904-1981) - In Time of Trouble (1956), A Discord of Trumpets

    6. Burton J. Hendrick (1870–1949) — "The Story of Life Insurance" May - November 1906 McClure's

    7. Helen Hunt Jackson (1831–1885) — A Century of Dishonor, U.S. policy regarding American Indians

    8. Frances Kellor (1873-1952) — Studied chronic unemployment in her book Out of Work (1904)

    9. Thomas W. Lawson (1857-1924) Frenzied Finance (1906) on Amalgamated Copper stock scandal

    10. Henry Demarest Lloyd (1847-1903) - Wealth Against Commonwealth, exposed the corruption within the Standard Oil Company

    11. Jessica Mitford (1917–1996) — author of The American Way of Death (US Funeral Industry) and Making of a Muckraker (collection on various topics including writing schools and prisons)

    12. Frank Norris (1870 -1902) The Octopus

    13. Fremont Older (1856 - 1935) San Francisco corruption and the case of Tom Mooney

    14. Westbrook Pegler (1894–1969) — exposed crime in labor unions in 1940s

    15. Jacob Riis (1849-1914) - How the Other Half Lives, the slums

    16. Charles Edward Russell (1860–1941) — investigated Beef Trust, Georgia's prison

    17. George Seldes (1890–1995) — Freedom of the Press (1935) and Lords of the Press (1938), blacklisted during the 1950s period of McCarthyism.

    18. Upton Sinclair (1878–1968) — The Jungle (1906), U.S. meat-packing industry, and the books in the "Dead Hand" series that critique the institutions (journalism, education, etc.) that could but did not prevent these abuses.

    19. John Spargo, (1876–1966) — American reformer and author, The Bitter Cry of Children (child labor)

    20. William Thomas Stead - crusaded against child prostitution in Victorian England with The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon in the Pall Mall Gazette

    21. Lincoln Steffens (1866 – 1936) The Shame of the Cities (1904)

    22. I.F. Stone (1907–1989) — McCarthyism and Vietnam War, published newsletter, I.F. Stone's Weekly

    23. Kasey Swift (1904-1999) - Weekly editor of Atlanta Journal Constitution, wrote Keys to the City (non-fiction book about influence of political bosses on Atlanta politics). Early Civil Rights advocate.

    24. Ida M. Tarbell (1857 – 1944) exposé, The History of the Standard Oil Company

    25. John Kenneth Turner — (1879-1948) author of Barbarous Mexico (1910), an account of the exploitative debt peonage system used in Mexico under Porfirio Díaz.




  1. Dark romanticism is a literary subgenre that emerged from the Transcendental philosophical movement popular in nineteenth-century America. Works in the dark romantic spirit were influenced by Transcendentalism, but did not entirely embrace the ideas of Transcendentalism. Such works are notably less optimistic than Transcendental texts about mankind, nature, and divinity. Authors considered most representative of dark romanticism are Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville,[1] poet Emily Dickinson and Italian poet Ugo Foscolo.




  1. 1920s *Cultural Trends: Popular and Otherwise*

- The 1920s witnessed the birth of a new mass culture and more leisure time for Americans. New forms of entertainment and culture included:



  • Movies Silent film, then sound with The Jazz Singer. Most movies were escapist fantasies, and people flocked to see the hot new movie stars like Clara Bow, Rudolph Valentino, Greta Garbo – okay, this is NOT supposed to be about that!

  • Sports – With mass culture came a loss of individuality, so people looked to sports figures as representatives of the triumph of the unique individual. “Lucky Lindy” is another example of this type of hero-worship.

  • Prohibition or Lack Thereof – People still drank in speakeasies and such, and all the Eighteenth Amendment did was give gangsters like Al Capone tremendous power.

- As for literature and the arts…

  • The Lost Generation F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and John Steinbeck. Faced w/materialism and conformity, many writers went abroad during the 1920s and wrote about America from afar. Others stayed, but still spoke about the same themes: alienation, hypocrisy, conformity, and so on.

  • Harlem Renaissance Blacks flocked to Harlem, where they established a vibrant artistic community that celebrated black culture. A big issue for intellectuals in the HR was identity.

  • Jazz – A major part of the Harlem Renaissance was Jazz, which owed a lot to black culture and music. Jazz was a huge hit in the cities, and helped the recording industry greatly.

  • Innovative Art/Music – The twenties were very creative, and many artists attempted new styles, like Georgia O’Keefe in painting, Aaron Copland and George Gershwin in music, and Frank Lloyd Wright and his “prairie-style houses” in architecture.


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