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Unit 1: Introduction

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Becky Brown

on 17 August 2014

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Transcript of Unit 1: Introduction

Unit 1: Early American Writing
An Introduction

Writers of the Revolution
The writers of the American Revolution lived at the same time as the Puritans.
They shared the ideas of the Enlightenment, so their writing focuses on issues of government, rather than religion.
Writing That Launched a Nation
In the "Declaration of Independence," Thomas Jefferson articulated the idea of "natural law."
Natural law
is the idea that people are born with rights and freedoms and that it is the function of government to protect those freedoms.
After the Revolutionary War ended, important delegates, such as Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, met to discuss the formation of a new government.
Four months later, they emerged with the country's most important piece of writing, the Constitution.
Pamphlets and Propaganda
Many gifted minds of this period were drawn to political writing.
An important outlet for the spread of their ideas was the pamphlet.
One such pamphlet, Common Sense, by Thomas Paine, helped propel the colonists to revolution.
Paine felt that America should be a model of freedom to the rest of the world.
As you read and listen to this introduction, use an outline to record the main ideas about the characteristics and the literature of the period. Use the headings and sub-headings in this introduction to organize your notes.
Don't forget to bring your notes to our next class session! Be ready to use what you've learned in this introduction to contribute to an informed, substantive class discussion.
Voices of the People
Statesmen were not the only ones to contribute to the discussion of the day.
In her poems and letters Phillis Wheatley wrote of the "natural rights" of African Americans.
In her letters, Abigail Adams encouraged her husband John, who would become the nation's second president, to include the rights of women in its founding documents.
Women writers contributed to an understanding of the dreams and values that shaped our nation.
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