The Development of Nationalism


The Concord Hymn

Sung at the Completion of the Concord Monument, July 4, 1837


By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, or leave their childern free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

                                                            Ralph Waldo Emerson





I read the other day some verses written by an eminent painter which were original and not conventional. The soul always hears an admonition in such lines, let the subject be what it may. The sentiment they instill is of more value than any thought they may contain. To believe our own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, -- that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost,---- and our first thought, is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment. Familiar as the voice of the mind is to each, the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton is, that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men but what they thought. A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else, to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.

There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried. Not for nothing one face, one character, one fact, makes much impression on him, and another none. This sculpture in the memory is not without preestablished harmony. The eye was placed where one ray should fall, that it might testify of that particular ray. We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents. It may be safely trusted as proportionate and of good issues, so it be faithfully imparted, but God will not have his work made manifest by cowards. A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace. It is adeliverance which does not deliver. In the attempt his genius deserts him; no muse befriends; no invention, no hope.

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being.

Ralph Waldo Emerson



Nathaniel Hawthorne---

Novelist and short story writer, a central figure in the American Renaissance. Nathaniel Hawthorne's best-known works include THE SCARLET LETTER (1850) and THE HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES (1851). Like Edgar Allan Poe, Hawthorne took a dark view of human nature.

"Not to be deficient in this particular, the author has provided himself with a moral - the truth, namely, that the wrongdoing of one generation lives into the successive ones." (from The House of the Seven Gables)

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts. His father, also Nathaniel, was a sea captain and descendent of John Hawthorne, one of the judges in the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692. He died when the young Nathaniel was four year old. Hawthorne grew up in seclusion with his widowed mother Elizabeth - and for the rest of her life they relied on each other for emotional solace.


"The Custom-House" sketch, prefatory to The Scarlet Letter, was based partly on his experiences in Salem. The novel appeared in 1850 and told a story of the earliest victims of Puritan obsession and spiritual intolerance. The central theme is the effect of guilt, anxiety and sorrow. Hawthorne's picture of the sin-obsessed Puritans has subsequently been criticized - they were less extreme than presented in the works of Hawthorne, Arthur Miller, Steven King, and many others. The House of the Seven Gables was published the following year. The story is based on the legend of a curse pronounced on Hawthorne's own family by a woman, who was condemned to death during the Salem witchcraft trials. The curse is mirrored in the decay of the Pyncheons' seven-gabled mansion. Finally the descendant of the killed woman marries a young niece of the family, and the hereditary sin ends.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The most popular American poet of the 19th century, a storyteller, whose works are still cited - or parodied. Longfellow's works ranged from sentimental pieces such as 'The Village Blacksmith' to translations of Dante. Among his most interesting works are EVANGELINE (1847), a narrative poem of the former French colony of Acadia, echoing such epics as Homer's Odyssey, and THE SONG OF HIAWATHA (1855), especially noted for its sing-song meter and shamanistic rhythm. Longfellow is considered the first professional American poet. A number of his phrases, such as "ships that pass in the night", "the patter of little feet", and "I shot an arrow into the air", have become a common property.

"At the door on summer evenings,
Sat the little Hiawatha;
Heard the whispering of the pine-trees,
Sounds of music, words of wonder

The Song of Hiawatha adapted its meter from the Finnish national epic Kalevala and told a story of an Indian chief, an Ojibwa Indian, who is raised by Nokomis, his grandmother, 'the daughter of the moon'. Upon reaching manhood, Hiawatha wants to avenge the wrong done by his father, the West Wind, to his mother, Wenonah. Father and son eventually reconcile, and Hiawatha becomes the leader of his people. He marries Minnehaha, and an era on peace and prosperity ensues under his reign. But hard times come to his tribe, disease and famine afflict his people. Minnehaha dies, Hiawatha takes his leave to go to the Isles of the Blessed, and advises his people to accept the white man and heed to those who will come with a new religion. The poems ends like Kalevala, where the central character, the old and wise Väinämöinen, representing paganism, makes way for a new king of Karelia. - As a background for the poem, Longfellow consulted Henry Rowe Schoolcraft's books on the Indian tribes of North America and perpetuated an error of Schoolcraft's that placed Hiawatha among the forest tribes of the northern Midwest. The historical Hiawatha (c. 1450) lived well to the east.






House Styles

The term Antebellum stirs thoughts of Tara, the palatial plantation home featured in Gone with the Wind. From grand, pillared Greek Revival mansions to stately Federal style estates, America's antebellum architecture reflects the power and idealism of wealthy landowners in the American South, prior to the Civil War.


Antebellum Architecture
c. 1830 - 1862

Oak Alley Plantation
copyright © ArtToday

Antebellum houses have many of these features:

About Antebellum Architecture

Antebellum isn't so much an individual house style as an architectural time and place. Antebellum, Latin for "before war," refers to elegant plantation homes built in the American South in the 30 years or so preceding the Civil War. Antebellum homes are essentially in the Greek Revival, Classical Revival, or Federal style: grand, symmetrical, and boxy, with center entrances in the front and rear, balconies, and columns or pillars.

The features we associate with Antebellum architecture were introduced to the American South by Anglo-Americans who moved into the area after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.



Georgian Architecture of the 18th Century


Georgian architecture




It includes several trends in English architecture that were predominant during the reigns (1714–1830) of George I, George II, George III, and George IV. The first half of the period (c.1710–c.1760) was dominated by Neo-Palladianism. Colin Campbell, with his first publication of the Vitruvius Britannicus in 1715, inspired the patron-architect Richard Boyle, earl of Burlington, and his protégé, William Kent, to return to a classicizing form of architecture, based on the works of Inigo Jones and Palladio. Campbell’s Mereworth Castle, Kent (1723), is an outstanding example of this style. Another exponent of Palladian theory was Giacomo Leoni (1688–1746), who published an edition of the Architecture of A. Palladio in Four Books (c.1716–c.1720). The Palladian tradition exerted an obvious and powerful influence throughout the Georgian period both in England and America. During the first half of the 18th cent. there was a countercurrent of baroque architecture stemming from buildings by Sir Christopher Wren and carried on by Sir John Vanbrugh, Nicholas Hawksmoor, and James Gibbs. From the second half of the 18th cent. new archaeological discoveries in Greece and Italy led architects to draw freely from antiquity and other sources. Neoclassicism had for its principal exponents Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam, George Dance II, and Sir John Soane. A vast increase in population and the birth of industrialism brought an increasing demand for formal mansions for the aristocracy and for dwelling houses for the middle classes. A purely English type of dwelling, somewhat standardized as to plan and materials, was produced for the needs of town and country. The use of brick had become common under William of Orange (William III), as an element of Dutch influence. The red brick house, with courses and cornices of white stone and trimmings of white painted woodwork, is what is popularly termed the Georgian style. New types of public, commercial, civic, and governmental architecture arose, examples of which are Queensberry House by Giacomo Leoni; the Old Admiralty, Whitehall, by Thomas Ripley; the treasury and Horse Guards buildings, by William Kent; Somerset House, by Sir William Chambers; the Bank of England, by Sir John Soane; and monumental street groupings, such as those by John Wood and his son at Bath and by the Adam brothers in London. Among notable churches are St. Martin-in-the-Fields and St. Mary-le-Strand, both by James Gibbs; other important architects of the period were James Gandon and Henry Holland. American buildings and arts of the period, which closely resemble their English prototypes, are also usually designated as Georgian




Artists by Movement:
The Hudson River School

America, 1835 to 1870

The Hudson River School was a group of painters, led by Thomas Cole, who painted awesomely Romantic images of America's wilderness, in the Hudson River Valley and also in the newly opened West. The use of light effects, to dramatically portray such elements as mist and sunsets, developed into a subspecialty known as Luminism.

In addition to Cole, the best-known practioners of this style were Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Edwin Church.

American Visionaries honors Thomas Moran who was instrumental in securing our heritage of national parks for the continuing benefit and enjoyment of the American people and the world.

Thomas Moran’s vision of the Western landscape was critical to the creation of Yellowstone National Park. His pencil and watercolor field sketches and paintings captured the grandeur and documented the extraordinary terrain and natural features of the Yellowstone region. Moran's artwork was presented to members of Congress by park proponents. These powerful images of Yellowstone fired the imagination and helped inspire Congress to establish the National Park System in 1916.




John Quidor

Washington Irving's Sketch Book, published serially in London and New York journals in 1820, captivated readers worldwide. Quidor's Return of Rip Van Winkle accurately sets the scene in the Catskills and shows brick houses with step-gabled, Dutch roofs. The mountains and buildings are the only familiar elements to poor Rip, who'd been drugged by Henry Hudson's enchanted crew twenty years earlier. Having slept through the Revolutionary War, Rip finds a flag bearing "a singular assemblage of stars and stripes," while the face of King George on the tavern's sign has been repainted to that of an unknown George named Washington