A Nation is Born
Authors we will read
n Benjamin Franklin
n Michel-Guillaume Jean de Crevecoeur
n Thomas Paine
n Thomas Jefferson
The Age of Reason or Enlightenment
n Writers valued reason over faith.
n God gave reason to mankind.
n People are generally good and not evil
n Humans were born with an innate ethical sense
and had the ability to regulate and improve their
n Sir Isaac Newton said that God was like a
clockmaker who created the perfect mechanism
of this universe and left it to run on its own.
n Belief in the power of science to further human
n Scientists – Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton
Historical Period n Stamp Act 1765
n Townshend Act of
1767: taxed normal
n French and Indian War household goods
battle for control of
n Boston Massacre 1770
n Boston Tea Party
n 1754-1763- France lost
n Coercive Acts—in
response to the Tea Party:
n Britain strengthens shut down port of Boston,
control of territories and forbid meetings, allowed
power of the American British troops to be housed
with Colonists (Col. called
Colonies. them the “Intolerable Acts.”)
n“The Shot Heard Round the World”
April 19, 1775- battle on the Lexington Green—
8 Americans dead
n This marks the start of the Revolutionary War
n The War ends on October 19, 1781
Literature of the Period
-Much of what was produced was public
--Speeches and pamphlets were used to
defend colonial rights.
-By 1776, 30 newspapers existed.
-By Washington’s inauguration,40 magazines
-Almanacs were popular.
Cries for a New Nation
Focus on politics in writing:
n Common Sense- important document by
Thomas Paine 1776- sold over 100,000
copies within 3 months
n The Declaration of Independence – 1776
Thomas Jefferson 1st draft
Other Public Documents
n Articles of Confederation- established the
“league of friendship” between states. This
n The Federal Constitution replaces the articles.
n Bill of Rights added to strength document
Benjamin Franklin 1706-1790
n Poor Richard’s Almanac was familiar to most
-provided info about the calendar and
weather and also contained aphorisms (an
aphorism= a short saying with a message).
n Franklin’s Autobiography covers only his
n It is considered one of the finest
autobiographies in any language.