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Articulating the American Dream
Jonathan Edwards: “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (EAR pp. 311-324) - Phyllis Wheatley “On the Death of the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield” (EAR pp. 340-42) - Benjamin Franklin The Autobiography (EAR pp. 61-115)
deism. man is not evil) • Enlightenment ideas influenced America during the revolutionary and constitutional phases. .The Twilight of Puritanism • 1630-1690 – the triumph of New England congregationalism • 1692 Salem (now Danvers) witch trials: 20 people executed during this mass hysteria. • 1734-1750 – new stage in the American Faith. equality at birth. subsequent loss of faith • Arguments over individual or collective accountability to God. empiricism of Bacon and Locke. “the Great Awakening” • in Europe: the Enlightenment (rationalism of Descartes and Newton.
secularization. Independents. Gilbert Tennent and Theodorus Frelinghuysen (New Jersey). • Arrival of famous English evangelist George Whitefield in America (1739) precipitates Great Awakening. • Revivalist meetings – focus on repenting & personal conversion. Baptists. Dissenters. very emotional response from audience. emergence of industrial society. The Great Awakening (1734-1750) . Presbyterians. revivalist ministers: Samuel Stoddard and Jonathan Edwards (Massachusetts).• Protestant denominations in English America (early 18th century): Congregationalists. • Pursuit of material success. frontier advancement result in lesser role for religious faith and spiritual matters in American colonies. interdenominational phenomenon. • Local revivals starting in late 17th century – limited to certain denominations.
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) .
only the result of applying selfscrutiny. Locke’s influence: our ideas are based on sensations). best-known revivalist minister. Personal Narrative (c. not assurance. later. . God’s grace as a gift. 1740) – an account of the progress of his personal faith. • self-examination – key principle. • Faith as an act of hope. existentialist) dilemma: in order to be sure one has to be unsure. not intended for publication. • Edwards wants to bring to us the sensation of what it’s like to be a convert (J. “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (1741) – most famous imprecatory sermon (“jeremiad”) in English. • Calvinist (and. conviction of personal sin & unworthiness.Jonathan Edwards (1703-58) • Greatest Calvinist theologian in America.
to a state of new.” • • • . and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God. are in the hands of an angry God. whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you. Thus all you that never passed under a great change of heart. much as one holds a spider or some loathsome insect over the fire.” “Therefore. let everyone that is out of Christ. that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood.” “The God that holds you over the pit of hell. and that of an angry God.” “O Sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath.From “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (1741) • • • Direct address to the audience A jeremiad (<The Book of Jeremiah) “The bow of God’s wrath is bent. and raised from being dead in sin. and strains the bow. a wide and bottomless pit. and the arrow made ready on the string. full of the fire of wrath. without any promise or obligation at all. that you are held over in the hand of that God. and made new creatures. and justice bends the arrow at your heart. and before altogether unexperienced light and life. abhors you. as against many of the damned in hell. by the mighty power of the Spirit of God upon your souls. now awake and fly from the wrath to come. and is dreadfully provoked: His wrath towards you burns like fire. all you that were never born again.
democratization of religion. religion became the direct concern and experience of the individual. Consequences of the Great Awakening . • Deeper sense of unity – this inter-colonial movement anticipated American nationality.• Stress on individual choice of denomination. • First in a long line of “Great Awakenings” in the history of American religion.
she remained a very popular poet in the U. President Washington spoke favorably of her poetry. Negroes./May be refin'd. 1754 – 1784) . • Much appreciated in London. but for Jefferson she was at best an imitator and living proof that blacks don’t possess the “humanity requisite for the production of works of art” (Houston Baker). • Mid-20th century African American writers and critics dismissed her as “the prototype of acculturation” for her obedience to white cultural norms (H. black as Cain. Phillis Wheatley (c. until the early 1800s. and join th' angelic train” (“On Being Brought From Africa to America”). Christians. • She is now considered the first that made the African voice heard within American literature.S. she had a hard time as a poet. Baker): “Remember. a woman.• Best known African American poet of the colonial and revolutionary eras. even so. and a former slave in America.
Phyllis Wheatley portrait by Scipio Moorhead .
” [God’s imagined address] . take him for your joyful theme. Take him my dear Americans. for your only good. come to this life-giving stream. and kings. Ye thirsty. for your food. Ye thirsty. Be your complaints on his kind bosom laid: Take him. come to this life-giving stream. happy saint. ye wretched.From “On the Death of the Rev. ye Africans. on thine immortal throne” – first line “Take him. Mr. You shall be sons. Ye preachers. he longs for you. Take him ye starving sinners. and priests to God. Impartial Savior is his title due: Wash’d in the fountain of redeeming blood. George Whitefield” • • “Hail. he said.
• Inventions & scientific interests: lightning rod. organizer of the Pennsylvania Militia (1756). diplomat. meteorology. bagatelles.S. and member of the 1787 Constitutional Convention. creator of the first independent newspaper in the colonies The New-England Courant. runs away to Philadelphia where he establishes his own printing business.compilation of prudential maxims.F. hoaxes. Postmaster General.th • • At 12 he becomes an apprentice and indentured servant to his older brother James Franklin. and especially Poor Richard’s Almanac (1733-1758). Franklin stove. metallurgy. interested in light theory. • A Founding Father of the United States. . bifocal glasses. 15 child of a chandler from Boston. co-founder of Pennsylvania Hospital (1751). • His fame grows with the publication of essays. “The Way to Wealth” (1758) . experimented with electricity. • Public works: founder of first public library in America (1731). glass armonica (also a composer!). Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Puritan background. first U. a successful printer. initiator of one of first volunteer firefighting companies (1736). abolitionist society. satires. • At 17 B. The Academy and College of Philadelphia (1751).
• Why did Franklin write his autobiography? • “In order to secure my credit and character as a tradesman. and gave no scandal: and to show that I was not above my business. indeed. sometimes debauched me from my work. the merchants who imported stationery solicited my custom. I sometimes brought home the paper I purchased at the stores. published and entitled posthumously. Franklin’s Autobiography . and paying duly for what I bought. through the streets on a wheelbarrow. Part One). others proposed supplying me with books. I dressed plainly. but to avoid all appearances of the contrary. I was seen at no places of idle diversion. I took care not only to be in reality industrious and frugal.• The Autobiography (1771-1790): unfinished. a book. I never went out a-fishing or shooting. and I went on swimmingly” (Autobiography. but that was seldom. Thus being esteemed an industrious thriving young man. snug.
• Originator of the “rags to riches” story in American literature. Franklin’s utilitarianism. property. Franklin’s Ethics and the American Dream . • Max Weber sees Franklin as an exemplary type of the “spirit of capitalism” in his 1905 study The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. and then do good works for society. gain status. new meaning of “rationalization of conduct”. • Franklin’s strategy: first make your fortune. • Franklin turns the national covenant (focused on obedience to God) into a secular one (focused on freedom.• The thirteen virtues. and equality). credited with having articulated the American Dream.
or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation Humility:Imitate Jesus and Socrates . drink not to elevation Silence:Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. avoid trifling conversations Order:Let all your things have their places. forbear resenting injuries so much as you think you deserve Cleanliness:Tolerate no uncleanliness in body. be always employed in something useful. clothes or habitation Tranquility:Be not disturbed at trifles or accidents common or unavoidable Chastity:Rarely use venery but for health or offspring. speak accordingly Justice:Wrong none by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty Moderation:Avoid extremes. waste nothing Industry:Lose not time. that is. let each part of your business have its time Resolution:Resolve to perform what you ought. cut off all unnecessary actions Sincerity:Use no hurtful deceit. never to dullness. perform without fail what you resolve Frugality:Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself.Franklin’s list of 13 virtues Temperance:Eat not to dullness. weakness. think innocently and justly.
leaving the other Virtues to their ordinary Chance. Thus in the first Week my great Guard was to avoid every the least Offence against Temperance.“I determined to give a Week’s strict Attention to each of the Virtues successively.. I suppos’d the Habit of that Virtue so much strengthened and its opposite weken’d that I might venture extending my attention to include the next (.)” .. only my first Line marked T clear of spots.
Benjamin Franklin’s (Ideal) Schedule .
00 – 6. Save $ 5.15 AM Work 8.30 PM Baseball & sports 4.00 per week Be better to parents “ (110) . indecipherable] No more smoking or chewing Bath every other day Read one improving book or magazine per week.00 PM Study needed inventions 7.30 – 5. 1906) “Rise from bed 6.15 – 6. Scott Fitzgerald – 1925) JAY GATSBY’S SCHEDULE AS A 16-year-old YOUNG MAN (September 12. poise & how to attain it 5.15 – 8.The Self-Made Gatsby (from The Great Gatsby.00 PM GENERAL RESOLVES No wasting time at Shafters or [a name.00 PM Practise elocution.30 AM – 4. etc.30 AM Study electricity. 7.00 – 9.00 [crossed out] $ 3.00 AM Dumbbell exercise & wall-scaling 6. by F.
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