Cultural Diversity In Early America Essay

1065 words - 4 pages

When studying the stories about the lives of early Americans, the discovery of just how culturally diverse they were cannot be missed. Such richness and history in the making, yet such sadness as we read the powerful lines that tell their story. With the great influential writers such as Bryant, Irving and Cooper, whom set stage for all during the Romantic Period between 1830-1865 to the young brilliant novelists who followed with such stamina, passion and strength, such as Hawthorn, Simms and Melvin; how could one not explode with great learning, as their souls were laid out for us to bear? Only by breaking down into three major categories can this brief walk through of this semester be shared, for there is an endless source of treasured knowledge found within the many stories and lines we read.
Religion has probably been the greatest foundation of all time in almost every corner of the world. Especially for the early Americans. In America, Puritanism dominated the New England culture in the 17th century. However, after the Salem witch trials of 1692, its dominance had greatly diminished in favor of a more secular culture. Johnathan Edwards, the last and most gifted defender of New England Calvinism, was in several respects the most remarkable American Puritan (Perkins and Perkins 254). It is with Edwards that the Great Awakening began, specifically when he preached the infamous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”. The culture of Puritanism was based upon patriarchal authority. This society was seen as judgmental, extremely strict to the point of spying on one another in order to “catch” someone breaking the rules. All the while, Deists, who believed the universe should run as it was designed to, without intervention from the Creator, were considered to be rebels in the eyes of the Puritans and were not welcomed into their communities as they were “diabolical” in their ways. Such religious diversity has created a great place in early American Literature today. Although religion has a lot more freedom, there is still the stigma amongst those who carry a “puritan” torch in their embedded roots.
Gender diversity cannot be studied without including the greatest spokesperson of all time on behalf of woman’s rights, specifically and as a whole, Margaret Fuller. Being born to a father who believed in great need of knowledge, Fuller was fully educated in every aspect of life. Not only had she learned to love Shakespeare, whose Romeo and Juliet she read at age eight, but also had developed “a dignified sense of self-dependence” (Perkins and Perkins 1384). This independence came to great use as she was only twenty-five years old when Fuller’s father died, leaving Fuller as the financial mainstay of the household (Perkins and Perkins 1385). It was in great part because of this responsibility, that Fuller began to see the strengths and importance of a woman’s role in society. Fuller had become closely involved with the...

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