Nationalism Among American Arts
"The most impressive by-product of the War of 1812 was a heightened nationalism " the spirit of nation-consciousness or national oneness" (Bailey & Kennedy 240). This upsurge of nationalistic feelings came about as a result of many different ingredients; partly from several victories, from the lessening of economical and political dependence on Europe, and from a strong confidence in the future of the American nation. This intense birth of nationalism manifested itself distinctively among national arts, illustrated through poetry, novels, and paintings during the early nineteenth century. These artistic achievements, personifying and supporting Unionist feelings, were produced by the educational institution known as The Hudson River school, the writer's association called The Knickerbocker Group, and the tracendentalist movement of the 1830's.
The art of painting continued to be regarded as a waste of time by many prejudist Puritans during the late eighteenth century. Puritans felt that painting was a "sinful" waste of time, and instead, they tried focusing on praying and attending church. However, opposing artists did emerge, with a strong feeling of union in support to glorify the nation's natural beauty and independence. For this same reason, artists like Gilbert Stuart and Charles Willson, began to paint portraits of famous leaders such as George Washington. If the people saw through these canvases national leaders in bold postures and striking scenes of events like the Revolutionary War, the spirit of keeping this self-image and further improving it would be spread throughout people's minds. Moreover, not only did American painters spread nationalism through president's portraits, but also through America's landscapes. The Hudson school held most of the credit for this type of art, creating galleries of paintings based on local sceneries, like the Hudson River.
Genuine American literature received a strong stimulating force or "wave of nationalism" after the War of 1812. This resulted from the advancement of cities as the nation grew; people on seaboard cities were not as closely concentrated on chopping trees, raising towns, and paving roads, but rather on nourishing their minds by following a profession " such as literature. This is exemplified through three major literates who belonged to...