The Last of the Mohicans as an American Romance
In the 1820s, the Romantic Movement emerged in the United States as an embodiment of the American spirit after a second war with Britain. Although the Romantic Movement, or the American Renaissance, began to emerge decades after its European counterpart, elements of Romanticism can be traced to the chronicles of the first explorers who wrote about the beauty and mystery of the New World. Thematically, Romanticism is characterized by its longing for the past, and its idealization of nature. Romanticism has a tradition deeply rooted in the experience of the early settlers of the New England colonies. Forged by the conflicts faced early in its history, the American brand of Romanticism reflected its unique environment. Since the late 1400s, elements of Romanticism permeated the written accounts of the early explorers and settlers who came to the Americas. Their writings described the natural beauty and mystery of the New World and introduced the Old World to a civilization and culture native to the Americas that would have a major impact on American Romanticism. Nineteenth century was the time of manifest destiny and American writers were particularly aware of nature, and the vanishing American frontier. Writers<,> such as James Fenimore Cooper<,> were beginning to comprehend that what drew the Europeans to the Americas were being lost. After struggling to survive and form a new nation and conflicts with the Native Americans, the Romantic Movement emerged as Americans began to establish their own identity and traditions. Cooper's historical fiction, "The Last of the Mohicans," emerges as a normative American romance by uniting America's innately romantic elements - history and nature.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the Atlantic Ocean in search of shorter trade route from Europe to Asia, what he found and later described in some of his writings would later shape American Romanticism. The image of Columbus's voyage epitomizes the romance as an individual who sets out on an adventure to a far away land and braves the unknown to arrive in paradise. He encounters an environment unspoiled by human development and a culture that coexists with nature. The language of Columbus' letter to Luis de Sanangel conveys romantic sentiments in its description of the majestic qualities of the Caribbean.
"This island and all the others are very fertile to a limitless degree, and this island is extremely so. In it there are many harbors on the coast of the sea, beyond comparison with others which I know in Christendom, and many rivers, good and large, which is marvelous. Its lands are high, and there are in it very many sierras and very lofty mountains, beyond comparison with the island of Tenerife. All are most beautiful, of a thousand shapes, and all are accessible and filled with trees of a thousand kinds and tall, and they seem to touch the sky."...