Changed from a mostly agricultural nation to the urban industrial nation that we know




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Historical Background: American Literature, 1850-1914
Read pages 432-437 and answer the following questions.


  1. What major transformation did American undergo in the years between 1850 and 1914? Changed from a mostly agricultural nation to the urban industrial nation that we know.




  1. Name the event that brought the conflict between North and South to a head. The election of Lincoln as President brought the conflict to a head.




  1. In what way did the Civil War surprise both sides? It was longer and more costly than either side anticipated.




  1. What three factors combined to transform the West in the years after the Civil War? The influx of settlers, the burgeoning railroads, and the growth of mining and cattle ranching.




  1. Why did Twain call the late 1800’s “The Gilded Age”? a few powerful men displayed their wealth, but underneath this veneer, people were in need.




  1. Why is the Civil War sometimes called the first modern war? It resulted in many casualties and caused great destruction in civilian areas.




  1. If America had been a smaller country, without a frontier, how might its history have been different? It might have been urbanized fore quickly, however, it might not have attracted as many immigrants.




  1. What were the drawbacks to America’s industrialization and expansion? Mistreatment of Native Americans and poverty among African Americans and immigrants.




  1. What sources provide a detailed record of the Civil War from the perspective of those who experienced it? Thousands of diaries, letters, journals and speeches provide such a record.




  1. What are two qualities that make Lincoln’s speeches and letters so memorable? They are models of clarity and eloquence.




  1. Indicate the region of the country that influenced Mark Twain’s colorful language and use of humorous exaggeration. the region was the west.




  1. What event turned American writers toward Realism? The Civil War




  1. What is realism? Writers in this movement described the lives of ordinary people in an honest, objective way.




  1. Which literary movement was an important offshoot of Realism? Naturalism was an offshoot of Realism




  1. What did writers in this new movement attempt to do? ? Showed how forces like nature, heredity and fate shaped individuals.




  1. How does the saying “less is more” relate to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address? The speech supports the saying. It shows how a brief address, if eloquently written, can be more memorable than a long speech.




  1. What accounts for the fact that the most famous Western writers were born in other regions? The expanding frontier attracted people of adventurous spirit, not matter when they were born. People drawn to the West from elsewhere may have had a special love for the region that inspired them to write about it.




  1. In what ways did literary movements like Realism and Naturalism suggest that the country was “growing up”? These two movements were reactions to a national crisis, the Civil War, and to the rapid urbanization and industrialization of the country. In the sense that these movements tried to take account of some problems and grim realities, they can be said to reflect a process of “growing up”.


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