Thursday, June 16, 2016

The 19th Century Defines Modern American Society

posted by Rachel Tuley

Image result for NYC skyline

Today's American society is defined by technology, consumerism, and modernism; however, the current state of this country stands as it is today largely due to the effects of the 19th century. Inventions that resulted from industrialization paved the way for many of the commodities that we consider commonplace. Romanticism encouraged many of the religious beliefs found among US citizens today.

Without the 19th century, I feel confident saying that we as US citizens would not enjoy many of the comforts that we do today.

Inventions and Industrialization

The Industrial Revolution encouraged many people to move to urban areas in order to support the factories and manufacturing facilities that became influential during the 19th century. Although working conditions were definitely not optimal during this time period, many modern day manufacturing ideas took root during these years.

Individuals also took industrialization into their own hands. Inventions such as the cotton gin (Eli Whitney), sewing machines (Walter Hunt), the combine (Hiram Moore), and Morse code (Alfred Vail and Samuel Morse) were invented by individuals, and went on to change the world shortly after their invention [2].
    Image result for cotton gin                 Image result for morse code
                                [3]                                                               [2]


Romanticism also played an important role during the 19th century in defining history. Romanticism led many people to question their religious beliefs and develop their own personal religious beliefs. One prevalent example of a romantic author still used to teach children about romanticism in high schools is Thoreau. In his works such as Walden, Thoreau teaches about how he finds signs of the divine and messages of growth in nature and the wilderness [4].

                                          Image result for thoreau walden

Other ideas typical of romanticism include the importance of the sublime, the reality of inspiration, and the importance of music and non-organized religious experiences. In modern religious society, all of these ideals are essential to having a firmly rooted faith in the divine.

Events of the 19th Century

Many of the events that took place during the 19th century define the US as it stands today. For example, the Civil War, which took place between 1861 and 1865, changed the US from a country divided by slavery into a country focused on reform and unity. The Trail of Tears and the Manifest Destiny (the belief that it was the American Dream to own land in the west) helped to shape the boundaries of the country as lives were lost and futures created in the pursuit of the American Dream [6].

American society today is defined by the events of its past. Industrialization and invention, romanticism, and the major events of the 19th century has defined the USA and the culture of its citizens in the modern day, and without the 19th century, we would not live in a country as beautiful and developed as it is today. 

Works Cited
[1] "NYC Skyline." Pexels. Accessed on 16 June 2016,
[2] "Morse Code." Wikipedia. Accessed on 16 June 2016,
[3] "Cotton Gin." Wikimedia Commons. Accessed on 16 June 2016,
[4]"The Thoreau Reader." Accessed on 16 June 2016,
[5] "Thoreau Walden." flickr. Accessed on 16 June 2016,
[6] *In-class slides*

1 comment:

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