As The Age of Reason drew to a close, Americans had a pretty good handle of most of the pressing issues from the revolutionary era: America was separate from England; a government was in place, although it would evolve; and America's international relations were stable.
Americans began to realize that there is more to life than logic, and so we see the first flowering of American art based on emotion rather than simply a desire to convey empirical or political information. American artists--including musicians, painters, poets, fiction writers, and playwrights--began to produce work designed to have emotional effects. In many cases, this emotional effect was based on the power of America's natural landscape.
As we learn about American Romanticism, we will see how it took shape in poetry, painting, and the first American short stories. We will concentrate on three authors: William Cullen Bryant, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Alan Poe.
Here is a link to Bryant's "Thanatopsis"
poem in an interactive format. Works studied in class by Hawthorne and Poe are easy to find online.