The American Renaissance is also a time of Transcendentalism. Transcendentalism is a form of relying on one”s own intuition and conscious. The American Renaissance is a period framed by two major events, the Panic of 1837 and the Civil War. The American Renaissance also saw the rise in leadership from the “backwoods” politicians Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln.
Rises in the distinguishment between social classes start in this period. By this time small groups of middle class citizens had been formed. The American Renaissance is the time of the gold rush and the ending of slavery. The American Renaissance is an important time in American history when we get some of our greatest literary contributions to the world. Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 in Kentucky. He grew up under the discipline of his father Thomas Lincoln and his mother Nancy Hanks Lincoln. “Abe”s” mother died when he was nine years old. He began to go to Andrew Crawford school at this age. He knew his alphabet and could read a little but with difficulty.
Lincoln went to school off and on but read as he grew up. The Bible was Lincoln”s main source of reading, but Abe would borrow books from neighbors from time to time. In 1837 Lincoln became a lawyer and 1849 he was selected to congress. In 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected the 16th president of United States, and in 1864 wrote one of his greatest works; he wrote his Second Inaugural Address. His Second Inaugural Address “has a double purpose: to comment upon the more striking events of the pending tragedy and to divine their meaning in the light of religion.” Robinson 344.
In the first part of the Second Inaugural Lincoln gives a survey of the war. Lincoln briefly gives the motives and expectations of both sides. p. 344 “On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago. All thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil-war. . . Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish.
And the war came.” Lincoln Second Inaugural Address. In the second part of the Address, Lincoln notes the amount of slaves in the Union in 1861 and he notes that the slaves are in the Southern part of the Union. Slagell p.155.
Lincoln also expresses his belief in slavery being the cause of the Civil War. “As a whole, the passage expresses the irony of a war that has both gone beyond and fallen short of the expectations of both sides.” p. 160 In the third part of the Address Lincoln gives instructions for the future based on the hope that the nation also has been reformed by the war. “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, . . . let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation”s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphanâ€“to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.” Lincoln “The duties that Lincoln lays out are in completing the present work, healing the nation, caring for individuals, and establishing a just and lasting peace” Slagell p.167
After delivering the Second Inaugural, some men criticized Lincoln for not giving more attention to specific military details. Lincoln “symbolically transforms the Civil War from an occasion of terrible suffering to one of purification, from the ultimate example of a nation ‘divided against itself” to an event that exemplified the nation”s unity under God.” P. 169 “He does so, moreover, with a rhetorical and literary brilliance that has made the speech one of the most eloquent addresses in the English language.” P. 169 Abraham Lincoln”s thoughts were deeply grounded in scriptural text, and his writings reflect this.
Lincoln is a model of the Transcendentalist way of thinking because he is a self-made man and he relied on his own intuition and conscious. By incorporating the Bible and his own ideas into his writings, I think that this makes Lincoln one of the greatest writers in American history.