← Key Works of Literature, Art and Music in U.S. History Export Options Alphabetize Word-Def Delimiter Tab Comma Custom Def-Word Delimiter New Line Semicolon Custom Data Copy and paste the text below. It is read-only. Select All The Last of the Mohicans 1757; James Fenimore Cooper; It was part of a series of novels known as the Leatherstocking Tales. Copper was the first American writer to feature uniquely American characters. Copper created the first genuine Western heroes in American literature. Cooper's novels gave expression to the concept of the "noble savage." "Common sense" 1776; Thomas Paine; It was a strongly-worded call for independence from Great Britain. Paine opposed monarchy (he called King George a Pharaoh!) and strongly favored republican government. Paine offered a vigorous defense of republican principles. Paine helped overcome the loyalty many still felt for the monarchy and mother country. Paine used biblical analogies and references to illustrate his arguments. The Federalist Papers (The Federalist) 1787; Hamilton, Madison, and Jay; Supported the ratification of the Constitution of 1787. They challenged the conventional political wisdom of the eighteenth century when they asserted that a large republic offered the best protection of minority rights. The Liberator 1831; William Lloyd Garrison; It called for the "immediate and uncompensated emancipation of the slaves." Famous quote: " Let Southern oppressors tremble. . . I will be as harsh as Truth and as uncompromising as Justice. . . I am in earnest - I will not retreat a single inch—and I WILL BE HEARD!" Democracy in America 1835; Alexis de Tocqueville; He argued that American individualism arose as a result of the absence of an aristocracy. The Hudson River School (mid-1800s); The Hudson River School was a group of artists led by Thomas Cole, who painted landscapes emphasizing America's natural beauty. The Hudson River School was America's first coherent school of art. McGuffey Readers 1846; William Holmes McGuffey; Also known as Eclectic Reader. The best known and most widely-used reading instruction books in the nineteenth century. It is estimated that this time four-fifths of all American school children used McGuffey readers. The McGuffey Readers featured stories, poems, and essays supporting patriotism and moral values. "Civil Disobedience: On the Duty of Civil Disobedience" 1849; Henry David Thoreau; He expressed opposition to the Mexican War. Thoreau argued that individuals have a moral responsibility to oppose unjust laws and unjust actions by governments. Thoreau's essay influenced Dr. King's philosophy of nonviolent civil disobedience. The Scarlet Letter 1850; Nathaniel Hawthorne; The novel dealt with the legacy of Puritanism. Leaves of Grass 1855; Walt Whitman; Whitman's poems featured the Romantic movement's revolt against reason and embrace of nature Uncle Tom's Cabin 1872; Harriet Beecher Stowe; The novel strengthened Northern opposition to slavery. It was second only to the Bible in sales Walden 1854; Henry David Thoreau; The novel espoused transcendentalism—that is, truth through inner reflection and exposure to nature. It recorded Thoreau's thoughts concerning the value of a life of simplicity and contemplation. Horatio Alger Jr. Stories (1867-1899); Horatio Alger Jr.; This is a collection of approximately 270 dime novels. Alger's novels feature rags-to-riches stories describing how down-and-out boys become rich and successful through hard work, honesty, and a little luck. A Century of Dishonor 1881; Helen Hunt Jackson; The book aroused public awareness of the federal government's long record of betraying and cheating Native Americans. The Influence of Sea Power upon History 1890; Captain Alfred Mahan; He argued that control of the sea was the key to world dominance. The book was very influential in promoting the growth of U.S. naval power during the late nineteenth century. How the Other Half Lives 1890; Jacob Riis was the author; Riis was a journalist and photographer working primarily in New York City. Riis's book provided poignant pictures that gave a human face to the poverty and despair experienced by immigrants living in the New York City's Lower East Side "The Significance of the Frontier in American History" 1893; Frederick Jackson Turner; He argued that the development of American individualism and democracy was shaped by the frontier experience. Turner's "frontier thesis" focused on the importance of the absence of a feudal aristocracy. In other words, America did not have a hereditary landed nobility. Here is a famous excerpt: "From the beginning of the settlement of America, the frontier regions have exercised a steady influence toward democracy. . . . American democracy is fundamentally the outcome of the experience of the American people in dealing with the West." The Wonderful Wizard of Oz 1900; L. Frank Baum; Originally written as a political commentary on free silver and the plight of American farmers. The Ashcan School of Art, early 1900s This was a group of eight American artists, led by John Sloan. Focused on depicting urban scenes such as crowded tenements and boisterous barrooms. The Jungle 1906; Upton Sinclair; The novel exposed appalling conditions in the Chicago meatpacking industry. It was a classic example of a muckraking novel. The novel helped bring about passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act of 1906. Pragmatism 1907; William James; His concept of pragmatism held that truth was to be tested, above all, by the practical consequences of an idea, by action rather than theories. In short, beliefs should not be tested by experience. The ultimate test of truth is experience, not logic. It is important to remember that William James and other pragmatists do not believe in the existence of absolute truth. Lost Generation of the 1920s Key writers included Sinclair Lewis and F. Scott Fitzgerald; Called this because they were disillusioned with American society during the 1920s. They criticized main-class conformity and materialism. For example, Sinclair Lewis criticized middle-class life in novels such as Babbitt and Main Street. Harlem Renaissance, 1920s. Key writers included Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Claude McKay, Josephine Baker, and James Weldon Johnson. They created distinctive African American literature. Writers expressed pride in their African American culture. Jazz Black musicians such as Joseph ("Joe") King Oliver, W.C. Handy, and "Jelly Roll" Morton helped create jazz. Jazz was especially popular among the youth because it symbolized a desire to break with tradition. The Grapes of Wrath 1939; John Steinbeck; Describes the plight of "Okies" forced to leave Dust Bowl-stricken Oklahoma in a futile attempt to find work in California. The Organization Man 1956; W. H. Whyte; The novel criticizing the homogenous culture of the 1950s. It criticizes American conformity and the belief that economic growth would solve all problems. On the Road 1957; Jack Kerouac; The novel expressed the alienation and disillusionment of the Beat Generation of the 1950s. Like other Beat Generation writers, Kerouac rejected middle-class conformity and materialism. Rock and Roll 1950s; Key musicians included Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Elvis Presley. Rock and roll first emerged during the 1950s. Rock and roll was inspired and strongly influenced by Black musical traditions, especially rhythm and blues. Silent Spring 1962; Rachel Carson; Her work protested the contamination of the air, land, and water with chemical insecticides such as DDT. The novel played a key role in sparkling the environmental movement in the United States. The Other America 1962; Michael Harrington; Poignant and influential report on poverty in America. The book played an important role in awakening JFK's interest in the poor and showed the way for LBJ's War on Poverty. "Letter from Birmingham Jail" 1963; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Dr. King argued that citizens have "a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws." Civil disobedience is thus a justified response to unjust laws.