New Frontier (02:36)
Ramon Saldivar describes the construction of the American identity in the early 1800s. April R. Selley explains how the work of painter Thomas Cole began to symbolize America.
Manifest Destiny (03:36)
The Indian Removal Act passed in 1830. Sherman Alexie describes early 1800s art and its depiction of Native Americans. Writers of the mid-19th century focused on identity, and what it means to be American; John Rollin Ridge, Walt Whitman, and James Fenimore Cooper write on themes of masculinity.
James Fenimore Cooper (04:29)
Cooper set out to write the great American epic and successfully wrote a literary myth that influenced many. His creation of the western hero is still prevalent today. Dana D. Nelson discusses Cooper's use of female imagery to describe the conquering of land.
American Masculinity (02:50)
Cooper set the standard in western stories of white male friendships with other races. Nelson believes this is because the narrative of American manhood is that white men can recognize and appreciate masculinity universally.
John Rollin Ridge (04:57)
Ridge challenged Cooper's idea of a hero when he created Joaquin Murieta. Experts describe the novel and its implications against Cooper's idea of the western hero.
Walt Whitman (06:58)
Allmendinger describes Whitman's view of America's expansion. Experts describe his foundation of American poetry. Listen to an excerpt from "Song of Myself."
Credits: Masculine Heroes—American Passages: A Literary Survey (00:56)
Credits: Masculine Heroes—American Passages: A Literary Survey
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