PEOPLE

 

P.T. Barnum

.       Connecticut showman, founded traveling circus

.       Exploited American curiosities and filled gap in working-class entertainment left by changing standards of theatre

.       Nicknamed the "Prince of Humbug"

 

James Gordon Bennett

.       Newspaper publisher, founded New York Herald, 1835

.       Ushered in era of mass media with sensationalist newspaper reporting

 

Jonathan Cilley

.       Democratic congressman from Maine

.       Killed in duel, 1838; death spurred national outcry against dueling

 

Davy Crockett

.       American frontiersman and politician

.       Created new, particularly American type of common-man hero

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

.       Major American intellectual, leading transcendentalist

.       Mentor of Thoreau

 

Nathaniel Hawthorne

.       American novelist, author of works including The Scarlet Letter, 1850

.       Considered one of great American writers of nineteenth century

 

Helen Jewett

.       High-class prostitute murdered in New York brothel, 1836

.       Sexually charged depiction of her murder sold thousands of copies of New York Herald, driving growth of popular media

 

Thomas "Daddy" Rice

.       White entertainer, performed in blackface minstrel shows

.       Inventor of racially mocking "Jim Crow" dance, 1832

 

 

Harriet Beecher Stowe

.       Abolitionist author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, published 1852

.       Exposed hundreds of thousands of northerners to horrors of slavery

 

Henry David Thoreau

.       Major American intellectual, leading transcendentalist

.       Essayist, author, naturalist

.       Wrote Civil Disobedience, Leaves of Grass

 

 

EVENTS

 

1814 Treaty of Ghent

.       Officially ended War of 1812, marked beginning of antebellum period

 

1820 Gaslights Introduced in New York

.       Made possible new culture of urban nightlife in America

 

1833 New York Sun First Published

.       First affordable newspaper, cost 1 cent

.       Beginning of modern newspaper industry

 

Panic of 1837

.       Severe six-year economic depression

.       Caused by financial panic, doomed presidency of M. Van Buren

 

1849 Astor Place Riot

.       Riot broke out in New York after fans of rival stage actors attacked each other

.       Essentially class warfare; elitist actor attacked by supporters of more populist one

.       22 killed, 100 injured

.       Following riot, theatre shifted from rough working-class audience to more refined middle-class clientele

 

 


GROUPS

 

Transcendentalists

.       American philosophical school, proposed that intuition should guide the spirit and rationality was secondary

.       Major figures included Thoreau, Emerson, Fuller

 

 

CONCEPTS

 

"Noble Savage"

.       Idealized embodiment of "best" Native American qualities

.       Inherently nostalgic notion of Indian culture

 

Minstrelsy

.       Racist form of entertainment for whites, popular in 19th-cenury America

.       Whites (and some blacks) performed in blackface to exaggerate black characteristics

 

Penny press

.       Low-cost newspapers that often sensationalized stories for wide audiences

.       Profited on rising literacy levels among ordinary Americans

.       New York Sun, Herald were first major examples