The American Language - Study Guide Chapter 3.1 Summary & Analysis

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Mencken surveys how American English and British English had, by the beginning of the 1800s, become differentiated in both pronunciation and vocabulary. Growth was hampered, however, by two factors: 1) a lack of any substantive literature; and 2) an internal political disharmony. Washington warned the people against getting "engrossed" in the conflicts of other nations in his farewell address; Jefferson and Hamilton were bitter toward each other; Burr was typically pessimistic. Leadership problems trickled down to the people, thwarting their abilities to think and choose for themselves, says the author. They were fearful, unsure and intransigent. Before the success of the War of 1812, Mencken writes, the new republic was in the throes of Sturm und Drang, storm and stress. Jefferson, who was anti-British and pro-French, had a terrible fear of "monocrats." Demands of French Revolution doctrines threatened the poor debtor class with bankruptcy, and property...

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This section contains 1,216 words
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The American Language from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.