Rip Van Winkle Historical Context

This Study Guide consists of approximately 57 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Rip Van Winkle.
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Becoming a Nation

Washington Irving was born in 1783, the year that the American Revolution was formally ended by the Treaty of Paris. His parents had been born in England but Irving was among the first generation of people to know from birth that they were not British subjects, but Americans. The nation was still new, and in many ways unformed. It was not yet clear what the Revolution meant and how the new country would be different from the old colonies. Irving wrestled with this question in "Rip Van Winkle," by having his characters hotly debate political change on election day.

Before the turn of the century, men and women of society wore elaborate powdered wigs and fussy clothing reminiscent of that seen in the French court. Now the common man was the ideal, and the idea that the nation would be ruled by a wealthy aristocratic class...

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This section contains 722 words
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Buy the Rip Van Winkle Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
Rip Van Winkle from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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