Song of Myself Historical Context

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Nationalism

Walt Whitman was born during a time of unrivaled American nationalism. His generation was the first to witness growing stability and expansion of the territories. Patriotism was rampant. Walt's father, Walter Whitman Sr. an admirer and acquaintance of Thomas Paine, had such reverence for the heroes of the American Revolution that he named three of his nine children Andrew Jackson, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson. The new nation was being invented with every passing day, and American citizens were filled with political idealism.

According to Gay Wilson Allen in the introduction of Signet Classic's 1955 edition of Leaves of Grass, Whitman's success was aided

by the sanguine nationalism of the American people in the mid-nineteenth century. From the Puritans the young nation had inherited the belief that God had ordained a special, fortunate destiny for it. The Puritans had intended the Theocratic State of Massachusetts to be God's...

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This section contains 682 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Song of Myself Study Guide
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