American Painting, Poetry, Prose, and “Progress” in the Nineteenth Century

The growth and development of the United States, the rise of an American culture and national identity, and the impact of these changes on people and the environment are major themes of the 19th century. In high school social studies classrooms, these topics sometimes get short shrift as teachers focus so heavily on slavery, the Civil War, and its aftermath, events that overlapped one another. The study of these topics is complicated by moral and ethical questions that do not have simple, universal answers. This educational module focuses on the intersection of curated visual art, literature, and history without attempting to provide concrete answers to the questions raised. While there was no unanimity among American artists, writers, and politicians, a consensus began to emerge on many issues, while some remained unresolved. The intention here is to have students grapple with the questions and develop their own perspectives both about history and the ramifications of this time period on the present and future.

“Let’s shift from microscope to macroscope. Holistic approach and interdisciplinary lay the new strategic thinking model requested to benefit from digital complexity and interconnectedness.” ― Stephane Nappo