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Overview of American Literature

            American literature has gone through many phases ever since it emerged in the mid-1600's. From puritanism to postmodernism, this form of literature has produced many classics, from which many themes, morals and motifs have emerged. Themes from individuality to teen angst. But none have been as prominent as using independence and nonconformity to achieve the American Dream. These three themes have changed and developed throughout the course of American Literature, it can be seen most profoundly in rationalism, realism, and modernism. .
             To begin with, Rationalism showed plenty of examples of using independence and nonconformity to achieve the American Dream throughout its era. Rationalists believed that logic and reason as the ultimate source of knowledge and justification. This period was around the time of the American Revolution, and many articles are explaining how he United States should be free. Some of the most important of documents or articles of this time were The Declaration of Independence and Speech to the Virginia Convention. In The Declaration of Independence, the most important document of this time, explaining to the King of England why they have decided to break off of British rule and become their own nation after years of oppression. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." (Jefferson 1) By saying this, the colonists of this time believe that they deserve to be free to make their own decisions, they went against one of the most powerful nations in the world at the time to achieve their dream of being a free, self-governing people. In the Speech to the Virginia Convention, Patrick Henry calls for the colonists to arm themselves in order to fight Britain if Britain does not meet some of their demands.

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