The Conquest of New England by the Immigrant

By Daniel Chauncey Brewer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
RELEASING THE BRAKES

WE have seen how New England leaped forward spiritually and materially in response to the adoption of the Federal Constitution. Ralph Waldo Emerson in his sketch of New England subsequent to 1844 not only bears witness to the manner in which the enfranchised spirit of the Yankee dared everything but has recorded with some particularity the achievements that followed in the realm of thought.

There was a new consciousness. The former generations acted under the belief that a shining social prosperity was the beatitude of man, and sacrificed uniformly the citizen to the state. The modern mind believed that the Nation existed for the individual, for the guardianship and education of every man. This order roughly united in revolutions and national movements, in the mind of the philosopher had far more precision. The individual is the world. This perception is a sword such as was never drawn before. The social sentiments are weak; sentiment of patriotism is weak; the natural affections feebler than they were. People grow philosophical

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