Romanticism ushered in the national identity. Walt Whitman had a huge rant about it (look up "Democratic Vistas" ), and him and Emily Dickinson basically ushered in a transition towards the formation of a National Culture by massively breaking with conventions. It was a combination of this and reunification after the Civil War that cemented the idea of "America". Before that, people identified primarily by state, and "United States" was a plural (changing from "The United States are" to "The United States is" ).|
Leaves of Grass is awesome, by the way, if you're into poetry and whatnot.
EDIT: Mixed up Romanticism and Enlightenment. Been ploughing through Twain for most of the day, so my mind is foggy.
Edited by meme at 02:20:45 02-02-2013
#9340837, By The History Thread