The ideas of transcendentalism were able to permeate American thought and culture through a prolific print culture, which allowed the wide dissemination of magazines and journals.
Sometimes called the “American Renaissance” (a term coined by the scholar F. Matthiessen), this period encompasses (approximately) the 1820s to the dawn of the Civil War, and it has been closely identified with American romanticism and transcendentalism.
Often considered a movement centered in New England, the American Renaissance was inspired in part by a new focus on humanism as a way to move from Calvinism.
The American preoccupation with national identity (or nationalism) in this period was expressed by modernism, technology, and academic classicism, a major facet of which was literature.
Protestantism shaped the views of the vast majority of Americans in the antebellum years.
Romanticism became popular in American politics, philosophy, and art.
The movement appealed to the revolutionary spirit of America as well as to those longing to break free of the strict religious traditions of the early settlement period.
Romantic literature was personal and intense; it portrayed more emotion than ever seen in neoclassical literature.
America’s preoccupation with freedom became a great source of motivation for Romantic writers, as many were delighted in free expression and emotion without fear of ridicule and controversy.
Transcendentalism and Romanticism appealed to Americans in a similar fashion; both privileged feeling over reason and individual freedom of expression over the restraints of tradition and custom.
Romanticism often involved a rapturous response to nature and promised a new blossoming of American culture.