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Additional resources for Creating an American Identity: New England, 1789–1825

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Unlike Great Britain, where the English language divided the country along geographic and class lines, it said, in New England language was a unifying factor, as all inhabitants spoke Standard English. Different Saxon and Celtic dialects aggravated the communication among Britons, while upper-class Englishmen and women cultivated a distinctive form of speech. " This was, of course, pure New England nationalist propaganda that ignored the different, sometimes uneducated, dialects of the region. v'f Underlining the superiority of New Englanders, Dwight wrote in his Travels, "They are the only people on the continent who originally understood, .

He imagined the wild and rugged American landscapes as creating a people free from corruption. The population thus educated on the other hand, he thought, added some structured elements to the landscape and transformed it into a more beautiful, romantic, and productive countryside. THE PEOPLE OF NEW ENGLAND AS MODEL REPUBLICANS AND TRUE AMERICANS New Englanders proudly imagined themselves to be pious, orderly, industrious, simple, and educated. With their commitment to liberty and the common good they believed they were model republicans.

At the turn of the century, however, New Englanders began to imitate the new English design of "natural" landscapes . As is obvious, Alvan Fisher's 1820 watercolor The Vale, the country estate of Boston merchant Theodore Lyman , marks this transition to the English picturesque style. 42 By 1820 this natural landscape style had almost replaced geometric gardens in New England. The fact that New Englanders employed such English picturesque conventions to promote an American identity demonstrates the ambiguity of their attitude toward Europe and more specifically NEW ENG LANDI ZING AMERICA ~ 39 in this case toward England.

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