Cover

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Half Title, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Series Editor’s Preface

Thomas W. Benson

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pp. ix-x

In The Keys of Power, Nathan Crick examines the work of six nineteenth-century American Transcendentalists who responded to the social upheavals and historical challenges of their time by developing theories of politics and who in turn theorized and enacted genres of rhetoric through which their political visions could be realized. Professor Crick develops his argument with studies ...

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Preface

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pp. xi-xii

The stone foundation of the old farmhouse had been abandoned for so long that a thirty-foot oak tree had stood where the floor should have been. All that had remained were three sides of the foundation constructed out of the large stones that the receding glaciers had long ago dumped over Western Massachusetts. Sometime in the 1800s, someone had cleared the area at the base of what is now Vining Hill Road to build that house and raise a family. ...

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Introduction: “Eloquence is forever a power”—Transcendentalism and the Search for New Gods

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pp. 1-11

The early nineteenth century in the United States was a battlefield between gods old and new. As Ralph Waldo Emerson told the Harvard graduating class of 1837, theirs was “the age of Revolution; when the old and the new stand side by side and admit of being compared; when the energies of all men are searched by fear and by hope; ...

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1. “Eloquence is the language of love”: Sampson Reed and the Calling of Genius

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pp. 12-36

In the month of August 1821, love was in the air. On August 4 the first issue of the Saturday Evening Post appeared in the United States. Sold for just a nickel, the Post was the makeover of Benjamin Franklin’s original 1754 Pennsylvania Gazette, to be published as a four-page newspaper that contained essays, poems, stories, and advertisements. ...

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2. “Jesus was a teacher”: The Dialogic Rhetoric of Amos Bronson Alcott

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pp. 37-65

In 1836, as Sampson Reed busied himself with channeling his own spark of genius into his growing regional pharmaceutical empire, a different kind of genius was shining its light in the rooms on the top floor of Boston’s Masonic Temple. There the largely self-taught Amos Bronson Alcott (1799–1888), ...

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3. “To break the fetters of the bound”: Orestes Brownson and the Ideology of Democratic Radicalism

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pp. 66-103

According to the Christianity of Christ no man can enter the kingdom of God, who does not labor with all zeal and diligence to establish the kingdom of God on the earth; who does not labor to bring down the high, and bring up the low; to break the fetters of the bound and set the captive free; to destroy all oppression, establish the reign of justice, which is the reign of equality, ...

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4. “The transformation of genius into practical power”: Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Power of Eloquence

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pp. 104-146

If the whole history is in one man, it is all to be explained from individual experience. There is a relation between the hours of our life and the centuries of time. As the air I breathe is drawn from the great repositories of nature, as the light on my book is yielded by a star a hundred millions of miles distant, as the poise of my body depends on the equilibrium of centrifugal and centripetal forces, ...

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5. “The cause of tyranny and wrong everywhere the same”: The Revolutionary Nationalism of Margaret Fuller

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pp. 147-187

Could we succeed, really succeed, combine a deep religious love with practical development, the achievements of Genius with the happiness of the multitude, we might believe Man had now reached a commanding point in his ascent, and would stumble and faint no more. Then there is this horrible cancer of Slavery, and the wicked War, that has grown out of it. ...

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6. “The perception and the performance of right”: Henry David Thoreau and the Rhetoric of Action

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pp. 188-231

“All is quiet at Harper’s Ferry,” say the journals. What is the character of that calm which follows when the law and the slaveholder prevail? I regard this event as a touchstone designed to bring out, with glaring distinctness, the character of this government. We needed to be thus assisted to see it by the light of history. It needed to see itself. ...

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Conclusion: “Ethiopia shall stretch out her hand unto God”— Frederick Douglass and the Legacy of Transcendentalism

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pp. 232-240

Every Northern man who visits the old master class, the land owners and landlords of the South, is told by the old slaveholders with a great show of virtue that they are glad that they are rid of slavery and would not have the slave system back if they could; that they are better off than they ever were before, and much more of the same tenor. ...

Notes

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pp. 241-260

Bibliography

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pp. 261-270

Index

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pp. 271-278

About the Author

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