Examples Of Rationalism In American Literature

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The Colonial Period in American literature was very important throughout our time. When Christopher Columbus first set foot on American soil he thought he discovered a new world. However, American Indians lived here for thousands of years before. As J.H. Parry states in his book The Spanish Seaborne Empire, “Columbus did not discover a new world; he established contact between two worlds, both already old.” The Colonial Period in American Literature had key components including puritans, rationalists, and Native Americans. During this period there were two major influences on people: rationalism and puritanism. People normally identified themselves as one of these two political/religious identities. Rationalism is a belief or theory that opinions and actions should be based on reason and knowledge rather than on religious belief or emotional response. Benjamin Franklin is a prime example of a rationalist during this period. His ideas about virtue and self-improvement reflect rationalist beliefs. In The Autobiography of Ben Franklin, he made it clear to us that his experiment he conducted was a learning experience for himself. He made a list of virtues that he wanted to teach himself to conform to. As Franklin said in his biography, “My intention is being to acquire the habitude of all these virtues, I judged it would be well not to distract my attention by attempting the whole at once, but to fix it on one of them at a time, and, when I should be master of that, then to

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