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Like the preceeding books in The Representative Americans series, The Romantics makes history human by putting tissue on the skeletal framework of names and dates. Risjord uses a biographical approach to make the past more concrete and vivid, to recover a heritage that todayOs reader can feel and experience. The Romantics treats people whose principal contributions fell in the first half of the nineteenth century, though several of those studied lived into the Civil War era and beyond. While certain individuals may be unfamiliar to readers_the slaves Prince and Fed, Free Frank, a black farmer of Kentucky and Illinois, and the OLowell Girls,O Lucy Lacom and Sarah Bagley_the majority of the figures studied in The Romantics are well known. Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams carry the political story at the beginning of the era; John C. Fremont bears that burden at the end of the time period. The heart of the volume introduces some of the leading literary and cultural figures of the age_Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne_as well as some of the voices of reform_Horace Mann, Frances Wright, Catharine Beecher, and Theodore and Angelina Grimke Weld. Tying it all together is the prevailing spirit of American Romanticism.
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