The Time Period of Emily Dickinson


Emily Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was an American poet. Though very few poems were published before her death in 1886, she is considered one of the great American poets. She wrote close to 1800 works and historians say that her “writing years” were 1855-1865. That time period overlaps the civil war of 1861-1865, and the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. The war consisted of the Union and the Confederacy fighting over slavery. After many years of bloody battles, the confederacy fell which abolished slavery and began the reconstruction period of unity and rights for the free slaves.
Here is a photo of President Lincoln


​What was the daily life like? It was much harder than today’s times and much more sexist. Meals were very large because everyone in the family had a job to do in order for the family to survive. The men and children did most of the physical labor, while the woman cooked, cleaned, and made clothes for the family. They would normally work from sun up to sun down, which gave them the most efficient time frame to work.
During the War, a lot of men were away fighting. A lot of women were left to run farms or businesses in their husband’s absences, or to take over men’s jobs. A lot of women were employed in government religious jobs in both the North and the South for instance. Many women went to the war as nurses, or organized essential supplies to be delivered to the troops. After the war was a period of turmoil in the south, with the slaves being freed and many leaving their old homes and jobs and moving away. Many southern plantation owners were desperate for labor. After the war was the time when the campaign for women’s suffrage really got underway, with women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan b. Anthony and Lucy Stone leading the campaign. Many people went west in this era, and it was an exciting and testing time for them as they struggled to make a life in a new place.


The historical content is important to Dickenson’s works because it gives the story lines a backbone. Without knowing that the civil war was during this time period, some of her works would be hard to understand. She was close with a few soldiers and many of them perished during the war. This hit Dickenson very hard and it is evident because most of her works were darker during that span.

​Looking at how history played a role in her works, it appears that most of her subject matters could be the same. She wrote about losing friends in the war and that would apply today with the war in Afghanistan. She also wrote about her personal feeling on the war and the after effects of it. This would be slightly different, but it was share common traits between then and now. Dickenson had a “romantic attachment that some scholars believe drove Dickinson’s creative output” but the name of the man is unknown.

Some writers still compose works about personal relationships today, but I don’t think the quantity is as high as during Dickenson’s time. She also wrote about death and this part of her writing was focused mainly after her brother passed away. Almost all of Dickenson’s subjects are still relevant today even though there is roughly a 150-year gap.

Here is a short video of interesting facts about the Civil War and its time period.


“None but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried”


While reading Self-Reliance by Emerson, one sentence stuck out to me more than any other. The sentence was, “none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.” It spoke to me very loudly and it actually is relevant to my life right now. I chose this quote because of its effectiveness and how everyone forgets its message from time to time.

​Self-Reliance is defined as “Reliance on one’s own capabilities, judgment, or resources; independence.” During the time period in which it was written, there were many different views on government and religion. Emerson wrote about his views on the subject matter and also tried to convince others to see it his way. Emerson believed that government was controlling the people, and that the people could not see it. I feel like this played a huge role on why he wrote this work.
​The quote is very powerful. It said that no one knows what he or she can do, until they try it. One person should not be limited by what others think they can or cannot do. I agree with this strongly, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to read the work. It speaks to me in my life in a few different ways. My parents raised me to be an entrepreneur and to chase my dreams. There is a risk and reward to everything, but are you willing to risk it all for the reward? For example, when I was in high school many people told me that I would never make it through life following my dreams and that my musical career would never be successful. I risked it all and now I live a happy, independent life and I am a better musician than I honestly thought I could ever be. I wanted the reward, and did everything in my power to achieve it. That is the overall question in life, and to me this quote sums it up very well.


​Many people today are “following the motions” through life and they do not get the opportunities that they possibly could. College is a good example. Many students do enough to get by, and they suffer in the long run because the student who studied and tried his or her hardest will get the better job. I believe that this quote could open the eyes of many people, if they would analyze the meaning. Rather dumb people discovered some of the world’s greatest inventions, but they had the will and the want to succeed. Failure is part of life, but how will you know if you do not try? The answer is rather simple. You wont.

One will never know what they are capable of until they push the limits or “break the walls.” Some things can be taught from listening to someone older and wiser than you, but sometimes it takes the experience to fully understand the situation. This quote has given me strength to push harder in my life and to become all I could ever be.

To understand the quote and work a little better, here is a link to a video biography on Emerson.

Why were Hawthorne’s works dark?


Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote many works, and most all of them share a common feature; they are dark and gloomy. Why did He write this way? Maybe it was because of his ancestors, or maybe it was from being raised in a strict Puritan fashion. It could be possible be from childhood memories, but one thing is certain, he made sure the reader thought about his works as they read them because they are almost dreams.

​At a fairly young age, Hawthorne added the “w” into his last name. He did this to “distinguish himself from the history which included John Hathorne, a prominent judge in the Salem with trials.” Why did he not want to be affiliated with his ancestors? There are not any facts on this matter, but many guess that he felt responsible for their actions, or that he was afraid of how the public would look at him. This could have affected his writing style because he had to hide who he really was. I think it could have played a huge role on it, because he knew what his ancestors had done and it bothered him; writing was the only way he could let his views come out.
Here is a photo of John



​If his family tree didn’t play a role on his writing style, then could it have possibly been how he was raised? Hawthorne lost his father at age four, and he moved around a good bit with his mother and two sisters. Those two facts alone could have influenced the darker side of Hawthorne. His immediate family thought very highly of him and when he didn’t want to go to school to be a doctor or lawyer, and it could have let his family down. He was raised in a very strict Puritan fashion, and that could also have made his want to release his feelings through his writing; maybe he didn’t like how strict they were on him as a child.

​To build the fire even more, Hawthorne had a few ups and downs throughout his life. As previously stated, he lost his dad and moved a lot, but he also was very isolated. He didn’t want to be around other people much, and at one point in his life he stayed in his “dungeon” for around twelve years. He “remembered these 12 years as a strong, dark dream.” Could those twelve years be what influenced him to write dreamy works? Once again, the information is not out there at the moment and it may never be, but I think the “dungeon” time frame could have certainly influenced his works.

​Hawthorne is considered to be a classic and he wrote many great works. He has influenced some current authors and I believe his works will carry on. His works are one of a kind, and the only way to understand this is to read them. I often picture things as I read them, but I could not picture any of his works because it was so similar to dreams, or better yet nightmares.

Was Stowe’s novel effective and are there writers today trying to defeat certain ways of society?


Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, had a large impart of the United States. She captivated what most writers strayed away from, which is simply the cold, hard truth of the world. To some her novel is too explicit, but she wrote it that way so that the truth would be known. Was her novel successful in the act of abolishing slavery? Yes it was, I will explain it. There are also writers today that are trying to do the same thing as Stowe, but seem to have a much harder time with it.

Below is a short biographical video of Stowe, in case you haven’t had a chance to read her biography.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin is said to be “the single most important antislavery book and perhaps the most influential book in American History.” I agree with this statement because she wrote about real life. Although she was a white woman, two slave girls that were going to be sold as sex slaves inspired her. She wrote about how the slaves were beaten for no reason most of the time and how cruel the owners were to their slaves. Minimal food and shelter were supplied to them. Watching the movie made me realize a few things about my past and I am glad that I had the opportunity to learn about it.

Was the novel successful? Abraham Lincoln supposedly said, “So you’re the little lady who wrote the book that started this great war” when he first met Stowe. Whether Lincolns statement is true or not, it speaks for the public. The novel was banned in the south, but it quickly sold in the north. A Harvard student said, “ the books popularity in the North and unpopularity in the South meant that people everywhere were talking about the ideas found in it” and I could not agree more. order to know what the novel was about, someone in the south had to read it. Stowe’s novel is linked with the civil war and the civil rights act in almost every history book that covers it. Her novel did not start the abolition movement, but “Stowe’s informal, conversational writing style inspired people in a way that political speeches, tracts, newspapers accounts could not.”

Many writers today are attempting to accomplish the same thing Stowe was. For example, when a preacher writes his sermon on homosexuality, he doesn’t write it for the fun of it. He writes it in hopes that it will move the congregation into doing something about homosexuality. The hop topic for writers right now is gun control. They are either for, or against, it and they write to try to explain to the reader that it is good or bad in hopes that they will ban together to resolve the issue. William Weir, author of A Well-Regulated Militia: The Battle Over Gun Control, is an active member of the NRA as well as Handgun Control, Inc. In his work, he breaks down all of the data and states that access to guns does not control violence in America. He is trying to make the anti-firearm groups understand that.

There is no doubt in my mind that Stowe’s novel was effective in pushing for abolition of slavery and that she made history with her book. If the public today could see things like they did in Stowe’s time, I believe that issues today would resolve themselves a lot faster.

Here is a photo drawn by a slave.


Revoking Our Second Amendment Rights

After reading some of Thomas Paine’s works, it has come to my attention that he had a lot of influence of the declaration of independence. There are theories that he might have even written it, but my main concern is how he thought government should be. He believed “that a government should exist for the people and not against the people.”, and I could not agree with him more. Things have not changed much over the course of history, in this field. He was fighting for independence and that’s what we are doing now. Our government is trying to revoke our second amendment rights, our right to bear arms.

Since the idea was introduced to the public, gun and ammo sales have went out the roof. I personally have purchased every round I can find. Why? If this act passes, some of the calibers and specialty rounds will not be available anymore. One of the demands of the President is to “ban armor-piercing bullets” and remove them from the market. This is a problem, because any average Joe can go to an Army Surplus store and buy bulletproof vests and many other protective layers. Without the armor piecing rounds, how would a man, or woman, protect their children and family against an intruder who had purchased this armor? The only thing that family could do would be to attempt to meet the intruders’ desires, and that’s not acceptable in my book. The second amendment says I have the right to bear arms and I want to be able to do in any circumstance.

Another part of the bill states that there will be a ban on military-style assault rifles and magazine capacities will be reduced to ten rounds. I own an AR-15 and so does my father, and if the ban ever passes, I don’t think they will ever get them because it’s something we have purchased with our hard earned money, for enjoyment. A “military-style assault rifle” is a very broad term in the government’s opinion. They interpret them as any firearm with a muzzle break, which is a barrel that has gas chambers in it to reduce recoil, and has an accessory rail, which is a slotted piece of plastic that allows a flashlight or sight to be attached. That describes almost every firearm produced today. This is an issue because the public purchases these types of weapons for enjoyment. Many Americans are some of the best marksman in the world and they shoot weapons like this every day. The magazine reduction is also a big issue. Most all handgun magazines hold between twelve and seventeen rounds, except in New York, where the limit is already ten. By reducing them to ten rounds, this reduces the likelihood that an intruder could be stopped. You could lose something very special to you because you didn’t have that one extra bullet. It’s also an issue for the sportsman due to the constant reloading process and it will wear the internal parts of the firearm out faster.

The last part of the bill states that there should be mandatory “background checks for anyone who wants to buy a gun.” This is in effect now, so how will it change anything? When a citizen goes to a store to purchase a firearm, the seller contacts the government, gives them all of your information, and then tells you if you can purchase it or not. The only way to “beat the system” is to buy a firearm from an individual seller. The new bill states that an individual cannot sell firearms without going through the process. I agree that there should be a mandatory process but a criminal is not going to follow the law. By stopping individual sales, it takes away from the honest, and gives to the dishonest.

If this bill passes, there will be an uprising similar to what Paine started. Our government is trying to take away one of our God given freedoms. This is the land of the free and I do not agree with the bill. I am an active member of the NRA and I will fight this until there is a decision made. We are slowly turning into a dictatorship, and I believe that if Paine were here, he would stand beside me and fight for what is right.


Here is a photo to explain the muzzle break and accessory rail

What was the Great Awakening, what caused it, and what were the effects of it?


In the 1730’s a religious revival swept through the colonies. A man named Jonathan Edwards, pictured above, did not want to convert to the Church of England and became concerned that possessions and lust were overtaking Gods place in society. Edwards strongly believed in Calvin’s nine principles and he felt that wealth was becoming more important than them. When Edwards spoke, he spoke with anger and conviction because he had become furious with society. This made people come from all around to hear his sermons and as he continued to preach, more and more came to hear. Once this had began, Great Awakening had started.

So, what caused this religious uprise? It started with The Glorious Revolution of 1688. This stopped religious and political groups from fighting and it also made the Church of England “the reigning church of the country.” All other religions were condensed and were regulated so that the Church of England could prosper. It made the society more stable because everyone was practicing the same religion, but instead of bringing them closer to God, it created doubt and many became non believers. Going to church became somewhat of a chore,where people would participate just to get the sermon over with, instead of a time to praise and have a love for God. I learned while reading some of Edwards works that he had a passion to pray and he felt like everyone should have that same love for God. He saw what religion was turning into and stepped in.

Here is a painting of Edwards preaching. It shows how the people took his sermons.


The effects of the Great Awakening were rather large, but in my opinion, the biggest effect was how it prepared the people. It prepared them for the war they were about to embark on for independence. When the church wasn’t living up to the congregations expectations, they could make a new church and start having service there. This gave the people the knowledge of independence and it also made them feel like their opinion mattered. Colonists realized that the Church of England did not have the power,because it was in their own hands. After realizing that the church could not control them, they began to believe that the English monarch could not control them either. Even though the people did not share the same religious views, they all wanted to be free from British control. If the Great Awakening had never happened, then the United States could still be under British control.

The Great Awakening was a religious movement that taught the people to love God and have a relationship with Him. It was caused by the Church of England being in control. The congregation went thru the motions when they were at church and this caused an uprising. It prepared the colonists for what was about to come, which was the desire for independence. They were given the tools and the knowledge, and the only thing left was for them to use what they had been given.

Here is a video that gives an overview of the Great Awakening

Who were Anne bradstreet’s children and did any of them leave a mark on history?


Anne Bradstreet, pictured above, is known as one of the most important figures in American literature. She struggled to adapt to the new land and she suffered from illness numerous times. She married Simon Bradstreet at age 16 and had seven children. There were three boys, Samuel, Simon, and Dudley, and four girls, Dorothy, Sarah, Hannah, and Mercy. Anne wrote about her children, but history does not mention them. Who were they and did they leave a mark on history that we do not know about?

Samuel was the first child Anne had. He was born in 1629 in England. He married a woman named Mercy Tyng and they had four children. When she passed away in September of 1670, Samuel remarried to Martha and they had three children together. Samuel had an abundance of kids, but what about his career? Little is known on what did for a living, but some sources suggest that he worked with his father in the new lands.

Dorothy was the next child Anne had. She was born in 1630 and was the first daughter. She married Rev. Seaborn Cotton and they had eight children together. Dorothy was a preachers wife so she spent a lot of her time at the church and at home, but she failed to make history before her death in 1671.

The next child was names Sarah. She was the second daughter, born in 1638. She married a man named Richard Hubbard and it is unknown how many children they had. If Sarah was anything like Dorothy then she probably had many. Sarah passed away around 1707 and her husband remarried. Sarah must not have gotten any of the historical genes from her parents, just like her two older siblings.

Simon, pictured below,was the next child. He was born in 1640 and he was named after his father in hopes that he would follow his footsteps. that is all that is known about Simon.


Hannah was the next child making her the third daughter. She was born in 1641 in Cambridge. She married Andrew Wiggins and they had eleven child together. Hannah died in 1707 in New Hampshire. She was most likely a house wife, but there is not any records of her life. She was not the star of the family either.

Mercy was the next daughter to be born. She was born in 1647 and married a man named Nathaniel Wade. They had eight children together before she died in 1714. It seems somewhat odd that her husband and her sister, Hannah, died in the same year. Other than her distinct name, Mercy did not make the history books during her lifetime.

Dudley , pictured below,was the next son to be born. He was born in 1647 and had a pretty eventful life. He was a town clerk, he led the militia, and he was a school teacher. He married Ann Wood and they had three children. Dudley and his wife thought witchcraft was devil work and tried to seek out those who practiced it. Dudley has been the only one to at least be mentioned, so far.


The Bradstreet family had many members, but none of the children received the successful genes from their parents. Anne and her husband have left an unforgettable mark on our history and they will always been seen as entrepreneurs and believers, believing in dreams and dedication. So were any of the children historically remembered? No, they weren’t, but their names will be carried on by Anne and Simon.

Here is a video of one of Anne’s poems where she talks about her children.