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[236] bring fresh problems almost as intricate as the question of slavery had been. But for the moment no one thought of these things. The South accepted defeat as superbly as she had fought, and began to plough once more. The jubilant North went back to work — to build transcontinental railroads, to organize great industries, and to create new states.

The significant American literature of the first decade after the close of the War is not in the books dealing directly with themes involved in the War itself. It is rather the literature of this new release of energy, the new curiosity as to hitherto unknown sections, the new humor and romance. Fred Lewis Pattee, the author oft an admirable History of American literature since 1870, uses scarcely too strong a phrase when he entitles this period “The Second discovery of America” ; and he quotes effectively from Mark Twain, who was himself one of these discoverers: “The eight years in America from 1860 to 1868 uprooted institutions that were centuries old, changed the politics of a people, transformed the social life of half the country, and wrought so profoundly upon the entire national character that the influence cannot be measured short of two or three generations.”

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