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Chapter 6: the Transcendentalists

To understand the literary leadership of New England during the thirty years immediately preceding the Civil War it is necessary to recall the characteristics of a somewhat isolated and peculiar people. The mental and moral traits of the New England colonists, already glanced at in an earlier chapter, had suffered little essential modification in two hundred years. The original racial stock was still dominant. As compared with the middle and southern colonies, there was relatively little immigration, and this was easily assimilated. The physical remoteness of New England from other sections of the country, and the stubborn loyalty with which its inhabitants maintained their own standards of life, alike contributed to their sense of separateness. It is true, of course, that their mode of thinking and feeling had undergone certain changes. They were among the

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