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[207] the famous “Liberty, fraternity, equality.” The existence of a truly national life and literature presupposes a certain degree of unity, an integration of race, language, political institutions, and social ideals. It is obvious that this problem of national integration meets peculiar obstacles in the United States. Divergencies of race, tradition, and social theory, and clashing interests of different sections have been felt from the beginning of the nation's life. There was well-nigh complete solidarity in the single province of New England during a portion of the seventeenth century, and under the leadership of the great Virginians there was sufficient national fusion to make the Revolution successful. But early in the nineteenth century, the opening of the new West, and the increasing economic importance of Slavery as a peculiar institution of the South, provoked again the ominous question of the possibility of an enduring Union. From 1820 until the end of the Civil War, it was the chief political issue of the United States. The aim of the present chapter is to show how the theme of Union and Liberty affected our literature.

To appreciate the significance of this theme we must remind ourselves again of what many persons

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