Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of English

Content Description

1 online resource (v, 90 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

James D Lilley


Antebellum American Literature, Authorship, Democracy, Gender, Nation Building, American literature, Authors and readers

Subject Categories

American Literature


From the post-Revolutionary days, American print materials and political institutions were interrelated with each other for the purpose of building a new nation. The democratic institutions composed of the president and a sovereign people marked the country's difference from European monarchy, while the book trade served as a means that would disseminate a moral image of an ideal citizen to endorse the national identity. Yet, as drastic changes of industry in the 1820s enabled more people to participate in the economic system, the sovereignty of people turned out to be potentially subversive power of the mob, which required the literary as well as political sphere to find the way of controlling such power without resorting to monarchical violence. While Andrew Jackson's "democracy" entailed a violent oppression in the process of forming a "nation," including the Indian removal policies, some literary writers grappled with the unpredictable and elusive reading public in a different way from politics. This thesis aims to examine the distinctly literary struggle with the rise of the economic transactions of "a free people."