Ch 15: History of American Arts

About This Chapter

Your students can go through the video lessons found in this chapter to learn important information about the history of American arts. They will learn about different periods and movements in American arts, and some notable works they produced.

History of American Arts - Chapter Summary

When studying the history of the United States, one key element that often gets overlooked is the evolution of American art and literature. If you wish to help your students learn more about this subject, they can watch these online video lessons for comprehensive overviews of different topics on the history of American art.

These lessons will take your eighth graders through each specific artistic or literary movement in the U.S. in chronological order, starting from the earliest colonial days and going through the next few centuries of American history. Your students will also learn about a few specific works of art and why they are so significant for understanding the country at the time. Included in this chapter are specific lessons on:

  • Native American and colonial literature
  • Literature and arts of the American Romantic Period
  • The Hudson River School
  • American transcendentalism
  • Literary realism

Each lesson has tags that will allow your students to return to some of the key points discussed in each video. The chapter also offers hard copies of each lesson to study at a later time. You can use the chapter's practice quizzes to assess how well your students remember some key information.

13 Lessons in Chapter 15: History of American Arts
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Native American and Colonial Literature

1. Native American and Colonial Literature

What types of writing were popular during the early days of the United States? In this lesson, we'll look at three major categories of 17th and 18th century American writing in more detail: Native American oral stories, Puritan writing, and early American political writing.

Battle Hymn of the Republic: Summary & Analysis

2. Battle Hymn of the Republic: Summary & Analysis

'The Battle Hymn of the Republic' is one of America's classic patriotic songs, but what inspired it? In this lesson, we'll explore the history and changing meaning of one of America's favorite tunes.

The Romantic Period in American Literature and Art

3. The Romantic Period in American Literature and Art

This video introduces American Romanticism, a movement where literature focused on intuition, imagination and individualism. Authors such as Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow contributed to what became known as the American identity, as the new country did its best to distance itself from European tradition.

The Hudson River School: Paintings, Artists & Art

4. The Hudson River School: Paintings, Artists & Art

The Hudson River School was a group of American artists based in New York. Part of the Romantic Movement, they were known for their landscapes and pastoral settings.

The Dark Romantics in American Literature

5. The Dark Romantics in American Literature

This video introduces the characteristics of Dark Romanticism, a movement at the end of the Romantic period where literature embodied creepy symbols, horrific themes, and explored the psychological effects of guilt and sin. Authors, such as Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne, wrote short stories, poems, and novels that encouraged Americans to see evil in everything.

Transcendentalism: Impact on American Literature

6. Transcendentalism: Impact on American Literature

This video defines Transcendentalism, a literary movement of the mid-19th century. Authors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman used their literary platforms to encourage Americans to transcend society's presumptions and create a personal, progressive relationship with spirituality and nature.

The Literary Realism Movement: A Response to Romanticism

7. The Literary Realism Movement: A Response to Romanticism

In this lesson, we will learn about Realism in American literature, how this new literary movement grew out of Romanticism and what circumstances in our changing nation made that literary shift possible.

Modernism in American Literature

8. Modernism in American Literature

In this lesson, we will discuss the concept of literary modernism in the United States. We will explore its historical backdrop along with the very unique characteristics and authors that define American modernism which lasted from 1914-1945.

The Contemporary Period in American Literature

9. The Contemporary Period in American Literature

Learn about how Contemporary literature developed and understand its fundamental characteristics. Find out how American history and cultural norms really defined and developed the Contemporary period in American literature.

American Arts & Culture of the 1920s & the Harlem Renaissance

10. American Arts & Culture of the 1920s & the Harlem Renaissance

In this lesson, we will learn about American art and culture during the 1920s. We will identify key figures, trends, and artistic and cultural developments, most notably the Harlem Renaissance.

Music in the 1950s: Rock 'n' Roll & Jazz

11. Music in the 1950s: Rock 'n' Roll & Jazz

Before the 1950s, music was dominated by big bands at concerts that required a dinner jacket. After the 1950s, concerts were held at prisons. Needless to say, music changed a great deal, as this lesson explains.

Arts, Entertainment & Culture in the U.S. in the 1970s

12. Arts, Entertainment & Culture in the U.S. in the 1970s

When many of us think of the 1970s, we think of lava lamps and bell-bottom jeans. That's a real tragedy, as we are taking a decade that forever changed American music, TV, and film, and selling it short.

Relationship between Art & the American Way of Life

13. Relationship between Art & the American Way of Life

If you look around you, then you will probably see something related to arts and culture. Americans appreciate a variety of art forms that illuminate culture and foster social well-being. This lesson chronicles the relationship between art movements and American lifestyles.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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