America: Classics that Help Define the Nation
The Modern Library presents America, the fifth in its series of anthologies, following Christmas Classics, Mothers, The Raven and the Monkey's Paw, and Love. This original collection features classic songs, poems, stories, speeches, and extracts from works that have helped define America--the nation and the people--and establish its national character.
America begins with the Compact the Mayflower pilgrims made before landing at Plymouth Rock, then sets out across the succeeding centuries to present a few of the great moments in American history as captured in words. From the thrill of "Paul Revere's Ride" to the wonders described in the journals of Lewis and Clark, from the political fire of Thoreau's Civil Disobedience and the drama of Frederick Douglass's narrative of slavery to the lyricism and power of the "Battle-Hymn of the Republic," this is a collection that reaches deep into the history of America and the fabric of the country. Ulysses S. Grant describes the battle of Shiloh; contemporary chroniclers paint portraits of legendary figures like Jesse James, Wild Bill Hickok, and Billy the Kid. Great novelists like Dickens, Dreiser, Melville, James, Sinclair, and Cather describe their Americas. Five famous speeches represent the powerful oratorical tradition of American public life, and songs and anthems like "Yankee Doodle" and "America the Beautiful" round out the collection.
This anthology attempts to portray America's past and what made the country what it is today, drawing on some of the great writers whose words have inspired and moved millions.
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The Mayflower Compact
Paul Reveres Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Washington by Lord Byron
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