England and America/Dystopian and Utopian
Flower’s Letters from Lexington was just one of a number of works produced in early nineteenth-century Britain that enlisted the contemporary language of British radicalism to frame a prospect of moral, social and economic regeneration in the rolling landscape of the trans-Alleghenian American west. It was there, for a few heady years, that a handful of British men and women sought to establish new, often Utopian, communities; and Flower’s contrast between the two countries was aimed squarely at burgeoning popular interest in the United States, particularly insofar as it could be seen as a site of bright alternatives to the projected problems of contemporary British society. If anything, British interest in the United States had grown following cessation of hostilities between the two nations in 1814. During the 1820s and 1830s, the country became something of a favourite in the flourishing genre of the travelogue, and it was soon the most common destination for British emigrants of all classes. This, in turn, brought ever greater demand for information about the country, which was fed by a host of British writers like Morris Birkbeck, William Cobbett, Charles Johnson and John Bradbury, all of whom wrote for the domestic market with advice to emigrants on where to go, how to get there and what they must do to ensure their success.
KeywordsQuarterly Review Primeval Forest Popular Interest Colonial Policy Settler Society
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