Twilight in the Wilderness, 1860. Frederic Edwin Church. Oil on canvas; 40 x 64 in. Mr. and Mrs Williams H Marlatt Fund 1965.233

America Emerging, 1700s

Grade Level: 
Student Level: 
High School

By examining American art and artifacts from the museum's collection, this series promotes discussion of America's national character and heritage. All five lessons, developed by teams of teachers, are accompanied by reinforcement materials specifically designed to foster critical thinking skills. These programs may be scheduled individually.

America Emerging, the first lesson in this series, is a discussion of the 1700s, and includes developing American identity, folk art, the influence of the Age of Reason, the effect of the mercantilist economy, and underlying causes of the Revolution.

Program Format: 
  • Open with discussion of American characteristics.
  • Introduce artists and the influence of historical conditions on their work.
  • Discuss significance of self-portraits.
  • Self-portrait activity.
  • Compare and contrast early American art with other European Art.
  • Discuss how 18th century philosophical ideas contributed to the American Revolution.
  • Students will understand that art may be considered as a reflection of "American" values, identity, and political culture.
  • Students will learn about the significance of global trade to the Colonial American economy.