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He is tempted to cease battling; his blood begins to chill; he hears the frost-king's lullaby. But as he is about to yield to sleep, he is startled back into militance by the cry of a titmouse, a small “scrap of valor” that “just for play/Fronts the north-wind.” The courage of the bird returns to him his own and he adopts its Emersonian doctrine that “the soul, if stout within/Can arm impregnably the skin.”
The freshness that Emerson's contemporaries found in his writings derived largely from this brisk militant quality. In an age that Emerson thought lacking in a “literature of Heroism,” his own writings were a constant call to bravery (CWE, 2, 247–48). And his most consistent image for that bravery was the soldier. Men, he said, “should calmly front the morrow” as if it were a battle-formation; they should not be “cowards fleeing before a revolution,” but instead should be “advancing on Chaos and the dark” (CWE, 2, 47, 297). One's life should be “a battle, a conquest”; one should state his convictions as boldly as if he wereopening hostilities: “Every principle is a war-note” (CWE, 9, 353). Even those in sedentary occupations should display the bravery of warriors.
In the spring of 1827 the splendidly appointed steamship Albany slid for the first time into the waters of the Hudson River to begin what proved to be an eighteen-year career of commercial travel on that busy waterway. Two years earlier the opening of New York's Erie Canal linking Albany to its western sister city, Buffalo, had enhanced the already flourishing steamboat commerce on the Hudson, for that mighty river then became the principal access to the great westward water route that terminated with the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.
With the gradual disintegration of the Democratic Party's New Deal coalition there has been regular speculation on the nature of party dealignment and realignment in the USA. Realignment affects the various levels of government and regions of the country differentially as the political landscape responds to underlying demographic and economic patterns. Groups of voters may reassess their traditional loyalties as they find their own, or their party's, policy priorities changing. Recent gubernatorial elections in Massachusetts serve to illustrate some of the internal pressures on the Democratic Party as the country enters the post-industrial era. In spite of the Democratic Party's dominance of the state's politics these elections have served as a battleground between groups of voters whose interests and concerns coalesce in a way that no longer can be explained solely in terms of traditional class position or economic interest, but also represent a clash between competing lifestyles.
An emergent post-industrial social setting, such as can be observed in Massachusetts, may be identified as possessing a number of interrelated components.