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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 30 July 2009
Scholars now generally acknowledge that Nathaniel Hawthorne was no deeply secluded artist, but a man and citizen keenly aware of contemporary social and political issues. Over three decades ago, Arlin Turner maintained that Hawthorne wrote in response not only to his extensive reading in American history but to the burgeoning nationalism of the 1820s and 1830s. We cannot fail to note the growing ascendancy during this period of that one moral issue which would soon come to eclipse all others and draw the nation into its bloodiest conflict — that of slavery. Moreover, the very seedbed of the antislavery movement in these 1830s, the home and headquarters of its fiery central leader, lay but a few miles from Hawthorne's doorstep.
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