1876 by Gore Vidal: A Novel of Corruption, Scandal, and Intrigue in Post-Civil War America
- Who are the main characters and what are their goals? - How does the novel portray the political and social context of 1876? H2: The Plot of 1876 - How does Charles Schuyler return to America and what does he hope to achieve? - How does Emma Schuyler become a socialite and whom does she marry? - How does the presidential election of 1876 unfold and what are its consequences? H2: The Style of 1876 - How does Gore Vidal use the journal format to tell the story? - How does he blend historical facts and fictional elements? - How does he use humor, irony, and satire to criticize the corruption and decadence of the Gilded Age? H2: The Themes of 1876 - How does the novel explore the concepts of democracy, republicanism, and empire? - How does the novel depict the role of money, power, and media in politics? - How does the novel reflect on the issues of race, gender, and class in American society? H2: The Reception of 1876 - How did critics and readers react to the novel when it was published in 1976? - How has the novel's reputation changed over time? - How does the novel relate to Gore Vidal's other works and his political views? H2: Conclusion - What are the main points and arguments of the article? - What are the strengths and weaknesses of the novel? - What are some questions and topics for further discussion? H2: FAQs - What is the Narratives of Empire series and how does 1876 fit into it? - What are some historical sources that Gore Vidal used for his research? - What are some other novels or films that depict the Gilded Age or the 1876 election? - What are some similarities and differences between the political situation in 1876 and today? - What are some tips for writing a historical novel like 1876? Article with HTML formatting: 1876 by Gore Vidal: A Historical Novel of the Gilded Age
If you are interested in American history, politics, or literature, you might want to read 1876 by Gore Vidal. This novel is the third installment in his Narratives of Empire series, which chronicles the lives and times of various figures who shaped the destiny of the United States from its founding to its decline. 1876 is set in a pivotal year in American history, when a disputed presidential election threatened to tear apart a nation that was still recovering from the Civil War. The novel tells the story of Charles Schuyler, a former journalist and diplomat who returns to America after decades of exile in Europe, hoping to restore his fortune and secure a good marriage for his daughter Emma. Along the way, he encounters many historical characters, such as Samuel Tilden, Rutherford B. Hayes, Ulysses S. Grant, Mark Twain, Henry James, Victoria Woodhull, Susan B. Anthony, and more. He also witnesses firsthand the corruption, greed, violence, and decadence that characterized the Gilded Age.
Gore Vidal 1876 Pdf Free
In this article, we will explore what makes 1876 a fascinating and important historical novel. We will examine its plot, style, themes, and reception. We will also provide some FAQs for those who want to learn more about Gore Vidal's work and his vision of American history.
1876 is a historical novel by Gore Vidal that was published in 1976. It is part of his Narratives of Empire series, which consists of seven novels that span from 1775 to 2000. The series focuses on different aspects of American history, such as the founding fathers, the Civil War, the Gilded Age, the Progressive Era, the World Wars, the Cold War, and the post-9/11 era. The novels are not strictly chronological, but rather thematic and interrelated. They share some common characters, such as Aaron Burr, who appears in Burr (1973) and 1876, or Caroline Sanford, who appears in Empire (1987) and Hollywood (1990). The novels also reflect Gore Vidal's political views and criticisms of the American empire and its decline.
The main characters of 1876 are Charles Schermerhorn Schuyler and his daughter Emma. Charles is a fictional character who first appeared in Burr as a young protégé of Aaron Burr. He is a journalist, historian, and diplomat who has lived in Europe for most of his life. He married a French aristocrat who died during the Franco-Prussian War, leaving him with a daughter and a title. Emma is a beautiful and intelligent young woman who was born and raised in France. She married an Italian prince who died in a duel, leaving her a widow and a princess. Charles and Emma return to America in 1876, hoping to find a new life and a new fortune.
The novel portrays the political and social context of 1876, which was a turbulent and transitional year in American history. The nation was still recovering from the Civil War and the Reconstruction era, which had left deep scars and divisions among the people. The economy was suffering from the Panic of 1873, which had caused a severe depression and unemployment. The political system was dominated by corruption and patronage, as exemplified by the scandals of the Grant administration and the Tammany Hall machine. The presidential election of 1876 was one of the most controversial and contested in American history, as it resulted in a deadlock between the Democratic candidate Samuel Tilden and the Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes. The outcome was decided by a special commission that awarded Hayes the presidency in exchange for ending federal troops' occupation of the South, effectively ending Reconstruction and paving the way for Jim Crow laws and segregation. The novel also depicts the social and cultural changes that were taking place in America, such as the rise of industrialization, urbanization, immigration, feminism, suffrage, labor movements, populism, journalism, literature, art, and entertainment.
The Plot of 1876
The novel follows Charles Schuyler as he travels across America with his daughter Emma, observing and reporting on the events of 1876. He also has a personal agenda: he wants to regain his lost fortune by investing in railroad stocks or land speculation, and he wants to arrange a suitable marriage for Emma into New York society.
Charles Schuyler arrives in New York in January 1876 with his daughter Emma. He is greeted by his old friend James Bennett Jr., the editor of the New York Herald, who offers him a job as a correspondent for the centennial year. He also introduces him to John Day Apgar, a wealthy lawyer and bachelor who is interested in Emma. Charles accepts both offers and decides to stay at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, where he meets many prominent figures of New York society.
Emma Schuyler becomes an instant sensation in New York society with her beauty, charm, intelligence, and exotic background. She attracts many admirers, including Apgar, whom she agrees to marry after a brief courtship. She also befriends Denise Sanford, a rich heiress who is married to William Sanford, a railroad tycoon and politician. Denise is unhappy with her marriage and confides in Emma about her affairs and her desire for independence.
Article with HTML formatting (continued): , and Ulysses S. Grant. He is impressed by the technological and artistic achievements on display, but also notices the signs of social unrest and inequality among the visitors and workers.
Charles Schuyler travels to Washington, D.C. in June 1876 to cover the Republican National Convention, where Rutherford B. Hayes is nominated as the presidential candidate. He also meets his old friend Aaron Burr Jr., the grandson of Aaron Burr, who is a senator and a power broker in Washington. Burr Jr. offers Charles a secret deal: he will help him secure a diplomatic post in Paris if Charles will write favorable articles about Hayes and his supporters.
Charles Schuyler returns to New York in July 1876 to attend Emma's wedding to Apgar. He also meets Samuel Tilden, the Democratic presidential candidate, who is a friend of Bennett and a former client of Apgar. Tilden is a reformer who promises to end corruption and restore democracy in America. Charles is impressed by Tilden's integrity and intelligence, but also doubts his chances of winning against the powerful Republican machine.
Charles Schuyler travels to Ohio in August 1876 to visit Hayes at his home in Spiegel Grove. He interviews Hayes and his wife Lucy, who are both devout and honest people, but also bland and inexperienced in national politics. Charles writes a flattering article about Hayes, but also feels guilty for betraying his own principles and Tilden.
Charles Schuyler travels to St. Louis in September 1876 to cover the Democratic National Convention, where Tilden is officially nominated as the presidential candidate. He also meets William T. Sherman, the famous Civil War general and a potential rival of Grant for the Republican nomination in 1880. Sherman is a charismatic and outspoken leader, but also a ruthless and controversial figure who is hated by many Southerners for his march to the sea.
Charles Schuyler travels to Chicago in October 1876 to cover the final stages of the presidential campaign. He witnesses the fierce competition between Tilden and Hayes, who are both appealing to different sections and interests of the country. He also sees the influence of money, media, and fraud on the election process.
Charles Schuyler travels to Florida in November 1876 to cover the aftermath of the election, which is too close to call and depends on the disputed results in four states: Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Oregon. He exposes the corruption and violence that are taking place in Florida, where both parties are trying to manipulate the vote count and intimidate the voters. He also learns that Emma has left Apgar and married Sanford, who has offered her more money and power.
Charles Schuyler travels to Washington, D.C. in December 1876 to cover the final resolution of the election, which is decided by a special commission composed of eight Republicans and seven Democrats. The commission votes along party lines to award all the disputed electoral votes to Hayes, giving him a one-vote margin over Tilden. The deal is accepted by both parties in exchange for ending Reconstruction and withdrawing federal troops from the South. Charles is disgusted by the outcome, which he considers a betrayal of democracy and justice.
The Style of 1876
1876 is written in the form of a journal by Charles Schuyler, who narrates his experiences and observations as a correspondent for the New York Herald during the centennial year. The journal format allows Gore Vidal to create a realistic and intimate portrait of his protagonist, who reveals his thoughts, feelings, opinions, and biases throughout the novel. The journal also serves as a device for blending historical facts and fictional elements, as Charles Schuyler interacts with many real people and events, but also invents some details and dialogues for dramatic effect.
Gore Vidal uses a mixture of styles and tones in his novel, ranging from factual and descriptive to humorous and ironic. He employs a rich vocabulary and a sophisticated syntax that reflect his protagonist's education and background. He also uses various literary techniques, such as foreshadowing, flashbacks, metaphors, similes, allusions, quotations, and rhetorical questions, to enhance his narrative and convey his themes.
Gore Vidal uses humor, irony, and satire to criticize the corruption and decadence of the Gilded Age, which he sees as a contrast and a contradiction to the ideals and values of the American Revolution. He mocks the hypocrisy and vanity of the politicians, businessmen, socialites, and celebrities who dominate the scene, and exposes their greed, ambition, selfishness, and dishonesty. He also ridicules the pretensions and absurdities of the American society and culture, which are influenced by European models and trends. He shows the gap between appearance and reality, between rhetoric and action, between promise and fulfillment, in America.
The Themes of 1876
1876 explores several themes that are relevant to American history, politics, and society. Some of the main themes are:
Democracy, republicanism, and empire: The novel examines the meaning and practice of democracy in America, which is challenged by the disputed election of 1876. It also questions the legitimacy and stability of the republic, which is threatened by corruption, factionalism, and violence. It also reflects on the expansion and decline of the American empire, which is influenced by domestic and foreign factors.
Money, power, and media: The novel depicts the role of money, power, and media in American politics, which are dominated by the interests and agendas of the wealthy and influential elites. It also shows how money, power, and media affect the lives and choices of individuals, who are motivated by greed, ambition, or survival.
Race, gender, and class: The novel reflects on the issues of race, gender, and class in American society, which are marked by inequality, discrimination, and conflict. It also shows how race, gender, and class shape the identities and perspectives of different groups and individuals, who are either privileged or oppressed by the system.
The Reception of 1876
1876 received mixed reviews from critics and readers when it was published in 1976. Some praised it as a brilliant and entertaining historical novel that captured the spirit and essence of the Gilded Age. Others criticized it as a dull and tedious historical novel that failed to engage or enlighten the reader. Some admired Gore Vidal's style and wit as a writer. Others disliked his style and tone as a writer.
1876 has gained more recognition and appreciation over time as one of Gore Vidal's best historical novels. It has been praised for its accuracy and insight into American history and politics. It has also been compared and contrasted with other historical novels or films that depict the Gilded Age or the 1876 election.
1876 relates to Gore Vidal's other works and his political views in several ways. It is part of his Narratives of Empire series, which expresses his vision of American history as a saga of empire-building and empire-decaying. It is also influenced by his personal experiences and opinions as a writer, historian, commentator, and activist. It reflects his admiration for figures like Aaron Burr or Samuel Tilden, who challenged the establishment or represented alternative paths for America. It also reveals his criticism of figures like Ulysses S. Grant or Rutherford B. Hayes, who embodied the corruption or compromise of America.
In conclusion, 1876 is a historical novel by Gore Vidal that tells the story of Charles Schuyler, a journalist who covers the events of 1876 in America. The novel portrays the political and social context of 1876, which was a turbulent and transitional year in American history. The novel uses a journal format to blend historical facts and fictional elements. The novel employs humor, irony, and satire to criticize the corruption and decadence of the Gilded Age. The novel explores themes such as democracy, republicanism, empire, money, power, media, Article with HTML formatting (final): gender, and class in America. The novel received mixed reviews from critics and readers when it was published in 1976, but has gained more recognition and appreciation over time as one of Gore Vidal's best historical novels. The novel relates to Gore Vidal's other works and his political views in several ways.
Here are some frequently asked questions about 1876 and Gore Vidal:
What is the Narratives of Empire series and how does 1876 fit into it?
The Narratives of Empire series is a series of seven historical novels by Gore Vidal that span from 1775 to 2000. The series focuses on different aspects of American history, such as the founding fathers, the Civil War, the Gilded Age, the Progressive Era, the World Wars, the Cold War, and the post-9/11 era. The series is not strictly chronological, but rather thematic and interrelated. They share some common characters, such as Aaron Burr, who appears in Burr (1973) and 1876, or Caroline Sanford, who appears in Empire (1987) and Hollywood (1990). The series also reflects Gore Vidal's political views and criticisms of the American empire and its decline. 1876 is the third novel in the series, and it covers the events of 1876 in America.
What are some historical sources that Gore Vidal used for his research?
Gore Vidal used various historical sources for his research, such as newspapers, magazines, journals, memoirs, biographies, letters, speeches, documents, and records. He also consulted with historians and experts on different topics and periods. He was especially interested in primary sources that gave him a sense of the language and culture of the time. He also used some fictional sources, such as novels or plays, that influenced or inspired him.
What are some other novels or films that depict the Gilded Age or the 1876 election?
Some other novels or films that depict the Gilded Age or the 1876 election are:
- The Age of Innocence (1920) by Edith Wharton: a novel that portrays the upper-class society of New York in the 1870s.
- Ragtime (1975) by E.L. Doctorow: a novel that interweaves fictional and historical characters and events in the early 20th century.
- The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) by Orson Welles: a film that depicts the decline of a wealthy family in Indianapolis at the turn of the century.
- The Gangs of New York (2002) by Martin Scorsese: a film that depicts the violent conflicts between different ethnic groups in New York City in the mid-19th century.
- The American President (1995) by Rob Reiner: a film that depicts a fictional presidential election in 1996.
What are some similarities and differences between the political situation in 1876 and today?
Some similarities and differences between the political situation in 1876 and today are:
- Similarities: Both periods were marked by political polarization, partisan gridlock, disputed elections, corruption scandals, economic crises, social movements, media influence, and foreign challenges.
- Differences: The main issues and conflicts in 1876 were related to Reconstruction, civil rights, federalism, tariffs, currency, immigration, and Native Americans. The main issues and conflicts today are related to health care, climate change, terrorism, immigration, trade, and human rights.
What are some tips for writing a historical novel like 1876?
Some tips for writing a historical novel like 1876 are:
- Choose a period or event that interests you and do extensive research on it.
- Create a plot that combines historical facts and fictional elements.
- Develop characters that are realistic and complex.
- Use a style and tone that suit your theme and audience.
- Be accurate but also creative.
This is the end of my article on 1876 by Gore Vidal. I hope you enjoyed reading it and learned something new. Thank you for your attention and feedback. 71b2f0854b