Ambition and enterprise were key aspects the early republic had to come to terms with. Ambition could power the nation to new heights, but it could also tear it down as selfish people grew their own coffers by stealing from the people. Enterprise could greatly assist the public, but could also be backed by only greedy people. The culture of the new America had to balance the acceptable amount of ambition and enterprise within the nation in order to prosper. - Zack Dutke
The new republic created opportunities for people to create wealth for themselves. It was thought that to be considered wealthy, you were not working for anyone. You worked for yourself and lived comfortably on a sizeable area of land. Overtime howver, the ideas around working shifted and started to move away from farming and towards commerce. People started to become more ambitious with their lives and futures. This was because of the new ideas that came with the new republic. - Hank L
It showed that Mann wanted to teach school rather than wanting a life of an independent freeholder, which shows he values knowledge. He also showed he wasn't a fan of those people who would suppress free thinkers. Mann mentioned that “envy and jealousy” were the vice of the countryside that became a major challenge of an enlightened future. - David Y.
The revolution and the new values it introduced enabled new customs to emerge against, or despite, the patriarchal society. Evidence of that is found in women's fashion, ways of socializing, and new family practices. However, these changes remained very superficial as the patriarchal structure of society was politically reinstated by the further empowerment of white male landowners. - Valerian Girardeau
In the ways that virtue is the characteristic of the republican, ambition is the characteristic of the liberal. Virtue asks the individual to put aside their desires to put forward the public good; on the other hand, ambition encourages the individual to push for their own goals. If everyone pushes for their own good, then things will improve and get better. - Garrett W.
Opal touches on the mindset of ambition in individuals and the passion to better themselves, rather than bettering the public. Previously the common goal among society was bettering the country as a whole where as ambition is viewed as selfishness and greedy, as those who are ambitious seemingly are taking more than their fair share. - Jeffrey Harris
The sense of ambition from this era took the ideas and methods that characterized the market revolution and multiplied them. Ambition was controversial in that it was favored by younger generations and was in some way a high-risk high reward system of expansion. - Declan Forrer
The investment into and expansion of roads, is a key example cited by Opal for the advantages of an ambitious nation. New ideas such as this helped lead to the expansion of the relatively new republic. Despite being frowned upon by older generations, ambition is often necessary for expansion.- Declan Forrer
During this story we see the lives of multiple people throughout their lives right after the American Revolution. It talks about ambition and how to some ambition isn't good and takes away the goal towards common good and causes more risk than good. Others believe its a chance for a better life and the ability to strive towards individual freedom. What's interesting is that after the Revolutionary War, especially among the former patriots, there would be less of a divide on how to live their lives. They won a war, mostly fighting for the same principles, but their ideas on ambition are so different.- Emma Galvin
Opals main topic of discussion during this book was on the Market Revolution during the turn of the century and a little after. A lot of these self sufficient farmers wanted to take risks to get a better life for their families, to not only grow crops for familial survival but to also sell their goods to market and give them more than basic survival necessities. Some liked this idea in theory, but it wasn't always guaranteed to work and for many the risk often outweighed the potential profit of it all. - Emma Galvin
One of the things that Opal uses as an example to show the conflict between liberal thinking and republican thinking is the upgrading of roads. Opal posits that the more liberal minded citizens would see the roads as a public good, and a means to connect the town to others and promote economic growth. The republicans on the other hand believe that the roads are fine the way they are, and that the turnpike companies that are funding the roads are greedy. - Ewan H
Through the schism that comes about during this time, whereby the next generation seeks greater economic opportunity beyond self sufficiency, there lies a fundamental shift in individual economic units. The way that served previous generations, that being that the smallest economic unit was the family, was seeing some resistance from the younger generation that sought economic prosperity beyond their needs. This resistance would eventually lead to the rise of the individual person as the smallest economic unit, but in Opal there is only a mention of the unraveling, not the total destruction. - Ewan H
In J.M. Opal’s book, Beyond the Farm, it introduces the analyzation of the current changes of society in the mid-1800s through the introduction of Edward Hitchcock. After reviewing Hitchcock’s biography of a “long-time employer, Amherst College,” his friend told him how he write his own autobiography about his journey from rural-life to “a social role” as it would be a great historical recount of the many changes going on in the Early American Republic. – Lesley Morales-Sanchez
In rather European fashion, Americans in the eighteenth century mainly viewed ambition through the lenses of Christian, classical, and monarchial traditions. Since these traditions often viewed people as selfish brutes, the logic was that through self-sufficiency and independence, prosperity will come; not through “public good” as that would bring upon thoughts of greed from the ambitions of those in power. Ambition was a more selfish form of passion. Passions, thought by the separate “enlightened thinkers” of the time, are what makes the world advance and grow. – Lesley Morales-Sanchez