Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such thing as Wisdom; and no such thing as public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, The New England Courant, Jul. 9, 1722
It is one of the great ways to begin a short story or essay on the topic of independence. When people think about freedom, the first thing which comes to their mind is a great country, which managed to show the world the importance of equality, justice, and other values. Famous American authors are the exemplars to follow. Famous American writers constitute an integral part of any school/college program. The best way to train writing skills, as well as reading and research, is to complete homework essays assigned by the literature class teacher.
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This article contains the best American authors of all time. It is time to discover why the distinguished essays of these people are studied by every school & college program.
10 Famous American Writers Who Changed the World
The revolutionary spirit in the air can best characterize early American (Colonial) period in the American literature. Never-ending fight for freedom is the integral element of most literary pieces written during the period of revolution. Famous American writers of that period criticized any signs of injustice in their works. Famous American writer Samuel Sewall composed several powerful essays describing the restless spirit of his nation along with some critical responses to other famous essays.
The man blamed rich American society. He supported people who took part in the war against slavery.
The unusual thing is Samuel Sewall was a minister who decided to switch to the take management of a printing press. The writer used to be a member of the council since 1683.
As a judge, he knew a lot about American policies & laws, which he discussed actively in his famous essays.
In his works, he focused on:
- Religion & Politics
- Business & Good Living
Sewall covered particular concerns about the rights of Native Americans; he protected the rights of the Afro-American population. His strong opposition can be noticed in his critical response to the essay titled “Cotton Mother.” His most famous essay is “The Selling of Joseph” written in 1700.
An Afro-American writer used to grow in the family of nine children, so it is hard to call his family a wealthy one. In Baldwin’s “Giovanni Room,” he describes the feelings of the unhappy father. Having many children did not allow the man to provide every kid with the worthy living conditions.
The most deprived New York areas gave birth to James Baldwin’s literary career. His initial journalistic articles were full of conviction. He found it interesting to raise the spirit of the local population through adding optimistic notes in his famous essays. The negative attitude of people who supported racist movement forced Baldwin to leave the United States. He spent some time in Europe (France in particular). Here, a famous American essay writer could go on blaming homophobic and racist movements by creating his top works:
- “Notes of a Native Son”
- “The Evidence of Things Not Seen”
- “The Devil Finds Work”
To develop great essays, try to memorize the structure of the five-paragraph short story, which is a classic organization of any paper.
Coming back to the period of colonization, it is impossible to ignore the contribution of American essay writer named John Woolman. This Quaker abolitionist was born in 1720. He served as a minister of Burlington Monthly Meeting. Woolman was a convinced Christian whose novels and books criticized slaveholding for being inconsistent with Christianity. To write each story, he traveled a lot. Woolman was trying to study the problem of slavery in the smallest details.
To avoid problems with the publication of his books and essays, Woolman did a wise trick: he did not attack slaveholders in his writings directly but focused on the issue of equality. That is why Philadelphia Yearly Meeting approved his essays and allowed to publish them. He behaved more aggressively in real life by suggesting that local authorities who traded salves should be admonished. Each story is worthy of attention, but every patriotic American knows two famous essays:
- “Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes”
- “Epistle of Caution and Advice”
E.B. White preferred the topics of family relations in his books & novels. He observed the connection of family ties, the way our genes influence our further development, and different social factors impacting our decisions.
This American writer had access to the popular New Yorker magazine. His English was perfect, and he even created English language style guide The Elements of Style, which would be useful for every beginning writer.
Each time you watch “Stuart Little,” keep in mind the original childish story was written by E.B. White. Another known book for the youngest audience is “Charlotte’s Web” (1952). It entered the top list of the best children’s books of all times. He took part in developing animated videos based on his top short stories.
One of his essays discussed the meaning of being a good father to your children, and the way parental care impacts children’s growth & self-actualization. The story contains the descriptions of the beautiful Maine forests. If you wish to return to your childish years, it is the right time to read White’s books, full of optimism, joy, and hope:
- “A Step forward”
- “Once More to the Lake”
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The revolutionary American writers had democratic origins. Once the American population obtained its freedom & independence in 1776, the writers changed their moods to optimistic. Benjamin Franklin is a symbol of free America, and he was the one to start talking about such factors as:
- Democratic sensibility
- Exceptionalism of the nation
- Antislavery movement
- Support of the Constitution
- Relations between the UK and the Americans
Franklin was not onto book or novels writing; he preferred the genre of short story & essay. The famous American author was in search of the American Dream all the time. In his distinguished works, Benjamin Franklin analyzed the reasons for seeking out the comfort of his native land: utilizing economic benefits and fleeing oppressive governmental regimes. Each short story & essay written by this symbolic man aim to motivate Americans.
Between the essay lines, the author shares how to become a self-made man. This term means the growth from the indentured servitude to a financially independent, powerful human being. Every student should read his essays. Franklin is the founding father of the American nation, and he helps to understand what independence means and realize the power of the industry.
Read his most distinguished works: “Advice on the Choice of a Mistress,” “The Art of Procuring Pleasant Dreams,” “The Temple of Learning, The Whistle.”
Famous Essays Every Student Should Read
One of the best essays of all time was written by the distinguished female author Susan Sontag. It is time to discuss women-writers in the history of the United States. Her friends were always booked. In Boston, the girl joined Harvard University after successfully passing entry examinations and demonstrating her personal/career goals.
She focused on studying English literature. Sontag was a great fan of novels, short stories, and other genres of books. Sontag gained her Master of Philosophy in 1954, which was a necessary degree in her further literature career development. It was not enough for the young, enthusiastic female. She moved to England to study in the respected Oxford University. If you wonder why Oxford is respected by many famous people, pay attention to this informative article. In its walls, Sontag faced gender inequality for the first time in her life. Being one of the famous American essay writers, the girl could not ignore unfair treatment and overall injustice. She started her initial story here. Sontag tried to resist the ongoing sexism challenge, which touched the problems of female education in particular.
Like Baldwin and some other distinguished colleagues, Sontag found peace and harmony in France, where she participated in the local cinema, philosophy, and literature surroundings. Her best literature works (novels, essays, & short stories) include the following:
- “Against Interpretation”
- “Where the Stress Falls”
- “Regarding the Pain of Others Styles of Radical Will”
Some people may disagree that Jefferson is not an essay or short story writer, but his “The Declaration of Independence” is worth many books together because this set of dogmas, morals, and ethics reflects the entire nature of the US citizens. It is the only “novel” describing values of the American society.
Essay writers of the post-war time used to pay publishers to see their works live. Jefferson has composed several other literary pieces. They stand out thanks to the next factors every author must remember:
- Hook sentences to grab reader’s attention
- Relevant topics
- Informational content
Famous American writers list has Zadie Smith, another appreciated short story female writer. She is one of the aspiring authors who feel a strong desire to perform. Smith believes that the words we use every day frequently appear to be nothing else but gibberish.
Zadie Smith tries to teach young writers by pointing to the most typical mistakes they might do when composing the next story, essay, or novel. Why do we speak about her in the present time? Zadie Smith is alive, and her career started only in 2000, but it was enough time to prove her literature potential.
Smith has published several great works, but her best literary work is full of literary criticism, treatment of art in the modern world, and the obligations every reader has regarding the masterpiece. The main fields of Smith’s involvement include three very different yet similar literary genres that help to express any ideas:
- Short stories/essay
Read her “Fail Better” to get the main point of being an artist.
Edgar Allan Poe
1820 – 1860 is the best characterized as a romantic period in the history of the US literature. People around the world recognize Edgar Allan Poe. He is the author of dark, gloomy, gothic detective stories. The American writer, literary critic, & editor was the master of short story and poetry genres who managed to enrich his tales with mystery and macabre. Read how to analyze poetry in several easy steps here.
Edgar Allan Poe is one of the earliest practitioners of the short story/essay genre with his innovative ideas aimed to underline the role of art in human life. Detective fiction and science fiction both belong to the hands of the great author. Inspired by the Romantic Movement born in Germany, the author found it interesting to dedicate his literary works to:
- Organic development
- Significance of art
Edgar Allan Poe was different from other essayists of that time thanks to his unique techniques; the concept of self-development was important, but it was not a single theme covered in his works. He believed the development of humanity is impossible without arts. “The Philosophy of Furniture” is a great story to start loving Poe.
To conclude the list of famous American authors, let’s recall the name of Annie Dillard. The world introduced this female genius in 1945. Her reading audience appreciates Dillard for her non-fiction & fiction books/novels, poetry, essays, and literary criticism.
Two main short stories should be studied by a potential writer:
- “Education Stone” (taken from her non-fiction essay book)
- “Life on the Rocks” (a great book which contains 14 good essays to explore)
Oh, and one more thing you should not forget if you plan to write a lot:
One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time...give it, give it all, give it now.
Did you enjoy the article discussing 10 famous American writers of all time? If you have a strong desire to write great essays, novels, or books, do not hesitate to seek the professional online help to improve your results. Share other writers you adore in the comment section below to help other students learn more about the art of writing!