Romanticism is tied closely to nationalism. It is associated with the rise of nationalist movements in the Italian and German states in the nineteenth century, as well as with the struggle of smaller European states for independence and autonomy. Romanticism's contribution to the rise of nationalism came through its focus on folktales and highly valuing the importance of regionalism, common people, and ethnicity.
This nationalist aspect of Romanticism emerges in Irving's story, which was part of his nation-building project as an author in a new republic. The story is unequivocally set in the United States, near Boston and the Charles River and is permeated with folklore and supernatural elements particular to the Americas. For example, early in the story, the folkore begins as the narrator mentions Kidd, the pirate, burying a treasure under a huge oak near the Charles River. The narrator then says:
The old stories add, moreover, that the devil presided at the hiding of the money, and took it...
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