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I think that Realism in America was vastly different than Romanticism or a Transcendentalist articulation. The emphasis on economic conditions and material reality is something that we see in realism that might not be as present in transcendent Romantic thought. At the time Realism was gaining a hold throughout the world and in America, there was a greater economic reality that was determining consciousness. The post Civil War industrialization of America brought with it more money and more class disparity. It is through this end that Realism was able to speak to and about more Americans. It sought to understand the nature of reality defined by class and also hoped to bring about the questioning of spirituality, transcendence, and the idea of how individuals find unity and symmetry in a world where fragmentation and disorder seem to be present. In this light of questioning and seeking to fully understand consciousness, Realism speaks more to the context of Americans at the time than Romanticism or Transcendentalism.
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