Seminar paper from the year 2004 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 1,0, Free University of Berlin, course: American Literature in the 18th Century -Early American Novel, 17 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: The beginnings of an independent American prose fiction lie in the post-revolutionary era of the early American republic. In the process of claiming its political freedom from Great Britain and displacing the old patriarchal order, the nation had asserted the principle of individualism. According to the Declaration of Independence, the chief task of a democratic government was to secure each man's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However, despite this stable foundation of revolutionary ideals, the United States faced severe political and social struggles in achieving a balance between the interests of the individual citizen and public welfare. During the 1780s and 1790s, America underwent a remarkable socioeconomical transformation. In the face of an expanding liberal market capitalism, a controversy between agriculture and industry began to develop. A traditional land-based class stood in opposition to a newly emerging liberal, money-based society. Popular interests drifted apart and manifested themselves in the bitter party struggle between Federalists and Republicans. While the first argued for governmental control of individualism and encouraged the growth of commerce and manufacturing, the latter favored an agrarian ideal and aimed at limiting governmental intervention to promote personal freedom and individualism.