On the Road with Washington Irving (Chiefly in the Year 1832) is a study of Washington Irving, not as a man of letters, but as a man of politics, a patriot, and a very (and deservedly so) popular public figure. The book is also a study of the societies Irving met in his travels. He toured England with Martin Van Buren, and, along the way, we can see what life was like in pre-Reform England. In the United States, by using Irving’s and others’ journals, by using other traveler’s tales and letters, and by using newspapers of the areas Irving traveled through, it furnishes the reader with a picture of the United States as it was in 1832. The year is significant, for it was an election year, it was a year when the concept of nullification was raised, it was one of the cholera years, and it was a year when many Easterners were moving West, and when Indians were being relocated across the Mississippi. Irving chronicles all these events.
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