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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). rn VOLUME XVII. Later National Literature, Part II.

XVII. Later Philosophy

§ 3. Other Influences

With the organization of our graduate schools on German models, and with a large number of our teachers taking their doctors’ degrees in Germany, Germanic terms and mannerisms gained an apparent ascendancy in our philosophic teachings and writings; but in its substance, philosophy in America has followed the modes prevailing in Great Britain. The first serious attempt to introduce German philosophy into this country came with Coleridge’s Aids to Reflection (1829), and the apologetic tone of President Marsh’s introductory essay showed how powerfully the philosophy of Locke and Reid had become entrenched as a part of the Christian thought of America. Some acquaintance with German philosophy was shown by New England radicals like Theodore Parker, but in the main their interest in things Germanic was restricted to the realm of belles-lettres, biblical criticism, and philology. Though some stray bits of Schelling’s romantic nature-philosophy became merged in American transcendentalism, the latter was really a form of Neoplatonism directly descended from the Cambridge platonism of More and Cudworth. Hickok’s Rational Psychology (1848) is our only philosophic work of the first twothirds of the nineteenth century to show any direct and serious assimilation of Kant’s thought. Hickok, however, professes to reject the whole transcendental philosophy, and, in the main, the Kantian elements in his system are no larger than in the writings of British thinkers like Hamilton and Whewell. The Hegelian influence, which made itself strongly felt in the work of William T. Harris, was even more potent in Great Britain.