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The Village Blacksmith: The Reality of a Poem

J. P. Davis & Speer illustration, ca. 1880

J. P. Davis & Speer illustration, ca. 1880 / Maine Historical Society

A resource developed through the Longfellow and the Forging of American Identity program

Author: Dennis D. Edmondson, History teacher,
Mt. Ararat High School, Topsham, Maine
Suggested Grade Level: 8 or 11
Subject Areas: U.S. History

Time Required: 1-2 class periods

Learning Objectives: Students will explore the role of the blacksmith as a symbol of economic change during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

"The Village Blacksmith" was a much celebrated poem. Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the poem appeared to celebrate the work ethic and mannerisms of a working man, the icon of every rural community, the Blacksmith. However, what was the poem really saying?

Historical Source Items to Accompany This Project