Race and the Yankee: Woodworth's The Forest Rose


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Samuel Woodworth's musical play, The Forest Rose (1825), was one of the most successful American dramas on stage before Uncle Tom's Cabin, and, according to Richard Moody, the country's first "hit."1 For at least forty years, The Forest Rose held the boards and provided a number of actors with a star vehicle for its Yankee part, Jonathan Ploughboy. So popular did it prove, in fact, that a run of over 100 performances in London was recorded with the famed American Yankee actor, Joshua Silsbee.2 Based on a type exploited successfully by Royall Tyler in The Contrast (1787) and used in other works, Jonathan in Woodworth's play would seem to be constructed of the same elements that make Tyler's Jonathan a loveable character.: naivete, country dialect, ineptitude, and a good heart. The stage success of The Forest Rose helped revitalize the male Yankee . type, and the play' s continued appearance in theaters coincided with the reign of Yankee characters in England and the United States.3

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