From reading William Shakespeare and the American People, we can see that Shakespeare’s work was very important to the American people in the 19th century. From early times, everyone collected Shakespeare’s works and all the people, young and old, rich and poor, elitist and bumpkin enjoyed going to see his works performed.
“James Fenimore Cooper had this familiarity in mind when he called Shakespeare the “great author of America” and insisted that Americans had “just as good a right” as Englishmen to claim Shakespeare as their countryman.”
“If Shakespeare had been a part of mainstream culture in the nineteenth century, in the twentieth he had become a part of the ‘polite’ culture--an essential ingredient in a complex we call, significantly, ‘legitimate’ theater.”
Even today we see Shakespeare’s works performed, but most of the new culture of America has waned from this, the pop culture ever evolving and mutating to newer works and different settings. But for Shakespeare, the 19th century in America was a prosperous and fantastic era.