We have an image of the 19th Century America as one of unrelieved physical labor, but was it? There were melodramas, classical music concerts and opera. Shakespeare played even in small towns in the American West. In 1847 the "Shakespeare Riots" occurred when fans of different Shakespeare companies clashed violently on the city streets and people were killed.
One last thought: people wonder how a thug like Hitler managed to come to power in the most educated country in the world. The standard reasons offered are no doubt correct but I'll add a minor reason to the list: adventure media. For over a century the public was exposed to an unprecedented number of romantic plays and hero stories and they unwittingly did propaganda for the idea that any individual, if sufficiently bold, could live a life of adventure, excitement and pageantry. When millions of people were converted to this belief it was only a matter of time before somebody found a way to base a political system on it.