Expansion, Political Reform, and Turmoil
As the new nation settled its governance, it continued to expand geographically. Some coined the early 1800s as the “Era of Good Feelings,” due to an apparent lack of political strife. The U.S. philosophy as a nation coalesced around the Monroe Doctrine. The boundaries of the nation increased when Spain ceded Florida to the U.S. and Texas gained independence from Mexico. By 1859, the U.S. stretched all the way to the Pacific Ocean with the inclusion of the Oregon Territory.
The Industrial Revolution improved the U.S. economy with inventions such as the cotton gin, sewing machines, steel plows, steamboats, and the telegraph that caused advancements in the textile industry, agriculture, transportation, and communication.
But it was not an Era of Good Feelings for everyone. Simmering under the surface were the negative outcomes of the need for cheap labor and land to build the growing nation: a resurgence and reliance upon black slave labor and continued extirpation and massacre of Native American peoples.
- First Industrial Revolution - The First Industrial Revolution began in England in the late 18th century, following in the wake of James Watt and his steam engine.... Continue Reading
- Steamboat Era - The stage for steam transportation was set in the 1760s by James Watt, a Scottish inventor, who developed a successful steam engine for removing water from mines.... Continue Reading
- Henry Clay - Henry Clay was born into a middle-class family in Hanover County, Virginia, on April 12, 1777, the seventh of nine children.... Continue Reading and the Missouri Compromise - In 1812, the "Lower Louisiana" was admitted to the Union as a state, "Upper Louisiana" was organized into the Missouri Territory.... Continue Reading
- Monroe Doctrine - The Monroe Doctrine was first set out in a speech by President James Monroe on December 2, 1823.... Continue Reading
- Jackson - Andrew Jackson was born in rural South Carolina on March 15, 1767, the son of impoverished Presbyterian Scotch-Irish immigrants.... Continue Reading and the Revolution of 1828 - The Election of 1828 was a transforming event from several perspectives.... Continue Reading
- Nat Turner Rebellion - Nat Turner was a slave who led a failed 1831 slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia. That attempt became a reference to the justification for the Civil War.... Continue Reading
- Panic of 1837 - The early 1830s was a time of expansion and prosperity.... Continue Reading
- Manifest Destiny - Manifest Destiny was a phrase which invoked the idea of divine sanction for the territorial expansion of the United States.... Continue Reading
- The Alamo - Mission San Antonio de Valero was established in its present location by members of the Franciscan Order in 1724.... Continue Reading
- Frederick Douglass - The abolitionist movement, which struggled to snuff out slavery in the United States in the years prior to the Civil War, boasted Frederick Douglass as one of its star proponents.... Continue Reading
- California Gold Rush - On January 24, 1848, James Marshall, a mechanic working for mill owner John Sutter, discovered gold on the south fork of the American River in the Coloma Valley of California, northeast of Sacramento... Continue Reading
- Compromise of 1850 - When Zachary Taylor assumed office in early 1849, the question of the extension of slavery into former Mexican lands was becoming critical.... Continue Reading
- Dred Scott - The background of the Dred Scott decision, one of the Supreme Court’s most controversial pronouncements, is complex.... Continue Reading
- Lincoln-Douglas Debates - The campaign for the Illinois Senatorial seat in 1858 pitted the two-term incumbent, Stephen A. Douglas, against a lesser-known challenger, Abraham Lincoln.... Continue Reading
- Seward`s Folly, the Purchase of Alaska - William H. Seward, secretary of state under both Lincoln and Johnson, was an ardent expansionist.... Continue Reading
- Emerson - Iconoclast, elitist, revolutionary, scholar, prophet — Emerson was all of these, and more. Among his journals, essays, and poems, Emerson displays his cultured eclecticism on the written page.... Continue Reading
- Whitman - He has been called "The most American of poets." He has been dubbed "The good gray poet." He has also been called, "America's first gay man."... Continue Reading
- Nathaniel Hawthorne - Along with the works of Washington Irving and Edgar Allen Poe, Hawthorne’s collections of short stories, Twice Told Tales (1837), Mosses from an Old Manse (1846), and The Snow-Image and Other Twice To... Continue Reading
- Harriet Beecher Stowe - Harriet Beecher Stowe was an American author. She was best known for Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which helped galvanize the abolitionist cause and contributed to the outbreak of the Civil War. She also wrote p... Continue Reading