Being an American in the early 1800s meant that you were free and could live life how you wanted. There wasn't anyone who told you who or what you had to be. There were all kinds of revolutions in art, music, literature and politics. Everyone was unified and there was no fighting, but this unity didn't come immediately in the 1800s. The War of 1812 was the prelude to this revolution, the aftermath was the Era of Good Feelings. For white men being American was prideful and revolutionary.
"The best form of government is that which is most likely to prevent the greatest sum of evil."-James Monroe
The Era of Good Feelings James Monroe was the president of the U.S. James Monroe was a good president and some changes were made during his presidency. The American System which was mainly supported by Henry Clay was implemented because of how it would benefit the economy. Clay supported it because in the system the government played a role in the economy. The American System had taxes implemented on all imported goods, it also funded transportation projects. Lastly, it created a new national bank. This was the main highlight of politics during the Era of Good Feelings.
"The sky is the soul of all scenery. It makes the earth lovely at sunrise and splendid at sunset. In the one it breathes over the earth a crystal-like ether, in the other a liquid gold."-Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School of Painting.
Art was very revolutionary and there were new types of art created. Folk art was simple and colorful and it was something that normal ordinary people could do. Then you had portraits which showed emotion and those were normally done my professional artists. Then came the Hudson River School of Painting which were all the painter who focused on the beautiful and scenic landscape instead of people. Two revolutionary artistes are John James Audubon who painted very detailed paintings and george Catlin who just painted portraits of indians and images of indian rituals and villages. These types of art and artists made art a lot better and amazing.
John James Audubon Painting
"My country, ’tis of Thee, Sweet Land of Liberty Of thee I sing; Land where my fathers died, Land of the pilgrims’ pride, From every mountain side, Let Freedom ring." Lyrics from Samuel Francis Smith's song America.
The four main types of music were classical, square dance, spiritual and patriotic music. Classical music wasn't new but it grew in popularity and many people danced to it and women would lift their petticoats up to show their footwork. Square dances were basically where the singer told the people what to do. Spiritual music and patriotic music were the new types of music that really showed how music played into society. Spirituals were created by slaves and combined church type music with traditional african american music to create folk songs. They entertained themselves and slave owners with this music. Patriotic music was very popular during this time period and it was very spirited and was about their home country. These types of music were very popular during the Era of Good Feelings and really encapsulated what life was like.
"I've had it with you and your emotional constipation!"-Washington Irving
American Literature really flourished during the Era of Good Feelings. Books like Rip Van Winkle, The Last of the Mohicans and The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow where all very popular and are very important to American literature. Davy Crockett's work were also very popular because they were about his true life stories with humor added in. Another great author is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who wrote patriotic themed poetry, one of his well known works is the Song of Hiawatha. Literature was a big part of the Era of Good Feelings because it really encapsulated what life was like, it was animated and unrealistic and most importantly, revolutionary.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Although the Era of Good Feelings was a good time period in many eyes, for slaves, women and Native Americans it was not great. While most white men were able to enjoy and live a happy life it was different for these people. First off, women were treated as lesser than men and didn't have many rights. For example they were unable to take part in politics and vote. Slave were on a whole different level from women, they had no rights at all and had to work and live in horrible conditions. They were treated horribly by their owners and had no freedom. They did however have the ability to vote, but they counted as only 3/5 of a person.
The Era of Good Feelings was truly revolutionary and great because of the additions in art, music, literature and politics. First off, with the addition of the American System the US became more unified and formed a stronger economy. In literature many great books displayed an unrealistic, animated world. With creations from Davy Crockett and Washington Irving literature really flourished. Art was equally amazing with folk art and detailed paintings of beautiful landscapes from the Hudson River School of Art. Lastly, music, especially patriotic music, really encapsulated what is was like to be an American in the early 1800s. Because of the revolutions in these areas it made America marvelous and you were really able to call it the Era of Good Feelings.
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