The Era of Good Feelings The 1800s were a time when America developed many new forms of Politics, Art, Music, and Literature. America became more cultural because of many people that lived at the time. Being an American in the 1800s meant that you had a sense of individualism because you chose to be a free American rather than a British subject. It also meant you were promoting national unity because America was based not based upon political affiliation.

In the 1800s, Americans first started developing their own styles of art. Ordinary people began producing many kinds of folk art such as weather vanes, hunting decoys, and quilts. Professional artists often made a living by doing portraits. Thomas Cole was an artist from England that arrived in America in 1818. A few artists followed his example and they started the Hudson River School of painting. These painters focused more on nature instead of people such as scenic vistas. “To walk with nature as a poet is the necessary condition of a perfect artist.”(Thomas Cole).

Politics in the 1800s in America were mainly about building the national economy. One of the biggest supporters of building the national economy was Henry Clay. He supported an economic plan called the American System which was a plan that called for taxes on imported goods to protect industry and federal spending on transportation projects like roads and canals. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts opposed the war of 1812 but strongly supported Clay’s American System. “Let us act under a settled conviction and an habitual feeling, that these twenty-four states are on country.” (Daniel Webster).

Before the 1800s, music was mostly only heard in church. The only songs that were performed outside of church were but they were old songs with new lyrics. In the North, orchestras played classical music from Europe and they provide music for cotillions. In the South, slaves combined the hymns of white churchgoers and African music styles to create spirituals. They also entertained themselves with folk songs. A demand for popular songs grew so composers began to write patriotic anthems. Another type of music created was minstrel songs. These songs were written by white composers to mimick African American songs. In other words, these songs were created for the purpose of racism.

By the 1800s, America was finding its cultural voice. Washington Irving was one of the first writers to achieve literary fame. He wrote the colorful tales of “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. One of the first novelists was James Fenimore Cooper. He wrote about adventures of settlers in the wilderness in The Pioneers and The Last of the Mohicans. Davy Crockett was a real-life frontiersman who wrote about his life as a hunter, scout, soldier, and explorer. He wrote an autobiography that helped give popular new literature a new American accent. “Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune, but great minds rise above them.” (Washington Irving).

I think African Americans would not call this an era of good feelings because most of them were slaves. They could not own anything and they were viewed as property. The ones that were free, did not have all of the rights that white people had. Free blacks in the South were considered dangerous, could not travel, and were not allowed certain jobs. Free blacks in the North could not vote, had trouble finding jobs, and they were denied entry into public schools.

In conclusion, the 1800s were a time when America became more cultural and developed its own aspects. In politics, the American System was developed. In art, ordinary people began making art to express who they were and important stories in their lives. In literature, writers began writing about American stories and about early Indian Life. In music, slaves were able to express themselves by combining different genres of music to make songs. This shows how America developed as a new country with new traditions.

Work Cited

Hart, Diane, and Bert Bower. History Alive!: The United States Through Industrialism. Palo Alto, CA: Teachers' Curriculum Institute, 2011. print


Created with images by Glyn Lowe Photoworks. - "The White House Northside" • heidielliott - "Circuits Quilt Back After Quilting" • Joaquín Martínez Rosado - "U.S. Territorial Acquisitions" • armadano - "Rehearsing" • Pexels - "batch bookcase books"

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