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