To be an American in the early 1800s, meant that you were proud to be American. The wealthier you were, the more people knew who you were. Being American meant having pride in one's country because they thought they were independent and they had a lot of self pride. America was an independent country or a free country. Since they had just started a fresh and new country, they were making their own types of art, music, and other things. They were united as a culture in art, politics, literature, and music.
There were four types of dancing/music in the early 1800s. The first type of dancing/music was classical music. In this dance, you would get in groups of four couples and dance elegantly coordinated. They would dance in ballrooms and sometimes, females would lift up their long petticoats to show off their footwork. The next type of dancing / music was square dancing. This was a less formal version of the popular cotillion. In this dance as the fiddles were being played a person, called a"caller", would tell the dancers which steps to perform. Another type of dancing/ music was minstrel songs. Ministerial songs were considered to be spiritual. It honored black music by mimicking it. They entertained themselves and sometimes slave owners. People wore shabby clothes for dancing to this music. "Weel about and turn about and do jis so elbert time I weel about I jump Jim Crow" (pg.249 textbook)
There were a few types of art in the early 1800s. The first type of art was Folk Art. In Folk Art, there were men carved weather vanes and hunting decoys. Women sewed spare bits of cloth into quilts. Another type of art was portraits. This type of art focused on emotions and personalities of subjects. A portrait was made of George Washington and was put on the dollar bill. That painting was adapted by Gilbert Stuart. Hudson River School was a type of art that focused more on nature rather than people. They chose to paint broad, scenic vistas.( Landscapes etc. ) John James Audubon was more of a naturalist. He mostly painted portraits of birds. He would study species of birds he observed in the fields and woods. When his four volume book ,The Birds of America, was published in England, he became America's first internationally famous artist. Lastly, George Catlin liked to draw the native people. He liked using rich colors to paint them as well as paint their villages, their hunts, and even their rituals. "The Birds of America made him (Audubon) the first internationally famous artist." (pg.248 textbook)
Rip Van Winkle was a piece of literature written by Washington Irving. He was on of the first people to have literary fame. He liked to write colorful tales. Another piece of literature was, 'The Pioneer', written by James Fenimore Cooper. This was about the adventures of settlers in the wilderness. His descriptions of frontier life and American Indians attracted people's interest. Davy Crockett wrote an autobiography about his life. He spun tall tales about his life as a soldier, hunter, scout, and explorer. He could read but had difficulty, he has no education, has no property, and has no fixed residence. He spends his time in the woods. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a piece of literature called Hiawatha. He based his stories on American Indians. He had other poems like " Paul Revere's ride." "Sail on, O Ship of State! Sail on, O Union, strong, and great! Humanity with all its fears, With all hopes of future years, is hanging breathless on my fate!" (pg. 250 textbook)
In the early 1800s, They had something called the American System. The American System was an economic plan which was supported by Clay. This plan called for taxes on imported goods to protect the industry. It had a new national bank to standardize currency and provide credit. It also federally funded transportation projects. An example of how decisions by the supreme court strengthened federal power is that they encouraged the growth of capitalism. Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of farms and buisnesses. They also strengthened the role of the supreme court itself as well as the federal government's power over the states. "Let us act under a settled conviction, and an habitual feeling, that these 24 states are one country" (pg.246 textbook )
Federalists would probably not agree with calling this The Era of Good Feelings. Federalists and Republicans were two separate parties. Some people lived in the East coast cities on the border called the American Frontier. "As a party, federalists had collapsed as a national political force, leaving the Democratic Republicans dominant, even though the practice was inactive at the national level and in most states."(wikipedia.org)
In conclusion, if you were an American in the early 1800s, you helped to start a few new things like new types of dancing, art, literature and new politics. You were proud to be American. You were independent. You lived in a free country. And from then to now, Americans have gotten very far. Although the art, music, literature, and politics may not be the same now, they helped shape what we have today, a better country.
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Diane, and Bert Bower. History Alive!: The United States through Industrialism. Palo Alto, CA: Teachers' Curriculum Institute, 2011. Print.
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George, Catlin. "Flickr, a Yahoo Company." Flickr. Yahoo!, 11 Feb. 2017. Web. 13 Feb. 2017.