The Era of Good Feelings

My name is Catherine de Tocqueville, and I am here tell the adventurous life of the 1800s. Life was adventurous, tough, comedic, and so were the people around you. I was going through my packing up for college, I am going to Washington University, in high school I was always one to study, but I never had any fun, I thought I knew what I wanted to do. I'm going through my box of books, when one book stood out with meaning and purpose, I've never seen it before. Wait, maybe I should tell you why I’m in my attic, so one of my finals in English is having me write about an experience that changed my life. So I decided to go in my attic to see if any of my life's greatest moments we hidden in solitude. I walked over to the book, picked it up and blew the dust off, then opened the book, a note fell to the floor it was fragile and old. It said,

“Dear whomever may be reading this, you must be confused. My name is Alexis de Tocqueville. I am a french writer from the 1800s, The Era of Good Feelings. I write about U.S. politics, and culture. I traveled to the united in 1831-1832, once arrived back into France I’ve noticed that one of my chapters was missing! Whomever is reading this I need you to go back and find this chapter. I have added some special magic to to this letter I need you to say, “Whica Zauka Zummie!” “Whica Zauka Zummie” I mumbled, blue smoke started to swirl around me, but I ignored it and kept reading. “This will transport you back to 1831, look for a man named George Catlin he will help you find the chapter. Thank you so much for helping find my paragraph, never forget to write down everything you hear. A good way to stick into the rough crowd of Early America is to work hard, being very patriotic, and having strength both internal and external. The United States was a tough frontier, here you have to have individuality, without it you will not survive. Thank you again, Alexis de Tocqueville’”

I finished reading the note, as I look around to see what my surrounding where, there was a big bed with a blue and red quilt on top, a big area rug on the floor, and deep red drapes overlapping the windows. I walked out of the room and saw someone in the other room painting a village outside of the home. “Hello sir, I was wondering if you can tell me where I am?” I questioned. He was startled but answered, “Yes...my name is George Catlin how may I help you?”

“...how may I help you?” he asked politely again. “Ah yes I was sent here by Alexis de Tocqueville, he told me to find his missing chapter out of his book, he lost it.” I replied sort of laughing at the last part.

“Oh course but will you help me, I’m in charge of of an art show but the other coordinators forgot the labels to all the paintings, yet I do have the details on their work maybe we can label them ourselves with the information we already have.”

“Yes, yes totally” I started writing down whatever Mr. Catlin said.

“Folk art, let’s see what we have here. Okay so according to the paper folk art is simple, direct, and vibrant. The artist we are looking for is Henry Church and his Still Life Collection.”

“Oh yes here we go a bright quilt, it has squares and triangles, it’s hand stitched how beautiful.” I exclaimed.

“Very good Catherine, now next is an artist from the Hudson River School, his name is Thomas Cole, his works are mostly grand, immense landscapes, with loads of detail, and hard work. One of his most famous works is called The Ox-Bow it is a view from Northampton, Massachusetts, after a thunderstorm.”

“Oh here it is, I have a ginormous painting with a winding river, luscious trees, and big, fluffy, gloomy clouds.”

“Lastly we have, oh me! George Catlin. I draw Native Americans and their villages, as you see. Because tis hard to live in a world where all look upon you as below them. I live and paint the natives because you can’t make something accurate if you were not there.” Outside there is Natives with weapons, they smiled reassuring my safety.

George said continuing, “Alexis told me if there was a Catherine who ever asked me about his book to send her to Thomas Moore he is a musical genius. Here, this a magical paintbrush, or so that’s what Alexis has claimed. Nice to see you mame.”

The blue smoke came back and I woke back up when a man was standing over me. “Excuse me, may I ask why you are in my house?”

“Yes um, Alexis de Tocqueville and George Catlin told me you could inform me about music from this time, I mean now.” I stated.

“Yes start writing this down. By the way my name is Thomas Moore I am a musical composer myself. Should I start with Classical music? Very well, this type of music influenced grand balls and cotillions, four groups of couples would dance together, they loved eachother so much. I believe that a loving heart is the truest wisdom. It is so beautiful and breathtaking.” He exclaimed while I was scribbling down notes about balls, but more so daydreaming about the gorgeous gowns that the girls would have worn to them.

“Patriotic anthems are about things people witnessed or went through themselves first hand. Like the star spangled banner, that one makes me cry every time.” He said. I am imagining myself before football and basketball games, when young teens are still singing the star spangled banner.

I thanked him for his telling me about music, and Mr. Moore gave me a flute, like the brush, I traveled through time. I must be getting better at time travel because I was standing in front of a desk, but someone was working in it. I looked around and started to spot his award and the name tag in his desk, I was in Charles Dickens house. You know the guy who wrote A Christmas Carol, where Scrooge gets visited by the ghosts.

“Hello Mr. Dickens” I shouted excitedly. I am going to play it off like I am here to help him help him write the story, when really I’m trying to find one of my own.

“Yes you must be my new intern. I am going to give you a list of names go out and find these people for I need to talk to them.” demanded Charles. “Washington Irving, he writes very colorful, and realistic tales. James Fenimore Cooper, all he writes about is adventures and bragging about all his accomplishments, I think that he is lying about most of them though. Lastly, Davy Crockett, and man does he make you laugh.”

I nodded quickly and walked out the door. When I went outside once again the smoke came back and went to well, they best way a I could describe it is a big white room made with marble and a bunch of tables and chairs. My thoughts were interrupted when Henry Clay bursted through the door.

“Little girl’s what’s your name?” he frantically questioned. I quickly answered with Catherine.

“I’m having a debate on my new idea of America System. Here please can you write down what I say?” He asked throwing pieces of paper out of his bag so I could write it down. “There are three main components to the system, federal transportation projects, taxes on all imported goods, and finally a national bank to standardize currency. This will strengthen the power government over the supreme courts and federal government all over the states, and will encourage growth in capitalism.”

During the 1800s white men wanted to be equal with their acquaintances , but they believe that women, slaves, and natives were below them. I wanted to see what they thought about The Era of Good Feelings. I walked outside the courtroom to see a colored man strolling down the streets. I asked him exactly that, “Excuse me sir, what do you think about this time period?”

“Oh, um. Well, I am a free slave but before I could buy my freedom I was brutally beaten until my back was bleeding and blistered. I ran to my master at the sound of a bell, and if I didn’t come fast enough I would get beaten again. I sleep in a barn with no blankets, I woke up at 5 in the morning and got back home at 2 in the morning.” he stated looking down.

“I am so sorry to hear you had to go through that but thank you for your view on the subject” I said kindly and walked away.

“Excuse me Miss,” the man yelled at me, I turned around hopping he would hurry because I really do have to find this missing chapter. “I never got to introduce myself my name is Alexis de Tocqueville, I am a writer but I’ve lost a chapter in my book please if you find it lay this blue dust on it and it will send the chapter to me. May I trust you with this?” he asked I stood amazed that I have just met my great-great-grandfather I snapped back to ‘reality’ and said, “Oh yes, I’ll start looking right now.” With that I gave him a quick hug and ran off to look for his missing chapter. But, before I could get too far when the smoke came back but I couldn’t do anything about it. I was back in my attic, but this a new note was beside me and it read,

“Dear Catherine,

It was so lovely meeting you, I know you probably are upset that you couldn’t find my chapter, but you’ve helped me more than enough. Remember when I told you to write everything down? Well take all your notes and just compile them into a chapter please. That would so wonderful of you, thanks again, and don’t forget the blue dust!”

With that, I ran down stairs and started typing my final, and it said, “My name is Catherine de Tocqueville, and I am here tell the adventurous life of the 1800s. Life was adventurous, tough, comedic, and so were the people around you.”

"List of American Artists before 1900." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 15 Feb. 2017. Web. 21 Feb. 2017. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_American_artists_before_1900>.

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

"18th & 19th C. American Folk Art - Halsey Munson Americana." 18th & 19th C. American Folk Art - Halsey Munson Americana. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.

"Thomas Cole." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.

"Music from 1800-1860." Music from 1800-1860. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.

"James Fenimore Cooper Quotes (Author of The Last of the Mohicans)." James Fenimore Cooper Quotes (Author of The Last of the Mohicans). N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.

"George Catlin." Biography.com. A&E Networks Television, 02 Apr. 2014. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.

"Dancing at the Netherfield Ball: Pride and Prejudice." Jane Austen's World. N.p., 01 July 2010. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.

Eschner, Kat. "Why Do People Tell Ghost Stories on Christmas?" Smithsonian.com. Smithsonian Institution, 23 Dec. 2016. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.