Politics and Culture by Alexis de Tocqueville

Life in the 1800's

The 1800's is a time for great changes in the culture and the people. Being an American in the 1800's meant you would be subject to all the changes happening in America. After the Louisiana purchase became American soil, many Americans began moving into that land and past it. Most of the population is very patriotic and supports were the country is heading. Being an American means that you are not only patriotic but also having a sense of individualism and self-reliance. Most Americans wanted to be independent and not have to rely on the government. People moved out west striving the for act of individualism and to be their own people.

Settlers traveled west in covered wagons (above) and traveled in large groups for protection from the dangers the south.

Art of Good Feelings

Art is highly regarded during the era of good feelings and is something that comes in every shape, size, and form. Art is most commonly found in the form of folk art, portraits, Hudson River School, John James Auduborn, and George Catlin. Theses types of art are all unique and different in so many ways and that is what makes them so popular. Folk art was the most common art because almost anyone could create it and is made from common materials. Portraits were most popular with the upper class and the wealthy for they thought it showed wealth and social rank. Hudson river school art was the depiction of wide scenic vistas and mainly focused on nature in their painting and not people. John James Auduborn like the Hudson river school focused on nature but his art was made up of more finely detailed portraits of mainly birds. George Catlin on the other hand was probably the most diverse and his paintings were of the diminishing native american culture. He painted their hunting parties,rituals,dances and just about everything about them. His art was popular because of how different and new it was.

an example of hudson river school above

The Sound of the 1800's

During the 1800's people fancy art but also music. Music was always accompanied by fun and a good time which made it popular. Music was most commonly found during social events like parties and gatherings. Some of the different forms of art are classical music played by orchestras, spirituals or folk songs performed by slaves, and minstrel songs which were performed by whites but mimicked black singing styles. Classical music was performed by orchestras and were used for dancing in cotillion. Spirituals were folk songs of African American origin and were played during gatherings on the weekends for entertainment. Minstrel songs were popular among the white communities and was essentially just a copy of Spiritual songs but performed by whites. All music was popular and everyone had a different view on the forms of music. The North liked Classical music, the South liked Minstrels Songs, and slaves in the North and South likes Spiritual songs.

One of the more popular instruments during this time was the violin and the fiddle as shown above.

The Story of the 1800's

Literature was gradually becoming more popular in the late 1700's and in the 1800's boomed. Literature starts presenting itself in more forms and new authors are putting their 2 cents in the writing world. Some of those authors are people like Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, Davy Crockett, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Washington Irving was a storyteller and his stories drew on folk lore which was new and lead to his popularity. One of his most notable works was the story of Rip Van Winkle. James Fenimore Cooper focused more on the non-fictional aspects of being a pioneer in the 1800's. His work was reflected in their titles like one of his most popular works called The Pioneer. Davy Crockett was someone everyone aspired to be. He was a rough and rugged pioneer and was idolized by the people. Not surprisingly when he wrote his autobiography it was very popular. Some of the facts in his autobiography were fiction but made his story more interesting and appealing to the people.Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was not a storyteller or a pioneer. His work touched on patriotic themes and was very popular because many of the americans are very patriotic and support his work. Literature was very diverse and you couldn't find any two pieces that were the same.

People loved to read for it showed intellect and social status

The Two Faces of the 1800's

Politics was a place where the nations most important decisions and arguments were made. The main two faces of politics at the beginning of the 1800's were the Federalists and those who opposed them the Anti-Federalists. This was known as the first party system. The Anti-Federalists later became known as Republicans and was mainly headed by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. The Federalists were lead by Alexander Hamilton at that time secretary of the treasury. Federalists believed the future of America lied in business' and finance where Republicans believed America's future was in farming and trade. This disagreemant lead to many fights and eventually the end of the first party system during the Era of Good Feelings. The Feralists shrank to a few isolated groups and the Republicans weren't as united and strong. Through the ashes rose the second party system. The Republicans split into two groups, the Jacksonian faction and the Henry Clay faction which now make up the second party system.

The main people responsible for the political groups during the 1800's.

The Era of Bad Feelings?

Not all people who lived during the Era of Good Feelings would call it that. In fact some would argue that it is the complete opposite. One of the main groups were people living in the south for they were against the U.S.A's future heading in the direction of capitalism and finance. During the Era of Good Feelings many great thins happened but some of those changes weren't exactly valued as good. One of those changes was how the Court claimed that only Congress had the power to regulate interstate commerce. That change not only put some businesses at a disadvantage but eliminate the checks and balances system in interstate commerce. Not everyone supports the direction America is heading in and most will argue over it but this was a Era of Good Feelings.


This definitely was a Era of Good Feelings because of how much change happened and our countries movement in the right direction. The country changed for the better but so did the people. Intellect and knowledge was more popular because of the literature and art in the 1800's. Individualism was more popular because of the new land in the north west and people started becoming pioneers. One of the most important thing about being an American was your national pride. Being an American in the 1800's is being strong, proud, and smart.

An American flag for a symbol of national pride


"History.com." History.com .A&E Television Networks,n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.

"Boundless - Textbooks." Boundless - Textbooks Innovation. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.


Created with images by MDGovpics - "Chief Judge Robert Bell's Portrait Unveiling at the Court of Appeals" • skeeze - "covered wagons transportation historical" • Rennett Stowe - "Chimborazo" • Baohm - "violin music fiddle" • DariuszSankowski - "knowledge book library" • cliff1066™ - "Alexander Hamilton" • cliff1066™ - "Thomas Jefferson (The Edgehill Portrait), Third President (1801-1809)" • cliff1066™ - "James Madison" • mrsdkrebs - "American Flag"

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