The Era of Good Feelings By Evan Jacobs

In the early 1800's life was rough in America. Patriotism and pride in our country was very high. Overall, people felt very good about themselves and their country. Art was thriving along with politics, music, and literature. Travel was very slow and very hard. There were few roads for horses and carriages to travel west on. The divide between the North and South was growing bigger every day. People were slow to move west at first and mostly lived on the East Coast.


Seen above are the five forms of art that were popular in the early 1800s. They are (in order from right to left, top to bottom) Folk Art, Native Americans/George Catlin, Portraits, John James Audubon, and Nature/ Hudson River School.

Art was one of the many things that flourished during the 1800's. There were five forms of art that were very popular during this time period but three of them thrived more than others. Those three were Folk Art, Portraits, and Nature/Hudson River School. As Albert Bierstadt said, "Truly all is remarkable and a wellspring of amazement and wonder. Man is so fortunate to dwell in this American Garden of Eden."

Folk Art

There were many different interpretations of folk art but in its most basic form, it was ordinary people taking ordinary things and turning them into art. One of the best examples is quilts. Quilts were made by ordinary people out of strips of cloth found anywhere. The patterns ranged from very simple designs to very, very complicated patterns and designs.


Portraits were one of the other forms of popular art in they early 1800's. Portraits are fairly self-explanatory. They are paintings or drawings of people. The dollar bill contains a picture of George Washington; this picture is considered a portrait.

This is an early portrait of Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury.

Hudson River School

This is one of the most famous types of art in the early 1800's. This type of art focuses on the beauty of America. The paintings are all of natural scenes.

This is a painting of the Sierras in California in the early 1800's. It is painted by Albert Bierstadt.


This is a picture of James Monroe, the 5th US president. He created the Monroe Doctrine and was President during the Era of Good Feelings.

"The American continents... are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers." James Monroe

The American System

The American System was a system of politics proposed by Henry Clay. This political system had three parts. Part one was taxes on imported goods. These taxes would allow the government to have money for part two. Part two of this system was government spending on roads and canals, which would make travel and trade easier. The third part of this plan was to re-institute a national bank and standardized currency. This system is still in place in the United States of America today. It was a way to try to unite the country and make trade easier.

Monroe Doctrine

The Monroe Doctrine was a document issued by President James Monroe. In laymen's terms it said; "Don't mess with America or anyone around us". In more depth it said that the European powers shall not consider North America for future colonization.


In the early 1830's literature was very important. Even though not all people could read, there were a lot of authors. Some of the more noteable ones were Washington Irvine, James Fenimore Cooper, Davy Crockett, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. "Great minds have purpose, others have wishes." This is a quote from Washington Irving that shows what he thought of society in the early 1800's.

This is a painting of Davy Crockett

Davy Crockett

Davy Crockett wrote many things. One of his works was The Crockett Almanac. He was an author who spun tall tales about life on the frontier. His tales were still popular in the 1950's when Disney made a TV show based on his tales. They even still have a resort named after him in France.

This is the TV show "Davy Crockett" that Disney produced.

James Fenimore Cooper

Mr. Cooper had a number of works including, The Pioneers, The Last of the Mohicans, and The Red Rover. As with Crockett, Fenimore also has stayed popular throughout the years. The Last of the Mohicans was made into a hugely successful movie in 1992.

This is a scene from the Last of the Mohicans.

Washington Irving

Washington Irving was another hugely popular author in the 1830's and Era of Good Feelings. He wrote the Legends of Sleepy Hollows and Rip Van Winkle. The Legends of Sleepy Hollow, which was originally published in 1819, has been made into many movies, including the most recent one in 1999.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote tales based on American Indians. One of his most famous works is Paul Revere's Ride. This tells the tale of a man who rode on a horse to warn the settlers that the British were coming. This is a story that most people know and has remained very famous through the years.

This is a short educational video about the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere

MUsic in the 1800's

Music also thrived during the 1800's. People used it as a form of entertainment when times were rough. There were ballroom dances on some nights; slaves held their own dances as well using whatever they could to make noise. As with art, there were four main types of music; Classical, Spiritual, Patriotic Anthems, and Minstrel Songs. "What so proudly we hail at the twilight's last gleaming?" This is a quote from The Star Spangled Banner/ Francis Scott Key. It describes the attack on Fort McHenry and shows that people were passionate for their country and hailed it.


Classical music was often danced to and was very popular with whites. It was played at ballroom dances and very formal dances were danced to it.

This is a ballroom dance in the 1800's.


Spiritual songs were sung by slaves as a religious folk songs from their African roots. They were sometimes sang to entertain slave owners and to entertain themselves. The slaves often played banjos, which were an African American invention, drum, and violin.

The Banjo is still a popular instrument and has been used in multiple movies, including the The Muppets.

Minstrel Songs

This type of music honored blacks by mimicking their music. Some performers went as far as wearing raggedy cloths and painting their faces.

Patriotic Anthems

Patriotic Anthems were sang as a way to show pride for the Country. Most of these songs were old tunes with new words. For example, the Star Spangled Banner was set to the tune of an old English song.

This is a video of the United States Army Field Band performing Battle Hymn of the Republic.

NOt the Era of Good feeling??

This is a very famous image is a slave that was whipped very badly for doing something wrong.

Some people, such as slaves, might not think it was the Era of Good Feelings. They were worked very hard by their owners and were not treated well. They did not get much free time and were beat for anything they did wrong. As Fredrick Douglas said, "I did not know I was a slave until I found out I could not do the things I wanted to." This quote proves that slaves could not do much of anything unless they were ordered to. Most slaves could not even leave the property they worked on or go into their master's house. Even if they did get to leave there was lots of racism and discrimination against them. For slaves, this was not the Era of Good Feelings.


I think that the Era of Good Feelings may not have been as great as some people may make it seem. This would be because of the slaves. I think that the slaves are often overlooked and people ignore them during this time period. Many slaves were beat as seen in the picture above. This proves that life in the 1800's was rough. Not mentioned much anywhere above travel was also very difficult. The transcontinental railway had yet to be even conceived. This made westward travel very, very hard, so for these the people going west it might not have been the Era of Good Feelings. Even though the people are very happy that their country is the biggest and best its ever been, I don't think it was the Era of Good Feelings for the reasons presented above.

mla works Cited

1827, Hungarian. "Victorian Ballroom Dancing." Pinterest. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2017.

4, 2013 Bob Thompson March. "Making the Case for Disney's Davy Crockett: The Man vs. The Legend." Signature Reads. N.p., 04 Mar. 2013. Web. 14 Feb. 2017.

"Alexander Hamilton." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2017. Staff. "Davy Crockett." A&E Television Networks, 2010. Web. 14 Feb. 2017.

"Hudson River School." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 31 Jan. 2017. Web. 14 Feb. 2017.

"7 Things You Never Knew About The Last of the Mohicans." IFC. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2017.


Created with images by Fred1966 - "forest autumn pine" • Steve Snodgrass - "Quilt by Kathy Bittinger" • BillDamon - "George Washington - 1 dollar bill" • mechanicalcurator - "Image taken from page 165 of 'Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians. [With plates.]'" • BioDivLibrary - "n232_w1150" • KindleScreenz - "Looking_Down_Yosemite-Valley" • Pano e Papel - "36 Patch Quilt Along" • milele - "1st Demolition Team quilt" • Tony Fischer Photography - "James Monroe, 5th US President, 1817-1825" • ErikaWittlieb - "kermit frog muppet"

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