Being an American is a very privileged title. To be an American means having pride in one's country because it was the Americans that created their own country, and beat the wars against the Indians and British, it was American to become independent from Great Britain. Next, being American means having a sense of individualism, which means caring for yourself and being strongly independent, because we won a war with Great Britain, we created a nation that no longer needed their support. We didn't need their supplies, or no longer needed to fulfill the orders of King George 3. Lastly, being an American means promoting national unity because at desperate times, everyone in the US works together and everyone is supportive, such as, the time in the wars for independence, when the US worked together as one. "Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence."(George Washington)
American politics was making a big advancement in the 19th century, because George Washington's presidency was replaced with James Monroe's, and the country was starting to experience much greater national unity, also known as the Era Of Good Feelings. Also during these years, some large political leaders such as Henry Clay, who sided on capitalism, tried to create systems, such as the American System, to greater unite this developing country. These American systems imposed taxes on imported items and used that tax money to support development to transport systems and other economic advancements to unite the country .“I had rather be right than president.”(Henry Clay)
During the Era of Good Feelings, American Folk art was also a big advancement in the US. Not only was it a very new type of art where regular people expressed their ideas and feelings on a canvas or cloth, it was a type of art that wasn't carried over from the Europeans. Men carved things such as weather vanes and decoys and used them as art while Women sewed patterns and objects on quilts clothing. Untrained artists such as adults and children signs, murals, and national symbols. More experienced artists used canvas and brush to create portraits and painted scenery. One skilled artist John James Audubon was able to create a detailed portrait of a bird while another skilled artist, George Catlin, was able to create paintings of American West native people, their hunts and rituals."As I grew up I was fervently desirous of becoming acquainted with Nature."(John James Audubon). American Folk Art was very unique because anyone could express their idea in their own way.
In the 19th century, music became a hot topic, especially with slaves. Until later in the 1800s, music was usually only heard in churches. Any songs that were sang out of church were reworded songs with the same tune as other original songs. In the northern colonies, there were musical orchestras with dancers. In the south, slaves used African styling in their music to create Spirituals, religious tunes with African music elements. Many slave owners started to sing folk songs and play instruments like violins, drums, or banjos, which were created by African Americans. Spirituals were very unique because slaves sang about achieving freedom, even if in the presence of their owners. Another type of music often sang by black people were Minstrels, which often mimic black songs. There was also Patriotic songs, which were based off of popular songs. American music was unique because slavery in the south was still being practiced and slave sang freedom songs of hope and added African tones to usual singing.
Literature also increased in popularity and advanced during the Era of Good Feelings. For example, famous writers like Washington Irving, brought very famous stories like Rip Van Winkle, and The Legend of The Sleepy Hollow to the table, which trumped England's German folklore. A novelist James Fennimore Cooper wrote books that covered frontier life and living in the forest, for example, The Pioneers and The Last of the Mohicans, were famous stories that are in the frontier or wilderness. Another famous writer, Davy Crockett, was a frontiers-man that wrote stories of his life out in the wild, hunting and gathering. Davy Crockett wrote an autobiography of him and his experiences hunting in the wild. It became popular because the informal speech, sarcasm, and humorous tones made it "American". Davy Crockett's work reflected Americans sense of individualism because he hunted alone and he himself, could survive and be independent. American Literature was very unique, because it was very "American", in terms of culture and wording.
The Era of Good Feelings, was a time of good growth for the United States, but the Native Americans strongly disagreed. First of all, the Natives might not call it The Era of Good feelings because the Americans were taking their land slowly. They also had different mindsets, because the Natives believed the land should be shared between everyone, while the Americans thought it would be fine to just buy land. Also, they disagreement is evident by a native American chief, called Tecumseh. Tecumseh wanted to round up all of the remaining tribes and fight against the Americans (longknives they called), for the sake of their land."Show respect to all, but grovel to none."(Tecumseh)
In conclusion, being an American in the 1800s meant being a hardworking, independent person. Being an American at the time meant individualism, being whatever you want to be and trying whatever you want to try. For example, American Folk Art, Literature and Music, where people just did wrote about what they believed was interesting, sang what they felt was on their mind, or even put together what they wanted. Even in politics, where big leaders fought for systems to be established that would benefit the country.
Works Cited (MLA)
"A Quote by John James Audubon." Goodreads. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.
February 7, 1839: Henry Clay Declares “I Had Rather Be Right than President.”." History Editor... Bonnie K. Goodman. N.p., 26 May 2010. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.
"George Washington Quotes." BrainyQuote. Xplore, n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.
History Alive!: The United States Through Industrialism. Palto Alto, CA: Teacher's Curriculum Institute, 2009. Print
"Tecumseh Quotes." BrainyQuote. Xplore, n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.