The Era of Good Feelings By Alexis de Tocqeville, Marina Bazzano

Life in the 1800s

To be an American during the early 1800s it meant to have pride in ones country and live the ways of patriotism and individualism. To have pride in ones country means to accept to country that you live in and be thankful and proud of it. It means to express your feelings of greatness, not hide them. To have individualism in America means to respect the idea that the rights of the people are the main idea. To fight for your own rights and beliefs shows a sense of pride and individualism which creates the great country of America. To promote national unity means to bring to parties together during a country crisis. Being an American means promoting national unity because our country must learn to work together even in difficult situations. "The parties decide to put aside their differences and work together because they are all bonded by a love for their country."( In this letter you will learn the ways of Americans in the early 1800s which helped form the great country of America today.


This is James Monroe, the leader of the time of The Era of Good Feelings

James Monroe was elected president in 1816 and he became a leader that many looked up to. This era was known as The Era of Good Feelings. "To many Americans at the time, it seemed that a new period of national unity had dawned."(History Alive, The united states through industrialism pg 246) One of the leaders in congress, Henry Clay, believed that the future for America was capitalism. Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of farms and businesses. He thought that this could help the country’s economy grow. Another part of Clay’s plan was to have an American system that called for taxes on imports. He also wanted a new national bank (this idea was created in 1816). Switching gears to the Judicial branch, John Marshall was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He made important decisions that helped America’s court become stronger. For example, they strengthened the Supreme Court’s role in the government and the power the government has over the states. His decisions also helped capitalism come into the American government.


This is an example of a composer playing classical music in the early 1800s.

"Until the 1800s music in the United States was performed and heard mostly in church". (History Alive, The united states through industrialism pg 249) Music in the early 1800s involved many different types such as classical, folk songs, minstrel songs, and spiritual. Classical music had elegance and grace, while folk songs included the violin, drums, and banjos with upbeat sounds. Spiritual songs were mixes of church songs and African styles and Minstrel songs were copies of African American music. Performers went all out when they performed minstrel songs; for example they painted their faces black, spoke with with African American dialects, and wore shaggy clothing. In the United States, music was performed mostly at church. Songs were played outside of church too but those were old songs with new lyrics. Dancing had a big roll with music in the 1800s. There was dancing at balls with elegant music such as classical. Square dancing became common in the South and West as they danced to fiddles and moved their feet to the beat.


This is a piece of the Hudson River School art from the early 1800s.

Art in the 1800s included many different styles. Some examples are folk art, portraits, Hudson River School art, and artists such as John James Audubon, and George Catlin. Folk Art was colorful and simple art with plain symbols. Portraits were pictures of people that showed their emotion and personalities through the canvas. The Hudson River School art was created by landscape painters in New York City who created nature and scenic paintings of the outdoors. John James Audubon was America’s dominant wildlife artist and he was like a naturalist. He painted pictures of all different types of birds hat he observed in the woods. His four-volume book, The Birds of America, made him America’s first famous artist world wide. George Catlin from Philadelphia painted and portrayed natives of the American West. He painted scenes of American Indians and their rituals, villages, and hunts. "The vividness and optimism in their work accurately reflected the national outlook.(History Alive, The united states through industrialism pg 248)


This is a picture from the story "Rip Van Winkle" by Washington Irving (a writer in the 1800s)

Literature in the early 1800s was created with unique American settings and themes. Writers like Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, Davy Crockett, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote many tales, poems, and stories still told today. Washington Irving wrote "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow". Irving’s stories we’re very big at the time, and they are still today. James Fenimore Cooper was a novelist and he wrote The Pioneers and The Last of the Mohicans. His aspect and view of writing was about the wilderness and what the Indians went through. Another writer, Davy Crockett, told stories about his real life experiences of being a hunter, explorer, soldier and scout. Crockett was known as a frontier hero who came to life. He wrote an autobiography which gave American literature a new look. Lastly, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote serious poems such as The Song of Hiawatha. He wrote "Paul Revere’s Ride" which symbolized patriotism. "In both subject matter and style, writers like these encouraged the growth of a national identity."(History Alive, The united states through industrialism pg 251)

Opposing Claim

This is a picture of slaves working in the fields

Many people call the Era of Good Feelings a great time, but it wasn't all that great for others. For example; slaves, African Americans and women had a horrible life during that time. "Whether African Americans lived in slavery or freedom, discrimination (unequal treatment) shaped their lives." (History Alive, The united states through industrialism pg 375) Slaves were considered property who didn't have rights. Slaves often went hungry, their clothes were in poor condition and sometimes they got harsh punishments like whipping. Women during the Era of Good Feelings were almost treated like they were slaves too. Women were expected to reproduce with a man, marry him, and serve him the rest of their life. They were known to be either housekeepers, mothers, or workers. Women had very little rights; they couldn’t own property, make financial decisions, or even vote. If a man and a women got divorced, the husband would keep ownership of the property and children. This was a horrible time for slaves and women because they were basically treated like puppets being told what to do and didn’t have a future to look forward to. They would say that The Era of Good Feelings was the opposite of how others depicted it. Many others who had a great life, family, and future to look forward to loved the early 1800s, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case for everyone.


This is a picture of independence day during the Era of Good Feelings.

To be an American during the early 1800s it meant to have pride in ones country and live the ways of patriotism and individualism. The early 1800s was a time for new ideas, plans, inspiration, and more. The advancement of art, literature and music influenced the lifestyle of the people. Politics during this time, The Era of Good Feelings, brightened the view of the government and created history in the positive era. Not all people believed this time was the Era of Good Feelings, they had a rather difficult life. Slaves (which were African Americans) and women had a rough time living daily life dealing with harsh punishments, despair, and discrimination. "The Era of Good Feelings marked a period in the political history of the United States that reflected a sense of national purpose and a desire for unity among Americans."(

Works Cited

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

"Slavery." Life in the 1800's. Web. 14 Feb. 2017.

"Why Is National Unity Important?" Reference. Web. 16 Feb. 2017.

"Women in the 1800’s." Lauren Plaza. 12 Feb. 2009. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.

"Slaves and Women in Early 1800s - Google Search." Slaves and Women in Early 1800s - Google Search. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.

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Marina Bazzano

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