“‘The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government,’ Washington proclaimed, depended on the success of the American experiment in self-government” (294).
“Hamilton’s program had five parts. The first step was to establish the new nation’s credit-worthiness—that is, to create conditions under which persons would loan money to the government by purchasing its bonds, confident that they would be repaid…Second, he called for the creation of a new national debt. The old debts would be replaced by new interest-bearing bonds issued to the government’s creditors. This would give men of economic substance a stake in promoting the new nation’s stability…The third part of Hamilton’s program called for the creation of a Bank of the United States, modeled on the Bank of England, to serve as the nation’s main financial agent. A private corporation rather than a branch of the government, it would hold public funds, issue bank notes that would serve as currency, and make loans to the government when necessary…Fourth, to raise revenue, Hamilton proposed a tax on producers of whiskey…Hamilton called for the imposition of a tariff (a tax on imported foreign goods) and government subsidies to encourage the development of factories that could manufacture products currently purchased from abroad…” (295).
“The Federalists, supporters of the Washington administration, favored Hamilton’s economic program and close ties with Britain. Prosperous merchants, farmers, lawyers, and established political leaders (especially outside the South) tended to support the Federalists. Their outlook was generally elitist…a fixed hierarchy and of public office as reserved for men of economic substance—the ‘rich, the able, and the well-born,’ as Hamilton put it. Freedom… rested on deference to authority. It did not mean the right to stand up in opposition to government” (299).
“Republicans, led by Madison and Jefferson, were more sympathetic to France than the Federalists and had more faith in democratic self-government. They drew their support from an unusual alliance of wealthy southern planters and ordinary farmers throughout the country. Enthusiasm for the French Revolution increasingly drew urban artisans into Republican ranks as well…They were far more critical than the Federalists of social and economic inequality, and more accepting of broad democratic participation as essential to freedom” (300).
“The most important division in society, Manning declared, was between the ‘few’ and the ‘many.’ He called for the latter to form a national political association to prevent the ‘few’ from destroying ‘free government’ and ‘tyrannizing over’ the people” (301).
“…Murray insisted that women had as much right as men to exercise all of their talents and should be allowed equal educational opportunities to enable them to do so. Women’s apparent mental inferiority to men, she insisted, simply reflected the fact that they had been denied ‘the opportunity of acquiring knowledge.’” (305).
“If Gabriel’s conspiracy demonstrated anything, commented the prominent Virginian George Tucker, it was that slaves possessed ‘the love of freedom’ as fully as other men. Gabriel’s words, he added, reflected ‘the advancement of knowledge’ among Virginia’s slaves, including knowledge of the American language of liberty. When slaves escaped to join Lord Dunmore during the War of Independence, he wrote, ‘they sought freedom merely as a good; now they also claim it as a right.’” (311).
“In 1795, James Madison had written that war is the greatest enemy of ‘true liberty.’ ‘War,’ he explained, ‘is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes, and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.’ Nonetheless, Madison became a war president” (319).
The beginning of the United States was rife with conflict and internal division as political parties formed but this time period also set the precedent for many of our modern day values such as the essentiality of free speech and judicial review.
Chapter 9: The Market Revolution
Although the Market Revolution gave few opportunities to African-Americans and women, it was a positive period of expansion for technological achievement, religious revival, and both the manufacturing and agricultural economy.
The Market Revolution can be loosely defined as the period between 1800-1840. Developments and ideas that had begun in the colonial era were finally accomplished or executed during this era. Technological advancements improved communication, transportation, and increased the efficiency of farming. Steamboats and canals opened up waterways for transportation allowing goods and people to travel faster for a smaller price. Railroads opened up the West for settlement and transported coal, iron, and fuel. The telegraph sped up information flow and created uniformity throughout the nation. This increase in communication and transportation allowed further movement West. Most Americans traveled in groups and established communities or became squatters who settled the land without legal title.
Economic growth simultaneously occurred in the North and the South. The Cotton Kingdom of the South relied heavily on slave labor and the recent invention of the cotton gin. Cotton was sold at home and worldwide making the South commercially based although the region remained rural and agrarian. On the other hand, the North became a region of interconnected farms and manufacturing cities. Goods were increasingly bought at stores while crops and livestock were sold. Cities and urban centers grew dramatically during this time period as the urban population numbered over 6 million. Most industries, including textiles, abandoned traditional craft production for factory. This changed several work factors including labor hours, time, and a daily wage. Employers sought to hire those who were desperate so they could pay them less. Women, children, and immigrants were often employed in factories. Over 4 million people came to the United States between 1790 and 1830 from Ireland and Germany. This massive immigration frightened some Americans who feared for their jobs and had racist views. A group called the “nativists” blamed the immigrants for crime, corruption, and lack of employment.
During the Market Revolution, religion and philosophy evolved into a more individualistic view, despite some of the ironies. Even as the nation shifted towards interdependence between commercial farms and manufacturers, philosophers of this time emphasized the importance of personal independence and private happiness. Another group to emerge were the Transcendentalists, led by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, who insisted that individuals should immerse themselves in nature and have self-reliance. A religious revival movement called the Second Great Awakening swept throughout the nation preaching self-improvement and self-determination. The Methodist and Baptist denominations of Christianity also grew considerably during the early 19th Century.
Despite the growth in population and economic prosperity of the nation as a whole, there were limits to the freedom. African Americans lived in the poorest parts of cities and were frequently faced with violence and assault. They were kept out of schools and given no economic opportunity. They were constantly pushed down the social ladder with no hope of rising to success. Women were also confined during the Market Revolution. The ideas of “republican motherhood” gave women a public role as the mothers of future American citizens and economic necessity required many to enter the workplace. Despite these new roles, women were still constricted by the “cult of domesticity” and expectation to be virtuous, beautiful, frail, and entirely dependent on men.
Cotton Gin: Invented by Eli Whitney in 1793, the machine separated cotton seed from cotton fiber, speeding cotton processing and making profitable the cultivation of the more hardy, but difficult to clean, short-staple cotton; led directly to the dramatic nineteenth century expansion of slavery in the South.
Erie Canal: Most important and profitable of the canals of the 1820s and 1830s; stretched from Buffalo to Albany, New York, connecting the Great Lakes to the East Coast and making New York City the nation’s largest port.
Second Great Awakening: Religious revival movement of the early decades of the nineteenth century, in reaction to the growth of secularism and rationalist religion; began the predominance of the Baptist and Methodist churches.
Nativism: Anti-immigrants and anti-Catholic feeling especially prominent in the 1830s through the 1850s; the largest group was New York’s Order of the Star-Spangled Banner, which expanded into the American (Know-Nothing) Party in 1854.
Cult of Domesticity: A value system that associated virtue closely with women meaning sexual innocence, beauty, frailty, and dependence on men.
“the steamboat, canal, railroad, and telegraph wrenched America out of its economic past. These innovations opened new land to settlement, lowered transportation costs, and made it far easier for economic enterprises to sell their products. They linked farmers to national and world markets and made them major consumers of manufactured goods” (333).
“the South was in some ways the most commercially oriented region of the United States. Yet rather than spurring economic change, the South’s expansion westward simply reproduced the same agrarian, slave-based social order of the older states” (241).
“In the North, however, the market revolution and westward expansion set in motion changes that transformed the region into an integrated economy of commercial farms and manufacturing cities” (342).
“revivalist preachers rejected the idea that man is a sinful creature with a preordained fate, promoting instead the doctrine of human free will. At these gathering, rich and poor, male and female, and in some instances whites and blacks worshipped alongside one another and pledged to abandon worldly sins in favor of the godly life” (358).
“The market revolution affected the lives of all Americans. But not all were positioned to take advantage of its benefits. Most blacks, of course, were slaves, but even free blacks found themselves excluded from the new economic opportunities” (361).
Chapter 10 Review
In America, true democracy seemed to be triumphing in 1860; most states had gotten rid of property requirements for voting. At the People’s Convention in October 1841, all while males gained suffrage. However, how could this be considered “universal” if blacks and women were still not allowed to vote in their own country? The class boundaries that used to exist were replaced by black stereotypes and a solid line separating blacks and whites.
The Second Bank of the United States was a profit-making corporation that worked for the government, while local banks promoted economic growth. After the war of 1812 ended, the Panic of 1819 occurred, and the economic bubble America had been in burst. Americans distrusted banks for ears after that. In the Supreme Court case McCulloch v. Maryland, it was decided that banks were still constitutional. Then, after an “Era of Good Feelings” during James Monroe’s two terms, wild disputes erupted over the statehood of Missouri. A compromise (The Missouri Compromise) was adopted by Congress in 1820 to keep the peace.
Between the years 1810 and 1822, Spain’s colonies rebelled and formed independent nations. Their constitutions were much fairer than the United States’, allowing Indians and free blacks to vote. Out of fear, the Monroe Doctrine was drafted. After Monroe’s two terms, the only candidate with national appeal in the election of 1824 was Andrew Jackson, but John Quincy Adams became president because of the Electoral College. He stated that “liberty is power” and supported the American System. In 1828, Jackson got his victory and became President.
During Jackson’s term, the Democrats and Whigs argued; Democrats favored no government intervention in the economy, while Whigs supported government promotion of economic development. Also during his presidency, the Nullification Crisis struck, which was resolved in 1833.
Indians attempted to protect their rights, but were given empty promises, and the Cherokees were eventually sent on the Trail of Tears.
Following the Panic of 1837, Van Buren was elected president. Following him was William Henry Harrison, who was elected in 1840.
1. The American System: Blueprint for government-promoted economic development put forward by President James Madison in 1815; this new system involved a new national bank, tariffs, and federal financing for better roads and canals (“internal improvements”)
2. The Panic of 1819: The first major peacetime economic disaster in the United States followed by an overall downfall of the American economy persisting through 1821.The severity of the recession was compounded by extreme speculation in public lands, fueled by the unrestrained issue of paper money from banks and business concerns.
3. The Missouri Compromise: When The Missouri Controversy took hold of the nation when Missouri petitioned for statehood in 1819, Henry Clay came up with the compromise that stated Missouri would be admitted to the Union as a slave state. However, in addition, Maine would be admitted as a free state to keep the balance. Furthermore, slavery would from there out be banned north of a certain latitude in the Louisiana Purchase territory.
4. The Monroe Doctrine: Fearing that Spain would try to regain its colonies, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams drafted the Monroe Doctrine which stated there would be no new European colonization of the New World, the United States would abstain from European wars, and Europeans should not interfere with new Latin American republics.
5. Spoils System: The practice of a successful political party giving public office to its supporters.
6. Tariff of 1828: A protective tariff passed by the Congress of the United States on May 19, 1828, designed to protect industry in the northern United States. It is also called the Tariff of Abominations.
7. The Panic of 1837: A financial crisis in the United States that touched off a major recession that lasted until the mid-1840s. Profits, prices, and wages went down while unemployment went up.
“The Market revolution and territorial expansion were intimately connected with a third central element of American freedom—political democracy. The challenge to property qualifications for voting, begun during the American Revolution, reached its culmination in the early nineteenth century” (373).
“… [T]he very centrality of democracy to the definition of both freedom and nationality made it all the more necessary to define the boundaries of the political nation. As older economic exclusions fell away, others survived and new ones were added. The vigorous public life of antebellum America was simultaneously expansive and exclusive, and its limits were as essential to its nature as its broad scope” (376).
“The ‘dissolution of the Union’ over the issue of slavery, Adams mused, disastrous as that might be, would result in civil war and the ‘extirpation of slavery from this whole continent.’ It would take more than forty years for Adams’s prediction to be fulfilled. For the moment, the slavery issue faded once again from national debate” (383).
“But Van Buren did have a compelling idea. Rather than being dangerous and divisive, as the founding generation had believed, political parties, he insisted, were a necessary and indeed desirable element of political life. Party competition provided a check on those in power and offered voters a real choice in elections” (390).
“The central political struggle of the Age of Jackson was the president’s war on the Bank of the United States. The Bank symbolized the hopes and fears inspired by the market revolution” (401).
Although Americans expressed that they were moving toward total democracy and liberty, opposition to this belief can be found in the “universal suffrage” for white males only, the spoils system, and the Trail of Tears. America was not fully democratic in this era.
Chapter 11: The Peculiar Institution
As cotton became an increasingly prominent crop within the United States (75% of world’s cotton crop emanated from the south) the practice of slavery (that early leaders such as Thomas Jefferson believed would slowly dissipate into oblivion) became further entrenched in the American economic system, engraining itself westward, in states like Mississippi and Alabama. The slave trade became incredibly profitable, as a result, and commercial areas throughout the south housed auction blocks, the north (whom the conventional narrative absolves of the unconscionable practice) was more than complicit in the slave system, with northern bankers (who facilitated the financing of the trade) and manufacturers reaping the fruits of the utterly vile slave system. Unlike the north, the south lacked major cities and manufacturing centers (less than ten percent of the United States’ goods were manufactured there), agricultural was truly the economic lifeblood. The vast majority of southerners did not possess slaves, instead living on self-sufficient farms, but continued to prop up the planter oppressive elite through the exploitation of racist fears and a placement of “regional loyalty” over self-interest. Slavery was justified, within the south, as it “guaranteed” white equality (despite the systematic exploitation of the poor southern white farmer at the hands of the landed elite) as well as its presence within the bible. Debate over abolition intensified, as squabbles over the success of British and other nations’ emancipation entered the national discourse. Southerners claimed to be the “heirs of the American Revolution” while categorically mutilating the ideals the revolution was predicated on, constructing the doublespeak argument, “without slavery, freedom is impossible.”
Slaves were subjected to atrocious living and working conditions as well as deprived of legal personhood and the rights that accompanied it. Free blacks were deprived of true equality, stripped of the right to serve on juries and testify in a court of law. Marriage between slaves was unlawful but the practice occurred, though families were consistently (and heartbreakingly) broken up. Religion, specifically a distinctive form of Christianity was profoundly important to slave communities, and biblical stories like that of the Exodus provided hope for the enslaved. Slaves resisted bondage in numerous ways, through impeding productivity, running away, and evening poisoning their oppressors. Revolts occurred, most notably Nat Turner’s Rebellion in 1831. Upon being quashed, slave codes and restrictions were further tightened in the south.
“Plain folk” – poor whites within the south. Leaders like Andrew Johnson advocated for them in in government.
Southern Paternalism – master “protects” slaves and provides other services, slave forced to toil and obey master.
Underground Railroad – Network of homes and paths that enabled escaped slaves to travel to the north and Canada, in the eighteenth century.
“silent sabotage” – slaves work inefficiently in order to “silently rebel” against their owners.
Denmark Vesey’s Conspiracy – 1822 South Carolinian attempted slave rebellion. Perpetrated by both slaves and freedmen. Resulted in Vesey’s execution and more stringent slave codes.
Page 422: “The wealthiest Americans before the Civil War were planters in the South Carolina low country and the cotton region around Natchez, Mississippi.”
Page 420: “As the gathering point for cotton grown along the Mississippi River and sugar from the plantations of southeastern Louisiana [New Orleans] was the world’s leading exporter of slave-grown crops.”
Page 425: “…defenders of slaver insisted that the institution guaranteed equality for whites by preventing a class doomed to a life of unskilled labor.”
Page 427: “South Carolina…became the home of an aggressive defense of slavery that repudiated the idea that freedom and equality were universal entitlements.”
Page 448: “Even as reform movements arose in the North that condemned slavery as contrary to Christianity and to basic American values, and national debate over the peculiar institution intensified, southern society closed in defense of slavery.”
The tendrils of slavery permeated every facet of American society, in the antebellum period, whether southern planters or northern bankers, no region was absolved of participating in the egregious moral depravity based institution, as movements to abolish slavery picked up fervor, the south chose any method available to maintain it, be it citing the Bible or disregarding the concepts of liberty and democracy.
Chapter 12 Outline
Forty years after the end of the Revolution, America was beginning to morph into the nation we know today, as many reform movements across the country began to take foot. Among the most prominent groups of people who wanted to “better” the world were those who were part of the religious revival known as the “Second Great Awakening” or those who wanted to reject the modernizing society they lived in and wanted to form “utopian societies”, free of the world’s necessities and struggles. Examples of these religious societies were the Shakers, who believed in equality for all genders and were known to “shake” their congregation by stomping their feet continuously during their masses, and the Mormons, who believed that the angel Moroni gave Joseph Smith a book chronicling the history of escaped Israelites from the sack of Jerusalem to America. Non-religious reform movements included Oneida, whose inhabitants made their belongings completely out of wood, and educational reform in order to make schools not only places of learning, but safe places where children could thrive.
Another major reform movement that continuously gained momentum as the century and antebellum period progressed was the abolitionist movement. Yet this movement, which was supposed to promote equality for all races, was itself divided by racism. Many prominent white abolitionists, including the future President Lincoln, wanted African-Americans to colonize what would become Liberia, yet many black abolitionists opposed this and instead asked for equality with whites on all spectrums. Despite this racism, many whites did support freedom and equality for blacks, some such as John Brown and William Lloyd Garrison calling for rebellion and war against those against integration of blacks into their society. Others promoted less aggressive methods of protesting slavery, including Harriet Beecher Stowe publishing her Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which exposed the horrors of slavery to its primarily northern audience. These methods convinced many to join the movement and the movement itself continued to gain momentum and support, polarizing the country into those who supported or disapproved the movement altogether.
Yet another major reform that was beginning to come to public attention was the feminist movement. Women were constantly expected to adhere to what a male-dominated society expected of them, which was to keep quiet in public and not speak out against these expectations. Yet many women were becoming tired of this “cult of domesticity” and fought to gain the rights and freedoms that men had for millennia kept to themselves. The Grimke sisters were the among the first to fight against the patriarchal society they lived in, writing numerous essays and lectures on why women should have rights in “the land of freedom” but why women should be aggressive and fight the injustices that faced them. Continuing off the successes was Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who turned the movement from an unorganized, fledgling idea into an organized, well-trained movement. Despite this success, the abolitionists became divided on the subject of slavery, as many women continued to associate their movement with slavery; this in turn split the movement into a political side and societal side, with the political side trying to change American view of feminism though government. This attempt did not work out, and the movement came grinding to a halt for some time.