America continued to expand westward during the first half of the 19th century. This expansion was fueled by a belief in Manifest Destiny, the idea that the country was destined by God to occupy the North American continent from sea to sea.
While the country was growing, so was democracy. For example, the right to vote was extended to all white males (not just property owners) by the time of president Andrew Jackson, a strong promoter of democratic rights.
The 1830s and 1840s also witnessed growth in reform movements. The movement to end slavery, to reform prisons and mental hospitals, and to extend rights to women all picked up steam at this time. Each movement was helped by many Christians who took on these causes, especially after a second major revival, called the Second Great Awakening, swept the country.
America also experienced a growth in population during this time period as immigrants poured into the country. Many immigrants came from Germany and Ireland in this period. Unfortunately, anti-immigrant feeling grew at this time as well. The Irish Catholics were discriminated against, as signs saying “No Irish Need Apply” appeared at places of business.