The “Era of Good Feelings”

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The “Era of Good Feelings” ( )


What are the characteristics of the “Era of Good Feelings”? What happened to end this period?

What did each president during this time seek to achieve? How did they attempt to make this happen?

What was the importance of the Monroe Doctrine?

How did foreign policy change during this period? Why?
I. The Demise [death] of the Federalist Party

In 1787, when Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison wrote the Federalist Papers, the party was also born, centered on Constitutional adoption and stronger central government.

1. Why was the Federalist Party already in decline by 1796? Be specific.

2. How did the Jeffersonian Republicans (Democratic-Republicans) gain influence after 1800?

3. The election map below shows a significant change in how people voted. What is this map showing you, and what happened between 1809-1816 to cause this change?

II. James Monroe’s Presidency ( )

Overview of changes:

  • Change in/protection of domestic policy under ______________________________

  • Major internal improvements to infrastructure and transportation

  • Shift in __________________ policy leads to major national ________________________

  • Movement from nationalism to sectionalism in the U.S.



__________ ___________’s American System

1. What led to the passage of the Tariff of 1816? What was the purpose of the tariff (tax on ______________)?

2. Describe the key characteristics of the American System. Why did previous attempts to develop the U.S. fail?

3. Why do you think the South disagreed with the American System?


4. What led to U.S. expansion during this period? What major laws were passed allowing for expansion?

The Era of Good Feelings: An Era of Nationalism?

1. What characteristics of the period would lead some historians to argue that this was an era of nationalism?

U.S. Financial Crisis in Panic of 1819



  • Government borrowed heavily to finance the War of 1812, with no protection for banks

  • The BUS offered bad (and sometimes fraudulent) loans and printed large amounts of paper money-- caused inflation and unsustainable investments

  • Overspeculation of real estate/land (buying land at cheap prices to sell them at large profits)

  • Also due to international events:

    • European demand for American goods ends after Napoleonic Wars

    • American bankers issued false banknotes and expanded credit (loans) to Europeans, which they could not pay back

  • Second Bank of the United States was forced to use contractionary monetary policy (deflation). Led to a depression:

    • bankruptcy

    • bank failures/runs

    • wide-scale unemployment

  • Politicians offered many proposals to relieve the depression:

    • Manufacturers propose higher tariffs

    • Return to sound money policy: working harder, spending less

    • Monroe limited government intervention; gov’t pay was cut, as was overall spending

  • Bred suspicion of a national bank that had power to manipulate the currency and created intense hostility toward the Second Bank of the United States

How does the election of 1820 map show an increase in nationalism?

Was this actually the case? Explain.

Missouri Compromise (Compromise of 1820—Henry Clay): In the end, the Missouri Compromise of 1820 allowed Missouri to be admitted as a slave state, while Maine was admitted as a slave state, and no slave states could be admitted above the 36 30’ line.
The ­­­­____________________________________________ to Missouri Compromise

  • All slaves born in Missouri after the territory became a state would be freed at the age of 25.

  • Passed by the House, not in the Senate. (North controlled the House; South blocks it in the Senate)

1. Why was the Tallmadge Amendment controversial? (Hint: What do you think was the major issue after the Compromise?)

The Monroe Doctrine (1823): “America’s Self-Defense Doctrine”
As Latin American countries led rebellions & revolutions against their European colonizers in the 1810s, the U.S. wanted to promote democracy. They feared the Holy Alliance of Europe would bring its anti-revolution campaign to the Americas, as it promoted the “divine right of kings” and monarchical rule.
However, Monroe's administration did not recognize new republics in South America until 1822. Monroe wanted to wait until after Spain had ceded Florida to the U.S., trying to downplay the fact that they had an economic interest in the formerly-ruled Spanish colonies, now new republics, as trading partners.
To protect these principles, Monroe delivered a speech (now the “Monroe Doctrine”—a list of his beliefs):
…..the occasion has been judged proper for asserting, as a principle in which the rights and interests of the United States are involved, that the American continents by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European power……

The citizens of the United States cherish sentiments the most friendly in favor of the liberty and happiness of their fellowmen on (the European) side of the Atlantic. In the wars of European powers in matters relating to themselves we have never taken any part, nor does it comport with our policy so to do. It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced that we resent injuries or make preparation for our defense……..

With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and shall not interfere. But with the government who had declared their independence and maintain it, and whose independence we have on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States….
How is this different than George Washington’s (and earlier presidents’ belief in “neutrality”)? Take a look once again at Washington’s Farewell Address (1796):
……inveterate antipathies against particular nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded; and that in place of them just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated…….

So likewise a passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety of evils. –Sympathy for a favourite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification…….The great role of conduct for us, in regard to foreign Nations is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little Political connection as possible.

On the next page, fill in the chart comparing the foreign policies of early republic-era presidents to the presidents following James Monroe.

Washington’s view

Monroe’s view

United States’ alliances with

foreign nations

Role of United States in

foreign affairs

Purpose of diplomacy/

What does it mean to be “neutral” in foreign policy?

Explain how U.S. interest in increasing foreign trade, expanding its national borders, and isolating itself from European conflicts shaped the nation’s foreign policy and spurred government and private initiatives.

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