Introduction

Welcome to the 19th century! We have covered 3 centuries of US History thus far, only 2 more to go. In the 19th century many US cultural elements start to take form as Nationalist cultural forms are created in architecture, literature, art and even ideology (Manifest Destiny anyone?). The United States also becomes more democratic, only for white men at this point though . . . Economic relationships are transformed by the Market Revolution, in a precursor to even greater change after the Civil War. Speaking of the Civil War, this time period also sees the great deepening of sectional tension between the North and the South over many issues. Those issues are slavery, slavery and finally, slavery. Brace yourselves, a Civil War is coming, but for now lets focus on what some historians call the age of Jefferson and Jackson . . .

Period Summary


In 1826, in the midst of the years covered in this period, the young nation celebrated its 50th birthday with great optimism. The founders of the country were passing on and leadership had passed to a new generation.
Overview: The new republic worked to define itself during a time of rapid demographic, economic, and territorial growth. It increased suffrage; reformed its schools, prisons, and asylums; and developed its own art, literature, and philosophy. These changes took place as a market economy emerged and people benefited from the addition of fertile land farther west and advances in industryand transportation everywhere. The country focused on expanding its bordersand trade while avoiding European entanglements.
Alternate View: While this period saw growth, it also had increased conflict with American Indians and its neighbors. Many of the immigrants attracted by new opportunities also found prejudice and discrimination. Rights for the common man excluded American Indians, African Americans, and women.Efforts to improve life succeeded for many but not those enslaved. Landmarks in the institution of slavery came earlier, with the development of the cotton gin in 1793 and the end of the importation of enslaved Africans in 1808. Others came later, such as the Compromise of 1850.