Was the period after our victory of the War of 1812 really an “Era of Good Feelings?” Historians have traditionally labeled it that, but many wonder why? The Era of Good feelings took place from 1817 to 1825. During that time, James Monroe was elected president for two terms. The Era of ‘Good’ Feelings is misleading because many issues troubled the country around that time such as the American system, which tied to sectionalist events and economic panic and depression. Though there are some beneficial events, it was an overall devastating era.
Henry Clay’s American system consisted of the Second National Bank, the Tariff of 1816, and internal improvements. The Second National Bank was voted by Congress in 1816. The lack of the national bank during the War of 1812 created a bank vacuum which led to troubled local banks, and depreciated bank notes that hampered the war effort. Jeffersonians supported this, but Federalists thought of it as unconstitutional. After the war, Britain flooded America with cheap goods attempting to crush U.S. factories. The Tariff of 1816 was made to protect American manufacturing from the British. It imposed 20-25% duties on imports. This created a sectional battle between Calhoun, Webster, and Clay. “… [no] one interest in the country [should be] sacrificed by the management of taxation to another…” (Document A) Along with the others of the American system, internal improvements were a complete failure. Madison vetoed the bill for internal improvements. Jeffersonians saw it as a “state” issue, not the job of Congress. Most improvements were then made locally at the expense of state and local governments.
In 1819, the U.S. reached a financial crisis from over speculation on frontier lands by the Second National Bank; the Panic of 1819. The BUS forced western banks to fore close on western farms, and stopped allowing payment in paper, only specie; farmers did not have specie. This resulted in calls for reform and pressure for...
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