Why Is the “Era of Goof Feelings” a Misnomer?

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The period of James Monroe’s presidency has gained the term used worldwide as the “Era of Good Feelings”. It was adopted by this name because of Monroe’s action in visiting the U.S military basis and because of the spirit of nationalism and optimism gained by the people from the War of 1812. Foreign affairs exemplifies why this name is partly fact. However, the perception of unity that this era defines is somewhat misleading. Throughout this period, there were various problems that contradicted the era’s name. Some of the serious issues that divided the nation were economic depression and sectionalism.

The first major fracture in “Era of Good Feelings” was an economic panic and depression that is frequently known as “The Panic of 1819”. This disaster was largely caused by the Second Bank of the United States (BUS). In their delayed attempt to control inflation caused by the War of 1812 and the economy, BUS forced western banks to foreclose on western farms. They stopped allowing payment in paper, instead asking the people to pay in hard money, such as gold and silver. Many of our country’s banks were affected, which harmed the farmers who had taken out loans. The region placed everyone into huge debt. Many state banks closed, the value of money collapsed, and there was a massive number of unemployment , bankruptcies, and imprisonment for debt. This depression largely damaged the West, and resulted with panic amongst the people. It lead the individuals to look for a more responsive government, thus changing many voters’ political outlook. Since the westerners were most largely affected, they began calling for land reform and expressing strong opposition to the national bank and debtors‘ prisons. This increased the need for democracy. Nationalistic beliefs trembled as a result of this economic depression, hence destroying the meaning behind the term of the “Era of Good feelings”.

Emerging sectionalism started in our nation because of the rising issue with...
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