Era of Good Feelings

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After the War of 1812, Historians believe that the United States of America entered a period of time free of major crisis and filled with prosperity, commonly referred to as “the Era of Good feelings”. While this time period did have a rising influence in nationalism, which brought the nation together, it also brought the rise of sectionalism, which emerged as a problem that would further and further divide the country until the outbreak of the Civil war in 1861. This and the economic problems in the country, like the panic of 1819, caused the traditionally referred to peaceful era to actually be a time of financial troubles and political unrest, which would set the stage for the Civil War.
Nationalism in the United States of America culminated after the War of 1812. Although some saw this war as a bitter failure at the hands of the British, late victories like the battle of New Orleans, in which Andrew Jackson played a major role, brought out pride in being an American. The dissolution of the Federalist Party after the Hartford Convention also helped to ease the political landscape of nation. In the painting by John Krimmel, it shows the citizens of Philadelphia gathering together and enjoying their nation’s birthday, the Fourth of July (Doc C). A rivalry against the former mother country of Great Britain also helped to band the nation together. As John Quincy Adams wrote in his diary “President [Monroe] was averse to any course which should have the appearance of taking a position subordinate to that of Great Britain” it showed the desire to outdo their country’s rival, which helped unite the country under patriotic ideas. (Doc H)
Although nationalism grew throughout the country, the theory of sectionalism, or loyalty to the interests of one’s region or section of the country, had also developed. The North had developed an industrious economy, based on manufacturing and factory working, while the south maintained a strong attachment to the agrarian economy.

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