UNIT VI STUDY GUIDE
Course Learning Outcomes for Unit VI
Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:
8. Discuss the evolution of American philosophies or ideals.
8.1 Describe the innovations and impact of the American System.
8.2 Discuss the political fight that emerged in the wake of the Corrupt Bargain and its impact on the
Era of Good Feelings.
8.3 Explore the landmarks of the Jackson administration and their fallout.
9. Analyze the impact new technologies had on the evolution of gender and social roles.
9.1 Identify the opportunities and limitations for women in the factory system.
9.2 Describe the shift in gender expectations in the wake of the Market Revolution.
In order to access the following resources, click the links below:
Barzun, J. (1987). Thoreau the thorough Impressionist. American Scholar, 56(2), 250. Retrieved from
Larson, J. L. (2005). The Market Revolution in early America: An introduction. OAH Magazine Of History,
19(3), 4-7. Retrieved from
O'Sullivan, J. (1839). John L. O'Sullivan on Manifest Destiny, 1839. Retrieved from
O'Sullivan, J. (1839, November). The Great Nation of Futurity. Retrieved from
Pencak, W. (2006). Cultural change and the Market Revolution in America, 1789-1860. Journal of the Early
Republic, 26(3), 498-502. Retrieved from
Ronda, J. P. (2004). Washington Irving’s west. Historian, 66(3), 546-551. Retrieved from
Stembridge, L. (2001). Not such simple gifts. History Today, 51(1), 46. Retrieved from
The articles cited in the unit lesson are required reading. You may be tested on your knowledge
and understanding of that material as well as the information presented in the unit lesson.
HY 1110, American History I
UNIT x STUDY GUIDE
The Jefferson administration would, in many ways, serve as a stabilizing agent for the young nation.
However, as was true of Franklin, Washington, and Henry before him, Jefferson and his generation had to
accept that the success of the republic depended on new leadership and the role that progress has in healing
As mentioned in the previous unit, the term “Jeffersonian” can be attributed to the period from 1800-1824, a
reference to the string of Republican Presidents he inspired. Coupled with the ousting of much of the lingering
Federalist support after their anti-war faux pas, the following two decades, sometimes called the Era of Good
Feeling, would essentially be a return to a one party republic—this, however, did not mean that political issues
were without debate. The Corrupt Bargain that put John Quincy Adams into the Oval Office would become a
rally cry for the next prominent politician to take over. Though they had comparable backgrounds, Jackson
and Jefferson’s “ideal” America would prove to be drastically different. While the office of the President
steadily moved into a moderate position, attitudes were clearly dividing, with the traditional conservatives
backing Adams, while the more desperate for reform helped usher in the “Jacksonian” era.
This era, however, would see more than just the political carousel start to spin once again. This would also be
a scene of necessity and reforms, both of which would directly challenge all three branches of government
and dominate conversation from the factory, to the pub, to the home. What may have been even more
unexpected than the reforms themselves was who was leading them—women, church-sponsored
organizations, and other such less-aggressive voices that had previously been drowned out under the
expectations of Republican Motherhood. What was providing them with this new influence were the changing
nature of the American market, the new structure of the home, and even expansion westward. The gains of
the Jeffersonian era were not the expansion expected by so many, however. As the nation took new shape,
there came a series of new voices. Arguably the loudest voice from this era would become the most impactful
to America’s future: the abolition debate.
First, it is important to recognize how the nation began to evolve. In the early nineteenth century, a period
collectively known as the Market Revolution became defined by a series of technological innovations and
associated economic changes that caused the partisan industry and agricultural economic lines begin to blur.
While the Industrial Revolution began in Europe, the U.S. remained an agricultural giant. However, innovation
was not completely foreign to American shores. A series of reforms would occur, impacting the nature of
labor, the laborer, the ways industry moved, and even the family structure. Starting in 1815, two major
programs would be put into motion causing this transition. The first would be the transportation revolution.
The Transportation Revolution
Much of the limitation to the United States’ economic success had been due to geographical limitations. The
Atlantic and Gulf coasts, which were essential to America’s shipping and trade, were still dependent on
rugged roads and naturally flowing water to gather exports. This left the nation’s economy squarely in the
hands of Mother Nature. This type of transportation was not only slow and unreliable, but it was also
excessively expensive, especially when compared to the more developed English infrastructure. However,
with the growth in the nation’s size, there was greater ability to utilize the natural resources to benefit North
America’s economy. From 1815 to 1840, the nation would undergo a great construction project, starting with
the national road, to the creation of a canal system, and finally a railroad.
The National (Cumberland) Road stretched from Maryland to the Ohio River. This was the nation’s first
federally funded interstate system, meant to provide a path from the Atlantic to the western territories. The
Ohio River also served as a junction point, feeding into several other major waterways, including the
Mississippi, Tennessee, and Missouri Rivers (and to their feeding branches and tributaries). The installation of
this road not only aided community development as far west as St. Louis, but it also provided quicker and
more reliable access to ports such as New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mobile, Alabama.
HY 1110, American History I
The second part of this Transportation
dependent on water, but would onlyTitle
be possible through the vision
of then New York Governor DeWitt Clinton: the Erie Canal.
Finished in 1826, the canal literally cut through 360 miles of
northern countryside to connect the Great Lakes to the Hudson
River; its completion meant that New York harbor could now
expand its exports to include those that were previously only
feasible by the Gulf ports. To accompany this, there would now also
be a need to travel north, east, and west along these rivers leading
to Fulton’s innovative, yet environmentally and operationally
dangerous, steamboat. Popular for their significantly lower
expense, canals would be developed throughout the nation but
were still not perfect, as their size and location geared them toward
slower moving, narrow barges. This innovation did, however,
inspire the growth of several northern towns, including Buffalo, NY,
and inspired New York City’s growth into the economic capital it is
The last great transportation innovation would prove to become the
key to solving the problem of civilizing the expanding American
West: the railroad. The first rails were placed in small doses starting
Picture of the Erie Canal as seen today.
in the 1830s, but would quickly expand into the frontier over the
(Leongard G., 2005)
next decade. Quicker to construct and cheaper to maintain than
either of the previous innovations, the rails proved to be more costeffective and better able to keep the attention of the American population. More about this will be added later.
The American System
A second massive project called the American System would be promoted in 1814 and installed in 1816 to do
three things: regulate the national currency, revise foreign tariffs (taxes), and expand on the Transportation
Revolution projects. There were three fundamental issues that this system set out to address:
the timing and relationship to the transportation revolution;
the American System’s origins, which actually traced as far back as Hamilton’s Federalist Party,
which faded during Jefferson’s Presidency; and
creation of a second National Bank.
A lot would happen during Madison’s terms: a massive second military revolution, the War of 1812, the repeal
of the Embargo Act, and the Transportation and Market Revolutions. The Madison administration saw the
Federalist threat lessen. Because of these occurrences, he supported the economic program as a way to
settle the economy and as an act of good faith between former political rivals. But this was not without issues,
including the fears that came with locally beneficial improvements, such as the Erie Canal.
The idea of unequal distribution of funds had also been a hindrance for Jefferson when trying to support
similar economic projects. The message sent by Monroe supported such a program and its reflection on the
unification efforts. It was clear that the Era of Good Feeling had caused the party’s platform to evolve from
Jefferson’s agrarian dream to a more national scope. Finally, there was fallout after the First National Bank
failed to be re-chartered in 1811 due to pressure from supporters, particularly in the agricultural sector, who
had rights to fear its potential for corruption.
The American Factory
With all of this innovation, what changes promoted industry in the pre-industrial United States? One of the
more significant was the earliest form of common factory, the mill, perhaps the most famous of which was
located in Lowell, Massachusetts. This company was not only notable for its production, which spanned the
full gambit of textile production, or the worker population, which was overwhelmingly unmarried young
women. This mill was also notable because of how these women, who were drastically underpaid for their
efforts, would lead some of the first, though generally unsuccessful, strikes in American history.
HY 1110, American History I
It was very common for families in pre-industrial America to have and raise large
was due to
several factors, including labor needs, religious beliefs, gender expectations, and
Titleinfant mortality rates. As
technology improved, both on the farm and in production, families continued to grow, but family land became
scarce. With it becoming increasingly difficult to raise such large families, mills such as Lowell would crop up
as a new employment option. They often had built-in dorms, recreation opportunities, and very strict moral
codes/rules (as part of the appeal for parental consent). All of this was a luxury, but it was also an excuse to
lower the pay for women doing the same work a man would be paid more to do in cruder environments.
Though it may not seem directly related, it would be the words of noted reform leaders Sarah and Angelina
Grimké, daughters of a prosperous plantation owner and planter, speaking on behalf of the abolitionist
crusade, that would inspire workers to look at their own situation. Moving into the mid-1830s, the situation
became worse with the lowering price of cotton. Following demands for pay cuts and greater output, the
women united and went on strike against the factory. Ultimately, however, it would be a seemingly neverending supply of replacement workers that allowed the demands of these workers to fall on deaf ears. As
women aged, those who rebelled would leave or be replaced, and eventually immigrant labor would gladly
take the work, as many had migrated from lands with significantly less economic opportunity, especially for
The mill at Lowell, Massachusetts.
Though unsuccessful at Lowell, this spirit would spread to other mills, such as the Lynn shoebinders, which
fed them into independent (family-run) enterprises. This was only the first attempt at feminist equality, a fight
that we will discuss further later, and is still carried on today.
A New National Bank
Coming back to the bank issue, the main argument for a new national bank came understandably from those
with the most to gain: the elites and industrial leaders. Their fear was the rapid growth of smaller banks
throughout the United States. Often with their own independent currency, these banks caused havoc on
exchange rates, In some cases, they were ways to guarantee that skilled and trained laborers would not
attempt to save up and leave for better opportunities in other factory towns.
Having multiple currencies circulating hurt the nation for multiple reasons, perhaps chief among them being
unity. Though now clearly an established country, the inability to secure a single national currency called into
question the sovereignty of the young nation. In 1816, the Second National Bank would be granted a twentyyear charter. Although led by a figurehead “president,” Mr. Nicholas Biddle, once again the cards lined up for
the wealthiest Americans to have the greatest influence on the nation’s economy, an issue that irritated the
traditional agricultural base.
Just as with any economic system, there would be prosperous (“boom”) and wanting (“bust”) years. While the
boom was beneficial, the bust hurt the lower classes drastically more than it did those influencing the bank.
Those who had significant investments also had the ability to call back loans, which led directly to drastic
economic woes for those with loans. The losses among those who could not afford to immediately repay their
creditors developed into increased disapproval of the banks. In periods of prolonged loss, otherwise known as
a “panic,” the resentment only became louder. The Panic of 1819, for example, would occur only three years
HY 1110, American History I
after the establishment of this new bank. This new institution showing such a fluid
reality of a 20-year charter, drew the ire of many who blamed the changes for Title
Jackson Enters the Political Scene
One of the most outspoken anti-bank politicians at the time was also a highly regarded lawyer, previous lawkeeper, and nationally known war hero from his successful victory at the Battle of New Orleans. Andrew
Jackson, an agricultural supporter from the Jefferson mold, would emerge in the wake of these harsh
economic times and take up the mantle that had once formed the agrarian resistance in the form of the
Republican Party. Jackson was not new to the political scene, having served in multiple capacities in and for
his home state of Tennessee, as well as stints in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. He brought a
resurgent states-rights attitude, condemned the Electoral College, and gained the reputation of a “people’s
The Corrupt Bargain of 1824, which had hand-delivered the
election to John Quincy Adams despite Jackson’s control of the
popular vote, only furthered Jackson’s crusade. Like Jefferson a
generation before, Jackson would use this perceived injustice
as a springboard and platform against the struggling
administration. The election of 1828 would once again give
Jackson the overwhelming popular vote, and new laws in more
than twenty states guaranteed that these voices would be
heard. The people came out in unprecedented numbers as the
thought of Jackson as President was either a blessing or a
curse. Politicians encouraged local political supporters to speak
out on their benefit, and the advent of new print media and the
mail system worked to spread the pressure to vote. This was
also one of the first examples of smear campaigning, as each
side took to bashing the ethics, actions, and even the families of
After the examination of over a million votes, Jackson took the
South and agrarian Mid Atlantic, whereas John Quincy Adams
only retained his expected New England. Jackson was declared
the winner with 178 electoral votes. Related, this election was
often compared to the public feuds of Thomas Jefferson and
John Adams; however, despite their fierce political rivalry, they
were able to salvage their personal friendship in retirement, and
would both die on July 4, 1826. In their post-administrative lives,
they saw their life’s work evolve from chaos into a thriving
nation—it is perhaps justice that neither lived to see what would
Political cartoon regarding the “Corrupt
Bargain” with Henry Clay sewing General
Jackson’s mouth shut.
A New White House
This result was not the only change to emerge from this campaign; however, the two sides were clearly
visible, and though both claimed Jefferson’s Party as their own, it was clear that the Era of Good Feeling had
ended. Jackson was running under the banner of Democratic-Republican—an ode to Jefferson that would,
sometime before the 1836 election, be shortened to “Democrats.” Adams claimed the name National
Republican, which would evolve into the “Whig” Party.
Another change would also emerge, this time from the media. Cartoonists, picking on Jackson’s stubbornness
and popularity, would draw him in a multitude of unflattering characterizations ranging from a poor-tempered
monarch (King Andrew I) to an ornery mule. Some were even so blunt as to label him a “jackass” as a play on
both his name and his reputation. Unexpectedly, Jackson’s supporters recognized the gift of press, and the
imagery stuck even past his administration, eventually leading to the first of two modern political mascots: the
HY 1110, American History I
Jackson was quick to claim his title as the people’s President, a
move that allowed his supporters seemingly unprecedented access
to the public figure. But to his opponents, this became akin to a
rowdy bar, or, in modern terms, a fraternity house. Jackson would
continue to defy tradition by not welcoming a diverse cabinet of
advisors, but instead a committee of platform loyalists, sometimes
choosing shrewd political figures who benefitted his campaign and
shared similar beliefs over competent advisors. This was
nicknamed the “spoils system” by those left out.
UNIT x STUDY GUIDE
Jackson had a clear agenda—to revoke or revise the plans which
had limited the agrarian American and to utilize new territories for
future generations. Among those who would be in the way of this
plan, not including the outspoken Whigs, would be the Native
Americans and the aforementioned National Bank.
Jackson’s first act, however, would be a direct attack on one of the
opposition’s leaders. Acting on his disagreement concerning private
use of national funds, he vetoed a road project in Maysville,
Kentucky, a project wh ...
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