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There were several main political and economic events that reshaped American society between the years of 1820 and 1848 to a large extent. This era, also known as the Jacksonian era, brought vibrant political movements towards a greater democracy and was a time of technological advancements and reformation, which forever impacted American ideals, due to the American System and its three main points leading to industrialization and the rise of democracy causing a wide form of nationalism throughout America, inspiring the common man to participate in politics. These new ways of American living reshaped its society into the beginning of what we see it as today. The belief that America could really grasp and improve their economy was underway by 1820. When Henry Clay established the American System with its intent being to boost the economy and focusing on establishing the Tariff of 1816, a national bank and several internal improvements like launching roads and canals and other means of new transportation all played a key role in reshaping the economy.
The purpose of the Tariff of 1816 was to protect American industries but it only favored the industries in the North, (Doc.5) and generated revenue for the federal government. The main goal of the bank was to simply stabilize the currency and provide abundant credit to the people.2 The development of internal improvements, which would be financed by the tariff, would knit the nation together, greatly impacting the economy with new means of flow of goods. All three of Clays points drastically impacted America’s economy. After the war of 1812, America gained a large sense of nationalism. People were inspired to transform their country. One of the ways this was done was by establishing factories. Since nationalism was on fire in the souls of people around the country, they were willing to invest into America’s progress, which part of this meant investing into factories and its industrialization, specifically in the north (Doc 5).
Factories boosted most of Americans economic standings one way or another. In the south, the cotton gin was created. They relied on this invention solemnly for their economy, although they still lacked revenue, compared to the north. The cotton they made was implemented into the factories in the north.2 Working conditions in the factories were dangerous and risky, with little pay and long hours. With the help of immigrants and refugees coming from Ireland and Germany, factories never had a hard time finding desperate Americans. The people who benefited the most from the factories were those who owned them. They received the most revenue and impacted the widening of a social gap. (Doc 2) However, those who owned the factories were only a small portion of the population. With the growth of factories came the growth of cities. The mass number of Americans desiring for a job started to accumulate for a large population in the advanced cities of America.3 Industrialization brought prosperity to the economy in many ways. (Doc.3)
Nonetheless, cities had started to become over crowded, the population was outnumbering the number of available jobs for citizens. So their solution was to start adventuring westward. The westward expansion brought great new economic opportunities for America to flourish. With the growth of the nation, their economy was exponentially growing as well. To a large extent, politics in the Jacksonian era greatly reshaped American society. The election of 1824 was a turning point. The big winner of this transformation was the common man. (Doc.4) This election energized the common man to get out and vote like he had never done before. (Doc.6) Around this time, “universal white manhood suffrage” was a huge game changer for America’s politics. Universal white manhood suffrage gave the right to vote for all men. However, this left women behind when it came to voting, represented in (Doc.7) This was a huge step in Americans democracy because it inspired all men to be involved in politics. (Doc.6)
Another huge act of reshaping the American society through politics was the establishment of the two-party system. The two political party system had reached its maturity. Back then however, the two political parties were the Jacksonian Democrats and the Whigs. The Democrats championed liberty of the individual and favored states’ rights because they feared the tyranny of Congress, which was attempting to overstep their constitutional power. (Doc.1) The Democrats succeeded the most because of the “common man” in their party. This party made up of the lower classes, mostly farmers. It was made up mostly of people in the South, West, and in the rural or small-town areas. Contrary, The Whigs were the upper class’s party. They were like the Federalists of older days. They favored a stronger federal government that could take action for the nation’s benefit.
A key figure of the Whig system which was Henry Clay. Which meant that the Whigs favored issues such as internal improvements, tariffs, a strong national bank, public schools etc. This party was made up mostly of the educated and wealthier classes. They made up largely from the cities and the east. Although both parties were diverse in their ways, they both tried to mobilize as many voters as possible. While there was foreshadowed tension between the two parties, this system helped to ease the tension by organizing the manhood’s thoughts and desires for its country into the satisfaction of a fitting party. All of these political changes, to a large extent, helped to reshape the American society into what it is today.
There were several main political and economic changed that reshaped American society between 1820 and 1848 to a large extent. This era brought vibrant political movements towards a greater democracy and was a time of technological advancements and reformation that forever impacted America’s ideals. Due to the American System leading to industrialization and the expansion of democracy causing a wide form of nationalism throughout America, inspiring the common man to participate in politics, these new ways of American living reshaped its society into the beginning of what it is today.