Factors That Promoted National Unity
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There were many factors that promoted national unity during the early 1800’s. The creation of national literature and art, an increase in economic activity, and the western expansion were some of the most significant.
In the beginning of the nineteenth century, there was a creation of national literature. Many authors began to write about America instead of Europe like they had been prior to the war of 1812. By this time, we had been in America for almost 200 years so there was an American history to be told. Textbooks were written with American history in them. At this point, there was also a creation of art. Artists were basing their art on western nature, like George Caleb Bingham, who documented the west. Poetry also became popular and the stories in the poetry were based on American people and places.
Around 1815, there was a rise in the economic activity of America. There were many crops being grown and traded at this time. The cotton industry in particular was extremely popular and growing at a rapid pace. There were a lot of inventions made in this time that helped speed up the process of manufacturing and production such as the cotton gin. More roads were also built so that helped increase the transportation of products throughout the country. This was also around the time that Henry Clay introduced and proposed his “Clay’s American System” to congress. This plan included 3 major points, 1. The building of the Cumberland Road, 2. The tariff of 1816, and 3. The creation of a new national bank. Unfortunately for him, only 2 of the 3 proposals passed through congress.
The third most significant factor that helped promote national unity was the western expansion. When the expansion began, the United States acquired many new territories and created new states. This helped to bring the nation together as a whole. Prior to this, the country had been very small and hadn’t really ventured out past the Mississippi River. Throughout the western expansion period, there were many sectional issues that arose. But with the growth of cotton and the need for new land to grow, and the growth of American literature, the western expansion did seriously help in unifying the nation.
Although every issue had its good and bad issues, and there were people for and against each one of them, especially the western expansion, the early 1800’s were a time when the nation truly came together as a whole. We became unified and the world was beginning to recognize us on a larger country scale. We had ties in many other countries and would trade many of our crops. All of the factors previously mentioned were extremely significant in the promotion of national unity, along with a lot more.