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The first two or three decades of the 1800's in American history is viewed as a period of dynamic growth, maturation, and growing democracy. How do you feel about America at this time Do you think America acted as a democracy - Essay Example

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Following the Revolutionary War the country struggled to establish an identity through institutions that would provide stability. The early 19th century witnessed…
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The first two or three decades of the 1800s in American history is viewed as a period of dynamic growth, maturation, and growing democracy. How do you feel about America at this time Do you think America acted as a democracy
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American History: 1800s Throughout the country’s over 200 year history the United s has experienced tremendous change and evolution. Following the Revolutionary War the country struggled to establish an identity through institutions that would provide stability. The early 19th century witnessed significant growth. Today this period in America is regarded as a time of development and expansion. Even while the country undoubtedly grew during this period, there remains debate regarding the extent that this growth functioned within the confines of a true democracy. In way, while the country matured in many instances this came at a significant sacrifice of human rights. This essay examines the United States during this period, and considers the extent that the country acted as a democracy.
From an overarching perspective one considers that there were a number of substantial occurrences that contributed to the United States growth during this period. Perhaps the most seminal occurrence is the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. The Louisiana Purchase from the French government constituted the most substantial geographic change in the United States history. As this purchase involved no warfare, on a superficial level one can consider that this constitutes a significant victory for American democracy. Still, there is the understanding that while the French had legal claim to the territory there were significant Indian populations that had long resided on this land. The subsequent years witnessed considerable westward expansion that intruded upon these Indian’s lands. For instance, in 1830 the country instituted the Trail of Tears, where Indians were forcefully removed from their land and required to move to lands west of the Mississippi river (Larkin, p. 340). In this way there is the recognition that the democratic process was neglected to ensure the country’s growth and maturation. Another unavoidable early 19th century consideration was the country’s reliance on slavery as a major economic engine. These considerations firmly place the country as neglecting democracy.
Even as the United States neglected democratic processes, in other ways there was a cultural shift towards greater democratic values. In these regards, voting was opened up to a greater amount of citizens, as many of the old property requirements were abandoned. Another consideration is that the Second Great Awakening occurred. This event signaled a greater amount of democratic unity, as it indicated that all individuals could be saved through God (Larkin, p. 299). Finally, this period witnessed the increasing expansion of public schools. Through public education elements of the populace that had never been exposed to higher order thinking skills increasingly found this new education; this education conceivably allowed these groups to increasingly become involved in the electoral process.
In conclusion, this essay has examined the United States during the early 19th century. Within this context of investigation the essay demonstrates that the country experienced a period of tremendous polarity. While in many ways there were cultural moves towards greater amount of social unity and acceptance – public education, the Second Great Awakening – this was juxtaposed with a significant neglect of human rights. Ultimately it’s clear that this period of American history is highly complex because of these disparities.
References
Larkin, Jack. The Reshaping of Everyday Life, 1790–1840. New York: McGregor. 2001. Read More
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