Democrats and Whigs in the Age of Andrew Jackson

 

                                  

John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson and the Elections of 1824-1828 

Lecture Themes:

This lecture focuses on the end of the “era of good feelings” and the ongoing transformation of electoral politics in the United States.  Topics to explore include the tumultuous presidential elections of 1824 and 1828, the collapse of the caucus system for presidential nominations, the emergence of Andrew Jackson as an important political figure, and the growing clout of the western states in national politics.

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Andrew Jackson, the Whig Response, and the Transformation of American Politics

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This lecture looks at the presidency of Andrew Jackson.  Topics to focus upon include Jackson’s humble background, his democratic vision of the United States, the transformation of the presidency during his administration, the “Bank War” with Nicholas Biddle, and Jackson’s controversial policies toward American Indians.  The nullification crisis and the president’s struggles with John C. Calhoun should also be examined in order to explain the gradually-developing sectional crisis.

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The Dawning of American Industrialism

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This lecture explores early industrial development in the new republic (from roughly the 1790s-1830s).   Topics to focus upon are the pre-Revolutionary era’s “household economy,” Alexander Hamilton’s manufacturing vision of the United States, the gradual emergence of manufacturing in New England, the creation of the integrated manufacturing mill by the 1820s (especially in Lowell, Massachusetts), and a review of how industrialism transformed the American economy and the experiences of laborers. 

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The Westward Expansion and the Transportation Revolution

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This lecture explores American expansion to the Mississippi River and beyond, focusing on the motives of westward migrants, the ethnic and racial composition of the new settlers, and the more democratic politics and mores within the new Western states.  Lecturers should also explain the development of new transportation systems in the early nineteenth century – including state-sponsored and private turnpikes as well as steamboats, canals, and railroads – all of which facilitated and, indeed, accelerated the westward movement.

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Slaves, Slavery, and Cotton

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This lecture looks at the rise of the “Cotton South.”  Starting with Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin in the 1790s, it discusses mass migration into new southern states to the west during the first half of the nineteenth century as well as the dramatic expansion of the domestic slave trade, the experiences of African Americans, and the shift of political and economic power in the region to states such as Georgia, Mississippi, and Louisiana. 

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The Second Great Awakening and the Transcendentalist Movement

Lecture Themes:

This lecture surveys the religious revivals and cultural changes that swept the nation after the turn of the century.  Key topics to focus upon include the reasons behind evangelical Christianity’s spread, romanticism in art and literature, and the Transcendental Movement in the North led by such individuals as Emerson, Thoreau, and Hawthorne.

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The Abolition Movement

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This lecture examines the growth of the northern abolitionist movement during the first half of the nineteenth century.  Important issues to focus upon are the early efforts of some national leaders (from both the North and South) to enact gradual emancipation and colonization schemes as well as the shift toward radical abolitionism which stressed the need to immediately end human bondage.  The lecture also emphasizes the important roles played by African Americans in the South, who resisted their enslavement in a variety of ways, and free blacks in the North who actively participated in the new abolition societies.

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