Era of Good Feelings

The "Era of Good Feelings" refers to the period from 1815 to 1824. During these years, the United States was politically governed by national leaders who all belonged to the Republican Party of Thomas Jefferson. The era ended in 1824 when party unity collapsed due to the bitter presidential contest of that year.

Although national party battles subsided during these years, the era was far from uneventful. The nation experienced rapid westward expansion as well as its first nationwide depression, which began in 1819. That same year, the initial struggle in the sectional crisis erupted over issue of slavery in the new state of Missouri.

Questions to pose in a lecture and/or class discussion on the "Era of Good Feelings:"

1. What was so "good" about the Era of Good Feelings? Could it also be called the "Era of Bad Feelings"?

2. Was it possible for the American republic to remain a one-party nation in perpetuity? Why or why not?

3. How and why were American leaders more assertive in foreign policy matters during the "Era of Good Feelings"?

4. Explain the tie between the era's rapid westward expansion and emergence of sectional tensions over Missouri?

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