Jackson to Manifest Destiny


The Market Revolution

  • Improvements in transportation (first roads & canals, then steamboats & RRs)
  • allows for expansion of manufacturing early factories (textiles, shoes, etc.)
  • Workingwomen - seek autonomy & new opportunity
  • start of wage labor system, workers subject to fluctuations in labor market
  • Boom in banking, banks key to business development, bank notes become key part of money supply
  • accompanying boom in commercial & corporate law, lawyers become central to economy
  • Economic growth increases susceptibility to booms and busts (business cycle)

Cultural and Religious Shifts

  • The Family and Separate Spheres
  • Push for greater public education
  • The Second Great Awakening
  • The Temperance Movement and Moral Reform (protecting the home)
  • Growth of abolition (most northerners anti-black, free labor)

The Spread of Democracy

  • 1828 (Jackson vs. John Q. Adams): voters now involved in selection of presidential electors
  • Partisan Identity grows (newspapers)
  • Character issues dominate Election of 1828 (Jacksons temper & toughness vs. Adams piety & intellect)

Jacksons Democratic Agenda

  • Spoils system: party loyalists throughout bureaucracy
  • Limited government, & limited support for transportation & other things favored by big business
  • Tax $$ for general benefit

Jackson & the Democrats

  • Indian Policy and the Trail of Tears
  • SC tries to nullify the Tariff of Abominations, Jackson uses force to make them comply
  • Refuses to renew bank charter on argument that it only favors the elite
  • Wins reelection on class antagonism created by Bank War
  • Unregulated economy booms but then inflation goes crazy (unregulated money supply)
  • Jackson tries to regulate, Banks respond with contraction & economy collapses in 1837
  • Van Buren serves one term in panic conditions

Westward Movement

  • Manifest Destiny - white culture destines to control all land from sea to shining sea
  • Oregon Trail start of first push to far west - clash with Plains Indians
  • The Mormon Exodus
  • American settlers push into the Mexican Borderlands (grow cotton in TX, etc.)
  • TX wins its independence

Mexican-American War

  • Politics of Expansion driven by slavery
  • Polk big expansionist, provokes war with Mexico
  • Conditions are difficult but U.S. wins big, pays Mexico $15m for territory (CA, AZ, NV, UT, NM)
  • Finishes Manifest Destiny, gold discovered in CA sets off settlement boom

Economic & Industrial Evolution

  • MW easier to farm than NE
  • Improvements in Ag technology also help
  • Land Policy encouraged speculation but did make land more available to poor (land rich & labor poor)
  • Mechanization makes manufacturing more efficient


  • develop key industries (coal, iron, lumber, etc.)
  • make industrialization & settlement possible
  • Massive government aid & land grants to RR companies (private but had big government help)

Free Labor

  • The Free-Labor Ideal: work to buy own land tools, prosper for self, hire another beginner to help him along
  • Many pursue this ideal, creates mobile society
  • Slavery threatens this notion
  • Economic Inequality tough to explain with free labor model
  • Immigrants from Germany & Ireland pursue this ideal

Reforming Society & Self

  • The Pursuit of Perfection: Transcendentalists (look to self) and Utopians (build perfect societies
  • Womens Rights Activists (Senenca Falls start of suffrage movement)
  • Abolitionists continued to push for emancipation throughout the 1840s & 1850sand the American Ideal