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Antebellum America

by: Kaylin Wallen

Antebellum America HY 103

Kaylin Wallen
GPA 3.2

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Dr. Brasher Lecture 2 for Test 3
American Civilization to 1865
Dr. Brasher
Class Notes
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This 16 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kaylin Wallen on Sunday April 17, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HY 103 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Dr. Brasher in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 39 views. For similar materials see American Civilization to 1865 in History at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.


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Date Created: 04/17/16
Antebellum America; Transformation & Reform Why slavery became an unavoidable issue Antebellum: things as they were, before the civil war I. America Transformed 1. Immigration 5 million new immigrants (1815-1860) Largest % coming from England 40% from Ireland…why? − Ireland’s economy was destroyed by potato blight (they relied economically on potatoes) How did that transform America? − More people prone to immigrate to the North (more jobs available) − Northern population far exceeds the South, spawns a movement to oppose Irish immigrants (Nativism) 2. Nativism Nativists- born here & don’t want immigrants (ironic because everyone is a descendent of someone from somewhere else) Why don’t they want them here? − They are taking our jobs − A large % of Irishmen are Catholic Theoretically, Catholics take direction from the Pope = They will elect their own to office & America will eventually be controlled by the pope − Begin to form gangs that beat up Irishmen, hoping they will leave − In return the Irish form gangs to protect themselves =Major gang problem Nativist Party: − Ran people on the basis of persecuting the Irish − Nickname: “Know Nothings” @ Meetings they talked about legitimate things but also illegal activity against the Irish, when leaving the meeting and someone asked what they talked about they said “I know nothing” − At a pivotal moment the know nothings are going to play a very important role and they are a product of this economic transformation 3. Mechanization − Mechanization: machines do work that used to be done by human hands The South − Coming into the Revolution, the South’s economy began to flounder because the main crop (tobacco) wasn’t bringing in the kind of profits it used to − Another crop with potential for reviving the economy: cotton Why potential? st Industrial Revolution coming to England, 1 industry- Textile (dependent on cotton) South can grow cotton and sell it to England Problem: 2 types of cotton, long stem & short stem (both had advantages and disadvantages) Eli Whitney: Cotton Gin Put in short stem cotton, comes out separate from seed, stem etc. = The south can now grow short stem cotton & sell it to England at great prices = The south becomes obsessed with getting more land to grow cotton (past lecture…why they traveled to the West) -Transforms politically Short stem cotton is very hard labor (have to bend down all day, plus heat) = Southerners bought more slaves = The south’s economy is even more invested in slavery than ever before The North East − Industrial Revolution, 1 Industry- Textile How did that transform America? Prior to Antebellum America the used the “putting out system” - Textile manufacturers bought raw materials and put it out to homes to make thread then homes to make cloth then homes to make garments = How many homes made their income Now people have to move to the cities to work in the textile factories = Size of city increases Not good paying jobs because you didn’t need skill = Slums (neighborhoods) When on the farm, they didn’t need a clock/watch because they worked on their own time, now because of the factory jobs their whole life is controlled by the clock Felt like they were giving up their freedom (very stressful) The Mid West Need for someone to grow food (rest of the country growing cotton & working in factories) The Mid West is suitable (flat land & fertile soil) Problem: how much land you have depends on how much plowing you can do in 1 day Plows pulled by ox- very slow & stupid Difficult for farmers to have farms big enough to grow more than for local markets John Deere Plow that can dig deep into the Earth without much pressure & a harness that used horses shoulder blades (main source of strength) = Can now plow with horsepower = farmers can have bigger fields for larger markets Problem: largest crop= wheat (had to whip through plants) Cyrus McCormick- mechanized reaper Wagon attached to horse, blades chop up the wheat = Farmers can have big farms and sell crops to the rest of America (larger markets) = People start moving to the West 4. Transportation Revolution Because of mechanization, all 3 regions need better transportation between them (before they only needed transportation to Europe because main source of trade) − S get cotton to NE − NE get manufactured goods to S & MW − MW get food to S & NE State and national government using finances for transportation revolution − Highways Clearing paths, grading the roads (modern road construction without tar) − The National Road Baltimore—Midwest Primary means people who moved to the Midwest got there − Canals Man made rivers to connect natural rivers Get crops to big cities faster Erie Canal (most important) Connected the Midwest to New York (made NY possible) People could move to the city and get food in & goods out − Steam boats Allowed shipment up river faster and more effectively − Railroads (most important) Amazing speed of 30mph (revolutionary to them) 5. A Regional Economy Because of transportation improvements and mechanization, a regional economy develops in which all 3 regions are economically dependent on each other Also, America is becoming self-sufficient − Growing own food − Less dependent on foreign countries − Hamilton’s vision And it’s working… America gaining enormous wealth − Rich getting richer − Middle class getting bigger − Poor have better living conditions 6. The American System Makes the regional economy work *Tariff that’s used to protect American manufacturers (if imports are being taxed, they cost more = Americans will buy goods made in America because they are cheaper) − Encourages people to buy American goods − Use the money raised from the tariff to pay for transportation improvements Becomes a political issue − Whigs support & promote the American System − Democrats oppose (want a small government) 7. Is the South getting screwed? The south has no problem with the regional economy (plantation owners getting wealthier because of it) But, they don’t like the American System because… − Their economy is dependent on importing manufactured goods − They believe they pay more tariff than anyone else, but the money going towards transportation improvements isn’t going to the South =Screws us SC: − Calhoun argued southerners need to start working together to protect our own best interest 8. The Point The economy is being transformed in ways that are causing the South to unite in their own best interest II. Antebellum Reform 1. Why are they so obsessed with reforming society? Because of cities growing = slums Slums create a lot of problems (crime, prostitution) = Americans have more of those problems than ever before Better transportation = Americans traveling more = more aware of America’s problems because they are seeing it Jackson taught us the common man has a role in shaping society and because of that spirit − Many people start movements to fix what’s wrong in society nd Age of the 2 Great Awakening − Religious revivalism − Traveling preachers delivering sermons making people feel guilty about their sin = More people joining churches = A lot of church funding = Finance reform movements = Antebellum Americans obsessed with trying to figure out what’s wrong with our nation to fix it 2. Temperance Movement One thing that’s wrong with the country: we drink too much alcohol − Average = 14 gallons/white man/year Why drinking? − Studies showed many of our countries problems can go back to alcohol -Large expense in maintaining prisons -People losing jobs because they are ineffective workers because they are alcoholics These problems could be fixed if people stop drinking Fix it by: − Creating a social stigma against drinking (through publications, speeches, banners, etc.) − Tried to educate Americans about the dangers of alcohol & painted it as a bad thing Successful average now= 3 gallons/year 3. Education Coming into Antebellum America, there were few public schools outside of New England In order to get an education, the family had to pay the school’s tuition and many couldn’t Horris Man: − This is a bad thing that is a threat to our republic − Because we don’t have public education, the gap between the wealthy and the poor is increasing The only way to prevent the government from becoming tyrannical, is for the people to watch them − How can people be a watch dog unless the public is educated and knows what our government can/can’t do − Preventing government tyranny requires an educated public = The survival of our republic relies on public education Widely successful − Except in the South 4. Prisons and Asylums Prisons: Before Antebellum America, there were no prisons for long term incarceration, only jails (hold criminals awaiting a trial) The point should be to rehabilitate people − Based on the assumption that mankind in naturally good Argument: Lock them up and take care of their basic needs but isolate them and give them time to reflect and they will come out better − Plus, while they are in there we can learn from them − If we understand why people go into a life of crime we can stop it Transform people & prevent crimes Asylums: Before Antebellum America, very little money was put in because they just wanted to get those people away Asylums essentially became like dungeons Dorthea Dix: − Argued: when we treat the mentally insane like this we aren’t doing anything to improve them or society − We should be trying to help them − Figure out why people become like this to prevent other people Bryce Hospital: put Tuscaloosa on the map 5. The body and the beyond Health Problems In Antebellum America, Americans were suffering from health problems in larger numbers than ever before − Obesity Because of material success, created more wealth and food and more people with jobs that weren’t physically demanding − Drug use More wealth, stressful economy − Recreational sex STDs Why? Larger middle class with more leisure time Birth control comes out at this point Condoms made from sheep intestines − Cholera Disease from drinking bacteria infected water Lead to people trying to figure out how to fix these problems: Hydrotherapy: “Water Cure” Belief that we needed to cleanse our bodies more than we do − They bathed once every 2 or 3 months, because they believed sickness went in through your pores − What’s causing our sickness is that we are dirty/nasty − Need to educate how about how cleanliness leads to good health Force water through your body (EVERY opening) Hydro therapists had spas that cleaned you Phrenology: Belief that you could tell physical/emotional health characteristics based on bumps/grooves on the head − Cast molding on heads of doctors/preachers/insane etc. Athletes and Spectator Sports: Solution for Obesity—get people exercising − Confusing to people because they had jobs that naturally kept them in shape (but, not anymore) To promote exercise, doctors had people as role models that we should aspire to be—fit and athletic = Natural curiosity for people to figure out whose the best athlete Before Antebellum America, the only sports involved animals Now: − Rowing − Foot racing − Baseball − Wrestling − Boxing Always someone to organize it and make money = Sporting clubs, betting, ticket sales Play up on athletes connection to their larger community Birth of modern sports Silvester Graham: Most famous Antebellum reformer Involved in a lot of causes, but most known for health reform (he was a hydro therapist) Famous for what he had to say about diet: − Obesity is more than just exercising, we need to change our diet, people need to stop eating red meats − Came up with a substitute for red meat: Graham cracker Also famous for his ideas about recreational sex: − Argues: more of a problem than just STDs, also (outside and inside of marriage) every part of our body has specific but limited functions, even reproductive organs—function to reproduce − If you use them too much, when it comes time to have a baby organs wont function properly Physical disabilities & disease can happen to the baby Product of recreational sex − What about desires? Solution… take a cold shower − Men are men, so he put it onto women to prevent recreational sex Started new fashion: cover everything Why on women? Believes women don’t enjoy sex = Their responsibility to prevent it = Today’s rape culture (dress a certain way, asking for it, dress codes) Spiritualism (ghosts) Antebellum Americans obsessed with ghosts The Fox sisters- lived in NY − The 2 younger sisters claimed there was a dead sailor buried under their house & they could talk to him People fascinated and showed up to listen Older sister suggested they start charging people To keep the income coming they could conjure up any dead person − Got them RICH = Birth of celebrity culture More people start trying to do it too = birth of more spiritualists Everyone was doing it − Partly because of entertainment but also, carrying around emotional weight, unfinished business of the dead Believe that the dead can understand everything, so people began asking them health questions American Medical Association (A.M.A) Combat crazy theories − Dissipate health information − Helped doctors communicate with each other = General health information advancing On the verge of modern medicine - Because they don’t understand germs 6. Women’s Rights “Women’s Sphere” – proper place of the woman − Outgrowth of “Republican Mothers” Because of the industrial revolution, men were leaving the home to go to work − When man goes out to work, he brings home all the nasty traits of the world − Home should be perfect when they come home to relieve some of that stress & it’s the responsibility of the woman to make sure of that (perfect home, clean, organized) Women in reforms: All of the reform movements were driven by women − They saw it as an extension of Republican Motherhood Ironically, they could feel the culture push back… “You should be at home taking care of the kids!” − The more they did this, the more they felt their ability to change things was restricted because they didn’t have the right to vote Seneca Falls: Stanton & Mott- held the convention for women @ Seneca Falls, New York Declaration of Sentiments- The rights society had been taking away from women They weren’t saying if you believe your place is in the home, something is wrong with you… they believed they lived in a society that tells them there is no choice, so they are taking away their right of self determination − Most Americans laughed at the Declaration of Sentiments (thought they must be lesbians) A step forward “Every long journey requires small steps” Seneca Falls and the Republican Mothers idea led to the women’s rights th movement… more steps in the 20 century Fight that continues today… − Today: more women in college than men, more graduate, higher GPA, women represented in every career, women open to any career and don’t feel like that only have 1 choice in life 7. American Literature This Antebellum American obsession promoted reading for entertainment Transcendentalism: Believed it what okay for us all to believe different things and still be part of the same movement Common themes: − The world we live in is nothing more than a reflection of what’s going on inside of us…if you want to change the world you have to start with yourself − Truth is not a product of any institutions of man Just because an institution created by man defines something as good/bad it doesn’t make it so, you have to decide for yourself based on your own experience & perception of the world Ralph Waldo Emerson- Father of Transcendentalism Henry David Thoreau- Emerson’s “disciple” − To free his mind of pre programmed institutions, he needed to live as a hermit in nature Result: wrote the book “Walden” One of the most famous works of American Literature Encouraged Americans to look at themselves Good vs. Bad element Romantics- the greatest writers America has ever produced − Idealized versions of people, totally good or totally bad characters & good will always win Today: blurring the lines between good/bad Reinforces cultural obsession with reform because it gets people to think about the world in really simplistic ways—everything is good or bad Writers Herman Melville − Moby Dick Nathaniel Hawthorn − The Scarlet Letter Washington Erving − The Legend of Sleepy Hollow − Rip Van Winkle James Fenimore Cooper − Responsible for creating the American version of a hero In Britain- Knights, wealthy = heroic Cooper- experience in living/growing on the frontier/woods = heroic − The Leather Stocking Tales (series of books) The Last of The Mohicans (most famous) Walt Whitman − Poems and short stories that celebrated everything about America (accents, bodies, geography, democracy) everything about America is Holy good − Leaves of Grass Edgar Allen Poe − Dark, gloomy stories − Father of detective fiction (detectives, cops, discovering the bad) These writers are helping to reinforce this cultural obsession with trying to figure out what’s wrong with ourselves so we can fix it because they get people seeing the world in stark contrast of good and bad & that good can always win History #1 event Antebellum American historians writing about—The Revolution − In a good vs. bad way − Told the story in a way that painted the British as bad & the Founding Fathers as almost like gods—holy/good people Good (Founding Fathers) triumphs bad (British empire) When kids going to school & learning Americas history its helping to reinforce the obsession of trying to find out what’s wrong with ourselves so we can fix it African American Writers Now getting large numbers of works published (none in revolutionary America) − They were run away slaves—books telling what their life was like as a slave Harriet Jacobs Fredrick Douglas (most famous) Solomon Northup- 12 years a slave (most famous now) What these writers were saying to Americans: while you are totally obsessed with trying to figure out what’s wrong with our country & trying to improve America, there is this incredibly bad thing going on in our country and most of y’all are doing everything you can to avoid it − Slavery III. Conclusions 2 reasons why slavery became an unavoidable issue − The economy is being transformed in ways that is causing the South to unite in their own best interest − This obsession with trying to figure out what’s wrong with ourselves so we can fix it shines a light on slavery Increasing amount of people looking down on slavery    


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