The Era of Good Feelings:
America’s Glory Years
In an aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, feuding powers across the nation, and a general chaos, the Era of Good Feelings marked a period in the political history of the United States that reflected a sense of national purpose and a desire for unity among Americans. In the era, the collapse and downfall of the Federalist party was seen, thus an end to the bitter partisan disputes between this group its powerhouse counterpart Democratic-Republican Party amidst the First Party System. President James Monroe yearned to blur the past partisan marks, and through his nomination had the ultimate goal of national unity and eliminating parties altogether from national politics. The period is so closely associated with Monroe’s presidency, of two terms (1817–1825), and his administrative goals that his name and the era are virtually synonymous due to the success he had gained, and more importantly, the success that the nation foresaw. One of the most soothing remedies that the Era of Good Feelings saw was the presence of a less tense, and hatred-fille election. This manifested itself in the election of 1820, a landslide of an election, won by Monroe over Adams in a landslide of 231 electoral votes to Adams’ one. This whopping victory is displayed in Document I of the selected documents.
Furthermore, in this document, one may also observe the infamous election of 1824, originator of the Jackson’s flagitious term, “the corrupt bargain” where Clay and Adams, working together, stole away the presidency from Adams who was the leading vote getter, in both categories. The tension that this caused ended the Era of Good Feelings due to its troubles politically among powerful party members and unjust reasoning among them and their people. Additionally, slavery was the peak to the issues that America has faced as a nation over hundreds of years. The south has always been more predominant in slavery than the north, and thus, proved to be the large producer of cotton, and other crops that were farmed by thousands of unjustly treated slaves. As can be viewed in Document E, the population of the South was far less than that of the north, despite the nation’s germinating population.
This meant that, although people continued to come to the states in 1820, one of the highest migration periods in America, most went north where there was no slavery, showing a lower commissioner of people involving in slavery. Conclusively, this downfall of population in the south can be seen as a slow in slavery, which is the effort that Monroe and countless presidents before and after him attempted to do, rightfully naming this time period; The Era of Good Feelings. The period marking after the War of 1812 was also a historically nationalistic one for the United States. Through Monroe’s leading, and the United States’ consummated success, the inhabitants of the states were pleased as ever, as can be viewed in Document C. Painter John Krimmel, accurately portrays the events happening on July Fourth, 1819. The image shows a varying group of people, children to senior citizens, being led by James Monroe, in the annual patriotic festivities. Such patriotic behavior displays the actual feelings of nationalism felt by the citizens of the United States, the highest of said feeling in years, therefore rightfully naming the period: The Era of Good Feelings. An integral piece to the Era of Good Feelings, was Monroe and the allowance of freedom of religion among his people. In Document H, John Quincy Adams, a competitor of Monroe’s in the election of 1820, pronounces that a “very suitable and convenient opportunity for us [The United States] to take our stand against the Holy Alliance, and at the same time to decline the overture of Great Britain.” Adams, and former runners in elections for presidency have been known to argue, bad mouth, and completely despise those whom they are running against. Therefore, as Adams says these words of kindness and mutual respect, it shows that the wo, despite running against each other, had mutual respect. In addition, the feats that Adams included in his diary entry in 1823, shows that Monroe, as a leading president, is making rights and gaining power for the United States, thus causing them to be as powerful as ever. Yet again, making the name of this time period suitable and just. In Document B, John C. Calhoun speaks to Congress in his fear of disunion due to the germinating population in the states. Calhoun claims that the States should remain connected with a “perfect systems of railroads and canals. Let us conquer space.” Monroe maintained to keep the states
organized with it’s systems of roads, and federal laws, and general organization. Thus, throughout all of the speculations and skepticism, the states, under James Monroe remained organized, and successful, thus earning the name The Era of Good Feelings. The Unites States during and before the War of 1812, was at least to say; chaotic. With the fueling runners for presidency, foreign affairs, and feuding political parties, the Unites States needed James Monroe to provide peace, and we can safely say he did. Through the abolition of the Federalist Party, the ever-so growing population and foreign affairs with Britain; Monroe sewed the United States together in a time of their greatest yet; The Era of Good Feelings.