America In The Early 19th Century
On March fourth, 1801, Thomas Jefferson, a Republican, was
elected President of the United States of America.
Republicans strongly supported farmers, and they wanted an
agrarian nation. The country, however, needed strong
trade with other countries, and they also needed more land
for farming. This led to the Louisiana Purchase, and
additional land for the United States.
The French owned a large amount of land west of the United
States. Inside all of this land was the Mississippi River
and New Orleans. Because the Republicans wanted a farming
nation, America needed a port like New Orleans. Jefferson
didn't think that Napoleon would sell all of this land, but
he asked him anyway. To his surprise Napoleon did want to
sell this land because he needed more money for his fight
with Great Britain. So Jefferson bought the Louisiana
Territory, and doubled the nation's size. This purchase was
a mastermind move by Jefferson and let the farming nation
trade using the whole Mississippi River.
Another achievement of Thomas Jefferson was the exploration
of the Louisiana Territory. He hired Lewis and Clark to
explore the uncharted territory. He told them to search the
land for a river passage to the Pacific Ocean. Jefferson
also told them to keep diaries and make maps. This was
Clark's task. In May, 1804, forty-four men set out on the
expedition. The travelers tried to be friendly with the
Indians on their way. When they reached North Dakota they
hired the French trapper Toussaint Charbonneau, and his
wife Sacajawea to be guides and interpreters. With them
they traveled to the Pacific Coast and back. Even though
many people were disappointed that they had not found an
all water route to the Pacific Ocean, Lewis and Clark were
the first to map most of this land we call America. They
also aroused an interest in people to move westward.
At the time the United States acquired the Louisiana
Territory, France and Great Britain were engaged in a war.
Since the United States had a small military, it did not
want to be involved in the French-British War and America
tried to remain neutral while trading with Europe. France
and Great Britain kept on violating the U.S. neutrality
rights. The United States kept on trying to trade, but both
sides put blockades on each others ports. This meant that
the other countries took U.S. ships. The British, however,
not only took ships, but they also impressed American
During all of this mayhem President Madison came to power.
Because of Britain's violations of America's sailors, he
asked Congress to declare war against Britain. Congress
voted yes to the wa and the War of 1812 began. After two
years of fighting, General Andrew Jackson came out
victorious. A treaty was signed in Belgium, and the growing
nation finally earned a little respect.
Following the War of 1812, Andrew Jackson ran for president
in 1828 and won. Jackson is said to be the first western
president. President Jackson was odd in a the way he sided
with states on some things and on other things he did not.
He wanted to remove the Indians, get rid of the National
Bank, and in 1828 he let a tariff pass that taxed imports.
This angered Vice President Callhoon, and other people from
South Carolina who said it was unfair. The consequence was
that South Carolina nullified the tariff, Callhoon
resigned, and South Carolina threatened to form its own
government. Even though the Civil War wasn't until many
years later, this was a sign of internal unrest that could
jeopardize the growth of the country.
Part of the reason that there was this internal conflict
was that our nation was growing very rapidly, and each area
of the country had huge differences both economically,
socially, and politically. For example, the Republicans
Party consisted primarily of farmers who wanted a farming
nation much. The Federalists were much different being from
New England. They supported industry and manufacturing
goods. An example of party differences is that of the
Whisky Rebellion. In this the Federalists who were in power
at the time passed a law which put a twenty-five percent
tax on whisky. This angered Republican farmers who turned
their grain into whisky. A full scale revolt came out of
this which threatened the ever-changing young country.
Another difference was in the people themselves. Many
Germans and Irish people immigrated to the United States.
The Germans left their country because of their bad
government, war, persecution, and because of unemployment.
The Germans came to America looking for land, gold,
opportunity, and adventure. About 1.5 million German
immigrants came to America from 1820 to 1859. The Germans
settled in the Midwest because most of them were skilled
farmers with enough money to move there and buy land.
The Irish, left their country for most of the same reasons
as the Germans, but they also were having a food shortage
because of the Potato Famine. They came to America looking
for a new life. Their journey was terrible because they
were poor and unskilled people. Many of them died on their
way. The Irish mostly settled in the ports and worked for
small wages because they were very poor. About 2 million
Irish people came to the United States between 1820 to
1859. These different ethnic groups helped change the new
The immigrants faced new hardships in their new country.
They could be imprisoned or expelled from the country if
the president thought the foreigner was dangerous. This was
known as the Alien Act. Another act that disturbed the
people was the Sedition Act. The Sedition Act was
unconstitutional because it restricted freedom of speech
and freedom of the press. The Irish were the ones who
really had hardships though. They had to settle right in
the port in the town and because they had no money or
skills, factories like Lowell Mills and other businesses
took advantage of them, making them work for pennies. The
Lowell Mill was a cotton factory that mostly employed young
women whose family needed money. They worked 13 hours a
day during the summer and from dawn until dusk in the
winter. They had 30 to 45 minutes to eat lunch and then
they were rushed back to work. The mill was hot, loud, and
very dangerous. In the boarding house six girls were in
each room, and two girls had to share a bed. There was no
privacy, and the girls had a miserable time. Even though it
was almost like slavery it did help the American Economy