Reasons for the Era of Good Feelings

The period after the war of 1812 was full of American pride and prosperity. The national economy was becoming more stable and profitable. Internal improvements were also introduced to promote a more effective trade system. Political relations with foreign nations were very peaceable and beneficial. In addition, westward expansion boomed and settlement of new lands and states took place. All of these led to a greater sense of nationalism and a reduction of factionalism. It was the beginning of the Era of Good Feelings.

The most impacting aspect of the era was the boost in the economy. This can be attributed to many things. The first is the reinstatement of the National Bank after congress had previously denied its renewal. The new bank was able to influence smaller state banks, which would often print money that had no backing, to be more legitimate. The blockade of ocean trade routes by the British also led to the development of textile industries and other self-reliant businesses that promoted internal trade as well as lower prices in comparison with costly imports. The invention of new machinery such as the power loom, steam engine, and cotton gin also allowed these new industries to function much more efficiently. Another action that aided the economy was the passing of tariffs that raised price of imports so that interstate trade for raw materials was increased.

Along with the increase of trade came a high need for products. The already over populated east was becoming scarce in the way of furs and other materials. Many settlers headed to the west for that reason as well as the prospect of new land, wealth and opportunity. A sense of “Manifest Destiny” swept the land as frontiers men began to take up stakes all over the Louisiana purchase and even further. Companies like the Rocky Mountain Fur Companystarted by the Ashleys helped to spread the fur trading market around the frontier. In addition, many other happenings like the introduction of new states to the union and obtaining new land from treaties or other means added to the growing national pride.

While the nations economy did have an important role in the creation of the era of good feelings, a political aspect also existed. At the end of the war, the Federalist Party had all but vanished leaving the republican party the overwhelming majority if not the only party. This decrease in factionalism led to a greater sense of unity among the states because people were no longer as separated by political boundaries. Since there were no competitions over certain viewpoints, people also began to accept more federalist movements such as internal improvements.

As one can see, the Era of Good Feelings was created through political, economic and expansion reasons. The countries prosperity was due to the increase in technology and trade. Political parties coalesced into one allowing freer thought and actions. In addition, westward movement promoted a greater sense of nationalism.


Note: This is an original work and should be cited if used.

Era of Good Feeling, the period from 1817 to 1824 when the Democratic-Republican was virtually the only party in the United States. President Monroe was re-elected in 1821 by 231 electoral votes out of 232 and some writers restrict the term to his second adminstration. Internal improvements and tariff questions broke up the harmony after 1824.


Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.

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