Publication Year: 2015
"The year 1816 found America on the cusp of political, social,cultural, and economic modernity. Celebrating its fortieth year of independence, the country's sense of self was maturing. Americans, who had emerged from the War of 1812 with their political systemsintact, embraced new opportunities. For the first time, citizens viewed themselves not as members of a loose coalition of states but as part of a larger union. This optimism was colored, however, by bizarre weather. Periods of extreme cold and severe drought swept the northern states and the upper south throughout 1816, which was sometimes referred to as "The Year Without a Summer." Faced with thirty-degree summer temperatures, many farmers migrated west in search of better weather and more fertile farmlands. In 1816, historian C. Edward Skeen illuminates this unique year of national transition. Politically, the "era of good feelings" allowed Congress to devise programs that fostered prosperity. Social reform movements flourished. This election year found the Federalist party in its death throes, seeking cooperation with the nationalistic forces of the Republican party. Movement west, maturation of political parties, and increasingly contentious debates over such issues as slavery characterized this pivotal year. 1816 marked a watershed in American history. This provocative new book vividly highlights the stresses that threatened to pull the nation apart and the bonds that ultimately held it together.
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
Title page, Copyright, Dedication
1. Year Without a Summer
"We have had the most extraordinary year of drought and cold ever known in the history of America,"Thomas Jefferson wrote on September 8, 1816, to his old friend and political collaborator, Albert Gallatin, who was then serving as the United States Minister to...
2. Legacy of the War of 1812
During forty years as an independent nation, Americans had survived two wars with Great Britain, the Quasi-War with France, and various other threats to the Union. The War of 1812, however, had been the severest test yet for the Union, and the country had barely...
3. The Fourteenth Congress Begins
When Congress convened in Washington for the first session of the Fourteenth Congress on December 4, 1815, the city still bore the scars of the British torching of the capital in August 1814. Congress, in fact, was meeting in the cramped quarters of the Patent Office...
4. A Tariff and a Bank
Perhaps the most serious questions facing the Fourteenth Congress were in the financial field. The country had emerged from the war with an accumulated debt of $127 million, which needed to be repaid, and the currency was also in disarray. All of the banks south...
5. Compensation Act of 1816
One of the most neglected aspects of early American political history is the transition from the deferential politics of the first party system to the popular politics of the second party system.1 We know that the second party system began to take form sometime after the...
6. Internal Improvements
Just as the federal government was called upon in 1816 to foster and protect infant industries by their tariff policies, it was also urged to facilitate domestic trade and commerce through internal improvements. However, with the major exception of the Cumberland...
7. Fourth of July Celebrations
The Fourth of July was by far the most important American national holiday in 1816. Celebrated by all Americans, no other holiday, not even Christmas, was as widely or wholeheartedly honored. Many newspapers each year printed excerpts from John Adams's...
8. National Defense
American reliance upon citizen soldiers or militia for defense was given a stern test during the War of 1812. The fear of standing armies was deeply ingrained in Anglo-American thought, and in the Constitutional Convention it was agreed that while a national defense...
9. State Developments
Much was happening at the state level during 1816 that would have significant consequences in the future. In addition to important projects begun in the Middle Atlantic states to develop canals and roads in that region, in New England a dispute between the trustees...
10. Crime and Punishment
The year 1816 had its share of crime, murder, depravity, and all forms of vile manifestations of man's inhumanity to his fellow man. Most such acts perhaps rose to public attention briefly and in a transitory way. A few events, however, not necessarily the worst...
11. The Humanitarian Impulse
In the years following the War of 1812 there was a great increase in benevolent societies devoted to many various causes. No doubt the general good will that was an outgrowth of the post-war period contributed to this mood of benevolence towards their fellow man...
12. Election of 1816
Historians have found little excitement during the 1816 presidential campaign. One writer characterized it as "dull as dishwater." Nor have other historians had much to say about this election; it has been largely ignored.1 Nevertheless, the race was hardly devoid of...
In his inaugural address on March 4,1817, the new president,James Monroe, welcomed the "increased harmony of opinion which pervades our Union," and he promised that his administration would do everything possible to advance that object. He added, with a...
Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2015
OCLC Number: 606976453
MUSE Marc Record: Download for 1816