During the 1800s, lifestyles of people living in those times had changed drastically because of the industrial revolution, which had started to dominate the world economy. At that time, it had only been 25 years since America got independence and almost 80% Americans worked at the farms. Tenements, one room cabins and boarding houses were commonly found in cities. The capital of the country was no longer Philadelphia, but Washington, Louisiana was bought and West Point was launched.
However, the reason why 19th century is most significant in the American history is because slavery was ended during this period, and so America was changed forever. Earlier, black Africans were imported from Africa and made slaves. They were mistreated by the Americans so much that their children and their children were abused as well, so they started civil war and did not give up until they were granted freedom and equality in the United States of America .
Following are the American cultural aspects that got revived during the 19th century:
- Art and Architecture:
There was a high demand for portraiture during the 19th century. Portraits depicted the historical and religious stories. Portrait Artists that became very famous were Gilbert Stuart, John Singleton Copley and Joshua Johnson. It was in the 1802, the first major art academy was established in New York known as the American Academy of Fine Arts.
- The Economy and the Business
America was a rural country at that time, so it required importing commodities from Europe. America started to export goods to England after the American Revolution. In 1787, Congress was given the power to impose various kinds of taxes and issue paper and coin money. It was in the 1800s that a movement started to decrease the influence of ‘Bank of the United States’, which resulted in the establishment of several state banks in different parts of the country. During 1801, the territory of Louisiana was bought from France for fifteen billion dollars.
- Literature and Books
In the 19th century, The Library of Congress was established with books being imported from London. The first novel, The Powers of Sympathy, was published, which was written by William Hill Brown. Later on, 350 novels were published more in this period. Other notable writers, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Emerson and Washington Irving, were also born in this century, whose works are still admired by the people today.
- Immigration and Migration
Population had alleviated more than 30%. Indiana territory was created from the Northwest Territory by the Congress. During 1819, 250,000 immigrants arrived in United States of America. The biggest group of immigrants was the Scotch Irish. The 19th century was tough for Europeans, who migrated to the newly developed country and formed their colonies.
Schooling was considered a responsibility of the family and not of the country before the 19th century. The main purpose of learning was to be able to read bible. Boys were taught skills of farming and girls were taught skills of homemaking. Notable figures like Thomas Jefferson did try to pass a law making education a responsibility of the country, but their ideas were not put into action. Only wealthy families were able to afford tutors to teach their kids, afterwards pay for the college education. However, later on in this century school societies were formed to teach education to the poor and several universities were established. Moreover, in schools children were taught from Noah Webster’s American Spelling Book, which was the first book taught in schools.
- Music and Theater
Because the country came into existence on religious grounds so the early music was religious. Old English ballads and Scottish folk tunes were famous. In 1808, the first orchestra started called the Harvard College Orchestra. Shakespeare’s plays were popular and played often at the theaters. 95% of the American enjoyed this type of entertainment. The slaves that were brought to America infused African music in American culture, and so new genres of music were developed.
- Science and Technology
In the 19th century, submarine was invented by Robert Fulton. He also invented steamboats. A route to Pacific Ocean through Missouri River was discovered by Meriwether Lewis. When he returned, he brought a wealth of information to America (Sutton, Bettye, et el. 2003)
Sutton, Bettye, et al. "19th Century: 1800-1809." American Culture History. Lone Star College- Kingwood Library, 2003. Web. 5 Apr. 2014.
Smith, Mark M. Listen to Nineteenth- Century America. North Carolina: The University of North Carolina Press, 2001. Book.