Life in America during the early 1800s was difficult, nevertheless, most of the Americans were full of hope as they strove to work for a better life. It was a period of challenging transition when the young government and its people worked in developing the foundation of the new American society. Typical in a state that is in its early stages, America during the early times of the republic went into a period of an unstable state. For one, there is the case of inequality among white Americans and the men of color. Racism and slavery was rampant during that time, in addition to the unequal rights and treatment given to men and women. It is to be noted that American women often found their works and efforts spent at home were perceived to be of lesser value that that of men’s works. It is also to be noted that while there is little changes in the lives of the American women during the early 19th century, there were various developments that paved the way for their welfare. They were regarded as the mother of the republicans, and thus she was encouraged to have an education to be a responsible nurturer for her family. It was a limited education, though, as they are only required to have it for the benefit of the family and not much for the purpose of using it outside the home.
Life is also unequal among Americans living across different regions. While about 83 percent of the Americans, were farmers (Society, 210), they utilized their lands in a dissimilar manner. For instance, in the Northeast, the farmers who settled gave up tilling their land in exchange for cattle and livestock raising. Nevertheless, it can be said that life in the Southeast is better than that of the life of the Southerners because the latter suffered from economic disarray. It was a daunting experience for Americans living in the South, but they soon found ways to boost their economy: their resilience made them come up with better ways to improve their lives. Another place where most Americans settled during the early 19th century was in the Trans-Appalachia (Society, 13). It was a place where different cultures settled and mingled with each other. Accordingly, it was the strengthened manner of acquiring land that America was referred to as the land of opportunities. The disadvantage, however, is that communities became densely populated encouraging the development of unsuitable living conditions.
The increase in the number of white settlers in lands that are previously controlled by the Native Americans brought tension among the new settlers and the natives. While some of the tribes seek to have a peaceful interaction with their new neighbors, still some reacted in resistance. Despite the trading and intermarriages, the native Americans were highly secluded and separated from the community. The natives have to either choose to assimilate or disperse further into the mountains. Consequently, the American government tried to reach out to the different regions of the country, providing reforms that aimed at alleviating suffering and the development of a better life for everyone.
. The time of the early 19th century is also a period when many black slaves were freed and free black communities were formed. These communities served as their anchor because despite gaining their freedom, racism is still prevalent, and majority of the whites did nothing to hide their feeling of superiority. The creation of black community provided them home and close family relationships. Some Black American leaders put up different organizations that are independent from the whites, such as schools, churches and community groups (Society, 225). They were able to educate their children, created associations as well as churches that provided fellowship and support. Unfortunately, these situations generally speaks for the Black Americans of the North, which was in contrast to the majority of the blacks in the South who continued to be enslaved.
The year 1820 to 1860 (Economic, 239) was a period of a more complex transition; the economy of America was headed for a change from the traditional agricultural based into the more complex industry and technology focused way of life. It was an unstable change that the Americans have to face; there is the instability as jobs, goods and costs are almost unpredictable. Despite that, the Americans saw it through and came up better after braving the difficulties brought by the economy. Communication and transportation improved (Economic, 229) in addition to the invention of other relevant machineries that were utilized in the growing industrial businesses.
The improvement of the lives of the Americans strengthened their belief in being the chosen people of God. Their economic development ranges from having enough raw materials, the acquisition of new territories, increased in the number of population, improvement of roads as well as the improvement of the country’s investment sectors (Economic, 240). It is the transportation revolution that brought a tremendous change to the Americans. There is an increase in production because of the ease of transporting goods to other regions, allowing for larger markets. In addition to that, the mode of communication through publishing flourished as cheap reading materials became readily available. Among the economic factors, it was the textile industry that enhanced the economic growth of the United States. The Americans have always prided themselves on manufacturing practical, affordable and usable goods in contrast to that of the expensive luxuries that only the rich can afford. Taking the cue from Great Britain, the Americans adapted better ways to manufacture textiles and several researches and experiments were done to improve the promising industry.
Aside from the country’s economic growth, there are other changes that were brought by the industrial improvement during the 1800s. The capitalists benefitted most, pocketing large profits from the booming businesses. During the 1840s, they comprise about 4 percent of the population, while holding an estimated two-thirds of the wealth, thus widening the cause of inequality between the rich and the poor. Nevertheless, the middle class families also benefitted from the American economy as most of them were able to live in well furnished and peaceful homes. There is also the change in the traditional structure of the family, as the idea that a smaller number of children is better because it allows for parents chances to nurture and educate them (Economic, 254). Birth control lessen the number of live births but still, the population increased due to the immigrants who seek for better opportunities in the industrialized places. Unfortunately, it was the working poor who worked long hours, paid meager salaries and made to live in slums. Most of them are immigrants who came for better opportunities, and were given less or no privileges at all and it was they who suffered the most during the 1800s.
The changes in the social and economic system of the United States transformed many of the key cities into violence prone areas. While development was most welcome, main cities became a burrow for violence such as mob actions. The violence was attributed to racial inequalities and prejudices that were experienced by immigrants, providing the conclusion that there was a racial explanation for the occurrence of violence (Economic, 54). The events of the 19th century revealed that the United States of America and its citizens have gone through distressful circumstances as a young nation, but was able to overcome it with the cooperation of its people. Somehow the ugly side of industrializing America helped the government in coming up with better policies and programs for its diverse communities.
Economic Transformations in the Northeast and the Old Northwest. The American People. 6th ed. Print.
Society and Politics in the Early Republic. The American People. 6th ed. Print.