The “Positive Good” of Slavery

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Engraving of John C. Calhoun.

John Calhoun, one of the staunchest supporters of states’ rights, was widely known for his view that slavery as a “positive good” in American society.

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A First Test for Separation of Church and State

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A Depiction of the Cholera Outbreak in New York City in 1832.

With the communications and transportation revolution came new, unforeseeable consequences. One such consequence was the spread of cholera and other contagious diseases, which would test the mettle of Americans.

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Jackson’s Farewell

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Andrew Jackson.

President Andrew Jackson, with his term coming to an end, commissioned the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Roger Taney, to write his farewell address. This was his imitation of George Washington, who had started the tradition of the farewell address. See Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 500.

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The Prioritization of Education

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Edward Everett.

Education was not always such a prominent issue in every state and every American community in the way that modern Americans experience. Horace Mann, who was secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education in 1837, ensured that all schools would have in common: “tuition-free, tax-supported, meeting statewide standards of curriculum, textbooks, and facilities, staffed with teachers who had been trained in state normal schools, modeled on the French école normale.” Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 453.

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The Supreme Court Under Jackson

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Roger B. Taney. Photograph by: Mathew Brady.

John Marshall, perhaps the greatest Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, died on July 6, 1835. As his life was coming to a close, he wrote Joseph Story, “I yield slowly and reluctantly to the conviction that our constitution cannot last.” Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 439 quoting John Marshall to Joseph Story, Sept. 22, 1832, quoted in Kent Newmyer, John Marshall and the Heroic Age of the Supreme Court (Baton Rouge, 2001), 386.

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