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Last Best Hope of Earth

A Blog Covering US History and Politics

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Early Republic

Rumblings of Annexation

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Martin Van Buren.

President Andrew Jackson had a predisposition toward annexing Texas and making it American territory. See Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 670.

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The Birth of Texas

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Stephen F. Austin. Artist Unknown.

In 1821, Mexico achieved its independence from Spain, changing the nature of America-Mexico relations. See Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 658-59.

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The Genesis of the Underground Railroad

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Justice Joseph Story.

Justice Joseph Story wrote a decision in Prigg v. Pennsylvania that would put the United States Supreme Court in a possession of relieving northern state officials of responsibility “for returning fugitive slaves, and increasingly northern state legislatures instructed them to do so.” Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 654.

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Literature of the 1830s and 1840s

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George Lippard.

While much of literature during the 1830s and 1840s was dedicated to religiosity and piety, a new type of literature was emerging during this time. George Lippard and other authors were achieving commercial success writing novels that have stood the test of time and have had appeal to ordinary Americans in generations since: novels about the Western United States. See Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 631.

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The Legacy of the Whig Party

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The New York Tribune, a Whig Newspaper, Endorsing its Candidates.

Following the Election of 1840, members of the Whig Party must have been optimistic about their future. They likely imagined that the dominance of the Jacksonian Democrats could be replicated within the ranks of the Whigs and supplant the Democrats. It was not to be, however.

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The Censure of John Quincy Adams

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John Quincy Adams.

In 1842, John Quincy Adams presented to the House of Representatives a petition from 42 residents of Haverhill, Massachusetts, requesting that the Union be dissolved. Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 610. Henry Wise, Congressman from Virginia, “demanded the former president be censured.” Id.

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The Progress of Women in the 1830s and 1840s

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Dorothea Dix.

Around the 1830s and 1840s, individuals who suffered from mental illness were treated as criminals, regardless of whether they had actually committed a crime. See Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 604. Dorothea Dix sought to change that.

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Lincoln the Teetotaler

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A Pledge to be Part of the Temperance Movement.

While the Democrats had held up Andrew Jackson as the ideal man, the Whigs began to view Abraham Lincoln in the 1840s as the ideal man, even though his personality was “artificial—that is, self-constructed.” Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 598.

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The Illinois System

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Abraham Lincoln in 1846, then Representative from Illinois. By: Nicholas H. Shepherd.

Abraham Lincoln, as a Congressman in the House of Representatives, would be “an ardent supporter of internal improvements.” Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 596.

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