In 1844, Asa Whitney, a merchant in New York, proposed that a transcontinental railroad be built. While he hoped to lead the construction of the railroad and reap the benefits of the ambitious project, that was not to be. However, three components of his plan captured the spirit of Americans toward the construction of the railroad: “There must be a railroad to the Pacific; it must be financed by grants of public lands along the route; and it must be built by private interests which received these grants.” David Potter, The Impending Crisis: America Before the Civil War, 1848-1861, 146. Read more
Approaching the Election of 1848, President James Polk did not have unanimous support amongst Democrats. In fact, quite the opposite.
In the mid-1840s, the last major famine in European history would take place in Ireland. This famine would have significant ramifications for America, as it would lead to a massive wave of immigrants.
While many Americans would come to embrace manifest destiny, the idea that America would achieve its imperial destiny and dominate the continent, it was not a politician or president who coined the term. Rather, it was coined in 1845 in New York’s Democratic Review magazine. See Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 702-03.
Throughout the first twelve days of November of 1844, the population voted for the next president. Voters had to pick between the Democrat, James Polk, the Whig, Henry Clay, and the Liberty Party’s candidate, James Birney. See Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 688.
America’s economic development resulted in American workers being classified, creating tension between the classes.
With the emergence of the Democrats and the Whigs as the two main political parties in the late 1830s and early 1840s, this fostered significant tension on the issue of slavery.
In Martin Van Buren’s inaugural address, in March of 1837, he boasted of the prosperity and expansion of commerce that had occurred under his predecessor, Andrew Jackson. Just months later, the Panic of 1837 would begin. Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 502.
Following the War of 1812, enfranchisement broadened in American society considerably.
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.