The Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842

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Daniel Webster.

Daniel Webster, the Secretary of State under President John Tyler, brought a breadth of experience and dignity to the office, but he also brought “a different perspective on Anglo-American relations.” Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 672.

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The Emergence of Bankruptcy

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The Bankruptcy Act of 1841.

In the wake of the Panics of 1837 and 1839, Congress sent the White House a new bill to be signed into law: The Bankruptcy Act of 1841. See Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 593. From then on, bankruptcy would be part of American life, providing an option for when debts become overwhelming.

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The Railroad Revolution

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A Depiction of the Replica of the Dewitt Clinton, an American-made Locomotive.

Following the Panics of 1837 and 1839, America began rapidly expanding a new innovation: the railroad. While this would seem to have brought the country together, in fact, it increased sectionalism, creating more tension between the North and the South. Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 569.

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Corporations in the 1830s and 1840s

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The Founders of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. By: Francis Blackwell Mayer.

Following the Panics of 1837 and 1839, the American government and Americans generally had developed a skepticism about corporations. Some states even “rewrote their constitutions in the 1840s” to forbid their state government from stock ownership. See Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 557.

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The Aftermath of the Panics

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Robert M.T. Hunter, Speaker of the House.

Amidst the Panics of 1837 and 1839, the Whigs enjoyed significant gains in Congress, which led to Robert M.T. Hunter, a pro-states’ rights southerner, becoming Speaker of the House. Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 506. Further, besides the changing composition of Congress, the federal government’s policies would change, as a result of the Panics.

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