Rise of the Common Man
Trail of Tears
At the beginning of the 1830s, a quarter-million Native Americans lived in Florida, Tennessee,North Carolina, Alabama and Georgia–land their people had lived on for centuries. By the end of the decade, very few natives remained anywhere in the southeastern United States. Working on behalf of white settlers who wanted to grow cotton on the Indians’ land, the federal government forced the Native Americans to leave their homelands and walk thousands of miles to “Indian territory” across the Mississippi River. Many died on the journey, so it is hence known as the Trail of Tears. This unfortunate circumstance was seen as collateral damage to the act of fulfilling Manifest Destiny.
Gone to Texas
Moses Austin obtained land grants from the Mexican government to settle virgin land with 300 American families. Stephen F. Austin was left to finish his father’s work when Moses Austin died. Texas was appealing because many occured debt during the Panic of 1819 and desired to start over. Most of these immigrants were from the South and West. These pioneers would paint “GTT” on their cabin doors to explain their absences. A frontier spirit was established where many would go west to seek their fortunes.
Nativism is the belief that native-born Americans, especially if of Anglo-Saxon ethnicity, have superior rights to the "foreign-born”. Many of these nativists were strict Protestants who were wary of the Catholic diffusion coming from the Irish and the Germans. The Irish had suffered unduly due to a potato famine which causes starvation and unfair taxing by the British crown. The Germans felt oppressed by autocratic rule which limited economic prosperity. The immigrants were vital to industrial booms due to manpower and vouches for freedom due to their more recent experiences with despotic rule. The Germans especially were staunch abolitionists and created many Catholic churches. America became a "melting pot" of cultures despite nativist protests, and this description holds today.
2nd Great Awakening
Advancements in Art, Literature, and Science
Due to rapid economic growth, a middle class grew to existence in which women had to leave home to earn wages. This was different from the days when women were stuck inside the “cult of domesticity”, as women were believed to be morally superior to men and hence ideal for nurturing children. Women began to feel a sense of empowerment due to their bread-earning, and they felt that their “superior moral sense” could be extended to the realm of reform. The 2nd Great Awakening led to societal consciousness of the temperance and abolition movements. As women often had to suffer at the hands of controlling and drunk husbands, they were eager to join the fight for reform. They also sought the ability to voice their opinions through voting, and such leading women became known as “suffragettes”. Many women even chose to remain "spinsters" for their entire lives in an attempt to remain independent. This helped foster the idea that every citizen had a right to hold influence and maintain leadership in finding his or her happiness.
1. Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland
Fanfare is a celebration, and in this era politicians enfranchised the average citizen.
2. Trail of Tears by John Denver
The Trail of Tears was a horrible, devastating act of cruelty which caused the Native Americans to shed many tears. This song relates some of the Native American experiences.
3. Arkansas Traveler by John Renfro Davis
The pioneers going to Texas experienced many of the same things as those that pioneers going to Arkansas would have experienced.
4. Hit the Road Jack by Ray Charles
The nativists felt like telling the immigrants to "hit the road" as they felt they needed to maintain the "purity of American blood".
5. Be Ours a Religion by Theodore Parker
This is a hymn written by a Unitarian, a member of a doctrine that emerged around this times.
6. I've Been Working on the Railroad by Unknown
Railroads were an amazing scientific breakthrough, but the lives of the people manning such machinery are often overlooked; this song gives their point of view.
7. Single Ladies by Beyoncé
Women were for enfranchisement, and this song is a contemporary version of the same argument.
8. Song of the Abolitionist by W.L. Garrison
Garrison was a prominent abolitionist who wrote the above song in an attempt to convince people that slavery was wrong.