Musician

Ajay Dave

Rise of the Common Man

In the election of 1824, Jackson represented himself as friend of the common people. Instead of taking sides on controversial topics, Jackson remained neutral to avoid alienating the average citizen. Furthermore, being from the West, Jackson appealed to the hardy, do-it-yourself mindset that was seen as a crucial value for an American. However, due to the “Corrupt Bargain”, Jackson lost the election. However, Jackson swept the 1828 elections and proceeded to diverge from the aristocratic values of previous presidents. He ushered in the hand-shaking, baby-kissing method in running for election. Jackson despised private, over-bearing institutions and strived to improve conditions for the common man.
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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.


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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.


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Immigration/Nativism

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.


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2nd Great Awakening

At the start of the Revolution the largest denominations were Congregationalists (the 18th-century descendants of Puritan churches), Anglicans (known after the Revolution as Episcopalians), and Quakers. But by 1800, Methodism and Baptists were becoming the fasting-growing religions in the nation.The Second Great Awakening is best known for its large camp meetings that led people to convert through an enthusiastic style of preaching and audience participation. Evangelical churches generally had a populist orientation that favored ordinary people over the gentry. This was reflected in the transcendental ideals which favored introspection over sensory assimilation for religious progress. The 2nd Great Awakening also included more social roles for white women and much higher African-American participation than previous times.
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Advancements in Art, Literature, and Science

Art, literature, and science began to expand beyond the limitations of European thought. Boston became known as the “Athens of America” in that many prominent transcendentalists and authors rose from the surrounding areas. Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Louisa May Alcott all grew up in nearby Concord; their writings reflected the ideals of self-discipline, self-reliance, and self-culture. Creativity and self-expression flowed through the quills of authors Walt Whitman, Edgar Allan Poe, and Herman Melville. Although controversial and sometimes unloved, their work became known as classics and ushered in new inspiration for American and European writers. Art did not expand as fluidly as literature; architecture was limited to European models, which in turn was based off of Greek and Roman lines. Puritans believed art to be obscene, but painters such as John Trumbull, Gilbert Stuart, and Charles Willson appealed to American pride in their portrayals of American landscapes and war heroes, especially George Washington. Medicine flew forward with the introduction of ether and laughing gas as anaesthetics. Samuel Slater and Eli Whitney kicked off the industrial boom with their inventions that enabled cotton-harvesting and weaving to become more efficient. The steamboat’s advancement by Robert Fulton allowed the goods to be transferred throughout the country. National pride swelled due to domestic achievement, and America jumped to the front stage as an innovative country.
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Women's Reform


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.
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Abolitionist Reform

Many had argued about slavery’s moral implications for centuries. However, the 2nd Great Awakening led to a greater focus on such moral issues. Combined with the freedom-advocating German and Irish immigrants, abolition gained many staunch advocates. Literature and lectures were the main sources of the diffusion of abolitionist ideals. WIlliam Lloyd Garrison established the “Liberator” as a possible ground for talented abolitionist orators, such as the Grimke sisters, to spread their views. Paired with Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, “The Liberator” raised awareness of the evils of slavery and the tortuous treatment of slaves by their owners. This helped widen the schism between the North and South, which although temporarily divisive, helped unite America as a leader in equality for all.
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Playlist

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvNBohk9a9Ze_NBmfpXo1IO8CF5UY7S6v

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.

Significance of Music

Music helps us understand history because it is generally an uncensored display of emotion. It illustrates the prevailing thoughts and feelings of the writer in a pure form meant to mediate the writer's emotions. This is very useful in understanding historical sentiments, reactions, and motivations.