The Jacksonian Promise
America, 1815 to 1840
In Jacksonian Promise historian Daniel Feller offers a fresh look at the United States in the tumultuous Age of Jackson. Viewing the era through the eyes of people who lived in it, Feller's account captures the optimism and energy that filled America after the War of 1812. His emphasis on Americans' confidence in the future and faith in improvement challenges historians who depict the Jacksonian temperament in terms of anxiety and foreboding.
Jacksonian Promise opens with the Jubilee anniversary of Independence in 1826, when Americans celebrated their national birthright of liberty and opportunity. Blessed with abundant resources and what they held to be the best government on earth, citizens believed they could accomplish nearly anything. They felt it in their power to remake themselves, their country, and the world.
Feller traces the influence of this enterprising spirit across a broad range of Jacksonian activity. Experiment and innovation flourished as Americans built canals and factories, founded unions and utopias, staged religious revivals and moral crusades, and campaigned to eradicate social ills and to purify law and politics. Yet despite their common source, competing programs of progress soon clashed with each other. As citizens organized to pursue their hopes for America's future, divisions arose among that pointed ultimately toward civil war.
About the Author
Daniel Feller is associate professor of history at the University of New Mexico. He is the author of The Public Lands in Jacksonian Politics.
"Feller offers a refreshing reconceptualization of the whole of Jacksonian America, one that will force scholars and teachers to rethink their assumptions."
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