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Era of Good Feelings Argumentative Essay Sample

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Era of Good Feelings Argumentative Essay Sample

The period of time after the War of 1812 was known as The Era of Good Feelings. The name of this period of time was not consistent with the events that occurred during this time. The era was a phase of happiness and prosperity at times. People were happy because the United States was getting bigger and bigger which gave them more access to more natural resources which would then add to the specie in the national bank. There was also an average sense of nationalism (Doc C) because major conflicts like wars or friction between political parties were almost non-existent. However, the Era of Good Feelings was a misnomer because the events that happened during that period of time were inconsistent with its label. Events like the reinstatement of the national bank, the election of 1824, and the Supreme Court case of McCulloch V. Maryland showed that the period of time after the War of 1812 was not consistent with its name of the Era of Good Feelings.

There was an average sense of nationalism after the War of 1812. Events like the reestablishment of the national bank caused the sense of unity to diminish (Doc B). Before the reinstatement of the national bank, states were heedlessly issuing loans to people who used the money to buy farms. Under the leadership of the second president of the Bank of the United States, banks started to recall the loans that had been issued to farmers by state banks. Thus, farmers that had taken loans from their state banks were against the restoration of the national bank (Doc D) because it forced them to repay the loans.

On the other hand, merchants were for the restoration of the bank However, they did not have the money to repay their loans so many were forced to foreclose their farms which later led to the Panic of 1819. After the Panic of 1819, the general sense of nationalism increased after the settlers realized that the national bank really was a good idea. The national, unlike the state banks, had specie to back up every dollar that they issued so their money was worth more. Thus, the reestablishment of the national bank decreased nationalism at first, but increased nationalism later on so it evened out later on.

The Supreme Court case of McCulloch v. Maryland is a good example of friction between the national and state government. In an attempt to make all of the banks not funded by the state go out of business, they made them pay an annual fee. James McCulloch, who was the cashier of the Maryland branch of the national bank refused to pay it. Maryland took him to court and the verdict was that since Maryland was sovereign (Doc D), they had a right to tax within its borders and since the national bank was a business, they had to pay the tax. McCulloch then appealed to the Supreme Court. John Marshall, who was the chief justice then, ruled that since the Bank was constitutional, then the tax that Maryland had imposed was unconstitutional. This event that occurred during the Era of Good Feelings was significant because it reinforced the implied powers of Congress and greatly helped the economy grow. This in turn affected the prosperity that Americans felt during the Era of Good Feelings.

The tariff of 1816 had a great deal to do with the prosperity that Americans achieved during the Era of Good Times. It was the first protective tax that was designed to help the American people. Not only did it discourage foreign countries from outselling American merchants, it also promoted the manufacturing of textiles, cabinetwork and leather. This had a big impact on the economy because sales that would normally be made by foreign merchants were now being made by American colonists. However, people like Southerners were against the tariff because it was hurting their industry. Since they exported a majority of their cotton and tobacco, it increased the costs of things that they bought. The tariff also hurt the overseas trading with other countries. This issue was a sectional one that was basically the South against the rest of the United States (Doc A). For the most part, agrarian states were against the tariff and industrial states were for the tariff (Doc A). Even thought this sectional issue helped boost the American economy, it did not promote a sense of unity among the American people.

In conclusion, the Era of Good Feelings was moderately consistent with its name. It was a time of peace and prosperity but sectionalism, conflict with national and state governments, and economic instability slowly diminished the peace and prosperity that Americans had felt during the Era of Good Feelings. Events such as the reinstatement of the national bank, the election of 1824, and the Supreme Court case of McCulloch V. Maryland show that the Era of Good Feelings was not consistent with its label.


Wilson, James Q., and John J. DiIulio. American History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999. 19-48.

Dornbush, Krista. AP U. S. History. Grand Rapids: Kaplan, 2008. 73-83.

“Supreme Court Cases.” Course Notes. 7 Sept. 2005. 20 Aug. 2007 .

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