The American Early Republic and Frontier Era History

Chapter 8 (Part 2) :: What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 by Daniel Walker Howe

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “All contemporaries on both sides of the Atlantic saw him as an emissary of liberal values between New and Old Worlds; Americans regarded him as an agent of their international mission. The president had invited Lafayette in order to affirm his Monroe Doctrine’s defiance of the Holy Alliance and to celebrate his Era of Good Feelings. The event succeeded beyond his dreams.”
  • “Tocqueville was very quick to generalize from his experiences, and for all his insight, his interpretations have their limitations. In praising America’s strong traditions of local self-government, he seemed not to notice how often local democracy tyrannized individuals.”
  • “a man of violent temper and very moderate talents.”
  • “She criticized the United States for not living up to its ideals, in particular in its oppression of black people and in the “political nonexistence” of women.”
  • “She conceived an ambitious plan to make Cincinnati a more lively, cosmopolitan city by constructing a building something like a modern shopping mall plus cultural center and ballroom, which she called a “Bazaar.””
  • “Years later, Mark Twain would declare that “candid Mrs. Trollope” deserved American gratitude for her forthrightness. “She knew her subject well, and she set it forth fairly and squarely.” But his observation, made in Life on the Mississippi, was suppressed.”

Thought Questions

  • Explain and Expand: “Contemporaries viewed not only utopian communities but all America as an experimental society”
  • Compare and Contrast: 19th century American “exceptionalism” with varieties of 19th century European “exceptionalism”
  • In what ways was the visit of the Marquis de Lafayette symbolic of the age of “exceptionalism”
  • Who was Samuel F. B. Morse
  • Explain and Expand: “Foreign observers also often viewed the United States as an indicator of future developments in their own countries. The German philosopher Hegel called America “the land of the future” and predicted that “in the time to come, the center of world-historical importance will be revealed there.””
  • Explain and Expand: “What Tocqueville meant by “democracy” was not simply political (“ one man, one vote”) but broadly social: “equality of condition.””
  • In what ways did newspapers contribute to American “exceptionalism”
  • Explain and Expand: “Above all, Tocqueville recognized the crucial importance of America’s numerous and diverse voluntary associations.”
  • Who was Gustave de Beaumont?
  • Who was Harriet Martineau?
  • Who was Frances (Fanny) Wright?
  • Compare and Contrast: Frances Wright and Harriet Martineau
  • In what ways was communal experimentation connected to various forms of evangelical millennialism?
  • Who was Robert Owen?
  • Who was Frances Trollope?
  • Explain and Expand: “persuaded Parliament to make the Atlantic slave trade illegal”
  • Explain and Expand: “American opposition to slavery owed a good deal to encouragement from overseas.”
  • Who was Maria Weston Chapman?

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources