AP US - Period 05
30 March, 2011
The Jeffersonian Era
The period covered in this chapter was marked by definition and expansion.
political independence, Americans struggled to achieve cultural independence as well, and this
search for self-identity touched almost every phase of the nation's life.
"American" tastes in
music, literature, and art developed. Religious bodies with ties to colonial ways declined as the
Second Great Awakening swept America.
The global process of industrialization began to
have an impact in the United States while technology, unrestrained by mercantile regulations,
expanded to solve problems that were particularly
Meanwhile American politics
began to take on characteristics and respond to needs with little precedent in European systems.
At the center of this activity, at times leading it and at times being led, was Thomas Jefferson, a
president whose versatility seemed to mirror the diversity of the nation.
A pragmatic politician,
Jefferson was also a committed idealist
one who deserves to be the symbol of the age that
bears his name.
The War of 1812 did more than test the army and navy of the United States
tested the nation's ability to survive deep internal divisions that threatened America's
independence as surely as did the forces of Great Britain.
Hoping to keep his nation out of war,
Jefferson followed a policy that kept the peace but raised fears among his political enemies.
rest of the nation, feeling that Britain was insulting its sovereignty, rallied to the president.
the end, these divisions, although they hampered the war effort, did not survive the conflict, and
the United States entered the postwar period with a new sense of nationalism.
Points for Discussion:
What was the "vision of America" shared by Thomas Jefferson and his followers? How did
American cultural life in the early nineteenth century reflect the Republican vision of the
Many Federalists feared what would happen if Thomas Jefferson was elected. On what did
they base these fears, and what did Jefferson do to allay them?
Politically, was Jefferson's election as president in 1800 a "revolution"? In what ways did he
alter or accept Federalist beliefs and practices?
How did the Federalists respond to Republican programs? If the Federalists favored a loose
interpretation of the Constitution, why did they protest when Jefferson used a loose
interpretation as well? What was it in the Republican program that the Federalists saw as a
threat and how did they respond?
American society of the early nineteenth century might be described as "patriarchal".
Discuss the implications for women, African Americans, and Native Americans.