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Thesis (American Culture 1836-1860)•reached the end of one long stage of its development•came of age•became something uniquely AmericanImportant Components of American Culture at Mid-CenturyAmerican Sense of MissionRevivalistic ProtestantismLocalism and NationalismHamiltonian Federalism and Jeffersonian RepublicanismForeign Policy Based on RealismDemocracy and IndividualismRacism and SlaveryExpansionismImportant Characteristics of American Culture at Mid-Century#1 PATRIOTISM – love of countryMost popular symbol – American eagleMost important hero – George WashingtonGreatest patriotic ceremony – 4thof July#2 AMERICANNATIONALISMLater, SouthernNationalism would compete.#3 AGGRESSIVENESSBy individualsBy nationExample: Mexican War#4 RELIGION or ReligiosityMost Americans were ProtestantsMany Protestants frightened by non-Protestant immigrantsoNativist movementoKnow-Nothing PartyStrong emphasis on revivalism#5 OPTIMISMMost believed in idea of progress – bound to improveGenerated reform movementsEfforts to Restrict Immigration and Deny Roman Catholics full citizenship rightsU.S. Population:Between 1830 and 1860 the population went from 12.9 million to 31.5 millionU.S. still sparsely settled and short of workers – not enough men and women to meet labor requirements of cities and farmsIncrease in European immigration mostly from northern and western Europe helpedMany immigrants were unskilled, illiterate, and poor – had hard time settling in new country – but overcame problemsWere valuable additions to U.S., but many Americans opposed their coming
Concerns of NativistsNativists concerned because immigrants:Came in such large numbersDidn’t speak English; had strange customsThreatened to pollute old Anglo-Saxon stockIncreased crime and pauperismBurdened public funds and private charitiesWere “undesirables” exported by EuropeLowered wages by working for lessVoted DemocratWere Roman CatholicsImmigrants sacred US citizens*Strongest forces against immigrants/nativist movement = religious prejudice/anti-Roman Catholicism Know-NothingsBegan in 1840s as secret, anti-foreign, anti-immigrant societies.Came together in 1850s to establish the "Order of the Star Spangled Banner" popularly known as "Know-Nothings"Purposes:defend Protestantism against Catholicismrestrict immigrationmake it harder to become a naturalized citizendeprive aliens of right to vote*Sworn to secrecy; refused to answer questions to non-members*Wanted to defend Protestants against Catholicism and make immigrant laws tougherAmerican Party (previously Know Nothings)Know-Nothings formed own national political party in 1856 -- the American Party.