Its uniqueness is explained by any or all of a variety of reasons: history, size, geography, political institutions, and culture. Explanations of the growth of government in Europe are not expected to fit American experience, and vice versa. However, postnationalist scholars have rejected American exceptionalism, arguing the U.
In recent years scholars from numerous disciplines, as well as politicians and commentators in the traditional media, have debated the meaning and usefulness of the concept. Roberts and DiCuirci ask:. Some historians support the concept of American exceptionalism but avoid the terminology, thereby avoid entangling themselves in rhetorical debates. Bernard Bailyn , a leading colonial specialist at Harvard, is a believer in the distinctiveness of American civilization. Although he rarely, if ever, uses the phrase "American exceptionalism," he insists upon the "distinctive characteristics of British North American life.
Although the concept of American exceptionalism dates to the founding ideas,  the term was first used in the s. Some claim the phrase "American exceptionalism" originated with the American Communist Party in an English translation of a condemnation made in by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin criticizing communist supporters of Jay Lovestone for the heretical belief the US was independent of the Marxist laws of history "thanks to its natural resources, industrial capacity, and absence of rigid class distinctions".
Early examples of the term's usage do include a declaration made at the American Communist convention proclaiming "the storm of the economic crisis in the United States blew down the house of cards of American exceptionalism". The phrase fell to obscurity after the s, and in the s American newspapers popularized it to describe America's cultural and political uniqueness.
The position of the Americans is therefore quite exceptional, and it may be believed that no democratic people will ever be placed in a similar one. Their strictly Puritanical origin, their exclusively commercial habits, even the country they inhabit, which seems to divert their minds from the pursuit of science, literature, and the arts, the proximity of Europe, which allows them to neglect these pursuits without relapsing into barbarism, a thousand special causes, of which I have only been able to point out the most important, have singularly concurred to fix the mind of the American upon purely practical objects.
His passions, his wants, his education, and everything about him seem to unite in drawing the native of the United States earthward; his religion alone bids him turn, from time to time, a transient and distracted glance to heaven. Let us cease, then, to view all democratic nations under the example of the American people. Wells , G. Chesterton , and Hilaire Belloc ; they did so in complimentary terms. From the s to the late 19th century, the McGuffey Readers sold million copies and were studied by most American students.
Skrabec argues the Readers "hailed American exceptionalism, manifest destiny , and America as God's country Furthermore, McGuffey saw America as having a future mission to bring liberty and democracy to the world. In June Jay Lovestone , a leader of the Communist Party in America and soon to be named general secretary, described America's economic and social uniqueness. He noted the increasing strength of American capitalism, and the country's "tremendous reserve power"; strength and power which he said prevented communist revolution.
In general, Americans have had consideration in national "uniqueness. Recently, socialists [ who? Many scholars use a model of American exceptionalism developed by Harvard political scientist Louis Hartz. The national government that emerged was far less centralized or nationalized than its European counterparts. Parts of American exceptionalism can be traced to American Puritan roots. They believed God had made a covenant with their people and had chosen them to provide a model for the other nations of the Earth.
One Puritan leader, John Winthrop , metaphorically expressed this idea as a " City upon a Hill "—that the Puritan community of New England should serve as a model community for the rest of the world. The Puritans' moralistic values [ clarification needed ] remained part of the national identity of the United States for centuries, remaining influential to the present day.
In this vein, Max Weber was a pioneer in delineating a connection between capitalism and exceptionalism. Eric Luis Uhlmann of Northwestern University argues that Puritan values were taken up by all remaining Americans as time went by. Schultz underlines how they helped America to keep to its Protestant Promise , especially Catholics and Jews. The ideas that created the American Revolution were derived from a tradition of republicanism that had been repudiated by the British mainstream.
Historian Gordon Wood has argued, "Our beliefs in liberty, equality, constitutionalism, and the well-being of ordinary people came out of the Revolutionary era. So too did our idea that we Americans are a special people with a special destiny to lead the world toward liberty and democracy. Thomas Paine 's Common Sense for the first time expressed the belief that America was not just an extension of Europe but a new land, a country of nearly unlimited potential and opportunity that had outgrown the British mother country.
These sentiments laid the intellectual foundations for the Revolutionary concept of American exceptionalism and were closely tied to republicanism , the belief that sovereignty belonged to the people, not to a hereditary ruling class. Religious freedom characterized the American Revolution in unique ways—at a time when major nations had state religions.
Republicanism led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison created modern constitutional republicanism , with a limit on ecclesiastical powers. Historian Thomas Kidd argues, "With the onset of the revolutionary crisis, a significant conceptual shift convinced Americans across the theological spectrum that God was raising up America for some particular purpose. According to Tucker and Hendrickson , Jefferson believed America "was the bearer of a new diplomacy, founded on the confidence of a free and virtuous people, that would secure ends based on the natural and universal rights of man, by means that escaped war and its corruptions".
Jefferson sought a radical break from the traditional European emphasis on "reason of state" which could justify any action and the usual priority of foreign policy and the needs of the ruling family over the needs of the people. Jefferson envisaged America becoming the world's great " Empire of Liberty "—that is, the model for democracy and republicanism.
He identified his nation as a beacon to the world, for, he said on departing the presidency in , America was: "Trusted with the destinies of this solitary republic of the world, the only monument of human rights, and the sole depository of the sacred fire of freedom and self-government, from hence it is to be lighted up in other regions of the earth, if other areas of the earth shall ever become susceptible of its benign influence.
Marilyn B. Young argues that after the end of the Cold War in , neoconservative intellectuals and policymakers embraced the idea of an "American empire," a national mission to establish freedom and democracy in other nations, particularly poor ones.
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She argues that after the September 11th, terrorist attacks, the George W. Bush administration reoriented foreign policy to an insistence on maintaining the supreme military and economic power of America, an attitude that harmonized with this new vision of American empire.
Young says the Iraq War — exemplified American exceptionalism. In , conservative historians Larry Schweikart and Dave Dougherty argued that American Exceptionalism be based on four pillars: 1 Common Law ; 2 Virtue and morality located in Protestant Christianity; 3 Free-market capitalism; and 4 the sanctity of private property.
We have been essential to the preservation and progress of freedom, and those who lead us in the years ahead must remind us, as Roosevelt , Kennedy , and Reagan did, of the unique role we play. Neither they nor we should ever forget that we are, in fact, exceptional. Proponents of American exceptionalism argue that the United States be exceptional in that it was founded on a set of republican ideals, rather than on a common heritage, ethnicity, or ruling elite.
In the formulation of President Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address , America is a nation "conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal". In Lincoln's interpretation, America is inextricably connected with freedom and equality, and in world perspective, the American mission is to ensure, "that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Harry Williams argues that Lincoln believed:. American policies have been characterized since their inception by a system of federalism between the states and the federal government and checks and balances among the legislative, executive and judicial branches , which were designed to prevent any faction, region, or government organ from becoming too powerful.
Some proponents of the theory of American exceptionalism argue that this system and the accompanying distrust of concentrated power prevent the United States from suffering a " tyranny of the majority ", are preservative of a free republican democracy, and also that it allows citizens to live in a locality whose laws reflect those voters' values. A consequence of this political system is that laws can vary widely across the country. Critics of American exceptionalism maintain that this system merely replaces the power of the national majority over states with power by the states over local entities.
On balance, the American political system arguably allows for more local dominance but prevents more domestic dominance than does a more unitary system. Historian Eric Foner has explored the question of birthright citizenship, the provision of the Fourteenth Amendment that makes every baby born in the United States a full citizen. He argues that:. Yale Law School dean Harold Hongju Koh has identified what he says is "the most important respect in which the United States has been genuinely exceptional, about international affairs, international law, and promotion of human rights: namely, in its outstanding global leadership and activism.
To this day, the United States remains the only superpower capable, and at times willing, to commit real resources and make real sacrifices to build, sustain, and drive an international system committed to international law, democracy, and the promotion of human rights.
Experience teaches that when the United States leads on human rights, from Nuremberg to Kosovo, other countries follow. Peggy Noonan , an American political pundit, wrote in The Wall Street Journal that "America is not exceptional because it has long attempted to be a force for good in the world, it tries to be a force for good because it is exceptional". Former U. Proponents of American exceptionalism often claim that many features of the "American spirit" were shaped by the frontier process following Frederick Jackson Turner 's Frontier Thesis.
They argue the American frontier allowed individualism to flourish as pioneers adopted democracy and equality and shed centuries-old European institutions such as royalty, standing armies, established churches and a landed aristocracy that owned most of the land.
Other nations had frontiers, but it did not shape them nearly as much as the American frontier did, usually because it was under the control of a strong national government. South Africa, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Canada and Australia had long frontiers, but they did not have "free land" and local control. Their edge did not shape their national psyches.
In Australia, "mateship" and working together was valued more than individualism was in the United States. For most of its history, especially from the midth to early 20th centuries, the United States has been known as the "land of opportunity", and in this sense, it prided and promoted itself on providing individuals with the opportunity to escape from the contexts of their class and family background.
However, social mobility in the U. American men born into the lowest income quintile are much more likely to stay there compared to similar people in the Nordic countries or the United Kingdom.
Identity and the Failure of America: From Thomas Jefferson to the War on Terror
Gregory Mankiw , however, state that the discrepancy has little to do with class rigidity; rather, it is a reflection of income disparity: "Moving up and down a short ladder is a lot easier than moving up and down a tall one. Regarding public welfare, Richard Rose asked in whether the evidence shows whether the U. Scholars have been polarized on the topic, according to Michael Kammen with historians generally against it, while empirical social scientists have tended to be supporters.
When Brown was hanged in for his raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, many saw him as the harbinger of the future. For Southerners, he was the embodiment of all their fears—a white man willing to die to end slavery—and the most potent symbol yet of aggressive Northern antislavery sentiment. For many Northerners, he was a prophet of righteousness, bringing down a terrible swift sword against the immorality of slavery and the haughtiness of the Southern master class. In , the United States marked the bicentennial of Brown's birth.
At that time, domestic terrorism was a growing problem. Bombings, ambushes, and assassinations had been directed at women's clinics and physicians in a number of places; a bomb planted in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park during the summer Olympics had killed one person and wounded more than a hundred people; in a pair of right-wing extremists had planted a bomb at the Alfred A.
Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing people and injuring more than others. During that bicentennial year, a number of historians and others talked about whether John Brown was America's first terrorist.
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Was he a model for the cowards who planted bombs at clinics, in public parks, or in buildings? Significantly, at least one modern terrorist, Paul Hill, compared himself to John Brown after he was arrested for murdering two people who worked at a women's clinic in Florida. A year after Brown's bicentennial, the United States was faced with multiple terrorist attacks on September 11, The meaning of terrorism had changed.
It was no longer the result of random attacks by an individual or two. Now it was tied to a worldwide conspiracy, coordinated overseas and meticulously planned. The American response was a "war on terror. There are no complete or certain definitions of terrorism. Terrorists seek to "terrify" people and strike fear in the minds of those at whom their terror is directed.
This, however, is not a complete definition. After all, few would consider soldiers in warfare terrorists, yet surely they try to make their enemy "fearful" of them. Starting with World War II, large-scale bombing has been a fact of modern warfare, but bombing of military targets is surely not an act of terrorism, even though the civilian population may be harmed or terrorized. This aspect of warfare is hardly new. Siege warfare of the ancient and medieval world surely terrorized those inside castles or towns. Similarly, the long sieges of the Civil War, as well as decisions by both sides to strike at civilian targets that aided the war effort, surely terrorized populations.
The trench warfare and artillery duels of World War I terrorized millions of civilians, but this was not essentially terrorism. So, what beyond scaring or frightening people constitutes terrorism? How do we define the "terrorist? For terrorists, the "terror" itself, the act of violence, is the goal rather than simply the means to an end. Terrorists may hope for political change, but what they often want is to simply strike back at and harm those they oppose. The act of terror becomes the goal, with no expectation that anything else will follow.
This makes terrorism different from other kinds of illegal activity or violence. A kidnapper wants a ransom; a hostage taker usually has "demands" that should be met; a robber simply wants money or goods and might be willing to kill for them. But the terrorist often has no demands and no goals other than to terrorize. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols made no demands; they wanted nothing other than to kill and destroy.
Department of English : University of Rochester
Those who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon only wanted to kill, destroy, and terrorize. They made no demands, asked for nothing, and by their own design would not have even been alive to negotiate for whatever they might have wanted. Another hallmark of terrorists is indiscriminate killing; it helps spread terror. Terrorists generally do not care who they kill—adults, children, old people, women, men—although sometimes assassinations are an exception to this.
Terrorists are not concerned about collateral damage. Planting a bomb or shooting indiscriminately is a key indicator of terrorism. It does not even matter if some of those who die are sympathetic to the terrorists or of their own ethnic group. A number of American Muslims died in the attack on the World Trade Center because that is where they worked, but these collateral deaths were of no consequence to those who planned the attack.
For terrorists, indiscriminate killing helps spread terror. Similarly, for terrorist killers there is no reason to spare lives or minimize death—every life is a legitimate target. Terrorists usually attack nonmilitary targets and those who are unable to defend themselves.
Often their victims are what might be called noncombatants in whatever ongoing struggle there is. One common aspect of terrorists is that they avoid direct contact and confrontation with those who are armed, especially the military. Tied to this, most terrorists plan their actions to have the greatest impact and to kill the most people. Terrorists also act in secret and try to avoid anyone knowing who they are.
They often wear masks and in other ways try to hide their identity. The classic American terrorist is the sheeted Klansman, with his face covered, killing, beating, mutilating, burning, and raping, to terrorize those who supported racial equality and black suffrage. Because they are violent and seek to kill, maim, or destroy property, terrorists naturally must be secretive. After their acts, however, they are likely to openly but anonymously brag about their crimes. Terrorism also has a political context. This is particularly important to see when we try to make the distinction between terrorism and revolution.
In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson set out a series of principles that justified violent overthrow of the government. One was a "long train of abuses. Even more important for Jefferson and his colleagues was the lack of access to the political process to change things peacefully. From the American perspective, in , there was not a political solution to the crisis because Americans had no voice in the British government. In addition, the American Revolution was a response to attacks initiated by the British.
Thus, where there are no political avenues for change, violence—such as the American troops firing at the British—becomes revolution. But where the political processes are open, violence becomes terrorism. This was even true for the terrorists. Nothing prevented them from politically organizing, demonstrating, and educating the American public about the changes they wanted.
Their choice was to short-circuit the political options in favor of violence and terrorism. With these general understandings, let us turn to John Brown, first to understand what he did, and second to see if it fits in the context of terrorism. Brown is connected to terrorism for two events in his life: the Pottawatomie raid in the Kansas Territory in and his raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia now West Virginia in Both involved violence and killing.
Both have led some people to claim Brown was a terrorist. On the night of May 24, , Brown led a raiding party of four of his sons, his son-in-law, and two other men to Pottawatomie Creek. For the most part, this raid was unplanned and almost spontaneous. Brown acted in retaliation for a raid on the free state settlement at Lawrence, the killings of free state settlers in Kansas, and persistent threats by the proslavery settlers along Pottawatomie Creek.
Brown and his men entered three cabins, interrogated a number of men, and eventually killed five of them, all with swords and knives. Some were killed quickly, while others, who resisted, were cut in many places. Brown and his men then departed. Significantly, although Brown and his men killed five proslavery settlers, they did not kill all the Southern settlers they encountered.
They spared the life of the wife and teenage son of one of the men they killed, even though these people could have identified the raiders. At another cabin, they interrogated two men and let them go, convinced they had not threatened free state settlers or been involved in violent actions against the free state settlers. At a third house they also spared the wife of one man, even while they killed him. Three and a half years later, on the evening of October 16, , John Brown and 18 "soldiers" seized the U.
Brown's plans were fantastic—some would say insane. He would use the arms in the arsenal—as well as old-fashioned pikes he had had specially manufactured—to begin a guerrilla war against slavery. The core of his army would be the mostly white band of raiders who seized the arsenal. But soon, he hoped—he believed—he just knew—that hundreds or even thousands of slaves would join him in the fight against the "peculiar institution. During his raid, Brown and his men had captured a number of slave owners in the area, including Lewis Washington, the great-grand-nephew of President George Washington.
Brown did not kill any of these captured men, and he went out of his way to protect them and make sure they were not harmed. While in Harpers Ferry, the raiders killed a railroad baggage handler, who ironically was a free black, when he refused their orders to halt. In a firefight they killed a few townsmen, including the mayor.
At one point Brown stopped a passenger train, held it for a while, and then released it. The train continued on to Washington, D. The next day, October 18, U. Robert E. Lee, captured Brown in the engine house on the armory grounds. By this time, most of the raiders were either dead or wounded. Brown s trial in Charlestown, Virginia, began in October He was charged with and convicted of treason, murder, and conspiring with slaves to revolt.
Severely wounded during his capture, Brown had to be carried into court and lay on a stretcher. Harpers Ferry National Park. He was charged with treason, murder, and conspiring with slaves to rebel. He was convicted on November 2 and sentenced to death.
Before his sentencing, Brown told the court that his actions against slavery were consistent with God's commandments. Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I say 'let it be done. In the month between his sentencing on November 2 and his execution on December 2, Brown wrote brilliant letters that helped to create, in the minds of many Northerners, his image as a Christ-like martyr who gave his life so that the slaves might be free.
Indeed, Frederick Douglass would later say that he lived for the slave, but John Brown was willing to "die for the slave. For abolitionists and antislavery activists, black and white, Brown emerged as a hero, a martyr, and ultimately, a harbinger of the end of slavery. Most Northern whites, especially those not committed to abolition, were aghast at the violence of his action. Yet there was also widespread support for him in the region.
Northerners variously came to see Brown as an antislavery saint, a brave but foolish extremist, a lunatic, and a threat to the Union. The future Republican governor of Massachusetts, John A. Andrew, summed up the feelings of many Northerners when he refused to endorse Brown's tactics or the wisdom of the raid, but declared that "John Brown himself is right. Tecumseh thus found little support in the Southeast beyond the Red Sticks, who by were cut off from the North by Andrew Jackson.
Following their defeat, the Red Sticks were forced to cede an unprecedented fourteen million acres of land in the Treaty of Fort Jackson. As historian Adam Rothman argues, the defeat of the Red Sticks allowed the United States to expand west of the Mississippi, guaranteeing the continued existence and profitability of slavery. Many Native leaders refused to join Tecumseh and instead maintained their loyalties to the American republic. The War of between the United States and Britain offered new opportunities for Tecumseh and his followers. Even then, the confederacy faced an uphill battle, particularly after American naval forces secured control of the Great Lakes in September , forcing British ships and reinforcements to retreat.
Yet Tecumseh and his Native allies fought on despite being surrounded by American forces. We are determined to defend our lands, and if it is his will, we wish to leave our bones upon them. His death dealt a severe blow to pan-Indian resistance against the United States. Men like Tecumseh and Pontiac, however, left behind a legacy of pan-Indian unity that was not soon forgotten.
Soon after Jefferson retired from the presidency in , Congress ended the embargo and the British relaxed their policies toward American ships. Yet war with Britain loomed—a war that would galvanize the young American nation. The War of stemmed from American entanglement in two distinct sets of international issues. The second had older roots in the colonial and Revolutionary era. In both cases, American interests conflicted with those of the British Empire.
British leaders showed little interest in accommodating the Americans. Impressments, the practice of forcing American sailors to join the British Navy, was among the most important sources of conflict between the two nations. Driven in part by trade with Europe, the American economy grew quickly during the first decade of the nineteenth century, creating a labor shortage in the American shipping industry. In response, pay rates for sailors increased and American captains recruited heavily from the ranks of British sailors. As a result, around 30 percent of sailors employed on American merchant ships were British.
As a republic, the Americans advanced the notion that people could become citizens by renouncing their allegiance to their home nation. To the British, a person born in the British Empire was a subject of that empire for life, a status they could not change. The British Navy was embroiled in a difficult war and was unwilling to lose any of its labor force. In order to regain lost crewmen, the British often boarded American ships to reclaim their sailors.
Between and , some six thousand Americans suffered this fate. The British would release Americans who could prove their identity, but this process could take years while the sailor endured harsh conditions and the dangers of the Royal Navy. In , responding to a French declaration of a complete naval blockade of Great Britain, the British demanded that neutral ships first carry their goods to Britain to pay a transit duty before they could proceed to France.
Despite loopholes in these policies between and , Britain, France, and their allies seized about nine hundred American ships, prompting a swift and angry American response. Although efforts to stand against Great Britain had failed, resentment of British trade policy remained widespread. From their position in Canada, the British maintained relations with Native Americans in the Old Northwest, supplying them with goods and weapons in attempts to maintain ties in case of another war with the United States.
The threat of a Native uprising increased after when Tenskwatawa and Tecumseh built their alliance. The territorial governor of Illinois, William Henry Harrison, eventually convinced the Madison administration to allow for military action against the Native Americans in the Ohio Valley.
The resulting Battle of Tippecanoe drove the followers of the Prophet from their gathering place but did little to change the dynamics of the region. British efforts to arm and supply Native Americans, however, angered Americans and strengthened anti-British sentiments. Republicans began to talk of war as a solution to these problems, arguing that it was necessary to complete the War for Independence by preventing British efforts to keep America subjugated at sea and on land. The war would also represent another battle against the Loyalists, some thirty-eight thousand of whom had populated Upper Canada after the Revolution and sought to establish a counter to the radical experiment of the United States.
In , the Republicans held 75 percent of the seats in the House and 82 percent of the Senate, giving them a free hand to set national policy. Calhoun of South Carolina.
The Republicans hoped that an invasion of Canada might remove the British from their backyard and force the empire to change their naval policies. After much negotiation in Congress over the details of the bill, Madison signed a declaration of war on June 18, For the second time, the United States was at war with Great Britain. While the War of contained two key players—the United States and Great Britain—it also drew in other groups, such as Tecumseh and the Indian Confederacy.
The war can be organized into three stages or theaters. The first, the Atlantic Theater, lasted until the spring of During this time, Great Britain was chiefly occupied in Europe against Napoleon, and the United States invaded Canada and sent their fledgling navy against British ships. During the second stage, from early to , the United States launched their second offensive against Canada and the Great Lakes. In this period, the Americans won their first successes. During the war, the Americans were greatly interested in Canada and the Great Lakes borderlands.
In July , the United States launched their first offensive against Canada. By August, however, the British and their allies rebuffed the Americans, costing the United States control over Detroit and parts of the Michigan Territory. By the close of , the Americans recaptured Detroit, shattered the Indian Confederacy, killed Tecumseh, and eliminated the British threat in that theater.
Despite these accomplishments, the American land forces proved outmatched by their adversaries. Privateers and the U. Early on, Americans humiliated the British in single ship battles. Within six minutes, the Chesapeake was destroyed and Lawrence mortally wounded. As the Guerriere tried to outmaneuver the Americans, the Constitution pulled along broadside and began hammering the British frigate. Her sides are made of iron!
Fort McHenry repelled the nineteen-ship British fleet, enduring twenty-seven hours of bombardment virtually unscathed. Impressive though these accomplishments were, they belied what was actually a poorly executed military campaign against the British. The U. Navy won their most significant victories in the Atlantic Ocean in Thanks to the blockade, the British were able to burn Washington, D. This American victory actually came after the United States and the United Kingdom signed the Treaty of Ghent on December 24, , but the Battle of New Orleans proved to be a psychological victory that boosted American morale and affected how the war has been remembered.
The artist shows Washington D. But not all Americans supported the war. They produced a document that proposed abolishing the three-fifths rule that afforded southern slaveholders disproportionate representation in Congress, limiting the president to a single term in office, and most importantly, demanding a two-thirds congressional majority, rather than a simple majority, for legislation that declared war, admitted new states into the Union, or regulated commerce.
Contemplating the possibility of secession over the War of fueled in large part by the economic interests of New England merchants , the Hartford Convention posed the possibility of disaster for the still-young United States. England, represented by the figure John Bull on the right side, is shown in this political cartoon with arms open to accept New England back into its empire. William Charles Jr. These proposals were sent to Washington, but unfortunately for the Federalists, the victory at New Orleans buoyed popular support for the Madison administration.
The next New England politician to assume the presidency, John Quincy Adams, would, in , emerge not from within the Federalist fold but having served as secretary of state under President James Monroe, the leader of the Virginia Republicans. The Treaty of Ghent essentially returned relations between the United States and Britain to their prewar status. The war, however, mattered politically and strengthened American nationalism. During the war, Americans read patriotic newspaper stories, sang patriotic songs, and bought consumer goods decorated with national emblems.
They also heard stories about how the British and their Native allies threatened to bring violence into American homes. Terror and love worked together to make American citizens feel a stronger bond with their country. The United States continued to expand into Indian territories with westward settlement in far-flung new states like Tennessee, Ohio, Mississippi, and Illinois.
Between and , the country added more than six thousand new post offices. In , South Carolina congressman John C. They aimed to make America economically independent and encouraged commerce between the states over trade with Europe and the West Indies. These projects were controversial. Even Calhoun later changed his mind and joined the opposition. Even when the federal government did not act, states created banks, roads, and canals of their own.