Tocqueville's America

"No novelty in the United States struck me more vividly . . . than the
 equality of conditions."



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  • Market Revolution
  • craftsman & apprentice
  • Waltham System
  • Second Great Awakening
  • Charles Grandison Finney
  • Philadelphia System
  • Auburn System
  • Dorothea Lynde Dix
  • William Lloyd Garrison
  • Arthur & Lewis Tappan
  • Sojourner Truth
  • Frederick Douglass
  • Angelina & Sarah Grimké
  • Seneca Falls Convention
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Lucretia Mott
  • Susan B. Anthony
  • Cult of Domesticity
  • American Temperance Union
  • Horace Greeley
  • romanticism
  • James Fenimore Cooper
  • transcendentalism
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Henry David Thoreau
  • Brook Farm
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Herman Melville
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Walt Whitman
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • "penny newspaper"
  • "domestic novel"
  • Nathaniel Currier & James Merritt Ives
  • John Trumbull
  • Hudson River School
  • John J. Audubon
  • Stephen Foster
  • Horace Mann
  • Common-school movement
  • lyceum
  • Commonwealth v. Hunt
  • John Deere
  • Cyrus Hall McCormick

The Great Triumvirate: Webster, Clay, and Calhoun by Merrill D. Peterson


  • William Lloyd Garrison: Opening page in first issue of The Liberator (1831)
  • Frances Trollope: Description of camp meeting in Domestic Manners of the Americans (1832)
  • Soloman Northrup: Description of slave auction in Twelve Years a Slave (event 1841; written 1853)


1.  Discuss the emergence of the "cult of domesticity" in nineteenth-century America
     and its impact on women and the family.

2.  Discuss the causes, characteristics, and consequences of the Second Great

3.  "In the first half of the nineteenth century, the American cultural and intellectual
     community contributed to the development of a distinctive American national
     consciousness." Assess the validity of this statement.

4.  "American reform movements between 1820 and 1860 reflected both optimistic and
     pessimistic views of human nature and society." Assess the validity of this statement
     in reference to reform movements in three of the following areas—education; penal
     institutions; women's rights; temperance; abolitions of slavery; utopian experiments.

5.  Select any three of the following social reformers and give an account of their
     activities and contributions to their particular cause—Horace Mann; Dorothea Lynde
     Dix; Elizabeth Cady Stanton; Susan B. Anthony; Sojourner Truth; William Lloyd
     Garrison; Frederick Douglass.

6.  Select any three of the following writers and poets and discuss each of their modes
     of presentation relative to nineteenth-century democratic America—Edgar Allan Poe;
     Ralph Waldo Emerson; Henry David Thoreau; Nathaniel Hawthorne; Herman Melville;
     Walt Whitman; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.


  1. The majority of textile mill workers during the 1830s were
    1. immigrants.
    2. women.
    3. skilled craftsmen.
    4. children.

  2. At the time it was completed, the Erie Canal was
    1. already, in effect, obsolete.
    2. long overdue as a replacement for railroads as the major means of transportation in America.
    3. the greatest construction project yet undertaken by Americans.
    4. too poorly engineered to handle the current traffic flow.

  3. The nativist movement desired to
    1. enact more restrictive immigration laws.
    2. return designated lands to certain Indian tribes.
    3. increase aid to education.
    4. remove recently enacted labor laws.

  4. In the middle-class family during this era, the role of women changed from
    1. helpmate to workmate.
    2. income producer to income consumer.
    3. family head to subservient mate.
    4. passive domestic to radical feminist.

  5. Alexis de Tocqueville's impressions of America included all of the following except
    1. Americans were restless, and in particular, were moving westward.
    2. women were assuming more authority over day-to-day household affairs because almost all men were working outside the home.
    3. Americans generally kept aloof from organizations and charities.
    4. there were fewer distinctions between the rich and the poor than in Europe.

Mount Rushmore's original proposal stipulated that a Hall of Records be bored into the rock behind the faces. Started in 1938 but never completed, enclosed within would be a capsule history of the United States, including biographies of the four Presidents. The absence of such archives, Gutzon Borglum predicted, would lead to confusion by historians and archaeologists thousands of years in the future. Efforts to finish the room were renewed during the late 1990s. Click on the faces to access LECTURE GUIDE for this unit.


Stephen Foster's "Oh, Susanna"   by Pete Seeger