Many American sought to create a distinctly American republic during the first half of the nineteenth century. Discuss these efforts, making sure to explain the economic and demographic contexts in which they occurred as well as contemporary trends in art, architecture, language, literature, and religion. How did Catharine Beecher and Elizabeth Cady Stanton differ in their views regarding the roles of women amidst this change?

Topic: American exceptionalism; institutional social reform

Thesis: In this essay, I will discuss the ways in which Americans of the early nineteenth century reformed the nation's social institutions in a way that catered to the ideals of American exceptionalism.


Market Revolution; technological and communication advances; Second Great Awakening; creation of national party system

-Market Revolution - urbanization / decline of agrarian society; immigration from Europe - nativism; cost of labor went down and so did the price of goods; conditions in the workplace - child labor, long hours; temp

-Tech and communication advances - Erie Canal; telegraph; railroads - increase in domestic trade; communication between people faster; War department; outsourcing / contracting interchangeable parts of weapons

  • ART and LITERATURE - Native Americans / American wilderness
  • Architecture - Neo-classical style of buildings and houses / large govt institutional buildings (banks)
  • Language - Webster's dictionary
  • Religion - Second Great Awakening - Sunday schools - Temperance - Dorthea Dix

Women's roles:

  • Beecher: wanted women to remain within the domestic realm - created a school to train women in domesticity; no political involvement; republican motherhood
  • Stanton: wanted equal rights as men in every way; abolitionist movement not for morality but for political ideals; had a bunch of kids

Conclude: Reform in art, literature, architecture, language, religion, social, eco...... American exceptionalism.