"The new republic struggled to define and extend democratic ideals in the face of rapid economic, territorial and demographic changes."
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Unit Overview:

Key Concepts:


  • 4.1 The United States developed the world's first modern mass democracy and celebrated a new national culture, while Americans sought to define the nation's democratic ideals and to reform its institutions to match them.
    • I. The nation's transformation to a more participatory democracy was accompanied by continued debates over federal power, the relationship between the federal government and the states, the authority of different branches of the federal government, and the rights and responsibilities of individual citizens.
    • II. Concurrent with an increasing international exchange of goods and ideas, large numbers of Americans began struggling with how to match democratic political ideals to political institutions and social realities.
    • III. While Americans celebrated their national progress towards a unified new national culture that blended Old World forms with New World ideas, various groups of the nation's inhabitant developed distinctive cultures of their own.
  • 4.2. Developments in technology, agriculture, and commerce precipitated profound changes in U.S. settlement patterns, regional identities, gender and family relations, political power, and distribution of consumer goods.
    • I. A global market and communications revolution, influencing and influenced by technological innovations, led to dramatic shifts in the nature of agriculture and manufacturing.
    • II. Regional economic specialization, especially the demands of cultivating southern cotton, shaped settlement patterns and the national and international economy.
    • III. The economic changes caused by the market revolution had significant effects on migration patterns, gender relations, and distribution of political power.
  • 4.3. US interest in increasing foreign trade, expanding its national borders, and isolating itself from European conflicts shaped the nation's foreign policy and spurred government and private initiatives.
    • I. Struggling to create an independent global presence, U.S. policymakers sought to dominate the North American continent and to promote its foreign trade.
    • II. Various American groups and individuals initiated, championed, and/or resisted the expansion of territory and /or governmental powers.
    • III. The American acquisition of lands in the West gave rise to a contest over the extension of slavery into the western territories as well as a series of attempts at national compromise.

Introductory Lectures:










Activities and Exercises:


Reading Guides for Pageant:



Supporting Links:

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