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Toolbox Library, primary resources thematically organized with notes and discussion questionsOnline Seminars, professional development seminars for history and literature teachersThe Triumph of Nationalism/The House Dividing, 1815-1850
The Triumph of Nationalism/The House Dividing
Topic: Culture of the Common ManTopic: Cult of DomesticityTopic: ReligionTopic: ExpansionTopic: America in 1850
Topic: Culture of the Common Man
Overview of Triumph of Nationalism
Resource Menu: Culture of the Common Man
Text 1. Andrew Jackson
» Reading Guide
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Text 2. Mark Twain
Text 3. Thomas W. Dorr
Text 4. Mechanics/Workers
Text 5. Richard Allen and David Walker
Text 6. Nathaniel Hawthorne
Text 7. James Fenimore Cooper
Text 8. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Text 9. John C. Calhoun
Text 10. Walt Whitman

RESOURCE MENU » Reading Guide Link

Reading Guide
1.  Andrew Jackson, Veto Message Regarding the Bank of the United States, July 10, 1832

In 1831 Congress passed a bill to "modify and continue" the Bank of the United States. Jackson vetoed it and here explains why. Dry reading but valuable, it will give you a concise statement of Jackson's vision of what America should be. He objects to the bill's provisions because they do "not measure out equal justice to the high and the low, the rich and the poor." To continue the Bank's monopoly, he says, would bestow the government's bounty upon the current stockholders and no one else. To approve the bill's exchange provisions would favor banks over merchants, mechanics, and other private citizens. To ratify the bill's tax arrangements would penalize American stockholders and send an inordinate percentage of the bank's profits to foreign investors, mostly in Great Britain. Indeed, Jackson spends a great deal of time detailing the national security threat that large scale foreign investment in the Bank of the United States would pose to this country. He also devotes much effort to a painstaking refutation of the Supreme Court decision that declared the Bank constitutional. In the end he offers this summary of his position: "In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society . . . who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government. . . . If [government] would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing." A good selection to pair with Cooper's The American Democrat. 14 pages (wide margins).

Discussion questions
  ·  What did Jackson want America to be?
  ·  How distinctly American is Jackson's vision?
  ·  What are Jackson's views on equality and inequality?
  ·  For Jackson, what is the purpose of political power?

» Link

Topic Framing Questions
  •  How did Americans respond to the emergence of a functioning democracy in which the majority of free adult males could vote?
  •  How did Northerners view the purposes of political rights and power?
  •  How did Southerners view them?

Toolbox: The Triumph of Nationalism / The House Dividing
Common Man | Cult of Domesticity | Religion | Expansion | America in 1850

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