A little more than forty years after the signing of the Constitution of the United States, the country’s economy is primarily agrarian, however, industrialization is taking root in the cities. Westward expansion is stimulating the development of a national infrastructure and fueling debate about states’ rights versus federalism. Large numbers of immigrants and free blacks are inflating the population and changing the demographics. The growth of a two-party system is altering the face of politics and political campaigning.
A philosophical shift prompts many Americans to actively support the abolition of slavery, the nascent suffragist movement, equal rights and free education for all. The traditional Calvinism of the early settlers is challenged by itinerant preachers who propagate evangelical Protestantism. In the extreme, religious and ideological prophets establish self-contained utopian communities based on the socialist tenet of shared property. Additionally, some advocate radical lifestyles such as celibacy, polygamy, group marriage and free love.
The end of the third decade of the nineteenth century is, indeed, a time of change and challenge. America underscores its growing transformation by sending Andrew Jackson, a rough, volatile, military hero from free-wheeling Tennessee to the White House to replace John Quincy Adams, a reserved, Harvard-educated diplomat from staid New England.