December 1, 2015

Homework Help: History

Posted by brie on Tuesday, May 1, 2007 at 3:51pm.

In the early 1800s, Americans felt a growing sense of pride in their new nation. How did this feeling help Americans define their identity as a people? What obstacles did they face in developing this national identity?

Americans were proud of the Constitution and that their young democracy was working. They believed that they could achieve their goals by dint of their own hard work. This gave them a feeling of camaraderie with other Americans. A couple of obstacles, though, were the conflict between states' rights and federal rights, and the vast distances encompassed in the United States. Slavery was also a divisive factor.


The newly minted United States was also entering a technological boom. This was both helpful and a hindrance to the development of our identity as a people. We were proud of our inventions, but forinstance, Whitney's cotton gin prolonged slavery. Prior to Whitney's invention, the only cotton that was able to be commercially grown was a type which had seeds that were easy to remove from the cotton bolls. Whitney's gin allowed the plantation owners to grow the more difficult-to-seed cotton that required more time and energy to grow, but could be easily readied for the mills. This cotton required great care in planting and harvesting, so slaves became even more important than previously. Some people say that slavery was on the way out until the gin was invented.

It was eliminated from England about 30 years before our Civil War. Had Whitney not been so inventive, we also might have banned slavery at that time.

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