Their Brothers' Keepers: Moral Stewardship in the United States, 1800-1865

Their Brothers' Keepers: Moral Stewardship in the United States, 1800-1865

Their Brothers' Keepers: Moral Stewardship in the United States, 1800-1865

Their Brothers' Keepers: Moral Stewardship in the United States, 1800-1865

Excerpt

In the years between 1800 and 1865, the United States was in a ferment of great and fundamental political, social, and economic change. Hundreds of thousands of men were rushing westward, seizing land, and creating cities and states from forests and prairies. Onto the fertile lands of the Old Southwest came an expanding slavocracy whose foundation was the sweating backs of Negro bondsmen, as Eli Whitney's cotton "gin" gave new life to what had been a dying institution. Thousands of other men were thronging into the dark caverns of urban tenements and the rutted city streets as they came to man the machines of American factories, to establish their shops and trades, or, if less fortunate, to join the ranks of the unemployed and the poor. The fetid holds of crowded ships disgorged hordes of European immigrants, who only gradually fused their different traditions, languages, and ideas into an American mold. While Federalism was declining from internal decay and the onslaughts of the Jeffersoni-

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