The Fabulous Forties, 1840-50: A Presentation of Private Life

The Fabulous Forties, 1840-50: A Presentation of Private Life

The Fabulous Forties, 1840-50: A Presentation of Private Life

The Fabulous Forties, 1840-50: A Presentation of Private Life

Excerpt

The decade of the Forties, in America, was a brilliant three ring circus, filled with marvelous side shows and prodigious natural curiosities, glittering with mirrors and chandeliers, thunderous with brass bands and fireworks, choked with the dust of glorious caravans.

Politically descended from the revolutionary Jackson régime, it saw the continued passing of government from the hands of the professionally select statesmen of the old restricted school into those of the popularly elected representatives of the rank and file; it heard, more and more persistent, the voice of the new West in its deliberations; it put the fateful question of slavery irrevocably into the national limelight. Commercially, in spite of panics and disasters, it laid the foundations of great fortunes, and brought into being an era of mercantile supremacy on the seas, which, during the brief, generously conceived period of its maintenance, added the fame of Boston and Salem, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore to that of Tyre, and Carthage, and Genoa, and Venice on the records of the world's maritime enterprise.

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