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Ch 7: Everyday Life in Antebellum America

About This Chapter

Watch online history video lessons and learn about the Hudson River School, the abolitionist movement and more. Find out how well you retained key info about Antebellum America with self-assessment quizzes.

Everyday Life in Antebellum America - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

This chapter can give you a glimpse into the economic and cultural developments impacting Americans in the first half of the 19th century. Use the video lessons to explore characteristics of distinctly American literature and art, causes of urbanization and factors spurring citizens to reform social ills. You can also find out how steamboats and railroads encouraged settlement in the West. By the end of this chapter, you should be familiar with the following:

  • American cultural and social movements in the early 19th century
  • Impact of developments in industry and transportation
  • Differences between Northern and Southern economies
  • Living conditions in urbanized areas
  • Factors contributing to the spread of slavery
  • Significant figures in the abolitionist movement

Video Objective
American Renaissance: Uniquely American Art, Literature and Culture Explores the influence of Romanticism on literature, the popularization of landscape painting by the Hudson River School, works by transcendentalist authors like Emerson and Thoreau and the birth of utopian societies.
Reform Movements of the 19th Century Discusses the origins of the temperance, education, prison and women's rights movements. Follows the growth of the abolitionist movement.
The Transportation Revolution: Turnpikes to Steamboats to Railroads Shows how the advent of turnpikes, steamboats, canals and railroads shifted economic centers and changed the way goods and people were transported.
Economic Developments in the North: A Commercial Revolution Outlines 19th-century inventions and the effects of industrialization on Northern and Southern economies.
Problems of Urbanization and Daily Life in the North Depicts urban centers' poor living conditions and lack of workers' rights alongside the rise of labor unions. Discusses the spread of nativism and Northern racism resulting from competition for jobs in urban areas.
Life in the South: Ordered Society and Economy of the Southern States Explains the significance of cotton in the Southern economy and the organization of society into a hierarchy of planters, yeoman farmers, poor whites and slaves.
Slavery in America: Cotton, Slave Trade and the Southern Response Discusses the origin and spread of American slavery as well as slave codes and revolts.
Abolitionist Movement: Important Figures in the Fight to End Slavery Profiles the efforts of prominent figures in the antislavery movement, including David Walker, William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Henry Highland Grant, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Harriet Tubman.

8 Lessons in Chapter 7: Everyday Life in Antebellum America
American Renaissance: Uniquely American Art, Literature and Culture

1. American Renaissance: Uniquely American Art, Literature and Culture

America began creating its own distinct culture in the 1800s. Learn about popular trends in art, literature, and pop culture in the antebellum era. Also, learn how religion and utopian communes changed the way some Americans lived.

Reform Movements of the 19th Century

2. Reform Movements of the 19th Century

Inspired by the Second Great Awakening and Transcendentalism, Americans started a number of social reform movements in the antebellum era, including the fight against alcohol and slavery, as well as the fight for public schools, humane prisons and asylums, and women's rights.

The Transportation Revolution: Turnpikes to Steamboats to Railroads

3. The Transportation Revolution: Turnpikes to Steamboats to Railroads

In the half-century before the Civil War, America experienced a transportation revolution that improved the way people and goods crossed the nation, opened up new areas for settlement and altered the centers of economic power.

Economic Developments in the North: A Commercial Revolution

4. Economic Developments in the North: A Commercial Revolution

In the Antebellum Era, the Northern part of the United States was revolutionized by a series of innovations, triggering a shift from an agricultural to a commercial economy. These economic changes sharpened the differences between North and South.

Problems of Urbanization and Daily Life in the North

5. Problems of Urbanization and Daily Life in the North

In the antebellum years, American cities grew. Find out why and what it was like to live in New York, Philadelphia and other Northern cities in the middle of the 19th century.

Life in the South: Ordered Society and Economy of the Southern States

6. Life in the South: Ordered Society and Economy of the Southern States

While the North was urbanizing and industrializing, the South became more committed to its rural, leisurely lifestyle and its agricultural economy built on slave labor. Limited industry did exist, but cotton was king!

Slavery in America: Cotton, Slave Trade and the Southern Response

7. Slavery in America: Cotton, Slave Trade and the Southern Response

The United Sates was conceived on the idea of freedom and the rights of all people, but early on, an institution took hold that was the exact opposite of that idea. In this lesson, find out the roots of slavery in the States, how it took hold, how slaves lived, and how they resisted the bonds of slavery.

Abolitionist Movement: Important Figures in the Fight to End Slavery

8. Abolitionist Movement: Important Figures in the Fight to End Slavery

The abolitionist movement spanned decades. Although slavery did not end peacefully, great Americans like William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Beecher Stowe were some of the driving forces behind the anti-slavery movement.

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