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Ch 8: Life in Antebellum America (1807-1861)

About This Chapter

Watch informative video lessons with quizzes that cover Antebellum America. Learn about the American Renaissance, social reform, the transportation revolution and more.

Life in Antebellum America

In the early 1800s, America underwent its own renaissance period. The fairly new country started to define its own artistic styles, literature and culture. Through our lesson on the American Renaissance, you can explore this unique period in history when our country was just beginning to create its own identity. Let this lesson lead you into a deeper look at transcendentalism. Discover this movement and the social reforms of the mid-19th century. You'll be able to find out more about temperance, education, prisons, feminism and abolition during this time.

How did our country expand and begin to transform in these early days? It was thanks to the transportation revolution. You'll get to learn more through our lessons that will show you all about the railroads and steamboats that helped our country transform. Also study the commercial revolution and the development and inventions that spurred it. See how these things created a new economy.

But great growth often introduces great problems. The early years of the U.S. were not immune. You'll get to research more into the problems that growth brought to the country through our lessons. See how urbanization started to cause problems in daily life in the northern states. Contrast this with what you'll learn about life in the South, where things were less crowded and more ordered.

See how all of the changes led to the rise of slavery. Learn more about this southern institution. See how slaves helped the South produce the kings of cotton. Get an in-depth look at slave trading, resistance to slavery and the white response. Continue your studies with our lesson on the abolitionist movement, which would ultimately help to fuel the country into a civil war. Thanks for watching!

8 Lessons in Chapter 8: Life in Antebellum America (1807-1861)
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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