Culture and industry show new vigor
The spirit of national self-confidence, as might be expected, was finding utterance in a great outpouring of literature. The decade of the thirties brought a full harvest of American letters. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and James Russell Lowell began at this time their poetic careers. Emerson preached the doctrine of individualism and the nobility of man in imperishable verse and prose. Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe exemplified the versatility of American thinking by giving literary expression to the somber and supernatural in men's experience. Although most of these men derived their enduring fame from their writings, many of them took an active interest in the humanitarian and political struggles of the age. Whittier was pre-eminently the poet laureate of the antislavery crusade; Longfellow published his Poems on Slavery in 1842; Lowell acted as editor of the Pennsylvania Freeman; George Bancroft was an ardent anti-Bank man; Bryant's brilliant poetic career was coupled with his distinguished editorship of the New York Evening Post from 1829 to 1878.
The trend of the times awakened a new interest in the history of the Republic and marked the beginning of historical scholarship. In the thirties, Jared Sparks, who years before had begun the North American Review, took up the task of editing historical documents, publishing, notably, collections If the writings of Washington and Franklin and the diplomatic correspondence of the Revolution. In 1834, George Bancroft Published the first volume of a history of the United States from the earliest discoveries to the adoption of the Constitution. This was the first comprehensive American history based upon a laborious examination of source materials. Before the close of the decade, Bancroft and William Prescott had shown the ability of American scholars to write history with literary distinction.
In day to day living, the welfare of the people was improving visibly in the period between 1825 and 1850. After 1825, the threshing machine roller; shortly after, the began to supplant the flail and the mower and the reaper were invented. The difficulty of maintaining a united nation in the face of rapid geographical expansion was somewhat eased by the mechanical ingenuity of the people. Railway mileage steadily progressed from the first horsedrawn public carrier of 1830. By 1850, one could travel over the iron highways from Maine to North Carolina, from the Atlantic seaboard to Buffalo on Lake Erie and from the western end of Lake Erie to Chicago or Cincinnati. The electric telegraph, invented in 1835 by S. F. B. Morse, was first used in 1844. In 1847, the rotary printing press, devised by Richard Hoe, wag put to use. It revolutionized publishing processes and played a major part in giving newspapers their commanding position in American life.
Indicative of the growth of the nation from 1812 to 1852 was the rise in population which increased from approximately 7,250,000 to over 23,000,000. During this period, the land available for settlement had increased to almost the size of the European continent-from 1,700,000 to almost 3,000,000 square miles. In addition to a flourishing agriculture, varied industries were rapidly developing not only on the eastern seaboard but in the fast-growing cities of the west. The durability of the nation and the vitality of its economy and institutions were established. Still unresolved, however, were the basic conflicts rooted in sectional differences, which within the next decade were destined to flame into Civil War.