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The Era of Good Feelings
John Coffee letter

Letter from John Coffee to George Washington Campbell, Huntsville, Mississippi Territory, May 8, 1814
Dyas Collection of John Coffee Papers

Coffee notes the vast amount of valuable land acquired as a result of the conquest of the Creek nation. Later in the letter, he offers his services to survey these new lands.

Both the United States and Great Britain were relieved to end the war. The conflict had drained both national treasuries. The Treaty of Ghent gave the appearance that nothing had really been lost or gained. But for the United States, particularly due to the timing of the victory at New Orleans, the War of 1812 restored the nation's honor.

Despite the mythology surrounding the merits of the militia, a stronger, federally-supported regular army would eventually be established as a consequence of the war. Economically, the British maritime sanctions and blockades spurred American manufacturing, especially in the North. Politically, the Democratic-Republicans, most of whom supported the war, enjoyed an unprecedented rise in power while their opponents, the Federalists, all but disappeared from the political landscape. With its borders now secure from foreign interference, the United States embarked on an immense westward expansion that would carry with it the divisive question of slavery and mark a new era in Native American-U.S. relations. Because of westward expansion and economic prosperity, the years immediately following the war would be labeled as the Era of Good Feelings.

Who were the Democratic-Republicans and the Federalists?

The Democratic-Republican Party was founded by Thomas Jefferson and his supporters in the 1790s. The party stressed states' rights and republican ideals. It was popular in the South and the West and was organized to counter the Federalist Party, which favored a stronger federal government and a national bank. Most of the Federalists' power was concentrated in the Northeast, where opposition to the War of 1812 was the strongest.

Winfield Scott

Engraving of Winfield Scott from a Matthew Brady photograph, ca. 1861
Penelope Allen Johnson Cherokee Collection


 

Winfield Scott
(1786-1866)

Winfield Scott served in the War of 1812 on the Canadian front, where he experienced first-hand the problematic disorganization in the army. After the war, he introduced higher levels of professionalism into the American army, stressing formal military training and strategy. He devised the first standard drill regulations and became president of the Board of Tactics. He was responsible for carrying out Indian Removal, to which he objected, and led the invasion of Mexico in the Mexican War. He also devised the overall Union strategy for the Civil War.

 

James Monroe

Engraving of James Monroe by Alonzo Chappel, 1861
Tennessee Historical Society Picture Collection

James Monroe
(1758-1831)

James Monroe's presidency (1817-1825) ushered in what became known as the Era of Good Feelings, based partly on the high level of morale and economic prosperity in the post-war period. Monroe played a pivotal role during the War of 1812, serving as President Madison's Secretary of State and, during the latter part of the war, also holding the cabinet post of Secretary of War. As president, Monroe formulated the U.S. foreign policy regarding Latin America known as the Monroe Doctrine.

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Map of the Lands in Mississippi Ceded by the Chickasaws

"Map of the Lands in Mississippi Ceded by the Chickasaws to the United States in 1832 and 1834," 1835
Robert Whyte Papers

In 1818 the Chickasaws gave up their claims to what is now West Tennessee and western Kentucky. In the early 1830s, the Chickasaws ceded over 6,000,000 acres of land in Mississippi in exchange for lands west of the Mississippi River. John Coffee, former general of the Tennessee volunteers during the War of 1812, represented the United States in many of the treaty negotiations with the Southeastern Tribes.

Andrew Jackson

Engraving of Andrew Jackson from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, January 19, 1856
Library Photograph Collection, Oversize

Battle of New Orleans

"Battle of New Orleans" sheet music, Boston, Massachusetts, ca. 1816
Kenneth D. Rose Sheet Music Collection

Andrew Jackson

Engraving of Andrew Jackson
Library Photograph Collection

Congressional Gold Medal

Manuscript related to the presentation of a Congressional Gold Medal to Andrew Jackson, 1815
Sir Emil Hurja Collection



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