AP American History DBQ
Directions: The following question requires you to construct an essay that integrates your interpretation of
the Document and your knowledge of the period referred to in the question. In the essay you should strive to support
your assertions both by citing key pieces of evidence from the documents and by drawing on your knowledge of the
The labeling of the period 1816-1824 as “The Era of Good Feeling” is one of the most inappropriate
examples of periodization in American historical scholarship. Assess the validity of this statement.
“The question now is, by what power are these and other improvements of a similar kind to be effected?
Gentlemen contend that they belong to the general government. I am inclined to the opinion that they had better be
left to the regulation of the states. They are in their nature internal; they are minute and involved in detail; they
require a close and ready supervision. They are of the nature of police; they require, in fact, the agency of officers
and laws which are to be found only in the institutions of the individual states . . . . Before we pass, then, finally on
this proposition, it is necessary to be assured that it involves no violation of the Constitution. I cannot agree in the
loose manner of construing that instrument which has been recommended and adopted by my friend from South
Carolina [Calhoun]. . . . If the United States have money to spare, let it be distributed among the states to be applied
to works of internal improvement. The states are better judges of their wants and interests; they know best whether
they most require roads or canals, or schools, or dykes, or embankments. They can more conveniently, too, give that
attention which objects of this nature demand. They can more successfully provide against profuse and wasteful
expenditure. James Madison, Veto of internal improvements, 1817.
“The political system of the Allied Powers [Holy Alliance] is essentially different . . . from that of America.
This difference proceeds from that which exists in their respective [monarchical] governments; and to the defense of
our own. . . . this whole nation is devoted. We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing
between the United States and those powers to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend
their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. With the existing colonies or
dependencies of any European power, we have not interfered and shall not interfere. But with the governments [of
Spanish America] who have declared their independence and maintained it, and whose independence we have, on
great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of
oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power in any other light than as
the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States. . . .
Our policy in regard to Europe, which was adopted at an early stage of the wars which have so long agitated
that quarter of the globe, nevertheless remains the same, which is, not to interfere in the internal concerns of any of
its powers; to consider the government de facto as the legitimate government for us; to cultivate friendly relations
with it, and to preserve those relations by a frank, firm, and manly policy, meeting in all instances the just claims of
every power, submitting to injuries from none.
But in regard to those [American] continents, circumstances are eminently and conspicuously different. It is
impossible that the Allied Powers should extend their political system to any portion of either continent without
endangering our peace and happiness. Nor can anyone believe that our southern brethren, if left to themselves, would
adopt it of their own accord. It is equally impossible, therefore, that we should behold such interposition in any form
with indifference. Monroe Doctrine
ALTHOUGH I had laid down a law to myself, never to write, talk, or even think of politics, to know
nothing of public affairs, and therefore had ceased to read newspapers, yet the Missouri question aroused and filled
me with alarm. The old schism of Federal and Republican threatened nothing, because it existed in every State, and
united them together by the fraternism of party. But the coincidence of a marked principle, moral and political, with
a geographical line, once conceived, I feared would never more be obliterated from the mind; that it would be
recurring on every occasion and renewing irritations, until it would kindle such mutual and mortal hatred, as to
render separation preferable to eternal discord. I have been among the most sanguine in believing that our Union
would be of long duration. I now doubt it much, and see the event at no great distance, and the direct consequence of
this question; not by the line which has been so confidently counted on; the laws of nature control this; but by the
Potomac, Ohio and Missouri, or more probably, the Mississippi upwards to our northern boundary. . . . I regret that I
am now to die in the belief, that the useless sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776, to acquire self-
government and happiness to their country, is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons,
and that my only consolation is to be, that I live not to weep over it. If they would but dispassionately weigh the
blessings they will throw away, against an abstract principle more likely to be effected by union than by session, they
would pause before they would perpetrate this act of suicide on themselves, and of treason against the hopes of the
world. . . .Thomas Jefferson, Apprehensive View Of Missouri Compromise, America, Vol.5, Pg.305-6.
“ In 1819, a paralyzing economic panic descended. It brought deflation, depression, bankruptcies, bank
failures, unemployment, soup kitchens, and overcrowded pesthouses known as debtors' prisons. This was the first
national financial panic since President Washington took office. . . Many factors contributed to the catastrophe of
1819, but looming large was over speculation in frontier lands. The Bank of the United States, through its western
branches, had become deeply involved in this popular type of outdoor gambling. Various parts of the country drifted
back toward the old sectionalism, as they concentrated on bailing themselves out. The West was especially hard hit.
When the pinch came, the Bank of the United States forced the speculative ("wildcat") western banks to the wall and
foreclosed mortgages on countless farms. All this was technically legal but politically unwise. In the eyes of the
western debtor, the bank soon became a kind of financial devil.
. . . .The panic of 1819 also created backwashes in the political and social world. It hit especially hard at the
poorer classes. It also directed attention to the inhumanity of imprisoning debtors. In extreme cases, often
overplayed, mothers were torn from their infants for owing a few dollars. Mounting agitation against imprisonment
for debt bore fruit in remedial legislation in an increasing number of states.”
The American Pageant, Chapter 13.
“Sir, I am convinced that it would be impolitic, as well as unjust, to aggravate the burdens of the people, for
the purpose of favoring the manufacturers; for this government created and gave power to Congress, to regulate
commerce and equalize duties on the whole of the United States, and not to lay a duty but with a steady eye to
revenue. With my good will, sir, there should be none but an ad valorem duty on all articles, which would prevent
the possibility of one interest in the country being sacrificed, by the management of taxation, to another.” John
Randolph, “Our First Protective Tariff ”, America, Vol.5, Pg.271 - Pg.272.