apush chapter 11 notes - Waterford Union High School

(for pages 319-366)
Disease and Health
 Disease spread easily, things like yellow fever and cholera
(eg. 1/5 of New Orleans died between 1832-1833)
 Transportation helped to spread the disease
(one cholera epidemic followed the Erie Canal west)
 By the 1850s most cities established public health boards, however most cities gave
them so few powers that people distrusted them.
 “Contagion” theory – transmitted by touch; “Miasma” theory – poisonous gases were
emitted by rotting vegetation or dead animals carried disease through the air. This led
to swamps being drained and streets being cleaned.
 Neither theory was consistent with the evidence
(thus public health funding low as expert advice mistrusted)
 Sulfuric ether (an anesthetic) came into wide use in surgery in the 1840s. It came
about because of the popularity of Laughing gas (nitrous oxide), which it is similar to
 Anesthesia helped improve the view of physicians and they could perform longer
surgeries and take their time, but they failed to properly clean their hands, which
offset the gains (infections remained a problem – 40% death rate in amputations)
Popular Health Movements
 People began to turn to alternative therapies. One was hydrotherapy or the “water
cure” – this became popular among middle class women because they were able to
congregate with each other (form of relaxation)
 Sylvester Graham advocated to people that they should substitute vegetables, fruits,
and whole-grain bread for meat, and advocated that people not drink or have sex
 He thought that eating meat stimulated lust and other aggressive impulses.
 He taught healthy living with a nearly religious zeal
 This rested on the idea that the human mind comprised 37 distinct faculties, or
“organs”, each located in a different part of the brain. They thought that the degree of
an organ’s development determined skull shape, so that they could analyze a person’s
character by examining the bumps and depressions of the skull.
 Phrenology promised a quick assessment of others in a mobile, individualistic
 Just as Americans invented machines to better their lives, they invented “sciences” to
better human society
 Entertainment became popular. Things like cheap novels, newspapers, and tickets to
plays, museums, and lectures.
 Recreation could be manufactured and sold (just like factory goods)
 Entertainment now democratic as it was available to everyone
 In 1830, newspapers were filled with ads, editorials, and notices of political events.
Most did not have wide circulation, and most did not make a big profit. They usually
were dependent on political ads and that is what paid the bills.
 In the 1830s better technology allowed newspapers to mass-produce. With this, came
the advent of the penny press which helped to increase circulation
(steam driven cylindrical presses replaced flatbed hand presses)
 New York Sun then the New York Herald (1st penny press papers) doubled
newspaper sales in NY in 2 years
 The penny papers revolutionized the marketing and format of papers. Young boys
also sold them on street corners. Penny papers helped to invent news and news
reporting. They employed their own correspondents and were the first papers to use
the telegraph to speed news into print.
 They began to become good at modern political and financial reporting.
The Theater
 Theatres began to gain mass audiences as well. Prices ranged from 50 cents to 12
cents – which made it affordable for many people (all classes could attend now).
 Prostitutes were allowed in and this made them disreputable. However, people also
were vocal and would throw food on the stage if it was a villain or they didn’t like the
 Individual actors developed huge followings. In 1849 a long-running feud between
the leading American actor, Edwin Forrest (working class appeal) and British actor
William Macready (upper class appeal) ended with a riot at NYCs Astor Place that
left 22 people dead.
 Shakespeare became popular – even though they would make minor changes. They
also had short performances or demonstrations between acts.
Minstrel Shows
 1840s and 1850s minstrel shows forged enduring stereotypes that buttressed white
Americans’ sense of superiority by diminishing black people.
 Minstrel shows (w/ songs, dancing and comedy sketches) arose in northern cities, and
portrayed black dance somewhat close, but didn’t get their music close at all
 The images of blacks projected by minstrelsy both catered to and reinforced the
prejudices of the working-class whites that dominated the audience of minstrel shows.
 Blacks were usually portrayed as stupid, clumsy, and obsessively musical and
emphasized the African-ness of blacks by giving characters names like the Ethiopian
Serenaders and their acts titles like Nubian Jungle Dance and the African Fling.
They had stock characters: Uncle Ned, the tattered, humble, and docile slave; Zip
Coon, the arrogant urban free black who paraded around in a high hat, long-tailed
coat, and green vest who lived off his girlfriends’ money
By the 1850s major cities had minstrel theatres
To show acceptance and popularity of minstrel shows, they were done for 4
P.T. Barnum
 P.T. Barnum was a hustler in the land of the Puritans, a cynic, and an idealist
 His first venture exhibited a black woman, Joice Heth, whom Barnum billed as the
169-year-old former slave nurse of George Washington. He cheated the public
 With new discoveries and technological advances all the time people accepted the
new and different; Barnum played off this and profited
 In 1841, he opened the American Museum – you could see ventriloquists, magicians,
albinos, and a 5 yr. Old person of short-stature whom Barnum named General Tom
Thumb and later took on a tour of Europe. It became the most popular museum in the
 He would publicize his exhibits by writing anonymous letters to newspapers.
 After 1820, the US experienced a flowering of literature that is sometimes called the
“American Renaissance”. Leading figures were: James Fenimore Cooper, Ralph
Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Walt Whitman, Nathaniel
Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Edgar Allan Poe.
 Americans were writing more books and they began to depict the features of their
nation in literature and art.
 Europeans criticized American authors, such as the popular Washington Irving
(author of “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle”
Roots of the American Renaissance
 Two broad developments, one economic and the other philosophical, contributed to
this development.
 First, the transportation revolution created a national market for books, especially
 Second, the American Renaissance reflected the rise of a philosophical movement
known as romanticism. Romantics expected a literary work to be emotionally
charged, a unique reflection of its creator’s inner feelings.
 The emergence of a national market for books and the influence of romanticism
combined to democratize literature.
Cooper, Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, and Whitman
 Cooper introduced a distinctively American fictional character, the frontiersmen
Natty Bumppo, he was aware of nature (used similar theme in popular novels, Last of
the Mohicans and The Deerslayer)
Emerson didn’t write novels but he concluded that learned people enjoy no special
advantage in pursuing truth. All persons can glimpse the truth if only they trust the
promptings of their ears.
Thoreau said that the problems with Americans was that they turned themselves into
“mere machines” to acquire wealth without asking why. He bore the uncomfortable
truth that material and moral progress were not as intimately related as Americans
like to think. (Civil Disobedience and Walden)
Fuller was educated by her father as if she was a boy and was a great intellectual.
Whitman was a poet
Hawthorne, Melville, and Poe
 These three used different settings in their writings.
 Psychology rather than society fascinated these three
 Their work demonstrates the analysis of moral dilemmas and psychological states.
Literature in the Marketplace
 Poe would sell short stories to popular magazines.
 Emerson almost invented the “lyceum” lecture. He would get paid to lecture about
his writings.
 Writing fiction, for both men and women, could earn them cash.
 Books could be produced cheaper than they had in the past.
 The most popular form of fiction in the 1840s and 1850s was the sentimental novel, a
kind of women’s fiction written by women about women and mainly for women.
 These writers discovered, sometimes the hard way, was that to make a living as
authors they had to meet certain popular expectations.
American Landscape Painting
 1820-1860 American painters also sought to develop nationality in art
 The landscape was fresh, relatively untouched by the human imprint.
 The Hudson River school flourished from the 1820s to the 187-s, they had more than
50 painters
 Their special contribution to American art was to emphasize emotional effect over
 Frederick Law Olmstead – early icon in landscape architecture (NYC’s Central Park)