Galatas of the History and Political Science Department at Georgia South Western State University.
The Era of Good Feelings: An Era of Idealism or Realism?.
The Era of Good Feelings was the national mood of the United States from 1815 to 1825, as first described by the Boston Columbian Centinel on July 12, 1817. .
The "era" generally is considered coextensive with President James Monroe's two terms (1817-25), it really began in 1815, when for the first time American citizens could afford to pay less attention to European political and military affairs. The predominant attitude was what in the 20th century is called isolationism. The good feelings, perhaps better termed complacency, were stimulated by two events of 1816, during the presidency of James Madison: the enactment of the first U.S. protective tariff and the establishment of the second National Bank. With the decline of the Federalists the United States was, in practice if not in theory, a one-party state on the national level; heading the Democratic-Republicans, Monroe secured all but one electoral vote in 1820. Sectionalism was in comparative abeyance, replaced by a rather unassertive nationalism. But by 1820 a longer era of conflict might have been foretold; varying sectional interests, particularly regarding slavery and political personality conflicts, developed during Monroe's second term. Yet the question up for examination deals with whether James Monroe opted to take an idealistic or a realistic approach during his administration. What are the ideologies of realism and idealism? What ideology did James Monroe choose to follow and what problems arose during his administration? Was America inclined to move forward with an idealistic or a realistic approach? These are various topics that will be taken into consideration throughout the following pages.
Hans Morgenthau produced a novel, Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, by which the ideology of realism is explained.