Civil War and Reconstruction 1850-1877: Lifestyles, Social Trends, and Fashion Research Article from American Eras

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The American Spirit at Midcentury.

Throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, Americans were among the most optimistic people on earth. Economic growth and territorial expansion all contributed to a sense of apparently boundless opportunity. Dedicated to individualism, Americans sometimes struck European visitors as being materialistic to the point of greed and optimistic to the point of arrogance. At the same time many Americans were devoted to a largely unrealistic cultural and social ideal that included strict attention to morality and the work ethic and the exaltation of home life. As the growing middle class became more attached to convenient, cheaply produced consumer goods, they also became more worried about declining morals and social problems. Although their religious zeal had abated somewhat, the reform movements that had arisen from evangelical religious revivals of 1830s and 1840s—including temperance, women's rights, and abolitionism —continued to influence American life...

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This section contains 1,524 words
(approx. 6 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Civil War and Reconstruction 1850-1877: Lifestyles, Social Trends, and Fashion Encyclopedia Article
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