Continuing with our Era of Good Feelings bicentennial roundtable, I argue that the Era of Good Feelings is not quite as much of a misnomer as we usually make of it. If not exactly an “era of good feelings,” it was nonetheless an “era of nationalist feelings.”
One of the first things you will hear from historians about the so called “Era of Good Feelings” is that it is a misnomer. There might have been a three year stretch of relative “good feelings” from 1815-1818—especially if you were a white man—but by the panic of 1819, and with James Tallmadge’s famous amendment introduced that same year igniting the Missouri Controversy, there were many bad feelings to go around. And even between 1815 and 1818 you could find plenty of political intrigue and tension if you knew where to look for it (New York for example).