4.14 Causation in Period 4, 1800-1848

5 min readmarch 15, 2023

Riya Patel

Riya Patel

AP US History 🇺🇸

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Period 4 of US history, spanning from 1800 to 1848, was a time of significant change and development in the United States. The period saw the expansion of democracy, the growth of industry, the emergence of new social movements, and the expansion of US territory through westward expansion. Causation played a crucial role in these changes, and understanding the causes behind them is essential to fully grasp the significance of this period.

Key Vocabulary

Here are some key vocabulary terms related to Period 4 of US history (1800-1848):
  1. Industrialization: the process of developing industries in a society, leading to increased manufacturing and economic growth
  2. Democracy: a form of government in which power is held by the people through free and fair elections
  3. Second Great Awakening: a religious revival in the early 19th century that sparked new religious movements and social and political reform
  4. Manifest Destiny: the belief that the United States was destined to expand its territory from coast to coast
  5. Sectionalism: the belief in and loyalty to a particular region of a country over the interests of the nation as a whole
  6. Nationalism: the belief in the unity and identity of a nation, often accompanied by a sense of pride in one's country and a desire for economic independence
  7. Monroe Doctrine: a US foreign policy statement in 1823 that asserted the United States' dominance in the Western Hemisphere and warned European powers against further colonization
  8. Urbanization: the process of people moving from rural areas to cities, often due to the growth of industry and job opportunities
  9. Social movements: organized efforts by groups of people to promote social or political change, such as the abolitionist and women's rights movements
  10. Cultural movements: artistic or intellectual movements that seek to challenge or change dominant cultural norms and values, such as the Romantic and Transcendentalist movements.

Key Questions

  • How did industrialization impact the United States during this period?
  • How did the idea of Manifest Destiny impact westward expansion and the acquisition of new territory?
  • How did sectionalism lead to tensions between different regions of the United States?
  • How did nationalism play a role in shaping the United States' foreign policy during this period?
  • What were the main factors that contributed to urbanization during this period?
  • How did social movements like abolitionism and women's rights impact the United States during this period?
  • What were the main characteristics of cultural movements like Romanticism and Transcendentalism, and how did they influence American culture and society?
  • How did the Monroe Doctrine impact the United States' relationship with European powers during this period?
  • What were the key events and conflicts that led up to the Mexican-American War, and what were its main consequences for the United States?

Causes & Changes

One of the primary drivers of change during this period was the growth of industrialization. The United States began to experience a shift from a primarily agricultural economy to an industrial one. This shift was caused by several factors, including technological innovations like the cotton gin and the steam engine, the expansion of transportation infrastructure like canals and railroads, and the availability of raw materials. These factors all contributed to the growth of manufacturing and led to increased urbanization as people moved to cities to work in factories.
The expansion of democracy was also a significant development during this period, and it was driven by several factors. One of the primary causes was the Second Great Awakening, which sparked a religious revival across the country and led to the emergence of new religious denominations. These new religious movements promoted social and political reform, which led to the growth of social movements such as the abolitionist movement and the women's rights movement. These movements, in turn, helped to advance the cause of democracy by advocating for the rights of disenfranchised groups.
The expansion of US territory was another significant development during this period, and it was caused by several factors as well. One of the primary causes was the belief in Manifest Destiny, which held that it was the United States' destiny to expand its territory from coast to coast. This belief was fueled by economic interests, as expansion would provide access to new markets and resources, as well as by nationalism and a desire for power and prestige. Westward expansion was also driven by the availability of land and the desire for new opportunities.
Another significant cause of change during this period was the rise of sectionalism. As the United States expanded and became more diverse, tensions between different regions began to grow. These tensions were fueled by economic, social, and cultural differences between the North, South, and West. Economic differences included variations in the types of industries and agriculture practiced in each region, while social and cultural differences included issues like slavery and religion. Sectionalism ultimately led to the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861.
The rise of nationalism during this period was driven by several factors, including a sense of unity and identity as a nation, the desire for economic independence, and a growing belief in American exceptionalism. Nationalism was also fueled by events such as the War of 1812, which helped to solidify the United States' identity as a nation and led to increased patriotism.
Foreign policy also played a significant role during this period, particularly in the United States' relations with European powers. The Napoleonic Wars in Europe led to disruptions in trade between the United States and European countries, which spurred the growth of American industry and commerce. The United States also sought to expand its influence in Latin America through the Monroe Doctrine, which asserted the United States' dominance in the Western Hemisphere and warned European powers against further colonization.
Finally, the period from 1800 to 1848 saw significant changes in the United States' social and cultural landscape. This was due in part to the growth of urbanization and the emergence of new cultural movements, such as the Romantic movement in literature and the Hudson River School in art. Social reform movements also emerged during this period, including the temperance movement, which sought to limit alcohol consumption, and the utopian movement, which sought to create ideal societies based on communal living and shared resources.


In conclusion, Period 4 of US history was marked by significant changes in the country's social, economic, and political landscape. These changes were driven by several factors, including industrialization, the expansion of democracy, the expansion of US territory, the rise of nationalism, and the impact of foreign policy. Understanding the causes behind these changes is crucial to fully comprehend the significance of this period and its lasting impact on US history.
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🐎Unit 4 – American Expansion, 1800-1848
💣Unit 5 – Civil War & Reconstruction, 1848-1877
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