Browse Exhibits (23 total)

Antisemitism in Political Cartoons

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During the early to mid-19th century, antisemitism was prevalent in both Europe and America. This exhibit showcases the common and widespread antisemitism of the time, in the form of political cartoons. Political cartoons are a window into the views and culture of the day, and how their widespread and acessable nature can effect popular opinion. 

The Federalist Party from 1787-1815

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The Federalist Party is known to be the first political party of the United States of America. Led by the likes of Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and John Jay among others, the Federalists believed in a government run by the elites; the most qualified people should run the country. Federalists were more apt to establishing a stronger, central government than to expand the powers of state governments, as well. Eventually, ideological differences led to more factions of political thought forming in the United States, and by 1800 the Federalist Party found itself in deep trouble. 

The Biblical Defense of Slavery

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As the debate over slavery arose, the values of the people during this time period led to a turn to religion in order to support or discourage the practice of slavery throughout the United States. Slave labor was cheap and essential to the economy, specifically in the South where the economy thrived off of plantations. These plantations requred many workers, therefore, in order to save money, the plantation owners used the cheapest workers they could find: slaves.

The biblical defense of slavery was built around three main scripture passages. These passages ranged from Old Testament to New Testament and were used to support various aspects of slavery, such as the buying and selling of slaves as well as the Fugitive Slave Act.  The focus on religion at this time deeply influenced the turn to the bible in order to defend this practice. The bible was held highly in many people's lives and living life in a moral way was extremely important. Since slavery on the ground level seemed oppressive and immoral, many thought that if they found places in the bible where slavery was addressed, and sometimes even supported, that they could continue this practice without living an immoral life. They believed that if God addressed slavery in any positive way, it could not be an immoral practice. 

The United States Western Expansions effect on Slavery

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The Expansion of the United States out west slowly lead to the demise of slavery in the United States. The 4 states Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, California all give good insight into the US slowly restricting slavery as the country grew. During the 1800's the expansion of slavery out west was a hot topic in the United States. Political parties were divided over the issue and the country kept getting further separated as each state was. The four states Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, and California are key states that show the transformation of the country away from slavery. 

1812: Native Alliance & Power


     In the early nineteenth century, new political and religious ideas emerged in the Creek and Shawnee realms. These new ways of thinking guided the alliances made by native peoles during the War of 1812. This exhibit will showcase the forces at work in reshaping the Creek and Shawnee nations, the alliances they guided, and the consequences of participation in the war.

The Idea and Fulfillment of Manifest Destiny


By 1828, the United States of America had grown exponentially from what it was when the founding fathers first declared independence. Land acquirements such as the Louisiana Purchase granted US citizens new opportunities for land, life, and labor in never-before-explored areas of the mainland. However, the Louisiana Territory wasn't enough for Americans. Eventually Americans began to believe in an idea called "Manifest Destiny"; they believed they were entitled to all of mainland America, from sea to shining sea. This belief changed our country socially, economically, and geographically forever, and while it resulted in what our country is today, the means of getting their were questionable, to say the least.

Freemasons and the Murder of William Morgan

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The Freemasons have often been given some credit for helping found and create the United States. Unfortunately to this day we know very little about this organization and the ways in which they help craft our country. This website will focus on the Founding Fathers on how the freemason were heavily involved in early American Politics. It will also look into one of the more famous scandals of the time involving the Freemasons in the murder of William Morgan, which would lead to the creation of the Anti-Masonic party. 

Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears

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President Andrew Jackson was elected in 1828 when he defeated National Republican, John Quincy Adams in an ugly election. Coming out victorious Andrew Jackson's ideas of what America should strive to be slowly became a reality. 

It is well known that Andrew Jackson, before and during his presidency, from 1829 to 1837, was a man on a mission; securing more land for our nation was one of his main goals. Jackson's idea of "Manifest Destiny" played a major role in our nation's history. It is fair to say that without our "land grab", our nation may not be the powerhouse that many consider it to be today.

In 1838 Andrew Jackson's Indian removal policy came to be in effect, a policy poised to set our nation up for expansion. The Indian removal act forced the Cherokee and other Indian tribes to abandon their lands east of the Mississippi River and to migrate elsewhere. Although they were not the only ones to muttle through this harsh time, the Cherokee nation coined the journey as the "Trail of Tears".


Robert Livingston: The Forgotten Father

"On the whole I think it would be more dignified and more safe to act upon our ground and if we must enter into the war [against Napoleon], secure to ourselves all the advantages that may result from [doing so]."

—Robert Livingston

Reform is the Vessel for National Dignity


Prison reform was able to fully frame a distinctive, American sense of self during the devlopment of the nation. Philosophers such as Locke, Smith, and Rousseau urged people to believe that republicanism could tranform the ills of old societies into liberation and fulfillment of man's potential in the new society. Reform efforts depicted the everlasting dignity that engulfed the minds of countless Americans at the time. It is evident that prison reform was a major piece of the puzzle- one that would provide concrete evidence to show how the new ideals of Americans in the early republic were progressive and potent. 


The final justification for incarceration rather than execution was related to the theological debates: many citizens of the Early Republic shared a new philosophical conception of human nature. One of the central premises of Enlightenment thought was that social institutions formed character. This model saw human beings not as fundamentally flawed wretches who needed chastisement, but as rational beings, shaped by their environments, and capable of reformation. The right social institutions would produce virtuous citizens; the enlightened leader was therefore obliged to promote virtue, not to admit failure by executing those who strayed from the paths of virtue.