America experienced more changes in these thirty-five years than earlier societies did in two or three centuries. Great cities sprung up in the east, vast new farmlands in the west were opened to provide opportunities for millions of enterprising pioneers, and common, ordinary folk came to see “the good life” as theirs for the taking. All this came at a price: Native Americans were pushed out of their traditional hunting lands, the forests east of the Mississippi were largely destroyed, and a brutal slave empire grew up in the Southern states. It was an exciting — and tragic — era. In this lecture course, we will trace the impact of several key players in this dizzying drama: Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, James K. Polk, Frederick Douglass, Henry David Thoreau, and Ralph W. Emerson.
Instructor: Mick Chantler, MA (History) has taught more than 50 OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) courses in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has been a student and instructor of early American studies for more than 40 years. His fields of study include early American history, the history of the South, the Civil War Era, and baseball history. He teaches OLLI courses at UC Berkeley, Sonoma State University, Dominican University, and Santa Clara University. He is a member of the Lincoln Forum and organized the Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration for the city of Sonoma in 2009.