Democratic Space: The New Hotels The 1820s and 1830s witnessed the rise of popular democracy and a swelling of national political involvement. European visitors were amazed at the equalizing tendencies that were exposed in American legal institutions, clerical professions, and public spaces. Specifically, hotels epitomized a new institution that oftentimes blurred social distinctions. At the same time, hotels revealed the limitations of American democracy: African Americans, Native Americans, and women were generally denied service—just as they were the denied the right to vote.
Democracy in Theory and Practice The nation's founders had believed that "democracy" contained dangerous impulses, but by the 1820s and '30s the term had become more acceptable and applicable to American institutions. Alexis de Tocqueville noticed the decline of deference and the elevation of popular sovereignty in America. "Self-made" men could now rise in stature.
Democracy and Society Social equality dominanted the public discourse during this era. Social, economic, and political connections no longer guaranteed success. Industrialization, oftentimes, perpetuated inequality, not in the traditional sense of birth or privilege, but rather in terms of wealth and attainment.