In their book, "Generations," William Strauss and Neil Howe (S&H) opine that there are occasional "Eras of Good Feelings," such as the original one (1815-1830), and similar periods following a "secondary" war (e.g. the 1950s after the Korean War). Even though such eras are actually riddled with lots of political issues, S&H believe that "compromises" such as the Missouri Compromise are more likely to take place at such times than other times in American history. Why did they believe this? Do other historical authorities share this view?

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    Questions about the motivation of your APUSH adviser are best directed at your APUSH adviser.
    – Oldcat
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 1:23
  • Few people seem to appreciate the fact that the Constitution was written and ratified with continuous improvement of the human condition in mind. Slavery, oppression of minorities, financial destitution, etc, had been with us for thousands of years. One shouldn't expect such time-honored traditions to be overturned practically overnight. We're still working on it. And we expect to continue to work on it. It is one of our goals.
    – Ricky
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 7:48
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    In addition to Oldcat's comment, I'd add that if you think you've got a good argument that it was anything but, you should consider making it. A good teacher should give you credit for making a well-reasoned and supported argument using the material they presented. Learning analysis skills should be a large part of learning History.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 19:42
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    To the OP: I improved your question by adding links, and tying it to a hypothesis held by a historical authority.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 14:44

1 Answer 1


William Strauss and Neil Howe's (S&H) hyothesize in "Generations," that "compromise" type generations are born just before, and grow up during a major American War (e.g. the Revolution or World War II). They enjoy a prosperous childhood as a result of that war, and come to national leadership following a "secondary" war (e.g. the War of 1812 or the Korean War), which they "draw."

Their childhood experience is one of "enough for everyone." Their young adult experience is that "It's best to split the difference." They spend their leadership tenure doing that, making compromises, and "sharing the wealth."

The original "Compromise" generation included great philosophers such as Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, and Daniel Webster. Hence, they authored the "Great Compromise" or the Missouri Compromise to try to keep both the North and South happy, and delayed the Civil War for a generation (during their leadership tenure). After the Compromisers "retired" in the 1850s, the dam broke and the Civil War started.

A more recent "compromise" generation (i.e. the Silent generation of Ted Kennedy and Warren Buffett) realized that "everyone" except women and minorities had "gotten theirs" after the Second World War, and brokered a series of compromises that led to the civil rights movement. S&H believe that the "Homelander" generation (born after "9/11") may become the newest "compromise generation.

S&H have attracted a group of followers such as Morley Winograd of Marshall University (who was born in 1942 and is a member of the Silent generation). Yours truly also considers himself a follower of S&H.

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    Doesn't answer the question - Just expounds with more justification for asking the question, so should be part of that. Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 16:15
  • @PieterGeerkens: Actually, it answers the original question, which read in part: [Does] "the Missouri Compromise signifies peace, because it was eventually settled, or does it signify a divide in the country because now the north and south are evenly matched?" I "took out" too much of the question in fixing it.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 16:29
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    But you changed the questions, so that this doesn't answer it anymore. I know this is your favourite topic of History, but few have your depth of background in this aspect of demographics; being too close to this topic means you have to work more carefully to make a good answer. Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 16:58
  • @PieterGeerkens: Fair enough.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 17:11

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