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Overview of the Jacksonian Democracy

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Politics
Wordcount: 1248 words Published: 17th Mar 2021

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The Jacksonian Democracy had emerged in the early 19th century, so what is the Jacksonian Democracy and why was it so important to American History? For starters, the Jacksonian era changed the political culture. The American politic system became more and more democratic during the 1820s and 1830s. During the 1820s, the American political society made way for democratic encouragement for all citizens. Political leaders soared towards approval from the people's choice, the future of America was determined by the political voice of the people. However, the power that these political leaders wanted to broaden could only be given to a certain group of people which included white men.

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The Jacksonian Democracy was started in 1828 after Andrew Jackson won the majority vote and became President. This period was described as the highlight of “common man” constitutional rights, which meant only white men and not African Americans or Native Americans. Jackson represented the new Democratic party’s general hatred of honor and superiority. This time, the expansion of political participation for white men across America occurred. This ensured that leaders like Jackson were elected and interest in reform movements grew, which many supported a greater American society with equal opportunities given to people.

Doing the Jacksonian Democracy, reform movements became clear with vast belief that any white man, regardless whether they had land or not, was entitled to participate in any election. Many territories had required that having ownership of property was qualifications for voting to maintain the tendencies of democratic views in check. When the Federalist's point of view began to lose favor, normal men from the middle and the lower class questioned the idea of property ownership as a sign of good value. They wanted universal manhood suffrage for all white adult males. States that were new to the Union authorized constitutions that made property ownership not a voting requirement, which gave non-property owners the idea of migrating over state lines. In 1824, until the 1840’s, participation in the elections increased dramatically among voters.

After the election 1828 political changes occurred and new parties formed. The new party, Democratic Party, made Jackson the new president and Calhoun the Vice President. Challengers described themselves as National Republicans. In the 1820s, the two-party system adopted changes in methods of nominating and electing the president. The party conventions allowed the members of their own party to nominate candidates and spoils system rewarded political supporters with public positions. Bribery and ineffectiveness accompanied in the new system. Jackson stood by the spoils system on his view of democracy, he used this tactic during his presidency.

The Tariff of 1828 persisted all the way into the 1830s and shaped democracy during the Era of Jackson. Majority of the south feared that having more democrats might be harmful to their own interests. Southerners had begun to question whether President Jackson and the Democrats really cared about the south and their interest. South Carolina became united but isolated themselves from the rest of the country. This had led Calhoun, Vice President at the time, to write the “South Carolina Exposition and Protest.” (Corbett, Janssen, Lund, Pfannestiel, & Vickery, 2017, p. 283) Calhoun believed that the south had a right to secede if they acted against the interest of a regional minority. The Tariffs of 1828 and 1832 led up to the Nullification Crisis. These two Tariffs were considered unconstitutional and South Carolina wasn’t going abide by them and wasn’t going to pay taxes on goods that had not been produced them.

Jackson was not a fan of the tariffs but wanted to defend what was right for the union. However, in December of 1832, Jackson declared Nullification Proclamation that the state has no authority to reject a federal law. Once South Carolina gathered nearly ten thousand to protect the state from any action from the federal government, Congress voted for the Force Bill of 1833, which gave the federal government authorization to use the military to gather the tariffs if necessary. The Nullification Crisis had increased tension in democracy, which Henry Clay helped to negotiate a lower tariff with the Compromise Tariff of 1833. Nullification was withdrawn and the Union preserved.

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Resentment toward Native Americans was prevalent during the Era of Jackson. Jackson used the racial hatred of Native Americans to have the States get involved in a policy to cleanse and remove the Indians' presence in the land to expand white civilization (Corbett, Janssen, Lund, Pfannestiel, & Vickery, 2017, p. 287). This was Jackson’s goal to have southern planters expand into the southwest. In Jackson’s first annual address to Congress, he said that Native Americans were living throughout the states independently like sovereigns who posed as a threat to those states they were currently residing in. These groups were known as the Five Civilized Tribe because they had learned American culture, spoke English and practiced Christianity. Congress supported President Jackson and passed the law in 1830 to have the U.S. government remove Native Americans from their homelands and force them to move west of the Mississippi River.

 More than 46,000 Native Americans were forced by the U.S. military to abandon their homes and relocate to the “Indian Territory” (National Geographic Society, 2014). The Cherokees were forced to move west on foot. About 4,000 Cherokees died from lack of food, shelter, disease, and cold. “The Trail of Tears was the removal of the Five Civilized Tribes provides an example of the power majority opinion in a democracy (Corbett, Janssen, Lund, Pfannestiel, & Vickery, 2017, p. 291).”

Jackson altered how the banking system was run. Just as today, banks were essential to the mercantile and manufacturing development. The Second American Bank developed in order to stabilize the financial system (Corbett, Janssen, Lund, Pfannestiel, & Vickery, 2017, p. 284). In 1816 more than 200 banks were in America. In 1832, Nicholas Biddle persuaded Congress to get a bill to prolong the life of the Second US Bank (Corbett, Janssen, Lund, Pfannestiel, & Vickery, 2017, p. 284). Andrew Jackson disliked Biddle and thought that the Bank would oppose his next election, so he rejected the bill. Jackson represented the lower class by rejecting the charter by the banks. When the Second Bank lapsed in 1836, which meant that any institution could control federal funds. Andrew Jackson wanted the money paid into domestic banks that were kind to him. The bank policy that Andrew Jackson's had proposed had become the most catastrophic policy in United States history.


  • (n.d.). Retrieved from https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-2744-8.html
  • Corbett, P. S., Janssen, V., Lund, J. M., Pfannestiel, T. J., & Vickery, P. S. (2017). U.S. history. Houston, TX: OpenStax, Rice University.
  • National Geographic Society. (2014, April 29). Indian Removal Act. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.org/thisday/may28/indian-removal-act/


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