Term papers writing service


The economic and political policies of the jacksonian period in the united states

Visit Website Not everyone benefited equally from the market revolution, least of all those nonwhites for whom it was an unmitigated disaster. Jacksonianism, however, would grow directly from the tensions it generated within white society. Mortgaged farmers and an emerging proletariat in the Northeast, nonslaveholders in the South, tenants and would-be yeomen in the West—all had reasons to think that the spread of commerce and capitalism would bring not boundless opportunities but new forms of dependence.

And in all sections of the country, some of the rising entrepreneurs of the market revolution suspected that older elites would block their way and shape economic development to suit themselves.

  1. To be a "gentleman", one had to maintain a certain self-evident dignity, including the public perception that one cannot be insulted without immediate, personal retribution. Rousseau shows that the Specie Circular did not end the land-purchase boom, as Temin supposed, so it therefore most likely did promote a drain of specie from eastern banks to accommodate continued frontier land purchases from the federal government after August 1836.
  2. The Jacksonian mainstream, so insistent on the equality of white men, took racism for granted. They set the highest standard for an educated clergy, founding Harvard, Yale, and Princeton as institutions of religious education.
  3. Proponents of the theory that one or possibly both of these measures was the trigger of the financial panic argued that they increased the demand for specie by the public and caused specie reserves of banks to be reallocated around the country in ways that increased the fragility of the banking system, leading to the panic of May 1837.
  4. But these men too, like Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay, often hedged their bets by setting up moderate sized plantations with names like the Hermitage and Ashland. His central message remained largely the same from the previous election, but had grown in intensity.
  5. The Jacksonians saw the union strictly as the cooperative aggregation of the individual states, while the Whigs saw the entire nation as a distinct entity. Proposed cures for this sickness included more democracy and a redirection of economic policy.

By the 1820s, these tensions fed into a many-sided crisis of political faith. To the frustration of both self-made men and plebeians, certain eighteenth-century elitist republican assumptions remained strong, especially in the seaboard states, mandating that government be left to a natural aristocracy of virtuous, propertied gentlemen. Simultaneously, some of the looming shapes of nineteenth-century capitalism—chartered corporations, commercial banks, and other private institutions—presaged the consolidation of a new kind of moneyed aristocracy.

Jacksonian Democracy

And increasingly after the War of 1812government policy seemed to combine the worst of both old and new, favoring the kinds of centralized, broad constructionist, top-down forms of economic development that many thought would aid men of established means while deepening inequalities among whites.

Proposed cures for this sickness included more democracy and a redirection of economic policy. In the older states, reformers fought to lower or abolish property requirements for voting and officeholding, and to equalize representation. A new generation of politicians broke with the old republican animus against mass political parties. Urban workers formed labor movements and demanded political reforms.

Westerners clamored for more and cheaper land and for relief from creditors, speculators, and bankers above all, the hated Second Bank of the United States.

Anniversary of Hans Christian Anderson's Birth

It has confounded some scholars that so much of this ferment eventually coalesced behind Andrew Jackson—a one-time land speculator, opponent of debtor relief, and fervent wartime nationalist.

His career as an Indian fighter and conqueror of the British made him a popular hero, especially among land-hungry settlers. His enthusiasm for nationalist programs had diminished after 1815, as foreign threats receded and economic difficulties multiplied. Above all, Jackson, with his own hardscrabble origins, epitomized contempt for the old republican elitism, with its hierarchical deference and its wariness of popular democracy.

Jacksonian democracy

Only after taking power did the Jacksonian Democracy refine its politics and ideology. Out of that self-definition came a fundamental shift in the terms of national political debate. Under the Jacksonians, government-sponsored internal improvements generally fell into disfavor, on the grounds that they were unnecessary expansions of centralized power, beneficial mainly to men with connections. The Jacksonians defended rotation in office as a solvent to entrenched elitism.

Around these policies, Jacksonian leaders built a democratic ideology aimed primarily at voters who felt injured by or cut off from the market revolution.

  1. At the same time the old Northeastern churches were threatened "from without" by the aggressive proselytizing of the new denominations, such as the Methodists, already mentioned. It would take until the 1850s before these contradictions fully unraveled the Jacksonian coalition.
  2. Van Buren was defeated in the next election by William Henry Harrison.
  3. Led by men like Stephen A.
  4. It was part of the breaking of a slave to make him submit to insults, and even disrespect himself through clownishness.
  5. This, and the explosive growth of the Great Lakes port city of Chicago would in time make Illinois a microcosm of America, with two favorite sons battling for the presidency in 1860. The BUS, by far the largest bank in the country and one that unlike any other bank operated a nationwide branch system, was what today would be called a central bank.

Updating the more democratic pieces of the republican legacy, they posited that no republic could long survive without a citizenry of economically independent men. Unfortunately, they claimed, that state of republican independence was exceedingly fragile. According to the Jacksonians, all of human history had involved a struggle between the few and the many, instigated by a greedy minority of wealth and privilege that hoped to exploit the vast majority.

More broadly, the Jacksonians proclaimed a political culture predicated on white male equality, contrasting themselves with other self-styled reform movements. Nativism, for example, struck them as a hateful manifestation of elitist puritanism. Sabbatarians, temperance advocates, and other would-be moral uplifters, they insisted, should not impose righteousness on others.

Beyond position-taking, the Jacksonians propounded a social vision in which any white man would have the chance to secure his economic independence, would be free to live as he saw fit, under a system of laws and representative government utterly cleansed of privilege.

Politics of the Jacksonian Era

As Jacksonian leaders developed these arguments, they roused a noisy opposition—some of it coming from elements of the coalition that originally elected Jackson president. The oppositionist core, however, came from a cross-class coalition, strongest in rapidly commercializing areas, that viewed the market revolution as the embodiment of civilized progress.

Far from pitting the few against the many, oppositionists argued, carefully guided economic growth would provide more for everyone. Government encouragement—in the form of tariffs, internal improvements, a strong national bank, and aid to a wide range of benevolent institutions—was essential to that growth.

Powerfully influenced by the evangelical Second Great Awakening, core oppositionists saw in moral reform not a threat to individual independence but an idealistic cooperative effort to relieve human degradation and further expand the store of national wealth.

23f. Jacksonian Democracy and Modern America

Eager to build up the country as it already existed, they were cool to territorial expansion. The Jacksonians, with their spurious class rhetoric, menaced that natural harmony of interests between rich and poor which, if only left alone, would eventually bring widespread prosperity.

By 1840, both the Jacksonian Democracy and its opposite now organized as the Whig party had built formidable national followings and had turned politics into a debate over the market revolution itself. Yet less than a decade later, sectional contests linked to slavery promised to drown out that debate and fracture both major parties. The Jacksonian mainstream, so insistent on the equality of white men, took racism for granted.

North and South, the democratic reforms achieved by plebeian whites—especially those respecting voting and representation—came at the direct expense of free blacks. Although informed by constitutional principles and genuine paternalist concern, the Jacksonian rationale for territorial expansion assumed that Indians and, in some areas, Hispanics were lesser peoples. As for slavery, the Jacksonians were determined, on both practical and ideological grounds, to keep the issue out of national affairs.

Few mainstream Jacksonians had moral qualms about black enslavement or any desire to meddle with it where it existed. In all of this fighting, however, the Jacksonians also began to run afoul of their professions about white egalitarianism.

Slaveholders, quite naturally, thought they were entitled to see as much new territory as legally possible opened up to slavery. But that prospect appalled northern whites who had hoped to settle in lily white areas, untroubled by that peculiar institution whose presence they believed would degrade the status of white free labor.

It would take until the 1850s before these contradictions fully unraveled the Jacksonian coalition. But as early as the mid-1840s, during the debates over Texas annexation, the Mexican War, and the Wilmot Provisosectional cleavages had grown ominous. The presidential candidacy of Martin Van Buren on the Free-Soil ticket in 1848—a protest against growing southern power within the Democracy—amply symbolized northern Democratic alienation.

In the middle remained a battered Jacksonian mainstream, ever hopeful that by raising the old issues, avoiding slavery, and resorting to the language of popular sovereignty, the party and the nation might be held together.

Andrew Jackson 1767-1845 A brief biography

Led by men like Stephen A. Douglasthese mainstream compromisers held sway into the mid-1850s, but at the cost of constant appeasement of southern concerns, further exacerbating sectional turmoil. Jacksonian Democracy was buried at Fort Sumterbut it had died many years earlier.

Politics of the Jacksonian Era

Having tapped into the disaffection of the 1820s and 1830s and molded it into an effective national party, they advanced the democratization of American politics. By denouncing the moneyed aristocracy and proclaiming the common man, they also helped politicize American life, broadening electoral participation to include an overwhelming majority of the electorate.

None of this, however, should be a source of self-satisfaction to modern Americans. Although the Jacksonian Democracy died in the 1850s, it left a powerful legacy, entwining egalitarian aspirations and class justice with the presumptions of white supremacy. Over the decades after the Civil Warthat legacy remained a bulwark of a new Democratic party, allying debt-ridden farmers and immigrant workers with the Solid South.

And at the close of the twentieth century, the tragic mix of egalitarianism and racial prejudice so central to the Jacksonian Democracy still infected American politics, poisoning some of its best impulses with some of its worst.