American Political System Dbq

Topics: John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Democracy Pages: 6 (1014 words) Published: March 19, 2013
The political changes in democracy, republicanism, and liberalism have been thoroughly

used to portray, in various ways, the development of the American political system. In particular,

between 1824 and 1840, there existed a period of extraordinary growth and change for the

United States. Still, Americans were able to effectively embrace the popular democracy while

crises pertaining to popular rights dominated overseas. As a result, many economic and social

variations transpired and the political foundations or our nation transformed.

The election of 1824 was a vivid example of a primary change in our nation’s presidential

political system and its effect on the economy. During this time, there existed a single Democratic-

Republican Party. Consequently, under the notion of sectionalism, there subsisted five individual

candidates from each region. Preceding the election, candidate Andrew Jackson, being a former

United States Senator and war hero, gained tremendous support. Meanwhile, his main adversary,

John Quincy Adams, was also proving his popularity in his support of the “American System”.

Eventually, Jackson won the overall popular and electoral vote, but was still unable to achieve this

presidential position. [Doc. B] Since neither candidate had a majority, the decision was made by the

House of Representatives, more specifically, former candidate Henry Clay. As Speaker of the House,

Clay gave his support to Adams, feeling as though he could implement the “American system” and

successfully strengthen the government and spur the economy as well.

During his presidency, Adams elected Henry Clay as Secretary of the State. The election of

Adams marked the end of the “Era of Good Feelings” and demonstrated an act of “corrupt

bargaining”. Similar to James Monroe, Adams’s policy of the “American System” would be

intended to utilize the government in a sincere effort to air the people. Here, he would enforce

high tariffs, improve the United States Bank, and increase infrastructure. Adams successfully

expanded the National Road to Ohio and devoted several millions of dollars to improve roads

and rivers. Still, however, his internal improvements benefitted some citizens more than others

and brought about the federal government in regional affairs. Therefore, loyalists of Jackson

restricted numerous internal improvements of Adams that involved the economy in commerce

and agriculture.

As politics increasingly became popular, there was a greater demand in reading the newspaper.

[Doc. C] The paper provided libelous, scandalous, and entertaining stories for voters to base their

opinions on. Voters deemed the election of Andrew Jackson in 1828 as one of great atrocity. During

that time, Rhode Island and Massachusetts manufacturers were unable to compete with the British

textile companies throughout America. Jackson, in support of the “American System”, and in favor

of tariffs, immediately issued one known as the “Tariff of Abomination” in 1828. Consequently,

citizens, especially southerners, became outraged because of the high tax on iron and textiles. In

addition, inflation on raw materials for New England transpired and the cost of items produced

increased as well. Furthermore, in 1832, Congress reapproved the National Bank Charter. Jackson, in

distrust of business and banks altogether, decides to veto this action. In his reelection, Jackson sought

out to eliminate the national bank potential by transferring ten million dollars in state (pet) banks.

Ultimately, this brought about the end of the “American System” and began a policy of laissez faire

where commercial interests regulate the economy instead of the government.

In 1836, Martin Van Buren becomes president and therefore adopts the looming financial crisis

instigated by the bank wars. Merely one...
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