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
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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