Expansion of Sufferage in the Jacksonian Age

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The Age of Jackson, or the 1820’s and 1830’s, harbored changes in the government, one of which was the expansion of suffrage. Throughout this time period in American history, the right to vote created controversy and arguments, supporting and opposing the right of suffrage being given to the common man in addition to the wealthy, who already had voting rights. The expansion of suffrage in the Jacksonian Age generated numerous arguments, mainly regarding the effect on the government and politics, the eligibility of the poor in society, and the morality of expanding voting rights and the voters. Arguments on the issue of politics were a foundation for a majority of the arguments on the expansion of suffrage in the 1820’s and 1830’s. Accounts of the negative effects of the expansion of suffrage on America’s government and political system were seen in the late 1820’s and 1830’s. These were mainly from people visiting America from other countries. In the early 1830’s Alexis de Tocqueville, a French nobleman and social observer saw that “the most able men in the United States are very rarely placed at the head of affairs; and it must be acknowledged that such has been the result in proportion as democracy has out stepped all its former limits. The race of American statesmen has evidently dwindled most remarkably in the course of the last fifty years” (Document 3). Tocqueville saw that American presidents have become less talented and deserving of the position as a result of the expansion of suffrage to the “common man”. By comparing the American government during Jackson’s presidency to that of the 1780’s, where less people were eligible to vote, Tocqueville argued that the expansion of suffrage was deleterious to the United States. A similar argument opposing the expansion of suffrage was from Frances Trollope, an Englishwoman who lived in the United States during the 1820’s. Trollope saw that “Mr. Adams was out-voted for no other reason, that [she] could learn, but...
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