Jacksonian Democracy

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Brooke Speas
U.S History I Honors

Jacksonian Democrats viewed themselves as the guardians of the United States Constitution, political democracy, individual liberty, and equality of economic opportunity. In the light of the following documents and your knowledge of the 1820’s and the 1830’s, to what extent do you agree with the Jacksonians’ view of themselves?

Patrons and devotees of Andrew Jackson believed themselves to be the guardians of the Constitution and the common people, as well as taking credit for an increase in universal male suffrage during the 1820’s and 1830’s. However, the issues of slavery, states rights, women’s rights, the removal of the Native Americans and the national bank recharter and veto proposed many challenges than the Jacksonians could fruitfully handle. Jackson only protected the Constitution’s content when it benefited himself or ran parallel to his ideas of government. He thought that he was the highest branch of the US government, even though the Constitution explains how all branches are equal. Instead of being the guardians, the Jacksonian Democrats were more of the beneficiaries of political democracy.

Jacksonian Democrats considered themselves the guardians of individual liberty, but they should have really called themselves the guardians of the individual liberty for white American men. Jackson was notorious for his open dislike of the Native American population in the United States. In 1830, he ignored Supreme Court rulings that recognized the Indians’ rights to stay in the land they had settled centuries before the first settlers came, and forced them to migrate on the “Trail of Tears” through the Indian Removal Act. This made entire families move with all the belongings they could carry, as captured in Document G, from Georgia to Oklahoma in 1838. Moreover, Jackson also discriminated against women. He discouraged the up-and-coming Women’s Rights movement and supported the Cult of Domesticity, also known...
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