For quite some time Americans have been led to believe that during the 1820s and 30s,
Jacksonian Democrats were the guardians of the people, and worked to improve the nation for
the people. The truth remains, however, that during this
period, President Jackson vetoed a bill
to recharter the Bank of the United States of America,
infringed on the rights of Native
Americans, used "brute" force to bring Southerners under
submission during the Tariff of 1832.
He enacted the Spoils System which did not guarantee the
best leadership, and was morally
corrupt. Although the nation's economy and political
democracy flourished during the reign of
President Jackson, constitutional rights, equal opportunity and individual liberties were
In her 1834 visit to America, british author Harriet
Martineau wrote of the nation's
economy being strong and properous. The absence of poverty and ignorance and independence of
every man are some of the observations she recorded (D).
The national economy did in fact
boom during the 1820s and early 30s. With Samuel Slater's
introduction of the "Factory System"
to America, and Eli Whitney's Cotton Gin, the United
States' speed in manufacturing textiles
increased rapidly. In 1837, however, America experienced a tremendous financial depression.
Bad land speculation, and the fall of the Federal Bank (due to Jackson's failure to recharter the
Bank in 1832) were the two main factors that caused the
Consequently, along with the inflation of the nation's
economy, working environments
drastically changed. Quaint "master and apprentice shops"
were quickly overtaken by
uncomfortably crowded factories. While owners of assembly
plants enjoyed a luxurious living,
workers were subject to poor working conditions, low
salaries, and meager meals. Because
wages were so low, whole families...