U.S History

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In the present time, “we the people” accept that democracy means freedom with respect to speech, religion, gun rights, with reasonable requirements for eligibility such as age, and being of right mind. In the early 1800s it was generally accepted that in order to vote, a person needed to have a legal stake in the system, which could mean property ownership or some economic equivalent. Without it, the people felt they didn’t have a right to vote in something that would affect someone else’s rights. Women, Indians and Blacks (whether slave or free) were restricted from voting almost everywhere. The nation’s founders believed that “democracy” contained dangerous impulses because democracy means the majority rules, even if they select something unconstitutional, but by 1830 the term had become more acceptable and applicable to American way of life. Americans in the 1820s and 1830s gradually lost their fear that democracy would lead to anarchy or dictatorship and each individual was to be given an equal start in life, but equality of opportunity did not mean equality of result. Jacksonian democracy was built on several principals that began with expanding suffrage to those that did not have the privilege before. The Jacksonians believed that voting rights should be extended to all white men and so by 1820, universal white male suffrage was the new normal, and by 1850 nearly all requirements to own property or pay taxes had been dropped, granting everyone equal rights to exercise their voting rights as Americans. Americans loved him for giving them the right to take part in the political system, and they loved him for making them feel like they could be whatever they wanted to be, even if they were poor at that moment, living in a log cabin. The other major change in the Jacksonian era was the emergence of a solid two-party system, the Democrats and the Whigs, later Republicans. In the past, America was made up of Jeffersonian Democrat Republicans and Federalists that...
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