The Age of Jackson, from the 1820's to the 1830's, was a period of American history full of contradictions, especially in regard to democracy. The period saw an increase in voter participation, nominating committees replaced caucuses, and electors began to be popularly elected. Yet, all of these voting changes affected only a minority of the American people: White, Anglo-Saxon males. So, though one can easily tell that White, Anglo-Saxon males were gaining true liberty and equality, the millions of women. Blacks, Native Americans, immigrants, and other minorities in America continued to languish in a society that ignored their rights. during the Age of Jackson, enslavement of Blacks, the ultimate form of inequality, was at a new high in America. At the same time, enormous disparities of wealth existed between rich merchants, industrialists and planters, and their lowly workers: immigrants. Blacks, and the common man. While these contradictions typified America, Jacksonian democrats viewed themselves as guardians of the Constitution, political democracy, individual liberty, and equality of opportunity. Jackson and his followers must have been what they said they were only to a certain extent. The Jacksonian Democrats were, to some extent, champions of the Constitution, democracy, liberty, and equality. in other ways, Jackson and his followers clearly failed to live up to their ideals.
Certainly, many common working people were satisfied with Jackson's attempts to protect their equality of economic opportunity from the rich during the age of the market revolution. They believed that Jackson was a true champion of the common man as is evident in 'The Working Men's Declaration of Independence" of 1829 (Doc. A). In a document modeled on the Declaration of Independence, the author claims that "prudence, as well as the claims of self defence, dictates the necessity of the organization of a party of the Democrats], who by their representatives, prevent dangerous combinations to subvert these indefeasible and fundamental privileges. working men did view Jackson as true to his ideals and, to some extent, he must have been so. Of course, the man responsible for ideals would have a point of view supporting those ideals and it comes as no surprise that Jackson stressed them in his veto message of 1832. Yet, paying attention to the message in context lends a lot of support to the view that Jackson was a true democrat and a true protector of the common man. Established in 1816, the Second Bank of the United States had, by the 1830's, become a tool of the rich Northeastemers that failed to respond to the people and states' needs. Its president, Nicholas Biddle, typified all that many Americans despised in Northern businessmen. Being that the Bank represented a true defiance of equality of economic opportunity, according to his ideals, Jackson should have fought the Bank passionately. And, he did. In 1832, Jackson vetoed the bank's charter (Doc. B) saying, 'The present Bank of the United States... enjoys an exclusive privilege of banking... almost a monopoly of the foreign and domestic exchange... It appears that more than a fourth part of the stock is held by foreigners and the residue is held by a few hundred of our own citizens, of the richest class... It is easy to conceive that great evils... might flow from such a concentration of power in the hands of a few men." Clearly, Jackson was willing to fight the bank as an anti-democratic institution. , lacking federal funding, the Bank collapsed. Around the same time, another issue faced the nation. In 1832, South Carolina, sick of high protective tariffs that had been increasing since the Tariff of Abominations of 1828, decided to nullify a national law, the Tariff of 1832. In response, he proposed the Force Bill allowing an invasion of South Carolina if necessary. At the same time, he worked on developing a compromise tariff to strike a deal with the state and South Carolina...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document