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Jacksonian Democracy: Saviors of the Common People

By joshman47 May 11, 2008 596 Words
The Jacksonian Era
During the 1920’s and 1930’s, Jacksonian Democracy emerged, led by Andrew Jackson, also known as “Old Hickory.” The Jacksonian democrats portrayed themselves as saviors of the common people and ruled via a powerful executive who attempted to destroy aristocracy in America. They believed in enfranchising all white men and wished to broaden the public's participation in government. It was built on several principles, such as Manifest Destiny, Laissez-faire, and a strict construction of the Constitution. Jacksonians believed that they had a destiny to settle the American West and to expand control over all of North America from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. This became known as Manifest Destiny and was used by Andrew Jackson to promote the annexation of land, such as the Oregon Territory, the Texas Annexation, and the Mexican Cession. Similar to the Jeffersonians who believed in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, Jacksonians wanted a federal government of limited powers. They vetoed the Maysville Road Bill, a proposal for the federal government to fund a sixty-mile road from Maysville to Lexington. Jefferson said that it was unconstitutional because the road would exist in only one state, therefore the state should fund the project. Following that veto were seven other vetoes on state projects. Along with this idea of a strict construction of the Constitution, Jacksonians took a laissez- faire approach to the economy. This meant that the government should leave economics alone for the most part and let the economy run itself. If the government took a stronger role, it would be too advantageous for the wealthy to gain more power and wealth. Instead, they believed it should be run by the common man. Andrew Jackson and Jacksonian democrats believed that the US bank placed too much control into the hands of a wealthy few. Due to this fact, they opposed banks, especially the national bank, known as the Second Bank of the United States. In attempt to benefit the lower, working classes, he placed the federal money in "pet" state banks. In 1828, South Carolina claimed that they had the right to nullify any Federal laws which went against its interests. They didn’t want to have to obey the tariff laws that they felt were benefiting the North and harming the South. Jackson asked Congress to pass a "Force Bill,” which would allow him to use military force to enforce the tariff. The Compromise Tariff was passed, solving the problem for the time being. Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act into law in 1830, which allowed him to negotiate treaties to purchase tribal lands in the east in exchange for lands further west, outside of existing U.S. state borders. Many of the northerners did not agree with Jackson on this, but the southerners saw the opportunity for finding gold on the Cherokee land. 7,000 American troops moved about 45,000 Native Americans further west, killing about 4,000 of them on “The Trail of Tears.” During this time, 100 million acres of land was taken from the Indians, as well as another 32 million acres of western land. This time period of Indian removal was looked down upon because of how Jackson treated the Indians. Van Buren, Harrison, Tyler, and Polk all succeeded Andrew Jackson as president during the time of Jacksonian Democracy. This was a time when Jackson and his followers were strong believers in democracy. Jackson made many democratic reforms of the government and began to give the common man more power and say in the American government.

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