Jacksonian Democracy Study Guide

Topics: John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Andrew Jackson Pages: 8 (2336 words) Published: April 25, 2014
1. Election of 1828: Adams v Jackson
AJ just got out of a loss in 1824 election where he felt cheated. In 1828 election, his strategy was to rely on his good military reputation and Adams bad reputation for making enemies. He also decided to avoid taking a stand on the issues to make sure he doesn’t displease anyone. “The campaign was disgraced by character assassination and lies of the worst sort.”(251) AJ’s opponents attacked his wife, calling her an adulteress, and they called him a tyrant and a drunk gambler. “The 1828 election stimulated party formation because instead of several sectional candidates, each dominant in his own region, competing for the presidency, it pitted two nationally known men against each other.” (251) As a result, people had to choose a side and then organize forces to defend their side. The formation happened faster in “neutral” states where neither Jackson nor Adams had a lot of supporters as. (this connects with #5)

2. spoils system
The practice where a political party, after winning an election, gives government jobs to its supporters, friends and relatives as a reward for working toward victory, and as an incentive to keep working for the party. Filling one’s party with its supporters is an old concept, but AJ’s spoil system seemed revolutionary because Adams before him never removed/appointed anyone for political reasons and AJ did. “Jackson was determined to root out the thieves.”(253) Jackson fired people working in government who were unfit for their jobs. He fired government workers who had grown senile or corrupt and fired others who were drunks or thieves. Gives government jobs to its voters (or supporters) after a political party wins in order to reward them in helping them towards their victory encourages people to keep voting/vote for them

3. principle of rotation
Jackson thought that people who are in office for a long period of time will eventually disregard public opinion. By “rotating” the members of his cabinet, Jackson would allow more citizens to participate in government. ( but he actually appointed people from the social and intellectual elite.) Rotating government workers who had the same job for a long time into other jobs within the government.

4. Jackson’s popularity and reasons for success
-President of the people
-Inspired by Jefferson
- Personality (patriotic, chivalric)
- Hero of Battle of New Orleans
-”Friend of the common man”

5. Jackson’s democracy: changes, policies
General Changes from past:
“The difference between Jeffersonian Democracy and the Jackson variety was more one of attitude than of practice.” (250) Jef believed citizens need to be educated to be right; Jackson believed everyone is born with the instinct to tell right and wrong (being average/common was a good thing) People in Jefferson and Washington's time did not fully follow the founding father’s intent that ordinary men should have political power in order to protect himself against the superior man; they just let the powerful take the lead. This started to change as new policies in states started to form, such as the constitution that eliminated property qualifications for voting and holding office and more political offices are electing instead of appointing. (system of congress naming president candidates ended in 1828 after AJ was elected) This was because Americans in Jacksonian time start to believe that “every person was as competent and as politically important as his neighbor.” (250.)

Social Changes in Jacksonian democracy:
Final disestablishment of churches (to show no special privileges) began free school movement
increase # of newspapers, decrease newspaper prices, and concentrate news more on political affairs All these show AJ’s effort in bringing news to people so they can be more involved. The results of this are: much more people voted and voting became important to them

lead to more competition so it started to cost more for candidates to run...
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