Jacksonian Democracy

Basic Facts and Beliefs

The Jacksonian Democracy is in general Andrew Jackson’s reign as the President of the
United States of America. He was said to be the founder of the Democratic Party. This party eventually became rivals of the Whig Party. His presidency set the basis for the era to come, which was the second party system. This system gave much more respect to the common man. Jackson wanted to give more common people the chance to participate in the government. He promoted a strong Executive Branch over Congress. He also wanted to expand the United States boundaries, and to create a federal government with limited powers. In his presidency, Jackson did many memorable things, such as battle the National Bank and settle the nullification crisis.

Andrew Jackson: Early Life and Career

Andrew Jackson was born on March 15, 1767 in Waxhaw, North Carolina. He was the youngest of three children and he was born right after his dad passed away. Over time, there have been many controversies as to where Andrew Jackson was born. The biggest debate was over whether he was born in North Carolina or South Carolina. There were also a few people who claimed that Jackson was born in Ireland, as that's where his parents had been born.

During the Revolutionary War, at the age of thirteen, Jackson joined the army as a courier (messenger). Both he and his brother were captured by the British and became prisoners of war (POW’s). While there, Andrew and his brother were tortured and were commanded to do whatever they were told. While imprisoned, his brother died of smallpox. Jackson was the last US president to be a veteran of the Revolutionary War.

After the war Jackson taught classes and went to law school. Since he no longer had a family he had to be very self-sufficient. In 1788, he became Solicitor of the Western District and held the position until 1791. In 1796, he became Tennessee’s US Representative. In 1797 he was elected to be a US Senator as a Democratic-Republican and resigned from his former position. He then acquired the Hermitage, which was a 640 acre farm. After a while, he added 360 more acres to the plantation and grew mostly cotton there.
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Election and Inauguration

Jackson was a U.S. president from 1829 to 1837. Before that, he had been in the U.S. Senate from 1797 to 1798. Jackson had also been a congressman, but in 1825 he resigned from this position in order to run for president in the election of 1828. In order to win this election and make office, he had to run against John Quincy Adams, who was president before him. This election was known to be very dirty as Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams both threw many insults at each other and false accusations in order to gain the people's votes. This election was one of the first to allow all white men to vote, before only the rich, or white men with property were allowed to vote. At Jackson's inauguration, there was an immense crowd of people to witness his speech. Most of these people had voted for the first time that year because of the expansion of people allowed to vote.

Jackson’s Indian Policy

Andrew Jackson had very little sympathy for the Indians living around where all the settlers were going. The settlers were having conflict with the Indians, and in Jackson's eyes, the only way to take care of this problem was to remove the Indians. In 1830 President Jackson passed the Indian Removal Act. This act allowed him to make treaties with the Native Americans about how the land would be divided up between the settlers and the Indians. It stated that in return for the land that they currently owned, the Indians would receive more land to the west if they moved out. Many of them refused to leave their lands however, and instead of the peaceful removal that was planned, Jackson forced the Native Americans out of their lands. The Sac, Fox, and many other tribes refused to move west and fought against the government for their rights.

Because of the treatment of the Indians, many people soon protested against the White House and Washington D.C. In 1836 thousand of the people in the Creek tribe refused to leave their homes in Alabama. So they were rounded up and physically forced out of there. Also in 1836, 17,000 Cherokee were forced out of their homes in Georgia and were forced to move west. This journey soon became known as the Trail of Tears as it had many hardships on it. Over four thousand Native Americans died along the trail, and many others of them became sick. Jackson however, was very happy with the decision he made, and upon leaving office, was pleased that the Indians had been successfully moved west.

Nullification Crisis

When Hamilton was president, he was faced with a problem right away. In 1828 Congress had just passed a law raising tariffs on imported goods. This was to encourage buying more manufactured goods in the United States and not to buy imported products. Now South Carolina wanted to nullify this law because they thought it was unconstitutional. The tariff made the country as a whole richer, but made South Carolina poorer because of their needs for imported goods to run their farms. Jackson saw South Carolina’s acts as a sign of treason toward the government. He made a new tariff in 1832, which was milder, but the people of South Carolina still complained. Congress then passed a bill to let Jackson send soldiers to South Carolina to enforce the Tariffs. Henry Clay then made a compromise with Jackson to gradually lower the tariff until it was back to normal. After hearing this, South Carolina then took off their nullifications

Jackson Battles the Bank

In Jackson’s reign, he is known for “battling” the 2nd bank of the United States, which had been chartered by James Madison in 1816. It was to go on for 20 years before having to be re-chartered. Jackson believed the bank needed to be canceled because it:
  • Favored Northeastern rich merchants over Southern farmers.
  • Made the rich richer.
  • Made government open to foreign affairs.
  • Gave government too much control over congress.
  • Gave too much financial power to one establishment.

Just like Thomas Jefferson, Jackson was one that supported agriculture rather than industry. He said the bank made for more industry and factories instead of more farms and agricultural establishments. He needed to fight off mainly the head of the head of the Bank: Nicholas Briddle. In 1836 a recharter bill was to be passed to keep the bank in place. Jackson vetoed this bill to try to stop the bank from staying put. The Supreme court agreed and the bill was not passed. Because the bank would not have the charter bill passed, it would not survive. Instead of waiting to let the bank go away, Jackson ordered all money in the bank to be put back into state banks. Eventually, the bank closed.

jackson_bank.jpgAndrew Jackson "battling" the many headed monster bank