Product Code Database
Example Keywords: shirt -uncharted $39-109
   » » Wiki: Jacksonian Democracy
Tag Wiki 'Jacksonian Democracy'.

Jacksonian democracy was a 18th-century political philosophy in the that espoused greater for the common man as that term was then defined. Originating with President and his supporters, it became the nation's dominant political worldview for a generation.

This era, called the Jacksonian Era (or Second Party System) by and political scientists, lasted roughly from Jackson's 1828 election as president until slavery became the dominant issue after 1848 and the American Civil War dramatically reshaped American politics. It emerged when the long-dominant Democratic-Republican Party became factionalized during the early-to-mid 1820s. Jackson's supporters began to form what would become the modern Democratic Party and supporters of his political rival, John Quincy Adams, created the National Republican Party, which would later combine with other anti-Jackson elements to form the Whig Party, named after Britain's Whig Party.

Broadly speaking, the era was characterized by a democratic spirit and built upon Jackson's equal political policy (subsequent to ending what he termed a "monopoly" of government by elites). Even before the Jacksonian era began, suffrage had been extended to a majority of white male adult citizens, a result the Jacksonians celebrated.Engerman, pp. 15, 36. "These figures suggest that by 1820 more than half of adult white males were casting votes, except in those states that still retained property requirements or substantial tax requirements for the franchise – Virginia, Rhode Island (the two states that maintained property restrictions through 1840), and New York as well as Louisiana." Jacksonian democracy also promoted the strength of the presidency and executive branch at the expense of Congress, while also seeking to broaden the public's participation in government. The Jacksonians demanded elected (not appointed) judges and rewrote many state constitutions to reflect the new values. In national terms, they favored geographical expansion, justifying it in terms of . There was usually a consensus among both Jacksonians and Whigs that battles over slavery should be avoided.

Jackson's expansion of democracy was largely limited to Americans of European descent and voting rights were extended to adult white males only. There was little or no progress (and in some cases regression) for the rights of African Americans and Native Americans.

(1999). 9780521646871, Cambridge University Press. .
Jackson's biographer Robert V. Remini argues:


General principles
Jacksonian Democracy was built on the following:Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Age of Jackson (1945)
  • Expanded suffrage – The Jacksonians believed that voting rights should be extended to all white men. By the end of the 1820s, attitudes and state laws had shifted in favor of universal white male suffrageEngerman, p. 14. "Property- or tax-based qualifications were most strongly entrenched in the original thirteen states, and dramatic political battles took place at a series of prominent state constitutional conventions held during the late 1810s and 1820s." and by 1856 all requirements to own property and nearly all requirements to pay taxes had been dropped.Engerman, pp. 16, 35. "By 1840, only three states retained a property qualification, North Carolina (for some state-wide offices only), Rhode Island, and Virginia. In 1856 North Carolina was the last state to end the practice. Tax-paying qualifications were also gone in all but a few states by the Civil War, but they survived into the 20th century in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island."Alexander Keyssar, The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States (2nd ed. 2009) p 29
  • – This was the belief that white Americans had a destiny to settle the and to expand control from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific and that the West should be settled by farmers. However, the Jacksonians, notably Martin Van Buren, argued for limitations on slavery in the new areas to enable the to flourish they split with the main party briefly in 1848. The Whigs generally opposed Manifest Destiny and expansion, saying the nation should build up its cities.David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler, Manifest Destiny (Greenwood Press, 2003).
  • – Also known as the , patronage was the policy of placing political supporters into appointed offices. Many Jacksonians held the view that rotating political appointees in and out of office was not only the right, but also the duty of winners in political contests. Patronage was theorized to be good because it would encourage political participation by the common man and because it would make a politician more accountable for poor government service by his appointees. Jacksonians also held that long tenure in the civil service was corrupting, so civil servants should be rotated out of office at regular intervals. However, it often led to the hiring of incompetent and sometimes corrupt officials due to the emphasis on party loyalty above any other qualifications.M. Ostrogorski, Democracy and the Party System in the United States (1910)
  • Strict constructionism – Like the Jeffersonians who strongly believed in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, Jacksonians initially favored a federal government of limited powers. Jackson said that he would guard against "all encroachments upon the legitimate sphere of State sovereignty". However, he was not a states' rights extremist indeed, the Nullification Crisis would find Jackson fighting against what he perceived as state encroachments on the proper sphere of federal influence. This position was one basis for the Jacksonians' opposition to the Second Bank of the United States. As the Jacksonians consolidated power, they more often advocated expanding federal power, presidential power in particular.Forrest McDonald, States' Rights and the Union: Imperium in Imperio, 1776–1876 (2002) pp 97-120
  • – Complementing a strict construction of the Constitution, the Jacksonians generally favored a hands-off approach to the economy as opposed to the Whig program sponsoring modernization, railroads, banking and economic growth.William Trimble, "The social philosophy of the Loco-Foco democracy." American Journal of Sociology 26.6 (1921): 705-715. in JSTORLouis Hartz, Economic Policy and Democratic Thought: Pennsylvania, 1776–1860 (1948) The chief spokesman amongst laissez-faire advocates was William Leggett of the in New York City.Richard Hofstadter, "William Leggett, Spokesman of Jacksonian Democracy." Political Science Quarterly 58.4 (1943): 581-594. in JSTOR.Lawrence H. White, "William Leggett: Jacksonian editorialist as classical liberal political economist." History of Political Economy 18.2 (1986): 307-324.
  • Opposition to banking – In particular, the Jacksonians opposed government-granted monopolies to banks, especially the national bank, a central bank known as the Second Bank of the United States. Jackson said: "The bank is trying to kill me, but I will kill it!" and he did so.
    (2018). 9780203008805, Taylor & Francis. .
    The Whigs, who strongly supported the Bank, were led by , and Nicholas Biddle, the bank chairman.Bray Hammond, Banks and Politics in America, From the Revolution to the Civil War (1957) Jackson himself was opposed to all banks because he believed they were devices to cheat common people he and many followers believed that only gold and silver should be used to back currency, rather than the integrity of a bank.

Election by the "common man"
An important movement in the period from 1800 to 1830—before the Jacksonians were organized—was the expansion of the right to vote toward including all white men.Keyssar, The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States (2009) ch 2 Older states with property restrictions dropped them as all but Rhode Island, Virginia and North Carolina by the mid 1820s. No new states had property qualifications although three had adopted tax-paying qualifications – Ohio, Louisiana, and Mississippi, of which only in Louisiana were these significant and long lasting.Engerman, p. 8–9 The process was peaceful and widely supported, except in the state of Rhode Island. In Rhode Island, the of the 1840s demonstrated that the demand for equal suffrage was broad and strong, although the subsequent reform included a significant property requirement for anyone resident but born outside of the United States. However, free black men lost voting rights in several states during this period.
(2018). 9780495904991, Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. .

The fact that a man was now legally allowed to vote did not necessarily mean he routinely voted. He had to be pulled to the polls, which became the most important role of the local parties. They systematically sought out potential voters and brought them to the polls. Voter turnout soared during the 1830s, reaching about 80% of adult white male population in the 1840 presidential election.William G. Shade, "The Second Party System". in Paul Kleppner, et al. Evolution of American Electoral Systems (1983) pp 77-111 Tax-paying qualifications remained in only five states by 1860 – Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Delaware and North Carolina.Engerman, p. 35. Table 1

One innovative strategy for increasing voter participation and input was developed outside the Jacksonian camp. Prior to the presidential election of 1832, the Anti-Masonic Party conducted the nation's first presidential nominating convention. Held in Baltimore, Maryland, September 26–28, 1831, it transformed the process by which political parties select their presidential and vice-presidential candidates.William Preston Vaughn, The Anti-Masonic Party in the United States: 1826–1843 (2009)

Factions (1824–1832)
The period from 1824 to 1832 was politically chaotic. The Federalist Party and the First Party System were dead and with no effective opposition, the old Democratic-Republican Party withered away. Every state had numerous political factions, but they did not cross state lines. Political coalitions formed and dissolved and politicians moved in and out of alliances.Richard P. McCormick, The Second American Party System: Party Formation in the Jacksonian Era (1966).

Most former Republicans supported Jackson, while others such as opposed him. Most former Federalists, such as , opposed Jackson, although some like supported him. In 1828, John Quincy Adams pulled together a network of factions called the National Republicans, but he was defeated by Jackson. By the late 1830s, the Jacksonian Democrats and the Whigs politically battled it out nationally and in every state.Michael F. Holt, Political Parties and American Political Development: From the Age of Jackson to the Age of Lincoln (1992).

The new Democratic Party

Jacksonian democracy
The spirit of Jacksonian Democracy animated the party from the early 1830s to the 1850s, shaping the era, with the Whig Party the main opposition. The new Democratic Party became a coalition of farmers, city-dwelling laborers and Irish Catholics.Sean Wilentz, The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln (2005).

The new party was pulled together by Martin Van Buren in 1828 as Jackson crusaded against the corruption of President John Quincy Adams. The new party (which did not get the name "Democrats" until 1834) swept to a landslide. As Mary Beth Norton explains regarding 1828:

Jacksonians believed the people's will had finally prevailed. Through a lavishly financed coalition of state parties, political leaders, and newspaper editors, a popular movement had elected the president. The Democrats became the nation's first well-organized national party.
(2018). 9781285974675, Cengage Learning. .

The platforms, speeches and editorials were founded upon a broad consensus among Democrats. As Norton et al. explain:

The Democrats represented a wide range of views but shared a fundamental commitment to the Jeffersonian concept of an agrarian society. They viewed a central government as the enemy of individual liberty and they believed that government intervention in the economy benefited special-interest groups and created corporate monopolies that favored the rich. They sought to restore the independence of the individual--the artisan and the ordinary farmer--by ending federal support of banks and corporations and restricting the use of paper currency.
(2018). 9780618947164, Cengage Learning. .

Jackson vetoed more legislation than all previous presidents combined. The long-term effect was to create the modern strong presidency.John Yoo, "Andrew Jackson and Presidential Power." Charleston Law Review 2 (2007): 521+ online. Jackson and his supporters also opposed reform as a movement. Reformers eager to turn their programs into legislation called for a more active government. However, Democrats tended to oppose programs like educational reform and the establishment of a public education system. They believed, for instance, that public schools restricted individual liberty by interfering with parental responsibility and undermined freedom of religion by replacing church schools.

Jackson looked at the Indian question in terms of military and legal policy, not as a problem due to their race. In 1813, Jackson adopted and treated as his own son a three-year-old Indian orphan—seeing in him a fellow orphan that was "so much like myself I feel an unusual sympathy for him".

(1991). 9781412823470, Transaction Publishers. .
In legal terms, when it became a matter of state sovereignty versus tribal sovereignty he went with the states and moved the Indians to fresh lands with no white rivals in what became known as the Trail of Tears.

Jackson fulfilled his promise of broadening the influence of the citizenry in government, although not without vehement controversy over his methods.Donald B. Cole, The Presidency of Andrew Jackson (1993)

Jacksonian policies included ending the bank of the United States, expanding westward, and American Indians from the Southeast. Jackson was denounced as a tyrant by opponents on both ends of the political spectrum such as and John C. Calhoun. This led to the rise of the Whig Party.

Jackson created a to clear out elected officials in government of an opposing party and replace them with his supporters as a reward for their electioneering. With Congress controlled by his enemies, Jackson relied heavily on the power of the veto to block their moves.

One of the most important of these was the Maysville Road veto in 1830. A part of Clay's American System, the bill would have allowed for federal funding of a project to construct a road linking Lexington and the Ohio River, the entirety of which would be in the state of Kentucky, Clay's home state. His primary objection was based on the local nature of the project. He argued it was not the Federal government's job to fund projects of such a local nature and or those lacking a connection to the nation as a whole. The debates in Congress reflected two competing visions of federalism. The Jacksonians saw the union strictly as the cooperative aggregation of the individual states, while the Whigs saw the entire nation as a distinct entity.

Jacksonian Presidents
In addition to Jackson, his second vice president and one of the key organizational leaders of the Jacksonian Democratic Party, Martin Van Buren, served as president. Van Buren was defeated in the next election by William Henry Harrison. Harrison died just 30 days into his term and his vice president quickly reached accommodation with the Jacksonians. Tyler was then succeeded by James K. Polk, a Jacksonian who won the election of 1844 with Jackson's endorsement. had been a supporter of Jackson as well. served in Jackson's administration as Minister to Russia and as Polk's Secretary of State, but he did not pursue Jacksonian policies. Finally, , who had been a strong supporter of Jackson, became president following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865, but by then Jacksonian democracy had been pushed off the stage of American politics.

See also
  • Andrew Jackson presidential campaign, 1828
  • Democratic Party (United States)
  • Jeffersonian democracy
  • Voting rights in the United States


References and bibliography
  • Adams, Sean Patrick, ed. A Companion to the Era of Andrew Jackson (2013). table of contents
  • (1983). 9780585125336, Fordham University Press.
  • (1961). 9780691005720, Atheneum.
  • Short essays.
  • (1984). 9780691047157, Princeton University Press.
  • (1970). 9780674469907, Harvard University Press.
    Uses quantitative electoral data.
  • Cheathem, Mark R. and Terry Corps, eds. Historical Dictionary of the Jacksonian Era and Manifest Destiny (2nd ed. 2016), 544pp
  • (1971). 9780691046051, Princeton University Press.
    Uses quantitative electoral data.
  • (1983). 9780195031249, Oxford University Press.
    Uses quantitative electoral data.
  • Chapter 8, an excerpt from his Pulitzer-prize-winning Banks and Politics in America: From the Revolution to the Civil War (1954).
  • Chapter on AJ.
  • Hofstadter, Richard. "William Leggett: Spokesman of Jacksonian Democracy." Political Science Quarterly 58#4 (December 1943): 581-94. in JSTOR
  • (1999). 9780195055443, Oxford University Press.
  • (1992). 9780807117286, Louisiana State University Press.
  • Howe, Daniel Walker. What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848 (Oxford History of the United States) (2009), Pulitzer Prize; surveys era from ant-Jacksonain perspective
  • (1989). 9780195053746, Oxford University Press.
  • Lane, Carl. "The Elimination of the National Debt in 1835 and the Meaning Of Jacksonian Democracy." Essays in Economic & Business History 25 (2007). online
  • (1986). 9780195038606, Oxford University Press.
  • Influential state-by-state study.
  • McKnight, Brian D., and James S. Humphreys, eds. The Age of Andrew Jackson: Interpreting American History (Kent State University Press; 2012) 156 pages; historiography
  • Important scholarly articles.
  • Abridgment of Remini's 3-volume biography.
  • Rowland, Thomas J. Franklin B. Pierce: The Twilight of Jacksonian Democracy (Nova Science Publisher's, 2012).
  • Influential reinterpretation
  • Shade, William G. "Politics and Parties in Jacksonian America," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography Vol. 110, No. 4 (October 1986), pp. 483–507 online
  • Uses quantitative electoral data.
  • Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for History.
  • Uses quantitative electoral data.
  • Simeone, James. "Reassessing Jacksonian Political Culture: William Leggett's Egalitarianism." American Political Thought 4#3 (2015): 359-390. in JSTOR
  • Excerpts from primary and secondary sources.
  • Standard scholarly survey.
  • Wellman, Judith. Grassroots Reform in the Burned-over District of Upstate New York: Religion, Abolitionism, and Democracy (Routledge, 2014).
  • Highly detailed scholarly synthesis.
  • Intellectual history of Whigs and Democrats.

Primary sources
  • Blau, Joseph L., ed. Social Theories of Jacksonian Democracy: Representative Writings of the Period 1825–1850 (1954) online edition
  • Eaton, Clement ed. The Leaven of Democracy: The Growth of the Democratic Spirit in the Time of Jackson (1963) online edition

External links

Page 1 of 1


Pages:  ..   .. 
Items:  .. 


General: Atom Feed Atom Feed  .. 
Help:  ..   .. 
Category:  ..   .. 
Media:  ..   .. 
Posts:  ..   ..   .. 


Page:  .. 
Summary:  .. 
1 Tags
10/10 Page Rank
5 Page Refs
3s Time