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					16. The Age of Jackson


• Purpose: to gain an understanding of US politics from the 1820s to 1840.
    • The transformation of US politics towards a more democratic system and style
    • The watershed election of 1824
    • The presidency of Andrew Jackson
    • The emergence of the second party system of Democrats against Whigs
• Timeframe: 1824-1840




16. The Age of Jackson                                                               1
1.1 Equality and Inequality


• The antebellum era saw the growing development
  of economic inequality in the United States.
• The market economy accelerated the
  concentration of wealth in the hands of an
  economic elite, and also brought about the
  beginnings of a working class and urban poverty.
• It also strengthened the socially, culturally, and
  politically most influential “middling classes”.
• Alexis de Tocqueville commented critically about
  the egalitarian character of US society.
• Moses Yale Beach, the New York Sun publisher
  saw an aristocracy of wealth at work.
                                                         Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)
                                                         Toured the US 1831-82, published
                                                       “Democracy in America” 1835 and 1840


16. The Age of Jackson                                                                        2
1.2 Challenges to Authority and Democracy


 • American society displayed egalitarian tendencies in style and conduct.
 • Americans embraced individualism as a positive quality signifying self-reliance and
   the conviction that each person was the best judge of his or her true interests.
   Individualism and equality became the ideals of antebellum America.
 • In the first half of the 19th century, the US political system became more
   democratic. The Shift from property requirement for voting to a poll tax system
   greatly widened the electorate.
 • Secret written ballots replaced the custom of voting aloud.
 • Caucus system of congressmen nominating presidential candidates gradually
   replaced by convention system.
 • Campaign styles became increasingly active and populist.




16. The Age of Jackson                                                                   3
2.1 The Dem.-Rep. Party and the Elections of 1824
• During the second term of James Monroe, the
  fight for succession displayed rifts in the Dem.-
  Rep. Party.
• Entering the presidential race were John
  Quincy Adams, William Crawford, and John C.
  Calhoun, Henry Clay and Andrew Jackson.
• The Dem.-Rep. Congressional caucus
  selected William Crawford, but the other
  candidates ignored the decision and secured
  nomination by various state legislatures.
• Adams, Crawford, Clay, and Jackson ran.
• Jackson received most votes, but no absolute
  majority. In the congressional vote, Clay sided
  with Adams, who became president. Clay
  became secretary of state.
• Jackson felt cheated and became opposition
  leader.

                                                      5 contenders of 1824: Adams, Crawford, Calhoun,
                                                                      Clay, and Jackson

16. The Age of Jackson                                                                                  4
2.2 The John Quincy Adams Presidency

• The Election of 1824 split the Dem.-Rep.
  party into factions, the “National
  Republicans” under Adams and Clay, and
  the “Democrats” under Jackson.
• Adams and Clay tried to implement the
  “American System” of a high protective
  tariff to foster manufacture and finance
  internal improvements.
• Adams could not gain enough support for
  his program. He did not accept the
  growing partisan divisions in Congress,
  and his popularity waned quickly.




16. The Age of Jackson                       5
2.3 The Democrats and the Election of 1828

• Andrew Jackson used the years of
  Adams’ presidency to organize his
  supporters into a coherent, well-organized
  party: the Democrats.
• The Democrats adopted a moderate
  states’ rights position, supported the
  Jeffersonian ideal of individualist
  agrarianism and distrusted concentrations
  of power and wealth.
• The Democrats developed a strong
  following in the south and west, as well as
  among urban immigrants, esp. in NY.
• In the election of 1828 Andrew Jackson
  won in a landslide.



16. The Age of Jackson                          6
3.1 The Andrew Jackson Presidency

• Andrew Jackson became one of the
  strongest presidential leaders in US
  history.
• Adopting a common-people style Jackson
  portrayed himself as a democratic George
  Washington and the standard-bearer of
  Jefferson‘s agrarian ideal.
• He purged federal officials and replaced
                                                Jackson’s inauguration in 1829.
  them with his supporters. This “rotation in
  office” principle was called the “spoils
  system” by his critics.
• Jackson was aided by Martin van Buren,
  the leader of the Democratic faction in
  New York.



16. The Age of Jackson                                                            7
3.2 The Nullification Crisis


• In late 1828, northern and western Democrats had helped to pass a high protective tariff
  that was good for northern industry and western commercial agriculture but bad for the
  cotton growing South.
• Vice-president John C. Calhoun, from SC, criticized this “Tariff of Abominations”. He
  claimed the right of Nullification for the states – declaring a law unconstitutional. South
  Carolina nullified the tariff in 1832, and talked of secession.
• President Andrew Jackson, despite some sympathies for states rights, threatened to
  dispatch federal troops to South Carolina. Congress supported this option through the
  Force Bill.
• Conflict was averted through a Compromise Tariff engineered by Henry Clay in 1833
  which gradually lowered the tariff. South Carolina repealed its nullification law.




16. The Age of Jackson                                                                          8
3.3 Growing Criticism of Jackson
• In 1832, president Andrew Jackson vetoed a
  renewal of the Second Bank’s charter,
  denouncing it as a monopoly. He deposited
  federal funds in state banks, effectively
  reducing the Second Bank to a private bank.
• When the Bank’s charter expired in 1836,
  credits were shortened. A series of bank
  failures, the Panic of 1837, was the result.
• Because of Jackson’s strong leadership,
  opposition began to grow during his first term.
• Vice president Calhoun broke with him over
  the tariff. National Republicans abhorred his
  resistance to the American System.
• He was accused of autocratic tendencies,
  arrogance, and use of the veto power.
• Nevertheless, in 1832 the opposition was still
  too disorganized.

                                                    Anti-Jackson cartoon

16. The Age of Jackson                                                     9
3.4 The Second Party System
After the election of 1832 and Jackson’s       Both parties of the Second Party System
victory, the opposition coalesced into a       were nationally organized, doctrinally weak
nation-wide, grassroots political party: The   and consisted of diverse constituencies.
Whigs
                                               Democrats:
Whigs:                                         •Leaders: Andrew Jackson, Martin v. Buren
•Leaders: Henry Clay, Daniel Webster           •Regional Strength: South and West
•Regional Strength: North, Northwest           •Voters: small Southern and Western
•Voters: elite, native-born middle-class       farmers, immigrants, those fearing
nativists and reformers, merchants,            concentrated banks and commercial power.
manufacturers, highly commercial farmers.      Traditional protestants and Catholics.
Evangelical protestants, former Federalists.   •Policies: laissez-faire economics, anti-
•Policies: American System (tariff and         bank, anti-paper money, Indian removal,
internal improvements), central banking,       states‘ rights, agrarian expansion.
government regulation.



16. The Age of Jackson                                                                   10
4.1 The Martin van Buren Presidency
• In the elections of 1836 Martin van Buren ran
  as the Democratic candidate.The Whigs ran
  three regional candidates.
• Nevertheless, van Buren won a handy victory
  in the electoral college, but only a bare
  majority of the popular vote.
• William Henry Harrison emerged as the most
  successful of the Whig challengers.
• Van Buren’s term coincided with the great
  depression started by the Panic of 1837, that
  was largely caused by Jackson’s politics.
• Nevertheless, “Little Magician” van Buren
  stuck to the anti-bank, hard-money policies of
  his predecessor. His Independent Treasury
  Act removed federal money from state
  banks, further constricting credit.
• Depression continued, earning the president
  another nickname, “Martin van Ruin.”
                                                   Martin van Buren, 1782-1862

16. The Age of Jackson                                                           11
4.2 The Log Cabin Campaign - the Elections of 1840
• The opposition, the Whigs, established
  themselves on the state level supporting
  liberal “free banking” laws. As their
  presidential candidate for the election of
  1840, ran William Henry Harrison, the “hero”
  of the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811.
• William H. Harrison won in a landslide, but
  he died in 1841, after only one month in
  office.
• The election of 1840 saw the development
  of new campaigning techniques. The Whigs
  adopted the log cabin as symbol of their
  common-man approach. Harrison himself
  toured the country, often in railroads, giving
  campaign speeches.
• In contrast, Martin van Buren’s campaign
  was much more conventional.
• Voter participation soared to 80 percent.


16. The Age of Jackson                               12
Sample Keyword

   Nullification Crisis:

   In late 1828, northern and western Democrats had helped to pass a high
   protective tariff that was good for northern industry and western commercial
   agriculture but bad for the cotton growing South.
   Vice-president John C. Calhoun, from South Carolina claimed the right of
   Nullification for the states – declaring a law unconstitutional. South Carolina
   nullified the tariff in 1832, and talked of secession.President Andrew Jackson
   threatened to dispatch federal troops to South Carolina. Conflict was averted
   through a Compromise Tariff engineered by Henry Clay in 1833 which lowered
   the tariff. South Carolina repealed its nullification law.




16. The Age of Jackson                                                               13

				
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