The Jacksonian democracy as a political movement supports the commonman greater democracy and is symbolized by Andrew Jackson and thosewho supported his policies. led to the moderndemocracy. The term Jacksonian democracy is at times used to refer tosecond party system era. United States today, considers itself as oneof the most democratic nations in the world. Jacksonian democracy isthus, credited by history for making huge contribution to democracy.
The term is political philosophy used by aformer United States President and his supporters. President AndrewJackson aligned his philosophy in accordance to his predecessorsThomas Jefferson. The term is mainly associated with a period of thesecond party system (1824-1854). The philosophy is differentiatedfrom the trait of the Jeffersonian democracy philosophy in a numberof ways. The Jeffersonian had dominated the previous regime whenThomas Jefferson was the president. During the era of the Jacksonianthere was a great increase in power and respect of the common man,who was given the voting rights a prestige normally reserved for therich land owners during the reign of Thomas Jefferson. Additionallythe Jacksonian democracy promoted the power of the president and theexecutive branch at the expense of the congress, public participationwas also encouraged in the government. The Jacksonian democracysupporters believed that every man is free and have the right tovote, moreover, they agreed with the patronage system that allowedthe politician to chose and elect their supporters to holdadministrative offices that would play a huge role in the preventionof the aristocracies and reduce elite power. Furthermore, the judgeswere elected and were responsible for rewriting a number ofconstitutions that reflected new values. The Jacksonian supportedGeographical expansion and justified it in accordance to manifestdestiny and in agreement with the Whigs party they both believed thatslavery battles ought to be avoided. The philosophy of Jacksoniandemocracy helped shape the American politics giving rise to thirdparty system1.
Contrast between Jefferson and Jacksonian democracy
The contrast between Jacksonian democracy and Jeffersonian era wasthat the Jacksonian democracy advocated for the strengthening of theexecutive and the president at congress expense, Jefferson regimepower was concentrated more on the congress. Another contrast is onvoting right whereby during Jefferson’s time only rich land ownersand those with property were allowed to vote2.During Jacksonian time all white men poor and rich were allowed tovote
Principle that Built on
Patronage- also referred to as spoil system it was a policy used toassign offices to political supporters. It was the view of manyJacksonian that political appointees ought to be rotated in officesas the political winner deemed it necessary. It was theorized as goodon the grounds that it motivated supporters to be involved inpolitical participation and also it made politician more responsiblefor poor governance and services brought about by his appointees. Inaddition to this, according to the Jacksonian giving civil servantlong tenure exposed them to becoming corrupt and thus it was onlyproper to give short tenure and rotate the civil servant3.Nevertheless, this often led to the hiring of incompetent and corruptofficials taking offices due to the fact that the emphasis was onloyalty when appointing the officials to work in the offices.
According to the Jacksonian view, all white men should be extendedthe voting rights. The universal white-male suffrage in the year 1820was considered norm but by the year 1850, all the requirement placedon the rights, requirement and qualifications for an individual toown properties and pay for taxes were dropped.
This was brought about due to the belief that the white American hadthe right to settle on American west and further expand furtherexpand their control on pacific and Atlantic Ocean. Yeoman farmerswere also to settle west. However, free soil Jacksonian in particularMartin Van Buren was of the view that slavery ought to be minimizedin the new areas so as facilitate the flourishing of the poor whiteAmerican. This led to the split of the main party in 1848 briefly.The Whigs were against the expansion and Manifest Destiny and insupport building up cities.
The Jacksonian believed and supported the federal government withless or limited powers. President Andrew Jackson claimed that hewould ensure that he would not allow the state sovereignty toencroach the legitimate sphere. This is one of the reasons as to whythe Jacksonian were against the setting up of a Second bank in theUnited States. By consolidating power, the Jacksonian advocated forthe expansion of presidential power and federal power in a particularway.
As opposed to Whig program which supported sponsoring economicgrowth, railroads, banking and modernization the Jacksonian supportedthe hands of economy approach.
The Jacksonian`s were against granting banks monopolies. To do this,the Jacksonian vetoed the Bank re-charter and pulled out the federalreserve rather than actively seeking to destroy the bank. Jackson asan individual believed that the banks that were out to cheat thecommon man. Banks were supported by the Whigs Daniel Webster and thebank chairman Nicholas Biddle. Most Jacksonian believed that wealthshould be preserved in the form of gold.
Influence of Jacksonian on Modern America
The election of Andrew Jackson as the United States president in theyear 1828, marked the beginning of a new era in the Americanpolitics. Jackson was the first American president to be elected froma different state from his predecessor who had come from eitherMassachusetts or Virginia. Often referred to as the common manchampion, Jackson believed that the poor white American rights hadbeen ignored for a long time and need had risen to put an end tothis.
To ensure democracy in the country, the Jacksonian movement declareditself as farmers and workers party, opposed special privileges givento the elite in the society. Lastly, the Jacksonian ensured ademocracy by offering western land to poor white American. PresidentJackson shaped the United States, politics, economics, geographic andreligion thus reshaping the country in fundamental ways and directingit towards a future of great opportunities and pitfalls4.
Additionally, the movement presented the provocative interaction ofthe American society at its best and at its worst. The movement was areliable democratic movement, composed of fundamental egalitariansthrust and as social critique it was only meant to benefit the whitemen. The tragic mix of masculine privilege, egalitarianism and racialprejudice still is significant today and studying it can play a hugerole in overcoming challenges caused by this mix in the future.
Jacksonian Democratic Party
The party was formed in the form of stages by the large populationthat had voted in President Andrew Jackson. During Jackson two termsin office, the party’s viewpoint was basically leissez faire. TheDemocrats stood for un-intrusive, simple and frugal government.Additionally, the Democrats were against the government favoritismand spending on corporate charters such as banks and otherenterprises. According to them, this measure only benefitted the richin the society and did nothing to help the meritorious and humblecommon man. The democrats also avoided as much as possibleinterfering with church business such as intruding in abolitionism,temperance and Sabbatarianism thus gaining support from religiousminorities and dissenters, from the free thinkers to Catholics. Inaddition to this, the democrats espoused anticlericalism and stooddetached from powerful interdenominational.
Andrew Jackson was succeeded by Van Buren who started a means ofensuring party discipline and good organization this was justified asthe proper means of gaining popularity over the aristocrats. To adoptplatform and nominate candidates, the democrats come up with aperfected a structure showing ranks from the local, state to nationalcommittees. This ensured that there were good coordinated action andinspired discipline within the party ranks.
Jackson Democratic Party perceived itself as the common man defenderagainst aristocracy. It amended suffrage requirement by allowing allwhite American to participate in voting. Even thought during thereign of Jackson the party was very popular when he left the supportof the party was almost equal to that of Whigs. Even at the long lastthe party become a party of slaveholder from the south and slavesympathizers from the north, President Andrew Jackson is consideredtoday as a symbol for democracy and the starter of a democratic agethis is because of his role in bringing about equality between thecommon man and the rich man.
Reforms Targeted by the Jacksonians
The election of President Andrew Jackson and his successors MartinVan Buren is considered by history as the age of reforms. Jackson ispictured at the center of the reform period and the issues sought tobe addressed by the Jacksonians are political social and economical.
Unfavorable political conditions from the time the United Statesgained independence from the Great Britain much discriminationsagainst the common man was administered. The common man was notallowed to take part in an election nor take any role in running thecountry. Only the rich land owners were allowed to do this. Women toowere disenfranchised too along with slaves who had not rights at all.To vote one was supposed to have rights to property. Furthermore,representation in congress was disproportionate. The Jacksoniandemocrats hoped to change this and bring equality to all.
Unfavorable economic conditions this was characterized by oppressedworkers who were trying to form labor unions to protect them, no staylaws and those in debts were taken to prison until they could affordto pay for the debt. Unfair taxes were charged against the poor urbanworkers and the small farmers, inhabitant could own land in additionthe price of land was set to high that the common man only opted torent out land. Market economy was susceptible to recession,inflation, deflation and depression. The capitalist economy wasentrenched by political power and monopolies. The Jacksonian hoped topresent everyone with good opportunities to grow themselves thus, thereason they were opposed to banking5.According to them, banks would only benefit the rich and not thecommon man.
Unfavorable social conditions there were many social problems thatengulfed the society before President Jackson took office thisproblem includes racial discrimination, women were also discriminatedagainst as second-class citizens. The conditions in prisons wereinhuman so was the treatment of mentally retarded patients. Thesanitations, diseases, crime, and housing were intolerable in urbancentre. In the industries, the working conditions were the worst veryunsafe and unhealthy too. Additionally education was only for thosewho could afford.
The Jacksonian democracy proposed ways to deal with these problems bygiving land to the poor white American in the West and including theinterest of the non-entrenched capitalist class in the country’seconomy6.
Negative Impact of Jacksonian democracy
One of the greatest negative impacts of Jacksonian democracy wasIndian removal bill whereby to create more land for the common man toget land the government had to push the native American from theirancestor land7.All in all, the impact of the Jacksonian democracy continued pastJackson terms in office, the policies enacted during his tenureexpanded the country’s boarders and voting rights. However, thespoil system put in place later divided the country leading to theassassination of parties leaders. The decentralized economics systemput in place during the Jacksonian era also would later causecyclical recession.
Allowing the common man to participate in voting was one of thegreatest achievements of the Jacksonian democracy. The United Statesfounding fathers had placed complex electoral process to minimize thecommon man exercise to democracy, for one to vote he or she had tohave some property placed under his name. Through expanding suffrage,President Jackson infused democracy in the country.
led to the expansion of the westward territorialexpansion which provided the country with resources such as land andgold. However, this negatively affected the Native Americans who wereforcibly relocated.
The spoil system (patronage)
To return a favor to his supporter Jackson gave them government jobsa practice that become common in almost all parties. However, in theyear 1870 split in the Republican Party occurred between supportersof meritocracy and patronage occurred. The first president to getassassinated as a result of patronage was President Garfield in 1881over a government job by a party loyalist. His successor PresidentChester A. Arthur put an end to the patronage by signing the civilservice act.
The Jacksonian democrats were against a national bank, so to removethe United States Bank President Jackson vetoed for the bank renewalleaving the United States without a central bank in 1832. Thisdecision later come to negatively affect the United States economy inthe years 1837, 1873, 1896 by causing economic panic and the greatrecession8.To solve this president Woodrow Wilson signed the federal reserveBill that put in place a central bank in 1913.
Jacksonian democracy is credited by history for making hugecontribution to democracy. The man at the center of Jacksoniandemocracy was President Andrew Jackson who saw through, reforms inpolitics, economy and social. The Jacksonian democracy further led tothe assassination of future presidents due to the spoil system ofawarding jobs to party loyalist.
Barney, William. 2007. A Companion to 19th-Century America.Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.http://public.eblib.com/EBLPublic/PublicView.do?ptiID=350858.
Blau, Joseph L. 2003. Social theories of Jacksonian democracy:representative writings of the period 1825-1850. Indianapolis,IN: Hackett Pub. Co.
Connolly, Michael J. 2003. Capitalism, politics, and railroads inJacksonian New England. Columbia: University of Missouri Press.http://site.ebrary.com/id/10063424.
Deusen, Glyndon G. van. 1979. The Rise and decline of Jacksoniandemocracy.
Miller, Douglas T. 1970. The birth of modern America, 1820-1850.New York: Pegasus.
Pessen, Edward. 1985. Jacksonian America: society, personality,and politics. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Rattner, Faye. 1964. Reform in America Jacksonian democracy,progressivism, and the New Deal. Chicago: Scott, Foresman.
Stobaugh, James P. 2012. American history: observations &assessments from early settlement to today.
1 Deusen, Glyndon G. van. 1979. The Rise and decline of Jacksonian democracy.
2 Blau, Joseph L. 2003. Social theories of Jacksonian democracy: representative writings of the period 1825-1850. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Pub. Co.
3 Pessen, Edward. 1985. Jacksonian America: society, personality, and politics. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
4 Miller, Douglas T. 1970. The birth of modern America, 1820-1850. New York: Pegasus.
5 Stobaugh, James P. 2012. American history: observations & assessments from early settlement to today.
6 Rattner, Faye. 1964. Reform in America Jacksonian democracy, progressivism, and the New Deal. Chicago: Scott, Foresman.
7 Barney, William. 2007. A Companion to 19th-Century America. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. http://public.eblib.com/EBLPublic/PublicView.do?ptiID=350858.
8 Connolly, Michael J. 2003. Capitalism, politics, and railroads in Jacksonian New England. Columbia: University of Missouri Press. http://site.ebrary.com/id/10063424.