Jacksonian Era

Jacksonian Era

The Jackson democrats attempted to amplify
the strength of lower classes\' poor, while decreasing the influence of
the rich and powerful. Economically, they benefited from governing during
a time of leading advances in transportation, which boosted commerce and
helped the common man. Politically, they invested power into an overwhelmingly
powerful executive branch. The Jacksonian democrats portrayed themselves
as saviors of the common people and ruled via a powerful executive who
attempted to destroy aristocracy in America. However, they were atypically
wealthy, supported equality between white men only, enacted disastrous
economic policies and disregarded the capability of the federal government.

Further, they did not introduce democracy in America, rather merely used
it and benefited from it.

During the first half of the 19th century
numerous advancements enhanced the growth of the United States. A market
revolution occurred as a yeoman and cash crop agriculture and capitalist
manufacturing replaced artisan economy. Despite the prosperity, a split
was emerging between the industrializing urban north, rural South, and
the expanding West. The Jacksonians passed the Tariff of 1828, which opened
opportunity for western agriculture and New England manufacturing, but
was detrimental to the South. Andrew Jackson and Jacksonian democrats believed
that the US bank placed too much control into the hands of a wealthy few.

Due to this fact, Jackson vetoed the bank\'s recharter in 1832. In attempt
to benefit the lower, working classes, he placed the federal money in "pet"
state banks. This attempt destabilized the national currency, decreased
currency in markets, and displayed favoritism in Jacksonian policies. Like
most Jacksonian economic policies it failed and the reduction in currency
spread inflation which the Treasury Act of 1840 could not stop. Jacksonians
tried to assist whites through economic policies but failed.

Foreign observers viewed that in America,
every man is free and independent, but there was great division in American
attitude. Disturbances and insurrections broke out across the country by
minorities, because they were not helped by egalitarian efforts which were
focused on white males. Jackson\'s hypocrisy and cruelty in his Indian removal
practices (after his decisive victory at Horseshoe Bend, Alabama, March

1814) showed the non-universal principles held by the democrats. Fearful
of angering Southern voters, Jacksonians veered away from extending egalitarian
policies to slaves. Women received little improvement. Although viewed
as defenders of all common men, Jacksonian democrats shunned minorities
and only assisted white men.

Andrew Jackson was the first president
to fully utilize the powers of the executive branch and establish it as
an equal, if not superior branch. Henry Clay viewed Jackson as dictatorial
and unconstitutional and persuaded the Congress to discipline him in 1834,
but Jacksonian propaganda continued to portray Jackson as a common man.

Jacksonian democrats did not sustain three separate and equal branches
of government, as Constitutionally required. Jacksonians were strict constitutionalists,
vetoing the Maysville Road Bill because it did not benefit the whole country
and it eliminated the bank. However, they also participated in the passionate
nationalism prevailing at the time. Contrary to Calhoun and South Carolina\'s
reassertion of the confederation principles of the Kentucky and Virginia

Resolutions, Jacksonians believed in a firm union. In the compromise Tariff
of 1832, they reduced the previous tariffs, but also included a Force Bill,
which authorized the President to use arms to collect dues in South Carolina.

Jacksonians were tough nationalists in foreign affairs too, almost going
to war with France in 1835 upon failure to pay its debt. They also were
instrumental in dramatically increasing the electorate and encouraging
participation in the political process.

Jacksonian democrats were above all outstanding
propagandists. They were able to portray themselves as defenders of the
common man, while they usually tended to be wealthy and \'common man\' appointees
were often inefficient and corrupt. They also tried to further reform movements
but ended up decreasing economic opportunity. Although often supporters
of states\' rights and individuality (i.e. the bank issue), they also were
strong nationalists (i.e. South Carolina nullification). Jacksonians strived
to preserve the unifying principles that the Constitution contained, but
acted in contempt of it when they asserted the overwhelming power of the
executive branch. Jacksonian democracy did allow more people to vote than
ever before and made government more directly responsible to the people.

Finally, they established a strong executive, directly responsible to the
people, and increased faith in government. Overall, Jacksonians honestly
attempted to help common Americans.