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JACKSONIAN DEMOCRACY. “Democratizing” Politics Jefferson believed ordinary citizens could be educated to determine what was right Jackson believed they knew what was right by instinct new western states drew up constitutions that eliminated property qualifications for voting and holding office.

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jacksonian democracy
JACKSONIAN DEMOCRACY
  • “Democratizing” Politics
    • Jefferson believed ordinary citizens could be educated to determine what was right
    • Jackson believed they knew what was right by instinct
    • new western states drew up constitutions that eliminated property qualifications for voting and holding office
slide2
they opened many more offices to election rather than appointment
  • only in Delaware and South Carolina did legislatures continue to choose presidential electors
  • this period saw final disestablishment of churches and beginning of free-school movement
  • officeholders came to regard themselves as representatives and leaders, and appealed more openly and intensely for votes; this empowered the party system that exists today
slide3
1828: The New Party System in Embryo
    • Jackson believed that he had been cheated out of the presidency in 1824, and he began campaigning for 1828 almost immediately after Adams’s selection by the House of Representatives
    • in campaign of 1828, Jackson avoided taking a stand on issues
    • both sides resorted to character assassination
    • voters turned out in far greater numbers than four years earlier, and they chose Jackson
slide4
The Jacksonian Appeal
    • some historians point out Jackson was neither a democrat nor a friend of the underprivileged
    • he owned a large plantation and many slaves
    • nor was Jackson quite the rough-hewn frontiersman he sometimes seemed; his manners and life-style were those of a southern planter
    • his supporters liked to cast him as the political heir of Jefferson, in many ways Jackson more closely resembled the more conservative Washington
slide5
The Spoils System
    • Jackson’s policy appeared revolutionary since there had not been a major political shift in many years
    • Jackson offered the principle of rotation as an underpinning of his policy
    • he believed the duties of public officials were so simple that anyone could perform them
    • rotating offices would permit more citizens to participate in tasks of government and prevent the development of an entrenched bureaucracy
slide6
President of All the People
    • Jackson conceived of himself as direct representative of people and embodiment of national power
    • he vetoed more bills than all of his predecessors combined, yet he had no desire to expand federal authority at the expense of the states
slide7
Sectional Tensions Revived
    • Jackson steered a moderate course on issues dividing the sections, urging a slight reduction of the tariff and “constitutional” internal improvements
    • he proposed that surplus federal revenues be “distributed” to the states
slide8
however, if the federal government distributed its surplus revenues, it could not reduce the price of public lands without going into debt
  • in the Senate, Webster successfully blocked a West-South alliance based on cheap land and low tariffs
slide9
Jackson: “The Bank . . . I Will Kill It!”
    • Jackson won reelection in 1832, partly based on his promise to destroy second Bank of the U.S.
    • Marshall declared its constitutionality and Landon Cheves established it on a sound footing, the Bank of the U.S. flourished
    • Cheves’s successor, Nicholas Biddle, realized that the Bank of the U.S. could act as a rudimentary central bank
slide10
he attempted to use the institution to control credit and compel local banks to maintain adequate reserves of specie
  • at the same time the nation had an insatiable need for capital and credit
  • some bankers chafed under Biddle’s restraints
  • regional jealousies also came into play, as did distrust of chartered corporations as agents of special privilege
slide11
Jackson’s Bank Veto
    • opposition to the Bank remained unfocused until Jackson brought it together
    • Biddle drew closer to Clay and Webster, who hoped to use the bank issue against Jackson
    • Clay and Webster urged Biddle to ask Congress to renew Bank’s charter early
    • the bill passed Congress, and Jackson vetoed it
    • after his reelection, Jackson withdrew government funds from Bank
slide12
faced with withdrawal of so much cash, Biddle contracted his operations
  • he further contracted credit by presenting all state bank notes for conversion into specie and limiting his own bank’s loans
  • money became scarce, and a serious panic threatened
  • Pressure mounted on Jackson, who refused to budge
  • eventually, pressure shifted to Biddle, who began to lend freely; the crisis ended
slide13
Jackson Versus Calhoun
    • Calhoun coveted the presidency, moreover, personal animosities separated him from Jackson
    • the two men were not far apart ideologically except on the paramount issue of the right of a state to overrule federal authority
    • like most westerners, Jackson favored internal improvements, but he preferred that local projects be left to the states
    • he vetoed the Maysville Road Bill because the route was wholly within Kentucky
slide14
Indian Removals
    • Jackson also took a states’ rights position in the controversy between the Cherokee Indians and Georgia
    • he pursued a policy of removing Indians from the path of white settlement
    • Some tribes resisted and were subdued by troops
    • the Cherokee attempted to hold their lands by adjusting to white ways
slide15
in spite of several treaties that seemed to establish the legitimacy of their government, Georgia refused to recognize it
  • Georgia passed a law declaring all Cherokee laws void and the Cherokee lands part of Georgia
  • in Cherokee Nationv.Georgia, Marshall ruled that the Cherokee were “not a foreign state” and therefore could not sue in a federal court, but in Worcesterv.Georgia, he ruled that the state could not control the Cherokee or their territory
slide16
Marshall also overturned the conviction for murder of a Cherokee named Corn Tassel on the ground that the crime had taken place in Cherokee territory
  • Jackson backed Georgia and insisted that no independent nation could exist within U.S.
  • eventually, the U.S. forced about 15,000 Cherokee to leave Georgia for lands in Oklahoma; about 4,000 died on the way
slide17
The Nullification Crisis
    • South Carolina’s planters objected to a new tariff law passed in 1832 that lowered duties less than they had hoped
    • they also resented northern agitation against slavery
    • radicals in the state saw the two issues as related (both represented the tyranny of the majority), and they turned to Calhoun’s doctrine of nullification as a logical defense
slide18
Jackson believed that if a state could nullify federal law the Union could not exist
  • South Carolina passed an ordinance of nullification prohibiting collection of tariff duties in state and voted to authorize the raising of an army
  • Jackson began military preparations of his own
  • in a presidential proclamation, he warned that “disunion by armed force is treason”
slide19
Congress compromised by reducing the tariff and by passing a Force Bill granting the president additional authority to enforce the revenue laws
  • Sobered by Jackson”s response and professing to be satisfied with the token reductions of the new tariff, South Carolina repealed the Nullification Ordinance
  • South Carolina attempted to save face by nullifying the Force Act
slide20
Boom and Bust
    • an increased volume of currency caused land prices to soar
    • proceeds from land sales wiped out the government’s debt and produced a surplus
    • alarmed by the speculative mania, Jackson issued a Specie Circular, which required purchasers of government land to pay in gold or silver
    • demand immediately slackened, and prices sagged
slide21
speculators defaulted on mortgages, and banks could not recover enough on foreclosed property to recover their loans
  • people rushed to withdraw their money in the form of specie, and banks exhausted their supplies
  • panic swept the country
  • numerous factors caused such swings in the economic cycle, but Jackson’s policies exaggerated them
slide22
Jacksonianism Abroad
    • Jackson’s exaggerated patriotism led him to push relentlessly for the solution of minor problems, and he did achieve some diplomatic successes
    • Great Britain agreed to several reciprocal trade agreements, including one that finally opened British West Indian ports to American ships
    • France agreed to pay compensation for damages to American property during the Napoleonic wars
slide23
when the French Chamber of Deputies refused to appropriate the necessary funds, Jackson sent a blistering message to Congress asking for reprisals against French property
  • Congress wisely took no action, which led Jackson to suspend diplomatic relations with France and order the navy readied
  • the French government finally appropriated the money
slide24
The Jacksonians
    • Jacksonian Democrats included rich and poor, easterners and westerners, abolitionists and slaveholders
    • if it was not yet a close-knit national organization, the party agreed on certain basic principles: suspicion of special privilege and large business corporations, freedom of economic opportunity, political freedom (at least for white males), and conviction that ordinary citizens could perform tasks of government
slide25
Democrats also tended to favor states’ rights
  • Jacksonians supported opportunities for the less affluent (such as public education) but showed no desire to penalize the wealthy or to intervene in economic affairs to aid the underprivileged
slide26
Rise of the Whigs
    • Jackson’s opposition remained less cohesive and dissident groups began to call themselves Whigs
    • those who could not accept the peculiarities of Jacksonian finance or had no taste for the anti-intellectual bent of the administration were drawn to the Whigs
slide27
the Whigs were slow to develop an effective party organization
  • in 1836, they relied on a series of favorite son candidates in an effort to throw the election into the House of Representatives
  • the strategy failed to defeat Jackson’s handpicked successor, Martin Van Buren
slide28
Martin Van Buren: Jacksonianism Without Jackson
    • Van Buren approached most problems pragmatically
    • he fought the Bank of the U.S. but opposed irresponsible state banks as well
    • while favoring public construction of internal improvements, he preferred state rather than national programs
    • Van Buren had the misfortune to take office just as the Panic of 1837 hit
slide29
just as the country recovered from the Panic of 1837, cotton prices declined sharply in 1839
  • state governments defaulted on their debts, which discouraged investors
  • a general economic depression lasted until 1843
  • Van Buren did not cause the depression, but his policies did nothing to help
  • his refusal to assume any responsibility for the general welfare has led at least one historian to argue that the Whigs, not the Democrats, were the “positive liberals” of the era
slide30
the depression convinced Van Buren that he needed to find some place other than the state banks to keep federal funds
  • he settled on the idea of removing the government from all banking activities
  • the Independent Treasury Act called for the construction of government-owned vaults to store federal revenues; all payments to government were to be made in hard cash
  • the plan was economically irresponsible, but system worked reasonably well for many years, thanks to a lucky combination of circumstances
slide31
The Log Cabin Campaign
    • the depression hurt the Democrats, but it did not cause Van Buren’s defeat in 1840
    • Whigs were better organized than four years earlier, and they stole the Democrats’ tactics by nominating a popular general and shouting praises of the common man
    • they contrasted simplicity of William Henry Harrison with the suave Van Buren
slide32
huge turnout elected Harrison by large margin; less than a month after his inauguration, Harrison fell ill and died
  • with the succession of John Tyler, events took a new turn, one that would lead to civil war