“He was…a democratic autocrat, an urbane savage, an atrocious saint.”
Andrew Jackson:The Good, the Bad, the Evil How could democracy simultaneously expand and decrease? What role did Jackson have in both? How did the masses of Americans participate in politics? How did American Indians react to the growth of the U.S. under the Jackson administration? What characterizes “Jacksonian Democracy”?
Remember: 1810-1840 “American Democratic Revolution” • General culture of egalitarianism • No monarchy or hereditary power • More social, economic, and political interactions across classes compared to Europe • Ideal of equal opportunity • Social and religious origins of some equality • Panic of 1819: Some people believed that gov’t should more actively help citizens.
Expanded Democracy for Who? • No property requirements, fewer requirements for holding office • Popular election of officials, electors, President • Universal white male suffrage (franchisement) • key to 1800-1830 American Democratic Revolution • Men legally allowed to vote did not routinely vote • local parties key to voter turnout; 80% adult white men by 1840
Reducing Democracy • Citizen defined practically as white & male • Women lacked voting rights: treated as male property, no legal status (femme covert) • Increased oppression of blacks • Growth of slave codes • Punishment against free blacks • Racial inferiorities “biological” • Slave rebellions
The Political Culture of Democracy • Patterns, habits, institutions, and traits associated with the political system • 1824: Andrew Jackson, populist “common man” almost won; ignites new zeal for democratic elections • Elections became the arena for people to express their grievances about, and influence, public policy by electing candidates to benefit them. • More direct reaction to the “Will of the People”
The Rise of Andrew Jackson • Born poor, became a Western lawyer • Scots-Irish, farmer • Popular due to his exploits 1812-1820s • War hero (“Old Hickory”) • Indian fighter, actions led to annexation of Florida
The Politics of Image • “Jacksonian Democrats” push for Jackson’s election in 1824, 1828 • Mass politics and political machines influence popularity with communication & organization • Vote for the party, the policies, the person, or the perception? • importance of a candidate’s popularity with the "common man"
The “Common Man” & Revolution of 1828 • “Populist” image—a champion of the people, or common man (the small farmer and city worker) over the aristocracy of money, factory, and land. • viewed Jackson as one of their own.; from a poor family, little formal education. Jackson had risen in the world through his own efforts. • "Old Hickory,” belief that he was a tough military hero and frontiersman • Since Jackson opposed special privilege and campaigned as the champion of the people, his election is often referred to as the “Revolution of 1828” • Later irony of these campaign points
Not so common man… • Common man’s view of Jackson too simple. • Although born in poverty, became wealthy, owned a large slave plantation in TN • By his election, Jackson possessed the manners, dignity, and bearing of a cultured gentleman, not a “wild frontiersman”
Jackson Presidency, 1828-1836 • Defender of the people from big gov’t; political and economic elitism; narrow northeastern interests • Regional economic differences • Rejected the Nat’l Bank & “American Plan” • Supported the Spoils System • Reward supporters with political jobs • Remove Indians, give land to white farmers
Jackson’s goals • Enact vision of a politics of opportunity for “common man” • Primary issues: • Westward expansion, Indian relations, state powers, the Second Bank of the U.S. • President should be a servant of the people, so to further their interests and protect their rights, the president had to use their powers vigorously: • Used the veto more than all of the preceding presidents together • Used spoils system; 20% federal positions with "deserving" members of his own party • Jacksonian supporter: "To the victor belong the spoils." • Prepared to use force when South Carolina challenged the authority of the federal government (nullification) • Refused to enforce John Marshall's decision on Cherokee cases; as it was contrary to the people's interest (economy more important)
Jackson's enemies referred to him as “King Veto” and “King Andrew I”. They called themselves Whigs, as had the 18th century opponents, of monarchical power in England. Why would this group refer to Jackson as a king?
Indian Nations after 1812 • 125-200,000 Natives east of Miss. Rvr. • Statehood and growth of agriculture led to ongoing debate on rights of Natives and citizens • What to do? • Assimilation? • Extermination? • Removal?
Cherokee Nation • Part of the “Five Civilized Nations” • Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole • considered civilized because they adopted many of the colonists' customs and had generally good relations with them • Had their own government • Constitution • Cherokee Phoenix (first N.A. newspaper) • Bilingual • Dictionary • Schools & churches • Importance of Sequoyah
Jackson disliked federal-Indian relations; mostly that federal law dictated what states could and could not do on land where Natives settled “Save” the Indians from harm of Americans living east of the Mississippi River Wanted open land for white farmers; pressure from slave holders Cherokees most vocal about opposition to removal of natives Petitioned government with over 16,000 signatures Significant removal onto “reservations” 1837-1840 The Indian Removal Act (1830)
Cherokee v. Georgia -Tribe sued Georgia -Are Cherokees a foreign nation? -“Domestic dependent nations” -Indians and federal gov’t relations sour Worcester v. Georgia Georgia laws that purported to seize Cherokee lands on which gold had been found violated federal treaties States lack power on reservations The Cherokee Cases, 1831-1832“…one of the great constitutional crises in the history of the nation” (C. J. John Marshall) “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it.” Andrew Jackson
Removal continued into the 1840s Immigrant tribes moved into land of Indians in Southern Plains and northern Texas suffered in arid plains some attacked immigrants, start another round of “Indian Wars” Texas Rebellion & Independence in 1830s Cherokees, Shawnees & Creeks allied with Texans against Mexican government Ethnic cleansing and racial violence by Texans Indian Removal
Conclusions: Indian Affairs Contradictory… • Indian Nations above states • Direct relations with federal gov’t. • Most Natives relocated west of Miss. • Seminole Wars in Florida • 1840s Indian Affairs shift to Plains • Treaties, but gov’t would use FORCE
Nullification Crisis • In 1816/1824, Congress passes tariffs to protect American manufacturing, raise revenue • Southern congressmen feared tariffs would destroy southern export economy, already in decline (Europe beginning to produce again) • 1828: “Tariff of Abominations” passed • major goal: protect Northern industries from cheaper imports • South harmed directly with higher prices, indirectly by lowering export of cotton to Britain • 1832: South Carolina, led by John Calhoun, started a nullification movement • Idea that states should have more power than federal gov’t (states’ rights would make federal laws “null” or powerless over states) • Jackson sends warships into Charleston Harbor; creates a “force bill” to use military to uphold tariffs • Henry Clay creates compromise for a lower tariff (Compromise Tariff of 1833)
“War” with the 2nd Bank of the U.S. • The major political issue was his “war” against the BUS • considered it a stronghold of elitism, concentrating great power in the hands of a privileged few. • Henry Clay and Daniel Webster sought to recharter the bank four years early (1832) • pro-Bank National Republicans clashed with the "hard-money” (banknotes backed by silver/gold instead of credit) Jackson administration and eastern banking interests • Jackson veto; creates popular anti-bank feeling despite bank creating stability of economy • Orders all FEDERAL DEPOSITS re-deposited in state banks • Jackson issued the specie circular created a new financial panic in 1837, lasting until 1841
Conclusions for Jacksonian America • VIDEO • Mass politics and political parties drive idea that the common man is key to stronger America • Growth & decline of democracy • Religious revivalism (next class) • Indian removal and resistance leads to ongoing debate over race relations • Debate continues on states’ rights • Sectionalism and economics