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Jacksonian Democracy. Mobilizing Voters in the 19 th Century. The Presidential Election of 1840. Martin Van Buren—(Democrat); Short-statured; Known as the “Little Magician”. Other important Democrats at the time included John C. Calhoun and Thomas Hart Benton.

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jacksonian democracy

Jacksonian Democracy

Mobilizing Voters in the 19th Century

the presidential election of 1840
The Presidential Election of 1840
  • Martin Van Buren—(Democrat); Short-statured; Known as the “Little Magician”. Other important Democrats at the time included John C. Calhoun and Thomas Hart Benton.
  • William Henry Harrison—(Whig); Indian fighter known for winning the Battle of Tippecanoe; Campaign known as the “Log Cabin” or “Hard Cider” Campaign
  • John Tyler—Whig Candidate for Vice-President; also a military hero
rockabye baby
Rockabye, Baby

Rockabye, Baby! Daddy’s a Whig.

When he comes home, hard cider he’ll swig.

When he has swug, he’ll fall in a stew,

And down will come Tyler and Tippecanoe.

Rockabye, Baby! When you awake,

You will discover Tipp is a fake.

Far from the battle, war cry, and drum,

He sits in his cabin, a-drinkin’ bad rum.

Rockabye, Baby! Never you cry!

You need not fear old Tipp and his Ty.

What they would ruin, Van Buren will fix.

Van’s magician! They are but tricks!

the harrison yankee doodle
The Harrison Yankee Doodle

Come swell the crowd and join the throng

Extend the circle wider!

Join the run for Harrison, Log Cabin, and Hard Cider.

With Harrison, our country’s won

Though treachery hath been lightered.

Thy will be done with Harrison, Log Cabin, and Hard Cider.

Let Calhoun jeer and Benton sneer

Like every such backslider!

The fight was won by Harrison, Log Cabin, and Hard Cider.

To all the world our flag’s unfurled

To vict’ry Tipp’ll guide her.

Second to none is Harrison, Log Cabin, and Hard Cider!

tippecanoe and tyler too
Tippecanoe and Tyler Too

Oh who has heard the great commotion – motion - motion all the country through?

Is the ball a rollin’ on for Tippecanoe and Tyler too, For Tippecanoe and Tyler too?

And with ‘em we’ll beat little Van, Van,

Van is a used up man!

And with ‘em we’ll beat little Van.

Sure let’em talk about hard cider – cider - cider and log cabins too!

They’ll only help to speed the ball for Tippecanoe and Tyler too,


Like the rush of mighty waters – waters - waters onward it will go!

And its course will bring you through, for Tippecanoe and Tyler too


discuss with a partner
Discuss with a partner:
  • How did these songs help mobilize voters? Pay attention to style, language, presentation, etc.
  • Could we use catchy songs like this to mobilize voters for modern politicians? (e.g. Bush? Kerry? Dean?)
  • What techniques DO we use to mobilize voters?
first party system federalists vs democratic republicans
First Party System:Federalists vs. Democratic Republicans
  • From debate between Alexander Hamilton & Thomas Jefferson
  • Ambivalence about parties (or dangerous factions)
  • Attention focused locally, not nationally
  • Party differences faded
  • By the 1810s, “Era of Good Feelings” - one party (Democratic Republicans)
crises in the 1810s
Crises in the 1810s:
  • Panic of 1819

- Widespread economic depression

- National Bank implicated

  • Missouri Crisis

- Admit Missouri as a slave or free state?

- Congressmen came to blows

- Would the Union survive?

second party system democrats vs whigs
Second Party System:Democrats vs. Whigs
  • Organized, disciplined, national political parties
  • Parties good, permitting legitimate political differences to be aired without dividing the Union
  • Redirect divisions to partisan issues instead of sectional differences.
  • Voter Turnout skyrocketed:

-1824: 28%

-1828: 56%

-1840: 78%

jacksonian democracy a political culture
Jacksonian Democracy: A Political Culture
  • Parties organized locally, as well as at state and national levels.
  • Political patronage to maintain party loyalty.
  • Fun stuff to mobilize voters—songs, drinks, rallies, BBQs, picnics, parades, women, etc.
  • Candidates people can relate to—folksy, drinking, fighting, soldiers (esp. Indian fighters), manly; e.g. Jackson and Harrison
  • Use of partisan newspapers to share information and get out the vote.
  • High voter turnouts (lasts through 1900)
draw on the whole set of documents to answer these questions
Draw on the whole set of documents to answer these questions:
  • How did Democrats and Republicans in San Francisco create an engaged electorate that participated in massive numbers in campaigns and elections?
  • What was the role of the press in helping motivate voters in San Francisco?
  • How does the election of 1856 in San Francisco help explain why voter participation skyrocketed in the United States during the antebellum period?
mobilizing voters in the 21 st century
Mobilizing Voters in the 21st Century?
  • Joe Trippi, The Revolution will not be Televised: Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything
  • “Trippi states that Dean’s 600,000 Internet supporters made a difference . . . Dean’s cadre [of voters] were activists willing to go to rallies and donate time and money for a candidate they believed in. Most voters were passive observers only committing themselves in the voting booth . . . hardly Jeffersonian democrats actively participating in the political process. . . . . Maybe Trippi’s enthusiasm for a new Internet democracy is a little early. The Internet and other emerging electronic communication devices have possibilities that may change politics. Whether or not they will be come the dominant force remains to be seen because unless the majority of American voters become more actively involved, an organized minority will always be in control.”
  • Given your work with 19th century political participation today, do you think the Internet can change American participation in politics? Is it analogous to the techniques of Jacksonian Democracy? Why or why not?