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16. The Age of Jackson

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  1. 16. The Age of Jackson • Purpose: to gain an understanding of US politics from the 1820s to 1840. • The transformation of US politics towards a more democratic system and style • The watershed election of 1824 • The presidency of Andrew Jackson • The emergence of the second party system of Democrats against Whigs • Timeframe: 1824-1840 16. The Age of Jackson

  2. 1.1 Equality and Inequality • The antebellum era saw the growing development of economic inequality in the United States. • The market economy accelerated the concentration of wealth in the hands of an economic elite, and also brought about the beginnings of a working class and urban poverty. • It also strengthened the socially, culturally, and politically most influential “middling classes”. • Alexis de Tocqueville commented critically about the egalitarian character of US society. • Moses Yale Beach, the New York Sun publisher saw an aristocracy of wealth at work. Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) Toured the US 1831-82, published “Democracy in America” 1835 and 1840 16. The Age of Jackson

  3. 1.2 Challenges to Authority and Democracy • American society displayed egalitarian tendencies in style and conduct. • Americans embraced individualism as a positive quality signifying self-reliance and the conviction that each person was the best judge of his or her true interests. Individualism and equality became the ideals of antebellum America. • In the first half of the 19th century, the US political system became more democratic. The Shift from property requirement for voting to a poll tax system greatly widened the electorate. • Secret written ballots replaced the custom of voting aloud. • Caucus system of congressmen nominating presidential candidates gradually replaced by convention system. • Campaign styles became increasingly active and populist. 16. The Age of Jackson

  4. 2.1 The Dem.-Rep. Party and the Elections of 1824 • During the second term of James Monroe, the fight for succession displayed rifts in the Dem.-Rep. Party. • Entering the presidential race were John Quincy Adams, William Crawford, and John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay and Andrew Jackson. • The Dem.-Rep. Congressional caucus selected William Crawford, but the other candidates ignored the decision and secured nomination by various state legislatures. • Adams, Crawford, Clay, and Jackson ran. • Jackson received most votes, but no absolute majority. In the congressional vote, Clay sided with Adams, who became president. Clay became secretary of state. • Jackson felt cheated and became opposition leader. 5 contenders of 1824: Adams, Crawford, Calhoun, Clay, and Jackson 16. The Age of Jackson

  5. 2.2 The John Quincy Adams Presidency • The Election of 1824 split the Dem.-Rep. party into factions, the “National Republicans” under Adams and Clay, and the “Democrats” under Jackson. • Adams and Clay tried to implement the “American System” of a high protective tariff to foster manufacture and finance internal improvements. • Adams could not gain enough support for his program. He did not accept the growing partisan divisions in Congress, and his popularity waned quickly. 16. The Age of Jackson

  6. 2.3 The Democrats and the Election of 1828 • Andrew Jackson used the years of Adams’ presidency to organize his supporters into a coherent, well-organized party: the Democrats. • The Democrats adopted a moderate states’ rights position, supported the Jeffersonian ideal of individualist agrarianism and distrusted concentrations of power and wealth. • The Democrats developed a strong following in the south and west, as well as among urban immigrants, esp. in NY. • In the election of 1828 Andrew Jackson won in a landslide. 16. The Age of Jackson

  7. 3.1 The Andrew Jackson Presidency • Andrew Jackson became one of the strongest presidential leaders in US history. • Adopting a common-people style Jackson portrayed himself as a democratic George Washington and the standard-bearer of Jefferson‘s agrarian ideal. • He purged federal officials and replaced them with his supporters. This “rotation in office” principle was called the “spoils system” by his critics. • Jackson was aided by Martin van Buren, the leader of the Democratic faction in New York. Jackson’s inauguration in 1829. 16. The Age of Jackson

  8. 3.2 The Nullification Crisis • In late 1828, northern and western Democrats had helped to pass a high protective tariff that was good for northern industry and western commercial agriculture but bad for the cotton growing South. • Vice-president John C. Calhoun, from SC, criticized this “Tariff of Abominations”. He claimed the right of Nullification for the states – declaring a law unconstitutional. South Carolina nullified the tariff in 1832, and talked of secession. • President Andrew Jackson, despite some sympathies for states rights, threatened to dispatch federal troops to South Carolina. Congress supported this option through the Force Bill. • Conflict was averted through a Compromise Tariff engineered by Henry Clay in 1833 which gradually lowered the tariff. South Carolina repealed its nullification law. 16. The Age of Jackson

  9. 3.3 Growing Criticism of Jackson • In 1832, president Andrew Jackson vetoed a renewal of the Second Bank’s charter, denouncing it as a monopoly. He deposited federal funds in state banks, effectively reducing the Second Bank to a private bank. • When the Bank’s charter expired in 1836, credits were shortened. A series of bank failures, the Panic of 1837, was the result. • Because of Jackson’s strong leadership, opposition began to grow during his first term. • Vice president Calhoun broke with him over the tariff. National Republicans abhorred his resistance to the American System. • He was accused of autocratic tendencies, arrogance, and use of the veto power. • Nevertheless, in 1832 the opposition was still too disorganized. Anti-Jackson cartoon 16. The Age of Jackson

  10. After the election of 1832 and Jackson’s victory, the opposition coalesced into a nation-wide, grassroots political party: The Whigs Whigs: Leaders: Henry Clay, Daniel Webster Regional Strength: North, Northwest Voters: elite, native-born middle-class nativists and reformers, merchants, manufacturers, highly commercial farmers. Evangelical protestants, former Federalists. Policies: American System (tariff and internal improvements), central banking, government regulation. Both parties of the Second Party System were nationally organized, doctrinally weak and consisted of diverse constituencies. Democrats: Leaders: Andrew Jackson, Martin v. Buren Regional Strength: South and West Voters: small Southern and Western farmers, immigrants, those fearing concentrated banks and commercial power. Traditional protestants and Catholics. Policies: laissez-faire economics, anti-bank, anti-paper money, Indian removal, states‘ rights, agrarian expansion. 3.4 The Second Party System 16. The Age of Jackson

  11. 4.1 The Martin van Buren Presidency • In the elections of 1836 Martin van Buren ran as the Democratic candidate.The Whigs ran three regional candidates. • Nevertheless, van Buren won a handy victory in the electoral college, but only a bare majority of the popular vote. • William Henry Harrison emerged as the most successful of the Whig challengers. • Van Buren’s term coincided with the great depression started by the Panic of 1837, that was largely caused by Jackson’s politics. • Nevertheless, “Little Magician” van Buren stuck to the anti-bank, hard-money policies of his predecessor. His Independent Treasury Act removed federal money from state banks, further constricting credit. • Depression continued, earning the president another nickname, “Martin van Ruin.” Martin van Buren, 1782-1862 16. The Age of Jackson

  12. 4.2 The Log Cabin Campaign - the Elections of 1840 • The opposition, the Whigs, established themselves on the state level supporting liberal “free banking” laws. As their presidential candidate for the election of 1840, ran William Henry Harrison, the “hero” of the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. • William H. Harrison won in a landslide, but he died in 1841, after only one month in office. • The election of 1840 saw the development of new campaigning techniques. The Whigs adopted the log cabin as symbol of their common-man approach. Harrison himself toured the country, often in railroads, giving campaign speeches. • In contrast, Martin van Buren’s campaign was much more conventional. • Voter participation soared to 80 percent. 16. The Age of Jackson

  13. Sample Keyword Nullification Crisis: In late 1828, northern and western Democrats had helped to pass a high protective tariff that was good for northern industry and western commercial agriculture but bad for the cotton growing South. Vice-president John C. Calhoun, from South Carolina claimed the right of Nullification for the states – declaring a law unconstitutional. South Carolina nullified the tariff in 1832, and talked of secession.President Andrew Jackson threatened to dispatch federal troops to South Carolina. Conflict was averted through a Compromise Tariff engineered by Henry Clay in 1833 which lowered the tariff. South Carolina repealed its nullification law. 16. The Age of Jackson