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Chapter 9. Democracy in America.

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democracy in america
Democracy in America
  • Democracy in America- Alexis de Tocqueville’s study. He described America “brings the notion of political rights to the level of the humblest citizens, just as the dissemination of wealth brings the notion of property within the reach of all the members of the community.”
  • Tocqueville feared that industrialism would create a large class of dependant workers. Fears of rapid growth with consequences of social unrest plagued the nation.
democracy in america1
Democracy in America
  • Jacksonians did not challenge the existence of slavery, they supervised horrible assaults on Native Americans and they accepted economic equality and social gradation.
the rise of mass politics
The Rise of Mass Politics
  • 1829 - Inauguration of Andrew Jackson: public reception open to all, Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story remarked "The reign of King Mob seems triumphant“
  • Until 1820's few Americans had been permitted to vote- only white males who were property owners or taxpayers possessed the right
the rise of mass politics1
The Rise of Mass Politics
  • Ohio was the first state to change, allowing all white men to vote and hold public office
  • Older states were concerned with loss of population: began to grant similar rights, dropping or reducing property ownership requirements
the rise of mass politics2
The Rise of Mass Politics
  • Massachusetts Constitutional Convention in 1820: delegates complained the rich were better represented than the poor, voting and office holding were restricted to property owners, and had a peculiar system in which members of the state senate represented property rather than simply people
the rise of mass politics3
The Rise of Mass Politics
  • Daniel Webster: believed "power naturally and necessarily follows property" and “property as such should have its weight and influence in political arrangement”
the rise of mass politics4
The Rise of Mass Politics
  • The new constitution eliminated the property requirement to vote, but required that every voter be a taxpayer, and required that the governor be the owner of a considerable real estate
the rise of mass politics5
The Rise of Mass Politics
  • New York convention of 1821: James Kent argued that society "is an association for the protection of property as well as life" and that "individuals who contribute only one cent to the common stock ought not to have the same power and influence in directing the property concerns of thousands" - property qualification was still abolished
the rise of mass politics6
The Rise of Mass Politics
  • Rhode Island constitution: barred more then half adult males of the state from voting­, the conservative legislature blocked all efforts at reform
  • Thomas L. Dorr- formed the People's Party, drafted a new constitution and submitted it to a popular vote- which was quickly approved
the rise of mass politics7
The Rise of Mass Politics
  • The legislature drafted a new constitution- but was narrowly defeated
  • 1842: two governments were claiming legitimacy in Rhode Island
the rise of mass politics8
The Rise of Mass Politics
  • Dorr Rebellion: old state government proclaimed Dorrites rebels, attempted to capture the state arsenal but failed- in the end a new constitution was drafted which expanded suffrage
the rise of mass politics9
The Rise of Mass Politics
  • Slaves: were not considered citizens, believed to have no legal or political rights
  • Free blacks: could not vote anywhere in the south, hardly anywhere in the North. PA amended its state constitution in 1838 to strip blacks of their right to vote.
  • Women: could not vote
the rise of mass politics10
The Rise of Mass Politics
  • No secret ballot, most votes were spoken rather than written
  • The number of voters increased far more rapidly than did the population, 1824 – 27% of adult white males voted, 1828 – 58%, 1840 – 80%
  • Growing interest in politics and party loyalty developed
the rise of mass politics11
The Rise of Mass Politics
  • Early American views of political parties: evils to be avoided and thought the nation should seek a broad consensus in which permanent factional lines would not exist.
  • Change in view during the 1820's and 1830's: permanent, institutionalized parties were a desirable part of the political process, essential to democracy
the rise of mass politics12
The Rise of Mass Politics
  • Martin Van Buren (“Bucktails” or “Albany Regency”) formed a political faction designed to challenge the leadership of the aristocratic Governor De Witt Clinton, they argued that an institutionalized party would produce democracy, preservation of the party as an institution through the use of favors, rewards, and patronage would the principle goal of the party leadership, they would form a permanent opposition, competing parties would have to be in tune with the will of the people in order to survive and would check and balance each other
the rise of mass politics13
The Rise of Mass Politics
  • 1830: a fully formed two party system began to operate at the national level with each party committed to its own existence as an institution and willing to accept the legitimacy of the opposition
  • Whigs: Anti-Jackson forces
  • Democrats: Followers of Jackson
the rise of mass politics14
The Rise of Mass Politics
  • Democrats had no clear or uniform ideological position, democracy should offer "equal protection and equal benefits" to all its white male citizens, believed that no region or class should be favored over another
the rise of mass politics15
The Rise of Mass Politics
  • In reality, assaulted the citadels of eastern aristocracy and made an effort to extend opportunities to the rising classes of the West and South, a firm effort was made to continue the subjugation of African Americans and Indians so that by keeping these “dangerous” elements from the body politic could white-male democracy be preserved
the rise of mass politics16
The Rise of Mass Politics
  • Jackson first went after the entrenched office holders in the federal government- he believed that government jobs were “so plain and simple that men of intelligence may readily qualify themselves for their performance.” Offices belonged to the people.
the rise of mass politics17
The Rise of Mass Politics
  • Spoils system: the right of elected officials to appoint their own followers to public office, to the victors belong the spoils – in reality Jackson removed less than 20% of permanent office holders and many of those were for corruption charges not partisan motives
the rise of mass politics18
The Rise of Mass Politics
  • The right of elected officials to appoint their own followers to public office became an established feature of American politics – offices belong to the people not entrenched officeholders
  • Jackson believed power would arise directly from the people, not from aristocratic political institutions such as the caucus, which restricted access to the office to those favored by the entrenched elite
the rise of mass politics19
The Rise of Mass Politics
  • Jackson avoids the caucus system in 1828, and the Democrats staged a national party convention to nominate Jackson in 1832
  • The Spoils System and the Political Convention served to limit the power of two entrenched elites – permanent officeholders and the exclusive party caucus – yet neither really transferred political power to the people
our federal union
"Our Federal Union"
  • Jackson's beliefs: strongly committed to preservation of the Union, commitment to extending power beyond entrenched elites; reduce functions of the federal government, forceful presidential leadership
our federal union1
"Our Federal Union"
  • South Carolina: believed tariff of abominations was responsible for stagnation of the economy but actually a result of exhaustion of farmland
  • John C. Calhoun: once supported the tariff of 1816, developed a theory he believed was a more moderate alternative to secession- nullification
our federal union2
"Our Federal Union"
  • Argument: since the government was the creation of the states, the states not the courts should be the final arbiters of the constitutionality of federal laws - if the state found congress passed an unconstitutional law they could hold a special convention and declare it null and void within the state (VA & KY Resolutions, Jefferson and Madison, 10th Amendment), Nullification Doctrine - gained support in South Carolina to be used against the Tariff of Abominations
our federal union3
"Our Federal Union"
  • Martin Van Buren: secretary of state, member of both the official cabinet and the “Kitchen Cabinet” (Jackson's unofficial circle of political allies) that also included Democratic newspaper editors (Hill, Kendall, and Blair)
our federal union4
"Our Federal Union"
  • Peggy Eaton Affair: Peggy became a cabinet wife after her marriage with Eaton (secretary of war), were rumored to have had an affair together before the marriage, therefore not accepted by Calhoun's wife into the social circle- Van Buren befriended the Eaton's and thus Jackson chose him to succeed him in the presidency, ending Calhoun’s dreams of the presidency
our federal union5
"Our Federal Union"
  • 1830 Webster-Hayne Debate: A Senator from Connecticut suggested that all land sales and surveys be temporarily discontinued
  • Robert Hayne (SC) responded charging that slowing the growth of the west was a way for the East to retain its political and economic power - argued the south and west were victims of tyranny
  • Daniel Webster (Mass) a nationalistic Whig replied attacking Hayne for a challenge to the integrity of the Union, setting up a debate on the issue of states’ rights versus national power
our federal union6
"Our Federal Union"
  • Hayne replied with a defense of the theory of nullification
  • Second Reply to Hayne: memorable speech stating "Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable"
our federal union7
"Our Federal Union"
  • Annual Democratic Party Banquet to honor Thomas Jefferson, tension builds as people waited to see where Jackson and Calhoun stood on the issue
  • Jackson's Toast: "OurFederal Union- it must be preserved"- spoken directly to Calhoun.
  • Calhoun's Reply: "The Union, next to our liberty most dear"
our federal union8
"Our Federal Union"
  • South Carolina voted to nullify the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 at a state convention after the tariff bill of 1832 offered them no relief from the Tariff of Abominations, also forbade the collection of duties within the state
  • South Carolina elected Hayne to serve as governor and Calhoun replaced Hayne as Senator after he resigned the Vice Presidency
our federal union9
"Our Federal Union"
  • Jackson insisted nullification was treason and those implementing were traitors, strengthened federal forts in South Carolina and ordered a war ship and several revenue ships to Charleston
  • Jackson proposed a Force Bill authorizing the president to use the military to see that acts of Congress were obeyed
our federal union10
"Our Federal Union"
  • Calhoun’s Predicament – not a single state had come to South Carolina’s support, SC itself was divided, and there was no way a single state was going to win a showdown with the national government
our federal union11
"Our Federal Union"
  • Clay resolved the crisis by presenting a compromise in which the tariff would gradually be lowered until in 1842 it would be back to approximately where it was in 1816
  • Clay’s compromise and force bill both passed Congress on the same day, March 1, 1833
our federal union12
"Our Federal Union"
  • Results: Jackson signed both the Force Bill and Clay’s Compromise, South Carolina convention repealed its nullification of the tariffs, but also nullified the Force Bill in a purely symbolic gesture, claimed a victory for nullification which they insisted forced the revision of the tariffs
the indian removal
The Indian Removal
  • Jackson's attitude towards Indians: wanted them to move west beyond Mississippi, out of the way of expanding white settlement. Special intensity due to his past campaigns against Native American tribes.
  • Jackson represented a view that savages were uncivilized and uncivilizable.
the indian removal1
The Indian Removal
  • People of the west: saw Indians as savages, uncivilizable, the Indians possessed valuable land in the path of expanding white settlement, whites should not be expected to live near savages, did not want continual violence between natives and whites
the indian removal2
The Indian Removal
  • Supreme Court: established tribes as "nations within a nation", Marshall declared the tribes sovereign nations and dependent ones for whom the federal government must take considerable responsibility for.
the indian removal3
The Indian Removal
  • The Black Hawk War: 1831-1832 between the Sauk and Fox Indians and white settlers in Illinois, an earlier treaty ceded tribal lands in Illinois but Black Hawk and his followers refused to recognize the legality of the agreement and re-crossed the Mississippi into Illinois, militia vowed to exterminate the "bandit collection of Indians", the conflict was notable for the brutality the white officers showed and attacked them even when they attempted to surrender, Black Hawk was captured and sent on a tour of the East
the indian removal4
The Indian Removal
  • Five Civilized Tribes: Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Chickasaw, Choctaw had established settled agricultural societies with successful economies in Western Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida
the indian removal5
The Indian Removal
  • Cherokees in Georgia: formed a stable and sophisticated culture, written language, formal constitution, independent Cherokee nation, gave up many traditional ways, gave up hunting, took up farming
  • Some whites argued that the Cherokees should be allowed to retain their astern lands since they had grown to be civilized under missionary pressures.
the indian removal6
The Indian Removal
  • Southern impatience about Indian removal. Made an example out of trying to dislodge the Creeks under J.Q. Adams.
  • 1830 Removal Act: appropriated money to finance federal negotiation with the southern tribes aimed at relocating them to the West, Jackson dispatched federal officials to negotiate new treaties with the tribes
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The Indian Removal
  • Officials were sent to negotiate nearly 100 new treaties with remaining tribes. Southern tribes faced a combination of pressure from the state and federal government.
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The Indian Removal
  • Cherokee Nation v. Georgia and Worcester v. Georgia: Cherokees tried to stop white encroachments by appealing to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the tribe
the indian removal9
The Indian Removal
  • Jackson's Reaction: eager to retain the support of white southerners and westerners he encouraged white settlers to go against Marshall's ruling, saw it as an attempt by the Justices to express hostility to the larger aims of his presidency.
  • "John Marshall has made his decision - now let him enforce it"
the indian removal10
The Indian Removal
  • In 1835 a minority faction of the Cherokees signed a treaty with the federal government ceding the tribes’ land to Georgia for $5 million and a reservation west of the Mississippi
  • The great majority of the 17,000 Cherokees did not recognize the treaty as legitimate and refused to leave their homes, Jackson sent an army of 7,000 under General Winfield Scott to round them up and drive them westward at bayonet point
the indian removal11
The Indian Removal
  • 1,000 fled to North Carolina, established a small reservation in the Smokey Mountains which survives today, the rest were forced to march west to the Indian Territory (Oklahoma) 1/8 or more are said to have died on the journey westward.
the indian removal12
The Indian Removal
  • Jackson claimed that the “remnant of the ill-fated race” was now “beyond the reach of injury or oppression”
  • The Trail of Tears: between 1830 and 1839 virtually all Five Civilized Tribes were expelled from the southern states and forced to relocate in the new Indian Territory.
the indian removal13
The Indian Removal
  • Indian territory consisted of land that most whites considered undesirable, The Great American Desert, land unfit for habitation, seemed unlikely that whites would ever seek to settle along the western borders of the Indian Territory, prospect of whites surrounding the reservation and producing further conflict seemed remote
the indian removal14
The Indian Removal
  • Seminole War (1835 – 1842): consisted of a substantial minority of Seminoles and escaped blacks using guerrilla warfare in the Everglades under the leadership of Osceola, U.S. troops engaged in a systematic campaign of extermination against the Seminoles, 1,500 troops died and cost the federal government $20 million, eventually the federal government abandoned the battle, most Indians died or moved westward but the Seminole relocation was never fully complete
the indian removal15
The Indian Removal
  • By the end of the 1830’s the tribes had ceded over 100 million acres of eastern land to the national government in return for $68 million dollars and 32 million acres west of the Mississippi between the Missouri and Red Rivers on defined reservations surrounded by U.S. forts designed to keep them in and whites out
the indian removal16
The Indian Removal
  • Many examples of white settlers and natives living side by side in a new and equal world. The pueblos in New Mexico, the fur trading posts in the Pacific Northwest, parts of Texas and California.
  • Eastern states believed that natives could not be partners in a creation of a new society. Jackson stated “neither the intelligence, the industry, the moral habits nor the desire of improvements.”
jackson and the bank war
Jackson and the Bank War
  • Jackson was willing to use federal power against rebellious states and against the tribes, but on economic issues he was consistently opposed to concentrating power either in the federal government or in the powerful (aristocratic) institutions associated with it
jackson and the bank war1
Jackson and the Bank War
  • Maysville Road Veto (1830): Jackson vetoed a bill that funded construction of a road based entirely in Kentucky, argued it was not part of interstate commerce and unwise because it committed the government to extravagant expenditures
jackson and the bank war2
Jackson and the Bank War
  • The Bank of the US had its headquarters in Philadelphia and 29 branches spread throughout the U.S. making it the most powerful and far-flung financial institution in the nation, by law it was the only place the national government could deposit its own funds, the national government owned 1/5th of the bank’s stock.
  • Nicholas Biddle: (Czar Nicholas) president of the bank since 1823 had done much to put the bank on a sound and prosperous basis
jackson and the bank war3
Jackson and the Bank War
  • Role of the Bank: federal government deposited all their funds there, it did a tremendous business in general banking, it provided credit for growing enterprises, it issued bank notes which served as a dependable medium of exchange throughout the country, and it exercised a restraining effect on the less well-managed state banks
jackson and the bank war4
Jackson and the Bank War
  • Soft Money: people who wanted more currency in circulation and believed issuing bank notes unsupported by gold or silver was the best way to circulate currency (state bankers), objected to the Bank of the US restraining state banks from issuing bank notes
  • Hard money: believed gold and silver were the only basis for money, condemned all banks that issued bank notes, including Bank of US, embraced "public virtue" looked with suspicion on expansion and speculation
jackson and the bank war5
Jackson and the Bank War
  • Jackson's view: supported hard money, suspicious of all banks and all paper currency (he himself had fallen deeply into debt after his business failed during the Panic of 1797), as President he was sensitive to the complaints of his soft-money supporters in the South and the West, but he made it clear that he did not favor renewing the bank charter in 1836
jackson and the bank war6
Jackson and the Bank War
  • Biddle was a Philadelphia aristocrat who was unaccustomed to politics, so he began granting financial favors to influential men who he thought might help him preserve the bank, in particular he turned to Daniel Webster who he named the Bank's legal counsel and director of its Boston branch, Webster the helped Biddle win the support of Clay
jackson and the bank war7
Jackson and the Bank War
  • Webster and Clay advised Biddle to apply to Congress in 1832 for a bill to re-charter the Bank, thereby making the Bank a major issue in the presidential election
  • Congress passed the re-charter bill, Jackson vetoed it, and Congress failed to override the veto, as a result the 1832 campaign now centered on the future of the Bank
jackson and the bank war8
Jackson and the Bank War
  • Clay ran as the unanimous choice of the National Republicans against Jackson for the Democrats, Jackson won by a margin of 219 – 49 in the Electoral College with 55% of the popular vote, resulting in a defeat for not only Clay but also for Biddle and the Bank
jackson and the bank war9
Jackson and the Bank War
  • Jackson could not legally abolish the Bank so he removed the government’s deposits from the Bank, when two treasury secretaries refused to give the order (fearing it would destabilize the economy) he found a third treasury secretary who would give the order, Roger B. Taney who was the Attorney General and a close ally of Jackson
  • Roger Taney began placing the government’s deposits in a number of state banks (“pet banks”)
jackson and the bank war10
Jackson and the Bank War
  • “This worthy President thinks that because he has scalped Indians and imprisoned judges, he is to have his way with the Bank. He is mistaken.”
  • Biddle called in loans and raised interest rates, explaining that without the government deposits the Bank’s resources were stretched too thin, he realized that these actions might cause a recession and force Congress to re-charter the Bank
jackson and the bank war11
Jackson and the Bank War
  • The Bank struggle became not just a conflict over policy and principle but a bitter and petulant battle between two proud men, each one acting recklessly to humiliate and defeat the other
  • Supporters of the Bank blamed Jackson and urged a re-chartering of the Bank, Jacksonians blamed the recession on Biddle and refused to budge, when distressed citizens appealed to Jackson for help he replied “Go to Biddle.”
jackson and the bank war12
Jackson and the Bank War
  • Biddle caved to pressure and began to grant credit in abundance and on favorable terms, Jackson won a considerable political victory, and the Bank of the US died in 1836
  • The country lost a valuable, albeit flawed, financial institution and was left with a fragmented and chronically unstable banking system that would plague the country for more than a century
jackson and the bank war13
Jackson and the Bank War
  • In the aftermath of the Bank War, Jackson moved against the most powerful institution of economic nationalism – the Supreme Court
  • Roger B. Taney was appointed the new chief justice after John Marshall's death in 1835 and gradually helped modify Marshall’s vigorous nationalism
jackson and the bank war14
Jackson and the Bank War
  • Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge (1837) - dispute between two Massachusetts companies over the right to build a bridge across the Charles River, one company had a longstanding charter from the state to operate a toll bridge and claimed that this state charter guaranteed its monopoly of the bridge traffic, another company applied to the state legislature for the right to construct a second bridge that would be toll-free, Taney writing for a Democratic majority on the Supreme Court stated that a state had the right to amend or abrogate a contract if such action was necessary to advance the well being of the community
jackson and the bank war15
Jackson and the Bank War
  • This was a clear repudiation of the Marshall Court especially its ruling in the Dartmouth case
  • The decision reflected a Jacksonian ideal: the key to democracy was an expansion of economic opportunity, which would not occur if the older corporations could maintain monopolies and choke off competition from newer companies
the changing face of american politics
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Second Party System- started with the development of the Whigs, who formed in opposition to Jackson’s tactics in the Nullification crisis, and the Bank War, felt he was becoming too powerful
the changing face of american politics1
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Whigs: opposed to "King Andrew I", favored expanding power of the federal government, encouraging industrial and commercial development, cautious about westward expansion fearing instability
the changing face of american politics2
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Whig’s Vision: a nation embracing the industrial future and rising to world greatness as a commercial and manufacturing power - favored the establishing of banks, corporations, and other modernizing institutions, encouraged industrial and commercial development
the changing face of american politics3
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Whig’s Base: merchants and manufacturers of the Northeast, wealthier planters of the South, ambitious farmers and rising commercial class of the West
the changing face of american politics4
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Democrats: envisioned a future of steadily expanding economic and political opportunities for white males, role of government limited but should attempt to remove obstacles to opportunity and to avoid creating new ones, believed in defending the Union, attacking centers of corrupt privilege
the changing face of american politics5
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Locofocos: mainly workingmen, small businessmen, and professionals in the Northeast­ wanted a vigorous, perhaps even violent attack on monopoly and privilege (extreme Democrats)
  • Democratic support: smaller merchants, workingmen of the Northeast, southern planters, westerners usually with southern roots
the changing face of american politics6
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Both Whigs and Democrats were more interested in winning elections than in maintaining philosophical purity, both parties made frequent adjustments in their postures to attract the greatest number of voters
  • Whigs supported Anti-Masons: established themselves as opponents of aristocracy and exclusivity
the changing face of american politics7
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Anti-Masonry Movement: launched in response to the widespread resentment against the secret, exclusive, and undemocratic Society of Freemasons, created harsh attacks on Jackson and Van Buren implying that the Democrats were part of the antidemocratic conspiracy
the changing face of american politics8
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Irish, Germans and Catholics supported Democrats - shared aversion for commercial development and entrepreneurial progress, respected family and community centered values and habits
  • Evangelical Protestants: Whigs because they associated the party with constant development and improvement which were goals that their own faith embraced
the changing face of american politics9
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • No single leader was ever able to command the loyalties of the Whig Party the way Jackson commanded the loyalties of the Democrats, the Whigs were split among the Great Triumvirate - Clay, Webster and Calhoun
the changing face of american politics10
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Clay won support for his American System, but his image as a devious operator and his identification with the west proved serious liabilities, ran for president 3 times, never won
the changing face of american politics11
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Webster represented party, won broad support for his passionate speeches in defense of the Union, but his close connection with the Bank of the US and the protective tariff, his reliance on rich men for financial support prevented him from developing a national constituency to win, but he was strong in New England
the changing face of american politics12
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Calhoun never considered himself a true Whig, disqualified from national leadership due to his nullification proposal
the changing face of american politics13
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • In the 1836 Election the Democrats united behind Martin Van Buren (Jackson’s choice) and the Whigs splintered and ran several candidates based on the regional strengths of each, in the South the Whigs ran Hugh Lawson White, in the Middle States and the West the Whigs ran William Henry Harrison, and in New England the Whigs ran Daniel Webster
the changing face of american politics14
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • The Whigs hoped that by running sectional candidates they might be able to keep Van Buren from winning a majority and throw the election into the House of Representatives where they might be able to elect one of their leaders, the strategy did not work Van Buren won the Election of 1836
the changing face of american politics15
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Van Buren’s success in the Election of 1836 was a result of a nationwide boom in canal and railroad building which were at a peak of activity, prices were rising, money was plentiful and credit was easy as banks increased their loans and notes with little regard to their reserves of cash, in particular the land business was booming
the changing face of american politics16
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Between 1835 and 1837 the U.S. government sold nearly 40 million acres of public land, nearly ¾ of it to land speculators who bought large tracts of land hoping to resell the land for a profit, these land sales coupled with the revenues received from the Tariff of 1833 meant that for the only time in our nations history the United States was out of debt with a surplus in the Treasury
the changing face of american politics17
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Distribution Act required the government to pay its surplus funds to the states each year in four quarterly installments as interest free unsecured loans, which the states could then use for internal improvements, this required state banks to call in their loans so that they could in turn make the quarterly payments to the state governments
the changing face of american politics18
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Jackson was always suspicious of paper currency was unhappy that the government was selling good land in return for bank notes that were worth no more than the credit of the bank issuing the notes
  • Jackson issued a presidential order in 1836 just before leaving office, the Specie Circular, which stated that as payment for public lands government would only accept gold or silver
the changing face of american politics19
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Financial Panic of 1837 – hundreds of banks and businesses failed, unemployment grew, bread riots broke out in cities, the price of land plummeted, many railroad and canal projects failed, several state governments ceased paying interest on their bonds, and some even repudiated their debts temporarily
the changing face of american politics20
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • It was the worst depression in American history up to that point, it lasted for 5 years, and was a political catastrophe for Van Buren and the Democrats which strongly opposed government intervention and did little to fight the depression
the changing face of american politics21
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Causes of the Panic of 1837
  • The distribution of the surplus through the Distribution Act caused a strain on state banks (Whig measure)
  • Jackson’s Specie Circular started a run on the banks as land buyers rushed to trade in their bank notes for specie
the changing face of american politics22
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • England and Western Europe were facing panics of their own which caused European investors withdrew funds from America causing additional strain on American banks
  • A succession of crop failures on American farms which reduced the purchasing power of farmers and required increased imports of food which sent more money out of the country
the changing face of american politics23
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Van Buren did succeed in establishing a ten-hour workday on all federal projects, and created a new banking system to replace the Bank of the US
the changing face of american politics24
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • The “Independent Treasury” or “subtreasury” system required the government to place its funds in an independent treasury in Washington and in subtreasuries in other cities, no private banks would have the government’s money or name to use as a basis for speculation, the government and the banks would be “divorced”, this plan was finally approved by Congress in 1840, Van Buren’s last year in office
the changing face of american politics25
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • The Whigs realized that if they wanted to win the White House they would have to settle on one candidate, so the Whigs held their first national convention in 1839 in Harrisonburg, PA
  • The Whigs bypassed Henry Clay and chose William Henry Harrison for president and John Tyler for vice president “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too”
the changing face of american politics26
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • In the 1840 Election the new "penny press" carried news of the candidates to a large audience of workers and trades people

The First Extra

the changing face of american politics27
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • The Whigs presented themselves as the party of the common people even though they opposed Jackson’s common man democracy and represented the affluent elements of the population; they also favored policies that would aid businesses
  • The Democrats also portrayed themselves as the party of the people with simple rustic values
the changing face of american politics28
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • The Whigs campaign portrayed Harrison (wealthy member of the frontier elite with a considerable estate) as a simple man of the people who loved log cabins and hard cider, and they accused Van Buren of being an aloof aristocrat who used cologne, drank champagne, and ate from gold plates
the changing face of american politics29
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Harrison won the election 1840 with 234 electoral votes to 60 for Van Buren and 53% majority of the popular vote
  • Old Tippecanoe died of pneumonia a month after becoming president, and Vice President Tyler succeeded him
the changing face of american politics30
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Tyler had weak ties with the Whig party, was a former Democrat who left the party in reaction to what he considered Jackson's excessively egalitarian program and imperious methods, Tyler agreed to ending the independent treasury system and raising tariff rates, but refused to re-charter the Bank of the US and vetoed several internal improvements
the changing face of american politics31
The Changing Face of American Politics
  • A conference of congressional Whigs, led by Henry Clay, read Tyler out of the party, every cabinet member but Webster resigned, and five former Democrats took their places, finally Webster too left the Cabinet and Tyler appointed Calhoun (who had rejoined the Democratic party) to replace him
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The Changing Face of American Politics
  • A new political alignment was emerging, Tyler and a small band of conservative southern Whigs were preparing to rejoin the Democrats with decidedly aristocratic ideas who thought that the government had an obligation to protect and even expand the institution of slavery, and who strongly believed in states’ rights
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The Changing Face of American Politics
  • The Caroline Affair - Residents of eastern provinces of Canada launched a rebellion against the British colonial government, they chartered the American steamship "Caroline" to ship supplies across the Niagara River, British authorities seized and burned it, killing 1 American, the British government refused to disavow the attack or provide compensation for it
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The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Authorities in New York arrested a Canadian named Alexander McLeod and charged him for murder, British Lord Palmerston demanded McLeod's release stating he was simply following orders, Secretary of State Webster could do nothing about it since McLeod was under NY jurisdiction, the crisis was averted when a New York jury acquitted McLeod
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The Changing Face of American Politics
  • The Creole Affair – In 1841 an American ship sailed from Virginia to New Orleans with over 100 slaves on board, the slaves mutinied en route and sailed the ship to the Bahamas, British officials there declared the slaves free and the government in London refused to overrule them
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The Changing Face of American Politics
  • The Aroostook War was a violent brawl over the disputed boundary between Maine and Canada
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The Changing Face of American Politics
  • Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842 established a firm northern boundary between the US and Canada along the Maine-New Brunswick border, it gave the US a little bit more than half of the previously disputed Territory, and improved Anglo-American relations
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The Changing Face of American Politics
  • In 1842 Britain forced China to open certain ports to foreign trade, Caleb Cushing was sent as commissioner to China to negotiate a treaty giving the US some part in the China trade, secured the Treaty of Wang Hya which gave most favored nation provisions to the Americans giving the US the same privileges as the English, as well as "extraterritoriality" (Americans in China would be tried in American courts), for the next 10 years American trade with China steadily increased
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The Changing Face of American Politics
  • The Whigs had some important diplomatic successes, but little other victories and in the Election of 1844 the Whigs lost the White House