Andrew Jackson and Politics in the Age of Reform

  1. Market Revolution was coupled with increasing levels of democracy
    1. By 1820s, 90% of white males could vote
    2. Number of political parties growing
  2. Election of 1824 and the breakup of the Republicans (Jefferosonians)
    1. Disarray in the party produced multiple candidates for President
    2. War hero Andrew Jackson emerged as candidate of Southern and Western states
    3. Jackson got the most electoral votes, but John Quincy Adams became President
      1. Jackson didn't have 50%, so election went to House
      2. Henry Clay pushed his supporters to vote for Adams
      3. When Adams made Clay Sec. of State, Jacksonians called it the "corrupt bargain"
  3. Election of 1828
    1. Nature of 1824 election virtually forced Jackson to run as a proponent of democracy
    2. His followers become the Democratic Party
      1. Class based
        1. against bankers
        2. against special interests and expensive internal improvements
        3. championed those threatened by market economy
          1. artisans
          2. factory workers
          3. small farmers
      2. Would eventually absorb remnants of Jefferson's old party
    3. Jackson made widespread use of rallies, parades, and other efforts at mass participation
  4. Goals
    1. Support workers, small farmers, artisans
    2. Strengthen presidency to make President a tool of the people
    3. Destroy "American System" (program of active government involvement in internal improvement)
  5. Indian Removal
    1. Anxiety over market revolution had fueled western expansion
    2. Jackson had long supported removal of Indians to land across the Mississippi
    3. Cherokee in particular resisted
      1. Had developed a government and settled agriculture similar to white settlers
      2. But settlers wanted their land, and gold
    4. Georgia and other Southern states assert rights to control Indians
      1. According to Constitution, Indian policy belonged to federal government
      2.  But Jackson supported states
      3. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Indians, but Jackson ignored it
      4. Jackson supported Southern states and small farmers who had elected him
      5. Between 1830 and 1838, majority of the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole) removed west on Trail of Tears.
    5. Implications for state-federal relations
      1. Jackson in effect "nullified" the Supreme Court based on popular will in the South
      2. On the other hand, he had also reinforce federal power in the Nullification Crisis
      3. And he had strengthened the presidency, paving the way for Lincoln, who would use that stronger presidency against the South
  6. The Opposition - Rise of the Whig Party
    1. Get name from traditional opponents of royal power in England
    2. Coalition
      1. Old John Q. Adams and Henry Clay supporters
      2. Ex-Federalists
      3. Southern state's rights proponents angered by Jackson's stance on Nullification Crisis 
      4. Industrialists, merchants, farmers successfully connected to market economy
      5. Anti-Masonic Party
        1. Mostly middle class
        2. Feared secret societies like the Masons
        3. strongly influenced by evangelical Protestantism
        4. Believed Jackson was too permissive on moral issues (alcohol, gambling, church attendance)
    3. Goals
      1. Restrict power of Jackson, Jacksonian-style democracy, and the Presidency
      2. End Jackson's class-based politics
      3. Believed elites were inherent and elites governed best for all
      4. Revive the American System





Antebellum Politics, Religion, and Reform




Identification Terms: Charles Grandison Finney, Indian Removal, Dorothea Dix, Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Grimke Sisters, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “Declaration of Sentiments”



Essay Question:

Discuss the roots of the reform era in antebellum America, the types of reform pursued, and the motivations of the reformers. In your discussion, be sure to address the religious, philosophical, literary, economic, psychological, and political aspects of the various attempts to alter the status quo. Pay particular attention to the rise of movements aimed at women’s rights and the abolition of slavery. What role, if any, did “Jacksonian Democracy” play in bringing about antebellum reform?