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American History Chapter 9 Notes

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CHAPTER 10 A Democratic Revolution 1800-1844

What were the causes and consequences of a Democratic Revolution?

  • Europeans who visited the U.S. (1830s) witnessed:
  • American Democratic Revolution
  • Citizens ignore policy issues, do not elect “men of talents and virtue” out of jealousy
  • Democracy and Party Politics (1820s and 1830s) – ordinary men compete for office and get supporters through newspapers, broadsides, public processions
  • “That the majority should govern was a fundamental maxim in all free governments” – Martin van Buren

The Rise of Popular Politics, 1810-1828

  • Franchise – the right to vote
  • U.S. states allow all men to vote (1830s)
  • England Reform Bill (1832) – only 10% able to vote (600k/6 mil)

The Decline of the Notables and the Rise of Parties

  • Wealthy notables – northern landlords, slave-owning planters, seaport merchants
  • Dominated gov’t after American Revolution
  • “Those who own the country are the most fit persons to participate in the government of it.” – John Jay (Supreme Court’s first Chief Justice)
  • Built “interest” during elections: lent small farmers money, business for storekeepers, rum for tenants
  • Prevented men without wealth from running for office
  • Only PA and VT gave votes to all male taxpayers

The Rise of Democracy

  • Maryland expands franchise (1810s)
  • Reformers argued for equal rights rhetoric of republicanism – “tyranny” b/c allowed “one class of men (notables) with privileges which are denied to another”
  • New voters elected simply dressed men instead of ones with “top boots, breeches, and shoe buckles”
  • Midwest and Southwest farmers/laborers challenge hierarchical order
  • IN (1816), IL (1818), and AL (1819) – broad male franchise elected middling men to local/state offices
  • Kept taxes low, imprisonment for debt, and let farmers claim unoccupied land
  • NC, VA, and RI still require possession of property to vote
  • CT, MA, and NY (1818-1821) – appointed legislative districts based on population + popular election of judges and justices of peace (rather than appointment)
  • Corrupt democratic gov’t
  • Speculators (notables and self made men) paid bribes for gov’t assistance
  • Seventh Ward Bank (NYC 1833) – bank = 1/3 of 3700 shares of stock for themselves, 2/3 for state legislatures and bureaucrats, 40 shares only for public
  • Universalist Church (Utica, NY) – call for “Religious Liberty” against coercive Benevolent Presbyterians insisting to restrict Sunday entertainment

Parties Take Command

  • Emergence of political parties as notables’ power wanes (1820s)
  • Factions considered “unrepublican” during Revolutionary era
  • Political machines – new political parties that efficiently wove together (like Industrial Revolution textile looms) interests of diverse social/economic groups
  • Martin Van Buren (The Little Magician) of NY – ambitious son of a Jeffersonian tavern keeper, grew up in landlord society of the Hudson R. Valley, relied on gentry Van Ness clan to train as lawyer but later rejects their tutelage, his “Bucktail” supporters become NY’s first political machine
  • Rejected republican belief that factions were dangerous - “All men of sense know that political parties are inseparable from free government”
  • Wins control of NY state legislature (1817-1821) – help of “Bucktail” supporters and Albany Argus newspaper
  • Appoints friends to legislature positions (ex: judges, sheriffs)
  • Spoils system – ruthless distribution of offices
  • Party gov’t = republican b/c it reflects majority preference of citizens
  • Caucus – a meeting of party leaders to determine disciplined voting
  • Honored 17 NY legislators for sacrificing “individual preferences for the general good” of the party

The Election of 1824

  • After War of 1812
  • Federalist Party disappears
  • Republican parties split into competing factions
  • Five republican candidates compete for presidency (1824)
  • 18/24 states use popular election to choose reps for electoral college
  • Secretary of State – John Quincy Adams
  • National recognition, electoral votes of MA and New England
  • 84 electoral votes
  • Secretary of War – John C. Calhoun
  • Withdrew b/c Crawford = popular in South
  • Secretary of the Treasury – William H. Crawford
  • Selected by Congress caucus as official nominee
  • Opposed American system – scheme to strengthen political power in Washington
  • Kentucky/Speaker of the HOR – Henry Clay
  • American System – mercantilist national economic development like Commonwealth system – strengthen Second Bank of US (control credit + uniform currency), raise tariffs (stimulate manufacturing), use tariff revenues to finance internal improvements (roads, canals)
  • Midwest and Northeast like b/c need transportation improvement
  • 37 electoral votes
  • Tennessee Senator – General Andrew Jackson
  • Born in Carolina backcountry, influential family ties through marriage, attorney, slave-owning cotton planter “plain solid republican”
  • Hero of Battle of New Orleans
  • 99 electoral votes
  • No majority vote – HOR chooses president from top three
  • Congressmen fear Jackson = tyrant “military chieftain”
  • Adams becomes president - Henry Clay supports w/ NE and OH R. Valley reps
  • Appoints Clay secretary of state (next in line for presidency)
  • Jackson’s supporters call it corrupt bargain – advantage to Adams b/c Clay = Speaker of HOR

The Last Notable President: John Quincy Adams

  • “The moral purpose of the Creator was to use the president to improve the conditions of himself and his fellow men” – John Quincy Adams
  • National university in Washington
  • Uniform standard of weights and measures
  • Clay’s American System

The Fate of Adams’s Policies

  • Objection to the American System
  • South dislike tariffs raising price of manufactures/fear banks causing bankruptcy
  • Madison vetoes Bonus Bill (1817) – using 2nd bank of U.S. national income to fund improvement projects responsible to states
  • “consolidated government” – Van Buren in the Senate defeats Adam’s internal improvement

The Tariff Battle

  • The Tariff of 1816 – high taxes on British imported cotton cloth/manufactured goods
  • New England textile manufacturing industries grow; Industrial Revolution
  • Tariff of 1828/Tariff of Abominations – Van Buren, northern Jacksonians, supporters of Adams and clay raise taxes on raw materials (wool, hemp), textiles, and iron goods
  • South blame Adams – produced world’s cheapest cotton
  • Help Northeast - buy expensive American textiles and iron goods
  • Or British – highly taxed imports
  • Adam’s Indian policy – supported Native American land rights over expansion-minded whites
  • New negotiations w/ Creek National Council when they reject treaty to cede Georgia lands to US
  • Georgia governor George M. Troup calls Adams an ally of the savages
  • Persuades Congress to extinguish Creek land titles
  • Adam’s unpopularity
  • Did not dismiss hostile bureaucrats or give offices to supporters
  • Did not run again – said ppl had to ask for his services

“The Democracy” and the Election of 1828

  • Jackson’s supporters
  • Van Buren appeals to North and South “plain Republicans of the North”
  • Calhoun – brings S. Carolina allies
  • Tennessee friends – voters from Old Southwest
  • Jackson’s publicity campaign
  • Supported by 50 Democratic-funded newspapers in NY
  • Mass meetings, torchlight parades, barbecues praising Jackson as a “self made man” from the frontier
  • Jacksonians = Democrats fighting for equality
  • Republic = corrupted – “giving few individuals rights not enjoyed by citizens at large”
  • “Equality among the people in the rights conferred by government was the great radical principle of freedom” – Jackson
  • Northeastern artisans threatened by American System support
  • Votes of PA ironworkers and farmers
  • Popular in South – supported “judicious” tariff balancing regional interests
  • Votes in Southeast and Midwest – hostility toward Native Americans
  • Jackson wins presidency (1828) – ½ of electorate vote, 56% of them for Jackson
  • Popularity and sharp temper frightened wealthy men
  • Supreme Court Justice “the reign of King ‘Mob’ seemed triumphant”

The Jacksonian Presidency, 1829-1837

  • “the Sovereignty of the People, the Rights of the States, and a Light and Simple Government”
  • Destroyed mercantilist/nationalist American System
  • Established ideology of limited gov’t

Jackson’s Agenda: Rotation and Decentralization

  • Relied on Kitchen Cabinet to create policy
  • Francis Preston Blair – edited Washington Globe
  • Amos Kendall – wrote Jackson’s speeches
  • Roger B. Taney of MD – attorney general, treasury secretary, chief of justice of Supreme Court
  • Martin van Buren – secretary of state
  • Used patronage to create disciplined national party
  • Rejected “property in office” – holding office position permanently
  • Rotation of officeholders under new administration b/c public duties were plain and simple
  • Destroyed American System
  • “consolidated gov’t,” higher tariffs = taxation burden
  • Rejected national subsidies for internal improvements
  • Vetoed bill to extend National Road (1830)
  • Took out the need for protective tariffs

The Tariff and Nullification



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