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Jackson Dbq

Essay by   •  March 22, 2011  •  824 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,494 Views

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In the 1820's and 1830's, many changes were made in efforts to promote

democracy. In contrast, it seems there were almost more undemocratic actions taken during this time period. President Andrew Jackson claimed that he opposed government meddling in social and economic life, but seemed to contradict himself. That was not the only contradiction made by Jackson and his democrats. Even though Jacksonian Democrats viewed themselves as the guardians of the Constitution, political democracy, individual liberty, and equality of economic opportunity, several major social, political, and economic events showed that they failed to live up to their ideals.

Jacksonian Democrats were most inconsistent politically. Jackson made efforts to provide "common man" with opportunities in high office by creating the spoils system. However, the system was abused when illiterate and incompetent people were given unfit jobs and duties. Also, Jackson contradicts himself as claiming his party and himself guardians of the Constitution. Several times he had refused to recognize the Supreme courts decisions and took his executive power to an extreme. Referring to the use of his power, Andrew Jackson was nicknamed King Andrew I. Even though he is often criticized for his decisions, Document A shows that the common "working men" appreciated that Jackson was in office rather than a more aristocratic candidate for "which the pride and self interest of unprincipled political aspirants, with more unprincipled zeal or religious bigotry, will willfully misrepresent." Also, Document C states concerns of "state rights and national encroachment" because of Jackson's power in government.

Few efforts were made by Jackson to promote and guard individual liberty. Document A mentions that "all men are created equal" among all classes of society. However, true liberty and equality was only protected for white men. Women, minorities, and immigrants were not treated with the same equality as the dominant white men. This is especially true in the fact that Jackson strongly supported slavery. He even owned many slaves himself. Most prominent in showing the lack of individual liberty was how Jackson dealt with Native Americans. Jackson is notorious for the way he cruelly treated the Indians. Even when the Supreme Court upheld the rights of Indians, Jackson refused to recognize the Court's decisions. Since Jacksonian Democrats were committed to western expansion, they came into contact with and conflicted with Native Americans east of the Mississippi. In dealing with these tribes, Jackson decided to force the uprooting of the eastern tribes and move them west. This policy was known as the Indian Removal Act. The difficult journey, represented in Document G, was named the Trail of Tears and killed about 25% of those who traveled it. Also, Document E explains the riots in cities caused by prejudice and jealousy by stating "dreadful riots between the Irish and the Americans have again disturbed the public peace," and "hostility to the blacks and an indiscriminate

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