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Jacksonian Democracy

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Jacksonian democracy was created during antebellum America. The Jackson democrats attempted to aggrandize the puissance of lower classes poor while decreasing the influence of the rich and potent. Economically, they benefited from governing during a time of paramount advances in transportation, which boosted commerce and helped the common man. Politically, they invested power into an overwhelmingly powerful executive branch. The Jacksonian democrats portrayed themselves as saviors of the common people and ruled via a powerful executive who attempted to destroy aristocracy in America. However, they were atypically wealthy, supported equality between white men only, enacted calamitous economic policies, and disregarded the capability of the federal government. Further, they did not introduce democracy in America, rather merely used it and benefited from it.

During the first half of the 19th century numerous advancements expedited the growth of the United States. A market revolution occurred as a yeoman and artisan economy was replaced by cash-crop agriculture and capitalist manufacturing. Despite the prosperity, a split was emerging between the industrializing, urban north, agrarian, rural South, and the expanding West. The Jacksonians passed the Tariff of 1828, which opened opportunity for western agriculture and New England manufacturing, but was detrimental to the South. Andrew Jackson and Jacksonian democrats believed that the US bank placed too much control into the hands of a wealthy few (Doc B). Due to this fact, Jackson vetoed the bank's recharter in 1832. In attempt to benefit the lower, working classes, he placed the federal money in "pet" state banks. This attempt destabilized the national currency, decreased specie in markets, and displayed favoritism in Jacksonian policies. Like most Jacksonian economic policies it failed, and the reduction in specie spread inflation of which the Treasury Act of 1840 could not stop. Jacksonians tried to assist whites through economic policies but failed.

Foreign observers viewed that in America every man is free and independent (Doc D), but there was great division in American attitude. Disturbances and insurrections broke out across the country by minorities (Doc E), because they were not helped by egalitarian efforts, which were focused on white males. Jackson's hypocrisy and brutality in his Indian removal practices (after his decisive victory at Horseshoe Bend, Alabama, March 1814) showed the non-universal principles held by the democrats. Fearful of angering Southern voters, Jacksonians veered away from extending egalitarian policies to slaves. Women received little betterment. Although viewed as defenders of all common men, Jacksonian democrats shunned minorities and only assisted white men.

Andrew Jackson was the first president to fully utilize the powers of the executive branch and establish it as an equal if not superior branch. Henry Clay viewed Jackson as dictatorial and unconstitutional and persuaded the Congress to censure



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