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Outline of Chapter 9: Jacksonian America
-French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville observed that people in America were equal -wondered how industrialism would affect American democracy -Andrew Jackson presided over the “democratization” of government, however, it aided farmers and laborers instead of the truly unequal; Native Americans, slaves, and women The Rise of Mass Politics -At Jackson’s inauguration, throngs of Americans from all parts of the country came to the Capitol in Washington, D.C. -Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story said “The reign of King “Mob” seems triumphant” The Expanding Electorate -the “age of Jackson” did not really advance cause of economic equality-changed politics -Until 1820s, few Americans could vote-restricted to white males who owned property -However, beginning even before Jackson’s presidency, rules governing voting began to expand – occurred first in Ohio-older states wanted people to stay so loosened laws -Property requirement abolished in New York – In Rhode Island, the original constitution banned more than half the adult males from voting – this legislature blocked all efforts for reform – In 1840, Thomas Dorr and his followers created a new constitution and it was approved – the existing legislature however refused to accept the Dorr document -Two governments both claimed legitimacy in Rhode Island – Dorr and his followers proclaimed as rebels by the old state government – began to imprison them -Dorrites tried to take control of the state arsenal but failed – Dorr surrenders – however, incident pressures old government to draft new constitution that expands suffrage rights -Election laws in the South still favored rich planters and politicians – however, number of voters still increased rapidly – changes were made in the method of choosing presidential electors The Legitimization of Party -High level of voters also was a result of increased interest in politics and strengthening of party organization – parties were once considered evils to government, but in the 1820s and 1850s, people believed that they were a desirable part of the political process – they could give each other a sense of purpose – could check and balance each other -this idea of party spread beyond New York by the late 1820s and the election of Jackson in 1828 seemed to confirm the idea of party as a democratic idea -In the 1830s, a two-party system formed: anti-Jackson forces called themselves the Whigs, and Jackson’s followers were the Democrats – oldest political party “President of the Common Man” -Jackson embraced a distinct theory of democracy: that it should offer “equal protection and equal benefits” to all its white male citizens and favor no class or religion -During his eight years in office, Jackson removed 1/5 of the federal officeholders -system embraced the philosophy of the “spoils system”, which helped make the right of elected officials to appoint their own followers to public office -Jackson’s followers promoted a national party convention instead of a congressional caucus – first to use it were the Anti-Masons
-Although the spoils system and the political convention limited the power of two entrenched elites-permanent officeholders and the exclusive party caucus, they did not transfer power to the people “Our Federal Union” -Jackson wanted to reduce the functions of the federal government but also wanted preservation of the Union – his own vice president, John C. Calhoun, supported a dangerous constitutional theory of nullification Calhoun and Nullification -Calhoun was from South Carolina, where many believed that the “tariff of abominations” was detrimental to their economy – some even considered succession from the union -Calhoun’s future political hopes relied on meeting this challenged – did so by developing the theory of nullification: that since federal government was a creation of the states, the states could declare federal laws unconstitutional – could declare law null and void within state The Rise of Van Buren -Martin Van Buren was equally ambitious as Calhoun and was his major rival – was elected to governor of New York in 1828 and then resigned to become Jackson’s secretary of state -Van Buren got the favor of Jackson and was chosen as his successor because of the Peggy Eaton affair, which effectively ended Calhoun’s dreams of presidency The Webster-Hayne Debate -when controversy over nullification became more intense, a senator from Connecticut suggested that all land sales and survey be temporarily discontinued -Robert Y. Hayne, a senator from South Carolina, said that slowing down the growth of the West gave more political and economic power to the East – hoped his stance would attract support from westerners in Congress -Daniel Webster responded by attacking Hayne and Calhoun for what he considered as a challenge to the Union – in his “Second Reply to Hayne”, he responded to the theory of nullification, ending with “Liberty and Union, now and for ever, one and inseparable!” The Nullification Crisis -In 1832, South Carolina nullified the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 – Hayne elected governor and Calhoun as Senator -Jackson considered nullification treason and those who implemented it traitors – strengthened federal forts in S.C. and ordered a warship to Charleston – proposed a force bill, authorizing the president to use military action to see that that acts of Congress were obeyed -Not a single state had come to the support of S.C. and S.C. itself was divided – Henry Clay proposed a compromise where the tariff would be lowered gradually so that it would reach the same level as in 1816 by 1842 – compromise and force bill passed on the same day -S.C. repealed nullification of tariffs and nullified the force act – purely symbolic act The Removal of the Indians -Jackson wanted the Native Americans in the eastern states to move west White Attitudes Toward the Tribes -Earlier, many white Americans considered Native Americans “noble savages”; they didn’t have a real civilization, but they had an inherent dignity that made civilizations possible among them -Changed into a more hostile attitude in the first decades of the nineteenth century – “savages” The Black Hawk War -The long process of expelling Indians in the Old Northwest caused a last battle in 1831, between white settlers in Illinois and an alliance of Sauk and Fox Indians under warrior Black Hawk
-Known as the Black Hawk War- known for the viciousness of the white military efforts -White leaders in western Illinois wanted to exterminate the Native Americans and even attacked them when Black Hawk attempted to surrender – Black Hawk was captured and paraded The “Five Civilized Tribes” -the tribes remaining in the South consisted of the “Five Civilized Tribes” – the Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw – Cherokees had formed a very stable culture -Federal government constantly negotiated treaties with southern Indians that would remove them to the West and open their lands for white settlement – whites often impatient -In Georgia, Cherokees tried to stop the white encroachments by appealing to the Supreme Court -In Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia, and Worcester vs. Georgia, the court’s decisions seemed to support the tribe – Andrew Jackson had little sympathy for Cherokees and ignored John Marshall’s decision – “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it”. -In 1835, the federal government formed a treaty with a minority faction of the Cherokees, which didn’t really represent the Cherokee Nation – Cherokees were driven west by Winfield Scott Trails of Tears -Some Cherokees went to North Carolina, where there was a small reservation provided for them -But most made the forced trek to “Indian Territory” – extremely bad conditions – many perished -The Cherokees involved in the “Trail of Tears” were known as émigrés -Virtually all of the “Five Civilized Tribes” were expelled from the southern states -Congress created the Indian Territory by the Indian Intercourse Act of 1834 -Only Seminoles in Florida managed to resist pressures to relocate but their success was limited – a few stayed under chieftain Osceola – staged uprising in 1835 to defend their lands – known as the Seminole War – dragged on for years – troops were sent but Indians were masters at Guerilla warfare in the Everglades – in 1842, government abandoned the war The Meaning of Removal -Indian tribes had ceded 100mil acres of land and received $68mil and 32mil acres west of Mississippi -People viewed Indians as having no part in the development of civilizations in the west. They were obstacles that needed to be removed Jackson and the Bank War -Jackson only used concentrated federal powers against Indians; he never used them on economic issues Biddle’s Institution -Nicholas Biddle was president of national bank and made it very prosperous -Hard currency- gold and silver was the only currency and believers in this didn’t support banks whatsoever (Jackson) -Soft currency- bank notes unsupported by specie. Followers of this were supporters of state banks and thought the issuing this was the best way to circulate money (Webster) -Clay/Webster persuaded Biddle to apply for renewal of bank charter in 1832(4 years early) so that it would become a big topic in the election. Jackson vetoed -Clay ran for president that year but Jackson won and this was a defeat for both Clay and Biddle The “Monster” Destroyed -Jackson withdrew federal deposits in the bank and deposited them in state “pet banks” -Financial conditions worsened and Jacksonians blamed Biddle and bank supported blamed Jackson
-Finally Biddle failed to renew the bank and it failed in 1836 The Taney Court -Roger B. Taney became head of Supreme Court in 1835 and gradually began to modify the nationalism of Marshall -Charles river bridge vs. Warren Bridge showed that a state could modify or abrogate any contract it entered -They did not like monopolies because they said economics couldn’t flourish The Changing Face of American politics -Whig party arose because they believed Jackson was tyrannical Democrats and Whigs -Democrats envisioned a future of steadily expanding economic and political opportunities. Composed of farmers and laborers -Locofocos(radical democrats) took vigorous and violent actions against monopolies -Whigs wanted to expand the federal gov't, encourage industrial and commercial development, and knit the country together into a consolidated economic system -Whigs teamed up with anti-masons to launch harsh attacks on Jackson and Van Buren (freemasons) -Irish + German Catholics supported democrats. Evangelical Protestants supported Whigs -The Whigs couldn’t consolidate under one leader like the democrats who had Jackson -Election of 1836- democrats-Van Buren. Whigs couldn’t agree on one so they had Webster (north), Hugh Lawson White (south), and William Henry Harrison (west) -van Buren won easily Van Buren and the Panic of 1837 -Van Buren gained popularity due to the economic boom that climaxed in 1836. It was the one time that the country had been completely out of debt and had a surplus in treasury -the federal government decided to distribute the surplus funds back to the state. This strained the pet banks that had to start calling in their loans -in 1836 Jackson said that federal lands could only be bought with gold or silver or specie backed currency. He did this because he feared speculation but it brought about the worst depression thus far in history -One of Van Buren’s legislative achievements was the “independent treasury”, a system where the federal funds were deposited in an independent treasury in Washington and subtreasuries in other cities - these banks were supposed to be divorced from the federal government The Log Cabin Campaign -in election of 1840 Whig: William Henry Harrison+ John Tyler and Democrats: Van Buren and they couldn’t decide on a vice president -Both parties tried to represent the common people – the Whigs won the election The Frustrations of the Whigs -Harrison died a month after taking office - Tyler became president -Tyler was a former Democrat and showed his roots in the things he signed - the Whigs grew upset and broke ties with him - all of his cabinet resigned Whig diplomacy -British rebels chartered steam ship Caroline to ship goods. The British burned a ship and killed 1 American in the process - NY officials arrest a Canadian and charged him with murder - British say that the Canadians execution will bring about immediate war
-Aroostook war - result over dispute over boundary of Maine and Canada- mostly between lumberjacks -Webster-Ashburton treaty- established firm border of Maine and promised no future officious interference with American shipping -Treaty of Wang Hya- Caleb Cushing (congress commissioner) went to China to secure trade relations - also got extraterritoriality (Americans accused of crimes in China were tried by Americans not Chinese)