Chapter 12

Jacksonian Democracy

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Prologue: 1819
• Jacksonian Democracy rooted in 2 events:
– Heated debate over Missouri’s admission as a slave state – Severe financial collapse led to Americans’ doubt of the market revolution under Jeffersonian republic

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The West, 1803-1840s
• • • • Louisiana—Jefferson’s “empire of liberty” Meriwether Lewis and William Clark Sacajawea Time passes
– Americans settle southern part – Sioux dominate northern part

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The Argument over Missouri
• Slaveholding Missouri applies for admission as a state • James Tallmadge, Jr.
– Tallmadge amendments – “three-fifths” rule

• House opposed to Missouri as a slave state • Senate in favor of Missouri as a slave state

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The Missouri Compromise
• Maine detached from Massachusetts as a new free state • Jesse Thomas and the Thomas Proviso
– No slavery North of 36’ 30” minutes in Louisiana Purchase area

• Crisis brought out evidence of:
– South’s commitment to slavery – North’s resentment of southern political power

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The Panic of 1819
• Origins of the Panic of 1819
– Drop in American foodstuff exports – Easy credit and speculative boom in the U.S.

• Second Bank of the United States
– Langdon Cheves

• Nationwide collapse in the economy • Rise in unemployment • Resentment against the Bank of the United States
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Republican Revival
• Republicans called for a Jeffersonian revival that would limit government power and guarantee southern rights within the Union

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Martin Van Buren Leads the Way
• Invented modern, disciplined patronage based party • “Era of Good Feelings” in Van Buren’s view
– Led to Federalist state – Sectional politics

• Salvation was disciplined national party

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The Election of 1824
• William H. Crawford: Candidate of Van Buren and the Congressional Caucus • John Quincy Adams: Federalist convert • Henry Clay: American System • John C. Calhoun: Vice-President • Andrew Jackson: the wild card
– Frontier nabob with violent reputation – Florida – Popular war hero

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“A Corrupt Bargain”
• Jackson assumes he won 1824 election • House of Representatives decides • Clay’s support toward a candidate would determine the outcome of the Presidential elections
– Clay offered his support to Jackson, then Adams, in exchange for appointment as secretary of state – Jackson refused, Adams accepted

• Reaction very negative and dominated Adams administration
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Jacksonian Melodrama
• Jackson’s claims that selfishness and intrigue had corrupted the republic
– – – – Panic of 1819 caused by corrupt Bank of U.S. National debt a source of corruption King caucus Theft of 1824 election

• Individuals can become corrupt and selfish, but the democratic majority was, by nature, opposed to corruption and governmental excess • Republic is only safe when governed by the will of the majority
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Nationalism in an International Arena
• Adams’s role in American politics prior to the Presidency • Rush-Bagot Treaty (1817) and the BritishAmerican Convention (1818) • Adams-Onis Treaty (1819) • Monroe Doctrine (1823)

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Nationalism at Home
• Adams isolated himself and offended popular democracy • Proposed ambitious national development plan • Easily portrayed as enemy of democracy and proponent of high taxes and intrusive government
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The Birth of the Democratic Party
• Van Buren
– Supports Jackson, but as head of disciplined, Democratic party committed to Jeffersonian ideals – Calhoun – Thomas Ritchie and Virginia Republicans

• Rebuilding Jeffersonian Coalition with the Democratic Party
– National party committed to states’ rights and minimal government
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The Election of 1828
• Slander more than debate of public policy • Adams’s supporters attack Jackson
– – – – Duels and brawls Coffin handbill Bigamist with Rachel Donelson Jackson Strategy backfires, many see Jackson as melodramatic hero

• High voter turnout and Jackson landslide • Victory of popular melodrama over cultural gentility
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A People’s Inauguration
• Rowdy inaugural crowd • Rachel’s death • No more King Caucus or Corrupt Bargains

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The Spoils System
• Secretary of State Van Buren • “Spoils system” or “rotation in office” • 10% of officeholders replaced

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Jacksonian Democracy and the South:
• Jackson got 80% of Southern vote • How to protect Southern interest in limited government
– Calhoun: states veto federal legislation – Van Buren: political party committed to states’ rights within the union

Southerners and Indians
• “Civilized Tribes” sanctioned by federal government • Resented by white Southerners as challenge to states’ rights • Georgia Governor George Troup’s land grab • Cherokee Republic
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Indian Removal
• Indian Removal Act of 1830 • John Marshall
– Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1830) – Worcester v. Georgia (1832) – “Marshall has made his decision: now let him enforce it.”—Andrew Jackson

• “Trail of Tears”

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Southerners and the Tariff
• “Tariff of Abominations” (1828)
– Van Buren’s role

• Increases sense of Southern unease
– Diminished cotton exports – Increased price of imports that the South depended on – Showed willingness of other agrarian regions to make deals contrary to interest of slave owning South

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Nullification
• Exposition and Protest (1828)
– Virginia and Kentucky Resolves (1798)

• Jefferson birthday dinner toasts
– Jackson: “our federal union, it must be preserved” – Calhoun: “the union, next to our liberties, the most dear”

• • • •

Tariff of 1832 South Carolina’s Nullification Convention Force Bill (1833) Compromise Tariff of 1833

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The “Petticoat Wars”
• Peggy O’Neal Timberlake Eaton and Secretary of War John Eaton • Parallels with Andrew and Rachel • Floride Bonneau Calhoun • Widower Martin Van Buren
– Nice to Eaton – Leaks anti-Jackson letter from Calhoun

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The Fall of Calhoun
• • • • Van Buren and rest of cabinet resign “Kitchen Cabinet” New cabinet does not have Calhoun supporters Van Buren is Jackson’s 1832 running mate and designated successor • Calhoun loses

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Petitions, the Gag Rule, and the Southern Mails
• Jackson and Democrats successfully opposed moral issues in politics • “Postal campaign” and petitions
– Postmaster Amos Kendall – “Gag rule”

• Southerners see disciplined Democratic Party as guarantor of their interests
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Jacksonian Democracy and the Market Revolution
• Nostalgic loyalty to Jefferson’s agrarian republic • Tried to reconcile Market Revolution to principles of republic • Paper money and the American System were corrupt and anti-republican • Whigs spring up in opposition to Jacksonians

The Second Bank of the United States
• The Bank of the United States exercised central control over the nation’s monetary and credit systems • Millions resented and distrusted the national bank as a privileged, powerful institution • Jackson saw the bank as concentration of power that threatened the republic
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The Bank War
• Clay and the 1832 bank recharter • Jackson bank veto message
– Bank is special privilege that allows Northeastern and British merchants to take Southern and Western wealth

• Election of 1832: pro-Jackson, anti-bank landslide • “Pet Banks” and Roger Taney
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The Beginnings of the Whig Party
• Origin of the name Whig • “King Andrew I” • Anti-American System
– Maysville Road veto

• Nicholas Biddle calls in Bank of U.S. loans • Clay and the Senate Censure of Jackson

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A Balanced Budget
• Budget surplus
– Tariffs brought in more revenue – Jackson administration spent little – Sale of public lands brought in more revenue

• National debt paid off 1833 • Deposit Act (1836) • Specie Circular (1836)

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“Martin Van Ruin”
• Election of 1836
– Whigs 3 candidate sectional strategy – Van Buren’s national Democratic party wins

• Panic of 1837
– Whigs blame Jackson’s hard money policy and specie circular – Democrats blame speculation and paper money

• “Sub-Treasury” (“Independent Treasury”)
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The Election of 1840
• “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too”
– William Henry Harrison – John Tyler

• “Log Cabin Campaign” • “Martin Van Ruin”

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Two Parties
• Election of 1840
– Signaled the solidification of the second party system – Both parties competitive in all regions – High voter turnout

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Conclusion
• By 1840 American politics was 2 party national system
– Whigs: the American System – Democrats: limited government

• 1830-1860: The growth of American economy became a question of state and local government actions • Growing political problems surrounding slavery • The 2-party system focused national political debates on economic development, not sectional issues like slavery
(c) 2003 Wadsworth Group All rights reserved

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