- Jacksonian Democracy - background and introduction
- Jacksonian Democracy - the "corrupt bargain" and the election of 1824
- Jacksonian Democracy - mudslinging and the election of 1828
- Jacksonian Democracy - spoils system, Bank War, and Trail of Tears
- Expanding democracy
- The presidency of Andrew Jackson
- Indian Removal
- The Nullification crisis
- The age of Jackson
- Manifest Destiny
- Annexing Texas
- Developing an American identity, 1800-1848
- James K. Polk and Manifest Destiny
Andrew Jackson was the president for the "common man." Under his rule, American democracy flourished as never before -- but the economy and the Native American population suffered at his hands.
- Andrew Jackson was the seventh president of the United States. He served two terms in office from 1829 to 1837.
- During Jackson’s presidency, the United States evolved from a republic—in which only landowners could vote—to a mass democracy, in which white men of all socioeconomic classes were enfranchised.
- Jackson oversaw the Indian Removal Act, which forcibly relocated tens of thousands of Native Americans and had a devastating effect on the Native population.
The early life of Andrew Jackson
From humble beginnings, Andrew Jackson worked his way up to wealth and national prominence. His early life was colorful and filled with adventure. Born in 1767 in the Carolinas to a Scots-Irish immigrant family of modest means, Jackson became involved in politics as a child during the Revolutionary War when he worked as a courier for the revolutionary cause. At the tender age of 13, he was captured by the British and suffered both a head injury that left him permanently scarred and an outbreak of smallpox.
Jackson survived and went on to study law, amass a personal fortune, serve as a colonel in the Tennessee militia, and represent the state of Tennessee in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. In 1806, he shot and killed a man in a duel to defend the honor of his wife, Rachel.
Jackson achieved national distinction for his performance in the War of 1812. In the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, he oversaw the destruction of 15 percent of the Creek population; the treaty that ended hostilities forced the Creek to cede over 20 million acres of their ancestral lands. Jackson is most remembered for his performance in the Battle of New Orleans, during which he led his troops to a decisive victory over the British after the Treaty of Ghent had been signed and hostilities had officially ended.
In December 1817, President James Monroe authorized Jackson to lead an offensive against the Seminole and Creek Indians in Georgia and Florida, sparking the First Seminole War. Jackson ordered his troops to destroy Seminole settlements, capture a Spanish fort, and execute two British citizens whom Jackson blamed for supporting the Seminoles against white people. In 1819, the Spanish ceded all of Florida to the United States in the Adams-Onís—or Transcontinental—Treaty.
The election of 1828 and the Bank War
The presidential election of 1828 pitted incumbent John Quincy Adams against Andrew Jackson. Adams was the candidate of the National Republicans, while the party that arose around Jackson became known as the Jacksonian Democrats, or simply, the Democrats.
Observers of the 1828 presidential election witnessed the first truly national political campaigns. Styling himself the “man of the people,” Jackson campaigned on an anti-elitist platform that attacked the eastern elites and Congressional land policies. Though Adams retained the support of New England, Jackson swept the South and West, and even took parts of the Northeast.
The election marked a transition from the small, elite political parties of the past to the mass political parties that the United States continues to host today.
Consistent with his anti-elite sentiments, Jackson was a fierce opponent of the Bank of the United States, which he contended was run by and for the eastern banking and manufacturing elites, and operated in direct conflict with the interests of the common man. Jackson became embroiled in a political battle with Nicholas Biddle, the president of the Second Bank of the United States. Although the US Supreme Court had declared the bank constitutional and had renewed its charter until 1836, after Jackson was reelected in 1832, he made it his personal mission to shut the bank down. As a direct result of a series of policies enacted by Jackson for the explicit purpose of weakening the Bank of the United States, the country was thrown into financial turmoil and an economic recession hit in 1837.
Jackson’s Indian policy
Jackson early on established himself as a champion of the white settler against the interests of Native Americans. As president, Jackson instituted his pro-white sentiment in a series of policies that culminated with the forced removal of Native Americans from their native lands.
In 1830, Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, which authorized the forced relocation of Indian tribes from their ancestral territories in the East and South to lands west of the Mississippi River. These involuntary relocations became known as the “Trail of Tears.” Those who resisted were compelled to either go into hiding or suffer violence at the hands of the US Army and white settlers keen on enforcing vigilante justice.
What do you think?
In your opinion, what were Jackson’s greatest achievements as president? What were his most consequential shortcomings?
How would you characterize the impact of Jackson’s Indian policies on the Native American population?
What do you think were the most significant changes that Jackson ushered in during his years as president?
How did Jackson’s presidency mark a transition between a republic and a democracy?
Want to join the conversation?
- What human rights violations did Andrew Jackson commit as part of the Indian removal?(7 votes)
- Imagine someone coming to you and saying, you have to move somewhere. The Indians were not presented with a choice. They were forced to move to distant reservations.
The Indian Removal Act also created the trail of tears, which was unethical to say the least. It made Indians march almost 1000 miles in the winter. About 1/4 of the marchers died.
Needless to say, that is a human right violation.(56 votes)
- In the fifth paragraph (counting the Overview), how was Jackson not imprisoned or given the death penalty for murder?(10 votes)
- What were Jackson's reasons for being against the Bank of the United States?(5 votes)
- Jackson's reason for this conclusion was an amalgamation of his past financial problems, his views on states' rights, and his Tennessee roots. The Second Bank centralized financial might, jeopardizing economic stability; it served as a monopoly on fiscal policy, but it did not answer to anyone within the government.(16 votes)
- How did Jackson’s presidency mark a transition between a republic and a democracy?(4 votes)
- The Republic was geared more towards the wealthy landowners to rule and vote, and Jackson was against a small party of wealthy men ruling and wanted it to open up to more common white men, and so that's why it was changed to more of a Democracy so that it would fit everyone else better.(10 votes)
- What if Andrew Jackson was for the Bank of the U.S.? Would someone else be against it as well instead of Jackson?(1 vote)
- Most of the Jacksonian Democrats detested the Bank of the United States because it added too much federal power. On the other hand, the Whigs preferred it because it added to a more centralized government.(12 votes)
- How can he be president form 1829 to 1837 when it is every four years when we vote?(0 votes)
- Anyone know about tribal treaties?(4 votes)
- A treaty is a contract, a binding and legal agreement, between two or more sovereign nations. By signing treaties with Indian tribes, the United States acknowledged tribal sovereign status.(6 votes)
- For some dumb reason, I get stressed over looking at the words of history. Maybe too much that I skip or don't get right. Then again I have an ADHD problem too. (the big issue is when I have to make an essay about it, and also remember every little detail right in front of my face, that's when my brain sort of overloads)(5 votes)
- how was Jackson considered man of the people(4 votes)
- He was a War of 1812 veteran, displaying his true patriotism compared with the rich aristocracy of former presidents. Additionally, his defeat in the Election of 1824 garnered support through campaigning and his rhetoric carried sentiments representing the public.(6 votes)
- Are there any medical records of what stage his head injury had reached at it's worst?(3 votes)
- well, what happened was during their invasion of the western Carolinas in 1780-1781, British soldiers took the young Andrew Jackson prisoner. When Jackson refused to shine one officer's boots, the officer struck him across the face with a saber, leaving lasting scars.(8 votes)