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Andrew Jackson and the Growth of American Democracy
Transcript of Andrew Jackson and the Growth of American Democracy
The Kitchen Cabinet
Jackson approached governing much as he had leading an army - he listened to others, but then did what he felt was right.
The Spoils System
Jackson replaced many Republican officeholder with loyal Democrats
Most of these civil servants viewed their posts as life time jobs - Jackson felt that after a few years in office these civil servants should go back to making a living as other people do.
Jackson's opponents called the practice of rewarding political supporters with government jobs the spoils systems
Jackson replaced about 10% of civil servants
In this political cartoon, titled "Office Hunters for the Year 1834," Jackson is shown as a winged demon dangling government jobs over a crowd of people reaching out to grab them.
In this cartoon, John C. Calhoun, who believed states have the right to nullify federal laws, is reaching toward a crown. Andrew Jackson is pulling on the coat of a Calhoun supporter to stop him from trampling on the Constitution.
Andrew Jackson, attacks the many-headed Bank of the United States with a veto stick. Bank President Nicholas Biddle is placed center with a top hat. The many heads represent the 24 state directors of the bank. VP Martin Van Buren chokes Massachusetts and Delaware.
How well did President Andrew Jackson promote democracy?
On March 4, 1829 more than 10,000 people gathered to watch Jackson's Inauguration
3 times as many people voted in 1828 than in 1824 due to new voting requirements that no longer required land ownership
New voters tended to be poor, the common man, and they looked at Jackson's election as if the US was saved from a monster - the wealthy
"It was the People's day, and the People's President. And the people shall rule." eyewitness Margaret Bayard Smith
The Indian Removal Act
In 1830, urges on by President Jackson, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act.
This law allowed the president to make treaties in which the Indians in the East traded their lands for new territory on the Great Plains.
In 1832 the Supreme Court held that Indians had the right to keep their lands - this angered Jackson.
Groups that refused to move west voluntarily were met with military force.
The Trail of Tears
In 1836, thousands of Creek Indians who refused to leave Alabama were rounded up and marched west in handcuffs
In 1838, under President Van Buren, more than 17,000 Cherokees were forced from their homes in Georgia - 4,000 died during the long walk to the Indian Territory.
Led by a young chief named Osceola, the Seminoles of Florida resisted removal for ten years - most costly Indian war ever fought
Jackson left office feeling as if he had "solved" the American Indian problem for good - in reality he just moved the conflict
The Nullification Crisis
Upset over new tariff laws that favored the North - higher tax on imported goods worked well for Northern manufacturers - Southern states threatened to nullify or reject the tariff laws
John C. Calhoun, Jackson's vice president, called on southern states to declare the tariff "null and void"
Jackson understood where Southern farmers were coming from, but when South Carolina threatened to secede, Jackson called on Congress to pass the Force Bill - allowing use of the Federal Army in collecting taxes - stating "If one drop of blood be shed there in defiance of the laws of the United States, I will hang the first man of them I get my hands on to the first tree I find."
Faced with stern opposition SC backed down and the crisis was avoided but it highlighted the growing differences between the North and South
The presidential campaign of 1828 was one of the dirtiest in US history but Andrew Jackson came out the clear winner.
Jackson was born into poverty in 1767 on the South Carolina frontier, he served in the revolution at the age of 13, became a successful lawyer in Tennessee before setting himself up as a gentleman farmer
hot temper - killed a slave trader in a duel
Jackson entered politics in Tennessee serving in both the House and Senate - but didn't become widely known until the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812
Lost the election of 1824 - Helped start the Democratic Party which promised to represent ordinary farmers, workers and the poor, not the rich upper class who controlled the Republican Party
With Jackson's presidency came the idea that the common people should control their government - Jacksonian Democracy
Jackson's Indian Policy
As a frontier settler, Jackson had little sympathy for American Indians.
During his presidency, it became national policy to remove Indians who remained in the East by force.
Many treaties had already moved many Indians off their land in exchange for food, supplies, and money.
By the time Jackson took office only 125, 000 remained East of the Mississippi River.
Most lived in the South - belonging to five groups, the Creek, Cherokee, Chichasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole.
These tribes attempted assimilate, adopting "white ways," in hopes of staying on their land, however as cotton farming spread west, white settlers decided they have to go
People of every color, age and class mobbed the White House to attend a public reception after Jackson took the oath of office.
Jackson did not rely only on his cabinet for advice he also met with a few trusted friends - they were said to meet in the White House kitchen
The rich men who were used to running Washington were very suspicious of the kitchen cabinet - they didn't think they were the proper sort to be running the country
Jackson Battles the Bank of the United Sates
Partly owned by the federal government, the Bank of the United States had a monopoly on federal deposits.
Jackson thought the bank benefited rich eastern depositors at the expense of farmers and workers, as well as smaller state banks.
In 1832, Jackson vetoed to renew the bank's charter, or contract.
While this angered his wealthy supporters, Jackson was able to win reelection.
Jackson took it one step farther in 1833 and pulled all of the federal money out of the bank, starving it to death.
Abolishing the bank, he believed, was a victory for economic democracy.