Was Jacksonian Democracy really democratic?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that much of this is dependent on your point of view.  On one hand, a case can be made the Jackson's presidency did increase democratic reforms and the idea of what democracy was.  There was an increase in suffrage, or voting rights.  Wealth and property ownership were not explicit preconditions needed to vote.  Instead, suffrage was extended to all white men.  One could even make the argument that the spoils system would help to increase to democratic initiatives in that the more one supported government and those in the position of power, the more representation they received in terms of recognition.  In the end, these elements brought more people into democratic government and their voices were included.  The flip side to this coin would be those who were not represented.  Women, Native Americans, as well as people of color were not automatically included in the equation of Jacksonian Democracy.  If one looked at their plights, then a case could not be made for democracy being expanded to more people in Jackson's Presidency.  I think that one needs to answer the question, balancing which side was more persuasive as to the issue of democratic reforms.

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