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What was the significance of the election of Andrew Jackson to the presidency in...
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The Jackson people, who became the Democratic party, were well organized for the election of 1828. The Democrats appealed to sectional self-interest and pioneered the art of making politics exciting to the average man, but the greatest asset the Democrats had was Jackson himself. Rigid and forceful, Jackson was accepted as a true man of the people, and he defeated Adams easily, especially in the slaveholding states. Jackson’s triumph was a personal one; he stood on no political platform. As President, he democratized the office by firing at will whatever officeholders he did not like, defending the practice by asserting the right of all men to a government post(*).
Jackson inherited the Indian removal policy from previous administrations but carried it to its harshest conclusion. He urged Congress to speed up the relocation of the Indians living east of the Mississippi, and when the Cherokees resisted, Jackson sent the army in 1830 to evict them from their homes and herd them over the Mississippi. Some 4,000 Cherokees died along that “Trail of Tears.”
One of the first major controversies between federal authority and states’‘ rights came when South Carolina objected to the high tariff of 1828. When in 1832 a new tariff was passed, South Carolina, still unhappy with the rates, nullified it. Jackson responded by threatening to send the army into South Carolina. Both sides eventually retreated; South Carolina got a lower tariff, but Jackson had demonstrated the will of the federal government to rule the states, by force if necessary.
One of the most important actions taken by Jackson was his destruction of the Bank of the United States. “The Bank War” was a symbolic defense of democratic values and led to two important results, economic disruption and a two-party system. Although the Bank of the United States contributed to the economic growth and stability of the United States, it had never been very popular. In a democratic era, it was open to charges of giving special privileges to a few. Its manager, Nicholas Biddle, was a competent man who looked and behaved like an aristocrat. Also, in an era of rising democracy, the Bank possessed great power and privilege without accountability to the public. Jackson came into office suspecting the Bank of the United States and made vague threats against it. Biddle overreacted and asked Congress to recharter the Bank in 1832, four years before the old charter was due to expire. Henry Clay took up the Bank’s cause, hoping that congressional approval of the Bank would embarrass Jackson. When Congress passed the new charter, Jackson vetoed it on the grounds that the Bank was unconstitutional, despite a Supreme Court decision to the contrary. Jackson claimed he vetoed the Bank charter because it violated equality of opportunity and Congress upheld the veto.
Jackson showed his opponents no mercy and proceeded to destroy the Bank by withdrawing the government’s money and depositing it into selected state banks (the “pet banks”). Jacskon lost support in Congress, especially in the Senate, where fears of a dictatorship began to emerge.
The Democratic party was also weakened by the defection of working-class spokesmen who criticized Jackson for not destroying all banks. Furthermore, Jackson’s financial policies led to a runaway inflation, followed by an abrupt depression.
* Meacham, J. 2009. Andrew Jackson, American Lion in the White House. Random House, NY:NY
Posted by epollock on February 10, 2010 at 4:48 AM (Answer #2)
Middle School Teacher
The emergence of Jackson in the election of 1828 was significant because of his posture as "the common man's" candidate. Jackson was one of the first Presidents elected who did not have the Federalist pedigree of prior candidates. At the same time, he did not possess the "insider" status of his opponent John Quincy Adams. The outsider status that was conferred upon Jackson was highlighted by the large extent of "dirty politics" which emerged through the campaign. Jackson made claims, valid or invalid depending on partisanship, of the misuse of political funds. Adams and his associates made claims towards Jackson's fidelity in marriage, and a ruthless temper during his time as a commander in the Army. A truly excellent example of what modern politics would bring to American Discourse, the election of Jackson proved that the dialogue of popular sovereignty and other principles of the Constitution that permeated beliefs no more than 50 years prior would forever be dragged through the sewage of the modern swamp of politics.
Posted by akannan on February 10, 2010 at 4:54 AM (Answer #3)
Everything the previous answers say is true, but let me try to put the answer a bit more simply. I am hoping this will help you see the major point more clearly.
Jackson's election is usually called a triumph for the common American. Jackson was the first president to be born to a poor family. Before him, all the presidents had been from the rich elite.
This is important because America was becoming more democratic in the 1820s. By the end of this decade, practically all white men over 21 were allowed to vote. Before, only those with some amount of property (it varied by state) had been allowed to vote.
So Jackson's election is significant because it showed how democratic the US was becoming.
Posted by pohnpei397 on February 10, 2010 at 6:45 AM (Answer #4)
Middle School Teacher
Something that is very important about Andrew Jackson's presidential election is that he was a common man. He was not raised in a wealthy household and worked very hard to educate himself in law. This marks a great deal of importance because he was more representative of the everyday man.
He was a very proud man who would just about anything to hold up his good name.
Another important aspect about the presidency of Andrew Jackson is that two official parties grew during this time period-the democrats and the whigs. Andrew jackson was a democrat. This marks a very important part of American history.
Posted by besure77 on February 10, 2010 at 11:08 AM (Answer #5)
Middle School Teacher
Posted by litteacher8 on August 19, 2011 at 8:24 AM (Answer #6)
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