How did Andrew Jackson redefine presidency?

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

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Jackson could be seen as redefining the presidency in a couple of distinct ways.  The first was that Jackson parted with the time honored tradition of the Presidency being reserved for the elites and those considered "the best" of society.  In the truest notion of Jacksonian democracy, Jackson brought "his people" with him to the White House.  Jackson's "kitchen cabinet" and the establishment of the spoils system constructed a reality of the Presidency that would become part of the office:  The President would bring his own people with him.  Along these same lines, Jacksonian democracy redefined the Presidency.  The idea of enfranchising more people in the political process redefined the Presidency and the idea of government.

Another way in which Jackson redefined the Presidency was by asserting its power.  Jackson did not feel that the Presidency was an extension of Congress or something to be held hostage by the Judicial Branch.  Jackson's policies and his brazenness helped to establish a Presidency that asserted its own status without being secondary to the Congress or the Supreme Court:  "Andrew Jackson was the first modern president, because he was the first one who asserted that the president was not merely a member of the government's symphony: he was its conductor."  Jackson established the idea of the President being "the conductor" of government.  In doing so, he redefined the capacity and perception of the Presidency.

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