What caused the growth of democracy in the United States?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Many factors caused the growth of democracy in the United States.  Among them were:

  • Rhetoric of the American Revolution.  As the United States was being created, there was a great deal of talk of equality and rights for all men (not women at that time).  While this was not always followed at first, it did give advocates of democracy a foundation on which to make their arguments.  They could always point to the words of the Declaration of Independence to say that democracy was part of what America should be.
  • Rising population.  The more the population grew, the less power could be concentrated in the hands of a few elites.  
  • Spreading population.  Just as importantly, the population spread rapidly westward.  The elites who opposed democracy generally stayed in the coastal areas.  This gave democrats many areas (and even states) that they could dominate politically.
  • The rise of the market economy.  As America became more commercialized (as opposed to a subsistence economy), more people came to understand how political issues such as tariffs and banks affected them.

As these factors came into play, America became more and more democratic.  By the 1820s, most states extended the vote to all white men of age.