Was Andrew Jackson similar to Thomas Jefferson or Alexander Hamilton?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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While Andrew Jackson was significantly different from both of these men, he was more similar to Thomas Jefferson than to Alexander Hamilton.  This is because Jefferson’s ideals were more oriented toward the common man. 

Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton were ideological rivals during the early days of the United States.  Hamilton believed in a more hierarchical economic and political system that would be centered around industry.  Jefferson, by contrast, believed in a more egalitarian system that would be dominated by small yeoman farmers.  Jefferson wanted a country in which the vast majority of people would be small farmers.  These people would all be equal to one another and there would not be hierarchy in the country. 

Andrew Jackson came to the presidency some two decades after Jefferson had been president.  By this time, the country had come to resemble Hamilton’s vision in some ways and Jefferson’s in others.  The country was more democratic than it had been, with more white men being able to vote.  However, it was also more industrialized.  During his time as president, Jackson generally tried to take actions that would, in his mind, help the small farmers more than the elite industrialists.

This is best seen in Jackson’s war against the Second Bank of the United States.  Jackson felt that the bank was a tool of the elites that was used to dominate the common people.  For this reason, he did everything in his power to destroy the bank. 

Jackson’s desire to take actions that helped the common people show that he was more similar, in terms of policy, to Jefferson than to Hamilton even though his personal background was much more similar to Hamilton’s.