Andrew Jackson's Presidency

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Why is the 1830s considered the age of democracy?

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In a limited sense, the United States had become steadily more democratic throughout the early nineteenth century. American citizens turned out to vote in very large numbers, took an avid interest in political affairs, and participated in quasi-political events like parades, riots, and public commemorations. But in many states, voting was limited to people who owned property, and with the advancing Market Revolution, property ownership, and therefore enfranchisement, were tenuous.

In the 1830s, the electorate began to expand. Several states held constitutional conventions that dropped most property qualifications for voting and took measures to create equal representation in state legislatures. By the 1840s, almost all white men could vote in most states.

With this change in the electorate came a democratization of American political culture. Politicians had to appeal to ordinary American males, and so they presented themselves in that light. Andrew Jackson, who was styled as "Old...

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