Jacksonian Democracy and Modern America

Andrew Jackson was elected in a great victory as the seventh president in 1828. Participation in the election soared to 60 percent. Jackson clearly headed a sweeping political movement. He warned that the nation had been corrupted by "special privilege," characterized by the policies of the Second Bank of the United States. The proper road to reform, according to Jackson, lay in an absolute acceptance of majority rule as expressed through the democratic process.

Jackson’s election marked a new era for American politics. Jackson was the first westerner elected president and from a state other than Virginia or Massachusetts; a symbol of evolved American politics from the few elites to that of the ordinary man. When Martin Van Buren followed as president, it indicated that the Jacksonian movement had long-term significance that would outlast Jackson’s own charismatic leadership.

This new Democratic Party that was formed, embodied the three main qualities associated with the Jacksonian Democracy. First it was that the party based on the voice of the common worker and farmer. Second it opposed special privileges of the economically elite. And the third quality was to avail affordable western land to common white Americans, a move that saw the Indians pushed to move further westwards.

The Whig party arose to challenge the Democrats with a different platform and vision for the nation. Whigs' favored active government support for economic improvement as the best route to prosperity. The fiercely partisan campaigns waged between these parties lasted into the 1850s and are known as the second party system, a modern framework of political competition that reached ordinary voters as never before with both sides organizing

The Jacksonian Democracy represented a blending of the best and worst of the American society. Though it advocated for democracy and championed for the common man, it was centered on the benefit of the white man creating an environment of masculine privilege and racial prejudice.

Source: Jacksonian Democracy and Modern America
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