The Age of Jackson

The Andrew Jackson era began in 1828 with an inauguration attended by hundreds of frontiersmen, celebrating the election of one of their own. Jackson was born in South Carolina but had moved to the frontier like many others. America was on the move west.

With the deaths in 1826 of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, America's Revolutionary generation was gone; along with the Federalist and Democratic-Republican parties. This helped bring about a new balance of political power and with it the two new political parties. The 1828, election was portrayed by Jackson’s Democratic as a proof of the “common people’s right” to pick a president. Class systems were breaking down, as some states abolished property requirements for voting.

A party in opposition to Jackson was formed—the Whigs. Their name echoed British history. In Great Britain, the Whigs were the party opposed to a strong monarch. By calling themselves Whigs, Jackson's enemies labeled him a king.

The South began feeling more resentful of the impact of the influential North. The nullification battle in the early 1830s incited more resentment and South Carolina considered leaving the Union. Westerners and southerners saw the Second Bank of the United States as a tool to make the northerners and easterners rich at the expense of the rest of the country. Jackson got his way in the nullification battle and triumphed again when he vetoed the charter of the national bank. These regional rifts would only get worse over time.

Native Americans were also affected as Jackson initiated the Indian Removal Act, forcing natives to relocate west of the Mississippi River.

By 1850, the "common man" demanded his place in politics, the office of the president was invigorated, and the frontier exerted its powerful impact on the American scene. Hated by many, but loved by many more, Andrew Jackson embodied this new American character.

Source: The Age of Jackson
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