Today we accept the notion that democracy means that every citizen has a vote, with certain reasonable restrictions. In the early 1800s, it was generally accepted that property ownership or the economic equivalent was a requirement to vote. The voting was discriminative; women, Indians and Blacks (free or slaves) were restricted from voting almost everywhere.
in the 1820s and 1830s Americans slowly lost their fear that democracy would lead to anarchy. Democracy broadened with Jackson’s presidency. Many states rewrote their constitutions, and eliminated the property qualifications, tax paying for voting, religious qualifications for office, etc. By the late 1830s, the United States had become a full democracy for adult white males, but inequalities still existed—poor people were still poor, and while wealth may not have bought votes directly, it certainly was a prerequisite for any kind of real power.
The Jacksonian era witnessed the emergence of a solid two-party system. The Democratic Party was founded under Jackson and an opposition party, the Whigs formed later. The Whigs disappeared in early 1850’s and was replaced by the modern Republican Party. Although many issues have changed since the 1800s, present-day Republicans and Democrats have much in common with their ancestors.
Source: The Age of Jackson: Jacksonian Democracy: The Emergence of a More Democratic Republic
© Created by Henry J. (Jud) Sage, 1996-2014,