Jacksonian Democracy Essay Research Paper JACKSONIAN DEMOCRACY

Jacksonian Democracy Essay, Research Paper


Earning the title King Andrew due to his full and bold use of his powers as President, Andrew Jackson

A no-nonsense, rugged, and self-made man who was on his own at the age of 14, Jackson was not slow to begin making changes and setting goals, which he thought was best for the country. He immediately began by appointing Cabinet positions to those he felt had made his election possible, disregarding their social or economical status. Aside from Secretary of State, Martin Van Buren, however, he mainly turned to a group of newspaper editors and northern politicians labeled the kitchen cabinet for advice.

One of Jackson s first dilemmas was over the 1828 Tariff of Abominations in which former Vice President John Calhoun had earlier pointed out as being unconstitutional, oppressive, and unjust in a pamphlet called Exposition and Protest. He argued that the states should be able to refuse following any law of Congress that they felt were unconstitutional and that the laws could be announced null and void by three-fourths majority of the states. However, Jackson, who strongly believed that the Union came before the wants and needs of the individual states, ignored this and continued supporting the tariff. Eventually though, a bill, which called for the immediate removal of duties on certain goods and gradual lowering of duties on other items until rates reached the levels of 1816 in 1842, was written up and signed when South Carolina declared the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 null and void and threatened to leave the Union.

Another conflict that arose was Jackson s attack on the Bank of the United States. Feeling that banks were merely snitches who favored eastern business interests at the expense of southern planters and western farmers, Jackson decided to destroy the bank before its charter even expired in 1836. He did so by removing its government funds and depositing them into selected state banks known as pet banks . These government-favored banks immediately went about expanding loans, which created credit for speculation and a surplus of revenues into the federal Treasury that even wiped out the federal debt. However, the easy-credit policies of the local banks known as wildcat banks soon led to nation-wide inflation. Jackson tries to bring things back to normal by issuing the Specie Circular in July 1836, which said that public lands could no longer be paid with paper money but only in gold and silver. Unfortunately, this only made things worse as western land speculation plummeted, gold and silver drained eastward, and the heavy demand for specie caused state banks everywhere to go bankrupt. Despite this, Americans did gain more economic freedom, especially ordinary citizens who wanted to engage in business. New businessmen were helped by the easier credit that new banking laws made possible. In addition, states passed bankruptcy laws that allowed owners of failed businesses to pay off their debts as best as they could without being put into debtors prison.

As mentioned before, Jackson favored the participation of everyone (except women and blacks) in the governing of the country. According to the Spoils System,…

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