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How Democratic Was Andrew Jackson? In 1824, Andrew Jackson lost the presidential election to John Quincy Adams, but he won, if you only consider the popular vote that is. Jackson managed to obtain 42.16% of the popular vote, more than any other candidate, per David M. Kennedy and Lizabeth Cohen’s book The American Pageant, but he fell short in the electoral college. Whenever an election cannot be decided by the electoral college it is sent to the House of Representatives, which, in 1824, elected John Quincy Adams on the first ballot. This would not be the last time a president who did not win the popular vote would win the election, but this election was different. The “Corrupt Bargain” of 1824, as it is now referred to, is what won John Quincy…show more content…
Jackson even sent a letter to congress which stated, “I submit, therefore, to your consideration…(a) law which limits appointments for four year” (Document 6). This is a clear attempt to make it so that once a president’s term ends the next president can appoint all their supporters to office. Sadly, for the nation, Jackson’s love of the spoils system and his poorly placed trust resulted in the United States’ government being robbed of $1,222,705.09. Jackson, despite being warned by Secretary of State Martin van Buren, appointed Samuel Swartwout to the position of the collector of the Port of New York. Buren pleaded with Jackson saying that Swartwout had “criminal tendencies” (Document 7) but Jackson ignored him and the nation paid for it. Furthermore, the use of the spoils system is against the premise of democracy. Yes, public offices should be available to everyone, but the appointee’s only qualification should not be that they are your supporter. That is not democracy, democracy is getting everyone involved in the political process, not just your political “yes men”, which Jackson enjoyed surrounding himself with. Even Jackson’s Secretary of State and Vice President, Martin van Buren was a “yes man” (Kennedy 264). Jackson, it seems, wanted to be liked by all, within his inner circle and the country, and he would do anything to be liked, such as forcibly remove 100,000 Native Americans or destroy the institution that was holding the economy together. But only a tyrant can be liked by all, as he is the only one that will use force to be liked by all, whereas a president is loved by some and hated by the
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