Jacksonian Democracy

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Topic: Jacksonian Democrats viewed themselves as the guardians of the United States Constitution, political democracy, individual liberty, and equality of economic opportunity.

In light of the following documents and your knowledge of the 1820's and 1830's, to what extent do you agree with the Jacksonians' view of themselves?

Andrew Jackson began a whole new era in American history. Amongst his greatest accomplishments were evoking the "common man" to be interested in government and tailoring democracy to satisfy the same "common man's" needs. Of course, Jackson could not go about making such radical changes without supporters, but that never surfaced as a problem. Jacksonian Democrats, as they came to be called, were great in number during the 1820's and 1830's. They advocated all of the issues that President Jackson did, and did so with great vigor. They thought of themselves very highly because they recognized their responsibilities as American citizens. They realized that as political leaders they had a true purpose- to protect and serve the American people. The Jacksonians justified their view of themselves in their sincere attempts to guard the United States Constitution by both promoting equality of economic opportunity and increasing political democracy, but they had their downfalls with issues of individual liberties.

A main characteristic of the Jacksonian Era was the fight for the common man. As the United States grew in size and age, the stratification of society was inevitable. In the 1820's class distinctions became major issues, greatly due to an unchanging and small upper class. This greatly detracted from the American ideal of equality when it came to economic opportunities. The upper class us...

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...ding the Jacksonian Democrats. Even government authorized establishments lent a hand in the continuation of slavery, such as the Post Office. It honored a request from the South Carolina legislature in 1835 to prevent the transmission of anti-slavery propaganda into the state. The Jacksonian Democrats, in attempts to guard the Constitution, had missed some points, such as "all men are created equal."

The Jacksonian Democrats had at least one misconception about themselves; they did not strive to guard the individual liberty of all Americans. They were yet to break away completely from the old beliefs that one race was superior to another. However, they did have some clear perceptions of the purpose they served. They protected the Constitution and the rights it gave to Americans by promoting equality of economic opportunity and by advancing political democracy.

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