Andrew Jackson

The first and truest ideals of democracy were embodied in the political
ideas of Andrew Jackson and the Jacksonian democrats. Calling themselves the
guardians of the United States Constitution, the Jacksonian politicians engendered
wide spread liberty under a government which represented all men, rather than only
the upper class. While some policies under the democrats had evident flaws, they
were, for the most part, eager social reformers who strived to put the power of
government into the hands of the common citizens.
The convictions and ideals of the Jacksonian Democrats can be best
illustrated through a passage written by George Henry Evans. Evans was an editor
with strong democratic principles who created The Working Mens Declaration of
Independence (Doc. A). Within the declaration, Evans stresses the importance of
establishing democracy. He uses words and phrases from Jeffersons Declaration
of Independence to clarify his points and stress his convictions. Stating the
absolute necessity of the organization of the party, Evans explains that it will be
possible to prevent the upper class from subverting the indefeasible and
fundamental privilege of liberty. And finally, Evans states that it is the common
citizens right to use every constitutional means necessary to reform the abuses
and provide new guards for future security. In doing so, he documented the
characteristic attitude of the majority of the country in the 1820s and 1830s.

Evans was only one of the many Jacksonian democrats to contribute to the
success of the party and to the reforms that they made. Chief Justice Roger B.

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Taneys opinion in the Supreme Court Case of Charles River Bridge v. Warren
Bridge was a capitalist decision which was a typical response for a Jacksonian
democrat (Doc. H). This decision stated that while the Charter of 1785 allowed the
Charles River Bridge to be constructed, it did not prohibit any other bridges from
being constructed. Therefore, Taney decided that the capitalistic competition
would be healthy for the economy of the regions along the Charles River. In doing
this, Taney was eliminating the monopolies of the elite and creating equal
economic opportunities for all citizens. As a result, Taney contributed to one of the
major achievements of the Jacksonian Democrats – to create economic equality.

The President of the United States of America and leader of the Democratic
party, Andrew Jackson, was perhaps the most outspoken democrat of the time. He
used his position as leader of the country to give more power to the common man.
Even before his election as president, he succeeded in having the property
qualification eliminated, therefore, increasing the voting population tremendously.
Jackson became the first president truly elected by the common man, rather than
only high society. For the first time in the history of the nation, the middle class
received the opportunity to participate in the government that ruled them.
Jackson did not stop with the reformation of the election process. Instead,
he attacked the Bank of the United States and vetoed the re-charter for the
institution. President Jackson explained that the banks stock was held by only
foreigners and a few hundred rich American citizens. As a result, the bank
maintained an exclusive privilege of banking… – a monopoly (Doc. B). The
Democrats believed the bank to be a tool of rich oppression and a dangerous
institution because the men in power were of the highest class and utterly
irresponsible to the people. So, President Jackson vetoed the re-charter and it
was closed. The money was dispersed into several state banks and the monopoly
Indeed, the Democrats succeeded in creating a new government for the rule
of a society of middle class citizens. And, the middle class began to prosper under
the struggle for economic equality. Visiting the United States in 1834, Harriet
Martineau reported the prosperity of the country (Doc. D). She discovered the
absence of poverty, gross ignorance, and insolence of manner as well as towns
with newspapers and libraries. She also reported on political debated with
common citizens as judges. It is quite clear that the expansion of suffrage, support
for individual rights, and advances of democratic society were responsible for the
However, it would be both irrational and naive to assume that the ideals of
Jacksonian democrats were without flaw. And it would be preposterous to
conceive a period in American history without its low points. This holds true for
the period of 1820 – 1830 as well. A number of middle class citizens
misinterpreted democratic reforms as an opportunity to disregard decorum and
law. Philip Hone, a Whig


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