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Andrew Jackson Dbq

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1990 DBQ - Andrew Jackson

Q - Jacksonian Democrats viewed themselves as the guardians of the US Constitution, political democracy,

individual liberty and equality of economic opportunity. what extent do you agree with the Jacksonian's view of themselves?

Andrew Jackson and his followers represented a monumental shift in American politics. He was the first President from a "western" state. He showered his supporters, qualified or not, with cushy government jobs in what is known as the "spoils system." To help himself to the Presidency, he and his supporters formed a new Democratic Party. The Age of Jackson, 1825 to 1841 was certainly not dull in the history of our country. In these 16 years, these Democrats saw themselves as guardians of many things dear to American history. [ The documents and the official record though show mixed results. There is no one category in which Jacksonians and Jackson himself come through as "all guardian" but there is evidence that they did achieve this perceived role to some degree.]

On the issue of being guardian of the Constitution, Jackson comes up strong in what became the Nullification Crisis. South Carolina led by the theories of John C Calhoun (AJ's Vice President!) tried to nullify a reform tariff that SC damaged their state economy to much to obey. Jackson stood strong even when SC threatened succession of the Union. Jacksonians went so far as to have a Force Bill passed to `keep the Union "indivisible" under his watch.

Jackson and his Democrats fall short though in their guardian role of the Constitution when it comes to his decision to ignore John Marshall's ruling in the Cherokee v. Georgia which would've protected their removal west to the Oklahoma territory in an awful event known as the Trail of Tears (Doc G) which occurred as a result of the 1830 Indian Removal Act. Doc F also shows the Jacksonians were OK with sitting by and allowing the 1st Amendment right of Freedom of the Press to by the wayside. The passage of the Gag Rule in 1836 is yet another Democratic shortcoming.

In regards to Political Democracy, Jackson impresses most workingmen (Doc A) and a visiting British author (Doc D). The workingmen don't like "dangerous combinations" like a United States Bank or eastern merchant collectives to fcontrol a commodity. Ms. Martinueau gives high marks to the people in power responsible for all the positives she sees. The Jacksonians welcomed the extended suffrage for all white men. This didn't happen under the previous six. But, again, there are limits to the Democrats success. Women, Free Blacks and Native Americans see no progress in their political struggles.



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