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Jacksonian Democrats and the Populist Party

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AP US History

Populist and Jacksonian Democrats

The Populists became the heirs of the position that Jacksonian Democrats had held during their time. Because of Jackson's background, he supported the common man, believing they were the most vital part of America. The Populists were made up of the common man, they fought for farmers and industrial worker's political rights. The Populists were similar to Jacksonian Democrats in their ideals and goals. Their reform proposals were similar, benefitting the same groups of people, the common man. Wanting the common man to prosper, both parties attempted to change America's systems in a way they saw fit.

When it came to voting, both parties encouraged the spread of democracy to more people. During their time, Jacksonian Democrats sought to increase voting. They wanted more mature white males in the polls. The Populists goal was similar, with an added step. Not only did they want to support the spread of democracy to white males, they wanted more power to voters. At the time, citizens elected representatives and representatives elected senators. The Populists fought for the direct election of senators.

Graduated income tax meant that every citizen was taxed on what they made a year. This was particuarlly helpful to the common man. Since they didn't make a particularly large amount of money, many were overtaxed.

When Jackson was elected in 1828 and again in 1832 he changed the way the inner government was run. Jacksonian Democrats supported the spoils system, which created the right of elected officials to appoint their own followers to public office and established feature of American politics. The theory was that by replacing incumbent government members, you eliminate corruption. The Populists also believed that by keeping terms shorter and rotation more frequent corruption would be significantly decreased. They believed that the President should only be allowed one term in office, supporting a step past the spoils system and going against what the first President, George Washington, established during his term.

Both parties were supportive of poor western farmers. Jacksonian Democrats fought for the death of the Second Bank of the United States. They believed that it preyed on poor western farmers because it represented and was represented by rich easterners. After the death of the Bank, the Populists sought to help western farmers even further by creating free and unlimited coinage of silver to help poor western farmers get out of the debt they had acquired from taking out gold loans from rich eastern banks. In essence, both parties supported the same people, and as a consequence, needed the same reform programs to help them.

Both parties glorified farmers, stating that they were the backbone of society. They theorized that if cities were destroyed, they could be



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