Jacksonian Democracy was or was not justified?
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Jacksonian Democracy marked the age “of the common man” and the era for an improvement on government and society. When Andrew Jackson was president, he led the nation of the United States into dramatic changes both socially and politically which affected the government system and the lives of the American people positively. He fascinated the American people greatly because he stood for values they stood for such as a better government system. Because of his background as an average and ideal American and as the war hero of the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, he was able to draw support from almost every section of the U.S. and social class. Despite how democratic Jackson may seem, he appeared more tyrant-like than any of his forerunners. His major offerings to the nation included expansion of land (like Florida) and a government system that granted the common people the oppurtunity to work in the presidency (the spoils system). However, Jacksonian Democracy was in no way democratic because it treated the Native Americans with immense cruelty, it benefited only white males, and it loathed and fought relentlessly to abolish the Bank of the United States.
The total inhumane and despicable treatment of the Native Americans proved how non-democratic Jacksonian Democracy was. An example of this was when Andrew Jackson boldly enforced the Indian Removal Act in 1830, requiring all Indian tribes including the Cherokees to move to reservations west of the Mississippi River. This act, without any doubt, was the most horrific Jackson has ever carried out. According to Chapter 13 of The American Pageant, in 1828 the Georgia legislature declared the Cherokee tribal council illegal and asserted its own jurisdiction over Indian affairs and Indian lands. The Cherokees retaliated to this by appealing this move to the Supreme Court, which thrice endorsed the rights of the Indians. But President Jackson, who evidently desired to release Indian lands to white settlement, rejected the Court’s decisions. As a heartless attempt to taunt at the Indians’ defender, Jackson supposedly retorted, “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it.”
Although the case of U.S. Supreme Court and the Worcester v. Georgia trial had established the Cherokee Tribal Council as an independent nation within Georgia, Jackson still supported Georgia and defied the Court. When the Cherokees resisted the government’s “generous” offer of lands farther west, Jackson decided to send in the army. In the autumn and winter of 1838 to 1839, The U. S. Army swooped in the Cherokee region and compulsorily removed nearly 15,000 Cherokees from their ancestral native soils in the southeastern United States and marched them to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). As a result of inadequate food supplies, and harsh icy weather, some 4000 Cherokees perished of starvation, diseases, and continual exposure to cold on this march that was called “The Trail of Tears.” This seems incredibly similar to absolutism and is in no way democratic because it exceedingly violated the Native Americans’ rights.
Another reason why Jacksonian Democracy was far from democratic was that it only profited white males and it was extremely prejudice. The democracy did not protect the individual liberty of non-white males and women. It had nothing to offer to minorities. Black men and women were excluded from most if not all of the individual freedoms and liberties held by white land-owning males. Jacksonian Democracy also discriminated and repressed against white women. On the “Women’s Rights” issue, Jacksonian Democracy did nothing to further the female cause. Only in sparse states were women allowed to control property, and nowhere were they permitted to vote. There were few schools for women and they were assumed subordinate to men. Because of this, women were limited tremendously and there were scarce opportunity for their augmentation in social status.
Even though households were almost completely run by women they failed to gain even the basic rights that every male had. This allowed for the Jacksonians to overlook them when guarding the individual liberties of white males. The democracy provided to be guardians of political democracy when dealing with both the poor and the wealthy white men. Jackson promised to defend the farmers, mechanics, and laborers against the politically powerful, who had access to government and wanted special undemocratic advantages from it. This proves that Jackson shielded political democracy for only the common white man. Daniel Webster agrees with this view, by defending the poor, by claiming, “Jackson was about to create a class war and rile up the poor against the rich.” This act of authoritarianism against the minorities violated their liberties and freedom and proved that Jacksonian Democracy was in no way close to being democratic.
Jacksonian Democracy’s inexorable determination to destroy the U.S. bank was in no way constitutional or democratic. Under the leadership of Nicholas Biddle, the bank served only to collect banks notes from state banks and to loan money at interest. Because of Jackson’s haunting personal financial history, he regarded banks as unconstitutional. Jackson apparently had a major problem on this issue. He says, “It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes.” Banks made him nervous because it concentrated much power in few hands, some of those were foreign nationals, and because it was created via a broad interpretation instead of a strict one of the Constitution. He also believed that the U.S. bank placed too much control into the hands of a wealthy few. Due to this fact, Jackson vetoed the banks recharter in 1832.
In an attempt to benefit the lower working classes, he placed the federal money in “pet” state banks. Judge Tany, who was a supporter and a person who offered advice to Jackson and the Jacksonians, facilitated equal opportunity by annihilating the monopoly of the Charles River Bridge Corporation. Jackson’s veto of the recharter of the bank of the United States was only denying the people of an efficient way to fund their living government and to keep their delegates incomes on record. It is suggested that from this act, that he undermined the people and the nation to further his own selfish privileges. To no extent was this democratic.
Jacksonian Democracy was in no way democratic because of it despoiled Native Americans’ rights in every way, it provided advantages to only white men, and it hatred and unstoppable desire to destroy the bank. Through Jackson’s selfish acts, it can be concluded that Jackson’s intention as president was not to give the American people equal rights or to strengthen the government system dramatically. Jackson’s leadership as president and his style of governing is a disgrace to our nation’s legacy. In no way was Jacksonian Democracy democratic.