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How "Democratic" Was Jacksonian Democracy Essay

2362 words - 9 pages

The rise of democratisation in America describes "Age of Jackson", yet Jacksonian Democracy is a concept referring to the rise of political democracy in America through the creation of the Democrat party. In one aspect it is a period of democracy for the common man with extended suffrage and strict constructionism in the federal system. Another angle is that Jacksonianism can be seen as a walking contradiction with the existence of slavery and subjugation of minorities in an age of white supremacy defying any "democratic" nature. The "Age of Jackson" was an authentic movement for the common man as Deusen identifies, combined with Chases view of the rise of white egalitarianism. Not only that, its philosophy is "democratic" with all organs and bodies of government being subject to the people's direction. Yet, the people to Jackson did not include everyone; a citizen in this period would be a white male of age- most specifically the rising entrepreneurial class. Revisionist historians tend to link the origins far more to the market revolutions profound effect on the socio-economic natures of regions of the United States; compared to traditional views of a political awakening from the American Revolution to the Jeffersonian Democratic Republicans. Yet Jacksonian Democracy in its form as Deusen most appropriately constructs, was a 'movement to ensure justice and opportunity for the common man', and it's ignorance to 'ethnic and religious differences' to 'local conditions' meant it 'reeked of demagoguery, ruthlessness and corruption' (Deusen G. G., 1970, pp. 7-9).
The "Age of Jackson" is tied to introduction of universal male suffrage, through a 'might democratic uprising', and as Hyland argues full "democratic" equality means 'the rights of citizens to equal participation' (Hyland, 1995, p. 105). Jackson Democracy was an authentic attempt at a "democratic" development in America, Jackson defined his citizen as the common man -specifically the rising entrepeunial class. However the Jacksonian period did not initiate the extended suffrage movement, they only benefitted from it. By 1928, all states bar North Carolina, Virginia, and Rhode Island had passed legislature to remove property qualifications that Jeffersonianism viewed as the inherent proof of legitimacy to vote. It was the Jackson and the Democrats embodiment of extending white suffrage, which lead to the end of deference politics as Deusen argues Americans in this period became convinced they were ‘forging a new era for mankind’ and were broadening 'the area of freedom’ that already fundamentally defined the ideology of America (Deusen G. G., 1992, pp. 3-9). Yet, there is very little evidence for this "popular revolution" as of extended suffrage, despite the egalitarianism of the "Age of Jackson". As revisionist historian McCormick argues, while the Democrats are accredited to a “mighty democratic uprising”, such as the change from 1812 where under half the states chose presidential...

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