Jacksonian Democrats Dbq 1990. Very Detailed. To What Extent Were The Jacksonians Guardians Of The Const...

1535 words - 6 pages

Thomas Jefferson was consistently inconsistent by switching from a strict constructionist view to a broad interpretation on the constitution to support his political views. Similarly, Jacksonian democrats occasionally altered their belief of being guardians of the political democracy, individual liberty, economic opportunity, and the Constitution to suit their purposes.President Andrew Jackson had several ways of ensuring political democracy thus he is regarded as a guardian of it. The spoils system is an example of Jackson stressing political democracy. According to Senator William Marcy the spoils system was acceptable since the benefits of winning should go to the winner. He supports this thought by saying, "To the victor belongs the spoils." The spoils system allowed Jackson "Old Hickory" to rid his opponents of government jobs and award them to his supporters the "Hickoryites." Another example of political democracy is rotation in office. Rotation in office is what Jackson utilized to incorporate the "common man" into a government role. Jackson believed that any man was capable of doing the job. "Every man is as good as his neighbor," he declared, "perhaps equally better." The inevitable dilemma that arises from Jackson's notion on political democracy is that illiterates, incompetents and crooks obtained positions of public trust. The result of this was Samuel Swartwout, the collector of customs at the port of New York, stole a million dollars from the government.Jackson, although he was a rich aristocrat at the time of his election, might have been influenced to raise the common man on a pedestal as a result of him having been born poor. One of his first acts as president was to invite the working class of America to his inaugural. The White house was only emptied upon a rumor that said spiked punch had been served on the lawns. As a result, the inaugural is often referred to as the "inaugural brawl" and Jackson being the leader of the common people was called, "King Mob." This represented what Jackson emphasized and that was the importance of individual right. Jackson believed that it was unfair for power to be in the hands of an elite few. Therefore, he advocated the rights of the common man through his land policy. His land policy would allow people to expand further into the west. The more obtainable land there was signified a higher electorate. Jackson's belief of rotation in office allowed average men to try their hand at government. Rotation in office is something which had been previously limited to the aristocratic elite since they were the only ones viewed as capable of managing the job. His success in achieving basic individual rights is shown in Doc. D. when Harriet Marineau, a British visitor to the United States reported that she had seen every man as an independent citizen and controversies "of which the people were to be judges."However, the concept of individual liberty is not applied to minorities such as the blacks and...

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