The changing nation of the United States reflects a growing sense of national pride and identity. After the War of 1812, Americans gained a sense of national pride and the Republicans took control over the government when the fifth President James Monroe was elected. This time period was known as the Era of Good Feelings. During this era, there was an increase in power of the central government and there were no disputes between parties. From 1829 to 1837, Andrew Jackson Served two terms as the seventh President of the United States.
During the Age of Jackson, he made multiple changes to give the people more power, but this changed by the end of his presidency. Andrew Jackson ended the second Bank of the U. S. and made the states believe they had the power to nullify laws. However, he only created more power for the president in the end. During this time period, American citizens gained a sense of national identity and had pride in their nation. Unfortunately, the government used this to take advantage of the people.
Once the War of 1812 was over, America was established as a world power, it gained a sense of national pride and unity, and Republican James Monroe became President by a landslide. This all resulted in a time period known as the Era of Good Feelings. During the Era of good feelings, the government took a greater role in the economy. Congress established the second Bank of the U. S. in 1816, five years after the first Bank’s charter ran out. It was decided that a second Bank needed to be established because the state banks made too many loans and issued too much money, leading to an increase in spending and rising prices.
British dumping into the United States was also a problem for the nation after the War of 1812. To solve this issue, a protective tariff called the Tariff of 1816 was passed, and it put a tax on foreign goods. Despite the fact that these were unconstitutional and non-Republican actions, the people allowed it because they were blinded by the nationalism they gained over the War of 1812. Another effect of the Era of good feelings was the central government gaining more power over the states.
In the McCulloch v. Maryland Supreme Court Case, the state of Maryland attempted to tax their branch of national government. The Court’s decision, written by Chief Justice John Marshall, strengthened the central government’s power by ruling that a state has no power to pass a law that violates a federal law. This case, as well as The Gibbons v. Ogden Supreme Court Case, supported federal power. In the Gibbons v. Ogden case, a Steamboat that went from New Jersey to New York was considered “interstate Congress,” and therefore it could only be regulated by Congress, not the states.
These cases go against the Republicans’ strict interpretation of the Constitution and the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, which stated that the states have the right to nullify unconstitutional laws. Changes in the government were not the only effects of the Era of Good Feelings. The United States also took a greater role in the world. In Florida, Andrew Jackson was sent to recapture escaped slaves, where he then seized two major Spanish towns and forced the governor to leave Florida. Additionally, the U. S. wanted to protect trade with Latin America, which had recently gained independence.
In order to do this, President James Monroe sent a message to Congress stating what is now known as the Monroe doctrine. The Monroe Doctrine was a principle that told to U. S. to not let the European Nations to interfere with Latin America’s free nations. During the era of good feelings, the government had complete control, creating the country’s unity, however, this would all change once Jackson becomes president. During Andrew Jackson’s Presidency, America’s unity became unbalanced when Jackson increased the people’s power to make the government more democratic.
His influence was so great that the twenty years after he became President was known as the Age of Jackson. During the Election of 1824, Jackson lost because of the Speaker of the House, Henry Clay, influenced the House of Representative to elect John Quincy Adams. Shortly after taking office, Adams appointed Clay as Secretary of State, and Jackson’s supporters claimed these two men had a corrupt bargain. Four years later in the Election of 1828, the number of voters tripled when states expanded suffrage. Many states no longer required citizens to own property in order to vote.
Instead, any adult white male who pays taxes could vote. Thousands of first-time voters supported Jackson due to his background and new Democratic party. Because Jackson did not come from a wealthy family, lower class citizens could easily relate to him, which gave him more support. However, people with more money and power, like politicians, feared he was unpredictable and gave too much power to the common man. Many people, especially Jackson’s opponents, also feared the “reign of King Mob,” when many of his supporters were very destructive at his inauguration.
Jackson began his term as President by adopting the spoils system, which took government jobs and gave them to his friends and supporters to further democracy. Because of Jackson being an Egalitarian, he feared the power of the government. He believed the wealthy shouldn’t have special privileges and he attacked laws and politician who he thought were corrupt or dangerous to liberty. Additionally, he despised the Bank because the believed it favored the rich.
Furthermore, Jackson vetoed more acts passed by Congress than any president before him, and as a result, he was given the nickname “King Andrew I. This affected our national identity by causing some people to admire Jackson, and at the same time, it made people distrust him. By the 1820’s, the Choctaw, Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Creek nations were the only Indian Tribes left in the old northwest and south. These tribes were known as the Five Civilized Tribes because they had assimilated to the white culture. However, these tribes faced an unexpected change when gold was discovered on their land. Many people wanted the gold from their land and eventually, Georgia passed laws forcing Natives to give up their land.
The Cherokee refused to move and took Georgia’s actions to the Supreme Court even though they were not citizens of the U. S. The court case was called Worcester v. Georgia, and John Marshall ruled in favor of the Cherokees because he said they had been guaranteed the land through treaties. Jackson did not agree with John Marshall’s ruling and said “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him, enforce it,” to show Marshall that he does not have the power to enforce his ruling.
The Cherokee were one of the last tribes to leave their land, and when they were finally forced to leave, their journey was known as the Trail of Tears due to its devastating effects. The American citizens were delighted that Jackson removed these tribes and was taking actions to support the people. During the Age of Jackson, Andrew Jackson made many changes for the people, but by the end of his presidency, he shifted towards making changes for the rich. Andrew Jackson was the Bank’s most powerful enemy and he disliked that the Bank did favors for the wealthy.
Nevertheless, he changed his views and supported the rich. Higher class citizens liked the second Bank because it made loans to businesses, formed a stable currency, and created a safe place for government funds. Conversely, lower class citizens disliked that the bank restricted loans. They also believed the bank caused an economic crisis. Andrew Jackson despised the second Bank and its President, Nicholas Biddle. Since Jackson came from an unwealthy family, it is understandable that he hated the fact that Biddle did favors for the rich and represented privilege.
When Biddle renewed the Bank’s charter before it ran out, Jackson attempted to stop him by vetoing the bill. As a result, it increased the power of the presidency and the Bank no longer existed in 1836, when its charter ran out. However, without a bank, it was harder for the new president to pull the U. S. out of an economic crisis. The nullification crisis was brought about by a tax on products that would help northern states. However, the southerners thought the tax was not fair.
John C. Calhoun supported them by saying the states could nullify the law based on the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions. Northerners, along with Andrew Jackson and Daniel Webster, were against nullifications and argued that the central government needs to be stronger than the states in order to keep the union together. South Carolina threatened to secede from the union if the central government used force to impose the tariffs. Jackson reacted by threatening to send in troops and issuing the Proclamation to the People of South Carolina.
The south was shocked that Jackson changed his tune and started to support the rich, and they decided to repeal the tariff nullification. Jackson’s successor, Martin Van Buren, had to deal with the Panic of 1837. This panic was caused when Britain stopped buying as much cotton as it use to. Because of this, the farmers couldn’t pay their loans, and the Bank went bankrupt. The “anti-Jackson” forces joined together to form the Whig party and used many forms of public entertainment to get William Henry Harrison in office.
Andrew Jackson destroyed the Bank and gave the states the sense that they could nullify laws, but in the end, he created more power for the president by shutting down anyone who tried to go against him. To summarize, this was a time in history when Americans had pride in their country and a sense of national identity, but the government used this against them to get their way. The Era of Good Feelings changed the nation’s identity by creating more nationalism and allowing the American people to be unified without being conflicted over war.
With America’s increase in nationalism, the people were unable to realize that their Republican president was making Federalist Policies. Throughout the Age of Jackson, Andrew Jackson made numerous changes to support the lower class and give them more power, though, by the end of his presidency, he shifted towards making changes for higher class citizens. He also terminated the second Bank convinced the states to believe they could nullify laws, but in the end, he only created more power for the president. If the Era of Good Feelings never happened, the United States may have never gained a sense of national identity.