Home » Andrew jackson » Essay on 1820-1840: The Growth Of Democracy

Essay on 1820-1840: The Growth Of Democracy

The political elements played an enormously important role during the time period 1820-1840. Between the presidency of both Thomas Jefferson in 1800 and Andrew Jackson in 1828, American culture and politics were transformed as democracy appeared to suffuse every aspect of them. The growth of democracy caused a significant political consequence; the expansion of suffrage to include virtually all men by the removal of property requirements. The removal of property requirements proved to be controversial as it became a debated issue among many (Keene, 228).

Many states were expanding uffrage to non-property owning white men, but stripped away voting rights from property owning African Americans as well as making new restrictions on them. For example, the 1821 New York state constitutional convention abolished property requirements among white men, but in turn disabled most blacks from voting by adopting high property requirements among African Americans. Many states also regulated the conduct of free African Americans. For example, Indiana required negroes moving to the states to post a bond or be deported.

Another example, Illinois not only kept blacks from oting but prohibited them from testifying in court or bringing civil suits as well (Keene, 241). Tragic consequences were placed upon American Indians as well based on the actions associated with Jackson’s vision of white man’s democracy. Jackson was focused on the need for land of the white settlers and the rights of Indians proved to carry little to no weight on his actions, especially during the conflict between the state of Georgia and the Cherokees.

The Cherokees abandoned their traditional tribal governance and declared themselves an independent republic, in which they were therefore no longer subject to Georgia’s laws. This, however, did not set well with Georgia’s government, and after the discovery of gold they in turn passed a law stripping the tribe of any legal authority over their lands. The tribe then turned to Jackson in search of protection, but instead the president seized the opportunity provided by the crisis to advance the removal of the Cherokee Indians (Keene, 242).

Actions taken by Jackson and many of the states of America, during the time period 1820-1840, provided tragic political consequences for both African Americans and the American Indians. The economic elements played a crucial role during the time eriod 1820-1840. Once again as a result of president Andrew Jackson’s actions, heavy consequences were set upon America’s economy. President Jackson, in respect to his hatred towards the Bank of the United States, decided to remove funds from the Bank and deposit them in state banks.

Jackson’s secretary of Treasury warned him of the damage to the economy that this would cause, but he did not listen and even had to fire two men before he could find one willing to fulfill his demands. The president’s decision to remove the funds and deposit them in state banks did indeed damage the economy, just as the ecretary and some congressional Democrats believed would happen. State banks were far less cautious in loaning money, particularly for speculative land ventures, than the Bank of the United States.

As a result, expansion of credit led to a speculation frenzy causing land sales to increase almost tenfold in five years to $25 million. Jackson then adopted the Specie Circular, a hard money policy that required land purchased from the government be paid with hard currency, to slow down the economy (Keene, 250). In 1836, Martin Van Buren, a short, compromising man almost opposite of Jackson, was elected resident and inherited a weak economy. The economy was damaged to the point that within a year of presidency, Van Buren had to deal with the Panic of 1837.

This economic crisis consisted of: A dramatic increase in unemployment, an increase in farm foreclosures and bank failures, and worker wages dropped as much as 50% putting a third of the workforce out of work. The Panic of 1837 immerged the nation into economic depression. Although many blame Andrew Jackson, the economic causes of the panic were mostly foreign caused by the restricted flow of credit from Bank of England. England raised its nterest rates and restricted the flow of credit to British banks that invested in America which forced American banks to constrict their loans and call in great debts.

Without access to additional credit, the loans of countless businesses and farms failed. The failure of the loans caused the banks, caught short, to close. With bank failures came greater credit restriction, which set off another round of foreclosures and bank failures. The economy continued to fluctuate over time and personal desire along with profit became the driving force behind most human behavior during the time period 1820-1840. The social elements during the early nineteenth-century can be defined by the contact of the African and Native Americans with Andrew Jackson, along with his supporters.

Andrew Jackson became the president of the United States in 1828 and was the country’s leading democrat. Democracy during this time had not yet embraced all Americans, excluding women, African Americans, and Indians (Keene, 226). Jackson and his supporters desired to limit the rights of blacks by basically stripping them of their suffrage. Many states expanded suffrage for white men by removing property requirements, while others were imposing ew constrictions on blacks, such as high property requirements, therefore stripping them of their right to vote.

This racial exclusion limited African American votes throughout the North and West in states such as Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, and most all states that entered the Union after 1819 (Keene, 241). Many states such as Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio regulated the conduct of free blacks by requiring those who emigrated in the state to post a bond (much like a prisoner) or be deported, or by prohibiting them from testifying in court or bringing civil suits (Keene, 241). Jackson’s contact with Indians, hile including them into his vision of white man’s democracy, proved to have extreme consequences as well.

Jackson’s vision was to expand the lands of the white settlers’ and it proved to have no room for the respect of Indians’ rights. Jackson and his supporters desired to constrict Indian’s rights, and to take away their lands for the purpose of westward expansion. Although president Jackson treated the natives as inferior subjects to white men as himself, the Cherokees, one of the “Five Civilized Tribes,” chose to obey his wishes and assimilate, rather than to resist. A conflict arose between the Cherokees and the state of Georgia, their white neighbors, over whether the Cherokees could declare themselves an independent nation or not.

However, this didn’t sit well with Georgia’s government, and once gold was discovered on Cherokee land, a law was passed that stripped the Indians of authority over their lands (Keene, 242). The tribe turned to federal courts in hope of the protection of their rights, meanwhile Jackson took the opportunity to relocate the Cherokee tribe to the west of the Mississippi. Many people such as Protestant clergymen and women opposed the president’s policy, in which led the Jacksonians to pass a bill alled the Indian Removal Act of 1830 (Keene, 243).

Under Jackson, seventy thousand Indians were forced west of the Mississippi (Zinn). Out of 70,000, an estimated 4,000-12,000 died, in which the Indian relocation to the west of the Mississippi became known as the “Trail of Tears”. The oppressive social contact between the blacks and Indians with Jackson and his supporters during the time period 1820-1840 goes to show that if someone, such as Jackson, wants something bad enough, the rights of others tends to have very little weight in your decisions, and is a major driving force behind human behavior even today.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.