Chapter 10 The Age of Jackson Lesson 1
The Elections of 1824 and 1828
In the elections of 1824 Henry Clay, Andrew Jackson, and John Quincy Adams ran for president.
They were known as favorite sons, meaning their home states supported them rather than the national party.
Jackson won the most popular votes, but no one won the majority of the electoral votes.
Jackson won 99 electoral votes, giving him a plurality, or the largest single share.
In this situation, the House of Representatives selects the president.
Henry Clay used his influence as Speaker of the House to defeat Jackson, so Adams was elected.
In return, Adams named Clay secretary of state.
Jackson’s followers accused Clay and Adams of making a “corrupt bargain.”
This issue cast a shadow over Adams’s presidency, and Congress turned down many of his proposals.
By the 1828 election there were two political parties: the Democrats, who supported Jackson, and the national Republicans, who supported Adams.
Democrats favored states’ rights; the National Republicans wanted a strong central government.
During the election, both parties resorted to mudslinging, attempts to ruin their opponents’ reputation with insults.
John C. Calhoun switched parties to run with Jackson in the election.
Jackson won by a landslide - an overwhelming victory.
Jackson as President
Jackson was a popular president.
Many Americans admired him, and he had gained fame with his defeat of the Creek Nation and the British during the War of 1812.
During Jackson’s first term, a spirit of equality spread through American politics.
Suffrage, or the right to vote, changed during the early 1800s.
In 1815 many states relaxed the property requirements for voting.
In the 1820s, people who had not been allowed to vote, such as white male sharecroppers, voted for the first time.
By 1828, 22 of the 24 states changed their constitutions to allow the people, rather than the state legislatures, to choose presidential electors.
Democrats wanted to shake up the federal bureaucracy, a system in which nonelected officials carry out laws.
The Democrats argued that ordinary citizens could handle any government job.
Jackson replaced many federal workers with his supporters.
This practice became known as the spoils system.
Jackson’s supporters abandoned the caucus system, in which political candidates were chosen by committees made up of members of Congress.
The caucuses were replaced by nominating conventions, in which delegates from the states selected the party’s presidential candidate.
Democrats held their first national party convention in 1832.
The delegates decided to nominate the candidate who received two-thirds of the vote, and Jackson won the nomination.
In 1828, Americans disagreed about the tariff - a fee paid by merchants who imported goods.
The Northeast wanted the tariff, because it made their manufactured goods less expensive than imported goods.
Southerners did not like the tariff since there were fewer manufacturers in the South that would benefit.
Vice President John C. Calhoun argued that a group of states had the right to nullify, or cancel, a federal law it considered against state interests.
Some Southerners wanted the Southern states to secede, or break away, from the United States.
John C. Calhoun argued that the states had the power to decide whether federal laws were constitutional.
If states could not do this, then the Supreme Court or Congress would be left to interpret the Constitution.
Daniel Webster, a senator from Massachusetts, argued against nullification, challenging a speech defending nullification by Robert Hayne, a senator from South Carolina.
Jackson declared in 1830 that the federal union should be preserved, though Calhoun felt that liberty should take priority over the Union’s fate.
Calhoun resigned the vice presidency after winning a seat in the Senate in 1832.
Congress passed a lower tariff in 1832 to appease the South, but Southern leaders still protested.
They passed the Nullification Act, refusing to pay what they thought were illegal tariffs.
Jackson then supported a compromise bill to lower the tariff.
He had Congress pass a Force Bill, allowing military action to enforce acts of Congress.
South Carolina then nullified the Force Act.
Moving Native Americans
Many Native Americans still lived in the southeastern part of the United States in the 1830s.
These tribes, called the Five Civilized Tribes, established successful farming communities.
The area west of the Mississippi was dry and seemed unsuitable for farming, so few white Americans lived there.
Settlers wanted the federal government to relocate the Native Americans of the Southeast to this area.
President Andrew Jackson supported the settlers.
In 1830 Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, which allowed the federal government to pay Native Americans to move west.
In 1834 Congress created the Indian Territory, an area in present-day Oklahoma, for the Native Americans of the Southeast.
After the arrival of the Europeans, the Cherokee agreed to become a separate nation within Georgia called the Cherokee Nation.
There they had their own schools, newspaper, and constitution.
A Cherokee named Sequoya, created the Cherokee alphabet.
The Cherokee Nation refused to give up its land in Georgia and sued the state.
The case went to the Supreme Court, which ruled that Georgia had no right to interfere with the Cherokee.
President Jackson vowed to ignore the Supreme Court and remove the Cherokee.
In 1835 the federal government convinced a few Cherokee to sign a treaty giving up the land, but many Cherokee refused to comply with the treaty.
In 1838 federal troops went to Georgia to remove the Cherokee.
Under threat of military action, the Cherokee began the march west.
Many Cherokee died on the journey.
This forced march is known as the Trail of Tears.
Black Hawk, a Sauk chieftain, led a force of Sauk and Fox people to Illinois to reclaim land, but federal troops defeated them.
The Seminole were the only Native Americans who successfully resisted their removal.
The Seminole chief Osceola refused to sign the treaties to give up their land.
In 1835 the Seminole joined forces with a group of African Americans who had escaped from slavery.
They attacked white settlements on the Florida coast using guerrilla tactics, making surprise attacks and then retreating into the forests.
By 1842 more than 1,500 American soldiers had died in the Seminole wars.
The government gave up and allowed the Seminole to remain in Florida.
However, many of the Seminole had been killed or captured and forced to move west.
After 1842 only a few groups of Native Americans lived east of the Mississippi.
The Native Americans who were relocated west lived on reservations - land set aside for use by Native Americans.
The Five Civilized Tribes in present-day Oklahoma set up their own governments and built schools.
Jackson and the Bank
War Against the Bank
President Andrew Jackson had criticized the Bank of the United States as being an organization of wealthy Easterners over which ordinary citizens had no control.
The bank’s president, Nicholas Biddle, represented everything Jackson disliked.
In the election of 1832, Henry Clay and Daniel Webster planned to use the bank to defeat Jackson.
They believed the bank had popular support and an attempt by Jackson to take away its charter would lead to his defeat.
Martin Van Buren, a friend of Jackson’s , was with Jackson when he received the bill to renew the bank’s charter.
Jackson vetoed, or rejected, the bill.
Although the Supreme Court ruled the bank constitutional, Jackson felt it was unconstitutional and publicly opposed the ruling.
Clay and Webster’s plan to defeat Jackson backfired because most people supported Jackson’s veto.
Jackson was elected president, and Martin Van Buren was elected vice president.
After the election, Jackson ordered the withdrawal of all government deposits at the bank and placed the funds in smaller state banks.
The Democrats chose Martin Van Buren as their candidate in the election of 1836, but he faced bitter opposition from the Whigs, a new political party.
Jackson’s popularity and his support of Van Buren helped Van Buren win the election.
Two months after the election, the United States entered a depression, a period in which business and employment fall to a very low level, that began with the Panic of 1837.
President Van Buren believed in the principle of laissez-faire - that the government should interfere as little as possible in the nation’s economy.
Van Buren persuaded Congress to establish an independent federal treasure in 1840 to guard against further bank crises.
This decision received criticism from the Democratic Party.
William Henry Harrison was the Whig candidate in the election of 1840, and his running mate was John Tyler.
Harrison was portrayed as a common man even though he was wealthy, and he won the election.
Harrison died about a month after his inauguration, and John Tyler became president.
As president, Tyler backed states’ rights and vetoed several Whig-sponsored bills, including one to recharter the Bank of the United States.
This lack of party loyalty angered the Whigs, and most of Tyler’s cabinet resigned.
The Whigs could not agree on their party’s goals, and in four years Tyler lost the election to a Democrat and the Whigs were out of power.
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