Number 1 got a score of 9



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Jacksonian Democracy, appropriately named after its founder, Andrew Jackson, was a movement that sought to endow quality upon the “common man”. Representing a shift in the geographic location of power, Jacksonian Democracy resulted in the fulfillment of democratic ideals.

When the Founding Fathers created the constitution, they advocated enfranchisement to landed, white men. Since most of these men were well-educated, George Washington and his contemporaries felt as they were securing the fledgling nation from “mobocracy.” Where the uneducated masses would rule the nation based on capricious whims. Though democracy was what Americans shed their blood for in the Revolutionary War, the Founding Fathers were reluctant in unleashing the? [Janus]?-faced democracy upon the masses. However, Andrew Jackson and his presidency represented a massive shift in this political thought. Advocating universal manhood suffrage, Andrew Jackson’s election in 1828 and 1832 signaled a geographic shift in political influence from the eastern seaboard to the western frontier. Himself a rustic, bucolic man from Tennessee, Andrew Jackson began a new image of politicians who sought the elusive presidency. Heralded as a man born in a log cabin, he gained the admiration o f those living on the frontier because they identified with him. Henry Clay, when running for the presidency, had to apologize to the people for not being born in a log cabin like Jackson. Also, since Jackson was a military hero in the battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812, the Whig party always nominated war heroes for the presidency, like “old Hickory.” To appease the westerners who elected him, Jackson destroyed the Second National Bank, believing it to be a tool of the wealthy and of bank commissioner Nicholas Biddle to gain political prominence. Jackson shot down its recharter because he claimed it gave too much power to the Eastern establishment. Heralding this as a victory for the “common man, “Jackson’s actions actually precipitated the Panic of 1837, which his elected successor, Martin Van Buren, could not defeat.

In the spirit of the strength of the “common man,” the reform movements of the 1830s sought to negate all social ills. The cause for abolition was espoused by many in the North because they grew intolerant and upset over the immorality of slavery. Many Northerners harbored fugitive slaves from the south because they did not agree with the tenements of slavery. A movement to treat the insane humanely was espoused by reformer Dorthea Dix. She believed the insane deserved better treatment as they were not criminals, but merely ill. Reformers also advocated the conversion of jails as places of rehabilitation instead of punishment. Since most of the incarcerated were the poor, this period of the “common man” sought to rectify all such moral ills. The reformers sought to equalize the social classes by providing g free and better education for the poor. This cause, espoused by Horace Mann and others, was instrumental in sparking the frame of education which would spread though the Untied States like wildfire. Desiring equality with men, women took advantage of this spirit of reform and proceeded win establishing the Seneca Fall Convention in New York in 1848. Drafting a document similar t the Declaration of Independence, women sought suffrage and greater equality in all aspects of life. The reforms espoused by the reformers in the 1840s were a direct result of the Jacksonian ideal which “celebrated the era of the common man”.

Jacksonian Democracy sparked a desire in people t recognize the people of all walks of life. Reveling in the representation of the “common man” by Andrew Jackson, many average Americans sought to rectify the political and social ills they experienced everywhere and succeeded in establishing a massive revolution. However, all this became only possible because of the man bravely advocated change in the face of powerful adversaries. Andrew Jackson rightfully deserves the credit for the movement that bears his heroic name.

Number 2-got a score of a 7

The Jacksonian Period from 1824 to 1848 has been hailed as the era of the “common man.” Primarily, Jackson’s popular election to presidency was based on the fact that he himself did not come from a wealthy, aristocratic background and he openly advocated for the rights of the “common man”. Both economic development and numerous reform movements caused the Jacksonian period to live up to its characterization as the era of the common man.” To a great extent-although afterwards, the plight of the common man plummeted.

Primarily, President Andrew Jackson’s economic policies led the Jacksonian period to uphold its characterization as the era of the “common man. Jackson adamantly vetoed the 2nd charter for the National Bank, claiming that it was unstable and means solely for the prosperity of the wealthy-not the common man. Jackson’s own childhood bout s with poverty, losing all of his money in an economic depression caused him to exterminate the National Bank and deposited it into various “pet banks.” He also issued the specie circular which demanded that all government land must be purchased in gold as opposed to currency on credit. Jackson felt this would encourage the economy of the Untied State and the plight of the common man.

However, the specie circular merely succeeded in slaughtering the economy right after the time Jackson left office. In reality, his economic policies merely sank the United States into an economic depression and left American financial issues in shambles for President Martin Van Buren. In an economic sense the “common man” was only hurt by the ultimate effects of the Jacksonian period.

In addition to economic development, various reform movements also caused the Jackonian Period to be celebrated as the era of the “common man.” The temperance movement, advocating the prohibition of alcohol, promoted the values and safety of the common man. The abolitionist movement also paved the way for common men to share ideas and promote reform. In addition, the women’s movement also picked up rapidly as common men and women joined together to fight for women’s rights. Furthermore, the populist movement comprised mainly of farmers met to discuss reform for the common agriculturalist. Jackson also led the fight against Native American, initiating the Trail of Tears. Although unjust and cruel, Jackson justified this relocation as a means of freeing more land for the common man. Thus it remains true the Jacksonian Period introduced many reform movements which advocated the needs of the common man.



In summation, it has been proven abundantly clear that both economic developments and reform movement of the Jacksonian period 1824-1848 lived up to its characterization as the era of the “common man” although the after effects merely worsened the plight of the common man.


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